The figure is approximately equal to the global annual GDP – what the whole mankind produces in one year – or one-half of the total mankind's household assets ($125 trillion). A few bubbles of natural gas in an irrelevant faraway empire of ice will destroy 1/2 of the wealth of the average human. Holy cow.
Even if some damage were in the pipeline, and I don't think so, the estimate would be an overestimate at least by 4-5 orders of magnitude. The authors offer some amazing science-fiction mechanisms that are supposed to achieve this tour de force.
The Nature article was so implausible that even much of the hyperalarmed mainstream media started to write down stories that the paper is probably wrong. For example, the Washington Post climate blog titled its story
RealClimate only allowed Gavin to publish a relatively petty and off-topic attack against Christopher Booker – and nothing else about the Arctic methane issue. Similarly to Gavin at WUWT, however, Judith Curry describes the methane paper as depending on several implausible assumptions which makes its claims impossible.
Just to be sure, methane is a potent greenhouse gas but its concentration is only 1.8 ppm instead of 400 ppm as CO2; the human activities have more than doubled that concentration from 0.7 ppm. The dependence is mostly logarithmic so an exponential rise of methane (CH4) would only lead to an approximately linear rise of the temperature. When the coefficients are quantified, it turns out that the methane-induced warming has been about 1/10 of the observed warming in the 20th century. It's pretty much a practically negligible – although theoretically possibly detectable – player.
The methane can't be released too quickly – the required mechanisms would just contradict some laws of physics – but even if it could be released too quickly, it just couldn't have any of the proposed consequences. Bob Carter's and John Spooner's excellent new book, Taxing Air, also mentions the methane issue, e.g. around page 92 (paperback) of Chapter IV.
The facts seem clear: the three imbeciles' statement that the $60-trillion evolution is "likely" is indefensible. Some reports in the media are unusually sensible. For example, The Register wrote an article called
Arctic Ice Scare — Climate Price Tag Claim Melts Under Scrutiny. Also, James Taylor released a similar story about the warmists who debunk this story. Andrew Revkin talks about the Arctic methane credibility bomb. But I particularly liked a modestly titled story at LiveScience.COM,
Another alarmist, David Archer, agrees with Gavin's conclusion but focuses on the impossibility of the required fast release.
Peter Wadhams, one of the three imbeciles, tried to defend the indefensible, namely their paper, by the following claims:
The mechanism which is causing the observed mass of rising methane plumes in the East Siberian Sea is itself unprecedented, and the scientists who dismissed the idea of extensive methane release in earlier research were simply not aware of the new mechanism that is causing it.I can't believe that someone who thinks in this way may be employed as a scientist. I wouldn't accept a kid that is this retarded to an elementary school for healthy children. Saying that a "mechanism [in Nature] is unprecedented" is tantamount to saying that the laws of Nature are changing in front of our eyes. He may very well shake his hand with Lee Smolin and similar psychopaths.
Carolyn Ruppel, a methane hydrate specialist, also says that the three imbeciles' proposed "new mechanisms" are nearly impossible.
The humans have changed many things in the centers of their civilization and some miles behind its borders but the bulk of Nature is living in one of the most average periods of the 4.7-billion-year-long history of our blue, not green planet. Even in recent millions of years (a very recent era relatively to the planet's long history), the Arctic Ocean was both much warmer and much cooler than it is today – and no other quantity than the local temperature over there (and a few others) can really matter. Nature has been obeying the same laws for 13.73 billion years, since the birth of the observable Universe. That's surely true for the fundamental laws but even the emergent, effective, approximate laws that may be used in geology or climatology have been pretty much identical for billions of years.
To say that a mechanism they propose may be "unprecedented" means that you either don't understand that the laws of physics are fixed or you don't understand that the life of the Earth is much longer than that of the humans' industrial civilization. Among imbeciles on steroids, e.g. the environmental activists, you may look cool if you say that mechanisms of the Arctic methane release are "unprecedented" and these environmentalist loons may emit lots of lies about your being a good scientist but you will be immediately identified as a science-ignorant imbecile by everyone who actually has a clue about natural sciences.
So I encourage the bosses and presidents of the universities that dared to employ these three imbeciles to fire them and do everything that is necessary for these individuals not to damage the good name of science and the good name of homo sapiens as a species. When I meet a dog on the street, I must often be ashamed to be a human – whenever I imagine that some of these dogs could have seen what the imbeciles have written in Nature. ;-) They're a disgrace. Also, the journalists who have parroted this breathtakingly stupid piece of climate alarm pornography – and be sure that their number is still much higher than the number of journalists who have been equipped with a brain – should be treated on par with those who sell child pornography because their behavior is actually more dangerous than child pornography.
And that's the memo.