Methane Clathrate Gun: Pea-shooter or Bazooka?


Here is the first of six videos. ‘Will Methane Clathrate Gun Only Fire Blanks?’ // Published on Feb 10, 2017.

Will a huge burst of methane gas be released from hydrates/clathrates in the Arctic as abrupt climate change takes out the sea-ice and snow cover?

That question is examined in great detail in a new paper by the United States Geological Society (USGS), ‘Gas Hydrate Breakdown Unlikely to Cause Massive Greenhouse Gas Release‘.

I discuss the key points from this paper, and assess what these findings mean to overall abrupt climate system changes.
———- ———-

Guy McPherson keeps moving his expected Near-Term Human Extinction (NTHE) date closer and closer. His latest claim is 9 years from now; namely by 2026.

I disagree with this premise. There is no scientific validity to these claims. No chain of logic leading to this conclusion. They are one persons “opinion”. To call them “fact” is absurd. They are opinion. We need to talk “probabilities”; not absolutes.

I asked online in jest if he has “fallen off his rocker”? He called me a “jerk”. I have been called much worse. He seems to be absolutely intolerant to any ideas that oppose his own. He puts himself on a pedestal, beyond tolerance of any criticism. That is not science, it is something opposite to science.

In a few months he will be saying that 7.5 billion humans will be dead by next year. Or perhaps even by last year?!


About paulbeckwith

Well known climate science educator; Part-time Geography professor (climatology, oceanography, environmental issues), University of Ottawa. Physicist. Engineer. Master's Degree in Science in Laser Optics, Bachelors of Engineering, in Engineering Physics. Won Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario gold medal. Also interested in investment and start-ups in climate solutions, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Avid chess player, and likes restoring old homes. Married with children.
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8 Responses to Methane Clathrate Gun: Pea-shooter or Bazooka?

  1. jay says:

    You’re stuck in your Uni model chart world, Paul! It’s not the real world, GM is far more accurate than your Uni BS. What’s happening is far beyond your academic blurbs!


  2. Barnabas says:

    Actually, he’s changed the date again, Paul. It’s the only way for him to garner attention.


    Jackson Davis

    January 28
    This is a statement that I have been working on that represents my understanding of the recent prediction by Guy McPherson about the timeline for Human Extinction. It includes a quote from Guy in response to a question about it from Jennifer Hynes. I have revised it to include an emphasis on reduction in Global Dimming as well as on Methane. I have shown it to Guy and he gave me the go ahead to post it:

    Dr. Guy McPherson, Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, is an expert on Human Extinction, and therefore knowledgeable about the habitat necessary for human survival. As the global average temperature rises above a certain point, it’s not that human beings can’t live at higher temperatures, but that the plants that we and other animals depend upon for food cannot adapt fast enough and they die out.

    Dr. McPherson is now predicting that human extinction will occur within 18-42 months from now, based on the probability of giant methane “burps” due to the warming of the Arctic Ocean and Permafrost. Methane is a greenhouse gas that when forst emitted, is 100x more powerful than CO2 in trapping reflected sunlight, and this will result in a rapid temperature rise of over 1 C within a few days or months. This will result in a collapse of civilization because grains will not grow.

    The collapse of civilization, in turn, will result not only in a reduction in emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, but also a reduction in the particulates that are also emitted in the burning of fossil fuels and reflect incoming solar energy back into space, the so -called “global dimming” effect, and the reduction in global dimming will cause the global temperature to rise even faster.

    As Dr. McPherson puts it, “Ice-free Arctic almost certainly triggers the 50-Gt burst of methane predicted by Shakhova et al. [2008]. The attendant 1.3 C rise in temperature causes civilization to collapse because grains can’t be grown at scale. Lack of global dimming adds another ~3 C. Earth is ~6 C above the 1750 baseline by spring 2018. About 2/3 of the temperature rise comes within a few months. I doubt there’s habitat for humans or many other animals at that point.”

    The 18-42 month range in the timeline reflects the uncertainty as to just when the Arctic Ocean becomes ice-free, based on the prediction of the US Naval Postgraduate School in 2013 that it would occur in 2016 +/- 3 years.

    For the research Dr. McPherson is using as the basis for his prediction regarding emissions of methane from the Arctic Ocean and Permafrost see the first Self-Reinforcing Feedback Loop here: The document also contains 68 other self-reinforcing feedback loops, all of which have a multiplicative effect in that they also reinforce one another.
    See also this article by Kevin Hester, “Global Dimming Keeping the Planet Habitable,” with a link to an interview with Dr. McPherson about global dimming:

    [End Quote]


  3. Iwonder says:

    GM tends to expound other peoples work, then extrapolate between those works, rather than letting the people who put together the data do so. I think he started with a conviction that he was doing the right thing but when questions regarding his conviction arise I guess personal motives comes to play and he gets defensive as most other humans react (including myself).

