Sunday, April 26, 2015

Methane levels as high as 2845ppb

Methane levels as high as 2845 parts per billion (ppb) were recorded on April 25, 2015, as illustrated by the image below.

This is an extremely high peak. The average daily peak in 2015 until May 1 was 2371 ppb, while the highest daily mean ranged from 1807 ppb (January 10) to 1829 ppb (April 22). Daily peaks and daily highest mean levels in 2015 are shown on the image below.

These peaks are much higher than they were in previous years, as illustrated by the image below, from an earlier post and showing the average highest peak readings in 2013 and 2014 at selected altitudes..

Peak readings in above image are averages over April 2013 and April 2014. On specific days, peak readings could be much higher, e.g. on April 28, 2014, methane levels were recorded as high as 2551 ppb at 469 mb. As said, methane levels as high as 2845 ppb were recorded on April 25, 2015, while the average peak for the first four months of 2015 was 2371 ppb, and this average was calculated from peaks across altitudes.

The table below shows the altitude equivalents in mb (millibar) and feet.
56,925 ft44,689 ft36,850 ft30,569 ft25,543 ft19,819 ft14,383 ft8,367 ft1,916 ft
74 mb147 mb218 mb293 mb367 mb469 mb586 mb742 mb945 mb

Peak levels in April appear to be rising strongly each year, following higher peak readings during previous months, especially at higher altitudes, i.e. especially the Arctic Ocean. It appears that much of the additional methane originating from the higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere has moved closer to the equator over the past few months, and is now accumulating at higher altitudes over the continents on the Northern Hemisphere, i.e. Asia, Europe, North America and north Africa.

Further analysis of the rise in global mean methane levels appears to confirm the above. The image below shows methane levels on April 22, over three years. While there appears to be little or no rise in mean methane levels at low altitudes, the rise is quite profound at higher altitudes.  

[ click on image to enlarge ]
Things look set to get worse. As shown by the image below, from an earlier post, global methane levels have risen sharply from a low of 723 ppb in 1755. Mean methane levels were as high as 1839 ppb in 2014. That's a rise of more than 254%.
As that post concluded a year ago, it appears that the rise of methane in the atmosphere is accelerating. What can we expect? As temperatures can be expected to continue to rise and as feedbacks start to kick in, this may well constitute a non-linear trend. The image below shows a polynomial trend that is contained in IPCC AR5 data from 1955 to 2011, pointing at methane reaching mean global levels higher than 3000 ppb by the year 2030. If methane starts to erupt in large quantities from clathrates underneath the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, this may well be where we are heading. 

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as discussed at the Climate Plan.

The 2845 ppb recorded on April 25, 2015, is an extremely high peak. The average daily peak in 2015 until now was 2372...
Posted by Sam Carana on Monday, April 27, 2015

Thursday, April 23, 2015

It's time to 'Do the math' again

By David Spratt

Have we gone mad? A new report released today explains why contemporary climate change policy-making should be characterised as increasingly delusional.

As the deadline approaches for submissions to the Australian government's climate targets process, there is a flurry of submissions and reports from advocacy groups and the Climate Change Authority.

Most of these reports are based on the twin propositions that two degrees Celsius (2°C) of global warming is an appropriate policy target, and that there is a significant carbon budget and an amount of "burnable carbon" for this target, and hence a scientifically-based escalating ladder of emission-reduction targets stretching to mid-century and beyond.

A survey of the relevant scientific literature by David Spratt, "Recount: It's time to 'Do the math' again", published today by Breakthrough concludes that the evidence does not support either of these propositions.

The catastrophic and irreversible consequences of 2°C of warming demand a strong risk-management approach, with a low rate of failure. We should not take risks with the climate that we would not take with civil infrastructure.

There is no carbon budget available if 2°C is considered a cap or upper boundary as per the Copenhagen Accord, rather than a hit-or-miss target which can be significantly exceeded; or if a low risk of exceeding 2°C is required; or if positive feedbacks such as permafrost and other carbon store losses are taken into account.

