Arctic Methane Alert — Ramp-Up at Numerous Reporting Stations Shows Signature of an Amplifying Feedback

Over the past few months, reporting stations around the Arctic have shown a ramping rate of atmospheric methane accumulation. The curves in the graphs are steepening, hinting at a growing release of methane from a warming Arctic environment.

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Alert, Canada Methane June 1 2015

(Alert, Canada methane graph shows atmospheric methane increases in the range of 20 parts per billion in just one year. This rate of increase is 2-3 times the global average for the past five years. A skyrocketing rate of increase. Image source: NOAA ESRL.)

A Massive Thawing Carbon Store in the Far North

The science is pretty settled. There’s a massive store of ancient carbon now thawing in the Arctic.

In the land-based permafrost alone, this store is in the range of 1.3 billion tons — or nearly double the volume in the atmosphere right now. Arctic Ocean methane hydrates in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf add another 500 billion tons. A rather vulnerable store that does not include hundreds of billions of additional tons of carbon in the deeper methane hydrates around the Arctic in places like the Gakkel Ridge, in the Deep Waters off Svalbard, or in the Nares Strait. Massive carbon stores of high global warming potential gas locked in frozen ground or in ice structure upon or beneath the sea bed.

But now human beings — through fossil fuel emissions — are dumping heat trapping gasses into the atmosphere at an unprecedented rate. These gasses are most efficient at trapping heat in the colder, darker regions of the world. And, due to a combination of massive Northern Hemisphere burning, and release from the Arctic carbon stores themselves, the highest concentrations of greenhouse gasses can be found exactly where they are needed least — in the world’s far northern zones .

Arctic Overburden May 29

(The Arctic consistently shows an overburden of methane gas — both at the ground and upper levels of the atmosphere as seen in this METOP graphic from May 29. Such an overburden is but one of many proxy indicators of a ramping rate of release.)

This accumulation and overburden of heat trapping gasses is causing the Arctic to rapidly warm. A rate of warming (now at half a degree Celsius per decade for most regions) that is providing a heat forcing pushing the ancient carbon stores to release. A heat forcing now greater than at any time in the past 150,000 years (and likely more due to the fact that the Eemian Arctic was rather cool overall). A heat forcing rapidly ramping toward at least a range not seen since major glaciation began in the Northern Hemisphere 2-3 million years ago.

The problem for science, then, is two-fold. First, as oceans warm and permafrost thaws, how rapidly will the carbon stores release? And, second, how much of that carbon store will release as CO2, and how much will release as methane? From the point of view of global warming, both CO2 and Methane emissions feedback is a bad outcome of human-forced warming. But methane, which has a global warming potential of between 25 and 120 times CO2 over human-relevant timescales, has a real potential to make an already bad human heating of the Earth System much, much worse.

Methane Bubbles in Thermokarst Lake

(Image source via Science 2.0.)

Most Arctic Reporting Stations Show Rapid Ramping of Methane Gas Accumulation

For this reason, monitoring methane gas accumulation in the Arctic is a key feature of global climate change risk analysis. If the Arctic shows a spiking rate of methane accumulation, then the carbon stores are more susceptible to rapid release of potent heat trapping gasses and we are facing a high urgency situation in need of rapid global response.

Over the past decade, the Arctic has shown numerous isolated or regional spikes to very high methane levels with an overall continued accumulation within the atmosphere. The Arctic also displayed a major overburden of both methane and CO2 — proxy indications of local carbon store feedbacks already ongoing on a minor-to-moderate scale. This combination of overburden and spikes provided a troubling context, especially when adding in observations of methane store release through thermokarst lakes and, later, blow-holes in locations like Yamal, Russia. But up until last year, we had not seen a third, and more troubling, indicator — the ramping rates of atmospheric methane accumulation that would be an early warning that the Arctic carbon store was indeed starting to blow its stack.

But now, that signal is starting to show up at almost every Arctic reporting station. A steepening curve in the Arctic atmospheric methane graphs. A signal we really, really don’t want to be bearing witness to:

Barrow Methane June 1 2015Alert, Canada Methane June 1 2015

Summit Greenland Methane June 1 2015Svalbard Methane June 1 2015

(Major reporting stations from Svalbard to Barrow show a ramping atmospheric methane accumulation [Click on individual images to expand]. It’s a signal that is yet one more indicator of an amplifying methane and greenhouse gas feedback to human warming now going on in the Arctic. Images provided by NOAA ESRL.)

Now, it seems, at the very least, we are witnessing a spike in Arctic atmospheric methane accumulation. Let’s hope it’s just a spike and not the start of another ugly exponential curve associated with human-forced atmospheric warming. But if we are witnessing the early ramp of such a curve, we should be clear that we are now in the context of a worst-case climate change scenario.

Hot-Button Topic of Critical Importance

For years, conjecture over the possible rate of Arctic Methane release in a human-warmed Arctic has been the source of extreme scientific and media-based controversy. Major oil companies have used the issue as an excuse to continue fossil fuel burning (irresponsibly spreading the meme — ‘we’re screwed, so we may as well just keep burning anyway’). Major climate scientists and related media outlets have sought to tamp down concern over large-scale methane release by issuing articles with titles like ‘Apocalypse Not’ with many generally insisting that there is practically zero likelihood of a large-scale methane release or major amplifying feedback. Meanwhile, the observational studies have continued to indicate risk of at least moderate and possibly strong methane feedback in an age of rapid human heating of the Arctic environment (studies like this recent paper which observed microbes tripling the rate of methane gas release in thermokarst lakes as a response to Arctic temperature increase.) Finally, a group of very concerned observational scientists like Natalia Shakhova, Igor Simeletov and Peter Wadhams have warned that a large-scale methane release is likely imminent and begs a major response from the global community (sadly, many of these proposed responses have come in the form of geo-engineering — methods which are far less likely to succeed and far more likely to generate unforeseen and highly disruptive consequences than simple cessation of human fossil fuel emission and a transition to carbon-negative civilizations).

Mauna Loa Methane June 1 2015

(Mauna Loa methane measure through June 1, 2015 shows that lower Latitude regions are also starting to follow a ramping rate of increase. Image source: NOAA ESRL.)

All this controversy aside, what we observe now is the following:

  1. Arctic methane and CO2 overburden — proxy indication of environmental release.
  2. Increasing rates of release, indications of increasing release, or possibly increasing release from single sources such as thermokarst lakes, peat bogs, wildfires, and sea bed hydrates and submerged tundra.
  3. A multiplication of observed or discovered methane release sources — thermokarst lakes, methane blow holes, wildfires etc.
  4. A ramping rate of atmospheric methane accumulation at reporting stations throughout the Arctic (most but not all stations).
  5. A ramping rate of atmospheric methane accumulation from global proxy monitors like Mauna Loa and in the global atmospheric average.

