Arctic Methane Emergency Group?

From Climate 'tech fixes' urged for Arctic methane I find who say:


We declare there now exists an extremely high international security risk* from abrupt and runaway global warming being triggered by the end-summer collapse of Arctic sea ice towards a fraction of the current record and release of huge quantities of methane gas from the seabed. Such global warming would lead at first to worldwide crop failures but ultimately and inexorably to the collapse of civilization as we know it. This colossal threat demands an immediate emergency scale response to cool the Arctic and save the sea ice. The latest available data indicates that a sea ice collapse is more than likely by 2015 and even possible this summer (2012). Thus some measures to counter the threat have to be ready within a few months.

So who are these bozos? (Note: I've been fairly dismissive about methane before). Aunty says "Scientists told UK MPs this week... At a meeting in Westminster organised by the Arctic Methane Emergency Group (Ameg), Prof Salter told MPs that..." so I think the first thing to realise is that there is less to this than meets the eye (Update: Geoengineering Politics has a report on the meeting that all this recent stuff has spun out of; I've also found (thanks cr) the written evidence to the committee, see the Refs). If you follow their "about" link you come to:

In the preparation of the 2010 workshop report and AGU conference poster presentation, scientific and/or engineering advice was sought and obtained from the following people

and there follows a list of distinguished-looking folk, whose only misfortune was to have talked to these people. Lower, we come to

a position statement on the Arctic methane emergency, proposed by the chairman, John Nissen, was agreed by the following:

Graham Ennis
Doly Garcia
Jon Hughes
Veli Albert Kallio
Graham Knight
Dr. Brian Orr
Prof. Stephen Salter
Prof. Peter Wadhams

Salter will be familiar to Old Folk as the inventor of the Duck, a doubtless noble project but which has, as far as I know, been perennially unused. Wadhams is a climate scientist - well, he is a sea ice person. The rest I don't know. Wadhams has some credibility. Unfortunately, we don't know what the position statement they agree was. They don't directly link to it. It is possible that the text I've quoted is part of it, but its impossible to know.

Wadhams clearly believes something, see Rebuttal: Imminent collapse of Arctic sea ice drives danger of accelerated methane thaw (thanks B for reminding me). I see that page relies heavily on the Piomas graphs, whose extrapolation I've disagreed with before and do now. But onto what W says there: Archer clearly acknowledges the vulnerability of methane hydrates to thawing in response to rising Arctic temperatures. Given that ice loss is accelerating, which in turn will only accelerate that temperature rise through the albedo effect, one has to wonder why he does not perceive an imminent and urgent crisis, which certainly suggests that W does indeed believe in "an imminent and urgent crisis". I think that is well over the top; I don't think anything he says there supports it, nor do the links.

I've worked with Wadhams a little bit, in the past. Wadhams knows about sea ice, indeed as far as I know its his main specialism. But perhaps in a local-processes sense. He was involvedin garnering thickness data from UK submarine cruises. What I'm trying to say is that I wouldn't really trust him to have a great deal of feel for the connection between sea ice and global-scale methane; I'd expect him to care for the Arctic, but quite possibly to over-emphasise local detail.

And apart from Wadhams I can't see this group has any credibility.

Update: bottom-trawling, I ran across a comment at JEB (thanks VB) talking about "invaded by out-and-out nutters such as the UFOlogist and Arctic methane expert Graham Ennes (AKA 'Omega Institute')". Well yes, GE (though with an "i") is on that list. And yes, if you search for his name you'll find some weird stuff. Wadhams ought to remember that if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

Update: The comment from Axel Schweiger is worth reading.

