Thongchai Thailand

Archive for August 2019


Seeps Give a Peek Into Plumbing



“Oil and gas production lowers the pressure that forces out the natural hydrocarbon seeps. Without oil and gas production, the seepage rate will increase and undermine the apparent advantage to the climate of not producing oil and gas.”








  1. The theory of Anthropogenic global warming and climate change (AGW) rests entirely on the ability of the combustion of fossil fuels by the industrial economy to change atmospheric composition.
  2. Statistical analysis of emissions and atmospheric CO2 data are presented in related posts [LINK]  [LINK] . These tests of the hypothesis that changes in atmospheric CO2 must be understood in terms of fossil fuel emissions of the industrial economy fail to show the assumed relationship. The data do not show that changes in atmospheric composition are driven by fossil fuel emissions.
  3. A further argument in climate science for human cause is that the source of the carbon causing atmospheric CO2 to rise has to be fossil fuels because this carbon id devoid  of the 14C and 13C isotopes. It is noted that this argument does not exclude geological carbon because that carbon also devoid of 13C and 14C isotopes. It is not possible to distinguish fossil fuel carbon from geological carbon. 
  4. It is proposed therefore that natural flows of CO2 to the atmosphere that may have been missed or underestimated in carbon cycle dynamics must be reconsidered specifically the known carbon flows having to do with out-gassing from oceans, geological flows to the oceans, and geological flows directly to the atmosphere. Although eruptions of land volcanoes do introduce significant quantities of carbon both as hydrocarbons and as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, these eruptions are rare and therefore their effect on atmospheric composition cannot be interpreted in terms of the short time scale required by the theory of AGW.
  5. Here we present more continuous sources of natural geological flows in terms of submarine volcanic activity, submarine mud volcanoes, and both submarine and terrestrial natural seeps of hydrocarbons both oil and natural gas. A bibliography of sources used in this assessment is listed below. Of particular note is the Barber 1986 paper in paragraph#8 as it relates to detailed geological processes that create these hydrocarbon flows. An extensive presentation on mud volcanoes is published online by Science Direct [LINK] . These papers are presented in a separate section below labeled as “Mud Volcano Research”.
  6. These sources indicate significant flows of hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide, both from fossil fuels and from inorganic geological carbon. The following quantitative estimates are taken from the bibliography presented below.
  7. Of hydrocarbon flows to the surface, approximately half are spills and leakages from oil and gas production with the other half being natural flows and seepages.
  8. “seepage rates of 2.2–30 m3 1000 km−2 d−1 and 1.4–18 m3 1000 km−2 d−1, respectively. Generalizing to an annual rate suggests that total natural seepage in this region is of the order of at least 20,000 m3 yr−1 (120,000 barrels yr−1)” (MacDonald 1993)
  9. The estimated total number of known and inferred deep-water mud volcanoes is 10,000 to 100,000  (Milkov 2000).
  10. Size of mud volcanoes. “They occur in an upper slope environment seen as 1–2 km circular features at the seabed.  Graue (2000).
