Category Archives: East Siberian Arctic Sea (ESAS)

Code Red on FacingFuture.TV  

FacingFuture.TV recently hosted a preview of the upcoming IPCC 2021 UN climate report, which report guides the gathering of dignitaries from around the world meeting in Glasgow this November to discuss, analyze, and decide how to deal with global warming/climate change.

According to the Code Red interview, the IPCC is taking off its ultra conservative facemask of prior years to reveal a surly cantankerous grim sneer on a darkened background. In short, climate change is much worse than the IPCC has previously been willing to admit.

The FacingFuture.TV interview features Mark Andersen, CEO of Strategic News Service, Brian Wright a natural medicine expert, and Peter Carter an IPCC expert reviewer. The threesome expressed dismay over the failure of the general public to “get the climate change message” clearly enough to force policymakers to take some kind of massive urgent all-hands-on-deck immediate without hesitation corrective measures to head off an undeviating course of surefire destruction.

The following snippets from that interview underscore a level of frustration and a sense of urgency as a clarion call for anybody and everybody to demand an immediate halt to fossil fuels.

What’s new with the IPCC?

For starters, according to Dr. Carter, the new report is a “definitive report.” Its conclusions are definite. In other words, the IPCC is taking the issue much more seriously than ever before. This is the first report to state that global climate change is “unequivocally caused by human activities.”

Moreover, previous IPCC reports inadvertently gave the impression that society has plenty of time until 2050 to make the necessary changes, which has unintentionally served to bolster the interests of the fossil fuel industry and extend forecasts for future production by the International Energy Agency

In strong opposition, this new report forcefully and effectively states that unless there are immediate rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that limit warming to close to 1.5° C or even 2° C, the problem will extend “beyond reach” and beyond any chance for some level of control. The three key words are: 1) immediate (2) rapid (3) large-scale.

The three participants discussed climate mega events that, by any and all standards, should be turning heads amongst the general public and certainly amongst policymakers as mega events openly display powerful destructiveness of a crazed climate system that’s been thrown off kilter by human activity.

Mega events are world-changing events that literally alter the dynamics of the climate system from friendly and supportive of life to difficult and horribly challenging for life. Alas, the worse has already started; for example, carbon sinks are starting to fail, meaning, nature is starting to emit greenhouse gases in competition with cars, planes, trains, and factories. What could possibly be more troubling?

According to Dr. Carter, one mega event that sends a clear message of unbridled double-trouble dead ahead:

We’ve lost the Amazon Rainforest. It’s a very hard thing to say… The Amazon has tipped. It is no longer a carbon sink buffering and soaking up some of our CO2 emissions. It has now started to emit CO2 emissions, and that is very, very clear from the satellite images… The Amazon is pouring out CO2.

Equally troubling:

The other mega event is the Arctic has also switched… first recognized by the NOAA in 2016, and in 2019 published via a report that the Arctic has definitely tipped and is now a source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Additionally:

Permafrost is emitting all three of the main greenhouse gases. It’s emitting methane, much more carbon dioxide than anybody anticipated, just discovered by research five years ago, but it’s also emitting the third and extremely powerful greenhouse gas, which is nitrous oxide … an absolute definite mega event.

Moreover:

A huge change in the amount of methane being emitted from the Arctic,” is now prevalent: “There is a vast amount of methane this year for the first time being emitted and it’s coming from a huge area of Siberia where the deepest permafrost is located. We’re talking about a thousand miles of permafrost.

1,000 miles of permafrost emitting greenhouse gases could easily be a stopping point for this quickie review of the interviews, especially as Biblical scale fires have raged in Siberia for all to see on TV. The Barents Observer recently reported more than 40% of Northern Russian buildings starting to collapse, including risks to hydro dams and a nuclear power plant. How much worse does it have to get to spell out the message that the planet is experiencing severe extreme levels of duress?

Yet, there is more.

Craters formed by methane bombs are erupting as permafrost melts, when methane vaporizes underneath causing enormous explosions leaving craters 100 feet across and 100 feet deep. Seventeen of these methane bomb explosions have been recorded in only one region of Siberia, indicating that methane under the permafrost tundra is reaching a critical stage and exploding.

Ipso facto, the planet is dispelling/forcing gas so powerfully that craters form, as if asteroids hit, like the surface of the moon.

Moreover, not only is permafrost blowing up in plain sight, the heating of the oceans is way ahead of the heating of the atmosphere. This is but one more example of a major carbon sink starting to lose its mojo by absorbing way too much CO2 and having absorbed way too much heat.

Indeed, the entire planet is bordering on a scale of trouble never experienced by humankind as major carbon sinks start to fail, one after another. There are no backups, and once carbon sinks completely fail, climate change will be wide open for rapid-fire expansion, but when? Answer: Nobody knows for sure but the early signals are not good.