Effective policy making can only be based on recognising that climate change is already dangerous, and we have no carbon budget left to divide up. Big tipping-point events irreversible on human time scales such as in West Antarctica and large-scale positive feedbacks are already occurring at less than 1°C of warming. It is clear that 2°C of climate warming is not a safe cap.

In reality, 2°C is the boundary between dangerous and very dangerous climate change and 1°C warmer than human civilisation has ever experienced.

In the lead up to the forthcoming Paris talks, policy makers through their willful neglect of the evidence are in effect normalising a 2.5–3°C global warming target.

This evidence in "Recount: It's time to 'Do the math' again" demonstrates that action is necessary at a faster pace than most policy makers conceive is possible.


- It's time to 'Do the math' again

- RECOUNT - It's time to 'Do the math' again

- Two degrees of warming closer than you may think

- The real budgetary emergency and the myth of "burnable carbon"

It's time to 'Do the math' again | by David Spratt

Posted by Sam Carana on Thursday, April 23, 2015

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Great Unraveling

The great unraveling of how climate catastrophe is unfolding on land and in the oceans, in the atmosphere and the cryosphere, is becoming more and more clear every month.

March 2015 temperatures were the highest for March in the 136-year period of record. NOAA analysis shows that the average temperature across global land and ocean surface temperatures combined for March 2015 was 0.85°C (1.53°F) higher than the 20th century average of 12.7°C (54.9°F).

Ocean temperature anomalies on the Northern Hemisphere for March 2015 were the highest on record. In many ways, the situation looks set to get worse. For the 12-month period from April to March, data from 1880 contain a trendline that points at a rise of 2 degrees Celsius by the year 2032, as illustrated by the image below.

Click on image to enlarge
The rise in Northern Hemisphere ocean temperatures was especially profound in September and October 2014, when methane started to erupt from the Arctic Ocean seafloor in huge quantities.

The image below shows a polynomial trendline pointing at an October Northern Hemisphere sea surface temperature anomaly rise of 2°C (3.6°F) by 2030, and a rise of more than 5°C (9°F) by 2050, compared to the 20th century average, from an earlier post.
From: Ocean Temperature Rise continues
The images below give an idea of the current sea surface temperature anomalies around North America.

On April 11, 2015, a sea surface temperature of 22.2°C (71.96°F) was recorded off the North
American coast (green circle bottom), a 12.6°C (22.68°F) anomaly (green circle top).

Ocean heat is carried by the Gulf Stream from the North Atlantic into the Arctic Ocean. The huge amounts of energy entering the oceans translate into higher temperatures of the water and of the air over the water, as well as higher waves and stronger winds.

The image below highlights waves and winds, showing that waves as high as 12.06 m (39.57 ft) were recorded off the coast of North America in the path of the Gulf Stream, while winds with speeds as high as 115 km/h (71.46 mph) were recorded in that area on April 17, 2015.

The combination image below illustrates the threat. A sea surface temperature of 8°C (46.4°F, green circle left) was recorded near Svalbard on April 17, 2015, an anomaly of 6.2°C (11.16°F, green circle right).

Click on image to enlarge
A continued rise of ocean temperatures on the Northern Hemisphere threatens to unleash huge eruptions of methane from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, further accelerating the temperature rise in the Arctic and escalating into runaway global warming.

Malcolm Light comments: "The Pacific heating must be caused by the southward spreading Arctic methane global warming veil that is able to penetrate through a giant hole in the hydroxyl and ozone layer over the far east and is moving eastwards."

Current methane levels remain extremely high (see this recent post), on track to break the record mean level of 1839 ppb (parts per billion) reached in September 2014.

Above image shows that the highest mean methane levels ranged from 1815 ppb on March 30, 2015, to 1828 ppb on April 17, 2015. The highest peak level during this period was 2483 ppb, reached on April 15, 2015.

