Sunday, April 29, 2018

What is the Source of 2017s Increased Atmospheric Methane?

A 2014 article in Scientific American reported "Levels of the potent greenhouse gas continue to rise and scientists aren't sure where most of it is coming from, though likely suspects include fracking, increased coal mining in China and a melting Arctic."

Regardless of source, or sources, humanity is moving in the wrong direction, and it's time to reverse course whatever the cost. As I noted below, "the climate effects now are from emissions about 10 to 30 years ago, and we have poured in much more carbon [and methane] since then. We can expect conditions to get worse until long after this problem is solved."  Still on the fence about whether climate change is real?  Watch this giraffe video on Kubler-Ross' stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) to identify where you are.  As this Psychology Today article by David B. Feldman Ph.D., notes, "We may race through them or drag our feet all the way to acceptance. We may even repeat or add stages that Kubler-Ross never dreamed of. In fact, the actual grief process looks a lot less like a neat set of stages and a lot more like a roller coaster of emotions. Even Kubler-Ross said that grief doesn’t proceed in a linear and predictable fashion, writing toward the end of her career that she regretted her stages had been misunderstood."

Thanks to visitors this week from United States, United Arab Emirates, Germany, South Korea, Brazil, Portugal, Canada, India, France, and United Kingdom.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

"Troubling to the truly hair-raising" Methane Release Reported, says The Economist

I am sometimes asked how bad climate change will get, and how fast.  I don't know specifics.  I can show you data, reasons for concern, and one study that claims an Arctic methane threat was greatly overrated.

However, as a reminder, President Niinist√∂ of Finland said in a Joint Press Conference with President Trump, August 28,2017, “If we lose the Arctic, we lose the globe.”


The Economist reported today "In the past decade methane levels have shot up (see chart), to the extent that the atmosphere contains two-and-a-half times as much of the gas as it did before the Industrial Revolution. Earlier this month America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirmed another sharp rise in 2017. [ . . . .] Of [an annual] 50bn-tonne total ["of 'carbon dioxide equivalent' of heat trapping gasses], 70% is carbon dioxide itself. Half the remaining 15bn tonnes is methane. [ . . . .] The explanations put forward by scientists range from the troubling to the truly hair-raising."


Overrated threat?

As I reported before,  The U. S. Geological Survey and the University of Rochester noted in a recent study the Arctic-methane issue may not be as dire as some scientists imagined. That study claims "most of the methane released by gas hydrates never reaches the atmosphere. Instead, the methane often remains in the undersea sediments, dissolves in the ocean, or is converted to carbon dioxide by microbes in the sediments or water column. [ . . . .] Professor Kessler explains that, 'Even where we do see slightly elevated emissions of methane at the sea-air interface, our research shows that this methane is rarely attributable to gas hydrate degradation.'[ . . . .] The authors’ sober, data-driven analyses and conclusions challenge the popular perception that warming climate will lead to a catastrophic release of methane to the atmosphere as a result of gas hydrate breakdown.”

The study continues, "The review pays particular attention to gas hydrates beneath the Arctic Ocean, where some studies have observed elevated rates of methane transfer between the ocean and the atmosphere.  As noted by the authors, the methane being emitted to the atmosphere in the Arctic Ocean has not been directly traced to the breakdown of gas hydrate in response to recent climate change, nor as a consequence of longer-term warming since the end of the last Ice Age."

Natalia Shakhova, ("Expertise: chemical oceanography") Research Associate Professor at International Arctic Research Center at The University of Alaska Fairbanks, seems to disagree. She says in the above video, "As compared to the mid-depth of the world's ocean which is few hundred meters, up to kilometers, the East Siberian Arctic Shelf mid-depth is only 50 meters."  She notes this is a problem because the more-shallow waters allow greater amounts of methane to rise into the atmosphere.  The other major concern she has is quantity. She says the total amount of methane in Earth's atmosphere is "about 5 gigatonnes. The amount of carbon preserved in form of methane in the  East Siberian Arctic Shelf is approximately from hundreds to thousands of gigatonnes. And, of course, it's only 1% of that amount is required to double the atmospheric burden of methane."

