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Playing Games With Global Fire — Putting Scientific Arguments over Arctic Methane Emissions into Context

by on July 31, 2013


This week, the scientific journal Nature issued a bombshell article in which Peter Wadhams and a number of Arctic specialists warned that very large methane pulses, on the order of 1-50 gigatons in a single year, are likely to begin to appear soon in the Arctic. Other specialists, including Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist at NASA’s GISS division, have noted that such an event is very unlikely.

Schmidt, in his argument, points toward past periods — 8,000 and 125,000 years ago — when the summer Arctic was mostly ice free and notes that there is no geological evidence of rapid release during these times. Wadhams, on the other hand, points toward large methane plumes that are already rising from a region of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf — a region vulnerable to rapid warming. Joining the mix is a NASA scientist, Ed…

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