The extremely high methane levels are undoubtedly contributing to the high temperatures reached in March, especially at higher latitudes, on top of the dramatic global rise of greenhouse gases in general, as illustrated by above contribution by Peter Carter.

Above image shows that temperature anomalies over much of the Arctic Ocean were at the top end of the scale on April 17, 2015, i.e. 20°C or 36°F.

The image below gives an idea of the temperature differences on April 17, 215. While temperatures over the Sahara in Africa were as high as 32.1°C (89.78°F), temperatures over Greenland were as low as -41°C (-41.8°F). In between, temperatures of 2.8°C (37.04°) were recorded over the waters near Svalbard and of 6.1°C (42.98°F) closer to the coast of Norway.

Such wide temperature differences highlight the importance of looking at peaks, rather than at averages. The year-to-date maximum sea surface temperature anomaly, up to April 18, 2015, gives an idea of the peak anomalies that can be expected as the hot season approaches on the Northern Hemisphere.

Below are details for March 2015.

Temperature anomalies as high as 10.2°C (or 18.3°F) were recorded for March 2015 on Kolguyev Island in the Barents Sea.

A rise in ocean temperatures on the Northern Hemisphere of 2°C (3.6°F) by October 2030 looks set to go hand in hand with a 6°C (10.8°F) rise in Arctic temperatures by 2030, fueling runaway global warming, as illustrated by the image below, from another earlier post.

Without action, similar temperature rises look set to hit the globe at large a dozen years later, accompanied by huge temperature swings that threaten to cause depletion of supply of food and fresh water, as discussed by Guy McPherson in the video below and illustrated by the image further below.

Guy McPherson (left) in discussion with Paul Beckwith (right)

From Methane Levels Early 2015

In conclusion, the situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as discussed at the Climate Plan blog.

Sources and Related

- Ocean temperatures, NOAA

- Sea Surface Temperatures, from:
and from:

- Kolguyev Island temperature anomaly, from:

- Temperature anomaly April 17, 2015, Climate Reanalyzer

- Year-to-date maximum sea surface temperature anomaly April 18, 2015, from:

- Methane levels. NOAA IASI MetOp

- The Mechanism

- Three kinds of warming (temperature trendlines), from: Methane levels Early 2015

- Northern Hemisphere October Ocean Temperature Rise, from:

Ocean temperature anomalies on the Northern Hemisphere for March 2015 were the highest on record. In many ways, the...
Posted by Sam Carana on Saturday, April 18, 2015

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Arctic Sea Ice At Record Low On April 9 2015

On April 9, 2015, Arctic sea ice extent was only 14.051 square km, a record low for the time of the year, as illustrated by the image below.

Temperature anomalies at the top end of the scale (20°C, or 36°F) are hitting the Arctic Ocean in many places, as illustrated by the forecast below, showing an overall anomaly of +3.19°C for the Arctic for April 11, 2015, despite low temperatures over Greenland.

The situation is very worrying, the more so since a huge amount of ocean heat is lining up to be carried into the Arctic Ocean by the Gulf Stream. On April 10, 2015, sea surface temperatures of 24.1°C were recorded off the North American coast (green circle), a +12.5°C anomaly, as the image below shows.

Malcolm Light commentsIn this inverted blowup of the high temperature region you can see the expanded effect of methane hydrate detabilization along the Gakkel Ridge and the high temperatures caused by the onshore methane eruption vents (image below).

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as discussed at the Climate Plan blog.

On April 9, 2015, Arctic sea ice extent was only 14.051 square km, a record low for the time of the year. From the post ...

