FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Global Warming Stirs the Methane Monster

Photo by Jeremy Buckingham | CC BY 2.0

It’s January, yet methane hydrates in the Arctic are growling like an incensed monster on a scorching hot mid-summer day. But, it is January; it’s winter, not July!

On January 1st Arctic methane at 2,764 ppb spiked upwards into the atmosphere, which, according to Arctic News: “Was likely caused by methane hydrate destabilization in the sediments on the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean.” (Source: Unfolding Arctic Catastrophe, Arctic News, January 2, 2018) Once again, with emphasis, it’s January; it’s winter, and there’s little or no sunshine above the Arctic Circle. So, what gives? Why are alarming levels of methane spewing into the atmosphere in the dead of winter?

For starters, record low sea ice volume, which has been dropping like a leaden weight for years because of human-generated (anthropogenic) global warming. That’s a recipe for trouble, big time trouble as methane hydrates (lattices of ice that entrap methane molecules) get exposed to warmer water. In that regard, average sea ice volume throughout 2017 was at record lows.

Making matters worse yet, extraordinarily warm water currents flow into the Arctic from nearby ocean waters that have been absorbing 90% of global warming. Ergo, Arctic water in thin ice does not cool down without a lot of thick ice to melt the warm water currents. So, abnormally warm water remains into winter months and, in time, reaches sediments at the bottom of the ocean, disrupting methane hydrates, which have stored tonnes of methane over millennia. However, in due course, all hell breaks loose with large-scale methane eruptions, one of those “Naw, it can’t be happening” moments.

Here’s the problem: On average, sea surface temps were 23.35°F warmer during the period October 1 to December 30, 2017 compared to the 30-year average temperature. On October 25th, the sea surface was as warm as 63.5°F. For the Arctic, that’s hot, not just warmer. And, that brings forth a big-gulp question: What’s going to happen in summertime when methane hydrates are more exposed?

After all, methane (CH4) is a dominating greenhouse gas that makes carbon dioxide (CO2) look like a piker during initial years and packs the walloping risk of runaway global warming, which, in turn, threatens agricultural sources of food… not a good scenario. Imagine the chaos, considering the fact that “runaway” means totally out of control!

In all, an impending disaster seems destined to happen, but nobody knows when. It will likely occur unexpected by an ill advised, crass, blundering, philistine society blindsided by a scorched planet and extensive loss of foodstuff. Chaos spreads throughout when all of a sudden, unexpectedly, crops fail. One bad crop season follows another and another. For example, Syria, where its 2006-11 devastating drought caused 75% of Syria’s farms to fail and 85% of livestock to die. That’s a wipeout!

In the end, as crops fail, it’s too late to take remedial action beyond dealing with dystopian warring factions locked in bloodthirsty combat over morsels of foodstuff.

Not only that, one more nasty early warning sign of trouble is right around the corner: The National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) January 3rd year-end headline reads: “Baked Alaska and 2017 in Review,” stating: “… notably high temperatures prevail over most of the Arctic, especially over Central Alaska.” That’s permafrost country! That’s where tonnes and tonnes and tonnes of methane lies in-waiting to spring loose into the atmosphere. After all, global warming is the kissing cousin to methane buried in permafrost.

And, of equivalent concern on a worldwide basis: “In 2016 – now and at least for another year, the hottest year on record – global sea ice extent suffered a precipitous drop, plummeting from a fairly average 2015 value to a new record low. Now, as we wrap up 2017, data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) shows that annual average global sea ice extent has dropped again, hitting an even lower record value.” (Source: Global Sea Ice Hits New Record Low for 2nd Year Straight, The Weather Network, January 8, 2017)

Meantime, the two poles, north and south, are in the early stages of collapse. Scientists know it, and there is lots of chatter about geo-engineering and assorted methodologies to fix anthropogenic global warming before it consumes civilization in a fireball, but those proposals are in dreamland for the moment. Hopefully, one of their fixit ideas works “to scale” because the planet is likely too big for geo-engineering schemes to work without some kind of unintended consequence, which may be worse than the original fix. In fact, nobody really knows for sure what will happen when the biosphere is forced to behave according to computer-designed plans. It’s an enormous undertaking!