Update: in fact several other comments are also worth reading; take a look. I think I'm going to give my viewpoint (instead of just being ratty about other peoples). I've said this before but its quicker to write it down again than find it. The starting point is the measurements of atmospheric methane. These are nothing much to worry about. Indee they are below the old IPCC scenarios. If there was sudden truely massive venting from the Arctic, we'd be seeing it in those measurements. That leaves the harder problem of whether the Arctic warming (and in particular the recent decline in sea ice) is likely to lead to sufficient warming under the sea bed to release enough methane from clathrates that anyone would care. So far, the evidence warrants monitoring and study, not panic and geoengineering.


* Mid March Miscellanea from CR.
* I'm sure they'll be delighted to know that this post is now the top google hit for "Arctic Methane Emergency Group".
* may be the source for the PIOMAS graph the Beeb uses.
* Arctic Methane, Emergencies, and Alarmism
* Possible role of wetlands, permafrost, and methane hydrates in the methane cycle under future climate change: A review - REVIEWS OF GEOPHYSICS, VOL. 48, RG4005, 33 PP., 2010
doi:10.1029/2010RG000326 (thanks Bishop; I've inlined their fig 7).
* Evironmental Audit Committee - Written Evidence
* Environmental Audit Committee - Minutes of Evidence
* Neven discusses "the graph"
* [2014] How much methane came out of that hole in Siberia?
* [2014] Climate change and the methane crisis: Q & A with Harold Hensel - Zombie nutters from beyond the grave


More like this

Ah, there's nothing like pouring oil on troubled waters with a carefully chosen post title, or defusing a potentially unpleasant confrontation with a cheery image. The backstory: for quite some time now people have been making implausible predictions about the Killer Arctic Death Spiral of Death.…
It am de report ob de House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, Second Report of Session 2012–13, Volume I: Report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence. And things like Arctic Methane Emergency Group? refer. I don't really have much to say, because Geoengineering Politics…
Arctic Methane Emergency Group? refers. Via GP I find this discussion on a "geoengineering" newsgroup (gosh how quaint - people still use newsgroups? Maybe retro is back). AJL finds my article "damming" but Ken C finds it "a little distasteful". But both are worried, quite rightly, about…
Says Aunty. And the Graun says "Arctic thawing could cost the world $60tn, scientists say". $60tn is a big number. But lets not trouble ourselves with the popular press: lets go straight to the source, which is Nature ("Vast costs of Arctic change", by Gail Whiteman, Chris Hope and Peter Wadhams…

ve iÅte bu methane group haklarıdan emeklerinet katlanmıÅlır. istanbulda ismek veriyoru dou Åeylerden. elsamtalrı denizer bizim buralarda kurdelnakıŠyada iÄneoyayıgibi sanatlera destek verenler. iÅte anlaccÄınız budurmda oluÅna Åartlar hakkında kurslar vardırıd.

I have been following the activities of AMEG for several months now, and the following two posts provide interesting background and context for those interested:……

Their statements are typically alarmist and often lack factual support.

Josh Horton

Certainly it would be interesting to see a simple line graph of the volume predictions from the linked movie, perhaps with the real data from 2005 to 2011 overlaid.

By Peter Ellis (not verified) on 18 Mar 2012 #permalink

bu konuda yani methane emergecn group nedir pekbir Åey anlamıdım ancak milgim biryey varki bu duruma ÅaÅırdım. artık bir arhirec oluÅmaları nokiaceptelefon c7 ve c8 için modelve marka uyumluulklarına alÅmaya baÅlamıÅtıki olan olnmuÅ. bir sonuç çakacaÄıda benzemiyora ama olsun yinede uÄraÅmak gereklidir. bu durumlardaki ürünlere yapılması gereken baÅka bir Åey varsa blogunuzda bir makele yazarak paylaÅmanızı iÅsetirm güzel günleri dileyile.

I've got links to the appearance of Prof Wadhams and John Nissen of the AMEG before the Commons Select Committee on Environment Audit - Protecting the Arctic session. See here
First two links.

FWIW I too am not convinced by the AMEG's argument. Prof Slingo made a good point that the methane catastrophe idea has a large and unaddressed problem - how to get the warming rapidly through the sediment column.