According to the interview, the IPCC in the past has inferred that the carbon sinks that keep the planet in balance will be just fine. And scientific assessments of the carbon sinks, until only recently, said the carbon sinks would be fine. But no, all of that has changed in the new IPCC “Working Group I Report” major carbon sinks are going to fail, land first and then the ocean is going to fail. For innocent bystanders, that information is almost impossible to process, as believable.

This review of the FacingFuture.TV interview could easily stop right here, even though there is much more, but in point of fact, the big dance is over if the planet’s major carbon sinks fail. Thereafter, there’s not much to discuss.

For whatever reasons, which are likely obvious and right under our collective noses, with dispatch, the IPCC has taken off the gloves and decided it’s time to fight. Hopefully, policymakers wake up to the fact that time for dilly-dallying is up.

Stop talking, do something momentously big.

Still, here’s more crucial data from that interview: “There’s been a big shocking recent paper from NASA and NOAA on energy, in which they’ve done something pretty brilliant. They’ve combined, and reviewed, the satellite data on land energy and they’ve used the NOAA buoys (Argo floats) which are distributed all around the world’s oceans, and they’ve checked energy from the heat point of view, which is very reliable… what they found was that the energy imbalances doubled in just the past 14 years.”

If the energy imbalance for the planet doubled in only 14 years, which nature by itself should take centuries (100s) or more likely thousands (1000s) of years and not a measly 14 years, then, it’s almost impossible to know what else to say about the dire stage of climate change humanity is about to face.

The wake up call implied in the FacingFuture.TV interview is overwhelming and way beyond further attempts to try to explain more of the details in this lonely article.

Bottom line, it’s no surprise that the IPCC has finally decided to come out of its protective conservative shell because the data is one shocking event after another after another, almost impossible to describe without, by default, coming across as excessively pessimistic and fatalistic and difficult to read as well as almost impossible to accept. Therein lies the problem of conveying the message.

The post Code Red on FacingFuture.TV   first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Menacing Methane:  An Analysis

“The story of methane really is a story of a very serious definitive threat to our future existence on this planet.” (Peter Wadhams)

Legendary Arctic explorers Sir James Clark Ross, who located the northern magnetic pole in 1831 and Sir William Edward Parry, who set a record in 1827 for the Farthest North exploration serve as footnotes in the context of the Arctic’s most prolific scientist, Peter Wadhams, professor emeritus, University of Cambridge, with more than 50 expeditions to the world’s poles under his belt.

Dr. Peter Wadhams (A Farewell to Ice: A Report from the Arctic, Oxford University Press) delivered the principal lecture for a very special presentation by Scientists Warning/Europe ‘20: “The Threat from Arctic Methane” November 24, 2020 (1:32 m)

Within two weeks of his presentation, the annual Arctic Report Card, December 9, 2020, was released by NOAA: “Record wildfires, dwindling sea ice and ecosystem disruptions all point to the rapid change besetting the region.”1

In his lecture, Dr. Wadhams accentuated profound Arctic changes unprecedented throughout recorded history that go well beyond the context of NOAA’s Arctic Report Card. He discussed far-reaching Arctic changes with a distinct possibility of dire consequences for the planet’s climate system.

Based upon his presentation, highlighted herein, unless and until ongoing experimental efforts in England for remediation of the Arctic are proven to work, meaning revival of the Arctic, the planet is destined to become a vastly different place, not for the better, and likely not in the distant future but much sooner than that. The Arctic is changing too fast for comfort.

“The Arctic is no longer the Arctic” (Wadhams). It is something entirely different. The change is palpable. It has morphed into a looming threat of radical climate upheaval.

Regrettably, neither the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) nor any major nation/state is braced for Arctic upheaval. It is not universally recognized as an impending threat in the near future.

World opinion is broadly shaped by the IPCC narrative, which does not recognize a methane threat from the seas off Russia’s northern coastline. But, according to Professor Wadhams: They’re wrong!

Explained in detail during Dr. Wadhams’ lecture, the Arctic’s disintegration stems from rapid loss of sea ice due to global warming, specifically over the past 40 years, which now exposes shallow continental underwater shelves along Russia’s northern coastline to unheralded bouts of solar radiation because of loss of albedo, meaning loss of reflectivity (sea ice is very reflective, 80%-90%, of solar radiation). Nowadays, dark water absorbs that same extra heat that had been reflecting back into outer space for centuries upon centuries.

The major issue is continental shelves above Russia in extremely shallow water, only 50-100m in depth. Solar radiated warming now extends all the way to the bottom of the seabed, in turn, thawing the underwater sediment, which contains eons of accumulation of frozen methane.

That dangerous thawing process is happening now. Recent Russian expeditions discovered water columns with methane bubbling, emitting directly into the atmosphere on a scale never witnessed before.

