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Are we overlooking any precautions?

With the recent discovery that methane is bubbling out of the Arctic faster than expected, how worried should we be about abrupt changes in climate such as this one? Are there precautions we should be taking that both the political and scientific communities have been overlooking?

Posted by Washington Post Editor on March 8, 2010 4:15 PM

Make a Comment  |  All Comments (32)

chatard Author Profile Page :

Methane bubbling is an "abrupt change in climate"?? What scientist told you that was climate change? What you'd better be worried about is an abrupt drop-off in subscriptions to your rag because of printing asinine drivel like this.

AGWsceptic99 Author Profile Page :


The effects of global climate change mean exaggerated weather events. While the east coast this winter season experienced unusual snowfall, Arctic ice pack nevertheless, continues to recede.
It's time to grow up and accept responsibility."

End of Quote. The link below shows that the arctic ice is well above its lows, but the NSIDC probably is not as well informed as you are. Do grownups actually need facts to be so critical? Same link shows antarctic ice increasing. Never let actual facts interfere with your grownup beliefs.

"Sea ice extent in the Antarctic has been unusually high in recent years, both in summer and winter. Overall, the Antarctic is showing small positive trends in total extent. For example, the trend in February extent is now +3.1% per decade."

Indpnt1 Author Profile Page :

It is mind boggling that Democrats are still even paying attention to this. Thinking that we can do anything to effect the climate one way or another is silly.

The "Climate agenda" is nothing but a Marxist scam to rip off the people of the industrialized world of their hard earned money.

MillPond2 Author Profile Page :

The assertion that methane release is increasing in the Arctic would appear to me that this is the result of permafrost melting - therefore, decomposing organic matter that has been locked under this permafrost is now being released due to warming in the northern region.

The effects of global climate change mean exaggerated weather events. While the east coast this winter season experienced unusual snowfall, Arctic ice pack nevertheless, continues to recede.

Much of the denial of the effect on global climate of over 6 billion humans on our planet is due to the pollyanna-like desire to deny that so many of us have any effect. If we can somehow wish this away, then we have no responsibility to change our behavior, and then subsequently, we can keep on habitually doing what we have always done, without any bothersome inconvenience.

It's time to grow up and accept responsibility.

steveboyington Author Profile Page :

This board proves my theory that the internet and message boards has been the single biggest invention ever for the wild-eyed shutin. Nobody will listen to them any more in person. They are lost causes. But, the internet message board allows them to rant and rave. Astounding.

suegbic1 Author Profile Page :

Well, the global warming kooks can grab on this straw now!

AGWsceptic99 Author Profile Page :

The warmists continually claim that there is a consensus of scientists who agree with AGW, and that only crackpots question the consensus. There are lots of folks doing serious research who present alternatives, but the Post carries very few references to them. To the question of are we overlooking something, the answer is that you are overlooking the biggest scientific fraud in the history of the world. For example, read this:

zap123 Author Profile Page :

LOL, Who are you jokers? Contrary to what the main street media barfs out on a daily basis regarding "man made" global warming, there simply ISNT a scientific consensus. Now you are talking about methane leaking out of Antartica? LOL, do you really want me to go there?


Bitter_Bill Author Profile Page :

We are all going to die someday. I'd rather die of methane bubbling up from the Antarctic than die of no known cause. The worst thing is to lie in a hospital bed dying of nothing. I'd rather die of something.

Bitter_Bill Author Profile Page :

The first thing to do is ascertain whether the scientists publishing these results are lying.

Curmudgeon10 Author Profile Page :

This newest, latest, and possibly scariest climate crisis should have been featured page one, above the fold!!

Obviously, the time has come to require all farm animals to wear methane capture devices. And I don't think it would hurt at all if we, as a nation, wore hats constructed of tin foil, as they did in the movie "signs."

Desperate times call for desperate measures!

Common_Cents1 Author Profile Page :

Who are these hidden experts issuing their 'faster than expected' forecasts? This is the worse kind of environmental fiction writing; best left to disaster weather forecasts...storm clouds gather, people warned, storm approaches, storm disappears, sun comes out; people rejoice over disaster averted......sound familiar?