Posted by Sam Carana on Saturday, April 11, 2015

Friday, April 10, 2015

North Siberian Arctic Permafrost Methane Eruption Vents

Mantle Methane Leakage via Late Permian Deep Penetrating Fault and Shear Fracture Systems Rejuvenated by Carbon Dioxide and Methane Induced Global Warming

By Malcolm P.R. Light, Harold H. Hensel and Sam Carana


In North Siberia some 30 permafrost methane eruption vents occur along the trend of the inner (continental side) third of the Late Permian Taimyr Volcanic Arc where the crust and mantle were the weakest and the most fractured. Deep penetrating faults and shear systems allowed molten basaltic magmas charged with large volumes of carbon dioxide and methane free access to the surface where they formed giant pyroclastic eruptions. The large volume of carbon dioxide and methane added to the atmosphere by this Late Permian volcanic activity led to a massive atmospheric temperature pulse that caused a major worldwide extinction event (Wignall, 2009). These deep penetrating fractures form a major migration conduit system for the presently erupting methane vents in the North Siberian permafrost and the submarine Enrico PV Anomaly. During periods of lower atmospheric carbon dioxide and lower temperatures, the permafrost methane vents became sealed by the formation of methane hydrate (clathrate) plugs forming pingos. The surface methane clathrate plugs are now being destabilized by human pollution induced global warming and the mantle methane released into the atmosphere at the permafrost methane explosion vents. This has opened a giant, long standing (Permian to Recent) geopressured, mantle methane pressure-release safety valve. There is now no fast way to reseal this system because it will require extremely quick cooling of the atmosphere and the Arctic Ocean. The situation calls for comprehensive and effective action, including breaking down the methane in the water before it gets into the atmosphere using methane devouring symbiotic bacteria (Glass et al. 2013) and simultaneously breaking down the existing atmospheric methane using radio-laser systems which can also form methane consuming hydroxyl molecules (Alamo and Lucy Projects, Light and Carana, 2012, 2013).

Permafrost Methane Eruption Vents

During 2014 and 2015 at least 30 methane eruption vents, 7 of which are very large were identified in northern Siberia in the permafrost (Figures 1 to 3)(Zulinova in Liesowska 2015, Wales, 2015, Wignall 2009, Light 2014, Scribbler R., 2015). Of the seven major methane eruption vents (craters) in the Arctic area, 5 are on the Yamal Peninsula, one is in the Yamal Autonomous District and the seventh near Krasnoyarsk close to the Taimyr Peninsula (Figure 3, Liesowska, 2015). This permafrost methane eruption vent zone correlates with the inner third of the continental side of the Late Permian Age Taimyr Volcanic Arc where the top of the underlying Permian subduction zone lay at a depth between 200 km and 225 km (Figure 3, Light 2014). These methane eruption vents occur along fracture systems, transform faults, strike slip-slip faults oblique to the subduction direction and normal fault lines that also cut the Permian volcanic arc and the permafrost up to the continental edge of the arc (Figure 3).

Late Permian Extinction Event

In the Late Permian a massive eruption phase occured along the entire central and north eastern part of the "Taimyr Volcanic Arc" producing an extremely wide and thick sheet-like succession of flood trap lavas and tuffs (Siberian Traps Large Igneous Province) that spread south eastwards over the Siberian Craton (Figure 2, Light 2014). During the Late Permian there was a major global extinction event which resulted in a large loss of species caused by catastrophic methane eruptions from destabilization of subsea methane hydrates in the Paleo-Arctic (Figures 2, 3 and 4)(Wignall 2009, Light 2014, Scribbler 2015, Merali 2004, Goho 2004, Scott et al, PNAS, Dawson 1967, Kennedy and Kennedy, 1976). Extreme global warming was caused when vast volumes of carbon dioxide were released into the atmosphere from the widespread eruption of volcanics in northern Siberia (Figure 2; Wignall 2009) whose main source zone, the "Taimyr Volcanic Arc" on land in northern Siberia (Figure 3) is not a great distance from the present trend of the Arctic Ocean Gakkel Ridge and the Enrico Pv Anomaly extreme methane emission zone. Because the Arctic forms a graveyard for subducted plates, the mantle there is highly fractured and it is also a primary source zone for mantle methane formed from the reduction of oceanic carbonates by water in the presence of iron (II) oxides buried to depths of 100 km to 300 km in the Asthenosphere and at temperatures above 1200°C (Figure 4)(Gaina et al. 2013; Goho 2004; Merali 2004; Light 2014).

