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  1. Dikran Marsupial at 03:40 AM on 21 August 2014
    Global warming denial rears its ugly head around the world, in English

    Ashton, it was you that pointed out "That is perhaps why "denier" blogs have a bigger following than blogs run by proponents of climate change.".  I pointed out that the reason that this is plausibly true is nothing to do with the effectiveness of the communication, but because they are providing an anodyne, comforting message that is appealing a-priori, even though it is not supported by the science.  You have evaded that point completely.  

    Try getting popular support for an action that will bring the greatest benefit to other people in the future, that will have a negative effect on individual prosperity now, and you will find support difficult to find whatever the question happens to be.  That is human nature, to expect otherwise is naive.  The MORI poll results suggest that the general public has been rather more receptive than I would have expected.

    As to soundbites, more baloney is not a good response to baloney, all you would be doing with the ones you suggest would be to open yourself up to accusations of ignoring the uncertainties and lack of unequivocal support for the economics. 


  2. Global warming denial rears its ugly head around the world, in English

    Dikran Marsupial.  It isn't those who frequent sceptical blogs you need to convince but the average person in the street who neither knows or cares about any blogs on Climate Science.

    The MSM puts its message out in short pithy soundbites or alliterative headlines that grab the attention. Here's a couple of, imaginary, examples.  

    PM in radio interview says "Incomes will fall by 40% unless gobal warming is stopped".  

    The Daily Gossip "Scientists say fossil fuel use to force pay freeze"

    Mancan 18 totally agree it is the wider public that needs convincing but disagree that climate change advocates have to defend their position while deniers can say what they like.  Deniers continulally point to the  current hiatus in global temperatures in the face of rising CO2 while the scientists say the missing heat is in the oceans although the evidence from the Argo system does not  seem tounequivocally support this contention  at the moment.   More isignificantly perhaps "deniers' get less media time than "advocates" on ABC (Australia)  and the BBC and less articles in the Fairfax press  but more articles in the Murdoch press.  As radio and TV have far wider coverage than print media advocates currently are ahead of deniers as far as exposure to the wider audience is concerned.  Whatever, my position like yours is that the MSM is central to and crucial for informing the "man in the street"

  3. Antarctica is gaining ice


    1) Yes the rate of melting of Antarctic land ice is increasing. Simply projecting previous rates into the future is not a useful calculation.

    2) A permanent increase in sea level, even a small one, is not comparable to the temoprary increase in tides represented by the position of the moon. In a similar way, a daily variation of +/- 20 degrees F between midnight and noon is normal temperature variation, but a permanent difference of 4-6 degrees worldwide can trigger an ice age or eliminate all glaciers and ice caps.

    I think there is a thread dealing with arguments that ciimate change isn't that bad. Perhaps this would be better discussed there.

  4. Dikran Marsupial at 01:08 AM on 21 August 2014
    2014 Arctic Sea Ice Extent Prediction

    franklefkin the prediction exercise targets the NSIDC September minimum extent, so I use the NSIDC data to calibrate my model (although I use the mean rather than the minimum).

  5. 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #33B

    michael sweet-

    Yes, the information is very preliminary, and they seem to be making the wrong measurements, or making the right measurements in the wrong way. 

    If there is a bouyant plume, what matters to the long term release calculation is the methane concentration at the top center of the crater, I think. 

    The best way to do such a calculation would be a fluid dynamics calculation, of course, or computer modeling. 

    I still think it's possible that these craters could be a signifcant long term source of methane, and that the chronic releases might end up being more significant than the initial eruption event- even much more significant, by a large factor. 

    The significance of the "Door to Hell" image is that it makes the methane entering that crater visible. The methane entering that crater, looking  at it visually, could be on the order of ten to 100 cubic meters per second. Turkmenistan, according to Wikipedia, wants to increase its exports to 75 million cubic meters of gas per year, so like Yamal, the ultimate reservoir of gas available is very large.

    It might be possible to get some idea of the chronic emissions by looking at natural gas wells in the area, and seeing what their output is in tons per day. 

  6. 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #33B

    Leland Palmer - What I believe scaddenp is saying is that thermogenic methane isn't a factor in climate change, because those sources are not changing, and are really quite unaffected by surface temperatures. Deep thermogenic methane isn't going to bubble out through the permafrost or anything else without unrelated fracture paths going much much deeper. 

    I understand your concern on the impact of methane emissions - but at this point I believe it has been made sufficiently clear that while permafrost melt/decay and methane release will have an impact on total forcing and (after the ~7 year decay time for methane) CO2 levels, it's not going to be a catastrophic impact simply due to the rate of melt, decay, and methane conversion to CO2. The numbers are central to this understanding, and I have to say I consider Archers calculations far more reasonable than yours. 

  7. 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #33B


    I get what you are saying, now. But I think climate change is still relevant to the release of methane, whatever the source. 

    It's the melting of the permafrost cap that allows the eruption event, the hypothesis goes. Frozen permafrost is strong and able to resist pressure from below, melted permafrost is weak and susceptible to eruption events. So as the permafrost melts, high pressure reservoirs of free methane gas from any source built up in the last few thousand years will start to erupt, if these three events are the start of a trend.

