Thursday, July 25, 2013

Methane Mischief: Misleading Commentary Published in Nature

Bubbles of methane emerge from sediments below a frozen Alaskan lake.  Credit:  Josh Haner/The New York Times/Redux/Eyevine
Nature, the same journal which published Wednesday’s commentary, published a scientific review of methane hydrates and climate change by Carolyn Ruppel in 2011 which suggests the scenario in said commentary is virtually impossible. The review states:
Catastrophic, widespread dissociation of methane gas hydrates will not be triggered by continued climate warming at contemporary rates (0.2ÂșC per decade; IPCC 2007) over timescales of a few hundred years. Most of Earth’s gas hydrates occur at low saturations and in sediments at such great depths below the seafloor or onshore permafrost that they will barely be affected by warming over even [1,000] yr.

One of the most comprehensive assessments of massive methane release came five years ago, when the former U.S. Climate Change Science Program concluded that "catastrophic release of methane to the atmosphere in the next century appears very unlikely" but also emphasized uncertainty, saying very large increases could not be discounted.

Methane Mischief: Misleading Commentary Published in Nature

Here's a report of Wednesday's commentary:

A release of methane in the East Siberian Sea, off northern Russia, alone could speed the melting of sea ice and climate change with a cost to the global economy of up to $60 trillion, or 15 percent of the total predicted cost of climate change impacts (about $400 trillion), over coming decades.  The size of the world economy in 2012 was about $70 trillion.  This is from a Comment piece in the journal, Nature.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge and Erasmus University in the Netherlands used economic modeling to calculate the consequences of a release of a 50-gigatonne reservoir of methane from thawing permafrost under the East Siberian Sea.

No comments:

Post a Comment