The most qualified scientists fear we’ll soon trigger the worst outcome on our current path. Runaway heating from positive Arctic feedbacks is only a few decades away, at most a hundred years. Climate scientists Dr. Natalia Shakhova and Dr. Igor Semiletov, who’ve studied the Arctic for a decade, are sure. They say that all of the stabilizing processes are anomalous.
In layman’s terms they’re saying that every process keeping methane stable is anomalous. And by anomalous they mean abnormal … frighteningly abnormal.
In this excerpt, Dan Miller gives us background on Arctic Methane.
Here Dr Shakhova speaks for herself and Dr. Semiletov. Scientists speaking professionally aren’t allowed to show fear. You may notice that Dr. Shakhova avoids eye contact with the camera. She touches her face, her chin. A trained eye sees the body language of fear.
An impressive list of scientists contributed to the 71 minute video Arctic Death Spiral and the Methane Time Bomb. Some parts are harder to grasp as spoken language has halts, rephrasing, and sometimes poor grammar.
Transcripts of the remix videos are attached (below), but these paraphrases are concise.
Paraphrase for Dan Miller
The Arctic stores methane.
It’s currently melting.
The average world temperature is only up a degree but in the Arctic it’s up five degrees.
The Arctic is releasing fifty million tons of methane per year, and rising.
If it all went up we’d basically all be dead.
It’s happening now.
Once those accelerating processes generate more CO2 than we do, it’ll keep going even if we stopped completely.
These are positive feedback loops, and they aren’t in the climate models.
Climate Models without positive feedback loops are as helpful a description of climate as a "scientific model" of a matchstick which leaves out the head.
Paraphrase for Natalia Shakhova
There is a potential risk that if warming continues a massive amount of methane could be released from this Arctic shelf.
The Siberian Arctic Shelf has the most potential risk because the carbon pool is huge, the wall of the shell is very shallow, and warming is stronger there than other areas of the world ocean.
The current atmosphere has about 5 Gigatonnes of methane. The East Siberian Arctic shelf has approximately hundreds to thousands of Gigatonnes.
Only one percent of that amount would double the atmosphere burden of methane. Not much effort would be needed to destabilize one percent of this carbon pool, because of
- The state of the permafrost
- The amount of methane involved
- What divides this methane from the atmosphere is a very shallow water column and a weakening permafrost, losing its ability to seal.
It’s a matter of decades, at most a hundred years.
Many factors convince us that a runaway process might happen.
Igor Semiletov is convinced because he spent a lot of time over there, and where the ice should be about two meters thick it was forty centimeters thick. All of the processes that stabilize everything look anomalous, in the sea, the ice, the water column, and the currents under the ice. Because everything looks anomalous he thinks that the worst might happen.
Thanks for the shocking education!
I don't want to die because of someone else's mistakes.
I hear you.