“That is the threat. The thawing of the seabed … giving us a rapid increase in emissions… in this case of methane.” (Wadhams)

When Dr. Wadhams recently sailed north of the Bering Sea, which divides Russia from Alaska, he found temps of 17°C (62.6°F) and 11°C (51.8°F) in the Arctic Ocean. “These are temperatures like you get in the North Sea in summer when people go swimming. It’s not typically Arctic conditions anymore.” (Wadhams)

“When we look at temperatures at the bottom on the seabed, we find temperatures above the freezing point… Under the water we find a layer of permafrost and underneath that permafrost a couple hundred meters of sediment, and that sediment is filled with methane gas which reacts with the sediment to produce methane hydrate, which is ice that contains methane molecules… remove it from the sea and put a match to it and it burns.” (Wadhams)

In the end, as the permafrost protective layer melts, like it’s actually doing, the methane hydrates in shallow waters become unstable and release methane gas.

Among the seas north of Russia, the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is the one continental shelf that combines a curiously unique dangerous cocktail: (1) Extremely low water depth (2) High concentrations of hydrates in the sediment. The methane layer is approximately two kilometers (1.25 miles) thick. “So, that’s 2,000 meters (6,562 feet) of sediment that contains high concentrations of methane.” (Wadhams)

As the seabed warms, the permafrost melts, leaving naked hydrates. Naked hydrates are not stable. They quickly decompose into methane gas released in water columns directly into the atmosphere. Areas where naked hydrates are melting show methane measurements so extensive that a ship randomly sailing by, if it created a spark or dropped a cigarette overboard, would blow up.

“This is truly a frightening circumstance of huge amounts of methane released from the seabed coming up to the sea surface where it is released into the atmosphere.” (Wadhams)

Dr. Wadhams discussed the approach of mainstream science: “Scientists have been very complacent and the IPCC, in fact, has been totally complacent about this, because they say, oh well, methane released in the seabed dissolves in the ocean and doesn’t reach the surface. That’s actually wrong. It is true if the water depth is great, meaning in water depth greater than 200 to 300 meters. But, it is not true in water depth of only 50-60 meters because the methane gas rises quickly… it doesn’t have time to dissolve… a lot of scientists who’ve never been to the Arctic imagine that the methane dissolves in the water so we don’t have anything to worry about. They’re just not aware that the water depth is very shallow.”

The proof is convincing as methane emissions are rapidly increasing: “We know that something has been going on in the last few years because if we look at the amount of methane in the atmosphere, it rose steadily from the 1980s and then it reached a peak in the year 2000… since 2007, an increase once again, and it’s been going up ever since in an accelerating way.” (Wadhams)

What’s the risk?

Scientists who study the Arctic fear the whole complex of protective permafrost will thaw and expose the shelf along the East Siberian Arctic Sea, as well as other seas nearby, like the Laptev Sea and the Kara Sea. In turn, causing a big burst of methane, an outbreak. Russian scientists have estimated such an outburst could be 50 gigatons, but that’s only for the initial release. That’s equivalent to 50 billion tons.

“I did an analysis with two colleagues on what that would do to global warming… we’d be getting an extra 0.6°C more or less immediately, a sudden rise of global temperatures… Now, this is not good news because the entire move up since the 19tb century has only been one degree centigrade for the planet as a whole, and here we are… adding 0.6°C instantly, within a few months or weeks, we don’t know how instant, but it would be very instant. It’s something we’ve never experienced on this planet.” (Wadhams)

Unfortunately, o.6°C would be just the start followed by more, as additional sediment thaws. Furthermore, the economic costs would likely be one trillion pounds per year.

What can be done?

CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere via Direct Air Capture (DAC), but it is very expensive. However, it’s an enormous job on the scale of existing planet-wide fossil fuel infrastructure. Even then, DAC does not apply to removal of methane.

Emergency plans should be formulated by nation/states and especially by coastal cities because a “big burst” could happen at any time. Estimates are within the next few years. Certainly, the underwater permafrost is thinning. Russian scientists measure it.

Other geo-engineering measures for amelioration of Arctic disintegration are under study. For example, Marine cloud brightening via drone ships at sea is one study underway in order to reflect solar radiation back into outer space. It could reduce temperatures to help stem and possibly (hopefully) reverse Arctic sea ice loss. This can be attempted on a localized basis.

A group of scientists in England is currently working on solutions for the Arctic, experimenting with a technique that blows a powdered solution on the sea surface where it’ll thwart the methane before it emits into the atmosphere. This is still only theoretical, as experimentation is ongoing.

Throughout the virtual online session with Dr. Wadhams, he emphasized the disconnect between the scientific community and the reality of what’s happening in the shallow waters of the East Siberian Arctic Sea (ESAS), which region is equivalent in combined size to Germany, France, Gr Br, Italy, and Japan with 75% of the area in 50-80m, shallow waters, allowing methane (CH4) release from the subsea permafrost without oxidation in the water column directly into the atmosphere. That is a very bad setup, just itching for trouble.

“I think you should be worried about the methane threat despite the fact that the International Panel on Climate Change is keeping very quiet about it.” (Wadhams)

  1. “Three Signs a ‘New Arctic’ Is Emerging”, Scientific American, December 9, 2020.

