back to article Arctic Ocean may be releasing its methane

A group of researchers has expressed concern that the Arctic may contribute more methane to the atmosphere than previously estimated. While working out the past history of climate change is relatively straightforward (especially for the past fifty to one hundred years, for which we have direct measurements), predicting its …

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  1. Nick De Plume
    Devil

    No wonder it's got gas.

    Imagine holding it in (or back) for millenia?

    Hot damn!

    Should have used the gas to power Northern Lights, instead of Solar Winds. That would have been a good use of greenhouse gases, and would have been much more environmentally friendly.

    Funny to think using fossil fuel to be eco-friendly, oh well. But then there are even people who think a Prius is eco-friendly, batteries and all...

  2. asdf
    Joke

    wow someone tell Lewis

    I look forward to Lewis forthcoming article debunking all science in this report as well as questioning the motives and even the sexuality of the author. No wait not really except to skip the article to the comments section to tweak all the deniers.

    1. g e
      Facepalm

      Re: wow someone tell Lewis

      Classic stuff. Only the true believers can be right.

    2. mhenriday
      Boffin

      Rank discrimination, asdf !

      You have, willy-nilly, omitted AO's signal «contributions» to the discussion. Lewis is hardly alone !...

      Henri

      1. asdf
        FAIL

        Re: Rank discrimination, asdf !

        Yep right on cue AO has a climate denial article today as well. Lewis is just more amusing to me as a rule.

        1. asdf
          FAIL

          Re: Rank discrimination, asdf !

          Technically should read anthropogenic climate change denial or by the slang term who gives a shit about the grandkids.

  3. itzman
    Holmes

    let me get this right..

    1/. the world's surface isn't getting warmer.

    2/. but the sea is..

    3/. so there must be a GREATER heatloss from the earths surface or LESS incident radiation.

    4/. so either CO2 is NOT blanketing the earth in a warm duvet OR the suns got less strong OR

    5/. something that is definitely NOT in the IPCC global model is in fact happening.

    OH DEAR.

    We know whats happened to the sun, so that basically says AGW is pants. Something else is going on and CO2 isn't keeping us warm.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: let me get this right..

      Quick! Write a paper, with a all encompassing knowledge of climate science like that which you display, you're sure to get a PHd.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: let me get this right..

      Also: What is it with people actually denying the existence of the Greenhouse effect? It's scientifically illiterate rubbish like this which gives genuine reasoned skepticism a bad name.

      1. Beachrider

        Re: let me get this right..

        There are deniers of the Greenhouse effect, but most people accept that accumulation gaseous carbon compounds will warm the earth.

        The problem was the Kyoto accords and the assumption that manmade CO2 control is a primary (or at least key) aspect of making humanity more sustainable.

        This particular article puts up a key alternative, that methane is really THE primary aspect of global warming. It also advises that global warming isn't something as simple as a 1980s BBC TV show. This kind of approach reaches-out to the Kyoto-critics (there are MANY) and can help establish a practical approach that suggests 'what people can do' besides trying to attenuate their CO2 emissions.

  4. Spud2go
    Devil

    "Arctic Ocean may be releasing its methane"

    Whale farts?

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    So, how much gas per day ?

    According to http://www.worldatlas.com/aatlas/infopage/oceans.htm, the arctic ocean has a surface area of 14,056,000 sq km.

    That makes for 28.1 tons per day, if my calculations are correct. However, I'm quite sure that anyone can disprove this result since there is no indication of how the 2 milligrams per square meter figure was reached, so there is no guarantee that my surface area reference is the right one.

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how this whole AGW debate has been fueled from the start.

    1. Michael M
      FAIL

      Re: So, how much gas per day ?

      There are 1,000,000 sq metres in a sq km so your figures should be 28.1 million tons per day.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So, how much gas per day ?

        Normalise your units first!

        There are a million grams in a tonne!

        14,056,000 km² = 14,056,000,000,000 (1.4056 E13) m²

        2mg/m² per day = 0.002 g = 0.000002 kg/m² (2 E-6)

        = 1.4056 E13 × 2 E-6

        = 28,112,000 kg

        = 28,112 tonnes per day, or a volume of about 15 cubic kilometers per year.

        In energy terms at 5.55 E7 J per kg:

        = 365.25 × 5.55 E7 × 2.8112 E7 = 5.7 E17 J per year

        American energy consumption about

        28,714 TWh or 1.03 E20 J

        It represents about 0.55% of America's energy consumption.

