Global Extinction within one Human Lifetime as a Result of a Spreading Atmospheric Arctic Methane Heat wave and Surface Firestorm
Although the sudden high rate Arctic methane increase at Svalbard in late 2010 data set applies to only a short time interval, similar sudden methane concentration peaks also occur at Barrow point and the effects of a major methane build-up has been observed using all the major scientific observation systems. Giant fountains/torches/plumes of methane entering the atmosphere up to 1 km across have been seen on the East Siberian Shelf. This methane eruption data is so consistent and aerially extensive that when combined with methane gas warming potentials, Permian extinction event temperatures and methane lifetime data it paints a frightening picture of the beginning of the now uncontrollable global warming induced destabilization of the subsea Arctic methane hydrates on the shelf and slope which started in late 2010. This process of methane release will accelerate exponentially, release huge quantities of methane into the atmosphere and lead to the demise of all life on earth before the middle of this century.
The 1990 global atmospheric mean temperature is assumed to be 14.49 oC (Shakil, 2005; NASA, 2002; DATAWeb, 2012) which sets the 2 oC anomaly above which humanity will lose control of her ability to limit the effects of global warming on major climatic and environmental systems at 16.49 oC (IPCC, 2007). The major Permian extinction event temperature is 80 oF (26.66 oC) which is a temperature anomaly of 12.1766 oC above the 1990 global mean temperature of 14.49 oC (Wignall, 2009; Shakil, 2005).
Results of Investigation
Figure 1 shows a huge sudden atmospheric spike like increase in the concentration of atmospheric methane at Svalbard north of Norway in the Arctic reaching 2040 ppb (2.04 ppm)(ESRL/GMO, 2010 – Arctic – Methane – Emergency – Group.org). The cause of this sudden anomalous increase in the concentration of atmospheric methane at Svalbard has been seen on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf where a recent Russian – U.S. expedition has found widespread, continuous powerful methane seepages into the atmosphere from the subsea methane hydrates with the methane plumes (fountains or torches) up to 1 km across producing an atmospheric methane concentration 100 times higher than normal (Connor, 2011). Such high methane concentrations could produce local temperature anomalies of more than 50 oC at a conservative methane warming potential of 25.
Figure 2 is derived from the Svalbard data in Figure 1 and the methane concentration data has been used to generate a Svalbard atmospheric temperature anomaly trend using a methane warming potential of 43.5 as an example. The huge sudden anomalous spike in atmospheric methane concentration in mid August, 2010 at Svalbard is clearly evident and the methane concentrations within this spike have been used to construct a series of radiating methane global warming temperature trends for the entire range of methane global warming potentials in Figure 3 from an assumed mean start temperature of -3.575 degrees Centigrade for Svalbard (see Figure 2) (Norwegian Polar Institute; 2011).
Figure 3 shows a set of radiating Arctic atmospheric methane global warming temperature trends calculated from the steep methane atmospheric concentration gradient at Svalbard in 2010 (ESRL/GMO, 2010 – Arctic-Methane-Emergency-Group.org). The range of extinction temperature anomalies above the assumed 1990 mean atmospheric temperature of 14.49 oC (Shakil, 2005) are also shown on this diagram as well as the 80 oF (26.66 oC) major Permian extinction event temperature (Wignall, 2009).
Sam Carana (pers. com. 7 Jan, 2012) has described large December 2011 (ESRL-NOAA data) warming anomalies which exceed 10 to 20 degrees centigrade and cover vast areas of the Arctic at times. In the centres of these regions, which appear to overlap the Gakkel Ridge and its bounding basins, the temperature anomalies may exceed 20 degrees centigrade.
The temperature anomalies in this region of the Arctic for the period from September 8 2011 to October 7, 2011 were only about 4 degrees Centigrade above normal (Carana, pers. com. 2012) and this data set can be seen on this site:-
Because the Svalbard methane concentration data suggests that the major spike in methane emissions began in late 2010 it has been assumed for calculation purposes that the 2010 temperature anomalies peaked at 4 degrees Centigrade and the 2011 anomalies at 20 degrees Centigrade in the Gakkel Ridge region. The assumed 20 degree Centigrade temperature anomaly trend from 2010 to 2011 in the Gakkel Ridge region requires a methane gas warming potential of about 1000 to generate it from the Svalbard methane atmospheric concentration spike data in 2010. Such high methane warming potentials could only be active over a very short time interval (less than 5.7 months) as shown when the long methane global warming potential lifetimes data from the IPCC (2007; 1992) and Dessus, Laponte and Treut (2008 ) are used to generate a global warming potential growth curve with a methane global warming potential of 100 with a lifespan of 5 years.
Because of the high methane global warming potential (1000) of the 2011, 20 oC temperature anomalies in the Gakkel Ridge region, the entire methane global warming potential range from 5 to 1000 has been used to construct the radiating set of temperature trends shown in Figure 3. The 50, 100, 500 and 1000 methane global warming potential (GWP) trends are red and in bold. The choice of a high temperature methane peak with a global warming potential near 1000 is in fact very conservative because the 16 oC increase is assumed to occur over a year. The observed ESRL-NOAA Arctic temperature anomalies varied from 4 to 20 degrees over less than a month in 2011 (Sam Carana, pers. comm. 2012).
Figure 4 shows the estimated lifetime of a globally spreading Arctic methane atmospheric veil for different methane global warming potentials with the minimum, mean and maximum lifetimes fixed with data from Dessus, Laponche and Treut (2008) and IPCC (2007, 1992). On this diagram it is evident that the maximum methane global warming potential temperature trend of 50 intersects the 2 degree centigrade temperature anomaly line in mid 2027 at which time humanity will completely lose our ability to combat the earth atmospheric temperature rise. This diagram also indicates that methane will be an extremely active global warming agent for the first 15 years during the early stages of the extinction process. At the 80 o F (26.66 oC) Permian extinction event temperature line (Wignall, 2009), which has a 12.177 oC temperature anomaly above the 1980 mean of 14.49 oC, the lifetime of the minimum methane global warming potential veil is now some 75 years long and the temperature so high that total extinction of all life on earth will have occured by this time.
The life time from the almost instantaneous injection of methane into the atmosphere in 2010 is also shown as the two vertical violet lines (12 +- 3) years and this has been extended by 6 percent to 15.9 years to take account of increased methane concentrations in the future (IPCC, 1992b). This data set can be used to set up the likely start position for the extinction event from the large methane emissions in 2010.
(The above is only an intro -Read the whole article with references and comments at http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/global-extinction-within-one-human.html )