The post Menacing Methane:  An Analysis first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Menacing Methane:  An Analysis

“The story of methane really is a story of a very serious definitive threat to our future existence on this planet.” (Peter Wadhams)

Legendary Arctic explorers Sir James Clark Ross, who located the northern magnetic pole in 1831 and Sir William Edward Parry, who set a record in 1827 for the Farthest North exploration serve as footnotes in the context of the Arctic’s most prolific scientist, Peter Wadhams, professor emeritus, University of Cambridge, with more than 50 expeditions to the world’s poles under his belt.

Dr. Peter Wadhams (A Farewell to Ice: A Report from the Arctic, Oxford University Press) delivered the principal lecture for a very special presentation by Scientists Warning/Europe ‘20: “The Threat from Arctic Methane” November 24, 2020 (1:32 m)

Within two weeks of his presentation, the annual Arctic Report Card, December 9, 2020, was released by NOAA: “Record wildfires, dwindling sea ice and ecosystem disruptions all point to the rapid change besetting the region.”1

In his lecture, Dr. Wadhams accentuated profound Arctic changes unprecedented throughout recorded history that go well beyond the context of NOAA’s Arctic Report Card. He discussed far-reaching Arctic changes with a distinct possibility of dire consequences for the planet’s climate system.

Based upon his presentation, highlighted herein, unless and until ongoing experimental efforts in England for remediation of the Arctic are proven to work, meaning revival of the Arctic, the planet is destined to become a vastly different place, not for the better, and likely not in the distant future but much sooner than that. The Arctic is changing too fast for comfort.

“The Arctic is no longer the Arctic” (Wadhams). It is something entirely different. The change is palpable. It has morphed into a looming threat of radical climate upheaval.

Regrettably, neither the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) nor any major nation/state is braced for Arctic upheaval. It is not universally recognized as an impending threat in the near future.

World opinion is broadly shaped by the IPCC narrative, which does not recognize a methane threat from the seas off Russia’s northern coastline. But, according to Professor Wadhams: They’re wrong!

Explained in detail during Dr. Wadhams’ lecture, the Arctic’s disintegration stems from rapid loss of sea ice due to global warming, specifically over the past 40 years, which now exposes shallow continental underwater shelves along Russia’s northern coastline to unheralded bouts of solar radiation because of loss of albedo, meaning loss of reflectivity (sea ice is very reflective, 80%-90%, of solar radiation). Nowadays, dark water absorbs that same extra heat that had been reflecting back into outer space for centuries upon centuries.

The major issue is continental shelves above Russia in extremely shallow water, only 50-100m in depth. Solar radiated warming now extends all the way to the bottom of the seabed, in turn, thawing the underwater sediment, which contains eons of accumulation of frozen methane.

That dangerous thawing process is happening now. Recent Russian expeditions discovered water columns with methane bubbling, emitting directly into the atmosphere on a scale never witnessed before.

“That is the threat. The thawing of the seabed … giving us a rapid increase in emissions… in this case of methane.” (Wadhams)

When Dr. Wadhams recently sailed north of the Bering Sea, which divides Russia from Alaska, he found temps of 17°C (62.6°F) and 11°C (51.8°F) in the Arctic Ocean. “These are temperatures like you get in the North Sea in summer when people go swimming. It’s not typically Arctic conditions anymore.” (Wadhams)

“When we look at temperatures at the bottom on the seabed, we find temperatures above the freezing point… Under the water we find a layer of permafrost and underneath that permafrost a couple hundred meters of sediment, and that sediment is filled with methane gas which reacts with the sediment to produce methane hydrate, which is ice that contains methane molecules… remove it from the sea and put a match to it and it burns.” (Wadhams)

In the end, as the permafrost protective layer melts, like it’s actually doing, the methane hydrates in shallow waters become unstable and release methane gas.

Among the seas north of Russia, the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is the one continental shelf that combines a curiously unique dangerous cocktail: (1) Extremely low water depth (2) High concentrations of hydrates in the sediment. The methane layer is approximately two kilometers (1.25 miles) thick. “So, that’s 2,000 meters (6,562 feet) of sediment that contains high concentrations of methane.” (Wadhams)

As the seabed warms, the permafrost melts, leaving naked hydrates. Naked hydrates are not stable. They quickly decompose into methane gas released in water columns directly into the atmosphere. Areas where naked hydrates are melting show methane measurements so extensive that a ship randomly sailing by, if it created a spark or dropped a cigarette overboard, would blow up.

“This is truly a frightening circumstance of huge amounts of methane released from the seabed coming up to the sea surface where it is released into the atmosphere.” (Wadhams)

Dr. Wadhams discussed the approach of mainstream science: “Scientists have been very complacent and the IPCC, in fact, has been totally complacent about this, because they say, oh well, methane released in the seabed dissolves in the ocean and doesn’t reach the surface. That’s actually wrong. It is true if the water depth is great, meaning in water depth greater than 200 to 300 meters. But, it is not true in water depth of only 50-60 meters because the methane gas rises quickly… it doesn’t have time to dissolve… a lot of scientists who’ve never been to the Arctic imagine that the methane dissolves in the water so we don’t have anything to worry about. They’re just not aware that the water depth is very shallow.”