        To get an easier to grasp handle on how this compares with American yearly CO2 emissions, with methane at 20x equivalence:

        28,112 x 365.25 x 20 = 205,358,160 million tonnes.

        With US CO2 emissions approx 5 Gt per year, arctic methane emissions are adding an extra 4% of US CO2 emissions to GW. Not an insignificant amount.

        So 2mg methane per square metre sounds tinier than a mosquito fart, but it adds up.

        As positive feedbacks kick in over the next few years, this will rise and reduce radiative ability further, causing increased melting of the ice.

    2. Some Beggar
      FAIL

      Re: So, how much gas per day ?

      "And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how this whole AGW debate has been fueled from the start."

      By people who know the difference between a square metre and a square kilometre, you mean?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Missing heat

    > the research shows that the heat stored in Earth’s oceans has continued to rise.

    Only in their models

    The data does not show this. This is why it is missing. They can't find it at the surface or at any of the depths for which they have actual measurements. They have therefore programmed their models to store this heat in the ocean depths, where, conveniently, they have no data.

    1. Some Beggar
      FAIL

      Re: Missing heat

      "Only in their models"

      Really?

      "The research is a compilation of temperature measurements from the upper 2000 meters of the ocean"

      Reading. It's great. Try it. You might like it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Missing heat

        I do read and I do like it.

        The only instruments having extensive temperature measurements from the upper 2000m of the oceans is ARGO which first started being deployed 10 years ago. The data from ARGO does not show any warming in the upper 2000m of the ocean over the last decade.

        The register article is based on a press report in Science Shots which is based on a press release about a paper that had yet to be published. When the paper is published I will read it in a attempt to discover how they have managed to turn the ARGO data into ocean warming.

        Press releases nearly always over-hype the results and seldom mention if the results are the output of models.

        1. Some Beggar

          Re: Missing heat

          @AC

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instrumental_temperature_record

          http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?q=ocean+temperature+measurement&hl=en&btnG=Search&as_sdt=1%2C5

          The trick with reading is to read everything, not just the things that bolster your preconceptions.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Missing heat

            When it comes to climate I've never been fond of tricks.

            The wiki article is land and ocean surface record, not the ocean to 2000m depth.

            Your search returns nearly 800,000 results and the majority of them are about the ocean surface temperature.

            Try analysing the raw data, you might learn something. http://www.argodatamgt.org/Access-to-data

            The official site doesn't make it easy to get all the data so here is an alternative you might find useful: http://apdrc.soest.hawaii.edu/projects/Argo/

            1. Michael M

              Re: Missing heat

              Decisions decisions - shall I wait for the paper to come out or analyse the readings from 3500 over the last 10 years and then integrate it into the other readings from the last 50 years... That's a toughie.

              I might even trust that the American Association for the Advancement of Science have provided an accurate precis of the paper.

              1. Some Beggar

                Re: Missing heat

                "I might even trust that the American Association for the Advancement of Science have provided an accurate precis of the paper."

                Really? I'm going to favour the anonymous coward on the internet messageboard of a website with a record for a strongly anti-science stance on climate change.

            2. Some Beggar

              Re: Missing heat

              "Try analysing the raw data, you might learn something"

              How? ARGO hasn't been running for long enough.

              Wasn't that your original point? It was a bit garbled but I assumed that was what you were trying to say.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yet another puzzle

    We seem to be getting regular surprises when they look more closely at how things work. Maybe once the surprises dry up we'll have enough knowledge to really settle this.

    What isn't clear to the uninitiated is how significant this source of methane is. Eg, how many Wales's full of sheep farts is it equivalent to?

  8. Ian Michael Gumby
    Joke

    Where is the methane comeing from? Its obvious really...

    Haven't you ever heard of the Sea Cow?

  9. fredds
    Boffin

    PPM

    Could somebody please enlighten me. We are told that the rise in CO2 from about 300PPM to 400PPM is going to cause catastrophic rises in global temperatures. But when I do some maths on the figures, I come up with 3-4parts in 10,000. So a rise of one molecule of CO2 in 10,000 molecules of air is going to heat the planet. That is astounding insulation material, maybe scientists should be looking at CO2 to insulate houses and factories.