Together, these observations represent a troubling trend that, should it continue, will be proceeding along or near a worst-case climate sensitivity track. As such, these new ramping rates of increase in Arctic atmospheric monitors are a very unfortunate indicator.

Links:

NOAA ESRL

NOAA OSPO

Arctic Methane Skyrocketing

Microbes in Thermokarst Lakes Increase Methane Generation with Warming

Arctic Sea Ice Melt, Methane Release Shows Amplifying Feedback to Human-Caused Climate Change

 

Leave a comment

143 Comments

  1. wili

     /  June 1, 2015

    Thanks for another important post. Sobering indeed. Have you compared the slope of the curves of the Arctic sites with those elsewhere so that we can rule out increased methane from fracking and tar sands, for example?

    Reply
    • wili

       /  June 1, 2015

      Or has there been any change in the methane’s isotope signature recently that you know of that would help suggest its source?

      Reply
      • wili

         /  June 1, 2015

        One more comment, then I’ll shut up for a while…maybe…
        Besides the comparison that the carbon in permafrost is twice the total currently in the atmosphere it is also equivalent to all the carbon in all life forms!!

        That will make it difficult to sequester in grasses and trees, much as I like that form of sequestration as opposed to more high-tech approaches. And it gives the lie to claims I’ve seen from some people who say that increased plant growth in the permafrost could absorb as much carbon as is being given of as it melts. Such surface growth, no matter how dense, can never match the mass of the continuous solid three dimensional mass of the permafrost, which in some places is about a mile thick.

        Reply
      • The isotope signature would be a trailing indicator. So we have to wait for that.

        Reply
      • The papers I’ve seen indicate that increased plant growth in the Arctic could draw down as much as 10-20 percent of the newly released carbon, under minor to moderate feedback scenarios. So that’s nowhere near the total amount released. In addition, we lose vegetation in other regions due to desertification at the mid latitudes and wasteland creation in the tropics. So added vegetation in the Arctic is just a part of a shuffled deck which includes somewhat less vegetation globally.

        Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  June 3, 2015

        Hi wili-

        Even more scary is that methane in the ESAS methane hydrates is about a hundred times as much methane as is in the atmosphere at the present time. Robert says 500 billion tons of carbon as methane in the shallow ESAS hydrates, which seems reasonable. Methane in the atmosphere right now is about 5 billion tons.

        Reply
    • The slopes are steepest in the Arctic for the most part. Barrow and Alert have the highest rates of increase (25 and 20 ppb over the last year respectively). These are somewhat close to the tar sands project. However, if they were the sources we’d expect a higher annual release and overburden at East Trout Lake in Southern Canada and Dahlen in North Dakota. But at those locations we find 5-10 ppb per annum increases.

      In addition, the general Arctic overburden is not indicative of fracking or tar sands being the primary methane driver in either case. Of course, we have a global human methane emission of rather large scale to consider. But the point sources at major fracking or tar sands sites do not show the spikes we see at more northerly locales, also an indicator of environmental sources for the spikes.

      Reply
      • wili

         /  June 1, 2015

        Thanks. Just needed some counterarguments from the lukewarmers that will inevitably arise when I bring this up, and I knew you’d have some (and I’m too damn lazy to get off my sorry @$$ and do the research myself!! ‘-)).

        Reply
    • Here are some links from ESRL to help:

      Dahlen near the Bakken: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/dv/iadv/graph.php?code=DND&program=ccgg&type=ts

      East Trout Lake smack in between the Bakken and the Tar Sands: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/dv/iadv/graph.php?code=ETL&program=ccgg&type=ts

      Reply
  2. james cole

     /  June 1, 2015

    The Arctic never fails to shock one at this point in time! On a different topic, the New York Times using 23 staff reporters produced a large article, on ” The Unrealized Horrors of Population Explosion.” The long and the short of it is that population growth presents no problems. And much worse. “Climate change, for instance, is only mentioned once in passing, as though it was just another trashy celebrity sighted at a “hot” new restaurant in the Meatpacking District. Also left out of the picture are the particulars of peak oil (laughed at regularly by the Times, which proclaimed the US “Saudi America” some time back), degradation of the ocean and the stock of creatures that live there, loss of forests, the political instability of whole regions that can’t support exploded populations, and the desperate migrations of people fleeing these desolate zones.”, James Kunstler.
    I have read reviews of the article, but will not read the New York Times article myself, as it seems clear it is another part of the Denial Media campaign. We will never make the needed changes, not while the most respected media in the USA can’t produce a factual article on population, energy, and global warming.
    This methane story alone should make a laughing stock out of the NYT’s 23 staff journalists!

    Reply
    • There does appear to be a meme ongoing that ‘population growth ain’t so bad.’ Well, unless we all go vegan and drastically shrink our individual resource footprints it’s pretty amazingly bad. Of course, when you have individuals among the wealthy consuming the resources of 100,000 to 1 million subsistence farmers each, then you really get into some insane resource constraints. But, yeah, taking the population part out completely and then just basically ignoring climate change is pretty amazingly stupid. I hope for peak oil, though. It forces the kinds of changes we already need to make. It’s for this reason that I consider “US as New Saudi Arabia” to be very bad news.

      Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  June 2, 2015

        I watched an interesting BBC program about population growth recently, presented by a statistician called Hans Rosling. He has some super tools for data visualisation.

        This the article associated with the program (from, which was called ‘Don’t Panic – The truth about global population’.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24835822

        The program is available on the BBC iPlayer in the UK, but I’m not sure if the rest of the world can see it.

        Here is the program description

        ‘Using state-of-the-art 3D graphics and the timing of a stand-up comedian, world-famous statistician Professor Hans Rosling presents a spectacular portrait of our rapidly changing world. With seven billion people already on our planet, we often look to the future with dread, but Rosling’s message is surprisingly upbeat. Almost unnoticed, we have actually begun to conquer the problems of rapid population growth and extreme poverty.

        Across the world, even in countries like Bangladesh, families of just two children are now the norm – meaning that within a few generations, the population explosion will be over. A smaller proportion of people now live in extreme poverty than ever before in human history and the United Nations has set a target of eradicating it altogether within a few decades. In this as-live studio event, Rosling presents a statistical tour-de-force, including his ‘ignorance survey’, which demonstrates how British university graduates would be outperformed by chimpanzees in a test of knowledge about developing countries.’

        Here is a relatively low tech TED talk from 2010 he gave on the same subject

        I’ve not really looked for criticisms of his views, because I find them very convincing, and because he is certainly not shying away from the importance of addressing Climate Change.

