We don’t know — Arctic methane says so

We don’t know how long we have.  The more we heat up the planet, the more we reach “tipping points,” where “positive feedback loops” that we set in motion become Earth’s way of consuming itself.  Our models for predicting effects of human-caused climate change do not — cannot — take into account the potential for the feedback loops running out of control, beyond reach of any mitigating efforts we may make.

So, what, then?

We have to simply stop feeding carbon into the air.  Just stop, in every way we can, as much as possible, everywhere, and punish those who resist.  They don’t call it “an existential threat” for nothing.  Why treat it as less?

Lesser efforts, lesser objectives, raise the risk beyond our ability to measure, as shown below in the new PBS Nova episode, “Arctic Sinkholes.”

As the authors explain, the craters look like sinkholes to the naked eye, but they are not sinkholes.  They are massive, explosive and incessant methane leaks from the arctic permafrost.

The rate of increase in the arctic temperature is twice that of the planetary average.  The permafrost — ground frozen continuously for at least two years, but also thousands of feet deep for millennia — is thawing, and opening big methane vents at alarming rates.

We don’t know how many there are, or will be.  We don’t know their ultimate effect.  We don’t know if our feeble efforts to stop killing our planet can begin to take into account the effects of thawing permafrost.

The craters (above ground and under water) are examples of earth’s chain reaction to climate change.  They are examples of Earth’s natural amplification of our harmful influence.  One might say they are examples of Nature’s way of getting rid of us, eventually.

The Nova episode shows other examples, too, beyond the methane craters.  In one case, a relatively small human impact set in motion an endlessly growing, massive reaction that we have no way to stop.  They show it to you on camera, not in a theory.  They know what caused it.  They know there’s nothing we can do about it.  It is only one example.

We don’t know how much we don’t know, but those paying attention know the ignorance is terrible, especially because at least half of us don’t think we are ignorant, and far too many think that science is just a matter of feelings and personal opinions.

The Trumpoid diseased psyche thinks that truth is whatever it believes, irrationally, or that reality is whatever feeds its delusional superiority driving the conviction that it knows better about which it knows nothing.  The rest of us are mostly sleeping about this, treating it as mere politics.  Wake the hell up to science.

Below is the YouTube copy of the Nova video (Season 49 Episode 1 | 53m 28s) that premiered today, February 2, 2022 (cute: 2/2/22).  You can also watch it and related episodes at the PBS Nova Arctic Sinkholes website.

In the Arctic, enormous releases of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, threaten the climate. Colossal explosions shake a remote corner of the Siberian tundra, leaving behind massive craters. In Alaska, a huge lake erupts with bubbles of inflammable gas. Scientists are discovering that these mystifying phenomena add up to a ticking time bomb, as long-frozen permafrost melts and releases vast amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. What are the implications of these dramatic developments in the Arctic? Scientists and local communities alike are struggling to grasp the scale of the methane threat and what it means for our climate future. © 2022 WGBH Educational Foundation.

What do you think?  Is it reactionary, alarmist, overreactive bleeding heart environmentalist tree-hugger terrorism, or is it rational, scientifically sensible, legitimate concern that puts this post in my blog?

I hope that my question is the least of your concerns on the topic.  I hope that you question me, especially if you are afflicted with the delusion that human provoked climate change is not real.  Tell me three reasons you think so.  You can’t.  There aren’t any.  But go ahead.  Be stupid.  Tell me anyway.

Good related reading:

In her enlightening Climate Change Melts the Arctic Permafrost: Here’s Why You Should Care (March 2020), Eileen (Bǎoqí) Chen helps us get our heads around the true scale of Arctic warming, how to see it as big as it is, in ways we can realistically relate to.  Ms. Chen is a scholar in Environmental Studies and Journalism with an emphasis in GIS and Sustainablity Science at the University of Southern California.
 
Excerpt from her post (about her infographic):
 
It’s more than remoteness that makes global warming an Arctic saga. The acuteness of climate change is constantly weakened by the equivocalness of descriptions. After all, how could “a huge amount of ice loss” leave a lingering impression when it leaves the ambiguity of how huge is “huge” unresolved?
 
With this infographic, I hope to inform people how climate change melts the Arctic and explain the reason why we should care through effective visualization of data. The visual narrative consists of three parts: the relationship between rising temperature and melting, the impact of melting on wildlife and on carbon emissions, and individual actions to help.
 

5 thoughts on “We don’t know — Arctic methane says so

  1. First time online with decent Internet in nearly 2 weeks. And I don’t have time to read this now but I will really, really try to remember to come back to it. I’m in Mexico for a month, on the beach. Heaven.

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    • Oh, sure, rub it in. On the other hand, it’s heaven here, too!

      How could you possibly survive without the web for two weeks? My take on it: you’re probably healthier for it, like taking an overdue vacation in the sun, sand, wind and waves after living in a box for a long time. Go for another two weeks.

      Like

  2. This is truly terrifying. I wish people would wake up. I’m so glad I’m not going to be around in 25 years. Hell, I might not be around in 20 years. I hope I am, but not a lot longer than them please. I can’t stand that people are having children, bringing them into this place. Nearly 50 years ago, I had my tubes tied. Even at that time I didn’t want to bring children onto the planet because it was over populated and going downhill. It is so much worse today, I absolutely cannot imagine wanting to put a child through the disasters they are going to face.

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    • Hi Emilie. Good to hear from you.

      I suspect that many people who would have otherwise been around another 20-30 years won’t be around that long, for having voluntarily left the planet, and I don’t mean on a space ship.

      Thanks for your brave choice to not bear children. I’d bet that you had a motherly influence in enough lives to make a good difference.

      It seems that most of humanity’s worst problems can be traced back to one problem: population. It is baffling that Nature created an animal that destroys itself through reproduction. Alas, evolution does not mean that only the best survive. It just means that they evolve.

      I do see things that seem to be evidence that a smarter strain of human is evolving, and presently existing in scattered minorities among us. Maybe the old version is instinctively reacting violently in favor of autocracy, oppression of liberal education (it is established that populations with more educated women generally have fewer children), and unfettered reproduction within its breed to keep the new “homo philosophica” down.

      Now if only the world would wake up and listen to you and me!

      -Dennis

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