As a reminder, an October 4, 2016, Siberian Times article quoted Professor Igor Semiletov, of Tomsk Polytechnic University, Shakhova's colleague speaking in the above video.  Semiletov said "We have reason to believe that such emissions may change the climate. This is due to the fact that the reserves of methane under the submarine permafrost exceed the methane content in the atmosphere [ . . . ] many thousands of times. If 3-4% from underwater will go into the atmosphere within 10 years, the methane concentration therein (in the atmosphere) will increase by tens to hundreds of times, and this can lead to rapid climate warming. This is due to the fact that the greenhouse effect of one molecule of methane is 20-30 times greater than one molecule of CO2."

The good news is that even though methane has a much stronger effect than CO2, the life of methane in the atmosphere is shorter.  Duncan Clark's January 16, 2012 article in The Guardian noted "Between 65% and 80% of CO2 released into the air dissolves into the ocean over a period of 20–200 years" while "Methane, by contrast, is mostly removed from the atmosphere by chemical reaction, persisting for about 12 years."

In other words, depending on how much Arctic methane is released how fast, it could be a difficult time for humans and other species if Shakhova's and Semiletov's concerns become reality.  Creon says in the Greek tragedy Oedipus "Time is the one incorruptible judge."

Friday, April 27, 2018

"Why a paid climate doubter switched sides" -- Yale Climate Connections

"Jerry Taylor once worked for a libertarian think-tank, where he was paid to dispute the seriousness of climate change. Now he argues for climate action." Listen here.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Toby and Springer

Elk dog.
April 21 brought my first springer of the season.
Toby, my Jack Russell, kept trying to take down an elk. I had to yell "No. Bad dog! Elk are out of season you fool!" Anyway, here is some fresh salmon for you Bonnie ZoBell. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Monday, April 9, 2018


Here is my fishing/climate change bumper sticker I designed at in 6 minutes (Click Signs & Posters then Bumper Stickers.). I bought two for about $12 which included postage.  Here are my other ideas, or invent one: He > google (God Is Greater Than google); Yoga = Resilience; Love Anyway; I Am More Than My Metal Exoskeleton; The Wise Ape is Not a Mistake, It's Only How We Live.

Below are updates on fishing, climate change, and ecolit.


On the way to looking at Idaho land to buy, I caught two steelhead and released a 6 pound bull trout which, like humans, are an endangered species.

Climate Change

More bad news arrived with Antarctic ice melt far worse than thought, and a plan to "sunshade" warming areas of the world.  An April 11 update notes "Gulf Stream current at its weakest in 1,600 years, studies show."  For those who understand the AMOC, this is major news. For those who don't, you will soon.


The Coachella Review at The University of California, Riverside published my ecoplay The Dome. I'm grateful because this journal has "a relationship with the Palm Springs International Film Festival." Maybe someone will make The Dome into a short film. According to Wikipedia, "It is noted for its Award Ceremonies where such actors as Brad Pitt, Clint Eastwood, Sean Penn, Dustin Hoffman, Anne Hathaway and Leonardo DiCaprio have appeared."  However, for the lead role (only two roles, a man and a lizard) I vote for Canadian First Nations actor Graham Greene nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Dances with Wolves (1990).  A Native American drama judge voted my play first place at the Tucson Presidio Theatre Company Playwriting Competition in 1994 where the Committee gave it second place and a cash award.

My Hawk on Wire was selected from over 1,500 books as a Montaigne Medal Finalist sponsored by Eric Hoffer Awards for "the most thought-provoking books." There are many writing scams, but my research showed the Eric Hoffer Awards are legitimate, widely known as "one of the largest international book awards for small, academic, and independent presses."

Thanks to visitors this week from United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Pakistan, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Indonesia, Netherlands, and Peru.  This is a free site with no ads. If you want to support me, order my last book, Hawk on Wire: Ecopoems at Kindle, Amazon, or Barnes & NobleThe YouTube of my book launch reading, attended by about 50 people, is here. It has 179 views as of today. I misspoke "glaciers" when I meant to say "icebergs."  I like what Bill McKibben twittered today, "Oil has become a kind of moral poison."  Sometimes concise truths like that are the most powerful.

I will teach Honors Climate Change Poetry Seminar fall term Thursdays at 6:35 p.m., World Lit. I Wednesdays at 6:35 p.m, and Creative Nonfiction Tuesdays at 6:35 p.m.  Creative Writing Program students are now able to take courses twice as A and B sections.