[Thanks; I've now ref'd you -W]

The people of AMEG are very eager to start geoengineering. I think we can expect more of this in the near future, especially when denialists transition from their current yes, it's warming, but how much is caused by human actions-phase to the next okay, it took 25 years, but we are convinced this could be serious-phase.

Wrt methane: no need to get into a panic, but no need to dismiss potential seriousness either.

[Indeed, but I think methane just needs watch-n-research for the moment. All this vast over enthusiasm would do harm, if anyone actually listened to them -W]


I also disagree with the extrapolation of PIOMAS data and I am glad you are pointing it out here. I think there is little basis for using an exponential. At least if there is, I haven't seen it. Now the BBC article attributes this to us (University of Washington) which is clearly not correct. Wadham's blog (see above) seems to indicate that we agree with him.

The source for the figure, apparently a blog posting , actually has a nice figure which demonstrates a number of different functions fitted to PIOMAS data. It clearly illustrates the sensitivity of the "ice free summer" prediction to the choice of extrapolation function and suggests the need for some solid scientific reasoning for choosing one over another. I haven't seen that reasoning.

Axel Schweiger
Chair, Polar Science Center
Applied Physics Laboratory
University of Washington
Seattle, Wa. 98105

By Axel Schweiger (not verified) on 17 Mar 2012 #permalink

We went through this AMEG stuff back in November or December, when Semiletov (?) had some new results. Possibly at AGU? Certainly I'm concerned about hydrate collapse. Also, I can't think of a much better way to get increased sea-floor temperatures into a sediment column than by bubbling methane through it. But the fact that the chair describes himself as MA (Cantab) is a big red 'crank' flag for me.

By Nick Barnes (not verified) on 18 Mar 2012 #permalink

The Arctic sea ice seems to booming. Check out the NSIDC for March 17, 2012. There doesn't seem to be any rational reason to fear ice free summers. I expect new minimum highs.…

[That is what it is supposed to do (I mean, recover somewhat from its recent woes) according to my theory. It is still on long-term decline, but I'm betting (literally) that it won't be as rapid as recently -W]

Hello colleagues,

I am from satellite/spectroscopy community and deal with retrievals of CO, CH4, SO2, etc from TIR (Thermal IR) sensors at GSFC. I guess you are not familiar with what happens in satellite and/or ground-based monitoring of methane in detail. I collaborate with AMEG, but have not signed any letters so far. I disagree with geoingeneering ideas and a tone of panic in their proclamations.

1. Methane started new growing since 2007 (see my report at AMEG
However, in spite of time coincidence, there are no proofs that this growth is induced by Arctic/subArctic emissions.
2. Ground-based network has lots of holes and is critically insufficient in the Arctic. Satellite data for mid and tropical latitudes are more or less validated, but TIR is not sensitive to the boundary layer (< 2 km), NIR (nearIR) requires sun light and even in day time the data are noisy. Polar areas are missing at all by NIR.
3. I am busy in other projects and what I can do is posting polar projections of AIRS data, regularly released in hdf format. See
and Arctic data are compared to HIPPO (Xiong et al, 2011) and also some unpublished comparisons. So, the maps have some degree of credibility. There are other similar sensors (IASI, TANSO), but the data are unavailable.
4. A synopsis of my conclusions from AIRS alone is: a) AIRS is not sensitive equally to the entire troposphere. 400 mb (or 350 mb) on the maps is just formal: the sensitivity function is very fat, from 2 to 12 km, maximum is around 350 mb. b) The rate of increase is just 1/3 of ground-based rate due to a). c) The variations of the AIRS rate of increase/decrease reflect real variations but, probably, attenuated. d) Before 2011 there were no clear indications for the Arctic ocean methane source, but between July 2011 and January 2012 there were monotonous growth of the Arctic methane that could be explained by 10-15 Tg CH4 total emission during this period. It is not scary so far: global CH4 source is ~500 Tg/year (Mt/yr) and I remind about a few Gt that are the matter of concern. More important is a seasonal pattern: it seems to stop after January 2012.
5. A confirmation of AIRS is very important, but so far no data at all!

