Climate science from climate scientists...
23 Sep 2014 by david
9 Oct 2014 at 12:08 PM
This latest SkS piece is mostly about the Eocene, but it makes mention at the end of the warmer interglacials of the recent past, the ones often looked at when discussing the methane issue. According to this article, while those interglacials were warmer, the deep oceans were only slightly so compared to today’s warming. Is this accounted for in the estimates of methane release from deep-sea hydrates – or, does it even have to be? Does the length of time needed for the heat signal to reach the deposits still argue against any near-term major release?
Geoff Beacon says
9 Oct 2014 at 4:15 PM
Mal Adapted @94
[A decent carbon tax] if imposed soon enough, would render talk of geo-engineering moot, by driving a rapid transition to non-fossil energy sources.
If a rapid transition were enough that would be fine but some are suggesting we need to be at 350ppm atmosperic CO2 and others even lower (i.e.considerably below current levals).
The point about a high carbon tax is that it would give future generations more options by cutting carbon emissions and controlling climate by geoengineering. It would do it by unleashing the power of a price driven market. If such a carbon tax were very successful less geoengineering might be needed.
If the tax were recyled as in Hansen’s carbon fee or similar it would engender a more equal distribution of wealth. It’s worth noting that amongst developed nations more equal societies are happier. (See Richard Wilkinson’s Ted Talk)
To return to methane: cutting these emissions would also give future generations more options as I argued @77 above.
David B. Benson says
9 Oct 2014 at 6:30 PM
And the methane comes from
in the USA.
Mal Adapted says
10 Oct 2014 at 8:23 AM
Yes, I should have made it clear I really don’t disagree with your argument. I support carefully-designed projects to sequester carbon in soils, etc. OTOH, the sooner GHG emissions are reduced to zero, the less traction wild-eyed proposals to inject SO2 into the upper atmosphere, for example, will gain.
10 Oct 2014 at 9:16 AM
First some basics: methane (CH4) is a very simple molecule (one carbon surrounded by four hydrogen atoms) and is created predominantly by bacteria that feed on organic material. In dry conditions, there is plenty of atmospheric oxygen, and so aerobic bacteria which produce carbon dioxide (CO2) are preferred.
Hank Roberts says
1 Nov 2014 at 12:29 PM
I noted this and quoted the abstract in the open thread, but it belongs here:
it’s remarkable how precisely satellite measurement of methane actually at ground level is being detected with these satellite instruments — for example:
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 7, 491-506, 2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Retrieval techniques for airborne imaging of methane concentrations using high spatial and moderate spectral resolution: application to AVIRIS
They’re measuring it downwind of oil storage tanks! And the next generation sensors are even better.
I understand there’s industry opposition to this kind of spot detection of sources (for any chemical, whether done from the ground or air or satellite).
But I’d expect we should be seeing more soon that will tell us where the methane is coming from.