Peak Methane Spike to 2845 Parts Per Billion on April 25, 2015 is Just Uncanny

If you look at the annual methane fluctuations in the Arctic — the region where peak global values tend to crop up — highest readings typically occur during the September-through-October time-frame and then again in January.

Over the past few years, peak values have ranged as high as 2600 parts per billion during the fall of 2014 and then again during January of 2015. Typically, peak values then subside as Northern Hemisphere Winter locks in most of the emitting High Latitude sources and we wait for the Autumn and early Winter overburdens to again emerge. So those of us who keep track of methane kinda just sat tight, expecting at least a somewhat calm spring, and waited for the new peak values that would be most likely to pop up by late this year and early next.

But then, on Saturday, this popped up in the NOAA METOP measure:

Major Methane Spike April 25 2015

(NOAA METOP methane measure finds peak values as high as 2845 parts per billion. An extraordinarily high reading, especially for April. Image source: NOAA OPSO.)

A whopping peak value of 2845 parts per billion at the 14,000 foot level of the atmosphere where methane concentrations tend to top out — especially in higher level clouds that have tended to be associated with Arctic wildfires. A value more than 200 parts per billion higher than daily peaks during January of 2015. All-in-all, a huge and unexpected jump at a very odd time for it.

If we look at the above map we find that most of the peak values are in the region of Russia. With many peak values in areas where major wildfires have been ongoing (Lake Baikal region, Khakassia), where wildfires were just starting to flare up (Northern Ukraine), or above other recently thawing permafrost zones. We also find decent spikes over China, Europe, Iceland, spots of the High Arctic, Canada and Alaska, Central Africa, The Indian Ocean, and over Antarctica.

Daily Mean Values Pop as Well

Sam Carana over at Arctic News caught the spike earlier this week and provided this very informative graph cataloging 14,000 to 18,000 foot methane levels for 2015:

Daily Methane Highest Mean 2015

(Daily mean and peak values provided by Sam Carana show how much of an outlier the April 25 spike is. Image source: Arctic News.)

And what we find, from looking at the graph, is that not only did peak values spike to an extraordinary high level in late April, but mean values also took a big jump — rising from 1807 ppb on January 10 to a peak of 1829 ppb on April 22nd. A 12 parts per billion bump in the entire global measure over a four month period (average annual rates of increase have been in the range of 7 parts per billion each year recently). A raging pace of increase 5 times faster than the annual trend.

It’s worth noting that daily peak and mean values do tend to swing back and forth quite vigorously. As an example, a peak mean value of 1839 ppb was recorded on September 7 of 2014. But, as noted above, these are extraordinarily abnormal high values for April. A quite unsettling methane spike at a very odd time of year and happening on dates and over locations that may suggest permafrost zone fire involvement.

Conditions in Context

For context, methane is an extraordinarily powerful greenhouse gas with a global warming potential about 30-40 times that of CO2 over meaningful timescales. Global atmospheric averages for methane have jumped from around 725 parts per billion during the 18th Century to above 1820 parts per billion now. A major scientific controversy is now ongoing over the issue of how rapidly global carbon stores will respond to an extraordinary pace of human warming — with some observational specialists raising the possibility of a very large methane contribution from now activating carbon stores in the Arctic.

Links:

NOAA OPSO

Methane Levels as High as 2845 Parts Per Billion

Leave a comment

64 Comments

  1. Andy in YKD

     /  April 28, 2015

    If the 20 year methane GWP is taken as 86 (a 10 year value would be more meaningful in my opinion) then 2.84 ppm x 86 = 244 CO2e. Current CO2 ppm = 403 ish. So Methane and Carbon Dioxide alone would give 646 CO2e.

    Using the April mean of 1.829 gives a 560 CO2e.

    These much higher CO2e figures could be at least a partial explanation for why the Arctic ice is melting faster than the models.

    Our collective goose (frog?) is getting boiled.