    If the source of the gas is methane hydrate dissociation, that could be more serious, I think that makes sense. 

  8. Global warming denial rears its ugly head around the world, in English

    Dikran Marsupial and Ashton

    A reality of the debate is that you will not convince a dedicated denier. However, it is possible to marginalise the hard core deniers like Bolt and Newman with good arguments based on the basic science. What is more important is convincing the wider public. At the moment it seems to me that in the wider debate in the popular media, climate change advocates are always expected to justify their assertions while the deniers never seem to have too. Now in a scientific information forum like Sceptical Science, the debate is scientific, so there is little problem. However, in the wider media it isn't and climate change advocates are continually required to defend their position while the deniers can just take potshots using any cherry picked piece of information they want to support their argument without having to justify anything else they say. Good arguments based on the basics of the science are needed so that deniers are always constantly challenged. Also, good metaphors related to everyday life, like microwaves warming food to describe the interaction of CO2 and infrared radiation, or although interest rates are small you can end up with a large amount money, are also needed to convince the wider public in realtion to what you are saying. There is probably little you can do if you encounter a denier who does not even beiieve that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and having it increase in the atmosphere is not going to warm the planet. The only thing you can do is show the absurdity of their argument using basic science.

    For instance the latest effort by deniers to discredit increasing CO2 as an argument is that somehow it doesn't matter because CO2 reaches a certain saturation point in the atmosphere so no further warming will occur. However, all you need to do is to point Venus. While there is no suggestion that we will cause runaway greenhouse gas heating like Venus, even if we burn all known fossil fuels, it certainly shows that the so called CO2 saturation argument is not what the deniers say. 

    There is also an old saying "never argue with fools, because people mighten know the difference". What climate change advocates need to do is show that deniers are fools, particularly when they deny the basics of the science.

  9. 2014 Arctic Sea Ice Extent Prediction

    Dikran Marsupial,

    rocketeer actually brings up a good point, sort of, what source do you use as your reference/comparisson?  JAXA, NSIDC or other?

  10. Dikran Marsupial at 22:57 PM on 20 August 2014
    Global warming denial rears its ugly head around the world, in English

    Ashton wrote "No Dikran Marsupial it desn't matter how "right" the sciece is, if you are unable to communicate its rightness to others then your cause is probably lost."

    Nonsense.  The fact that the rise in CO2 is anthropogenic has been communicated perfectly well, the fact that many denizens of climate skeptic [sic] blogs still don't accept it is because they are unable to accept it, a-priori, no matter how well it is explained.  It is not something that is seriously questioned outside skeptic [sic] blogs.  Therefore if skeptic [sic] blogs is where you get your view of the public debate on climate, you are getting a rather biased and unrealistic view.

    What I wrote is not at all insulting to the 43% (or whatever, the MORI poll suggests it is more than 50% even in the US) who do accept that the science is correct.  Far from it, it is a complement to their rationality that they do accept something, even though it is not something the want to hear.   It seems to me that your grasp of idiomatic English is perhaps a bit of a problem.  If I said that somebody did want to hear that their fossil fuel use was going to cause hardship to others less fortunate than themselves, that would be an insult!  There is something deeply wrong with you if you want to hear you are indirectly harming others who have done you no harm.

    The British government accepts the IPCC reports, having held a committee to look into it.   If the government is incompetent, that is generally the fault of the electorate, and they should avail themselves of the next opportunity (election) to correct their mistake.

  11. Global warming denial rears its ugly head around the world, in English

    No Dikran Marsupial it desn't matter how "right" the sciece is, if you are unable to communicate its rightness to others then your cause is probably lost.  I've been a university lecturer, in biochemistry, for many years and if, after a lecture on, say, the way steroids interact with cells, more than 50% of the students don't understand then it's my poor communication that is at fault.  Communication is essential when you're selling a message, whatever that message might be.  

    And your comment  "Unfortunately what the science says about climate change is something that nobody in their right mind will want to hear."  is rather insulting to the 43% or so who do accept that the science is correct.  Are they not in their right mind?  Your communication, at least on that point is hardly conducive to selling your message or to enhancing the convictions of those that do accept it.  If you can't get at least 60% to accept that somethig must be done then it probably don't happen.  In conclusion why is it that the conferences in Bali, Copenhagen and Doha have not found general support?  It would seem largely because those opposed to new measures have not been convinced why they should not oppose these measures. If the IPCC can't convince governemnts the science is right then who can?

  12. Dikran Marsupial at 21:57 PM on 20 August 2014
    Global warming denial rears its ugly head around the world, in English

    Ashton wrote "They don't have to do anything" they do if they want to make an informed contribution to the discussion.  If instead they just want to reduce the signal to noise ratio, then you are correct.

    The logic about the popularity of blogs is also rather shaky.  Unfortunately what the science says about climate change is something that nobody in their right mind will want to hear.  Providing comforting but specious arguments that suggest we don't need to do anything will always attract an audience.  It doesn't matter whether you are a good communicator or not, if you are dscussing science, you first need to get the science right (c.f. repeated discussions on skeptic [sic] blogs on whether the rise in CO2 is anthropogenic, e.g. Salby, which we know beyond reasonable doubt it is). 

