September 26, 2012

More Evidence Against a Methane Time Bomb

Over at Watts Up With That, Anthony Watts has highlighted a recent press release from the German Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel announcing the preliminary findings from an expedition this summer to the Greenland Sea (off the coast of Spitzbergen). The expedition on the German research vessel the Maria S. Merian was aimed at investigating the release of methane from the seafloor—one of the many potential apocalyptic positive feedback pathways which lead from an initial warming instigated by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Watts drew attention to the press release because the researchers were reporting that contrary to expectations, the release of methane from the seabed was found not to be a recent phenomenon (i.e., a result of global warming), but instead that many of the gas outlets had been active for long before local ocean temperatures have been rising.

According to the press release:

Above all the fear that the gas emanation is a consequence of the current rising sea temperature does not seem to apply.

And also, although the full details from the expedition’s data collections will not be known for several months, the scientists suggested that

[T]he observed gas emanations are probably not caused by human influence.

(more…)




September 21, 2012

Agriculture: Tropical Cyclones are Welcome Visitors

When talk turns to tropical cyclones—hurricanes and their weaker siblings—the topic usually becomes winds, waves, and destruction. Or an exchange of war stories, like vacations cancelled, or harrowing tales from the beachfront lines. In some circles, anthropogenic climate change may enter the conversation.

But rarely does the discussion turn to the benefits of tropical cyclones.

For example, tropical cyclones often deliver widespread drought-busting rainfall during the crucial late-summer period when field crops are maturing. Across the Southeastern U.S., where most fields are non-irrigated, crops such as corn, soybeans, peanuts, tobacco, and hay benefit from tropical cyclone precipitation. From east Texas along the coast to Maryland, non-irrigated crops, like those above, combine to bring in a good ten billion dollars per year. While this economic activity is not all ascribable to tropical cyclone precipitation, neither is such precipitation inconsequential. (more…)




September 10, 2012

Sea Level Acceleration: Not so Fast

Filed under: Sea Level Rise

Sea level rise is a topic that we frequently focus on because of all the gross environmental alterations which may result from anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, it is perhaps the only one which could lead to conditions unexperienced by modern societies. A swift (or accelerating) sea level rise sustained for multiple decades and/or centuries would pose challenges for many coastal locations, including major cities around the world—challenges that would have to be met in some manner to avoid inundation of valuable assets. However, as we often point out, observational evidence on the rate of sea level rise is reassuring, because the current rate of sea level rise from global warming lies far beneath the rates associated with catastrophe. While some alarmists project sea level rise of between 1 to 6 meters (3 to 20 feet) by the end of this century, currently sea level is only inching up at a rate of about 20 to 30 centimeters per hundred years (or about 7 to 11 inches of additional rise by the year 2100)—a rate some 3-4 times below the low end of the alarmist spectrum, and a whopping 20 to 30 times beneath the high end.

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