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Earth Science

How Much Should You Worry About an Arctic Methane Bomb? 416

Posted by Soulskill
from the TSA-now-banning-all-carbon-based-gases-on-airplanes dept.
barlevg sends this excerpt from an article at MotherJones: "It was a stunning figure: $60 trillion. Such could be the cost, according to a recent commentary in Nature, of 'the release of methane from thawing permafrost beneath the East Siberian Sea, off northern Russia... a figure comparable to the size of the world economy in 2012.' More specifically, the paper described a scenario in which rapid Arctic warming and sea ice retreat lead to a pulse of undersea methane being released into the atmosphere. How much methane? The paper modeled a release of 50 gigatons of this hard-hitting greenhouse gas (a gigaton is equal to a billion metric tons) between 2015 and 2025. This, in turn, would trigger still more warming and gargantuan damage and adaptation costs. ... According to the Nature commentary, that methane 'is likely to be emitted as the seabed warms, either steadily over 50 years or suddenly.' Such are the scientific assumptions behind the paper's economic analysis. But are those assumptions realistic—and could that much methane really be released suddenly from the Arctic? A number of prominent scientists and methane experts interviewed for this article voiced strong skepticism about the Nature paper.'"
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How Much Should You Worry About an Arctic Methane Bomb?

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  • by BillCable (1464383) on Friday August 09, 2013 @12:05PM (#44522289)
    I supposed the 15-year pause in global warming has prompted alarmists to come up with even more extreme catastrophes.
  • Control (Score:3, Insightful)

    by amiga3D (567632) on Friday August 09, 2013 @12:05PM (#44522291)

    I worry about things about as much as I have control over them. Things like this I have Zero control so I have Zero worries. About the same I worry about a comet impacting the planet. It might happen and there is nothing I can do. Why worry?

  • Catastrophe? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 09, 2013 @12:09PM (#44522349)

    Why does it seem that around every corner there is a new totally natural and cyclical process that the news is going to kill us? I am tired of all this. The Earth is a very complex system and we and it will adapt. I think we should actually understand the natural cycles and integrate ourselves so we are not fighting against it all the time.

    Permaculture is the future.

  • Re:Control (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Friday August 09, 2013 @12:18PM (#44522481) Homepage Journal

    I worry about things about as much as I have control over them. Things like this I have Zero control so I have Zero worries. About the same I worry about a comet impacting the planet. It might happen and there is nothing I can do. Why worry?

    According to some studies we've already crossed the tipping point and it's going to happen. So even if every government and every state and every person suddenly did everything they could to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we're going to get that methane anyway.

    Where we'll see it is where it affects the flora and fauna directly (altering availability of species in the food chain) and weather - more greenhouse gasses mean more disruption to weather patterns. Some places will get hotter, some will actually get cooler, some will get more precipitation and others will get less, over time this will shape the world we live in and our own food sources.

    Time to put REM - End of the World on the iPod and look at housing on higher ground.

  • by Old VMS Junkie (739626) on Friday August 09, 2013 @12:18PM (#44522493)
    Seems to me we should be figuring out how to tap into this stuff and use it for fuel.
  • Re:How much? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jellomizer (103300) on Friday August 09, 2013 @12:22PM (#44522559)

    So I should be in a pure panic right now because of everything.

    There are a lot of issues in the world to worry about. I choose not to worry about global warming, not because I don't think it is a problem, but because I have my own sets of things I worry about and feel like spending my time advocating.

    I find that it is a big deal on how American Education puts such little focus on Math and Science, and passes it off as something that is OK not to know.

    As far as I am concerned, if my cause got priority, the next generation would be better at math and science, be able to accept the findings about climate change. Then be able to put more pressure on our leaders to do something about it. There are too many people right now who threw lack of scientific knowledge fall pray to pseudoscience from say supporters of Oil industries, without seeing the major flaws in their reasoning, because they stated their "facts" so elegantly, and with authority.