        Deniers preach despair over population growth, and having a positive response to that is quite useful for me.

        Reply
        • I like this approach. Population restraint is achievable and something that’s ongoing as a result of various global initiatives that do appear to be working over the long haul. It’s a critical invisible infrastructure. But it’s one that we should certainly protect.

          As for climate change — the renewables actually improve prospects for the poor as well. So in many cases, actively working to mitigate and prevent climate change is a poverty reduction strategy. The problem is that climate change itself is a poverty multiplier, so as weather, sea level rise and warming grow more extreme, risks for expanding poverty greatly increase. It’s really a huge challenge requiring major, forward looking responses.

      • Mblanc

         /  June 2, 2015

        Not that I’m defending the NYT article. It sounds like they might be taking the bits of an argument they like, and ignoring those inconvenient elements.

        Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  June 2, 2015

        Yeah, the poverty multiplier aspect is a real challenge, because if education and health care systems fall apart, then the trends Roslings graphics show could easily reverse, leading to bigger families, and even more population growth.

        But I hope the positive story is true. It seems that Africa is crucial to whether its 9.10 or 11 billion.

        Have a look at the population growth map in this recent article.

        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/germanys-birth-rate-lowest-in-the-world-according-to-study-10286525.html

        Reply
  3. Reblogged this on The Secular Jurist and commented:
    More very real doom-and-gloom news from one of America’s greatest climate writers. If we don’t heed the warnings now, we shall all pay a terrible price indeed.

    Reply
  4. Andy in San Diego

     /  June 1, 2015

    Does anyone know if there is data yet on correlation between methane release and temperature increase in terms of amount and time? I am curious as the temperature increase due to methane is a trailing indicator, what that lead time is, and what the concentration to temperature increase is.

    I am unsure if there is enough data to discern this yet.

    Reply
    • Andy — I don’t see too much in the way of direct attribution. But moderate feedback adds about +0.3 to +1 C this Century. A strong feedback could add half that in one decade.

      Reply
  5. Leif Knutsen

     /  June 1, 2015

    Greenhouse gas is all cumulative. Your question is equivalent to which came first, the chicken or the egg.

    This is what the driver is:

    Capitalism, unrestrained by the requirements of Planetary life support systems, is guaranteed mutually assured destruction. Socially enabled capitalism is clearly a failed paradigm. Help end tax funded pollution of the commons for starters.

    We’re the first generation to feel the impacts of climate disruption, and the last generation that can do something about it. A steep learning curve for sure but most are not even trying.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Leif K.
      But I isn’t consumerism really really the main driver.
      It seems to me that the pursuit of consumer ‘happiness’ consumes and burns resources to a greater degree than just a ‘capitalist’ economic system.
      Then the symbiosis: in communist China with its fossil fuel rampage to consume, or supply, the rest of the capitalist/corporate/consumer world with consumables. (I know, long windedness that I loathe.)
      I guess my point is that if capitalism is mentioned then consumerism should be too. Consumer capitalism?
      Food for thought.
      DT

      Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  June 2, 2015

        ‘The markets make a good servant but a bad master, and a worse religion’

        Amory Lovins is attributed with this, but I think he might have nicked from somewhere else.

        I definitely think the kind of capitalism we currently have is unsustainable, and maybe Naomi Klein is right when she says, it is the Climate vs Capitalism.

        I’m not sure I care too much how we clean up our act, as long as we do it ASAP.

        Reply
  6. Colorado Bob

     /  June 1, 2015

    May 2015 Was One of the Warmest Mays on Record in Several Northeast Cities, Including Washington, D.C.

    Among the cities that saw a record warm May was Washington, D.C., where the average temperature for the month was 73.2 degrees. This beat the old record of 73 degrees from 1991. Records in our nation’s capital date back to 1872.

    The official reporting station for the Hartford, Connecticut, area at Bradley airport also recorded its warmest May dating back to 1905. Its previous record was in 1991.

    Burlington, Vermont; Concord, New Hampshire; and Rochester, New York, also recorded their warmest May in weather records dating back more than 100 years. In all three locations, the previous record was from 1911.

    Link

    Reply
    • Hot month globally too. Looks like it will settle between +0.7 and +0.8 again. Very hot finish.

      Reply
    • kevin jones

       /  June 1, 2015

      86F yesterday 40 miles SW of Concord, NH. 49F for high today. Kind of like compressing a
      interglacial/glacial cycle of 100,000 years into 24 hours….Oh, and speaking of human numbers I’ve been doing a little math: Human breath exhalation = 40,000-53,000 ppm CO2. 1 kilogram CO2 per person per day. At current human population with 50% of airborne fraction (or so) remaining constant, simply human breath would equal 17.2 ppm atm. CO2 in a century. Time for me to gain an appreciation for sci-fi. I beg the numerically literate to show me my order or two magnitude error!

      Reply
      • kevin jones

         /  June 1, 2015

        …oh, and getting from current 400ppm atm. CO2 to 350 per Hansen’s suggestion requires the removal of 106Gtons C from the air. 14 tons C per man, woman, child on Earth, while just by breathing we emit .365 metric ton C /year/person.. (this does NOT include livestock, fodder for them, coal oil gas or biomass……etc.)

        Reply
      • Kevin, you’re a great guy, and someone whose contributions really, really matter. But I’ve got to cut against the grain on this one. Part of the reason is that this line of inquiry has tended to be used by climate misinformers to various effect. My view is that humans have impact in so many other ways through large populations, especially when one considers the impact of the most affluent.

        Human exhalation is a paltry contributor to global ghg and fits well into a carbon cycle that includes green and growing things. Climate change deniers have claimed that CO2 from human breath is something to be concerned about while ignoring the orders of magnitude larger fossil fuel burning emission (about x500 greater from all ghg).

        However, if one were to be concerned about respiration and rumination, you might first look at the 23 billion livestock animals living on this planet before looking at the human population as the ghg emission of CO2 and methane from these sources are in the range of x100 the GWP of human breathing.

        From a sustainability standpoint, human breath is a non-concern with regards to resource use and of miniscule impact to climate. Anthony Watts and Steve Goddard have, unfortunately, hyped the issue as a kind of smoke-screen to the primary problem that is human fossil fuel burning. But their opinions are about as useful to the sustainability discussion as that of your average oil company CEO or Heartland Foundation booster.

        As such, we’ve fallen victim here to the politicization of an honest line of questioning…

        Reply
      • danabanana

         /  June 2, 2015

        Fizzy drinks CO2 1 gr per litre. Try work out how much that is globally?😉

        Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  June 3, 2015

        Hi Kevin-

        As Robert points out, CO2 in human exhalations is part of the natural carbon cycle, mostly. The carbon in our breath comes from food, which comes from plants or from animals that eat the plants. So the ultimate source of carbon in the CO2 we exhale is the atmosphere.

