Sunday, June 17, 2012

Arctic sea ice take another nose dive
The UK based  Arctic Methane Emergency Group (AMEG) has been spreading Arctic alarm and planetary sea ice meltdown methane emergency, attracting much disapproval  from  the real Arctic sea ice and methane experts. 

'Much ado about methane' is how leading methane climate expert David Archer described AMEG's frantic concern about the East Siberian Arctic Shelf venting methane from sea floor sediment hydrate.

David Archer, as the leading expert, had been saying for years that Arctic methane hydrate could not destabilize in any worrying amount for centuries, and even then it could not vent to the atmosphere. It would all get absorbed by the sea water (not to mention that would add to ocean acidification). He even had his own methane bubble model to back up his reassuring publications. 

He has been proved wrong but is not scientist enough to admit it. Even though there is no question large amounts of methane are venting to the atmosphere from the sea floor off Siberia, he has been hard on AMEG's case, and the experts have not changed their reassuring tune on the Arctic methane hydrate situation. 

But just recently, research discovered methane venting from cracks in the Arctic ice over a huge region from airborne monitoring. Also methane has just been discovered leaking from the vast Arctic cryocap- thinned out places in the permafrost and edges of glaciers. Neither of these had been predicted as possible. They are examples of what the climate modellers call inevitable 'surprises'. 

The Arctic is spinning out of control, the scientists haven't got a handle on he situation,  and it's high time some one yelled Runaway Emergency. It should be the experts. 

What is most alarming is what atmospheric methane is doing. Since the large sudden summer sea ice loss of 2007 atmospheric methane, having levelled off from 2000, is on a strong sustained rise again. This time though the increase is from methane feedback emissions. The warmed up planet is emitting methane.

This is truly terrifying for our futurr, but has not alarmed the scientists. 

The leading US expert said this was a probably jut a blip and that atmospheric methane would settle back to a stable level again. Well it's still increasing (16 June 2012 opposite), and in the Arctic has reached a concentration of 1900 parts per billion. The upper limit of atmospheric methane over the 800,000 year ice core record is 800 ppb. 

How can intelligent people not be frantically alarmed by that? After all methane is a greenhouse gas, and above all it is 72 times more powerful as CO2 as a greenhouse gas over a 20 year period. 

AMEG is frantic about this situation because they say the loss of the summer sea ice will accelerate the already extremely rapid rate of Arctic warming and thereby the Arctic methane emissions. The result, the unthinkable - runaway global climate change. 

The ice is not doing what the models say. As you can see (above top) this year's summer sea ice melt has suddenly started to track below the 2007 record loss. It's not supposed to be doing that. 

The sea ice experts (almost all that is) in 2007 found themselves slightly in error by relying on their highly complex expensive sea ice computer models- an error of at least 30 years. The ice was supposed to be good till the end of century- so not to worry about it now.

They expressed shock and surprise at 2007, but did not give up their models.  A whole new field of Arctic research opened up for them. Why was the sea ice misbehaving so?

They re-calibrated their models and now they are sure (again) the ice is still good till 2060.  2007 was a natural variability blip they say. No wonder they regard AMEG as amateur alarmists. 

You see the AMEG upstarts say the models are still no good because 2007 was the sea ice tipping point and the Arctic could be ice free in the summer in a just few years- not a few decades. If they are right that would make the experts look really really dumb. 

Does it matter or is AMEG making much ado about nothing much?

Well it matters immensely, because for years the experts have been warning us that the loss of the vast cooling albedo of the immense millions of square miles of Arctic sea ice is a powerful  feedback that would boost global warming. Why is it now, when it' s happening before our eyes, nothing to be alarmed about?

But not to be put off by the leading scientists, AMEG has raised a new alarm. The Arctic summer sea ice meltdown  first and foremost puts Northern hemisphere food security at risk they say. That's extremely alarming and a highly sensitive issue, as it would boost international food prices and affect world food security- at the very least. 

Let's face it since 2003 (Europe deadly heat wave) we have had some extremely weird extreme weather in the northern hemisphere. Can it all be natural blips? 

Common sense would suggest otherwise. They are all known effects of global warming. We have sustained global warming and the Arctic warming he fastest. So....

James Hansen, that maverick climate expert, has crunched the numbers and he says these events (like the Russian wild fires and crop losses) are no blips- they are global warming. 

The experts are silent on this most critical of all climate change issues, apart from ominously saying that the Arctic summer sea ice is the 'air conditioner of the entire northern hemisphere'

Even so, they say people should not be spreading alarm about our food security, because their models cannot yet project the effects of sea ice loss on crop yields with a high degree of model certainty. In theory they say the loss of cooling albedo would increase N hemisphere climate variability, drought, and extreme weather events.  But to be certain it must be confirmed by modelling. Will the Arctic wait for more modeling? The message from the sea ice is no.

When the scientists start believing their in own programmed computer models, telling people they cannot believe what eyeballing the Arctic tells us, and thinking that the planet should be behaving as their models say- the world is at the mercy of modeling madness.  

Several things are certain, what ever the timing- the Arctic is warming fast, the sea ice is melting away fast, the Arctic region is emitting methane, and the temperate climate of the northern hemisphere is threatened. It is reckless to take our food security for granted from now on. 

AMEG is right to be alarming and the experts are dumb to rely on their obviously unreliable models and be reassuringly non-alarming.

Trust in the ice -- dump the models. 

ppo Peter

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