Thursday, August 14, 2014

RC: 20 million Russian black holes needed for methane emergency

One month ago, a very large crater was found on Yamal Peninsula in Siberia.

Where did the black hole come from? What was the cause? These questions were mysterious for us but now it seems that experts have reasons to say that there's lots of methane in the hole and the hole was a result of a methane bubble under the ground that found its way to the surface. Cool.

Such an insight is obviously a huge temptation for the repetitive "mainstream" media. It actually combines two favorite "threats" that millions of brainwashed morons who trust the "mainstream" media are being served on a daily basis: the climate change is threatening us; and Russia is threatening us.

A reasonably moderate but still valid example of this way to cover it is this segment on a TV station in New Zealand:
Russian holes pose climate change threat
Quite a title, LOL. But does this hole – or hundreds of its potential cousins in the near future – really pose a climate change threat? A sober quantification came from a very unexpected place on the web, RealClimate.ORG. Atmospheric chemist David Archer wrote a short text titled
How much methane came out of that hole in Siberia?
He wasn't capable of avoiding a complaint about the "fossil fuel industry" although, as he admits, it has nothing whatsoever to do with this geological question. But at least, he was able to concisely formulate arguments against another subtype of the climate hysteria.

Archer mentions a 2010 paper by Natalie Shakhova who is doing some Arctic research in Fairbanks where she can see Russia from her house. Her hypothetical event only has a temporary impact on the global climate and the economy and it requires 50 gigatons i.e. 5 x 1013 kilograms of methane to be released.

To make the story short, Archer estimates that the bubble could have contained at most 3,000 tons of methane (generously assuming that it's pure methane) so one would need 20 million of such holes for the Shakhova-style emergency. One hole is clearly a negligible event from the climatic viewpoint. One million of such holes would still be negligible! The hole isn't much different from the act of building one house whose basement smells a little bit. There is a billion of stinky houses on Earth.

The idea that such a hole is a global threat is clearly downright idiotic but that doesn't prevent the hardcore charlatans from claiming otherwise. For example, an eco-terrorist organization called The Environmental Defense Fund (you may know the organization as a co-culprit of the terrorist attacks in Michael Crichton's "State of Fear") published this text:
Why those huge craters in Siberia are a climate wake-up call
It was a ticking time bomb, we learn, and so on. You could say that the nonsense above was written by one very stupid girl and shouldn't be overrated. The problem is that there are thousands of such stupid yet prolific and talkative girls across the globe and if you place 97 very stupid girls like that next to 3 legitimate scientists, lots of demagogues in the media interpret it as saying that 97% of scientists are afraid of climate change.

They're still just 97 stupid girls who should be spanked for spitting this garbage on the Internet but stupidity is often in the eyes of the beholder.

Scary articles linking the holes to the climate have fortunately not appeared "everywhere" but I can still show you dozens of news outlets that have elaborated upon such fantastic connections. Karen Graham wrote as sober a text for Digital Journal as she could:
Strange Russian craters a sure sign the climate dragon is waking
A sensible title, isn't it? Just kidding. Graham has immediately moved the epicenter of the murderous godless global climate catastrophe to the Yamal Peninsula, of course. The construction workers hired to move the headquarters of the AGW sect whenever it is needed must be very busy.

Margaret Kimberley of Black Agenda Report chose a similarly dramatic title:
Climate Change: Point of No Return
The first two sentences say
The Russian Arctic belches deadly methane as global warming pushes the biosphere beyond the tipping point. We have a choice: revolution or extinction.
LOL and it doesn't get too much better later. To make you sure that not only women are this incredibly stupid, Kevin Drum of Mother Jones wrote
The Siberian Permafrost Just Sent Us a Warning Message
The crater is surely due to "hot summers 2012 and 2013" and "positive feedback loops" will undoubtedly destroy the Earth once the "Arctic permafrost thaws". And so on.

Thank you very much but I am still about 20 million times more afraid of the positive feedback loops that allow the seemingly unlimited human stupidity to uncontrollably spread on the surface of the globe.


  1. The Bush-Putin lizard space alien did it--M. Mann.

  2. Hey Lubos - try looking at WUWT on August 1 of this year, Don Easterbrook's article. These are apparently a well-known permafrost feature called a "pingo," caused by artesian water rising to the surface and freezing just under the permafrost, then melting and bursting. They're all over the place in permafrost regions. No methane terror to see here, just move on.

  3. Pingo was its name-o.

  4. Why would you assume that methane only leaks from large holes? I don't see any more way to keep gases from leaking from melting permafrost than to keep a soda from going flat. But they should only cause craters when unusual circumstances retain enough pressure instead of slowly seeping. Estimating the amount of methane by counting only the handful of extreme events? That's a middle school error.

