Real Climate smashes methane disaster theory

David Archer, contributor at Real Climate, gives much reassurance today about the dangers of methane clathrates. Interesting article, with lots of things I hadn’t heard of. Nice of him, too, to put our minds at rest.

I wonder why he didn’t explain all this long before now, about ten years ago or more? Why he let all the wild, alarming speculation continue in the world’s press and in the blogs for quite so long. Why he let us worry for so long. Why, especially, he now calls us “friend” (see the end).

He says the ocean hydrates are “mostly so deep in the sediment column that it would take thousands of years for anthropogenic warming to reach them.” Well, that’s a good piece of sense, David; thanks for bringing it up. I’m sure some of us have said so already, but good of you to confirm it.

I hope the message gets out to the Real Climate disciples quickly, to stop them banging on about our Arctic sins.

He sees the shallower clathrates around the Arctic as posing a slightly higher risk of global warming, but not much. Then he looks at what might happen if, somehow, the methane did get out. It seems nothing much will happen beyond a little warming. Ho-hum.

Like an old piano player, David cannot resist the old familiar CO2 song:

The only way back to a natural climate in anything like our lifetimes would be to anthropogenically extract CO2 from the atmosphere.

He’s going to look sick when we tell him how much CO2 there is. I wonder if we should? It’s actually only 0.00039 of the atmosphere. It might have an influence, but it cannot dominate the global temperature, nor is there any evidence that it does.

Then he says:

The climate forcing from CO2 release is stronger now than it was millions of years ago when CO2 levels were higher, because of the band saturation effect of CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

But anyone who has seen the graphs from the MODTRANS facility at the University of Chicago knows that after about 300 ppmv, the warming from further increases in CO2 is truly trivial. So, even though he’s right that each new increment of CO2 now might give slightly more warming than in the distant past, he’s naughty not to mention the magnitude is tiny. It’s nothing to alarm us.

Finally, he says tellingly:

It’s the CO2, friend.

I’m only telling you this to be nice!

David, heard of clouds? Do they appear in the models?

2 Thoughts on “Real Climate smashes methane disaster theory

  1. hyperzombie on January 6, 2012 at 4:28 pm said:

    I have no idea why the warmists are always worried about methane, do they not realize that methane is only about 1ppm. If it doubled or tripled there would be NO effect at all. Soon they will be telling us that they never, ever warned us of a methane disaster. It was all just a fossil fuel industry conspiracy to make them look bad.

    PS Great comment on Forbes today, well written and informative. and thanks for the link

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