  13. Global warming denial rears its ugly head around the world, in English

    scaddenp@10  You comment " if someone can't follow the summary arguments in WG1 SPM, then frankly they have to trust the viewpoint of those who can. I dont think it is as simple as "CO2 is greenhouse gas, GHGs warm the planet" is  extremely patonising

     They don't have to do anything.  You have to structure  the argument for your point of view so "they" can follow it.  If you can't or won't, do that then your cause is probably lost.  Good communicators are those that can get their message across to all not just to a select few.  That is perhaps why "denier" blogs have a bigger following than blogs run by proponents of climate change.  If that is  not the answer then pesumably it must be that more believe the deniers than believe the warmists

  14. 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #33B

    "This simply does not compute, sorry to say".

    The speculation is that crater is result of shallow methane hydrate melting due to global warming and releasing methane. The pressure of methane builds up till it blows out the cap rock. There are no vents involved and the origin of the methane is in immediate sediment around the hole. If this is correct, then the crater is related to global warming since it depends on warming of the sediments to release the methane. I would note that there is no mention of any vents in descriptions of the craters so far.

    If the methane is thermogenic, then it is finding its way to the surface via fractures from a reservoir, probably at around 50Mpa, 2km below the surface. This is the origin of the "Door to Hell" seep. I struggle to see how global warming can have any impact on this process. Furthermore, I would expect a gas seep at the bottom of the crater linked to a fracture system. Gas from such a system would continue to leak as it does in numerous other places at rates entirely unaffected by climate, at least on human scales.

    For my money, I would back the shallow methane hydrates as source, caused by warming of the tundra, that the sources are local and temporary. (after the pressure release surrounding sediment would quickly give up biogenic and hydrate methane but the sediment permeability would be unlikely to allow a large area to drain).

    I looked more carefully at Archer's calculation. He not using the 9% measurement. He is assuming bubble is the same volume of the hole and that it is 100% methane at pressure of 10 atmospheres. That is surely an upper bound.

  15. 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #33B


    I doubt that an estimate of the gas flow into the crater can be made from the very limited data that has been released.  Presumably the scientists who made the measurements will release their estimates when they finish their calculations.  It will be interesting to see what they find.

  16. Dikran Marsupial at 18:48 PM on 20 August 2014
    2014 Arctic Sea Ice Extent Prediction

    rocketeer the WUWT estimate was the one they submitted for the June round of the prediction exercise, I suspect the predictions submitted in later months were lower.  My method only uses the September mean sea ice extent measurements from previous years, so my prediction doesn't change as the Arctic summer progresses. 

    Having investigated, I don't think WUWT made a submission for July; their August submission of 5.6 million square kilometers is "still in the race", I would be very happy for them to be right, but I think they are being rather too optimistic!

  17. Global warming denial rears its ugly head around the world, in English

    scaddenp and One Planet Forever.

    I am not disagreeing with you and I am not saying forums like Sceptical Science  are not important, but I am saying that the argument is already lost if you cannot even get through to a denier/skeptic about the basic idea that increasing greenhouse gases and its significance, has warmed and will continue to warm the globe.

    In Australia,  the likes of Andrew Bolt, a prominent newspaper opinion writer for the Murdoch press and host of a "current" affairs show that has a wide following, gets away with the most outrageous comments regarding climate change, and influences a lot of people. He does this without challenge and he reaches a wider audience than anyone from the climate science community does. His tactic is to pick trite points irrelevant to the arguments being made and bury anyone who is trying to make a factual point. The problem is that he conducts a political interview rather than a scientific one. He needs to be challenged about his view of the science and to do this, you need to go back to the basics of the science and not try to argue about the significance as to why it's been hot, whether climategate was a scam or not, and what needs to be done; because he and his audience don't believe there is a problem anyway.

    Also, which is even worse, one needs wonder why someone as obiviously intelligent as Maurice Newman is a denier.  He's been Chair of the ABC, Chancellor of Macquarie University and a key Government business advisor for over a decade, so he obviously has a few brains. He is still steadfastly a denier and he influences many of his other business mates to the same way of thinking. Again, whenever he makes a denier argument, you need to make arguments and challenge him from the basics so he doesn't have room to move. Expecting ordinary people with little knowledge or interest to follow the debate in its entirety is a bit much to expect, and most are not going to read the IPCC report anyway. However, they are going to listen to the likes of Andrew Bolt and Maurice Newman. If Bolt and Newman are confronted with the basic tenets of the science of global warming, everytime they try to make an argument, then their ridiculous statements, like the one Bolt uses about CO2 being harmless, can be put to rest and he can be shown to be the fool that he is and, hopefully, leave people who are just trying to understand a little less confused.

    Hopefully, by going back to the basics of the science, will relegate the likes of Bolt and Newman and climate change denial to the realm of such myths as the "Earth being 6000 years old" and "we didn't land on the moon" fads. You need to remember the overwhelming majority of scientists are reasonable people whereas the politcal ideologues who argue against the science aren't and will use any political tactic in their arsenal to get their views across. Climate change advocates, despite their overwhelming arguments, will always lose against climate change deniers, because deniers by and large are never directly challenged to prove their stance, while the advocates always are.