The proof is convincing as methane emissions are rapidly increasing: “We know that something has been going on in the last few years because if we look at the amount of methane in the atmosphere, it rose steadily from the 1980s and then it reached a peak in the year 2000… since 2007, an increase once again, and it’s been going up ever since in an accelerating way.” (Wadhams)

What’s the risk?

Scientists who study the Arctic fear the whole complex of protective permafrost will thaw and expose the shelf along the East Siberian Arctic Sea, as well as other seas nearby, like the Laptev Sea and the Kara Sea. In turn, causing a big burst of methane, an outbreak. Russian scientists have estimated such an outburst could be 50 gigatons, but that’s only for the initial release. That’s equivalent to 50 billion tons.

“I did an analysis with two colleagues on what that would do to global warming… we’d be getting an extra 0.6°C more or less immediately, a sudden rise of global temperatures… Now, this is not good news because the entire move up since the 19tb century has only been one degree centigrade for the planet as a whole, and here we are… adding 0.6°C instantly, within a few months or weeks, we don’t know how instant, but it would be very instant. It’s something we’ve never experienced on this planet.” (Wadhams)

Unfortunately, o.6°C would be just the start followed by more, as additional sediment thaws. Furthermore, the economic costs would likely be one trillion pounds per year.

What can be done?

CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere via Direct Air Capture (DAC), but it is very expensive. However, it’s an enormous job on the scale of existing planet-wide fossil fuel infrastructure. Even then, DAC does not apply to removal of methane.

Emergency plans should be formulated by nation/states and especially by coastal cities because a “big burst” could happen at any time. Estimates are within the next few years. Certainly, the underwater permafrost is thinning. Russian scientists measure it.

Other geo-engineering measures for amelioration of Arctic disintegration are under study. For example, Marine cloud brightening via drone ships at sea is one study underway in order to reflect solar radiation back into outer space. It could reduce temperatures to help stem and possibly (hopefully) reverse Arctic sea ice loss. This can be attempted on a localized basis.

A group of scientists in England is currently working on solutions for the Arctic, experimenting with a technique that blows a powdered solution on the sea surface where it’ll thwart the methane before it emits into the atmosphere. This is still only theoretical, as experimentation is ongoing.

Throughout the virtual online session with Dr. Wadhams, he emphasized the disconnect between the scientific community and the reality of what’s happening in the shallow waters of the East Siberian Arctic Sea (ESAS), which region is equivalent in combined size to Germany, France, Gr Br, Italy, and Japan with 75% of the area in 50-80m, shallow waters, allowing methane (CH4) release from the subsea permafrost without oxidation in the water column directly into the atmosphere. That is a very bad setup, just itching for trouble.

“I think you should be worried about the methane threat despite the fact that the International Panel on Climate Change is keeping very quiet about it.” (Wadhams)

  1. “Three Signs a ‘New Arctic’ Is Emerging”, Scientific American, December 9, 2020.

The post Menacing Methane:  An Analysis first appeared on Dissident Voice.

A Troubling Discovery in the Arctic

A notable satellite-telephonic call to colleagues in late October from Swedish scientist Örjan Gustafsson of Stockholm University briefly described a haunting discovery. On board the research ship R/V Akademik Keldysh, a 6,240-ton Russian scientific research vessel equipped with 17 on-board laboratories and a library, far off the coast of Russia, Dr. Gustafsson reported:

This East Siberian slope methane hydrate system has been perturbed and the process will be ongoing. 1

That satellite call referenced a sleeping giant that has enough carbon firepower to adversely impact the world’s climate system. The expedition discovered methane (CH4) that had been securely frozen in shallow subsea permafrost waters forever, and ever, and ever, now “stirring.” Colloquially, “The Monster of the North awakened.” (Although, in fairness to accuracy, the ESAS has been perturbed and leaking/seeping into the atmosphere for some time… but, now it’s much worse than ever before, and terrifyingly, it’s more noticeable to passersby, like expeditions of discerning scientists).

After all, there are scientists who believe the East Siberian Arctic Shelf and neighboring Russian coastline continental shelf seas contain enough methane in frozen hydrates to change human history forever, unfortunately, not for the betterment of civilization.

The East Siberian Arctic Shelf, as well as other Arctic seas off Russia’s northern coastline, has been the subject of clashing opinions within the scientific community.

Over the years, mainstream science has “talked down the risks” of a massive methane breakout in Arctic waters which could start a vicious cycle of runaway global warming that would be devastating on several fronts for civilized societies, and uncivilized too.

Three years ago, the U.S. Geological Survey labeled Arctic hydrates as one of the world’s four most serious causation events of abrupt climate change. Yet, according to USGS geophysicist Carolyn Ruppel, who oversees the USGS Gas Hydrates Project:

After so many years spent determining where gas hydrates are breaking down and measuring methane flux at the sea-air interface, we suggest that conclusive evidence for release of hydrate-related methane to the atmosphere is lacking.2

According to USGS calculations, sediments in the Arctic contain a huge quantity of frozen methane and other gases – known as hydrates. Along those lines, it’s important to note that methane (CH4) has a warming effect 80 times stronger than carbon dioxide over its initial 20 years. Meaning CH4 has a sharper, quicker impact on global warming than does CO2.