In conclusion. Atmospheric CH4 as well as ice monitoring and further research of clathrates are now more important than any public campaigns.

[Thanks for commenting. I agree with your conclusion; I've added a what-I-think trailer to my post -W]

By Leonid Yurganov (not verified) on 18 Mar 2012 #permalink

Dr Scheweiger - given that the various projections are based on PIOMAS outputs, can't we use the existing PIOMAS-based forecasts to help pick the appropriate function?

At some point the model was indeed used for forecasting of ice loss, as archived here:

What shape of curve did you get when you ran the models forwards? Guesstimating from the movie, it looked roughly sigmoid, with an initial steep drop that then tails off. A sigmoid curve makes a handwavey kind of intuitive sense, since many physical processes follow such kinetics.

As to when the Arctic becomes ice-free in summer, that really will depend on the definition of "ice-free". From the multi-fit figure you cite, the Gompertz (sigmoid) fit is technically never completely ice-free, but for all practical intents and purposes it's almost identical to the exponential fit until you get very close to zero. Almost all the fits predict loss of ~95% of summer ice volume by ~2020. That to me looks pretty compatible with Maslowski's often-misquoted prediction of 2016 +/- 3 years.

By Peter Ellis (not verified) on 18 Mar 2012 #permalink

What concerns me is that your post says nothing about methane from the arctic. When it dismisses people as Bozos because you disagree with them but provide nothing to the contrary I have to begin to wonder who the bozo's are.
If your truly were interested in the truth of this you would of at least come up with this story
Methane Releases from Arctic Shelf May Be Much Larger and Faster Than Anticipated

Now in the very least this certainly warrants more attention and study. It may not be the catastrophe this group says it is but why the hell would I want to take that chance.

[I don't think you've read what I wrote; ah well, that happens, never mind. I've seen your link before; without context, it really doesn't help. context is: so how big are these emissions? Have they affected atmospheric methane levels? -W]

1. Methane started new growing since 2007 - fracking increase? Geo patterns would be interesting

2. So far, the evidence warrants monitoring and study, not panic and geoengineering - of course you know that there will be enough time to panic effectively?

[You need to go with the evidence available, not wild speculation. If you have evidence, don't hesitate to produce it -W]

In the event that someone wants to read, you know, like actual "sciencey" stuff there's a recent review of the subject at

[Thanks Bishop. I've added that as a ref. Their fig 7 seems to be the best summary, and I've inlined that -W]

By The Bishop of … (not verified) on 18 Mar 2012 #permalink

Ah Stoat dances the two step

Show me the beef

Looks like beef but it ain't beef to us sharp toothed creatures

1. There is a large reservoir of methane in Arctic clathrates
2. There is some indication that some of this is starting to decompose (the Russian report at AGU and other hints)
3. Never mind

[You need numbers, not words. 1 & 2 are true. 3 is false. Try reading the paper the Bishop provided -W]

Semiletov's subsea sediment cores revealed that the methane clathrates melt below 0 C, which was apparently news.

Arctic sea temperatures above the shallow shelves are reaching 5 C in summer. The Eastern Siberia Arctic Shelf is only about 50 meters deep in some places. These higher sea temperatures can mix downwards without great difficulty especially as it has become stormier up there.

Do you find it difficult to imagine that when there are places 1,000 meters across where the methane is bubbling up that there would also be empty spaces on the sea floor where the methane melted now exposed to above-freezing water, leading to further melting in a manner that may not be so very slow?

Regardless of whether or not the Arctic is ice free in summer (bar some pitiful areas near the northern shores of the Canadian archipelago), the ice extent will disappear for more and more days in summer with consequent albedo flip, leading to even more sea water warming.