    1. Thought About IT
      FAIL

      Re: PPM

      Why don't you enlighten yourself?

      http://climate.nasa.gov/kids/bigQuestions/greenhouseEffect/

    2. Michael M
      Alert

      Re: PPM

      For an 80Kg man, a 500mg paracetamol pill is 1 part in 160,000. At 4 parts in 10,000 he would be taking 64 pills.

  10. Sean Houlihane
    Boffin

    Missing heat

    Lets have some instrumental evidence for the oceans warming before getting too excited, shall we? Sea level rise is kind of missing too (but maybe more tricky to measure accurately).

    Anyway, if the methane circulation is greater than we expected, maybe that means there is a methane sink which isn't properly accounted for too.

    1. NomNomNom

      Re: Missing heat

      Sea level rise is not missing

      http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

    2. Some Beggar
      Thumb Down

      Re: Missing heat

      "Lets have some instrumental evidence ..."

      Here you go:

      http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/04/scienceshot-no-letup-in-worlds.html

      Again. I highly recommend the ancient art of "reading".

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought that the whole reason they thought humans were responsible for global warming was that they couldn't find anything in nature to explain the rise in temperature.

    Now they've found that the ocean gives off a greenhouse gas - could this not explain where the warming came from?

    In which case, are we off the hook?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No, not off the hook at all.

      Our CO2 increases are causing the oceans to warm, which in turn are releasing more methane, and then more CO2, then more methane, more CO2 etc... you see where I'm going.

      We are seeing a tipping point in action, and if we are to stand a chance of pulling back from the brink, we have to do something drastic this decade.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: No, not off the hook at all.

        "Our CO2 increases are causing the oceans to warm...." Once again, massive failure to provide any proof of a link between "the-cause-we-want-it-to-be" and the symptom seen. The planet is warming, it is the warming which is suspected of causing the ocean to release more methane. Man-made CO2 is simply not the problem, the warming of the oceans and the atmospheric rise in temperature have been known about for years, the relationship was there in periodic cycles long before man existed or even before we became a tiny influence, and is likely to continue regardless of whether we all don hair shirts and go back to living in caves.

  12. g e
    Coat

    A group of researchers has

    realised they're running out of their current Warmologist budget and are trying to justify the next one.

    Yeah, cynical, I know. Coat got.

    1. Some Beggar
      Thumb Down

      Re: A group of researchers has

      "cynical" is not a synonym for "paranoid"

      HTH

  13. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Some Beggar
      FAIL

      Re: Prediction

      So when you can't contrive a straw man to argue with today, you invent one that might exist tomorrow.

      Step down, Socrates, we have a new king of logic and rhetoric.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Re: Prediction

        Unfortunately, the moderator didn't view my prediction as suitable. Maybe I should have made it on TV, then spent years making a fortune writing books about it and preaching to the sheeple, regardless of whether it was true or not, only to recant thirty years later (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/04/24/lovelock_clangers/).

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Point of view

    With respect, it isn't really very important whose fault anything is. We are not a bunch of children, left alone at home, who are worried they may have broken Dad's favourite chair or Mum's vase. We are more like a bunch of adults (obviously, not *quite* like that) who suspect that their habitat may, fairly soon, stop being as habitable as it was.

    If we freeze or evaporate, the most important question won't be "whose fault was this?"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Point of view

      >the most important question won't be "whose fault was this"

      but instead how will we get out of here. now the newest investment of page & cameron make sense.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    less methan soon?

    "a possible source of the methane is marine bacteria surviving in low-nutrient environments"

    I would bet that the rising of the temprature would change the living enivronment for the bateria into a high nutrient environment so that there will be less of these methan producing bacteria, because the ill be plenty of others

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a No-Brainer...

    You have these research stations full of scientists, and they all living off tinned and frozen food...

    How much Methane is produced by the average tin of Beans?

    1. Some Beggar
      Headmaster

      Re: It's a No-Brainer...

      I think you've got your poles muddled. It's Antarctica where the scientists live in fart-filled research shacks. The Arctic is the wet bit at the top that's full of fish and surrounded by edible ungulates.

  17. Ron 6
    WTF?

    Basic questions

    What is not addressed here is the basic questions:

    1) how long has the ocean been giving of methane? 10 years, 20 years, 10,000 years, longer?

    2) has the rate changed and, if it has, due to what cause(s)?

    If the ocean has always (some suitable length of time) been giving off methane and if the rate is constant (or varies based on some input humans have no influence on) then this paper is simply telling us about something "natural" that we can not do anything (intelligent) about.

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