    Reply
    • For rational comparison, we need to look at paleoclimate. The CO2e I have is 485 which includes methane at GWP of 37. Methane is a spiking measure.

      Reply
      • Andy in YKD

         /  April 28, 2015

        Understood, however what will the short-term effect of a methane spike (assuming it does not stay elevated) at the beginning of the northern hemisphere’s summer and Arctic melt season? Time will tell.

        Has anyone come across what is the cause of the extreme warm water off the east coast of the U.S.?

        Reply
        • At present, this particular spike, though troubling, has not yet borne out in the longer term trend. If we see more of this, then annual rate of increase climbs and climate sensitivity looks worse than IPCC expected.

          As for the east coast heat spike in the Atlantic — it is almost certainly related to The Gulf Stream backing up and a weakening overturning south of Greenland as noted by Rahmstorf.

  2. james cole

     /  April 28, 2015

    Icelandic scientists have for some time been claiming that volcanic activity is increasing above the norm. Closer examination showed volcanic activity was nearly tracking glacial ice melt. The first thought was that less weight above the cauldrons where magma builds up would naturally make it easier for it to erupt. Right now I think one or two danger spots are building pressure, these are historically recorded volcanoes that have caused devastation in past recorded eruptions.
    We have been also speaking of Siberian fires, and today I can report another European fire that has broken out. “The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant may catch on fire any minute. The fire is quickly spreading by winds and is already just 20 kilometers from Chernobyl NPP, announced the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Arsen Avakov in Facebook.

    According to him, about 400 hectares of forest are engulfed in flames. “At 18.30 the situation with forest fires around Chernobyl has deteriorated. The flame is again engulfing the forest at the approaches to Chernobyl NPP. Upper level fire and sharp gusts of wind created a serious threat of fire spreading 20 km away from the Chernobyl NPP”, – reported Avakov.”
    As of now, fire is approaching a nuclear waste site, but no confirmation of plant of waste site affected yet,

    Reply
    • It makes sense. The glaciers are a portion of the material capping these volcanos. A good question to ask is — when was the last time these mountains were ice free? Perhaps this would give us an idea of how much potential magma pressure build up since that period.

      Have read a few reports on these Ukriane fires. Reminds me of the summer of 2010. Mid Ocean El Niño then as well. Of course we didn’t have wildfires encroaching on nuclear waste sites at the time.

      Reply
      • Griffin

         /  April 29, 2015

        Speaking of fires, have you noticed the high number of fires in Honduras and southern Mexico? The past few days has seen quite a bit of smoke drifting northward over the gulf. I was wondering if the particulates had any impact on the severity of the storm complex that moved from TX to FL over the past few days. Probably no way of knowing but I remember we had discussed something similar last summer.

        Reply
        • Good catch, Griff. And no, that’s not something that came up on my radar, so thanks!

          Yeah, if you end up with a lot of particulate loading, it can really pump up the clouds and result in some rather heavy downpours as we see with the Siberia fires so often.

          In the Gulf we have a strong subtropical jet riding up over the Pacific El Niño. This is also enhancing the storm track there. Gulf surface water temps are quite high in the range of +2 to +4 C above average, so the atmospheric moisture loading is pretty extraordinary. To the north, we have cooler air running down the trough near Greenland. All that is fuel for serious storms.

    • wili

       /  April 29, 2015

      On CC and earthquakes, see:

      “More Fatal Earthquakes to Come, Warn Climate Change Scientists”

      http://www.newsweek.com/nepal-earthquake-could-have-been-manmade-disaster-climate-change-brings-326017.html

      Reply
  3. Griffin

     /  April 29, 2015

    Seriously a “Wow” day to be reading your posts Robert. Thank you for today’s work.

    Reply
    • Cheers, Griff, and thank you. Things were pretty keen today.