In addition to the widespread eruption of volcanics in Northern Siberia in the Late Permian (250 million years ago), swarms of pyroclastic kimberlites also erupted between 245 and 228 million years ago along a NNE trending shear system in the mantle which extends up the east flank of the Lena River delta and intersects the Gakkel Ridge slow spreading ridge on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (Figure 4). Cenozoic volcanics also occur to the north and north east of the Lena River delta marking the trend of the slow spreading Gakkel Ridge on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (Sekretov 1998). All this pyroclastic activity along the slow spreading Gakkel Ridge from the Late Permian to the present is evidence of deep pervasive vertical mantle fracturing and shearing which has formed conduits for the release of carbon dioxide and deeply sourced mantle methane out of Siberia and the Arctic sea floor into the atmosphere (Light 2014).

Thermodynamic Conditions Necessary to form Mantle Methane

On a vertical temperature - pressure/ depth cross section (Figure 4) the surface methane eruption vents are fed from vertical crustal and mantle fractures from more deeply sourced mantle methane below 225 km depth that has migrated up the fractured and sheared surface of the Late Permian subducting oceanic plate and then entered the vertical fractures allowing it to the surface where the methane is now erupting along the inner (continental side) third of the "Taimyr Volcanic Arc" (Dawson, 1967, Kennedy and Kennedy 1976. Merali 2004, Goho 2004, Scott et al, PNAS, Light 2014). What is remarkable is that the present surface methane eruption vent region corresponds exactly to the zone where the crust and mantle was the weakest in the Late Permian because the continental rock melt line (dry solidus) rises steeply to within a few km of the surface peaking exactly in the centre of zone defined by the methane eruption vents (Figure 4).

This implies that in the Late Permian, the inner continental side of the volcanic arc was a region of intense pyroclastic volcanic activity because the lavas were highly charged in carbon dioxide and methane. The eruption of these gases led to massive peak in global warming that culminated in the Major Late Permian Extinction Event when mean global atmospheric temperatures exceeded 26.6°C (Wignall. 2009).

This inner (continental side) third of the "Taimyr Volcanic Arc" was thus severly fractured by extreme pyroclastic volcanic activity and gas effusions in the Late Permian and has remained so up to the present day thus forming a major migration conduit system for the presently erupting methane vents in the Siberian permafrost. During periods of lower atmospheric carbon dioxide and lower temperatures the permafrost methane vents became sealed by the formation of methane hydrate (clathrate) plugs forming pingos (Figures 5, 6 and 7; Hovland et al. 2006; Paull et al., 2007; Carana, 2011, Liesowska, 2015). The surface methane clathrate plugs have now been destabilized by human pollution induced global warming and the methane is being released into the atmosphere at the permafrost methane explosion vents. Extreme methane concentrations, up to 1000 times above the mean atmospheric level has been found at the base of the methane eruption vents by Russian scientists (Holthaus, 2015) confirming that they are still linked to deeper methane sources which may be geopressujred. Before the Yamal B1 methane eruption vent developed, hillocks (pingoes) rose in the permafrost heralding the coming massive methane gas eruption (Figure 7; Liesowska, 2015). Other pingoes adjacent to the Yamal B1 methane eruption vent could also collapse at any moment emitting a large cloud of methane gas (Liesowska, 2015).
In the Last Ice age, the methane seal system (methane hydrate pingos) was maintained by the low temperatures and trapped the mantle methane below the ground. Now however human pollution which caused a massive carbon dioxide atmospheric buildup exceeding 400 ppm has started to break the seals on the mantle methane fractures in 2014 and 2015 allowing them to spew increasingly large quantities of deep mantle methane directly into the Arctic atmosphere. In the Late Permian, the massive volume of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere during these cataclysmic eruptions produced extreme global warming in the air and oceans which also dissasocciated the Paleo-Arctic permafrost and subsea methane hydrates and the methane hydrate seals above the Enrico Pv Anomaly generating a massive seafloor and mantle methane pulse into the atmosphere that caused the Major Late Permian Extinction Event (Figures 2 to 4) (Wignall. 2009).