That USGS position (“no conclusive evidence”) about the risk of methane release is now three years old. Thus, this new discovery prompts a logical question: Does the current expedition provide conclusive evidence of a change? Meaning, what’s the likelihood of an abrupt shift in the planet’s climate system as a result of the new discovery?

Assuming a major CH4 release, or big burp, is it possible it could lead to planet-wide upheaval?  Accordingly, the expedition team reported:

At this moment, there is unlikely to be any major impact on global warming, but the point is that this process has now been triggered. (Gustafsson)

Therein lies the problem: “It has been triggered.”

Along those lines, a Latin proverb suffices: “Forewarned is forearmed.”  Clearly, the results of the Akademik Keldysh expedition qualify as “forewarned,” no doubt about that.

All of which prompts a significant question: How will countries throughout the world respond to this newly discovered risk to climate systems with its potential to damage agriculture and coastal cities beyond recognition?

In that regard, and based upon the nations of the world failing to adhere to voluntary commitments to the Paris 2015 climate accord to reduce carbon emissions, which, in fact, increase (Oops) year-over- year, the answer is: “It’s not encouraging, not at all.” Indeed, it is questionable that any nation/state anywhere will actually “forearm” as a result of this new report signaling: “The East Siberian slope methane hydrate system has been perturbed.”

Furthermore, what does “forearmed” even look like? Realistically, how does a country prepare for an all-out assault on agriculture and coastlines by an out of whack runaway climate system? Good luck with that.

Meanwhile, according to the initial report from the 60-member team onboard the Akademik Keldysh expedition, the findings are only “preliminary.” The true scale of the discovery will be confirmed when full complements of data are analyzed and published peer-reviewed in a scientific journal.

Significantly, and tellingly, the discovery includes six monitoring points over a slope area of 150km (93 mi.) by 10km (6 mi.) with “clouds of bubbles released from sediment.” It should be noted that “clouds of bubbles” obviously implies one helluva lot of methane erupting from the seafloor. In point of fact, some measurements registered “methane concentrations 400 times higher than should be seen if the sea and the atmosphere were in equilibrium.” (Gustafsson)

By way of comparison to planetary distances, “400xs higher than equilibrium” is a trip to Pluto.

  1. “Sleeping Giant Arctic Methane Deposits Starting to Release, Scientists Find”, The Guardian, Oct. 27, 2020.
  2. “Gas Hydrate Breakdown Unlikely to Cause Massive Greenhouse Gas Release”, US Geological Survey, February 9, 2017.

The post A Troubling Discovery in the Arctic first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Freakish Arctic Fires Alarmingly Intensify

NASA satellite images of fires in eastern Siberia depict an inferno of monstrous proportions, nothing in modern history compares. And, as of July, it’s intensifying. Should people be concerned? Answer: Yes, and double yes.

According to Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts:

What has been surprising is the rapid increase in the scale and intensity of the fires through July, largely driven by a large cluster of active fires in the northern Sakha Republic.1

The problem:

Abnormally warm temperatures have spawned an intense fire season in the eastern Siberian this summer. 2

Is this global warming on steroids?

For further color on “the problem”: As of June 23rd, a SciTechDaily headline read: “Meteorologists Shocked as Heat and Fire Scorches Siberia.” At last count, meteorologists are hard-core scientists with vast exposure to disaster scenarios, not easily “shocked.”

As it happens, the very region of the planet that’s famous for the coldest temps of all time is now recording Miami-type summer temps like 100°F. Due to this unheard-of, unprecedented state of affairs, should this real-time, happening now, catastrophic scenario be included in U.S. presidential NSA briefings? No, the president doesn’t read. Then, should NSA verbalize the catastrophe to the president? Y0u’ve gotta be kidding and risk being fired!

All of above is a powerful unconditional signal, especially for the Paris ’15 commitment group, excluding the USA, that global warming is rampaging, running amuck. Maybe the Paris ’15 assemble needs to reassemble for an emergency ad hoc meeting to take a tally of how well individual nation states are handling their voluntary commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because the planet’s scorecard is looking like a big fat F.

And while at it, maybe check in with Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service and NASA on recent CO2 and CH4 spewing into the atmosphere. Brace yourself. We now have direct evidence of how important it is to cut fossil fuel emissions to zero, as soon as yesterday.

Here’s more about this mind-blowing threat to the well-being of the world:

(1) Arctic fires in Russia in June and July alone released “more CO2 than any complete fire season” since records have been kept and more CO2 than all of Scandinavia, happening in only two months time. That’s beyond shocking, and it represents country-wide-scale CO2 emissions emitted by nature itself now competing head-on with every aspect of Paris ’15.