  • Re:Control (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Danathar (267989) on Friday August 09, 2013 @12:36PM (#44522717) Journal

    "Some places will get hotter, some will actually get cooler, some will get more precipitation and others will get less, over time this will shape the world we live in and our own food sources."

    Isn't that the way it's always been?

  • by camperdave (969942) on Friday August 09, 2013 @12:39PM (#44522745) Journal
    The Earth *IS* the center of the universe, just like everywhere else is.
  • by Anon-Admin (443764) on Friday August 09, 2013 @12:42PM (#44522793) Homepage Journal

    Nasa http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/SunspotCycle.shtml [nasa.gov]

    (And just so you dont have to read that long complicated article here is a link to a nice picture)
    http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/ssn_predict_l.gif [nasa.gov]

    But don't let real science get in the way of your research via Wikipedia.

  • Re:Catastrophe? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Friday August 09, 2013 @12:43PM (#44522799)

    Exactly.

    When was the last seabed warming, and how devastating to life on earth was it?
    Over the history of earth, there were much warmer periods with far smaller ice caps.
    Do those periods correspond with huge species die off?
    Or was it exactly to opposite?

    How many mega-cities were right by the seashore during those previous times?

  • Re:Catastrophe? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dcw3 (649211) on Friday August 09, 2013 @12:44PM (#44522817) Journal

    For the same reason that the media loves to use the word pandemic at every opportunity. How many people actually died from SARs or Bird Flu? Compare that to how many die on the highway every single day. Scare people, and they'll always come back to hear more.

  • Re:How much? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 09, 2013 @12:48PM (#44522889)

    Wait, what? You sound like you believe climate change is problematic, but you're going to leave it for the next generation of people to do something about it. Time is a bit of a factor when it comes to what we can do about climate change, and I don't think even if education instantly became the biggest priority of everyone in the country that it'd still do that much good in, say, the two years till 2015.

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Friday August 09, 2013 @12:53PM (#44522949)

    Global warming my ass. It's fucking cold and raining here in Wyoming.

    If a cool spell disproves global warming, does a warm spell prove it? Or do you prefer to focus on the details that you think support your beliefs?

    Ask people who spent June in Phoenix or Las Vegas how they liked the weather this year.

  • Re:How much? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gl4ss (559668) on Friday August 09, 2013 @01:00PM (#44523047) Homepage Journal

    worry 1000%? what the fuck.

    that makes as much sense as the methane "costing" the worth of world economy.

    let's triple worry on a sorry lorry, that'll make it better.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 09, 2013 @01:01PM (#44523059)

    wikipedia disagrees with you.

    Are you fucking kidding? Wikipedia? The "source" that any jackass can edit and put in anything he wants?

  • by baKanale (830108) on Friday August 09, 2013 @01:21PM (#44523329)
    From what I understand methane is a more efficient greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, so if one believes that the methane is going to enter the atmosphere anyway then it would make sense to convert as much of it it to carbon dioxide first, with the obvious benefit of energy extraction.
  • by drfred79 (2936643) on Friday August 09, 2013 @01:25PM (#44523405)
    Count me in as a Randian zealot. I pray to Adam Smith to smite my socialist foes. Anyway, appeal to authority arguments have been debunked. Its 99% of respondent scientists in a ten year old survey. Global Cooling first. Then Peak Oil. Then it was Global Warming. Then it was Anthropomorphic Climate Change. Carbon PPM Quantity Tipping points. Fracking Earthquakes. Methane Bombs. It'd be a lot easier to believe all these sounding of alarms if they ever led to different conclusions. They usually end up with the same prognosis: More government oversight over personal freedom, reduced economic output, central planning, Al Gore. I categorically disagree with all the solutions. The fact is that the climate changes and there is no optimal global temperature or level of Co2 or ice percentage. These are arbitrary measurements and a lot more characteristic of Flat Earthers (KEEP THE EARTH THE SAME TEMPERATURE AS THE PAST!) than people who are Global Warming Skeptics.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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