More bad news for climate alarmists: methane released by the thawing permafrost just isn’t looking like the deadly threat it was supposed to be.
For years it has been an article of faith among climate doommongers that methane is the ‘you ain’t seen nothin’ yet’ of greenhouse gases.
Man-made CO2 is a big enough problem on its own, the theory runs. But just wait till you see what happens when rising temperatures lead to the melting of the Arctic permafrost. That’s when your real troubles begin because then all that trapped methane will be released – and methane is around 34 times as deadly a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide…
Indeed, as Watts Up With That? reports, there’s a scientific crisis group dedicated entirely to this problem.
They’re called the Arctic Methane Emergency Group. Their membership includes such distinguished experts as Professor Peter Wadhams (the Cambridge don who recently blamed the dark forces of Big Oil for the deaths of several his colleagues, who apparently knew too much about global warming). And as they told a UN climate conference in Lima last year – heaven knows how they got there: not by aircraft, let us hope – “Arctic meltdown is a catastrophic threat for civilisation.”
So much for the theory. But it seems, unfortunately, to have been torpedoed by some new research from Princeton University.
However, new research led by Princeton University researchers and published in The ISME Journal in August suggests that, thanks to methane-hungry bacteria, the majority of Arctic soil might actually be able to absorb methane from the atmosphere rather than release it. Furthermore, that ability seems to become greater as temperatures rise.
The researchers found that Arctic soils containing low carbon content — which make up 87 percent of the soil in permafrost regions globally — not only remove methane from the atmosphere, but also become more efficient as temperatures increase. During a three-year period, a carbon-poor site on Axel Heiberg Island in Canada’s Arctic region consistently took up more methane as the ground temperature rose from 0 to 18 degrees Celsius (32 to 64.4 degrees Fahrenheit). The researchers project that should Arctic temperatures rise by 5 to 15 degrees Celsius over the next 100 years, the methane-absorbing capacity of “carbon-poor” soil could increase by five to 30 times.
This is not the first time these pesky bacteria have caused problems for the environmental movement. Worse still, almost, is the misery they cause whenever there’s an oil spill like the Deepwater Horizon or Exxon Valdez disasters.
In an ideal green world, the effect of these disasters would last for years, with endless opportunities to take tragic photographs of pelicans coated in oil, and dying sea otters and tragic manatees to remind everyone of man’s selfishness and greed and of the oil industry’s evil. But nature just won’t play ball. As this intriguing post from a Half Tide Rock at Watts Up With That? reminds us, friendly bacteria can devour oil spills more quickly than any expensive, man-made chemical clean up operation.
I studied oil spills in the 1970’s and still shake my head at how spills are handled.
The marine industry has a miserable time with diesel eating microbes that exist in the little bit of water at the bottom of most diesel tanks, They create sludge of proteins that clogs filters and cause issues with engines. At the same time i can go into my local marine supply store and buy microbes to put into the bilge to eat any oil that might be floating around,They are very effective! In polluted harbors and places with natural seeps, oil spills have disappeared “miraculously” overnight. The reality is that some activist against fossil fuels are baffled when a spill such as the BP spill goes “away” so quickly. Where did it go?
German subs sunk so many ships off Cape Cod that the beaches looked paved! Where did it go? Well the answer is that if you have a bushel of apples and you eat them where did THE APPLES go? Seeps are natural events and are very active all over the word. Anthropogenic spills are offensive regrettable messes. Refined products transiently poisonous as they evaporate and might mix in the water column. Wouldn’t you rather have a microbe eat it or do what we do…mush it around with dispersants and poisonous chemicals. Force it down into the soil where it creates an anaerobic environment. With this natural clean up crew, lets think this clean up business through…What can not be recovered directly by mechanical means is a boon to microbes seed it,encourage a bloom, let them at it! Be patient as they feast. Go figure!
You notice this a lot with climate scare stories. There are hundreds of them about and they all get debunked in the end but by then the damage has been done. Everyone knows about the terrible effects of permafrost melt and methane release. Almost no one is going to pick up on this study, because why would you? “Nice cuddly microbes will eat all the horrid methane” is so much duller a story then: “METHANE! YOU FIND IT IN FARTS AND BURIED BENEATH THE ICE! VERY SOON IT WILL DESTROY THE WORLD!”