  11. A second approach involved broad assumptions based on considerations of the availability of methane for seepage from known global geological sources.about 50 Tg/yr of methane seeps from the seabed and about 30 Tg/yr of methane reaches the atmosphere. A second approach involved broad assumptions based on considerations of the availability of methane for seepage from known global geological sources through geologic time.The methods used in this approach were extrapolated for natural gas from two earlier research studies dealing with crude oil [Kvenvolden and Harbaugh, 1983; Miller, 1992]. Preliminary assumptions were made that need further refinement. The total geologic reservoir of methane was estimated to be between 104 and 108Tg, while the half-life of the total geologic methane reservoir was set at 108 yr.With these and other assumptions concerning the length of time for reservoir depletion (108-1012 yr),the flux of methane was estimated to be about 30 Tg/yr from the seabed and about 10 Tg/yr into the atmosphere.Thus, the results from this theoretical approach and the observational approach were similar within a factor of three. If the atmospheric input of geologically sourced methane is about 20 Tg/yr  (Kvenvolden 2001)
  12. The manifestation of continuous gas migration through mud volcanoes is clarified, and the attempt made to quantify the gas release shows that mud volcanoes are one of the significant natural sources of atmospheric methane emitting a total amount of about 10.3 to 12.6 Tg annually.  (Dimitrov 2002)
  13. Recent global estimates of crude-oil seepage rates suggest that about 47% of crude oil currently entering the marine environment is from natural seeps, whereas 53% results from leaks and spills during the extraction, transportation, refining, storage, and utilization of petroleum. The amount of natural crude-oil seepage is currently estimated to be 600,000 metric tons per year, with a range of uncertainty of 200,000 to 2,000,000 metric tons per year.  (Kvenvolden 2003)
  14. With a carbon store of over 1,200 Pg, the Arctic geologic methane reservoir is large when compared with the global atmospheric methane pool of around 5 Pg. As such, the Earth’s climate is sensitive to the escape of even a small fraction of this methane. Here, we document the release of 14C-depleted methane to the atmosphere from abundant gas seeps concentrated along boundaries of permafrost thaw and receding glaciers in Alaska and Greenland, using aerial and ground surface survey data and in situ measurements of methane isotopes and flux. We mapped over 150,000 seeps. (Anthony 2012)
  15. CONCLUSION: We conclude from the information presented in the bibliography and the analysis above, that there are significant natural flows of carbon from geological sources such as hydrocarbon seeps, methane hydrates, submarine volcanism, and submarine mud volcanoes and that these flows make it difficult to interpret changes in atmospheric CO2 exclusively in terms of the use of fossil fuels in the industrial economy.  In that context, it should also be noted that the bibliography below shows that oil and gas production lowers the pressure that forces out the natural hydrocarbon seeps. Without oil and gas production, the seepage rate will increase and undermine the apparent advantage to the climate of not producing oil and gas. It is noted that humans began using fossil fuels from seeps and natural outflows. It was only after its utility became obvious that seeps were no longer sufficient. It was then that humans began to look for the sources of those seeps. 


  1. Hedberg, Hollis D. “Relation of methane generation to undercompacted shales, shale diapirs, and mud volcanoes.” AAPG Bulletin 58.4 (1974): 661-673. Organic matter commonly makes up a substantial part of freshly deposited muds. During postdepositional history, much of this organic matter is decomposed by biochemical and thermochemical processes, with accompanying generation of methane within the sediments. Likewise during postdepositional history, weight of overburden brings about compaction of mud sediments through expulsion under pressure of interstitial pore water. However, at the same time as pressure on the fluid is tending to increase because of compaction and other factors, the permeability of the sediment tends to be reduced by closer packing of clay particles. Thus it may happen not infrequently that the escape of fluids from a mud or shale body may fail temporarily to keep up with the causes tending to increase fluid pressure, and in such cases these bodies will become overpressured and undercompacted with respect to surrounding sediments. The generation of methane gas within these mud and shale bodies is an important added factor which tends further to accentuate, or even create, their overpressured, undercompacted state, both by building up additional internal pressure, and also by further impeding fluid expulsion because of the development of a second phase (gas) in the pore fluid. Because of the unstable, semifluid nature of methane-charged undercompacted muds or shales, they frequently find expression in mud or shale diapirs or in mud volcanoes. The importance to petroleum exploration of a causal relation between methane generation and undercompacted shales, shale diapirs, and mud volcanoes is principally that these features thus become indicators of areas or intervals where hydrocarbons have been, or are, actively originating. Although the nearby area of these overpressured features may be unfavorable for petroleum accumulation because of a lack of extensive reservoirs, the surrounding facies, above, below, and laterally adjacent, may be particularly favorable in their relation to both reservoir and source environments.
  2. Bernard, Bernie B., James M. Brooks, and William Malcolm Sackett. “Natural gas seepage in the Gulf of Mexico.” Earth and Planetary Science Letters 31.1 (1976): 48-54.  Hydrocarbon compositions and δ13C values for methane of fourteen natural seep gases and four underwater vents in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico are reported. The C1/(C2 + C3) ratios of the seep gas samples ranged from 68 to greater than 1000, whereas δPDB13C values varied from −39.9 to −65.5‰. Compositions suggest that eleven of the natural gas seeps are produced by microbial degradation whereas the remaining three have a significant thermocatalytically produced component. Contradictions in the inferences drawn from molecular and isotopic compositions make strict interpretation of the origins of a few of the samples impossible.