        From the atmosphere it came, back into the atmosphere it goes, for a net effect close to zero.

        But delivering and producing that food using fossil fuels does take this naturally carbon neutral activity (breathing) and turn it into a carbon positive one, due to the fossil fuels used to produce the food we eat, these days.

        Reply
    • We’ve been seeing wild temperature swings in recent years here in Ct, and the Northeast in general (and globally). Feb was our coldest month in history here in Ct. Our March was about 4 degrees below average, then April was roughly 7 degrees above average, followed by our hottest May ever. Continuously breaking all sorts of records that go far back in history. Sadly, nobody has a freaking clue. It’s ignored generally, until the weather gets so bad that it can’t be ignored…then people make comments about how crazy the weather is, without ever connecting the dots or looking at the bigger picture. It’s so frustrating!

      Reply
    • Jeremy

       /  June 2, 2015

      Meanwhile in the UK May 2015 has been colder and wetter on average – a result of the cold water off southern Greenland and a wandering jet stream. Personally just hope we have a summer and not a continuous autumn.

      Reply
  7. utoutback

     /  June 1, 2015

    I’ve said this before, but…
    The “green revolution” of the 1950 – 60s combined the use of mechanized mono-crop food production supported by chemical fertilizers and poisons to kill off insects and weeds to stave off a growing global food crisis. Humanity breathed a collective sigh of relief and went back to business as usual, reproducing and consuming.
    Of course population growth is not a problem if you don’t mind an infestation with a general degradation of the planetary environment; and a few unforeseen outcomes, such as increased rates of diseases related to organo-phosphates in the environment and global climate change.
    It’s like we as a species are the child who is told by their parent not to touch the HOT stove, but just can’t help but test that hypothesis and then wonder why we are burned.
    I gave up my digital subscription to the NYT over 2 years ago and have missed a beat.

    It’s not the things we know, or the things we know we don’t know that will get us. It’s the things we don’t know that we don’t know…..

    Reply
    • utoutback

       /  June 1, 2015

      That NYT statment should read “haven’t missed a beat. Darn, I even proof read that one.

      Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  June 2, 2015

        I always make at least one typo per post, just to put everyone at their ease.

        At least that’s what I tell myself!

        Its good to see ‘the knowns, the known unknowns, and the unknown unknowns’ making an appearance.

        Dick Cheney nicked it from a guy called Nassem Taleb, I think.

        Reply
      • Mblanc, “‘the knowns, the known unknowns, and the unknown unknowns’ is all former US Secy of Defense Dan Rumsfield:

        “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.”
        -wikipedia

        Shakespeare could have done quite a pointed soliloquy with that one.

        Reply
        • To know or not to know, that is the question, to believe what the eyes see and the ears hear, or to doubt the illusion of the real, to bear witness to facts or to realize that what the senses reveal may be false. I have lied and said the truth, I have spoken and yet the words rang hollow…

          Something like that😉

    • Mblanc

       /  June 3, 2015

      Oops, yes, Rumsfeld not Cheney, my mistake.

      Cheney got it from Nassim Taleb.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There_are_known_knowns

      I read his book Black Swan, but his use of language made the whole experience deeply disappointing. Why use 3 long and unusual words, when one short one will do! It took me an age to read it, and it became a matter of principle to finish it, with my thesaurus at my side.

      Reply
  8. Thanks, Robert, for the very thorough post. You’re a wizard.

    Methane release and buildup at the top of the world, as Earth’s surface warms, gives some new meaning to ‘global’ warming. This orb of life of ours is warming as we burn FF.

    The near future promises to full of ‘surprises’ for all as so many of our bio, and eco, systems have been compromised by our increasing FF emissions.
    The first half of 2015 has already seen a great deal of ramping up of weather/climate breakdowns and calamities.

    Be sure the media, US Congress, and US Chamber of Commerce will see that most of the citizenry be swathed in ignorance.

    Thanks to all here for keeping us educated and caring about that which really matters.

    ###
    OUT

    Reply
  9. kevin jones

     /  June 1, 2015

    DMI temps for 80N to N Pole area now averaging above base for first time in a time….http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

    Reply
  10. Colorado Bob

     /  June 1, 2015

    Record-breaking May rainfall in Texas and Oklahoma, by the numbers

    The wettest May on record for Texas and Oklahoma has come to a close as the states continue to fight the floods. The final tallies from the month-long deluge are as extreme as they are improbable, topping previous rainfall records by absurd amounts.

    The final rainfall totals and the records they broke were enormous.

    A few exceptional records set across Texas include:

    Statewide — Wettest month on record (8.81 inches)
    Dallas-Forth Worth — Wettest May on record (16.96 inches)
    Dallas Fort-Worth — Second wettest spring (March-May, 25.05 inches)
    Wichita Falls — Wettest month on record (17 inches)
    Childress — Wettest month on record (13.21 inches)

    May rainfall totals of 15 to 20 inches are widespread across Texas. According to the office of the Texas state climatologist, the month of May is now the wettest on record for Texas, having received an average of 8.81 inches statewide. The rest of the top 5 records are all within less than a ¼-inch of each other, with May 2015 blowing away the previous record by over two inches.

    Link

    Reply
  11. Colorado Bob

     /  June 1, 2015

    Study: Global warming risks changes to ocean life unprecedented in the last 3 million years

    Continued warming of the Earth’s oceans over the next century could trigger disruptions to marine life on a scale not seen in the last 3 million years, scientists warn in a study released Monday.

    The changes could include extinctions of some of the ocean’s keystone species as well as a widespread influx of “invasive” animals and plants that migrate to new territory because of changing environmental conditions, the report says.

    But the most dramatic disruptions would likely be averted if the world’s nations can bring greenhouse gas emissions under control in the coming decades, the authors write in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change.

    Link

    Reply
  12. Anne

     /  June 1, 2015

    Another great post, thank you!
    A minor point: “Finally, a group of very concerned observational scientists like Natalia Shakhova, Igor Simeletov and Peter Wadhams have warned that a large-scale methane release is likely eminent” – “imminent”, not “eminent”?

    Reply
  13. kevin jones

     /  June 1, 2015

    WTF, Colorado Bob? Texas has a state climatologist? NH does. Do all 50? What would their job be? Why haven’t they done it?