(2) The fires are double trouble as one half of the fires are on peatlands, which, once started, can burn almost forever if the heat is intense enough (which it is) emitting both CO2 and CH4 in unheralded competition with the dictates of Paris ’15.

Peat fires can burn longer than forest fires and release vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.1

“The destruction of peat by fire is troubling for so many reasons,” said Dorothy Peteet of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “As the fires burn off the top layers of peat, the permafrost depth may deepen, further oxidizing the underlying peat.”2

Oh by the way, only recently it was reported that the amount of carbon stored in northern peatlands is double previous estimates.3

It goes without saying that raging firestorms in a heat-induced global warming environment that releases more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than several countries combined darkens the epithet “Black Swan” almost beyond recognition.

But, is it really a Black Swan? Well, no, it is not a Black Swan because human-generated (anthropogenic) carbon emissions, like exhaust from fossil-fueled SUV engines, have been on a tear, especially since the turn of the new century (doubling on a per annum basis) blanketing the atmosphere (holding in heat), thus causing extraordinary readings of heat in the upper latitudes. So, yes, more fires were expected, no Black Swan.

But, the intensity of the fires hands down, no doubt about it, easily meets that criterion. Therefore, yes, it is a Black Swan, as the intensity is so overwhelmingly powerful that nobody could have possibly expected it to happen this way, and therein lies the risk to the “great hope” of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to minimize global temperatures to 2°C above baseline, or all hell breaks loose.

Get serious! It’s already breaking loose!

  1. Kasha Patel, “NASA/NOAA Satellites Observe Surprisingly Rapid Increase in Scale and Intensity of Fires in Siberia”, SciTechDaily, August 9, 2020.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Jonathan Nichols, et al, “Holocene Ecohydrological Variability on the East Coast of Kamchtka”, Frontiers in Earth Science, May 15, 2019.

Thawing Arctic Permafrost  

It’s no surprise that first prize, or the blue ribbon, for exceeding 2°C above baseline goes to the Arctic with permafrost that covers 25% of the Northern Hemisphere. Recognition is long overdue, as it’s been totally neglected far too long by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

This crucial nugget of knowledge comes by way of a recent virtual science session (1:27 in length) sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences and can be watched in its entirety on YouTube:

The webcast is entitled: Thawing Arctic Permafrost: Regional and Global Impacts, hosted by John P. Holdren, Teresa and John Heinz, Professor of Environmental Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

The timing couldn’t be better. The Arctic Circle has been very newsworthy. As such, people must be wondering what to make of the disturbing news that’s unsettling, to an extreme.

According to Euronews, as of July 14th:

The extreme north and beyond the Arctic Circle has this year registered record temperatures. On June 20, the meteorological service of Russia recorded a peak of 38°C in Verkhoyansk, the highest recorded temperature since records began in the late nineteenth century.

This is contributing to the rapid melting of permafrost, the region’s frozen ground, on which are built many industrial construction sites and buildings, many for mining hydrocarbons.

The melting of the poles that act as temperature controls for atmospheric currents has consequences for the entire climate..

Decidedly, what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic.

According to Professor Holdren:

Temperatures across the Arctic are increasing 2 to 3 times faster than the global average… The Arctic will continue to be the leading edge of climate change.

The first speaker on the virtual webcast was Dr. Susan M. Natali, Associate Scientist and Arctic Program Director, Woods Hole Research Center, an Arctic ecologist focusing on the ecosystem and carbon cycling consequences of permafrost thaw.

According to Dr. Natali, the Arctic temperature anomaly is already 2°C warmer than the long-term average. The consequences include sea ice loss, melting of Greenland ice sheets, and permafrost thaw.

Permafrost thaw is monitored by boreholes drilled at depths of 20 meters (66 feet) throughout the Arctic. Thus, measured temperature changes avoid seasonal dynamics. These deep permafrost temperatures, in some instances, have been measured for up to 40 years. Results: Permafrost temps are markedly warming across the board, regardless of season.

Of note, Northern Hemisphere permafrost contains 1100-1500 billion tonnes of carbon in the form of ancient organic matter. For comparison purposes, this is twice the amount of carbon already in the atmosphere, and it is three times as much carbon as in the world’s forest biomass.

An obvious implication of Dr. Natali’s statements is humanity is playing with fire in a very big way by allowing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (cars, planes, and trains, etc.) to run wild, increasing by the month, by the year, by the decade with absolutely no end in sight, none whatsoever. At some point in time all of those billions of tonnes of carbon stored in frozen permafrost will start breaking lose beyond normal background rates and humanity will find its goose cooked, maybe well done.

According to Natali, permafrost carbon emissions are not included in the IPCC’s global carbon budget that targets 2°C or below, preferably below 1.5°C. Well, maybe a suddenly overheated Arctic will bring on an eventual recalculation of how the IPCC looks at and calculates the carbon budget. Better late than never.