  5. Isn't a pingo a mound, not a hole?
    Also, there isn't that much difference in the volume of ice and water. To form a big hole that overlying soil falls into, a gas has to leave. Or is Easterbrook claiming that artesian water is boiling beneath the permafrost?

  6. It seems to me that if an ice block melts, and the water flows away, you would still get a hole. But go read Easterbrook's article, he's the expert, not me.

  7. Jonathan_DuhamelAug 14, 2014, 6:02:00 PM

    The crater is a Pingo. Pingos are initially hills, but they split to form craters. See my post:

  8. I haven't really assumed that methane only leaks from large holes. It may be an important fraction of the leaking methane or not. I don't know.

    But what I am more than willing to assume is that the leaks from places that aren't changing qualitatively - like hypothetical smaller holes, or anything like that - can't suddenly cross the tipping point where their behavior would dramatically change.

    So the other contributions you mention exist but they're pretty much guaranteed to change continuously, and because they've been negligible for the climate as well, they will remain so.

  9. Oh I agree that if the water flows away that a hole can form. It's the assumption the water flows away I'm not following. Looking at the Easterbrook article, you'll note that the photo examples are not holes, but lakes. Easterbrook is just a liar.

  10. I read "RC: 20 million Russian black holes needed for emergency" and somehow thought that the takeaway from the OP. Sorry.

    I guess the title was really referring to the connotation of the phrase "black hole" in Russian (and in Czech?)

  11. Jonathan_DuhamelAug 14, 2014, 8:10:00 PM

    Geology has many funny names, look at this post:

  12. "Just a liar?" What is your geology training, stevenjohnson2? Dr. Easterbrook is a geology professor with 50 years' research experience and many publications. This doesn't necessarily mean he's correct in everything he says. But do you have an actual argument or are you just a name-caller?

    Such a Goth for the black legend of the methane terror that you won't think about another reasonable explanation?

  13. Fill that pingo with custard and you sell it as a tourist attraction — the biggest blackhead on Earth!

    It would take more than tube of Clearasil to sort that one out.

    P.S. Thanks for clearing that one up, so to speak. No, seriously, I mean it. Nice diagram.

  14. Well, Lubos, I don't see anything of Russia's being a threat in these stupid media stories. BTW, I'm about as near to you right now as I'm ever likely to be: about 400 miles, in Dinant, Belgium. Two or three countries ago, I was in Iceland, where I read a Q&A on Iceland and global warming. It said that Iceland has been changing into desert for 500 years, but now global warming is repairing the damage.

  15. Obama's principles are to maximize socialism, and he should have common ground with Putin who says the breakup of the Soviet Union was a bad idea. However, Obama is being led by Europe here.

    Putin does not want to encourage the European elites to abandon their opposition to fracking, and wishes to maintain a status quo.

  16. Speaking of climate, for me a rather cryptic Sky Dragon related post has appeared on the top European blog by Tallbloak, about new laws of thermodynamics:

    "It is impossible for down-welling EMR to be absorbed by a warmer surface because it would contravene Law 2."


  17. Nonsense - easily refuted by anyone with a long wave IR sensor. Bloke may be tall, but he doesn't understand the 2nd law of thermo.

  18. This is not a problem because if it isn't caused by man then they can not use it to get what they want.

  19. Usefully dynamic mathematics always pulls in miscreants for intellectual and hopefully physical slaughter, as they posture into attack mode. Retrograde Stalinism is just some wack-a-mole footnote.

    But what about us men loving fat girls in an age in which faggots have taken over the "fashion world" in favor of NAZI death camp anorexia?

    What about the world of physics?

    What about the world of objectivity?

    See, the problem, is that people get bored.

    So you, selected few.

    You must be the Jew.

    "When you're one of the few to land on your feet
    What do you do to make ends meet? (Teach)

    Make 'em mad, make 'em sad, make 'em add two and two

    Or make 'em me or make 'em you, make 'em do what you want them to

    Make 'em laugh, make 'em cry, make 'em lay down and die

    Read more: Pink Floyd - One Of The Few Lyrics | MetroLyrics

  20. If a giant omnipotent peg-legged god goes striding cross the tundra, we will need sacrifice all our virgins to propitiate His cafard. That will deplete MIT and Caltech.

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  22. Dr. Michael Mann, "Distinguished" Professor of Meteorology, interviewed on this issue:

  23. Funny casual position of his book 'hockey stick' on the shelf