It should; it's the formula for newspaper writers.

jobro1 Author Profile Page :

Gosh darn those pesky scientists, anyways. Always trying to figure things out and stuff. Like anyone cares. Why don't they stop thinking so much and just go watch TV or something?

pd2710 Author Profile Page :

Just the latest bogus BS "bubbling up" from the naive Goreite sheep.

bobbo2 Author Profile Page :

Quick Congress! Pass a Bill that taxes all creatures of the Artic for this methane release! No that won't work. How about make the Artic a property of the United States and then make the American Taxpayer pay the tax. No not that either. Come on Democrats, think of something quick, it has to be the fault of the American people.

bobbo2 Author Profile Page :

Quick Congress! Pass a Bill that taxes all creatures of the Artic for this methane release! No that won't work. How about make the Artic a property of the United States and then make the American Taxpayer pay the tax. No not that either. Come on Democrats, think of something quick, it has to be the fault of the American people.

steveboyington Author Profile Page :

The best arguments can be made at high altitude, like the physicist argument. The Earth is a complex system. We, as humans, have been modifying it for a long time, and the rate we modify it is quickening. All the carbon stored in trees and coal and oil is being ejected into the atmosphere and an increasing clip. This will change the system.

Are we the only thing that makes change? Hardly. But we do, and are.

walkerbert Author Profile Page :

I think it's like this: There might be global warming. There might not. Depends on who you ask. Some of the 'findings' are in dispute because it was also discovered that if you put a thermometer in a dark-colored box, it registers a higher temperature than if you put it in a lighter-colored box. By about a degree. Coffee farmers are whining about a 1/2 degree temperature increase allegedly preventing them from growing coffee beans, necessitating a price increase, of course. Of course. Right.

My feeling is, don't believe everything you read, because some people aren't above trying to capitalize on these edge-of-your-seat climate change 'findings', nor are they above abusing environmental politics for other purposes, like manipulating the whole situation so that environmental laws in this country end up driving people out of business, and subsequently, that business out of this country to overseas locales, where curiously, environmental law is much less stringent. Curious circumstance, especially when we're talking about billions of dollars in business revenue that used to go to US manufacturing concerns.

ItsOver2 Author Profile Page :

Scientists lie about their data, lie about their models and lie about their results. When they get caught, they try to cover it up. We are on to you, liars.

AnnLePain Author Profile Page :

Recent research has also shown that a logarithmic relationship exists between the greenhouse effect and greenhouse gas concentration. That is, as the concentration increases from zero, the effect is most pronounced, but then levels off as more gas is added. This 4 part lecture by Professor Bob Carter is well worth a look:

A view from the UK: watch out for your wallets and your jobs. The EU's European Trading System (carbon trading) market is worth about $120bn. If the USA and Australia were to join the club, the market would expand to over $1 trillion. With such a vast money making potential at stake, it is unlikely that the IPCC and the orthodox scientific community would change their minds about the causes of climate change. Indeed, it is in their interest to maximize the number of scare stories. As "proof of the pudding" about how carbon credits have caused 1700 job losses in the UK, see:

The effect is to transfer manufacturing, jobs and CO2 from "CO2 regulated" countries to others that are unregulated, without any noticeable reduction in CO2 emissions.

AGWsceptic99 Author Profile Page :

The evidence that we have experienced an abrupt climate change is what you are overstating and overlooking. There isn't anything unusual about current global temperatures when compared to those of the last few thousand years. A recently published article won't get any publicity here in the Post, because it conflicts with their warmist alarmist system of beliefs, but science will eventually overcome the warmist religion.


What did the clam say to the warmist? You can't dig clams with a hockey stick.

What did the alarmist researcher who has been very well funded based on their predictions of floods, droughts, and other clamatities? Oh shucks, there goes the money for my beach house.

godfrey2001 Author Profile Page :

This phenomenon should caution sweeping statements about the causes of change in earth's system.

FredinVicksburg Author Profile Page :

The real problem is feeding the world population. With a small population of hunter-gatherers, the people simply moved when they needed to move. With a large population and farms in fixed areas, the impact of climate variability becomes much greater. Changes in either direction (warmer or cooler) can benefit some areas and produce disasters in other areas.

spamsux1 Author Profile Page :

This kind of lazy, alarmist nonsense is infuriating.

From the link:
"Historically, methane concentrations in the world's atmosphere have ranged between 0.3 and 0.4 parts per million in cool periods to 0.6 to 0.7 in warm periods. Current methane concentrations in the Arctic average about 1.85 parts per million, the scientists said, the highest in 400,000 years."

First, researchers just found this-because they never looked there before.
Second, this estimation is only about 1 percent of global methane sources.
Third, comparing the level of methane in the Arctic-which is a relatively closed system-to current global levels (which is conspicuously absent) is purposely misleading.

Stop the cherry-picking, the false allegories and errors by omission.

Or not.

Silly drive-bys like this illuminate the weak and often desperate attempts to advance the agenda.

hit4cycle Author Profile Page :

I'm not at all worried about bubbling arctic methane and no precautions are needed. I'm more concerned about the heartbreak of psoriasis than I am global warming.

sfmaster Author Profile Page :

Every now and then, the Science Channel runs a program called "The Day Life Nearly Died" about the Permian Extinction; which killed off 90% of the species alive then (including the lowly trilobite; everyone's favorite fossil!).
What caused the Permian Extinction wasn't an asteroid; but a double whammy: first for centuries vulcanism from the Siberian Traps poured tons of Co2 into the atmosphere; this raised global temps to melt frozen methane under the sea which raised global temps even more.
Considering that Texas Conservatives just won a major victory in teaching history i'm not optimistic about how we teach and understand science in the US!