And, here’s the distressing part (one of many): Fieldwork by scientists proved that permafrost is already a “net emitter of CO2,” this after thousands of years as a “carbon sink,” but no longer! As such, thousands of years of one of the largest carbon sinks on Earth erased by recklessness of human-generated over-heating ecosystems.

Not only that, according to Natali, permafrost thaw alone is equivalent to ~25% of the IPCC’s allowable emissions to stay below 1.5°C. Yet, the IPCC does not include permafrost in its carbon budget, meaning there’s a very nasty surprise down the line for the rah-rah climate mitigation crowd.

The second virtual speaker was Katey Walter Anthony, Aquatic Ecosystem Ecologist and Professor, Water and Environmental Research Center, University of Alaska/Fairbanks.

Dr. Anthony has done fieldwork throughout Russia with a lot of work in Siberia (a hothouse nowadays). Her research focuses on thermokarst, lake formation, and greenhouse gas methane.

Per Dr. Anthony, current climate models in the world do not include carbon emissions from thermokarst lakes. Yet, they’re plentiful with millions of thermokarst lakes expanding and releasing methane all across the Arctic.

Not only that but permafrost soils contain 1500 gigatons of carbon which, according to Dr. Anthony, equates to 150 years of fossil fuel emissions under present conditions. Imagine turning lose a sizeable fraction of that carbon. Once again, nation/states’ carbon emission mitigation plans are dead certain to come up real short of professed goals.

Field tests on thermokarst lakes are conducted by lowering a bubble trap into the water to trap microbial methane seeps as the methane bubbles year round. Bubble traps exist in over 300 lakes throughout the Arctic.

It was 14,000 years ago, as the climate warmed, when permafrost thermokarst lakes flared up on the landscape, bringing 4°C warming over a period of 8,000 years. Nowadays, according to Dr. Anthony, a similar 4°C warming will likely occur over only 80 years in sharp contrast to 8,000 years in the paleoclimate record. Obviously, without her stating as such, it implies a climate system that’s on turbo charger training-wheels, real big ones.

We are standing at the threshold of abrupt change in permafrost carbon emissions.1

Mercy! And, all of those mitigation plans by 195 nations, but did they ever really get off the ground? The truth is emissions relentlessly climb upwards, ad nauseam. Thus, questioning who’s seriously watching the store?

John Holdren wrapped up the virtual session: We’re probably looking at 80 to 100 gigatons of carbon released from permafrost over this century. In turn, this takes a big bite out of the global carbon budget. According to Dr. Holdren, that prospect is in addition to a global temperature increase, to date, of 1.1°C to 1.2°C above baseline.

Permafrost, which is not included in the global carbon budget by the IPCC, could add 25% to 40%. That’s an enormous problem that lends itself to big trouble down the line. What’s a nation in the throes of carbon emission mitigation plans to do?

Nevertheless, Dr. Holdren, who co-chaired Obama’s President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, says it is still possible to mitigate enough to hold temps to 2°C. But at a cost of ~3% of world GDP. Ahem! He further nearly apologetically suggested that the hit to civilization for failure to mitigate would far exceed that cost, which happens to be 3% of $85T or a whopping $2.55T (that’s trillions). Hello, anybody still out there?

Meanwhile, after years of handwringing and gushing teardrops of green sympathizers, the world is still 80% dependent upon fossil fuels, a fact revealed by Dr. Holdren at the close of his presentation. That’s very troubling.

That’s the same 80% as 50 years ago and a clear signal of absolute failure by governments around the world and a resounding failure by the IPCC to fully implement/organize/promote its heavenly Paris ’15 plans to save the planet. It’s disgraceful!

As for final questions/thoughts via the virtual webcast:

According to Dr. Anthony: The East Siberian Arctic Sea is a place where “we’ve seen really large numbers of CH4 release.”

The following was not discussed in the webcast: Temperatures were recently 30-34C (86-93F) in the East Siberian Arctic Sea (ESAS) region, which region is equivalent in size to Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, and Japan combined and with 75% of the area in 50-80m, shallow waters, allowing quick and easy CH4 release from the sub-sea permafrost without oxidation. Drilling by other scientists has discovered enormous quantities of frozen methane, and noticeable thinning of the subsea permafrost. Trusted sources that closely follow CH4 emissions in the ESAS region are of the opinion: “It may be out of control.” But, it’s important to note that’s anecdotal information.

Also, disconcertingly, the heaviest season for methane release into the atmosphere has only just begun.

Making matters even worse, at the Top of the World, Arctic Ocean sea surface temperatures, which this time of year are typically 0.3°C (32°F) were recently 12°C (54°F). That’s downright spooky!

Postscript: Scientists have identified the first active methane gas leak in Antarctica, announced July 22nd, discovered by researchers led by Andrew Thurber/Oregon State University, who commented: “I find it incredibly concerning.”2

Speechless!

  1. Dr. Anthony
  2. Andrew R. Thurber, et al, “Riddles in the Cold: Antarctic Endemism and Microbial Succession Impact Methane Cycling in the Southern Ocean”, The Royal Society, July 22, 2020.