      Reply
    • Oh, and you know AMOC is really hurting when parts of Britain are seeing snow in late April:

      http://www.itv.com/news/2015-04-28/parts-of-britain-hit-by-snowstorms-amid-arctic-blast/

      The meridional flow just reversed. It was the warmest April on record under a ridge. Now, with a ridiculously severe trough running down from the pole as Pacific warmth bullies air all the way from the Beaufort into the North Atlantic, we have snow as May approaches. It’s as if the seasons don’t matter any longer and those huge hot highs are going to shove the air wherever they please.

      Reply
      • Anthropocene

         /  April 30, 2015

        Sorry, have to say that snow in April is not that unusual (especially in Scotland). What has been unusual is the sunshine and dryness. Some parts are <30% average rainfall. Personally I've never known an April with so much dry settled weather.

        Reply
  4. Andy in San Diego

     /  April 29, 2015

    If you look at the graph by Sam Carana and apply a visual moving average it almost appears like an emission / dispersion cycle.

    Any identified source(s) yet?

    Reply
    • Exactly Andy. And, no, we don’t have a high enough resolution toolset to determine an emissions source. Would suspect Calbuco which did erupt on April 22 if we could see a spike in the METOP data and if that volcano was particularly gaseous. I suppose the array may be picking up readings that aren’t displayed graphically. But if you look at the graphics the spikes are mostly over Asia and in a few other regions (not Chile).

      Reply
      • Andy in San Diego

         /  April 29, 2015

        That would need to be a tremendously gaseous emission to move the global value that far. Very unusual. I was pondering Alexanders post regarding the Siberian fires and their causation (drying / increase temperature soaking into the peat / permafrost) in addition to the temperature anomalies we’ve seen over Asia. Perhaps they are a contributor.

        Some metrics would be so helpful such that we could discern a region (or events) contribution.

        Reply
  5. Apocalypse4Real

     /  April 29, 2015

    Hi Robert,

    Thanks for noting that the spikes are only momentary methane concentrations, The more significant change is the increase in daily mean methane, which I will blog on once life slows a bit. Lot’s of interesting global mean methane changes to note.

    A4R

    Reply
    • Hello, A4R. It’s been a while. Let me know when your new bit comes up. I’ll give it a look-see.

      And yes, the big value to watch, as you saliently note, is the daily mean. That’s the signal to the noise.

      Reply
  6. Just a methane bit of local color from an article about the SW USA methane releases:

    “Different sources of methane have different signatures, Sherwood said. If you study those, you can figure out whether the methane is from a feedlot, or oil and gas drilling. Or even from forest fires.”
    http://kunm.org/post/hunt-source-four-corners-methane

    Reply
    • True. But large sources would show up as a plume emission downwind. So in the case of a volcano, we’d see a plume in the cloud layer eastward (spreading over South America and the South Atlantic). Forest Fires also show plume emissions and we see some tell-tale for that in Asia near the lake Baikal fires and eastward.

      In cases where winds concentrate, you’d see an extra spike from an emission. Persistent storms can generate this effect as can local conditions as you note.

      A human source for this kind of atmospheric spike would be pretty spectacular and should come up in the news. So we have a list of usual suspects — permafrost wildfires and volcanoes at the moment.

      Reply
  7. These days, I feel like I’m living in an hourglass that is continually losing its sand.

    Sand, and sand men…

    Reply
  8. But if I get in a really big existential funk I feel more like:)
    Candy-Colored Clown in “Blue Velvet”
    Ps I did get Dennis Hopper’s autograph with a personalized line from “Blue Velvet”. Guess which one — if have seen the movie?

    Reply
  9. Andy in San Diego

     /  April 29, 2015

    I wonder if his brilliant eminence “snowball man” from Oklahoma will simply claim that this is due to his deities gaseous emissions as only that idol can pass such vacuous methane farts?

    And if he does, wait till his vaudevillian display on the floor this time!

    Reply
    • The god Inhoffe worships is, indeed, a trinity. But I don’t think it’s the one whose cloak he’s draped over his particular brand of complete irresponsibility. The god I’m referring to, of course, is oil, gas, and coal. That’s Inhoffe’s golden calf.