So let me see, the air temperatures in the Arctic are already often 10-20 C above normal (you know, that old normal), the water entering the Arctic is above normal temp, and the albedo flip will cause even more warming of the sea water. Of course, the cold air that used to hang out over the Arctic also gets shoved out of there on a frequent basis.

Can you point me to a recent paper that takes into consideration the sorts of water temperatures we can expect in the Arctic this year and for say the next 5 or 10?

Just personally, I would put more faith in multiyear ice loss measurements performed from a submarine underneath it by radar, just a few meters away from the ice, than satellite measurements or models.

But that is just my unscientific opinion.

Finally something we can at least partially agree on.

Another problem with the idea of methane causing serious problems is its rate of decay in the atmosphere.

By TheGoodLocust (not verified) on 18 Mar 2012 #permalink

"Looks like beef but it ain't beef to us sharp toothed creatures"

You eat lettuce and carrots. What do you know about the taste of beef? A stoat is far more familiar with the taste of succulent flesh.

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 18 Mar 2012 #permalink

William, I don't know if my comment got swept into the dust bin -- I noticed after I used the preview function, my email address disappeared, but I hit Post without thinking.

Bunker1,Level 12,London, UK.
Dear Mr Connolley,

[It is Dr Connolley, if you wish to use titles -W]

From my lair deep inside the "Dark mountain", here in England, I see that in Amerika the standards of scientific discourse have slipped somewhat. They are now, from your recent blog, actually somewhat below those prevailing in the Present travelling road show of Republican Wannabe Mad Roman Emperors calling themselves Presidential candidates. That takes some doing. Fidel Castro described those proceedings as a "Zoo". They now appear to have zoological competition.

As the actual researcher who you called a "Nutter", and "Dog", (with Fleas) etc, and a Ufologist, (eat your heart out Mulder) all of which if I used such words to describe your great President in the land of the free,

[You smokin' something wacky? I too live in this glorious country we call England. There is an "about" button you could have used to find all this out -W]

would get me a visit from the FBI and Homeland Security, and probably statutory rape from the TSA on my next US flight,not to mention cruel and unusual punishment in the Guantamano concentration camp, etc etc.... but is apparently high level Amerikan intellectual discussion, I am entitled to a short comment.

I'm not even going to autopsy the steaming mess of your comment in detail, that you wrote.Just going to point out that apart from your rabid Lysenkoism, (Are you a closet Stalinist?) The work done by the AMEG UK group is actually based on some very careful use of actual, recent expedition data from last season in the Arctic, plus some careful reviews of the known geophysical process now taking place up there at the North pole, and regions, now reasonably looking like the first clear major tipping point towards climate catastrophe. As far as I can see, Humanity, even Amerikans like You, now stand on the threshold of an irreversible runaway Earth Greenhouse effect, that is going to drive Global warming in our life time way beyond the 4 degrees at which the food production crisis effectively collapses our present civilization. Howdya like the coming new dark age, Stoat? will be awful. no academia, no professorships, no tenure, (that really is barbarism) no students, jut the remnants of a hunter-gatherer society in which you pointy headed intellectuals will of course function just fine, and rise to the top of the Amerikan social Darwinist heap.

[Well, that was all substanceless. I don't see any evidence for a likely runaway GHE, and you haven't presented any. If your AMEG site presents such info, I missed it. Instead of the invective, how about actually providing some links to your scientific evidence? -W]

By Graham Ennis (not verified) on 19 Mar 2012 #permalink

Dr Schwieger remarks that he has not seen the reasoning for choosing one curve over another, and that is because, honestly, there is no such reasoning. The graph that has been used here emerged from a long-running and free-wheeling discussion at Neven's Arctic Sea Ice blog, which began a year ago with (in effect): Exponential fits past data better than linear, but are there better fits again? (and there were).