  18. Global warming denial rears its ugly head around the world, in English

    One point about the "in English" is that if you look at "these islands" (aka the British Isles), how much public climate change denial correlates with British, in fact English, Conservative politics.

    The "Celtic Fringe" (Ireland, Scotland, and as far as I know Wales) is almost entirely climate-change-denier-free as regards politicians. While neither the Scottish Nationalists who are in government in Scotland, or the Centre-Left Coalition in office here in the Republic of Ireland, are paragons when it comes to carbon, at least they do not have full-on deniers in their cabinets or in powerful back bench factions.

    Nor has climate change denial or opposition to renewable energy any traction with the electorate, other than wind farms as an environmental-aesthetic issue.

    It highlights the alignment of climate-change-denial with a particular brand of "business-friendly" right-wing politics. At least politicians of the centre or left talk the talk, whatever about walking the walk.

  19. 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #33B

    Hi michael sweet-

    Yes, of course a bouyant gas will rise, until it becomes well mixed with the atmosphere. 

    Inside the Yamal crater, I suspect that what is going on would be a bouyant plume of methane that would rise, until it clears the rim of the crater, and it would then be mixed with the rest of the atmosphere. I suspect that the bouyant plume would be concentrated toward the center of the crater. I suspect that air would flow down the sides of the crater, to fill the space left by the exit of the bouyant plume. I suspect that the air flowing down the sides of the crater would help melt the walls of the crater, and increase the erosion rate- part of the natural process of evolution of the crater, leading ultimately to a circular lake.

    It may be that my calculation was too high - I was assumng that most of the volume of the crater was 9% methane. If that 9% figure was only around some vents at the bottom of the crater, then the bouyancy driven circulation would be less. By the way, my calculation results in gas flows of 4 miles per hour, or so - walking speed.

    I suspect that methane concentration measurements around the rim of the crater would be low- likely this is in the influx stream of air leading down into the crater. What I would be interested to know is the concentration of methane in the bouyant plume toward the center of the crater, and the rate of flow in a cross section across the top of the crater.

  20. 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #33B


    " Now it is possible the methane in the Yamal crater is from deep thermogenic gas field but then it would have no relevance to climate change at all."

    This simply does not compute, sorry to say. The origin of methane has absolutely noting to do with it's relevance to climate change. Thermogenic methane has somewhat different C12 to C13 ratios than biogenic methane, is all. It all has the same greenhouse effect, no matter what the source.

  21. Global warming denial rears its ugly head around the world, in English

    mancan18, if someone can't follow the summary arguments in WG1 SPM, then frankly they have to trust the viewpoint of those who can. I dont think it is as simple as "CO2 is greenhouse gas, GHGs warm the planet". You have to also include the points that the increase is significant, it is man-made, that feedbacks will make something small a lot larger, and that natural forcings are neutral or negative. There are still huge no.s out there who dont accept that climate is changing.

  22. One Planet Only Forever at 14:04 PM on 20 August 2014
    Global warming denial rears its ugly head around the world, in English


    I believe the 'discussion' needs to focus on something more significant and fundamental than the 'basic science of the consequences of increased CO2 from burning dug up non-renewable hydrocarbons'.

    The real issue has to be the need to develop truly lasting ways for humans to live decent lives on this amazing planet. It is clear that:

    • the rapid climate disruption caused by rapid increase of CO2 is a problem not an improvement.
    • burning 'dug up non-renewable hydrocarbons' cannot last as a way of living.
    • there are other damaging consequences related to the burning of dug up hydrocarbons.
    • only a few can actually benefit the most from this activity. That has led to conflicts and oppression by powerful pursuers of the most profit they can get for themselves fighting to get the most of this limited and ultimately dwindling opportunity, causing harm to many others in the process.
    • the only viable future for humanity is developing ways of living as part of a robust diversity of life, the only thing proven to be sustainable on this amazing planet. And it can be argued that only an economy devoid of unsustainable damaging activity has any chance of being sustained, and is the only type of economy that can sustain growth.

    It is clear that there is no future for benefiting from dug up non-renerwable resources. Yet the developed economies are loaded with powerful wealthy people who got away with benefiting from unsustainable and damaging activities. And they want to maximize their profit.

    So it is clear that the solution is not for climate science messages to stick to the 'basic science'. The fundamental issue to be overcome is the desire of people to benefit in ways that tempt them to deliberately not want to have the basic science understood, even if it is clearly and repeatedly presented.

    The science is not that complicated. The incredible attempts to discredit it have been sustained by the popular desire to not care about the future when such caring would reduce the potential for personal benefit.

    So continuing to develop the best understanding of what is going on is more than just improving the science of climate science. It needs to include challenging the belief that everyone being free to do as they please is acceptable. That is a far greater challenge, but needs to be overcome to broaden the acceptance of the best understanding of climate science and so many other improved understandings that are contrary to be beleif that it is OK for everyone to do as they please, any way they can get away with.