    Reply
  14. Colorado Bob

     /  June 1, 2015

    South America Winter Outlook: Needed Rain Returns to Chile; No Drought Relief in Store for Northern Brazil

    http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/south-america-winter-weather-forecast-2015-rain-for-chile-drought/47982674

    Reply
  15. kevin jones

     /  June 1, 2015

    Whoa, Robert. I was merely attempting to broaden the perspective of our collective paradox. I have long been and will remain deeply concerned about the future of all life…. all species. My math above was a response to a comment James Lovelock made regarding the amount of CO2 humans were emitting just to get that 1500 mile salad and that 3000 mile steak. Let’s keep this brilliant space open to sincere inquiry, please.

    Reply
    • kevin jones

       /  June 1, 2015

      Ha!, Robert. We’re playing ‘phone tag’, Just went back and saw your revised critique, We have no problem, (‘cept for the sometimes poor framing of my thoughts.) Yours Truly, Kev

      Reply
      • No poor framing at all.

        It’s an interesting thought experiment. The problem is that free thinking in this case has been turned into a card trick by some of the more cynically minded.

        This is what happens when you have a special interest group angling in on legitimate climate research and trying to discredit it. Free thinking people like you and I can unintentionally get roped into a politicized message set without realizing it.

        But, in general, the give and take of respiration from living forms across the planet is not the center of gravity of the larger problem of global warming. It’s the impact of this accumulated old, once sequestered, carbon in the atmosphere and the resulting changes to the Earth System that does the real damage. In this case, all sources of CO2 aren’t really equal. The balance gets messed up when you dig stuff up out of the ground and burn or heat it.

        On the other hand, IF population numbers do get really, really out of hand, then that respiration has a greater impact. Over large time-scales, a x10 current human population might have a pretty bad impact. As noted above, the 23 billion livestock are already a serious sustainability problem when it comes to rumination, primarily.

        In any case, being sensitive and alert to misinformation can be a bit of a two-edged sword as it can sometimes inhibit a fair discourse. I try to maintain a good balance in this regard. But there’s so much that’s charged, that it can be tough sometimes. I really value your discussion, so I hope I wasn’t unfair in any regard.

        Reply
      • kevin jones

         /  June 1, 2015

        Apologies to all my dear friends. My comments today were born of having a bad one. “Our job is to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is.” so said Bernard Vonnegut, an early climate scientist, to his younger brother, the WWII German American POW survivor of the Allied fire-bombing of Dresden.

        Reply
  16. kevin jones

     /  June 1, 2015

    Very kind of you, Robert. This story we find ourselves conscious of and involved in….this The Anthropocene, can wear a good soul down. We would not be human if it did not reach us too much now and again. I’m feeling better now in no small part due to knowing I am not alone in this wilderness. And that is largely due to your offerings and those of the commenters here, I thank you all for it. Peace.

    Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  June 1, 2015

      Best wishes Kevin. I’ll email you soon regarding a walk in the woods (with mosquitoes and black flies, but eh). Mark

      Reply
      • My wife and I went to Point Lookout to camp this past weekend — complete with Mosquitos, spiders, and ticks. It’s plain to see that all the land there is about to be swallowed up by the Chesapeake Bay. Historical landmarks like Fort Lincoln and an old prison for Confederate soldiers are 1/5 to 1/2 underwater already. Old lakes are now inlets. Old rivers are now bays. The footprint of an old hospital is 40 percent covered by water and the only reason much of the remaining land is there is due to a recent addition of rock barriers. A nature center, now just three feet above sea level, could be gone in a decade or two or three.

        My wife asks me not to think about climate when we go on these outings. And I try not to. But it’s all just there. Vast geophysical forces at work, its fingerprints already all over the lands and the waters.

        I probably make a bad hiking companion…

        Reply
      • Andy in San Diego

         /  June 2, 2015

        We sued to camp at Point Lookout around 1992. I’m pretty certain it’s changed some since then. However the August humidity & mosquitoes are probably still there….

        Reply
        • Sued?

          Well the bayside beach is basically gone. The water just hits the rocks in most places. Rock barricades required to preserve the lighthouse. The Navy radar/antenna station is at midway up the point now rather than at the lighthouse.

          We ate at Courtney’s, a local fisherman’s restaurant. It’s within 2 feet of water level at high tide. A local marina nearby is about the same. Sandy hit the place pretty hard apparently.

      • Andy in San Diego

         /  June 2, 2015

        sued = used ….. (typo)

        Reply
      • I know the feeling, Robert:
        “My wife asks me not to think about climate when we go on these outings. And I try not to. But it’s all just there… I probably make a bad hiking companion…”

        The same for me. My wife thought I was just trying to “ruin” her day/walk when I pointed out the air pollution soot that was now in places, or upwind from, locations that were previously clean. She was going through a female “change of life” at the time but feelings of awkwardness and distance often prevailed.
        And I did know that I was only observing that which was actual, and important.

        I guess the sighted “see” whether they want to or not.
        The vigilant speak up because they have to — some sort of moral imperative, I suppose.

        DT

        Reply
        • Yeah. Making connections like that can be both a blessing and a handicap. I try to point out the beautiful things I notice as well.

    • This particular issue is one I personally have a great deal of trouble with as well. It’s tough setting emotions aside when looking at the thing as is, which makes it very challenging as a topic for research and writing. The more troubling the issue, the more I find myself disengaging and just dealing with facts as is, risks, as they emerge or increase.

      But, yes, a bad day when it comes to tracking the methane monster. The footprint is there and growing larger, if not yet completely clear in definition. I really hope we do fully respond soon. If we go the way of Austalia and Canada, we’re pretty much looking at the worst case or near worst case.

      Reply
    • Mblanc

       /  June 2, 2015

      If we didn’t have some dark days, give the current perilous state of affairs, we wouldn’t be human, and I for one knew about methane from animals being a big factor, but I hadn’t really considered the human contribution.

      Apart from one or two unsavoury confined situations, which I won’t detail here!

      Reply
  17. kevin jones

     /  June 1, 2015

    A small part of the small hope we all need could come from the MSM growing up and beginning to tell the truth: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/whats-behind-the-floods-in-texas-and-heat-in-india/

    Reply
    • rustj2015

       /  June 1, 2015

      Heya, Kevin,
      Here’s a good idea from Michael Parenti:
      “In any case, fighting against the current is always preferable to being swept away by it.”
      and Guy McPherson:
      “Find your tribe. Spend time with those you love. Love the ones you’re with.”
      and this site is created and curated by Gail Z. (witsendnj, with recent link to a short bio of Albert Camus) who is quite sensitive to the appalling conditions we are in and the worse ones oncoming. It’s not simply a doomful site:
      http://doomfordummies.blogspot.com/
      Keep on keepin’ on…

      Reply
    • Good to see CBS covering The Rutgers paper. Would like to see more of this.