GaryEMasters Author Profile Page :

The warming trends are well studied. But the argument of the "warmers" is like a chain. One link is stainless steel. Others are paper.

We have to study the "ice age" cycle as an independent factor because much of it is caused by forces other than our atmosphere. They are astronomical.

Only when we understand all the factors involved, to warm and to cool - will we be able to make a rational decision if we want to warm or cool Earth.

If we put all our energy to cool Earth now and discover an ice age on the way - that will be a BIG MISTAKE. Then we will want more greenhouse gases. Not less.

We have to be smart enough to ask all the questions and to think now, before we act.

It is still possible to make the wrong mistake.

MisterGuerilla Author Profile Page :

People are going to do what they are currently doing to 'help' the environment, which is to demand high-paying jobs from the government so they can continue to have LOTS and LOTS of babies. The problem with pollution is humans, and at the source is the human infant. But nobody wants to talk about that.

raygunnot Author Profile Page :

Question, are "we" overlooking any precautions? Who is "we"?

Your experts all have useful things to say, although the oil boy has carefully crafted his message to preclude the possibility of actual action. Clever!

Ironically, the other oil boy, or maybe ex-oil boy, has the right answer. The idea that changing the CO2 level of the atmosphere will cause a major change in climate is just common sense and fairly simple physics. We already are creating a radiative forcing of double the natural range, and are on track to redouble.

It is the idea that we can create this much change to the atmosphere, and somehow NOT change the climate, that is highly questionable. The proponents of doing nothing should be asked to submit their theories of how this would happen, along with model results showing no change in the climate, to peer reviewed science journals.

These basic facts have been known for at least 20 years. This long ago ceased to be a scientific debate. This is a profound moral dilemma. Will "we" take responsibility for our actions, and their effects on the future of the planet, and our descendants, or not?

If the answer is yes, we take responsibility, then the precautions are obvious - emit less greenhouse gases. So policies to move toward lower greenhouse emissions ARE the precautions you are looking for. These have not been overlooked - they have been intentionally thwarted by special interests (like oil boy #1, above).

AGWsceptic99 Author Profile Page :

Scientists visited a place they had never been before and observed Methane Bubbles that no one had ever seen before because no one had ever been there looking for them. The NY Times misquoted the average methane concentration in the atmosphere by a factor of three.

This never before observed phenomenon is a danger to the climate? Maybe it would be more reasonable to actually do some research over some period of time before pushing the panic button.

Worshipers at the church global warming are easily recognizable. More snow is caused by CO2. Less snow is caused by CO2. Bubbles we have never seen before because we never looked before will soon cause polar bears to drown. People never lived in Greenland where there are glaciers now because a Medieval Warming Period conflicts with their climate models. Polar ice will all melt soon and we can sail to the North Pole (but the ice is back to normal now so maybe not this summer).

Skeptics are all funded by the oil companies, but I have never been able to find the paymaster. Worshipers in Al Gore's church are getting billions to prove global warming exists and is caused by human activities, but that is ok because the money doesn't come from oil companies.

AGWsceptic99 Author Profile Page :

I see that the Post does not list WattsUpWithThat as a blog resource. That site probably gets several times more visits than all the listed resources do combined. Possibly because Anthony regularly trashes the warmist editorials in the Post?

What did Mann say to the clam shell? Nice hockey stick.

jjcrocket2 Author Profile Page :

How dangerous if the Fluery of earthquakes in Chile? Can we stop or control earthquakes?

There are physical cycles and circumstances we can not control that could destroy the earth as we know it in minutes or a year!
No, we are not yet prepared to solve these issues. Issues such as Solar cycles, Asteroids hitting earth, X-ray attacks from the inner Milky Way Galaxy, super volcanoes or super Tsunami's! The potential for devastating earthquakes in the USA is ever present, or another Yellowstone super volcanic explosion killing life on earth as we know it!

Capturing and burning off the methane to solve our energy needs is a good idea! But, a hugely expensive solution. The fact is that methane is really no different than natural gas and appears naturally on or in earth. It has as much chemical right to be here, and do its thing as humans have.

Attempting to control all humans from crime is difficult alone let alone other natural occurrences.

What we can do is study and learn and do science in space and the universe to understand better our circumstance in the big picture in the cosmos!

A recent declaration by the Obama administration cutting space dollars is bad and worse for all of us! More knowledge is our only chance of survival!

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