Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach
Well, it seems like climate alarmists have noticed that all their hysterical screeching about carbon dioxide (CO2) isn’t having the desired effect. So they’re turning to a new villain, methane (CH4). Here’s Nature, which used to be a serious scientific journal, moaning that methane is “soaring” to new heights.
Figure 1. Page from Nature magazine, original here.
Now, anyone who knows me knows what I did after seeing that—I went and got the data to see what’s going on. We have data from a couple of sources—modern measurements, and ice cores. The Nature article only showed the change since 1984, but I always start with a long overview to give context to the data. Here’s the change in atmospheric methane since 1750.
Figure 2. Changes in airborne methane since 1750. Ice core data to 1980, modern measurements from 1984 onwards
Now, there are a couple of puzzles in this data. First, nobody knows the cause for the slowdown in methane rise that started about 1985 and ended around 2005.
Next, nobody knows why the rise started again. From the Nature article:
The growth of methane emissions slowed around the turn of the millennium, but began a rapid and mysterious uptick around 2007. The spike has caused many researchers to worry that global warming is creating a feedback mechanism that will cause ever more methane to be released, making it even harder to rein in rising temperatures.
“Methane levels are growing dangerously fast,” says Euan Nisbet, an Earth scientist at Royal Holloway, University of London, in Egham, UK. The emissions, which seem to have accelerated in the past few years, are a major threat to the world’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5–2 °C over pre-industrial temperatures, he says.
YIKES!! WORRIED RESEARCHERS! LEVELS GROWING DANGEROUSLY FAST! FEEDBACK MECHANISM!
(In passing, can I say how bored I am by scientists and researchers who are “worried”? Near as I can tell, these guys sit up nights looking for things to be worried about, and when they seize on something, they try to convince us that we all should be worried about it too … but I digress.)
In any case, just how fast are the methane levels rising? To investigate that, here’s a graph of the five-year “trailing trend”. This is the trend of the change over the five years previous to each year of record.
Figure 3. Changes in the five-year trailing trends of the rise in atmospheric methane.
Call me crazy, but I’m not seeing what the “worried researcher” described as methane levels “growing dangerously fast” … they’re only growing a third as fast as they were in 1985.
I’m not going to be concerned until such time as the trend starts getting up somewhere around the 1985 levels.
My best to everyone, whether you’re worried or not …
MY USUAL: When you comment PLEASE quote the exact words you are discussing. I can defend my own words and I’m happy to do so. But I can’t defend your interpretation of my words.