      Reply
      • I saw the CBS Evening news last night, as they covered the paper. It was refreshing to see it gain traction, but the segment ended with a reassuring,”the weather (jet-stream) appears to have become unstuck for now…). They also pointed out how global weather had been extreme during May, which should have been a statement about global weather becoming extreme in about 2007. I mean, seriously!? The mainstream news has a story about record breaking weather pretty much every night, and have been doing so for some time. Does everyone have collective amnesia, or just completely ignorant? How the hell do you disregard the thousands of stories about crazy weather (fires, floods, droughts, storms, heat waves, etc) that you’ve covered in the past decade, then make the claim that last month global weather turned extreme!?

        Reply
        • That’s absolutely true. They tend not to point out the larger trend, again separating event from context. It really is a form of subtle denial. I wonder if it’s conscious or not.

  18. Andy in San Diego

     /  June 2, 2015

    33 Active fires in the Northwest Territories. 9 Fires that have run their course (out or put out). That gives us a total of 42 fires so far in 2015.

    http://www.nwtfire.com/nwt-fire-map

    Reply
  19. Colorado Bob

     /  June 2, 2015

    kevin jones –
    I’m surprised the biggest story in the history of man, “The collapse of Nature”, get’s you down . Cheer-up ! There are quarterly profits to made ! If we just saw down the last stand of orangutang jungle surely happiness will be ours.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 2, 2015

      To make sarcasm travel on the web it must be really BIG.

      kevin jones –

      You’re not the “Lone Ranger”, all of this is like sitting at the bed side of dying love one. Having done that 3 times , it’s good metaphor.

      That’s why post old U-tube clips.

      Reply
    • Oh, I think the quarterly profit Devils have are in a good fight with climate change for ‘what gets you down.’😉

      Reply
  20. Colorado Bob

     /  June 2, 2015

    Great article –

    Ocean Acidification, Global Warming’s ‘Evil Twin’

    On a bitterly cold February morning in 1972, a young graduate student at Texas A&M University boarded the research vessel Alaminos in Galveston, Texas, and headed out into the Gulf of Mexico. It was Richard Feely’s first time at sea. It was also the first time the 25-year-old Minnesota native had set eyes on the ocean.

    “I was filled with wonder about how vast and pristine the ocean was,” Feely recalls. “I was amazed to find out how quickly I couldn’t see land and how big the waves could really get.”

    They got even bigger when the expedition hit a particularly rough patch of weather. The 108-foot long ship pitched and rolled so much that Feely, racked by sea-sickness, vowed he would never go to sea again.

    Link

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 2, 2015

      In a 2004 cover article for Science, Feely and his co-authors for the first time presented an overview of the impact this massive influx of CO2 is having on the ocean. Feely sums up the most important change simply: “We are lowering the pH of the ocean, and we’re doing it extremely rapidly” (The lower the pH, the greater the acidity).

      Changes in ocean acidity occur naturally over time, but the pace of change is happening as much as 100 times faster than at any time in the last 800,000 years.

      Since humans first began burning fossil fuels on a large scale, the ocean has increased its acidity by 30 percent. To put that into perspective, imagine biting into an apple and discovering it’s as acidic as vinegar. Worse, says Feely, the trend has been accelerating as more and more CO2 is emitted.

      “If we continue on the same trajectory,” he cautions, “by the end of this century we will see a 100-to-150 percent increase in the acidity of the ocean.”

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  June 2, 2015

        The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – i wished i lived in the golden age

        Reply
      • I find one of the most annoying talking points that deniers regurgitate is the “oceans can’t become more acidic because they’re not acid” meme. That’s like saying I can’t drive slower because I’m driving fast. It’s annoying and troubling to witness how completely idiotic so many grown human beings can be. Sadly, it’s the pervasive ignorance and apathy of the collective population (and those in charge of major institutions) that makes me think we really have no chance of doing what needs to be done to save ourselves.

        Reply
  21. Great piece as always. With the El Nino and potential sequestered heat from the Pacific being released into the atmosphere, one would imagine that’s a very bad stressor for the Arctic. Looks like the remains of the two E. Pac El Nino-enhanced hurricanes may be over the US with lots and lots of rain in 10 days per the GFS too. Unrelated question–can you recommend any good reads on abrupt climate events in paleo history? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 2, 2015

      Unrelated question–can you recommend any good reads on abrupt climate events in paleo history? Thanks!

      Richard Alley ……. The Younger Dryes.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  June 2, 2015

        Richard Alley has shown the end of the Younger Dryes rose 11F degrees in 10 years. From Greenland ice cores. Nothing in paleo history comes close to the Younger Dryes.
        And in Earth time it’s a blink of an eye. Start to finish. about 100 years, Huge sand deposits in Texas, and Maryland. This event taxed everything on Earth. And our world is really close to that world . That makes the Younger Dryes your focus of understanding.
        When the Younger Dryes ended modern framing was born,

        Reply
      • BBD

         /  June 2, 2015

        Colorado Bob

        can you recommend any good reads on abrupt climate events in paleo history? Thanks!

        Try Alley’s own book The Two Mile Time Machine for a good overview of the last glacial from the perspective of the Greenland cores.

        The Younger Dryas seems to have been a response to freshwater (meltwater) flux into the N. Atlantic at high latitude, probably from the abrupt drainage of proglacial Lake Agassiz. The flux was sufficient to halt the formation of N. Atlantic deep water which stopped the AMOC. This event turned off the NH ‘heat sink’ by halting ocean transport of heat poleward from the equator. When the overturning circulation eventually re-started, there was an abrupt return to deglacial climate, hence the astonishingly rapid warming.

        This event taxed everything on Earth.

        While it’s true that the YD was strongly expressed in NH cooling, there was hemispheric antiphase with the SH which appeared to become warmer and wetter <a href="(Shakun & Carson 2010). This is what you would expect if the AMOC shuts down – the SH oceans would warm to compensate for the loss of polar heat transport in the NH.

        Reply
      • BBD

         /  June 2, 2015

        Bad link, sorry. This is okay:

        Shakun & Carlson (2010)

        Reply
      • BBD

         /  June 2, 2015

        robertscribbler

        No worries. Too many nutters about to leave the door open 24/7😉

        BTW, that should be Shakun & Carlson.

        Great start😦

        Reply
    • Jeremy

       /  June 2, 2015

      While it maybe difficult to obtain a copy now, for a overview of climate affects in history and from a historical perspective a view on climate change thinking 35 years ago “Climate History and the modern world” by H.H.Lamb. Lamb was a pioneer in linking climate change to historical events, linking orbital changes, volcanoes and human induced changes. CO2 was introduced as a cause but from the discussion it can be seen how uncertain the science was at this time, how little we knew for certain but CO2 was recognised as a major source of future change (although he seemed to think that change was longer term than currently accepted.
      This book also explains why the public and policy makers have been confused by different explanations acting on different timescales. This was 1982. So bear this in mind when we wonder why a large part of the (older) population has found it difficult to accept climate change caused by CO2 or accept the urgency of the change needed.

