Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Methane Monster

At no time in the past did humans exist under conditions that we are facing now, no matter how far back you go in history.

Global mean methane levels as high as 1840 parts per billion were recorded on August 4, 2015. This is the highest mean level since records began and this new record is likely to be superseded by even higher levels soon.

The carbon dioxide that is released now will only reach its peak impact a decade from now. Methane's high immediate impact makes it more important than carbon dioxide emissions in driving the rate of global warming over the coming decade.

The Pacific Ocean is very warm at the moment. Warm water flows from the Pacific Ocean through the Bering Strait into the Arctic Ocean. Sea surface temperatures in the Bering Strait were as high as 20.5°C (or 69.1°F) on August 4, 2015. That is 8.7°C (or 15.6°F) warmer than the water used to be. Sea surface temperatures as high as 11.8°C (53.2°F) were recorded in between Greenland and Svalbard on August 7, 2015, an anomaly of 8.5°C (15.3°F).

[ click on image to enlarge ]
The danger is that further warming will cause collapse of the sea ice, which in turn will lead to even more rapid warming of the Arctic Ocean, while the presence of more open water will also increase the opportunity for powerful storms to develop that can mix high sea surface temperatures all the way down to the seafloor, resulting in destabilization of sediments and triggering releases of methane that can be contained in such sediments in huge amounts.

Methane releases from the seafloor of the Arctic ocean threaten to cause rapid local warming that in turn will trigger further methane releases, in a vicious cycle of runway warming that could destroy habitat for humans within decades.

[ click on image to enlarge ]
The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action as discussed at the Climate Plan at the Arctic-News Blog.


-  Sea surface temperatures in the Bering Strait on August 4, 2015. 

- Sea surface temperatures in between Greenland and Svalbard on August 7, 2015.,79.02,3000

- Maximum warming occurs about one decade after a carbon dioxide emission, by Katharine L Ricke and Ken Caldeira (2014)

- Methane's Global Warming Potential

THE METHANE MONSTER - by Sam Carana At no time in the past did humans exist under conditions that we are facing now,...
Posted by Sam Carana on Sunday, August 9, 2015


  1. Short and bitter-sweet. I understand why. Comprehension levels are at record lows.

    If WAIS is unstoppable, then isn't the Arctic melt also unstoppable? And in turn, Greenland? Any of which means "runaway warming" is already underway, and virtually unstoppable? Which also means that human habitat won't only be destroyed, it will be utterly wiped out (all of it). Which means human extinction, along with nearly all other forms of life on the planet.

    That is the conclusion of a growing number of people, not all scientists such as myself. And there are many, many other unfolding events to be included, each of which means the same thing, extinction ahead and far, far sooner then 99.99% realize.

    Humans appear to incapable of comprehending the scale and scope of the problem. Extinction means very little to us, even our own. Ignorance is now a criminal act against humanity. Delay of action / effort is absolutely essential despite the probability of failure.

    NOTHING is getting through to policy makers and leaders fast enough. Therefore, it's time for radical and alarming efforts to be made by climate scientists. What say you?

    1. Methane releases from the Arctic Oceran seafloor constitute a huge immediate threat and the best response is compehensive and effective action as discussed in the Climate Plan.

  2. How do you wake the majority? We need them to know, and change. This whole thing almost seems intentional(Using one of the worst fuels, refusing to change it,biodome 2,illegalization of industrial hemp, asassinations of previous inventors,creation of the petrodollar system,war for oil empire) henry ford's first model T was built in 1941from hemp, and it was fueled by hemp. Industrial hemp is one of the most carbon- plants in the world and was already being used in over 65thousand different products which the status quo didn't like. So the evil companies(that obviously still control the government)nevermind, point is we need to overturn these facist laws now, and start replacing oil/gas/chemical(lots)/steel/glass/plastic/wood(sometimes from the rainforest!)etc... with a carbon negative non erosive plant that was already dominating 70 years ago.