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Hi all,

A very authoritative piece on all of this, from Prof Peter Wadhams:


(It might also be worthwhile to link to this site on the right margin, Neven. Some other interesting material here. Your call.)


Thanks, idunno. I'm not really sure what to make of AMEG (that's their blog). They are very eager to start geoengineering, and I don't know if I want to start legitimizing that (yet).


Tamino has an interesting post on methane.


New AIRS graphs and a thorough Tamino blog entry put methane on the list once more. AIRS lights up in deep red high in the troposphere right over the ESAS. Barrow flask samples show no spectacular rise. What is going on? The sea level measurements at Barrow do show a mean 1% a year rise (1875 – 1895 ppb from ‘07 to now). Meanwhile, Tiksi or Ostrov Kotelnyi measurements would be more informative. Normally, methane easily rises up in the atmosphere, FI over the tropics. Released from the ESAS, why would it first mix on sea level, showing up in Barrow or even as far/high as on Mauna Loa? My guess is it’s rising more or less straight up over the place of it’s origins. The release is not to be expected evenly spread over all Arctic permafrost areas. There are a number of reasons why submerged permafrost in the Laptev Sea would be releasing more now than other possible locations. FI the anomalous influx of warmer Atlantic water during 2011.


New data from Yurganov posted on methane (CH4) PPBV in the NH Arctic comparing Nov 1-10 2008 with Nov 1-10 2011.

There is a substantial increase especially in the East Siberian Sea Area and it seems linked to the observations of Shakhova's presentation data at the AGU in December, 2011.

The link is: http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/


On those AIRs pics, 'substantial increases' shown like orange to red are an increase of something like 1880 to 1900. ie. 20ppb over 3 years.

Yes perhaps the plateau has ended, but has the rate of increase greatly increased compared to say 1990s' rate of increase?

Looks about same as 1990s' rate of increase to me and slower than 1980s' rate of increase.

So should we take it as something unusual and worrying? It isn't something to be happy about, but if you are looking for evidence of a *massive* increase in levels/emissions compared to past rates of increases then this isn't it.

Daniel Bailey

"if you are looking for evidence of a *massive* increase in levels/emissions compared to past rates of increases then this isn't it"
That rather depends on the context, doesn't it? If one is comparing the last 3 years of methane atmospheric composition changes to that of the several previous decades, then perhaps.

However, if one looks to methane atmospheric composition changes on a broader level, say the past 2,000 years, then the level of change is quite "substantial":


'Nuther d*mn hockey stick...


The BBC news is reporting on a new methane release report by Katey Walter Anthony from the University of Alaska at Fairbanks (UAF). She specializes in methane release from permafrost. Her new co-authored paper is in Nature Geoscience.

The BBC link is:



A NYT follow-up article/blog by Gillis in Katey Anthony's research on Arctic permafrost methane release:


L. Hamilton

The online preview (with graphics) of Katey Anthony's methane article in Nature Geoscience:



"Yes perhaps the plateau has ended, but has the rate of increase greatly increased compared to say 1990s' rate of increase?"

There is something to note about the Barrow CH4 readings that may mean a "jump" compared to prior years. The following May month end readings:

2009 May approx 1860 PPBV
2010 May approx 1875 PPBV
2011 May approx 1875 PPBV
2012 May approx 1915 PPBV

A move of 40 PPBV, and more significantly, no decline as in prior years cycles for mid year readings. Time will tell on what the new readings might mean.


For those following Arctic methane release, the following research news points to shoreline Yedoma as a under-studied source of carbon and methane release.

The paper, published in Nature, is available from the U. of Manchester, UK.


Artful Dodger

NASA - Study Finds Surprising Arctic Methane Emission Source

The fragile and rapidly changing Arctic region is home to large reservoirs of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. As Earth’s climate warms, the methane, frozen in reservoirs stored in Arctic tundra soils or marine sediments, is vulnerable to being released into the atmosphere, where it can add to global warming. Now a multi-institutional study by Eric Kort of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., has uncovered a surprising and potentially important new source of Arctic methane: the ocean itself.

The data was collected as part of the HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) airborne campaign. HIPPO operated over the Arctic during five flights from 2009 to 2010.

The data predates recent Arctic ocean methane emission observations, and shows that the trend is building. The study was published April 22, 2012 in Nature Geoscience.

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