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Michael Tabony
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Thanks to everyone for the posts about Arctic methane. I learned a lot today. I'm still pretty convinced ESRL measured a methane anomaly, a rather large one and when it generated interest and speculation, they quickly "outliered" it till they could get a better explanation for it. If it hadn't occurred two weeks in a row, if there hadn't been a large storm to mix the ocean, and if it hadn't occurred at the end of a long melt and period of Arctic warming, I wouldn't have speculated on it a bit. But everything was in place and it seems to have happened. I'm not going to argue either way. At this point, I just hope they continue to report CH4 data. I for one have no idea why tropospheric methane isn't measured and reported from every outpost around the Arctic. Though the disappearance of the Arctic sea ice presents a great danger to the planet, the appearance of additional methane in the atmosphere is much more dangerous. The former is like blindly wandering across a country road that handles about 100 cars a day. The latter is like blindly wandering across I-95 in northern VA. I truly hope the next flask readings reported, August 2012's last ones, are back down about 1900 ppb and all my speculation is just that.
Toggle Commented Sep 12, 2012 on Minimum open thread at Arctic Sea Ice
Rob, Thanks for contacting ESRL and getting this corrected. The high readings did occur on two separate occasions but I see they are all now marked as outliers. I wonder if the days these outlier methane readings were taken coincided with days they were serving particularly powerful beans at Barrow's Pepe's North of the Border Mexican restaurant, "a developed area where methane readings would have been higher". I'll continue to monitor the situation for wind (or menu) changes.
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2012 on Minimum open thread at Arctic Sea Ice
The scenario, the summer of 2012 with its great ice loss and ocean warming is half over. All of NOAA's ESRL 2012 methane measurements taken at Barrow, AK, have ranged between approximately 1865 and 1935 ppb (preliminary measurements). For about a week after 8/4/12 the Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012 destroyed much more sea ice and, very importantly, mixed up the waters of the Arctic Ocean. http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2012/08/a-summer-storm-in-the-arctic/ The first ESRL methane reading at Barrow after the storm (about 8/14/12) showed a 10%+ increase in atmospheric methane to about 2085 ppb (preliminary measurement). The next methane measurement taken a week later (about 8/21/12) showed an additional 2%+ increase to about 2135 ppb (preliminary measurement). Is there instrument errors or is there a cause and effect linkage between the storm and the additional atmospheric methane? Did the storm drive enough warmer surface water to depth to disturb the methane in stable compounds there? It sure looks suspicious to this observer. The real questions now are: 1)how far geographically the atmospheric change will be measurable, 2)will the readings return to pre-storm levels in the coming weeks and months or will they continue to climb, 3)will the additional but smaller Arctic storms of the 2012 season further disturb the methane deposits, and 4)what will this additional atmospheric methane will do to the climate of the Arctic and the globe?
Toggle Commented Sep 10, 2012 on Minimum open thread at Arctic Sea Ice
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Sep 10, 2012