      Perhaps the Pope should give him a lecture on ‘having no other gods before me…’

      Reply
      • Now we wouldn’t want to deprive The Senator From Oklahoma his carbon “Golgotha”, would we?

        ###

        The Pope Joins the Climate Wars

        …A high-level workshop in the Vatican this week on the moral dimensions of climate change is one of several major events planned by the Roman Catholic Church in anticipation of an encyclical on the environment the pope plans to issue this summer.

        …Catholic conservatives have argued that the pope has no special authority to delve into matters of scientific fact. But that is no more than another attempt by climate-skeptics to pretend that there remains serious doubt about why the world is warming up or about the potential consequences. What remains is to acknowledge that we all have a moral responsibility to do something about it. As Francis put in a Twitter post this month, “We need to care for the earth so that it may continue, as God willed, to be a source of life for the entire human family.”

        – NYT By THE EDITORIAL BOARDAPRIL 29, 2015

        Reply
  10. “Our results show that the basis for a sea ice tipping point doesn’t hold up when these additional processes are considered,” said Wagner. “In other words, no tipping point is likely to devour what’s left of the Arctic summer sea ice. So if global warming does soon melt all the Arctic sea ice, at least we can expect to get it back if we somehow manage to cool the planet back down again.”

    https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/research-highlight-arctic-sea-ice-loss-likely-be-reversible

    Reply
    • Good news, when and if “we somehow manage to cool the planet back down again”.

      Reply
    • Well, of course. The big IF is that you can cool the planet back down. And doing that requires no fossil carbon emissions and net negative human emissions.

      Reply
      • Apneaman

         /  April 29, 2015

        Cool the planet?
        There’s not an Inhoffe’s chance in hell that is going to happen.

        Reply
      • Actually, it’s not impossible, it’s just politically impossible, to stop and reverse global warming.

        With biomass energy plus carbon capture and storage BECCS, it could be done:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bio-energy_with_carbon_capture_and_storage

        We would just have to do several improbable things at the same time, I think. First, the public would have to gain control of the coal fired power plants. Then the public would have to understand that carbon in biomass comes from the atmosphere. Then the public would have to understand that we have to harvest woody biomass from the forests, so that the carbon could be put back underground. Then we would have to transform the coal fired power plants into biomass power plants including carbon capture and storage. Then we would have to build transport systems to get the woody biomass to the converted coal fired power plants, perhaps by using the navigable rivers and barges, for example the Mississippi river and its navigable tributaries.

        Then, perhaps by deep injection of the resulting CO2 into fractured basalt layers and subsequent conversion to carbonate, we would have to make sure that the CO2 stays underground where we put it.

        Then we have to do all the other good stuff we are doing to go carbon neutral, like convert to solar and wind, but do it much, much faster than we are doing it now.

        It would require a WWII scale effort, and violate several deep preconceptions and conceptual frames that the current generation of human beings share including the notion that the forests must remain untouched and that a gas (CO2) in the atmosphere can become a solid (woody biomass).

        But it is technologically possible, I think. It’s just politically impossible, and violates human preconceptions.

        Reply
        • I don’t think it’s impossible, Leland. I just think it’s a huge challenge — primarily politically. But the biomass + CCS is a possible solution that can be added to land use change, new fertization methods like biochar, using new materials that are net carbon negative (concrete substitutes already available), transitioning away from large scale meat farming, and direct atmospheric carbon capture and conversion to advanced materials like carbon fiber. All this in addition to a 100 percent transition away from fossil fuel burning and to full on renewable, zero carbon energy sources.

          I think it’s doable. The big IF is whether or not we decide to do it.

          Also the graph above misleads in that most carbon captured from fossil fuel based CCS is now used in other enhanced fossil fuel extraction, so there is a net, long term , addition to carbon emission in that it extends the lifetime of fossil energy sources whose carbon emissions are not captured. Also, the best CCS facilities now are capturing something on the order of 10-20 percent of total emissions. Nowhere near a majority.

