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Abrupt Climate Change

Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby Cid_Yama » Tue 30 Aug 2016, 11:17:35

It is only recently that those outside of science circles have begun to hear about Abrupt Climate Change, But how long have we known?

Here are excerpts from a paper commissioned in 2001:

The new paradigm of an abruptly changing climatic system has been well established by research over the last decade, but this new thinking is little known and scarcely appreciated in the wider community of natural and social scientists and policy-makers. At present, there is no plan for improving our understanding of the issue, no research priorities have been identified, and no policy-making body is addressing the many concerns raised by the potential for abrupt climate change. Given these gaps, the US Global Change Research Program asked the National Research Council to establish the Committee on Abrupt Climate Change and charged the group to describe the current state of knowledge in the field and recommend ways to fill in the knowledge gaps.

Recent scientific evidence shows that major and widespread climate changes have occurred with startling speed. For example, roughly half the north Atlantic warming since the last ice age was achieved in only a decade, and it was accompanied by significant climatic changes across most of the globe. Similar events, including local warmings as large as 16°C, occurred repeatedly during the slide into and climb out of the last ice age. Human civilizations arose after those extreme, global ice-age climate jumps. Severe droughts and other regional climate events during the current warm period have shown similar tendencies of abrupt onset and great persistence, often with adverse effects on societies.

Large, abrupt climate changes have affected hemispheric to global regions repeatedly, as shown by numerous paleoclimate records (Broecker, 1995, 1997). Changes of up to 16°C and a factor of 2 in precipitation have occurred in some places in periods as short as decades to years (Alley and Clark, 1999; Lang et al., 1999). However, before the 1990s, the dominant view of past climate change emphasized the slow, gradual swings of the ice ages tied to features of the earth’s orbit over tens of millennia or the 100-million-year changes occurring with continental drift. But unequivocal geologic evidence pieced together over the last few decades shows that climate can change abruptly, and this has forced a reexamination of climate instability and feedback processes (NRC, 1998). Just as occasional floods punctuate the peace of river towns and occasional earthquakes shake usually quiet regions near active faults, abrupt changes punctuate the sweep of climate history.

Paleoclimatic records show that large, widespread, abrupt climate changes have affected much or all of the earth repeatedly over the last ice-age cycle as well as earlier – and these changes sometimes have occurred in periods as short as a few years. Perturbations in some regions were spectacularly large: some had temperature increases of up to 16°C and doubling of precipitation within decades, or even single years. Changes in precipitation and evaporation are estimated to have caused changes in the extent of wetlands around the world of up to 50 percent. Agreement between proxy and instrumental records and between different proxy records lends confidence to paleoclimatic reconstructions and allows scientists to be very confident that abrupt climate change is a real, recurrent phenomenon.

link

The rest of the paper is now obviously quite dated. Research has progressed in leaps and bounds over the last decade and a half, as well as dramatic shifts already evident in the climate. (i.e., Arctic Ice loss)

But this paper shows how early we knew.

In 2015, the Met office declared we were 1 degree Celsius above the 1850-1900 pre-Industrial era. The period previously accepted as the reference period.

Immediately, NOAA and the World Meterological Organization changed their reference period to 1888-1910, which 'by coincidence' 'just happened' to knock .4 degrees Celsius off the chart, claiming it was done to 'improve accuracy'. And claimed we were .6 C above pre-industrial average.

The reason for doing such a thing would be an attempt to hide how serious this was and to give the politicians some wiggle room.

Now, one year later, NOAA and WMO are claiming we are 1.3 C above pre-industrial levels.

What no one is saying, whichever pre-industrial period you choose, Global temperatures increased .7 C between 2015 and 2016.
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby Cid_Yama » Tue 30 Aug 2016, 11:41:40

The Planetary Crisis is Upon Us
Vast amounts of methane lie frozen in the Arctic. It's not news that the Arctic sea ice is melting rapidly, and that it will likely be gone for short periods during the summers starting as early as next year. Losing that ice means releasing larger amounts of previously trapped methane into the atmosphere.

Additionally, lying along the Arctic's subsea continental margins and beneath Arctic permafrost are methane hydrates, often described as methane gas surrounded by ice. In March 2010, a report in Science indicated that these cumulatively contain the equivalent of 1,000 to 10,000 gigatons of carbon.

Natalia Shakhova is a research associate professor of the University Alaska Fairbanks, International Arctic Research Center, where she focuses on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS). Shakhova believes we should be concerned about her group's findings from the ESAS, specifically, because that area differs significantly from methane emissions happening elsewhere around the world.

