Michael Mann on Conversations on WPSU


  1. Hey folks;

    Really enjoyed the show today. Couple of things, perhaps you'd do well to get Bill Sharp, or some other Transition Town State College person on there again, perhaps that would help you delineate the start differences between the 'prepper' (holed up with stacks of bullets and beans) and the Transition approach, community gardens, local commerce, skills trading, powering down.

    But that's an aside.

    More on point, the reason I thought to post today, is that folks keep talking on and on about AGW, or Climate Change, being this slow gradual process with maybe a few unexpected bumps along the way, as your guest Dr Sean said, decades and centuries. I've been reading a lot lately about the loss of the arctic ice, and the methane plumes in eastern Siberia, and some of the ramifications of this phenomenon. I won't go into it, but it's not this pretty idea of waves reaching a few feet further up the beach, and Miami cocktails by the pool in Nova Scotia, but rather massive earthquakes, volcanoes, incredibily extreme weather and so on. In short, not an inconvenience, but rather an extinction level event. Not at some way distant and mostly intellectual remove, but the sort of thing that is more along the line of pontificating whether this or that movie will get a sequel.

    Mann, Alley, et all are pretty up front -when pressed- about explaining that their models concerning climate change are actually best case scenarios, and the hard reality, -as we have already seen, and continue to see- is actually much more dramatic, and runaway climate change is a terrifying possibility.

    just say'n.

  2. Don and I started talking about this but we were trying to get Seth Baum patched through so I don't know exactly what we said.
    Clathrates – methane trapped in submarine ice “cages” in former permafrost – on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf are releasing enormous amounts of methane into water and the atmosphere. According to Orjan Gustafsson of the Department of Applied Environmental Science at Stockholm University contains 100 times the background amount of methane compared to average ocean water. There is evidence that if only a small fraction of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf’s methane gets into the atmosphere it could trigger “abrupt climate warming” according to Shakhova et al (2010). Add to that the tundra and boreal forests, a vast carbon reservoir has become a carbon plume as accumulated organic matter becomes water saturated and accelerates peat decomposition, increasing concentrations of CO2 and methane in the atmosphere. These vast expanses are also potential climate bombs that could, in the worst-case scenarios, recreate the Permo-Triassic extinction event 255 million years ago. That event is thought to have been caused by the interactions of volcanic eruptions, acid rain, massive carbon dioxide build-up that drove global average temperatures up 11 degrees. That runaway CO2-induced warming might have led to a massive release of methane from Permo-Triassic permafrost into the atmosphere.

    But there is uncertainty there.

    As per Bill Sharp: We've had him on before to talk about the Transition Towns. That was a fun show.