  3. Bernard, Bernie, James M. Brooks, and William M. Sackett. “A geochemical model for characterization of hydrocarbon gas sources in marine sediments.” Offshore Technology Conference. Offshore Technology Conference, 1977.  A geochemical model has been developed to distinguish biogenic from petroleum-related gas in marine sediments. Analyses of seep and sediment gases from the Gulf of Mexico indicate that the characteristic composition of pathogenic gas can be altered during migration through sediments and by mixing with biogenic gas. Measurements of carbon isotopic ratios of methane and hydrocarbon ratios generally provide a definitive interpretation of hydrocarbon gas sources. It is suggested that prospecting for reservoir hydrocarbons include coring on or near observed geologic features to first establish the source of existing hydrocarbon gas in a region.
  4. Levy, E. M., and M. Ehrhardt. “Natural seepage of petroleum at Buchan Gulf, Baffin Island.” Marine Chemistry 10.4 (1981): 355-364.  Analyses by fluorescence spectrophotometry and computerized gas chromatography/mass spectrometry of the hydrocarbons present in surficial bottom sediments from Buchan Gulf, Baffin Island established that natural seepage of petroleum is occurring from the seabed. In addition, compounds of recent biosynthetic origin and from atmospheric fall-out of combustion products were identified.
  5. Philp, R. P., and P. T. Crisp. “Surface geochemical methods used for oil and gas prospecting—a review.” Journal of Geochemical Exploration 17.1 (1982): 1-34.The majority of the world’s oil and gas deposits have been discovered by drilling in the vicinity of natural petroleum seeps, and to date the most successful geochemical prospecting methods still rely upon the surface detection of hydrocarbons. Gas chromatographic techniques are now commonly used in the analysis of hydrocarbon gases for prospecting both onshore (analysis of soils and rocks) and offshore (analysis of near-bottom waters and sediments). Detection of helium fluxes has been partially successful as a geochemical prospecting technique. Many indirect techniques such as the determination of isotope and metal-leaching anomalies in surface rocks and the measurement of radon fluxes have not been widely used. Onshore geochemical prospecting appears to have more problems associated with it than offshore prospecting due to the more complex migration mechanism of near-surface waters containing dissolved gases. No onshore prospecting studies have been published which thoroughly consider this factor and the success of onshore prospecting remains equivocal. In offshore prospecting “sniffers” have been used to detect hydrocarbon anomalies in near-bottom waters, and coring equipment has been used for the detection of hydrocarbons in near-surface sediments. Success is claimed using these techniques. Geochemical prospecting methods are complementary to the widely used geophysical methods. Geochemical methods can provide direct evidence for the presence of petroleum accumulations and are relatively cheap and rapid. Failures in prospecting to date are attributable to the simplistic manner in which data have been interpreted; insufficient attention has been paid to the hydrological and geological factors which modify the upward migration of indicator species to the surface. As oil and gas deposits become more difficult to locate, greater attention should be paid to geochemical prospecting techniques, especially as a regional exploration tool.
  6. Westbrook, G. K., and M. J. Smith. “Long decollements and mud volcanoes: Evidence from the Barbados Ridge Complex for the role of high pore-fluid pressure in the development of an accretionary complex.” Geology 11.5 (1983): 279-283.  Mud volcanoes in front of the Barbados Ridge accretionary complex, discovered in multichannel seismic reflection profiles, provide evidence of very high pore-fluid pressures in the sedimentary cover on the oceanic lithosphere that is being subducted beneath the Lesser Antilles island arc. These high pore-fluid pressures can be attributed to the load imposed on the sedimentary cover by the weight of the advancing accretionary wedge. They offer a mechanical explanation for the very wide decollement that separates the Barbados Ridge Complex accretionary wedge from undeformed sediments on the oceanic lithosphere beneath it. Changes in level of this decollement may be induced by local variations in pore-fluid pressure.