The ESAS is the largest shelf in the world, encompassing more than 2 million square kilometers, or 8 percent of the world's continental shelf. Shakhova believes it holds an area-weighted contribution to the global hydrate inventory of "at least 10 to 15 percent."

"These emissions are prone to be non-gradual (massive, abrupt) for a variety of reasons," she told Truthout. "The main reason is that the nature of major processes associated with methane releases from subsea permafrost is non-gradual."

This means that methane releases from decaying frozen hydrates could result in emission rates that "could change in order of magnitude in a matter of minutes," and that there would be nothing "smooth, gradual or controlled" about it; we could be looking at non-linear releases of methane in amounts that are difficult to fathom.

She explained that the transition from the methane being frozen in the permafrost, either on land or in the shallow northern shores of the East Siberian Arctic, "is not gradual. When it comes to phase transition, it appears to be a relatively short, jump-like transformation from one state of the process to another state. The difference between the two states is like the difference between a closed valve and an open valve. This kind of a release is like the unsealing of an over-pressurized pipeline."

These immediate methane releases in the ESAS could be triggered at any moment by seismic or tectonic events, the subsiding of sediments caused by hydrate decay or sediment sliding due to permafrost degradation and thaw. The ESAS is particularly prone to these immediate shifts because it is three times shallower than the mean depth of the continental shelf of the world ocean.

"This means that probability of dissolved methane to escape from the water column to the atmosphere is from three to 10 times greater than anywhere in the world's oceans," Shakhova said. "In the ESAS, methane is predominantly transported as bubbles. Methane bubbles rise to the surface at a speed from 10 to 40 cm s-1; this means that it only takes minutes for methane to reach the water surface and escape to the atmosphere."

Even the relatively staid Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned of such a scenario: "The possibility of abrupt climate change and/or abrupt changes in the earth system triggered by climate change, with potentially catastrophic consequences, cannot be ruled out. Positive feedback from warming may cause the release of carbon or methane from the terrestrial biosphere and oceans."

Ira Leifer, an atmospheric and marine scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of several Arctic methane studies, told Truthout that the scientific community has learned that methane emissions from the Arctic are already larger than previously thought, and said, "The warming trend in the Arctic is clear."

The dangers of methane-related warning are staggering, according to Leifer.

"The amount of methane trapped in submerged permafrost is vast, and if even a small fraction reaches the atmosphere on the time scale of a few decades, it would lead to a dramatic increase in warming on a global scale," he warned. "Furthermore, it could lead to a positive feedback where warming oceans release more methane which warms the Arctic more and leads to more methane release. Worse, the warming only slowly percolates to lower latitudes - and therefore it contributes to the enhanced Arctic warming."

Like Shakhova, Leifer also expressed concern about the ESAS.

"The potential is there for hydrate emissions to increase with warming oceans due to increased dissociation," he warned. He also confirmed that his recent studies of methane emissions in the Arctic even found the gas hundreds of miles from the coast. This means that the methane cannot be coming from land sources; Leifer has concluded that his recent studies "confirm a local marine source."

Meaning, the subsea hydrates are already releasing their methane very far from shore.

Paul Beckwith, a climatology and meteorology professor at the University of Ottawa, Canada, is an engineer and physicist who researches abrupt climate change in both the present day and in the paleoclimatology records of the deep past.

"It is my view that our climate system is in early stages of abrupt climate change that, unchecked, will lead to a temperature rise of 5 to 6 degrees Celsius within a decade or two," Beckwith told me. "Obviously, such a large change in the climate system will have unprecedented effects on the health and well-being of every plant and animal on our planet."

Beckwith notes that the increasing methane releases in the Arctic and the massive impact they will have on the planetary weather system mean "there will be continuing disruption and fracturing of our weather and climate systems."

He went on to issue a stark warning. "Further acceleration of these processes is very likely to lead to an 'abrupt climate change' system reorganization from a cold, snowy, ice-covered Arctic Ocean to a 'blue Arctic Ocean' regime," he said. "The final state could have a global temperature average being 5 or 6 degrees Celsius warmer and the transition to this state could occur in one to two decades, as has occurred many times in the past as recorded in paleorecords."

The advent of the "blue Arctic Ocean" Beckwith warns us of is only a matter of time, and will most likely happen before 2020
, considering that exponential decline in Arctic summer sea ice volume has already been determined by the Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System data and models, which have been corroborated with recent CryoSat measurements, as well as modeling by the Naval Graduate School Regional Climate Models.

