Jason Box's tweets & reporting

So this scientist's tweet has been picked up by various news organisations, including the UK's Daily Mail. The reader comments are predictably about scaremongering.


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    edited August 2014

    I hadn't known about the new observation of methane bubbling up from methane hydrates on the sea floor. However, it doesn't seem at all surprising, given that in 2011 people discovered lots of methane bubbling up through the Arctic ocean. Where else could it come from?

    (Folks who don't know about that can read Melting permafost (part 1).)

    I would like to know what new information is being discovered. Here's something from the first link here:

    Örjan Gustafsson thinks that the mechanism behind the presence of methane seeps at these depths may have something to do with the ”tongue” of relatively warm Atlantic water, presumably intruding across the Arctic Ocean at 200-600 m depths. "Some evidence have shown that this water mass has recently become warmer. As this warm Atlantic water, the last remnants of the Gulf Stream, propagates eastward along the upper slope of the East Siberian margin, it may lead to destabilization of methane hydrates on the upper portion of the slope. This may be what we are now seeing for the first time,” writes Örjan Gustafsson.

    I guess some of you may have seen the business about methane and that mysterious crater in Siberia.

    It's about time for another post on melting permafrost... if anyone else wants to write one, that'd be great.

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    The thing that struck me was that this was the first time I'd seen a "respectable scientist" swearing like that in an open public communication (which out of respect for Andrew I didn't want to actually repeat on the forum). I agree that the new observations aren't actually that surprising given previous ones.

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    By the way, once Andrew is no longer running the the Forum, we should be able to use swear words.

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    nad might be interested in an item from NCAR news (worth subscribing to).


    Last month, the Obama Administration and the EPA released a new plan to reduce carbon emissions from U.S. power plants in the hopes of ameliorating the effects of climate change. But the plan's call for increased use of natural gas stirred controversy in some environmental circles, given concerns about the consequences of fracking and the release of methane gas into the atmosphere from burning natural gas. In his By Degrees blog for the New York Times, reporter Justin Gillis talked to two climate science experts -- CI Senior Fellow and RDCEP scientist Raymond Pierrehumbert and Drew Shindell of NASA/Duke University -- about the debate, and whether methane gas should be regulated as much as carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fueled power plants and other sources.

    “The methane is like a hangover that you can get over if you stop drinking,” said Raymond T. Pierrehumbert, a climate scientist at the University of Chicago and the author of a textbook on planetary atmospheres. “CO2 is more like lead poisoning — it sticks around, you don’t get rid of it, and it causes irreversible harm.”

    Despite that difference, billions of dollars are being spent to control methane leaks, and some people argue for spending more. Dr. Pierrehumbert is a leading voice challenging that approach. He argues, essentially, that the world has yet to mount a serious effort to control carbon dioxide, which will be vastly more harmful in the long run, and that methane and other short-term pollutants should largely be ignored until that bigger problem is fixed.

    He summarizes his position by adapting St. Augustine’s plea for chastity: “Lord, give me methane control, but not yet.” You can read the rest of the article at the New York Times, and read more about Pierrehumbert's research here.

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