      Reply
  22. Colorado Bob

     /  June 2, 2015

    The going Hell beer version –

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 2, 2015

      No one ever when to party as good as that, But it still hangs in our imagination. .

      Reply
  23. Robert sometimes I think without your interpretations we wouldn’t know what the hell was going on. Just on this;
    “In the land-based permafrost alone, this store is in the range of 1.3 billion tons — or nearly double the volume in the atmosphere right now. Arctic Ocean methane hydrates in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf add another 500 billion tons. ”
    Obviously this is laid down in layers, and will take considerable time to be released. Do you have any figures for how deep and how quickly it is thawing. It would seem that provided everything is nice and gradual it will be offset to some degree.
    But if it overwhelms the sequestration abilities of the changing biome up there, we are in for it. I normally like to look for negative feedbacks, I am a hopium kind of guy. I fear though that in the “short” term it will be the case that there is simply too much. I don’t doubt the ability of nature to sequester the carbon, I believe that the estimates are that the Azolla event pulled down +2000ppm.
    For that to happen now though is a little tricky. We have this habit of paving over the prime land and killing off the forests.

    Reply
  24. So what is the most likely scenario for perma methane release on global temps for 2025 and 2050… and what is the worst case scenario?

    Reply
    • We don’t have comprehensive studies on methane release in this timeframe. Most range from 2100 to 2300. The most likely scenario is for Arctic permafrost carbon release in the range of 50 to 150 gt by 2100 (much of it CO2). The worst case is an Arctic methane release in the range of 500 mt to 5 gt per year from combined terrestrial and ocean stores (possibly occurring in major spikes). The consensus at this time is that such events are low likelihood, but some observational specialists continue to cut against that grain.

      Reply
      • Bryant

         /  June 2, 2015

        So Robert, it sounds that methane release is concerning at the moment, but the overall future picture is uncertain?

        Reply
        • Yes.

          What we don’t want to see is exponential curves showing up in the atmospheric increase rates. The curves look ugly at the moment, hence the alert.

          If these are just bumps that round out, then we can breathe a bit of a sigh of relief. If the trend continues then that’s a worst case climate sensitivity progression (perhaps not worst case methane, but bad in any regard).

          Trend setting is not a highly accurate method for prediction, so uncertainty is high. However, with warming progressing as it is in the Arctic, with a multiplication of point source evidence of an increasing feedback, this is a key indication, especially since we know so little about how to forecast this stuff right now.

          Very concerning, highly uncertain.

      • Leland Palmer

         /  June 3, 2015

        What’s looking bad, I think, are the number of indicators that all are consistent with a worst case or near worst case scenario. Looking at these myself, I get the feeling that what we are seeing is a near perfect correspondence between theory and reality – between predictions and fact. The methane catastrophe scenario makes these predictions, and they appear to be coming true.

        When your hypotheses start making good predictions, it’s time to pay attention to them, and it likely means that the hypothesis is correct.

        It’s looking really bad. I get a feeling almost like deja vu – these are the processes that likely led to past extinction events, only likely they are being played out over a compressed time scale.

        The totally non-random and unnaturally accelerated nature of fossil fuel emissions may in fact trigger the mother of all methane catastrophes. We are coming out of a series of ice ages, so methane hydrate inventories should be high. I fear that we will totally dissociate the hydrates this time – something that may have never occurred before, even during the End Permian. I fear that global methane hydrate inventories may be 40 trillion tons of carbon or even more. I’m afraid that we might have a full blown methane catastrophe occurring in the Arctic, at such an accelerated rate that the Antarctic remains relatively unaffected – so fast that global sea level rise is not able to help stabilize the hydrates.

        I’m afraid that the oceanic and atmospheric chemistry effects of methane release will soon start to become very apparent. In the atmosphere, methane emissions will start to overwhelm the hydroxyl radical oxidation mechanism of the atmosphere, leading to longer methane lifetimes and greater methane potency. Strange atmospheric chemistry effects will occur, multiplying the effect of the methane, including increased tropospheric ozone and increased stratospheric water vapor. In the oceans, methane will be oxidized into CO2, adding to increased ocean acidification and anoxia. Basin scale overwhelming of the ability of ocean basins to oxidize methane will occur, leading to more methane escaping directly into the atmosphere.

        As temperatures increase, water vapor concentrations will increase, and water vapor is the strongest greenhouse gas with a very complicated absorption spectrum. I can visualize the water vapor infrared spectrum rising almost like a curtain, leading to a greater and greater greenhouse effect. And the sun is hotter now, by 2-3%, relative to the End Permian – an effect Hansen says is equivalent to about 1000 ppm of CO2.

        Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  June 4, 2015

        Atmospheric chemistry effects of methane release:

        Isaksen et al:.2011

        Strong atmospheric chemistry feedback to climate warming from Arctic methane emissions

        “Here we apply a “state of the art” atmospheric chemistry transport model to show that large emissions of CH4 would likely have an unexpectedly large impact on the chemical composition of the atmosphere and on radiative forcing (RF). The indirect contribution to RF of additional methane emission is particularly important. It is shown that if global methane emissions were to increase by factors of 2.5 and 5.2 above current emissions, the indirect contributions to RF would be about 250% and 400%, respectively, of the RF that can be attributed to directly emitted methane alone. Assuming several hypothetical scenarios of CH4 release associated with permafrost thaw, shallow marine hydrate degassing, and submarine landslides, we find a strong positive feedback on RF through atmospheric chemistry. In particular, the impact of CH4 is enhanced through increase of its lifetime, and of atmospheric abundances of ozone, stratospheric water vapor, and CO2 as a result of atmospheric chemical processes.”

        http://folk.uio.no/gunnarmy/paper/isaksen_gbc_2011.pdf

        Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  June 4, 2015

        Oceanic chemistry effects of methane release:

        Check out slides 20 -22, showing the results of their modeling 30 years into their very conservative methane release from the hydrates scenario. Slide 22 has a note – “60% methane release to the atmosphere”.

        All of this is based on 1-D models integrated over the areas of the methane hydrate deposits. What would a more realistic 3-D model show? What would a model complete with hydrate chimneys and gas driven pumping of sea water through the hydrates show?

        http://climatemodeling.science.energy.gov/f/2011/Day-1/Land-Modeling/Reagan.pdf

        Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 2, 2015

      The Russian study on CH4 blow outs –

      Page 68 :

      No. 04 [v. 07]
      2014
      GEOGRAPHY
      ENVIRONMENT
      SUSTAINABILITY
      RUSSIAN GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY

      http://www.rgo.ru/sites/default/files/gi214_sverka.pdf

      Everyone here go read this. These are people who when into these holes and took readings last fall.

      Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  June 3, 2015

        Thanks, Bob.

        Very interesting. They leave open the possibility that other Yamal lakes could be caused by blowouts, but they don’t say how many of the circular Yamal lakes are likely caused by blowouts.

        If most, or even all of the Yamal circular lakes are caused by the sort of blowout plus progressive enlargement via subsidence processes they are describing, these blowouts could become very common, I think, and be a significant source of atmospheric methane.

        Reply
  25. Colorado Bob

     /  June 2, 2015

    The Earth can be seen as an alligator nest. If it’s eggs are near the sweet spot Half are male , and half are female. Just 3 F degrees changes everything,

    Reply
  26. Colorado Bob

     /  June 2, 2015

    Nature is not a punching bag , it is fine watch,

    Reply
  27. Burgundy

     /  June 2, 2015

    Pieces of the puzzle seem to falling into place. The Medieval Warm Period was followed by the Little Ice Age. So I assumed there was a probability that Europe may well cool this time too (albeit temporarily due to continued climatic forcing). And as the Arctic cold seems to have taken refuge over Greenland, Europe does indeed seem to be cooling. I’m beginning to wonder whether the Atlantic cool patch south of Greenland will also affect the Gulf Stream and further amplify this localised cooling. Anyone seen any discussions along these lines?

    Reply
  28. danabanana

     /  June 2, 2015

    Still no update since 21/05/2015 on the AIM data but intense NLCs are being spotted creeping to lower latitudes.
    http://www.spaceweather.com/

    Reply
  29. Another great article, Robert. This is a very important topic, one that too often gets dismissed as hyperbole. You provide a clear, rational and balanced perspective. I find this subject is often dealt with in two ways- it is dismissed or ignored, and at the other end of the spectrum there are those who claim humans will be extinct in a few years. You have provided (and continue to provide) an unadulterated summary of where real time observations now stand. While it may not be a near term human extinction, it is very troubling news.

    Reply
    • Ryan, bless you.

      If the seas are getting really rough and conditions are rapidly worsening and everyone is trying to figure out whether or not to leave port you don’t say — ‘The ship will sink!’ and you don’t say ‘The ship won’t sink!.’ At least you don’t say that if you’re trying to make an honest assessment.

      You instead say — ‘there’s an increasing risk the ship may sustain damage, take on water, lose some of the crew, or possibly sink. Due to these risks, the best option is to stay in port.’

      Reply
  30. What’s the worst case scenario? That these increases going exponential become hockey-stick graphs (slope of graph steepens dramatically, and quickly). In such a case, what is the worst-case scenario for humanity? NTHE.

    Is it really going to take peak oil and/or the collapse of the global economy, utterly, to save us from our own selves?????

    Reply
    • Peak oil would be a very good outcome for the global economy. The fossil fuels are all now major malinvestments at this time. Australia is about to learn that the hard way.

      Reply
      • Indeed, Robert. Especially so, with the cheaper oil deposits being depleted and the more expensive ones, more expensive in energy spent as well as money, must be exploited to provide a continuing flow of petroleum. But the global market price presently does not afford any ROI for the extraction from these deposits — especially with fracking.

        Reply
        • This is why I see the global oil industry as living out its last days. Hedge fund bubble supports the fracking industry, with a huge number of investors basically being robbed blind at this point. The dumb money is following oil at this time.

      • Leland Palmer

         /  June 3, 2015

        Unfortunately, peak oil will come much too late to save us, I think.

        There are all those tar sands, and immense shale oil deposits – an entire resource pyramid of dirty, high greenhouse gas producing heavy petroleum. And underneath the Arctic sea ice, likely lots of new undiscovered crude oil and gas deposits.

        We have to somehow force the oil corporations to stop extracting petroleum before it runs out, perhaps with a high price on carbon, or by assessing fossil fuel corporations climate damages.

        Reply
        • The filthy dirty unconventional oil sources you quoted also need high oil prices to obtain a $RO$I, even though they are positive EROEI. A good financial crisis coming out of the recent fracking bubble may put the schnitz on those carbon-rich fuels.

      • Leland Palmer

         /  June 4, 2015

        Hi Ed-M

        Oh, I hope so. I also hope that environmental regulations and the inhospitable Arctic environment make drilling in the Arctic too expensive to compete with wind and solar.

        Unfortunately, so far, it has been cheaper to dig concentrated fossil solar energy in the form of fossil fuels out of the ground than it has been to harvest diffuse solar energy in real time.

        Reply
  31. Bryant

     /  June 2, 2015

    I just read your reply, Robert. While I agree with you that’s it’s a sign of a significant feedback, I don’t think that necessarily puts on a worst-case track. Looking at the atmospheric trends from Mauna Loa and those from Barrow and Greenland, there does not seem to be too big a jump from current trends. Indeed, more in line with them.

    Reply
  32. Leland Palmer

     /  June 3, 2015

    Thank you, Robert. Great post, as always.

    The Arctic is undergoing both heat waves and high methane concentrations.

    What is your take on the question of whether this is a direct effect on radiative forcing or an indirect effect via destabilization of the jet stream and albedo change?

    Certainly, it’s likely a combination of all of them, but in what proportion, I wonder?

    If we’re already getting these heat waves as a direct result of increased Arctic methane emissions and their impact on radiative forcing, at this early stage, that’s not good news. But, none of the news is good, these days, I think.

    Reply
  33. Hello Robert.
    I wrote an article on this same topic because Sam Carana wrote 1 up and Paul Beckwith made a video on this :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2ckkxEnWpA which I uploaded to my channel and made French subtitles for it.
    So… I just wanted to post you a link to Paul’s video. You might want to register to his channel and have a look at the other ones there in case you don’t know about Paul and his work.

    Have a nice day and keep up the great work
    Jack

    Reply
  34. Reblogged this on mtnwolf63 and commented:
    Arctic Methane Alert — Ramp-Up at Numerous Reporting Stations Shows Signature of an Amplifying Feedback
    https://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/2015/06/01/arctic-methane-alert-ramp-up-at-numerous-reporting-stations-shows-signature-of-an-amplifying-feedback

    Reply
  1. #Arctic #Methane Alert -- Ramp-Up at Numerous R...
  2. Arctic Methane Alert — Ramp-Up at Numerous Reporting Stations Shows Signature of an Amplifying Feedback | mtnwolf63

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