  23. Global warming denial rears its ugly head around the world, in English

    scaddenp. The IPCC reports are not easily accessable to the wider public in an intellectual sense. Also, deniers have muddied the IPCC by misrepresenting what it actually is and what it says. John's Consensus Project goes a way towards alleviating the uncertainty question related to the arguments, however Maurice Newman's group think argument that he applies to Climate Scientists has some truth, not regarding Climate Scientists in general, but to the deniers themselves. Outsiders don't know what to make of it all. Increasingly, there is a tendency for deniers to just agree with each other about their arguments, and as result think it must be true and everyone else thinks as they do. The same is true for the Climate Science advocates themselves who discuss the issue amongst themselves and think that everything is quite reasonable and can't understand why everyone else doesn't believe it. The advantage Climate Scientists have however, is the basic science and common sense. The disadvantage the deniers have is that despite their every argument, none really makes sense if you go back to the basic science and the idea that increasing greenhouse gases will heat the planet, and that CO2 is clearly a greenhouse gas. This is what has to be argued, and deniers need to be challenged about this basic idea at every opportunity. Sensational statements by groups with a politcal agenda making wild predictions do not help. Of course to get proper measured coverage, you do need a sympathetic media.

  24. 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #33B

    Okay Michael, I get it (and hurriedly consulted textbooks). However, we could reasonably assume that by the time they measured it, you had well-mixed gases in the hole (only 9% was methane) and so any new ingress into the hole would only be only leaving at something like diffusion rate assuming no wind.

  25. 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #33B



    If a tank of methane failed the gas would rise in the atmosphere as a body, since it is less dense than air.   This is the same as hot air rising over a fire.  Eventually it would mix with the surrounding air.  Once the gas is well mixed it would no longer rise.  CO2 is always described as well mixed when the properties of the gas in the atmosphere are discussed, mixtures enhanced in CO2 or methane would behave differently.

    At the volcanic lakes in Africa the CO2 flows over the ground after sudden release from the lakes, suffocating nearby villagers.  After the gas mixes with the air it no longer hugs the ground.

    I do a demonstration where I pour a cup of CO2 over a candle. link  The CO2 sinks through the air and the candle goes out.  It is possible (looks much cooler) to pour the gas from one beaker to another and than over the candle.  Methane will rise when it is in high enough concentration.  For this reason propane is dangerous in boats.  The propane can sink into the bilge and accumulate.  Occasionally you see reports of boats exploding from propane leaks.  The propane does not leak out since air currents in a sealed boat are small.  Methane floats out and does not usually accumulate in boats (or houses).

    In this hole it seems to me that enhanced methane containing air could rise out of the hole at a much faster rate than it would diffuse out.  Air would siphon in the other side.  Once out of the hole, wind would rapidly mix it and it would stop rising. 

  26. One Planet Only Forever at 11:25 AM on 20 August 2014
    2014 Arctic Sea Ice Extent Prediction

    Out of curiosity I have been comparing the NASA daily image set of the 2013 ice extent (in this NASA report), with the Environment Canada daily presentation of Arctic Sea Ice extent (from this web page).

    I am not sure if the extent at this time in 2013 was comparable to the current 2014 extent by JAXA shared by rocketeer, but the image comparions seem quite similar in total extent. However, a lot can happen over the next 4 weeks. As with all of these complex climate items, we will have to wait and see what the September average and minimums end up being.

  27. 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #33B

    Leland Palmer @12 and @23 switches the basis of the discussion from single one time releases for the event, to estimated ongoing releases.  In doing so, he estimates an ongoing flux which releases an equivalent amount of methane in 10 hours to the amount estimated to have been released in the explosive release by Archer.  I am not alone in finding that implausible.  

    What ever factors currently contribute to release of methane from the crater must have previously contributed to release of methane into the chamber.  As the amount of methane was presumably stable, with the explosive release of the methane due to weakening of the chambers roof by warming (either the ongoing global warming and/or the recent locally hot summers in the region), that means the less than 10 atmospheres pressure in the chamber was enough to prevent the current release rates.  That in turn suggests current release rates are likely to diminish rapidly as methane becomes depleted from the crater walls.  Therefore, any such calculation as made by Leland should wait until gas concentrations at the bottom of the crater stabilize (even assuming he uses the correct method).

    More importantly,  the contribution of long term slow releases of methane cannot be reasonably estimated without taking the oxidation rate of methane into account, which is sufficient to halve methane content in the atmosphere every seven years.  (That means to maintain the current 1.85 ppmv of methane in the atmosphere the equivalent of half of that must be emitted from all sources every seven years, and in fact slightly more than that as concentrations are growing.)  It is because of this oxidation that Archer is not overly concerned about high arctic methane emission, and why methane catastrophes such as proposed by Shakhova assume emissions of 50 gigatons 1-5 years.  (Even such a Shakhova event, which temporarilly increases atmospheric methane by as much as 1100% would only increase atmospheric temperatures by a further 1.3 C at the end  of the century.) 

    Leland's estimate of ongoing emissions from the crater represents just 0.00003% of a Shakhova event.  Even the erruption of 50,000 such craters over the next 5 years would represent just 1.5% of a Shakhova event.  At the moment there is no data that suggests such a rapid erruption rates is likely, and hence no data suggesting this erruption pressages an imminent Shakhova event.