All (or at least most of) the participants in those discussions were well aware that it was a curve-fitting exercise, with little physics involved, although proponents of one or other curve would usually have some physical basis for their choice. But no "serious" claim was intended beyond saying that exponential and Gompertz curves fit past data better than the linear trend (published on the PIOMAS anomaly graph).

The article WC links to initially identified the graph as being analysis by the PSC. I wrote to advise them of the error (might not have been the only one), and I see that in the last day or two, the caption and text have been modified to more accurately reflect its origins.

[Thanks for the back-story. Its a bit concerning that the pic ended up on the Beeb with no attribution - I presume it got there via the parliamentary talks, again with no attribution. Having just looked, the Beeb just says "Projections suggest the Arctic Ocean could be free of sea ice at the September minimum within a few years" and the caption is PIOMAS, so you'd have to be pretty savvy not to believe that was a PIOMAS projection -W]

I was just wandering aimlessly amongst the Intertubes, as is often my wont, also doing some bottom trawling, and happened across this piece by the Guardian's James Meek from 2001. Can't be the same one, can it?

And then I bumped into this All Fool's Day Independent letters page (search for "Greenland Ice-cap" -- near halfway down page). Must be the same one, mustn't it?

Mind you, to be stoatally fair (I hope), I too continue to be bemused and dismayed by all male Lawsons' utterances (as I suspect our host might well be too), though the Lawson that is Nigella is another matter: she could persuade me of just about anything, especially if she coated it in chocolate. Oooh, er missus! (No, I won't speculate on what our host might think of that Lawson!)

Of course, science has moved on a bit since those linked items were written. So, perhaps methane releases were to be the cause all along with regard to Greenland ice-cap loss. Or perhaps Greenland-based scientists will be undertaking antigrav experiments at the ice/land interface in the near future.

Yes, they indeed would be two ways to shift that much ice in short order! Perhaps!

[I'd seen those two before during my due-diligence googling (though I'd failed to notice they were old). It seems to be the same guy. He showed up here in the comments, so can be questionned directly, if he comes back -W]

>"[Thanks for the back-story. Its a bit concerning that the pic ended up on the Beeb with no attribution - I presume it got there via the parliamentary talks, again with no attribution.]"

The written parlimentary evidence…

includes footnotes to support

"But the inexorable thinning that accompanies the retreat has caused the summer volume of the ice cover to the lowest ever last year, less than 30% of its value 20 years ago [3a]. The trend in volume is such that if one extrapolates the observed rate forward in time, by following an exponential trend line, one obtains a September near-disappearance of the ice by 2015. However, following an equally valid logarithmic trend, one finds that summer 2012 and 2013 are the most likely years for such a collapse [3b]. Thus one has to conclude that, on current best evidence, there is a distinct possibility of a collapse in extent leaving relatively little ice this summer, and a collapse is likely by 2015."

The references say
"[3a] PIOMAS, September, exponential trend for sea ice volume


[3b] PIOMAS, September, trend lines compared"

So the written evidence is under an 'if one extrapolates using exponential function' clause. This can be their opinion of appropriate extrapolation rather than PIOMAS teams view.

It is also possible to spot from the written evidence that the graphs do not come from PIOMAS. However, you have to be sharp to realise this and otherwise the impression is that PIOMAS supports the position they are stating.

It looks to me like…
supports the narative better than the trnd2 graph referenced. Was use of trnd2 graph rather than trnd1 graph deceptive in hiding gompertz trend extrapolation or just a slip?

I think there should be scope for Dr Schweiger to get a correction to clarify the evidence.