          The fossil sources just need to go.

      • Hi Robert-
        Good points about the fossil fuels just needing to go, and the current uses of captured CO2 for enhanced oil recovery. Yes, those things are incompatible with slowing global warming, let alone reversing it.

        But CCS can easily capture more than 10-20 percent of the total emissions – it depends on how you do it. I think you are talking about amine CO2 capture systems.

        Oxy-fuel combustion is one way to do it. Burn the biomass in oxygen, instead of air. It takes some energy to separate the oxygen from the air cryogenically, but you can potentially get that back by increasing combustion temperatures and adding topping cycles like a gas turbine topping cycle to make a combined cycle power plant. And the end products of oxy-fuel combustion would be a reasonably pure stream of CO2 and some water vapor. The CO2 would need some neutralizing and some cleanup.

        The Clinton administration in their Combustion 2000 program explored a lot of these options. That program died, of course, when George Bush the younger came into office. But all that stuff could be dusted off and used.

        The net result would be a more efficient but more complex power plant, producing electricity at roughly current prices, but capable of putting carbon back underground while generating electricity.

        Reply
      • Hi Robert-
        Here’s a link about oxy-fuel combustion. It would work just as well for biomass as it does for coal, I think. And it produces a reasonably pure stream of CO2 for injection:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxy-fuel_combustion_process

        Reply
      • Leland —

        The tech appears to be expensive, unproven, and still in the test stages. In addition, any float to attempt to expand fossil fuel lifespans I view as being counter productive. Renewables already cost as little or less and have lower impacts with much greater benefits to society. Historically, CCS has been used in fossil fuel plants to commoditize carbon for other enhanced extraction purposes, which has also run very counter productive to carbon emission reduction. As such I maintain my stance for fossil fuel abolition and rapid transition away from these dangerous fuels on moral and practical grounds.

        As for CCS + biomass. I am open to this so long as the process does not enhance other dangerous and counter-productive practices such as rampant deforestation. If we can manage to run a moderate number of these plants under a zero carbon energy system we can draw carbon out of the atmosphere over long time scales as part of an integrated solution that includes a broad sweep of other methods. But single solutions that incorporate extending fossil fuel lifespans has moral hazard written all over it.

        Reply
      • I can’t really disagree, although I think the cost could come down rapidly.

        Still, the ability to generate electricity while putting carbon back underground can have a large mathematical impact, because BECCS would simultaneously displace fossil fuel use, generate electricity, and put carbon back underground.

        Oak Ridge National Labs estimates that we could produce 1.4 billion tons of biomass in the U.S. per year by 2030 for less than 60$ per ton dry mass, containing about 600 million tons of carbon. Suppose we could double that by planting biomass plantations along the navigable rivers, and put 1.2 billion tons of carbon back underground per year. Simultaneously, this would displace about 600 million tons of carbon from fossil fuel use, for a net difference of about 1.8 billion tons of carbon per year in the U.S.

        http://www1.eere.energy.gov/bioenergy/pdfs/billion_ton_update.pdf

        Electricity generated, if used to run electric vehicles, could add to this net difference, although biomass transport, if done with fossil fuels, would subtract from it. So, call it 1 – 1.5 billion tons of carbon per year net deviation from business as usual.

        So many things could be done, if we didn’t have to worry about how large energy corporations would misuse the technology, and if political and social factors did not interfere with the technology.

        A rational society would nationalize all energy supply, I think.

        Reply
      • Actually doing the math on a spreadsheet, instead of in my head, I make it about a billion tons of carbon put underground and about 0.75 billion tons of carbon displaced, for a total gross swing from business a usual of about 1.8 billion tons of carbon, minus transport emissions, if any, plus fossil fuel displacement from electric vehicles run by the electricity generated.

        This does, however, exceed the capacity of all the coal fired power plants in the U.S. I think, but not by very much. So, we’d have to gasify some of the biomass and burn it in converted natural gas power plants also converted to CCS.