Beckwith warns that losing the Arctic sea ice will create a state that "will represent a very different planet, with a much higher global average temperature, in which snow and ice in the northern hemisphere becomes very rare or even vanishes year round."

"What happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic," Beckwith explained. "The rapidly warming Arctic relative to the rest of the planet (five to eight times global average temperature rise) is decreasing the temperature gradient between the Arctic and the equator."

This decreased gradient is disrupting the jet stream, leading to further warming in the Arctic, forming a runaway feedback loop, which in turn is causing the release of more methane in the Arctic.

"As the methane concentrations increase in the Arctic from the large warming rates there in both the atmosphere and ocean, the jet streams will be greatly disrupted even more than now," Beckwith said. "Physics dictates that this will continue to increase the frequency, severity and duration of extreme weather events like torrential rains leading to widespread flooding in some regions and droughts in other regions. Needless to say, this causes enormous economic losses and poses a severe and grave threat to our global food supply. Thus, the Arctic can be considered the Achilles heel in our climate system."

British scientist John Nissen, chairman of the Arctic Methane Emergency Group, suggests that if the summer sea ice loss passes "the point of no return" and "catastrophic Arctic methane feedbacks" kick in, we'll be in an "instant planetary emergency."

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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby Cid_Yama » Tue 30 Aug 2016, 11:57:24

From 2009:

Environmental security, abrupt climate change and strategic intelligence
Ecological systems (including the global climate) are better understood as complex emergent systems. The units of environmental systems, however defined, are not nearly as important as the relationships and networks between a system’s components. Properties of the system cannot be determined simply by reference to its components, nor can the future state of a system be understood in reductionist terms. Change can occur while maintaining the integrity of the system, but the system may shift to multiple points of stability.

Such shifts, as with eutrophification of lakes, may occur quite suddenly and with little indication that conditions may suddenly ‘worsen’. Likewise, paleo-climatological studies have indicated that atmospheric temperatures can shift very suddenly, perhaps as much as 10-20 degrees Celsius within a few years.

The National Research Council’s 2002 report on abrupt climate change described several qualities of the system that creates ‘abruptness’. First, the system is nonlinear, and shifts from one condition (often measured as temperature) to another rapidly, perhaps within a number of years.

Second, this change is irreversible as measured by human time scales, a condition made even more likely by the long-term forcing of GHG emissions and atmospheric CO2 lifetimes.

Third, the changes may occur due to second-order effects of the global system, as positive feedback loops originally unrelated to the more obvious forcing (eg Arctic methane gas release caused by melting permafrost).

Finally, abrupt changes are often categorized as such due to the inability of related systems to adapt, leading to the possible description ‘dangerous’ climate change.

The effects of climate change in such situations have been conceptualized as ‘threat multipliers’, conditions that exacerbate risks and make adaptation more difficult, but not conditions which could be understood as the root causes of conflict.

Vulnerable systems, be they ecological, political or economic, may ‘fail’ completely should environmental conditions shift much more quickly than adaptation allows. (Gallopin 2007)

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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby dohboi » Tue 30 Aug 2016, 14:22:39

Beckwith isn't always wrong, but he has been enough times that I tend to try to avoid citing him as a source, even if what he is saying is probably accurate in a particular case. There are plenty of others, though, pointing out particular aspects of ACC, like Richard Alley, for instance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iM_f_j7H08

Here's a recent study (2013) on "Abrupt Impacts of CC" with him as a co-author: https://nas-sites.org/americasclimatech ... te-change/

He is best when talking about his field, which is glaciology. He seems to be a bit too optimistic about the methane threat, though, in some of his talks at least.
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby ennui2 » Tue 30 Aug 2016, 14:47:26

Cid's worth listening to but most of his appeals to authority are still on the fringe. There's definitely cherry-picking going on. I'd like to see some of the methane-bomb stuff percolate more into the MSM first before I'll throw in the towel that Cid's narrative is correct.
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby dohboi » Tue 30 Aug 2016, 15:02:47

Alley is particularly good, as I said, when talking about glaciology, and here's an example relevant to the thread title: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4oMsfa_30Q
Look especially at the topic starting at about minute 37 on sudden, unstoppable, rapid movement of certain glaciers like Thwaites.

If I understand what he's saying at about minute 39, the paleo-record suggests that there was a three-meter rise in sea level in one year from the abrupt and total collapse of the Thwaites glacier.

Here's him being, to me, overly optimistic on seabed methane but still good (if a bit graphic!) on risk assessment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKVSHyezW30
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby Cid_Yama » Tue 30 Aug 2016, 15:57:02

Actually I don't make appeals to authority, but to your critical thinking skills. It's up to you to decide for yourself from an informed position, to come to your own conclusions.