    As a footnote, @28, Leland shows a picture of the "Door to Hell" in Turkmenistan (not Turkey).  Although it has been burning for 43 years, the methane in question is thermogenic, and part of a major oil and gas field.  The duration of the burn is in no way an indicator of the likely sustainable flows of the biogenic methane that is likely being released from permafrost in Yamal.

  28. Global warming denial rears its ugly head around the world, in English

    "Rarely have I seen a breakup of the argument into the basic science, the evidence, the likely impacts and the political and economic solution."

    So what are the IPCC WG reports then? The political and economic solutions are harder because there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Scientists are not economists either. Use whatever sits with your political values that will results in less emissions is the basic response. The WG3 report certainly lays it out.

    The WG1 report does not fit into a media sound-bite and so it is inevitiable that discussion is fragmented. However, anyone actually wanting to be informed can always read the report. Shooting the messenger is more popular however.

  29. Global warming denial rears its ugly head around the world, in English

    Another problem is that the average man in the street nowadays has such limited education or interest in science (an I myself am a layman in this respect) that being told that the planet will warm by say two degrees evokes the response "so what? I like warmer weather".

    That there is a fundamental difference between temperature and heat passes him by. It's the same reasoning that will put two quick meals into the microwave instead of one, give them the recommended time and wonder why they are still cold when they come out.

  30. Global warming denial rears its ugly head around the world, in English

    The problem with the media can also be put at the feet of the climate change proponents themselves. Rarely have I seen a breakup of the argument into the basic science, the evidence, the likely impacts and the political and economic solution. In the media, at one moment the media might be talking about the ice in Antarctica, then the next moment about why an ETS is needed, and then railing against some denier; rather than reminding the public of the basic science.  There never seems to be a consistent argument from climate change advocates, and there never appears to be any challenge for the deniers to actually prove what they are saying. Now, in Australia, the Murdoch press and the major polluters have colluded to misinform the public and brow beat climate scientists.  As a result, there is nowhere near the balanced reporting that the deniers demand. It is all in their favour. No wonder the Australian public is confused. But rather than stick to the basic science and assume that it is done deal, little effort is made by climate change advocates whenever they get the opportunity, to revert back to the basic science and challenge the deniers to actually prove their case. Deniers should be asked everytime they present an argument, to clearly explain exactly how can the planet cool, or how can the planet not warm up and remain the same if greenhouse gases have increased to the extent they have and continue to increase at the rate they are? Also, they should be asked to what level should we allow greenhouse gases to accumulate in the atmosphere before we do something about them? This is the basic science and very rarely does it rate a mention. Whenever a climate change advocate gets the rare chance nowadays to make an argument in the popular media, rather than bury the public in overwhelming evidence, it would be better to actually challenge climate change deniers everytime they make absurd statements. Ask them to prove that the basic consensus is wrong and ask them to prove that what they are saying is safe. Require them to prove that increasing greenhouse gases is safe and not change the climate rather than trying to use a shotgun of arguments to blast them out of the debate and in doing so confuse the public. Overall, in the popular media, there needs to be a more consistent approach based excusively on the basics clearly delineated between the science, the evidence, the impacts, and what we do.

  31. 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #33B

    I should say though that a long time scales, (100kya),  thermogenic gas could be a significant feedback. This paper by two of my colleagues show what happens from a very cursory look and with just commercial modelling software. We havent been able to pursue the matter sadly. The paper also shows that on human time scales, thermogenic gas isnt much of an issue for climate.

  32. 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #33B

    1.6l/m2 for be a very respectable flow rate for a deep natural gas reservoir with its enormous pressure. That kind of permeability in tundra? with almost no pressure?

    Your crater photo is methane coming up from a deep thermogenic gas reservoir under enormous pressure. Gas seeps are common (I have a database of around 600 of them from around NZ) and their flow rates have little influence on atmosphere. Its revelance to methane from tundra/hydrates would be nil. Now it is possible the methane in the Yamal crater is from deep thermogenic gas field but then it would have no relevance to climate change at all.

  33. Global warming denial rears its ugly head around the world, in English

    Phill Marston@2.  One analogy I like to put out to people is to think of the ocean as a trillion ton iron ball.  We've been pushing on that ball for 150 years and it has begun to roll.  Our scientists have recently noticed that it may roll over our children.  If we stop pushing on the ball will it stop rolling?  No.  It'll keep rolling for some time before friction finally stops it, because its so huge.  In fact, we have to stop pushing some 40 years before, to make it stop in time.  So, yes, the lack of immediacy works in Murdoch's favor, but by this analogy it's possible to make people understand that the same mechanism that allows that lack of immediacy also arrests the immediacy of any response once we do finally take this issue seriously.  I think its also helpful to remind people that one doesn't put on a seat belt in a car because one expects to get in a car accident.  We do it because its just the prudent thing to do.  So is action on Climate Change.  Hopefully the scientists are wrong, but if they are not, we need to put some distance between our children and that trillion ton rolling ball.