        And on the seventh day, get some rest.🙂

        Reply
      • Doing some more spreadsheet calculations – if about 60 percent of the electricity produced by such a BECCS system burning 2.8 billion metric tons of biomass per year was used to run EVs as efficient as a Nissan Leaf, it could completely replace fossil fuels used for passenger cars. This seems to be because EVs are so much more energy efficient than gasoline powered automobiles

        Carbon emissions avoided per year from this effect alone would be huge, and this would take us comfortably into carbon negative territory, as a society. If electric vehicles (trucks and trains- the biomass barges when full would be going downstream) were used for biomass transport, we would then be even more of a carbon negative society, I think.

        It’s hard for me to understand why we don’t just do this. Why can’t there be a magic bullet? If the public wants this, first there must be public understanding and then the public must demand that this be done.

        When the Wikipedia article about oxyfuel combustion says that oxyfuel can’t compete economically with regular air combustion, that presupposes that there is no price on carbon, and that topping cycles are not used. But the price difference is not large – something like 20%. A $50 per ton price on carbon would make oxyfuel competitive according to the studies I’ve seen, even without topping cycles to make more advanced combined cycle power plants.

        Reply
  11. As in Russia, so are grass-burning induced forest fires in North Korea.

    Satellites often detect fires in North Korea in April. As snow retreats in the spring, many farmers use fire to clear away last year’s crop debris and to fertilize the soil for the coming season. Such fires generally remain small and produce only modest amounts of smoke. But sometimes they escape the control of their handlers and push into forests on the country’s mountainous terrain.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=85784&eocn=home&eoci=nh

    Alex

    Reply
    • That region of Asia has seen some rather intense fires this year. The Lake Baikal fires are still burning. The Ukraine fires from yesterday, on the other side of Asia, appear to have subsided in the MODIS shot at least.

      Reply
  12. As usual, fire and floods go hand in hand

    Melting snow causes spring floods across Altai

    An emergency has been declared across parts of the Altai region after major flooding caused by the spring thaw of snow. Residents have been evacuated from some areas as rivers threaten to burst their banks, with more than 250 residential buildings affected.

    Reply
  13. File under BETTER LATE THAN NEVER:)

    “BREAKING: California Governor Issues North America’s Most Aggressive Climate Goal”

    On Wednesday morning, four-term California Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order that aims to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Brown called it the most aggressive GHG target by any North American government to date.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/04/29/3652570/breaking-california-climate-pledge-jerry-brown/

    Reply
  14. I share something I made before I devoted my energies to AP & CC etc. It’s assemblage shadow boxes made from my photos and found objects found in nature.
    Pictured are Monarch butterfly wings from expired Monarchs from an overwintering site I monitored, and local SB leaves, and a photo of a nearby slough.

    Reply
  15. International Trade Facilitators

     /  April 29, 2015

    Hi Robert,

    I enjoyed the recent interview on Radio Ecoshock. You came across as being more concerned now over methane releases than has been indicated is some of your previous posts, quite rightly I think. There are so many positive feedbacks that can and are affecting methane releases that this is quite possibly the most serious issue of climate change that we now face.

    You say in this post “A major scientific controversy is now ongoing over the issue of how rapidly global carbon stores will respond to an extraordinary pace of human warming” Well, I can tell you one thing for certain, it will be faster than ‘they’ expect! Above everything else, that is the one thing that has applied consistently to all aspects of climate change research for as long as I can remember and I go back a couple of decades at least on this. If it also applies to methane releases it is very worrying indeed.

    Keep up the good work.

    Kind regards Brian

    Reply
    • Cheers Brian.

      My first post to this blog was entitled Arctic Sea Ice Melt, Methane Release Shows Amplifying Feedbacks to Human Caused Climate Change. So you could say I’ve been concerned about Arctic methane from jump.