The curve-fitting discussions on Neven's Sea Ice blog have been reasonably nuanced, recognizing that these are "if ... then" exercises. Some of us have argued for Gompertz (asymmetrical sigmoid) rather than exponential models, which point toward virtually ice free seasonal conditions (meaning, September mean extent below 1m km^2, or volume below 2,000 km^3) within the next decade or two (Figure 1 in post linked below). BTW the second graphic (Figure 2) in this post is a better-credited version of the declining-volume bar chart seen in the Commons document.…

Adding noise to a simple Gompertz projection gives another view, arguably more realistic, of what we might expect to see if such a model proved "true" (Figure 2). The S-curves approach zero ice asymptotically, but (adding noise) with some bouncing about that would look like short-term recoveries.…

Such curve-fitting is admittedly unphysical, as clearly stated. The sigmoid shape does bear a passing resemblance to the highly physical AR4 model projections (link below is is AR4/WG1 Figure 10.13; panel b shows July-September northern sea ice anomaly projections):…

@Mark (#5) who says "I expect new minimum highs.", could youclarify what you mean by "new minimum highs" and the time frame in which you expect to see them?

WC, here are my thoughts on the whole thing. In short: be careful not to imply those graphs come from PIOMAS and mind the caveat.

[Nice post, thanks. I'll add it to the refs. I agree the "all fits" is a better choice, if you're nly showing one graph. I still prefer extent to volume, myself, for reasons "explained" previously -W]

You are simply wrong on this. First of all if you are looking for an indication of something happening, looking at global methane if you suspect Arctic clathrate disintegration starting diffuses what may at the beginning be a smaller effect into a large bath.

Further, you are throwing away information, since any burp will happen, if it happens in August or September, and if you look at the Arctic methane you will see the jumps and then the decay as it spreads. Pretty much the same logic as tracking SO2 from volcanos, don't look at the global SO2

Broken? Maybe seemed a bit slow but got there. Nothing unusual that I see:



Mould Bay:


(tt needs editing in after h instead of ..)

AIRS is interesting to get maps at 400mb:…

[Oh well, maybe a glitch. Anyway, yes, as you say, nothing obviously exciting -W]

> if you look at the Arctic methane you will
> see the jumps and then the decay as it spreads.
> Pretty much the same logic as tracking SO2

Ways of looking:
1) down:
2) up:
That coastline must have had among the world's best hydrophone arrays, if it's been maintained, plus whatever else the USSR did toward tracking submarine traffic, and likely similar efforts by other countries navigating under the ice.

There's an acoustic signature for gas bubbling up through water:…
"14 October 2011 | By Sam Shead
Scientists at Southampton University ... employing hydrophones to monitor leaks from underwater gas pipelines.... claim that changes in acoustic signals could be used in the future to detect leaks from underwater pipelines and natural methane gas leaks from the seabed."

Submarine trackers would have arranged to follow closely any indication of any sort, if the gear's still in operation.…

What's the chance that this research is all being done on a proprietary basis by the fossil fuel companies that want to lance these boils in a commercially profitable fashion?

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"Another problem with the idea of methane causing serious problems is its rate of decay in the atmosphere."

But the kinetics are subject to saturation, meaning that with enough methane, the stuff can hang around decades longer than we're used to as it waits for its turn to decompose:

It's not just the Arctic methyl hydrates which are concerning, but the Arctic permafrost, whose decomposition is accelerated by the loss of the sea ice. There is no longer any doubt that decomposing permafrost will significantly contribute to climate change.

AMES does not seem highly credible, but I don't see a great case for ripping them a new one. I think the constant pressure we're all under being attacked and vilified as "alarmist" predicted "catastrophe" can make it tempting to retort "I'm not crazy and irrational; look, these people are crazy and irrational and I abhor them." If people are truly off the reservation, yeah, we should police our own. But there's an element of manipulation by the liars and the deniers that I think we should also be aware of and cautious of, too.

The fact of the matter about geoengineering is that it will take years, maybe decades, to get to the point where the science, the politics, and the infrastructure will allow such a tool to be deployed. Does anyone feel absolutely confident that nothing could happen in the next twenty years or so that would force us to geoengineer? If not, then it is time to proceed with the early steps of investigation of the practicality and effects of different technologies.