  34. Global warming denial rears its ugly head around the world, in English

    Phil Marston@2  Who warned the BBC and why?  Surely presenting both sides of the argument is in the best interests of all.  Isn't it?  Obviously if the denier is unable to logically discuss the issue at hand this will be to the benefit of the believers (not sure if that is the correct term but it seems suitably opposite to denier).

  35. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    Dikran Marsupial @1477.

    The passage you found in the Tyndall translation (actually @1446 although the link does the job) certainly makes the two-way flow explicit. It is perhaps still a bit obscure being within a footnote but I think if you also point out that the statements of the law nowhere say they aren't talking about net heat flow, then the footnote would be difficult to refute.

    Also I wonder if describing the changing size of the vibrations of atoms in a solid that result in transmited heat by conduction may also be useful to show up how brainless the 'no heat shall pass from cold to hot' interpretation really is. Just as the nutters are arguing that by magic photons don't get fired at warmer objects, they also have to be arguing that vibrations only excite adjacent atoms in the direction of net heat flow. How can a vibration only act in one single direction? A mind-boggling requirement.

  36. 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #33B

    Michael, I dont follow. I cant see how methane can diffuse out of the hole faster than the mixing rate on the interface. Yes, CH4 will be faster than CO2 because diffusion rate is dependent on inverse square of molecular mass, but surely Graham's law more or less applies. I dont see the setup being any different to high school diffusion rate experiments really.

  37. 2014 Arctic Sea Ice Extent Prediction

    Seeing as how JAXA is reporting extent less than 5.7 X 106km2 two weeks before the start of September. the WattsWrongWithThat estimate of 6.1 is already out of the race.

  38. 2014 Arctic Sea Ice Extent Prediction

    I can't read Figure 4 (it is blank) and a popup keeps asking me for a server username and password to view it.

    Monthly average sea ice extent seems to have regressed to the figure given by a linear fit to the historic points, so that is my crude guess, just about 5m km^2 or slightly less.

    Any opinion on the "count the early melt pools" method we heard a lot about earlier in the year?

    Moderator Response:

    [Dikran Marsupial] Sorry, problem with images should now be fixed, thank you for bringing it to our attention.

  39. 2014 Arctic Sea Ice Extent Prediction

    5.35 million square kilometers +/- 1 million

  40. 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #33B

    Hi chriskoz-

    Well, the total area of the walls of the crater is about 71,000 square meters, assuming a 15 meter radius and a depth of 100 meters. So, that's about 1.6 liters of methane per second per square meter of crater wall. 

    Is that excessive?

    I wonder how much methane is coming out of this crater in Turkey? It's been burning for 40 years, I guess.

    Gate to Hell, Turkey

  41. Global warming denial rears its ugly head around the world, in English

    We know there is a scientific consensus about anthropogenic climate change and the problem is one for social science, not the physical sciences. As this (free) article from Nature Climate Change back in 2009 shows, people's attitude to the problem is determined by the likely immediacy of its effects on them and the prevailing political and media environment they occupy. Deniers know that they don't have to prove an opposing case; they only have to sow sufficient doubt in order to continue with a Business As Usual programme. The biggest obstacle to the public understanding of climate science in the modern English-speaking world is the media, with Murdoch's empire leading the debacle but with even organisations like the BBC trying to hard to present a 'balanced' view by reaching for a denier for every article (although they've been warned about this recently). 

  42. 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #33B


    While your idea of calculating the hole's emission rate from the measured equilibrium concentration at the bottom is interesting, your results are simply laughably exaggerated, even after the correction by a factor of E3 @24.

    82kg/s, that's about 120m3 of pure methane per second! Do you see sizeable vents in the walls of the crater that would possibly provide such big flow? No way. Therefore your methane delivery would have to happen from the water at the bottom. Do you imagine the size of bubbles? This water would not look like a quiet puddle on the movie they've shown but rather like a boiling cauldron from hell. No one would be able to even approach the crater and abseiling along the wall as they've done to film the puddle would endup in suffocation.

    I don't bother following your calculatrion/verifying your numbers. But I feel like your statement:

    [my rate is] a factor of 1000 greater than Archer's calculation

    actually favours Archer, because your rate seems like 1000times greater than the reality (which is a quiet puddle, not a roaring cauldron). I would not be surprised if the expert's calculation estimated hole's emission at ~80g/s exactly 1000times less than yours, in par with Archer's calculation. Said emission, coming from cracks in the bottom and tiny bubbles in water mixes with the air volume at the bottom 1m of the crater and results in 9% concentrate as measured by some hand-held spectrometer. The spectrometer gives the highest readings of 9% in the pockets close to the vents at the bottom. By the time that methane reaches the lip, it's already dilluted close to the background levels. Proof: the abseiler who filmed it did not hesitate to go and apparently survived. 

  43. 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #33B


    I think in this case it is possible for the methane to rise because it is not well mixed.  If the gas in the hole has a higher concentration of methane than the surrounding air it will be less dense and move as a bulk.  Once out of the hole, wind will mix the bulk around and distribute the methane.  Once it is well mixed it no longer rises.  I do not know how to do the calculations,  but it has to be considered.