My goal is to educate.

Surely you are not a person who decides based on what the MSM decides to print, or the uninformed musings of whatever journalist wrote the latest article.

Abrupt Climate Change - Jim White at 2014 AGU conference
Last edited by Cid_Yama on Tue 30 Aug 2016, 16:13:57, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby dohboi » Tue 30 Aug 2016, 16:08:50

That Jim White video is especially good. If anyone reading hasn't seen it, please do. Do note that the focus is on Greenland. (See below on local abrupt climate change.)

One complication with abrupt CC is that it can be global--as the Alley video shows that it has in the past.

But it can also be local: If/when the Hadley Cells shift in such a way that an area that used to get reliable rains suddenly (within a few years or a couple decades) doesn't any more because they have moved a hundred miles (or more) to the north (or to the south in the southern hemisphere), for the people in that region, that is abrupt and probably devastating climate change. Just because it isn't happening to everyone in the world at the same time (or, for slr, everyone near a coast), doesn't make it any less devastating for the large swath of those affected.

This is what we will see (or rather are already starting to see) as the Sahara Desert essentially moves north into parts of southern Europe and northern ME (Syria!!)...
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby ennui2 » Tue 30 Aug 2016, 16:47:18

Cid_Yama wrote:Surely you are not a person who decides based on what the MSM decides to print


When something becomes true, it WILL hit critical mass.
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby Cid_Yama » Tue 30 Aug 2016, 16:50:32

As for the declarations of hereticism I see on here:

Galileo's championing of heliocentrism and Copernicanism was controversial during his lifetime, when most subscribed to either geocentrism or the Tychonic system.[10] He met with opposition from astronomers, who doubted heliocentrism because of the absence of an observed stellar parallax.[10] The matter was investigated by the Roman Inquisition in 1615, which concluded that heliocentrism was "foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture."

Opposition to heliocentrism and Galileo's writings combined religious and scientific objections and were fueled by political events. Scientific opposition came from Tycho Brahe and others, and arose from the fact that, if heliocentrism were true, an annual stellar parallax should be observed, though none was. Copernicus had correctly postulated that parallax was negligible because the stars were so distant. However, Brahe had countered that, since stars appeared to have measurable size, if the stars were that distant, they would be gigantic, and in fact far larger than the Sun or any other celestial body. In Brahe's system, by contrast, the stars were a little more distant than Saturn, and the Sun and stars were comparable in size.[66]

Religious opposition to heliocentrism arose from Biblical references such as Psalm 93:1, 96:10, and 1 Chronicles 16:30 which include text stating that "the world is firmly established, it cannot be moved." In the same manner, Psalm 104:5 says, "the Lord set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved." Further, Ecclesiastes 1:5 states that "And the sun rises and sets and returns to its place."[67]


How many will apologize or admit their error when those they declare heretical are proved correct.

When you declare someone was 'wrong so many times' without saying how, or providing evidence of such, you are just another voice shouting heresy.

I don't know much about Beckwith, but what he has said in the above articles is supported by the research and other researchers, those in the field, in the best position to know. (Some of whom have also been subject to claims of heresy, by those NOT in a position to know.)

You are, of course, free to reject any evidence or claims you choose. Just don't base that rejection on hearsay, but rather, on critical assessment.
Last edited by Cid_Yama on Tue 30 Aug 2016, 17:04:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby Cid_Yama » Tue 30 Aug 2016, 16:56:47

ennui2 wrote:
Cid_Yama wrote:Surely you are not a person who decides based on what the MSM decides to print


When something becomes true, it WILL hit critical mass.


It is already true. Just as what Galileo claimed was true but not accepted.

Only when it becomes accepted will it hit critical mass. So what you are saying is, you will accept it when everyone else does.
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby dissident » Tue 30 Aug 2016, 21:00:56

ennui, the final arbiter of truth based on popular acceptance (think fad). What a ludicrous joke.

The mass media is a social-political construct. It is not a scientific body which engages in the scientific method. It is a vapid propaganda echo chamber which invokes lies (e.g. Ghouta chemical attack attribution to Assad) and various reports (that could have been typed by monkeys, since there is never any critical analysis of the report contents) and claims by shady organizations such as Heritage and Transparency International as tools to generate hysteria to serve various political agendas. Anybody who expects the mass media to give them the truth is an idiot.

ennui shows his lack of ability to evaluate evidence. He needs some authority figure to tell him what to think and believe. A drone by any other name.
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby regardingpo » Wed 31 Aug 2016, 03:44:43

Looks like this topic was inspired by another one, in which there was an argument about something like this. For the record, I was only criticizing the extremely poor article which that other topic was citing. Things mentioned in this topic are definitely of higher quality.

