Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Barrow, Alaska is back online

I think this is going to be an ongoing conversation on Facebook
High methane readings at Barrow, Alaska

Barrow Alaska is back online

When I last looked in May last year there was something wrong with the readings and I was unable to get com–≤aritive readings and that seemed wrong.

I recorded a single anomalous reading of 2800 ppb then, but if you look at the graph you can see what the average readings were at the time.

I am told that we are supposed to be at the bottom of the annual low (July and August) in methane readings in the atmosphere although I'm not sure why that would be the case.

25 May, 2015

Here are the latest figures (thanks to Joe Neubarth on Abrupt Climate Change on Facebook)

Here is today's data from Mauna Loa, Hawaii far to the south from Barrow Alaska. Note that the Methane in the Arctic is way higher than Hawaii, thus confirming substantial methane release from that region.

P.S. Here is last year's data. Notice the bottom of the V in July and August. What we are seeing this year is a vast departure from the norm and might possibly portend the end of the Earth in the next few months if this methane release gets out of control

Despite readings of around 2000 ppb we are told in an article from 22 June that there is no increase in methane emissions despite warming temperatures.

Compared with when, I wonder


  1. The full paper of DOI: 10.1002/2016GL069292 (not the synopsis) is here.

    Authors appear to be from fairly excellent places, however none are from the U of Alaska of the other methane studies and possibly none from the SWERUS studies.

    Quote from Discussion
    "A wind sector analysis of the CH4 enhancements measured at BRW shows that the land sector
    enhancements have not changed significantly between 1986 and 2015 except in the late fall where
    the average of the last 5 years has changed in magnitude significantly."

    They are analyzing the input from land based tundra emissions. It was pretty stable until 2010. They are seeing slightly higher methane coming in the latter final part of outgassing in the fall and early winter AND the time period of land outgassing extending longer. They do not see a huge change however in 2010 to 2015.

    The claim of the 29 years of near continuous data has some caveats. They used the same methodology of gas chromatography for decades with incremental change to better equipment. They changed the methodology for their instrumentation There was the funding lapse in 2012 with a loss of data and then one method of sampling used and then another method of sampling done. I do not know much at all about "cavity ring-down spectrometer" nor "off-axis, integrated cavity output spectrometer".

    The sampling height (16 M) and land topography in winds coming from 120 degrees to 210 degrees (the direction attributed to tundra emmissions) will differ from the near to sea level base of Zero to 90 degrees given as the sea based sampling. This is different from higher altitude based sampling at other sites.

    My biggest question is, how fast is the upward diffusion of methane and what is the height and topography of the tundra in the 120 to 210 degree area. It appears to no change much for 100 kilometers in those directions, but it was just a quick look.

    My other question is - since you have a good data set for zero to 90 degrees - why was that not analyzed, maybe it was in a different paper. To do a full study of amounts and times of land based emissions and to not study sea emissions when the sampling site is about 10 km from the ocean seems to be most probably lazy.

  2. Every morning I look forward to news that the methane bomb has at last exploded and that atmospheric methane levels are sky-rocketing. But this isn't it. In fact, I think you've misinterpreted a couple of things here, Robin. First, "…Methane in the arctic is way higher than Hawaii…" – in round numbers, Hawaii is around 1820-1840, say 1830, while Barrow is around 1900-1920, say 1910, which is a difference of less than 5%. Hardly remarkable, except that one might expect the difference to be greater. Second, "What we are seeing this year is a vast departure from the norm…" – Last year's low was about 1890, while this year's low looks like being about 1900 - a difference better described as insignificant, rather than a vast departure. What MAY be interesting, however, is that in this year's plot from Barrow, while the points are closely grouped in March to late May, there is suddenly a lot of scatter suggesting a series of four increasing peaks, culminating with a point at about 2050 (obscured by the caption) in late July. This just might be indicative of a series of "burps" which, if the trend continues, could be the start of something really exciting!

  3. LOL - Wofsy is the same Harvard academic who told me the trees in their forest are just fine.