    Carbon dioxide can be held in a covered container because it is heavier than air.  If the cover is removed the CO2 will stay in the container for a long time until air currents slowly mix it with the surrounding air.  Hydrogen can be contained in a container with an open botton.

  44. 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #33B

    Um, are you not implying because methane is lighter than air, it must all go up? In what way is that different from the idiots that claim that CO2 must stay close to ground because it is heavier than air? The change in gas concentration in the crater must be governed instead by gas diffusion laws.

  45. 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #33B

    Woops, that's in billions of kilograms, not in billions of metric tons. So, make that 0.0003 gtons- still a factor of 1000 greater than Archer's calculation.

  46. 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #33B

    Hi scaddenp-

    OK, one more (new - Moderator please note) point and then I'll shut up, at least for a while.

    I think Archer may have missed the point, by considering only the initial release of methane. The crucial question might be - how much methane (which is lighter than air and so is bouyant) would have to be released at a constant rate to maintain an equilibrium concentration of 9% in the bottom of such a crater for a long period of time? The measured concentration at the bottom of the crater a couple of weeks ago was 9%.

    From Wikipedia:

    "Dry air has a density of about 1.29 g/L at standard conditions for temperature and pressure (STP). Methane (density 0.716 g/L at STP, average molecular mass 16.04 g/mol) is the chief component of natural gas and is sometimes used as a lift gas when hydrogen and helium are not available."

    To maintain a constant concentration of a bouyant gas must require a constant flow of methane into the crater.

    My spreadsheet calculation says that about 82 kg per second of methane would be released to maintain that 9% concentration, as a very rough approximation using Newton's laws of motion and making conservative assumptions.  That's assuming a 25 meter square column of gas that is 9% methane and 100 meters high is providing the bouyant force. I get an acceleration of about 0.04 meters per second squared, and a final velocity of about 2 meters per second for the entire column of 9% methane.

    So, over 100 years, that's about 0.3 gigatons of methane - roughly 100,000 times Archer's number.

    That seems high, no doubt that flow would decline over time. At least, I hope it would. As the flow declines, the bouyant force would also decline. Still, it looks like Archer was asking the wrong question, by limiting himself to a calculation of the initial methane release, and was likely low by a factor of at least 1000.

  47. 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #33B

    The mechanism proposed so far by Phekhanov and others is for pressure release of hydrates as the tundra has warmed. This is plausible. I dont see a plausible mechanism for the crater from release of deep thermogenic gas, and if one was shown to exist, it certainly wouldnt be related to global warming. The other events you mention are still associated with a continental configuration including large shallow seas and thus potentially lots of hydrate. Got a paper that claims the excursions are from a spontaneous release of hydrates? I am familiar with PT and PETM literature but I admit to know little about a Triassic event.

    What Archer and others are pointing out, is that is very difficult to find a credible mechanism for producing dangerous amounts of CH4 in the modern world, which makes such claims unduly alarmist. Far from being out by 10 or 100, I think you should note that Archer used an impossible upper end for methane content.  We have quite enough problems with CO2 emissions. Truly alarmist claims simply result in lost crediability and distract from the real problems.

  48. Global warming denial rears its ugly head around the world, in English

    Unfortunately I think you'll find that almost always reports in the MSM (yes even the reviled MUrdoch papers) reach many, many more readers than does SkS, Real Climate. Open Mind etc.   Given that, it is unlikely this analysis will have much effect on the average citizen.  Getting a piece into a newspaper, other than The Guardian which is not a high circulation paper as it is regarded by many as a subversive, left wing publication (despite the brilliant Feicity Loake), will achieve much more than 10 pieces here.  And yes. I am aware of John Cook's 97% paper and the subsequent comments both for and against that paper.  Why not see if Fairfax or indeed News Ltd will publish this piece?

  49. Dikran Marsupial at 00:28 AM on 19 August 2014
    2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    MA Roger, while the translation doesn't explicitly use the phrase "net flow of heat", I think it is implicitly clear in the translation of the first edition of Clausius' textbook in the footnote mentioned in my post at 1146:

    "In the first place this implies that in the immediate interchange of heat between two bodies by conduction and radiation, the warmer body never receives more heat from the colder one that it imparts to it."

    The only way for this to be satisfied (in the absence of "some other change") is for the net flow of heat to be from the warmer to the cooler body.

  50. 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #33B

    Hi chriskoz-

    Archer thinks he can predict what will happen.

    I don't think so. 

    We've now seen three cold gas eruption events. Does anyone doubt that there will be more?

    This new explosive release plus slow subsidence mechanism needs to be factored into all future scenarios. We need to find out- urgently- how much methane this mechanism will release, and how much it has released in the past.

    Beyond that, we need to just stop experimenting on our planet, and introducing factors that no one is competent to predict. Isaksen wrote his paper before he knew about this new explosive release mechanism. I wonder what he would say, now.

    The laws of physics will not be denied. Permafrost melts and gas expands when heated. Heat millions of square kilometers of permafrost, and we run the risk of setting off side effects that no one is competent to predict.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] You are now skating on the thin ice of excessive repetition which is prohibited by the SkS Comments Policy. 

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