I accept the possibility of Abrupt Climate Change, but it does sound a bit like saying: "Your house is on fire, but you're forgetting about the mad arsonist which may come to visit you." True statement, but funny at the same time.


Cid_Yama wrote:What no one is saying, whichever pre-industrial period you choose, Global temperatures increased .7 C between 2015 and 2016.

It would be a mistake to say it because 2016 is not over yet and we don't know the average temperature for the entire 2016. Comparing parts of 2016 to parts of 2015 is bad practice, if you do that you're playing right into deniers' hands.

Even looking at one year at a time is too short-term. If you say that the fact that 2015 was warmer than 2014 proves something, then you're allowing the deniers to claim that the fact that 2011 was colder than 2010 also proves something. So don't do it unless you're sure than we will never again witness a situation where a year is colder than the one before it.
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby ennui2 » Wed 31 Aug 2016, 04:06:12

Cid_Yama wrote:Only when it becomes accepted will it hit critical mass. So what you are saying is, you will accept it when everyone else does.


No! I'm not talking about public acceptance. I'm talking about media coverage. The public still won't accept AGW, but the media turned the corner on it a long time ago (other than Fox news and AM Talk).

I wish every exchange on this site were not prefaced with "So what you're saying is..." It's basically leading into a strawman argument each and every time.

Here's a good example of what I'm talking about.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/ene ... 0ae70fc040

Washington Post. MSM. No cherry-picking. The largest and most well-known media outlets are finally really talking about the link between pesticides and bee die-off in a way that was previously fringe and anti-big-ag advocates. According to some, because the MSM takes in ad money from big ag they'd never give this issue the time of day, but they are. That's because there's no smoking man in a back room saying this or that topic is verboten (outside of FOX News). Some people actually do believe in honest journalism.

The only reason for this to become a collective discussion is so we can decide what we can proactively do about it to minimize suffering. But if Cid's narrative is correct, there's really nothing positive to be gained by raising the red flag. It's equivalent to finding out a planet's gonna smash into us ala Lars Von Trier's Melancholia where everyone just goes nuts with depression over it. Mitigation is useless at that point (whereas it's virtually useless already). So we all just curl up in the fetal position and die. So why bother wringing your hands over the media or even telling anyone else what you think is gonna happen? Just make your own peace and be done with it.
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby regardingpo » Wed 31 Aug 2016, 07:31:45

ennui2 wrote:I wish every exchange on this site were not prefaced with "So what you're saying is..." It's basically leading into a strawman argument each and every time.

So what you're saying is, you wish people stopped behaving the way you tend to behave lol.
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 31 Aug 2016, 09:38:15

ennui2 wrote:Cid's worth listening to but most of his appeals to authority are still on the fringe. There's definitely cherry-picking going on. I'd like to see some of the methane-bomb stuff percolate more into the MSM first before I'll throw in the towel that Cid's narrative is correct.


But isn't it the fringe that has been most correct?
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby dohboi » Wed 31 Aug 2016, 09:45:50

I'd have to agree that whether something gets into the MSM has approximately zero relevance for whether it is true and important. Almost the opposite. The MSM is mostly there exactly to keep us distracted from most of the most important issues. All you have to look at is how much air space is devoted to ISIS, yet the likelihood that any US non-military citizen is going to be hurt by ISIS is just vanishingly small. Almost any other problem you can name is more threatening to the average US citizen than is ISIS, yet they get an overwhelming lion's share of press time. Just contemplate why that might be for a while.
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 31 Aug 2016, 09:55:21

Because the population loves blood, sex, and scandal. ISIS and Kardashians!
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby dohboi » Wed 31 Aug 2016, 11:14:26

Many of us love many things. We are served a carefully selected subset of those beloved things.
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby onlooker » Thu 01 Sep 2016, 07:59:14

I will say this the processes that the pertinent scientists describe are pretty straightforward factual and scientific along with the Paleolithic record if the scientists that were empirically unfounded we would have already heard an uproar about it from the scientific community and elsewhere but we haven't. Also what is being observed in the ESAS is consistent with methane escaping in larger amounts ie. Methane Plumes etc. So what has to conclude utilizing critical thinking skills that the threat is all too real and getting menacingly close
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