Wednesday, January 8, 2014

High Methane Levels over Arctic Ocean continue in 2014

The high methane levels over the Arctic Ocean, the biggest story of 2013, continue in 2014, as illustrated by the image below.

As above image shows, high methane readings (as high as 2301 ppb on January 6, 2014) continue in 2014. High methane concentrations continue to enter the atmosphere where the sea ice is thin and where the sea ice is carried by currents outside of the Arctic Ocean.

The inset shows ice thickness on January 6, 2014. The inset highlights the huge amounts of sea ice that are carried by the sea current from the north of Greenland into the Atlantic Ocean.

What is the impact of these high methane releases over the Arctic Ocean on global methane levels? The image below shows the most recent global methane levels available from NOAA.

The image below shows readings from surface flask at Mauno Loa, Hawaii, with two recent readings (in the top right corner) reaching levels close to 1880 ppb.

Clearly, methane levels are rising globally and high releases over the Arctic Ocean are contributing to the global rise. The images below show recent data from stations in the Arctic, i.e. the image below showing readings from in situ measurements at the station at Barrow, Alaska, and the image further below showing flask samples taken at Tiksi, Russia.

Note that the above images reflect land-based measurements taken at altitudes that are typically too low to capture the extent at which methane is rising in the atmosphere over the Arctic Ocean. Nonetheless, the wind can at times carry along some of the methane from the Arctic Ocean, as is apparent in a number of readings in above images showing levels of over 2100 ppb.

The image below shows high methane releases over the Arctic Ocean, as recorded on (part of) January 7, 2014, when levels were reached as high as 2381 ppb.

The image below shows methane levels on (part of) January 8, 2014, when levels as high as 2341 ppb were recorded. The inset confirms indications that these high levels originate from the Arctic Ocean.

These high methane concentrations over the Arctic are contributing to high temperature anomalies that further accelerate warming in the Arctic, as illustrated by the image below.

For a more detailed description of the kinds of warming and feedbacks that are hitting the Arctic, see the post The Biggest Story of 2013.


  1. People need to understand that it's even more dangerous to allow Fossil Fuels to 'evaporate' into the atmosphere than it is to burn these same fossil fuels ... The worst pollution from Canadian Tar Sands isn't the burning of the finished product but the mining of it which releases literally tons of trapped methane and other Greenhouse Gases every single day

    I've come to expect this type of Insanity from my fellow Americans but am vastly disappointed with the Canadians because I thought (or maybe just hoped) they were better than that .....

    Our Grandchildren will curse this Generation's name and it won;'t be because of some illusionary paper debt dreamed up by Bankers

  2. There is a new report PIOMAS - not bad. What do you think about the new data PIOMAS?

    1. Piomas seems to be the most reliable data, at least this is the impression I got, following Sam Caranas blog thoroughly. Though the piomas trend does suggest a linear trend. When the data of 2010 to 2012 was falling "outside of this statistic variability" - our suggestion here is that multiple positive feedbacks seem to lead to an exponential trend. And if you extrapolate a possible exponential trend, the arctic summer sea ice could disappear within only a few years until summer 2015 or 2016!
      (Our fear is that at the time we will know it for sure - it maybe will be too late.)