A sequence of extreme pyroclastic basaltic eruptions occur along the Gakkel Ridge (85oE volcanoes) which has an ultra - slow rate of plate spreading of 15 to 20 mm a year (Sohn et al. 2007). These volcanoes formed from the explosive eruption of gas - rich basaltic magmatic foams as shown by recovered green - glass fragments and pillow lavas. Long intervals between eruptions during slow spreading produced a huge gas and volatile buildup at high storage pressures deep down in the crust (Sohn et al 2007). A volatile and carbon dioxide content of some 13.5% to 14% (Wt./Wt. - volume fraction 75%) is necessary at 5 km depth in the Arctic Ocean to fragment the erupting magma (Sohn et al. 2007). These extreme pyroclastic basaltic volcanic eruptions are probably a modern day equivalent of the types of eruptions that occured in the region of methane eruption vents along the "Taimyr Volcanic Arc" in the Late Permian and totally fractured the mantle and crust producing deep reaching conduits that allowed mantle methane below 225 km access to the surface (Figure 4). The more fluid Gakkel Ridge pillow lava basalts mirror the very fluid Siberian "Trapp" flows that covered a large part of Siberia in the Late Permian (Figure 2 and 3).


Our present extreme fossil fuel driven, carbon dioxide global warming is predicted to produce exactly the same mantle methane release from the permafrost methane eruption vents along the Late Permian "TaimyrVolcanic Arc", subsea Arctic methane hydrates and the Enrico Pv Anomaly "Extreme Methane Emission Zone" by the 2050's, leading to total deglaciation and the extinction of all life on Earth.

Mankind has, in his infinite stupidity, with his extreme hydrocarbon addiction and fossil fuel induced global warming, opened a giant, long standing (Permian to Recent), geopressured, mantle methane pressure-release safety valve for methane gas generated between 100 km and 300 km depth and at temperatures of above 1200°C in the asthenosphere (Figures 1 to 6). This is now a region of massive methane emissions (Carana, 2011-2015).

There seems to be no fast and easy way to reseal this system. To sufficiently cool the Atmosphere and Arctic Ocean cannot be achieved in the short time frame we have left to complete the job. In some cases, it may be possible to reseal conduits with concrete or other material, or to capture methane for storage in hydrates at safer locations, but the sheer number of vulnerable locations and the size of the work involved is daunting.

Figure 9. Climate Action Plan, from Climate Plan
Other ways to deal with the methane are to break it down in the water and in the atmosphere, as also depicted in Figure 9 (enhanced decomposition). Efforts to break down methane in the atmosphere using radio-laser systems have been described by Light and Carana (Figure 8, Alamo and Lucy Projects, Light and Carana, 2012, 2013, Ehret 2012; Sternowski 2012; Iopscience, 2013, Arctic-news, 2012). Scientists at Georgia Tech. University have found in the ocean that at very low temperatures two symbiotic methane eating organisms group together, consume methane in the presence of tungsten and excrete carbon dioxide which then reacts with minerals in the water to form carbonate mounds (Glass et al. 2013). This means that the United States must fund a major project at Georgia Tech. to quickly develop the means to grow these methane consuming bacteria in massive quantities with their tungsten enzyme and find the means to deliver them to the Polar oceans as soon as possible. More generally, the situation calls for comprehensive and effective action, as discussed at the Climate Plan blog.


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Figure References

Figure 7. Enhanced Lucy Transmission System. Image from Light and Carana 2012. Lidar methane detecting laser from Ehret, 2012. Methane heating laser from Sternowski, 2012. Hydroxyl formation from, 2013.

North Siberian Arctic Permafrost Methane Eruption Vents | by Malcolm Light, Harold Hensel and Sam Carana

Posted by Sam Carana on Friday, April 10, 2015