    I have not heard the scientists draw conclusions outside their own papers. Meaning using the new knowledge to extrapolate a future using older papers as some kind of basis for a model of how the future will look like. Maybe the reason to that is that it is just too hard and chances are that one will simply jump to the wrong conclusions. Once someone announces sensational claims which are found to be wrong it will kind of get hard to get rid of the attributed ridicule. So they keep a conservative approach to avoid getting defamed.

    I think that a lot of people today are aware of the climate issue but they tend to jump to whatever conclusion which will keep their lifestyle unchanged unless the consequences will hit them up front.
    I still think that the only right thing to do for you is to keep up the science and only predict things that are reasonable within the limits of known and verifiable data. When the truth is told to people and they can confirm it the ones who deliver the information will perhaps get increased attention.
    But I won’t bet that people will change at all even if they know the truth… That’s another matter.


  4. jay says:

    Kenneth Edwards22 minutes ago
    I asked Guy Mcpherson on “Nature Bats Last” on FB, about the USGS. He said that
    those in field have more credibility than just the pure academics, who
    model without using new facts to upgrade their models. Thus the Russian
    team, and Wadhams, I’m guessing, would have more credibility than the
    USGS report, which is now under the Trump administration. Climate change
    is like being a smoker with respect to smoker’s cough. Some days when
    the cough isn’t so bad we can deny there’s a problem. The field
    scientists actually see firsthand evidence of methane bubbling out in
    many areas, some quite large. While suspect academics argue whether the
    big burst will happen, they ignore death by a thousand cuts! This year
    the evidence of climate change is profound. Even after the La Nina is
    supposedly over, there is a dramatic change in seasonal temps across the
    US, while Australia is cooking. Intuition tells you there has already
    been an enormous change.


  5. jay says:

    kerberosWXIV1 hour ago
    Sound like the usgs is trying to secure their federal funding by sucking up to trumpy dumpty…

    “Weird. Strange. Extreme. Unprecedented.”: Climate Change Meltdown Roundup 2/15/17


  6. Barnabas says:

    I’m not quite sure why my previous comment hasn’t been posted, but to clarify, I feel McPherson is making new predictions simply to remain seen in the public eye, to appear relevant.


  7. Apneaman says:

    I thought it was a “review”. What is the difference between a review and a paper? Why would they need to do a review now? A word about extinction. How could anyone possible prove it is going to happen? I’ve seen an explainer article and a paper that says humans will go extinct if they don’t change their ways. It’s 18 months old and the humans have not changed their ways. Not able. I do not agree with GM on NTHE, but I think it’s likely to happen later this century. One thing everyone needs to be clear on when talking extinction is that climate scientists are not the experts on extinction. Extinction falls under the umbrella of biology, so, scientifically speaking, those are the go to experts. I have read plenty on extinctions and I just happen to be reading a book right now that discusses them. It’s by Peter ward and Joseph Kirschvink – “A New History of Life: The Radical New Discoveries about the Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth” Here is a telling quote from the introduction:

    “Many of the great events of evolution cannot be repeated; evolution has had a long period to fill the biosphere with highly competitive and efficient organisms, making it unlikely to repeat, for instance, the Cambrian explosion when all of the basic body plans of animals came into being. But what can be repeated are things antipodal to living and diversifying, such as extinction, or extinction writ larger—the dreadful past catastrophes of deep time, the mass extinctions.”

    “With every molecule of carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere we are ignoring the early sirens that rapid rises in carbon dioxide are the commonality between more than ten mass extinctions of the deep past and what is happening today. Those extinctions were caused not by asteroid impact, but from rapid increases in volancanically produced atmospheric greenhouse gases and the global warming they produced. A terrifying new paradigm of mass extinctions has arisen this century: ‘greenhouse mass extinctions,’ a name overtly chosen to describe the cause of the vast majority of species killed off by mass extinctions in the past.” – P.3

    Here is the explainer article about the mass extinction study.

    Humans could be among the victims of sixth ‘mass extinction’, scientists warn

    “The study “shows without any significant doubt that we are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event,” co-author and Stanford University professor of biology Paul Ehrlich said.

    And the study, which was published in the journal Science Advances on Friday and described by its authors as “conservative”, said humans were likely to be among the species lost.”

    Here is the peer reviewed paper.

    Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction

    Sounds to me like the experts are saying change or die/go extinct.


  8. Joe Neubarth says:

    The woman who headed up the project is not all there when it comes to logic. The contention that they do not know where the massive release of Methane in the Arctic is coming from but it has not been linked to the Methane Clathrates. Well, she has a choice it is either the permafrost rapidly melting on land in winter or it is from warm waters making contact with methane clathrates on the sea floor. Since that has already been verified by numerous researchers in the past I would choose the sea floor.


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