Therefore, it is recommended that today’s push-button, screen-watching youth learn survival skills rather than playing games for hours on end, endlessly, moronically pre-occupied with electronic fantasylands, because one day in the near future that fantasy turns to harsh reality, likely hitting hard, really hard.

After all, eco-migrants, numbering tens of thousands, are already worldwide phenomena, especially along the southern and eastern Mediterranean Sea regions, where land is turning bone dry faster than anywhere else on the planet. It’s the start of the Great Global Warming Migration scenario… but, pray tell, where to?

More articles by:

Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at rlhunziker@gmail.com.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
August 19, 2019
John Davis
The Isle of White: a Tale of the Have-Lots Versus the Have-Nots
John O'Kane
Supreme Nihilism: the El Paso Shooter’s Manifesto
Robert Fisk
If Chinese Tanks Take Hong Kong, Who’ll be Surprised?
Ipek S. Burnett
White Terror: Toni Morrison on the Construct of Racism
Arshad Khan
India’s Mangled Economy
Howard Lisnoff
The Proud Boys Take Over the Streets of Portland, Oregon
Steven Krichbaum
Put an End to the Endless War Inflicted Upon Our National Forests
Cal Winslow
A Brief History of Harlan County, USA
Jim Goodman
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is Just Part of a Loathsome Administration
Brian Horejsi
Bears’ Lives Undervalued
Thomas Knapp
Lung Disease Outbreak: First Casualties of the War on Vaping?
Susie Day
Dear Guys Who Got Arrested for Throwing Water on NYPD Cops
Weekend Edition
August 16, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Uncle Sam was Born Lethal
Jennifer Matsui
La Danse Mossad: Robert Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein
Rob Urie
Neoliberalism and Environmental Calamity
Stuart A. Newman
The Biotech-Industrial Complex Gets Ready to Define What is Human
Nick Alexandrov
Prevention Through Deterrence: The Strategy Shared by the El Paso Shooter and the U.S. Border Patrol
Jeffrey St. Clair
The First Dambuster: a Coyote Tale
Eric Draitser
“Bernie is Trump” (and other Corporate Media Bullsh*t)
Nick Pemberton
Is White Supremacism a Mental Illness?
Jim Kavanagh
Dead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit
Andrew Levine
Have They No Decency?
David Yearsley
Kind of Blue at 60
Ramzy Baroud
Manifestos of Hate: What White Terrorists Have in Common
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The War on Nature
Martha Rosenberg
Catch and Hang Live Chickens for Slaughter: $11 an Hour Possible!
Yoav Litvin
Israel Fears a Visit by Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib
Neve Gordon
It’s No Wonder the Military likes Violent Video Games, They Can Help Train Civilians to Become Warriors
Susan Miller
That Debacle at the Border is Genocide
Ralph Nader
With the Boeing 737 MAX Grounded, Top Boeing Bosses Must Testify Before Congress Now
Victor Grossman
Warnings, Ancient and Modern
Meena Miriam Yust - Arshad Khan
The Microplastic Threat
Kavitha Muralidharan
‘Today We Seek Those Fish in Discovery Channel’
Louis Proyect
The Vanity Cinema of Quentin Tarantino
Bob Scofield
Tit For Tat: Baltimore Takes Another Hit, This Time From Uruguay
Nozomi Hayase
The Prosecution of Julian Assange Affects Us All
Ron Jacobs
People’s Music for the Soul
John Feffer
Is America Crazy?
Jonathan Power
Russia and China are Growing Closer Again
John W. Whitehead
Who Inflicts the Most Gun Violence in America? The U.S. Government and Its Police Forces
Justin Vest
ICE: You’re Not Welcome in the South
Jill Richardson
Race is a Social Construct, But It Still Matters
Dean Baker
The NYT Gets the Story on Automation and Inequality Completely Wrong
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Retains Political Control After New US Coercive Measures
Gary Leupp
MSNBC and the Next Election: Racism is the Issue (and Don’t Talk about Socialism)
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail