‘Methane’ the Weather

March 27, 2017

Gorgeous bright sunshine this late-afternoon Monday on California’s north coast — a bit on the breezy side, but we can easily live with that bluster.
Mostly dry conditions the next week or so, though, some rain forecast for late tomorrow and Wednesday. Good sunshine periods, however, in the mists — a scenario highly welcomed.

What we can’t bluster away is climate-change denial, just as the world gets weird — Michael Mann, lead author for an important new study published today on global warming: ‘“We came as close as one can to demonstrating a direct link between climate change and a large family of extreme recent weather events.”

Mann’s research is to ‘connect the dots…

(Illustration found here).

Noted climatolgist and distinguished professor of atmospheric science and director, Earth System Science Center, Penn State, Mann said a warming world is influencing our freaked-out weather:

“The warming of the Arctic, the polar amplification of warming, plays a key role here…
“The surface and lower atmosphere are warming more in the Arctic than anywhere else on the globe. That pattern projects onto the very temperature gradient profile that we identify as supporting atmospheric waveguide conditions.”

Background and details via InsideClimateNews this morning:

Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Mann said he and his fellow scientists discovered by studying extensive climate data “a particular type of jet stream pattern that is associated with many of the extreme events we’ve seen in recent years.”
He added that there is every reason to expect “these persistent weather events to become more prominent over time…with increasing greenhouse gas concentrations.”
Mann is a high-profile scientist whose advocacy of climate action has made him a lightning rod for criticism from the right.
He will testify Wednesday before the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, led by Texas Republican Lamar Smith, in a hearing that is stacked with climate change skeptics.
The study, published March 27 in the journal Scientific Reports, examines temperature data related to the jet stream and related winds that flow around the Northern Hemisphere from west to east and that loop from north to south between the tropics and the Arctic in a pattern called Rossby waves.
“We identified particular temperature patterns that occur when these large planetary waves slow down, and we found that, in the course of the past 100 years, this pattern is becoming more frequent,” said study co-author Stefan Rahmstorf, a scientist with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

And a way-probable influence on the entire big picture — via ScienceAlert last Saturday:

Satellite images have revealed more than 200 strange, bright blue lakes in Russia’s Arctic regions that are bubbling “like jacuzzis” as a result of leaking methane gas.
The lakes are a type of thermokarst lake, which form when thawing permafrost causes the surface to collapse and fill in with meltwater.
But unlike normal, dark thermokarst lakes, these ones are bright blue and bubbling, because of methane that’s leaking into them before escaping into the atmosphere.

The research is ongoing, so it hasn’t yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal — until that happens, we can’t say for sure what’s going on with these weird blue lakes.
But hopefully as experiments in the region continues, scientists will begin to get a better idea of what’s going on.
And that’s important, seeing as methane is roughly 30 times more potent than CO2 as a heat-trapping gas — and there’s no shortage of it frozen beneath the Siberian trundra.
One study estimated that by 2100, up to 205 billion tonnes of carbon emissions will be released by permafrost if climate change continues to intensify, as Sarah Emerson reports for Motherboard.
The discovery of the lakes comes the same week as researchers announced that they’re closely monitoring around 7,000 gas bubbles or ‘pingos’, which have formed in Siberia and are at risk of exploding to form huge craters.
Previous research had suggested that a global temperature rise of 1.5°C (2.7°F) would be enough to start the melting of Siberia’s permafrost, and scientists are concerned that these lakes and pingos are a sign it’s already happening.

And the circus continues…

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