      I suppose where I vary from most is that I take into account a range of outcomes as opposed to taking a single position and staking a claim there. For example, there are those who say that near term human extinction is inevitable. There are others who say that large scale methane release in the near term is a potential approaching the null hypothesis.

      I think the more likely outcomes make up a range between these two positions.

      We are almost certainly seeing some feedback from the Arctic at this time. An early stage feedback that includes both methane and CO2. One that is related to initial stage warming as it sets off Northern Hemisphere polar amplification. Feedback will likely worsen if the Arctic continues to warm and that feedback will be an addition on top of the human emission over time.

      A good number of Arctic researchers in a recent survey identified an Arctic carbon store feedback in the range of 10-35 percent of the human emission by the end of this Century. That, by itself, would be a bad outcome. Simeletov and Shakhova identify much greater risks for even larger scale methane release from warming ocean regions like the ESAS. I think they are all important to the discussion at this time.

      The subject is one of great concern to me. I do not like these spikes, the methane blow holes, or the ramping atmospheric levels. The now annual burning of massive fires through permafrost zones is just terrifying to me, especially when I consider the fact that these are probably smaller scale events than we will see later. And I don’t think we can even visualize what a ‘moderate’ carbon and methane feedback might look like on the ground. This is not just the quiet production by microbes, the bubbling up of small gas sphericals from the ocean floor. This is massive fires, ground eruptions, great chunks of earth blown away from terra firma, and possible sea bed cratering. Maybe the air burns in some places during the worst events.

      In the case of the most conservative scientists being wrong, you’re probably correct. Although, I think the NTHE extreme sudden and major release group is outside the more likely outcomes. For now, though, I don’t think we can exclude either in the range of risk. And it’s a risk that certainly needs to be looked at, especially if the human rate of burning continues unabated.

      Reply
  16. Researchers find 200-year lag between climate events in Greenland, Antarctica

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-04/osu-rf2042715.php

    Reply
    • This stands out to me –

      “OSU’s Buizert said it is “very likely” that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC, is involved in these abrupt climate reversals.”

      “This ocean circulation brings warm surface waters from the tropics to the North Atlantic,” said Buizert, who is in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. “As these water masses cool, they sink to the bottom off the ocean. This happens right off the coast of Greenland, and therefore Greenland is located in a sweet spot where the climate is very sensitive to changes in the AMOC.”

      Reply
      • Shut down AMOC and you warm Antarctica? Makes sense. Probably related to large glacial outflow events near Greenland if that’s the case.

        Reply
  17. China take note –

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/environment/supreme-court-orders-action-on-illegal-air-pollution-in-cities-including-glasgow.124628042

    “The UK Government has been ordered to take “immediate action” over illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide in 16 cities, with Glasgow named among those in breach of EU limits.”

    “Air pollution has been linked to coronary artery disease, heart attacks and strokes, and has been blamed for causing more than 300 deaths per year in the city.

    Average levels of nitrogen dioxide in the Glasgow Urban Area this year will be 74 micrograms per cubic metre at the most polluted spots. The legal limit is 40 micrograms.”

    Reply
  18. -Wildfire Smoke

    For for visual reference, here’s a photo of Oregon wildfire smoke. It was taken in Oct. 2012 as I was crossing the Columbia River heading North on an Amtrak bus. It’s near Pasco, WA.
    Conditions here are much more fire friendly now. And much more global smoke is now in the atmosphere.

    Reply
  19. Hi Robert-
    Very strange. Thanks for the info. At first glance, NASA worldview doesn’t seem to show much unusual fire activity for that date.

    http://1.usa.gov/1I0nFYS

    Sure, lots of fires, but the pattern doesn’t look too unusual, compared to other recent dates.

    I’m wondering if we had a major methane blowout – more craters like those that appeared on the Yamal Peninsula. Definitely don’t like these spikes.

    Reply
  20. Looking at the images, though, there does seem to be a rough correspondence between where the fires are burning and where the methane levels are highest, you’re right about that. If it was a blowout, I think we would be looking at a single area.

    Reply

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