  7. Brooks, James M., et al. “Hydrates, oil seepage, and chemosynthetic ecosystems on the Gulf of Mexico slope.” Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union 66.10 (1985): 106-106.  The northern Gulf of Mexico continental shelf has been the site of a number of recent discoveries that may dramatically alter our understanding of biological and chemical processes on the continental slope. The Geochemical and Environmental Research Group at Texas A&M University reported in Science last year (vol. 225, p. 409, 1984) the first occurrence of thermogenic gas hydrates in deep ocean sediments. The hydrate discovery sites were located at water depths of 530‐560 m on the Louisiana slope. These hydrates, obtained by piston coring, ranged in size from minute crystals to objects several centimeters in diameter and were composed of methane through butane hydrocarbon gases. The hydrates were often dispersed in carbonate rubble within the cores and were distributed from the top of the core to a sediment depth of at least several meters.
  8. Barber, A. J., S. Tjokrosapoetro, and T. R. Charlton. “Mud volcanoes, shale diapirs, wrench faults, and melanges in accretionary complexes, eastern Indonesia.” AAPG Bulletin70.11 (1986): 1729-1741. In Timor, eastern Indonesia, where the northern margin of the Australian continent is colliding with the Banda Arc, Australian continental margin sediments are being incorporated into an imbricate wedge, which passes northward into a foreland fold and thrust belt. Field mapping in Timor has shown that scaly clays, containing irregularly shaped or phacoidal blocks (up to several meters long) and composed of a wide range of lithologies derived from local stratigraphic units, occur in three environments: along wrench faults, as crosscutting shale diapirs, and associated with mud volcanoes. A model is proposed linking these phenomena. Shales become overpressured as a result of overthrusting; this overpressure is released along vertical wrench faults, which cut through the ove thrust units; overpressured shales containing blocks of consolidated units rise along the fault zones as shale diapirs; and escaping water, oil, and gas construct mud volcanoes at the surface. An extensive melange deposit in Timor, the Bobonaro Scaly Clay, has been interpreted by Audley-Charles and subsequent workers as an olistostrome. Our study interprets the Bobonaro Scaly Clay as the product of shale diapirism. Shale diapirs are likely to be generated wherever water-saturated sediments are incorporated into accretionary complexes. Diapirs have not, however, been recorded as occurring in ancient accretionary complexes, although melanges, usually interpreted as olistostromes, are commonly reported. Criteria are proposed by which the products of shale diapirism might be recognized, including: (1) shape of the diapiric body; (2) its relationship to the surrounding rocks; (3) nature of the matrix and of the enclosed blocks; (4) shapes of the blocks and their relationship to he matrix; and (5) effects of deformation. The importance of shale diapirism in the formation of melanges has not been fully appreciated, and the products of shale diapirism constitute a major component of ancient and present-day accretionary complexes. (blog author’s note: shale diapirism generates methane flows.)
  9. Brooks, James M., et al. “Association of gas hydrates and oil seepage in the Gulf of Mexico.” Organic Geochemistry 10.1-3 (1986): 221-234.  Gas hydrates were recovered from eight sites on the Louisiana slope of the Gulf of Mexico. The gas hydrate discoveries ranged in water depths from 530 to 2400 m occurring as small to medium sized (0.5–50 mm) nodules, interspersed layers (1–10 mm thick) or as solid masses (> 150 mm thick). The hydrates have gas:fluid ratios as high as 170:1 at STP, C1/(C2 + C3) ratios ranging from 1.9 to > 1000 and δ13C ratios from −43 to −71‰. Thermogenic gas hydrates are associated with oil-stained cores containing up to 7% extractable oil exhibiting moderate to severe biodegradation. Biogenic gas hydrates are also associated with elevated bitumen levels (10–700 ppm). All gas hydrate associated cores contain high percentages (up to 65%) of authigenic, isotopically light carbonate. The hydrate-containing cores are associated with seismic “wipeout” zones indicative of gassy sediments. Collapsed structures, diapiric crests, or deep faults on the flanks of diapirs appear to be the sites of the shallow hydrates.
  10. Brooks, James M., et al. “Hydrates, oil seepage, and chemosynthetic ecosystems on the Gulf of Mexico slope: An update.” Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union68.18 (1987): 498-499.  In 1985, the Geochemical and Environmental Research Group (GERG) at Texas A&M University (College Station, Tex.) reported in Eos [Brooks et al, 1985] the discovery of chemosynthetic organisms (bivalves and tube worms) at two sites on the Gulf of Mexico continental slope. The presence of gas hydrates at five sites, some associated with oil‐stained sediments, was also detailed. In the subsequent year, follow‐up cruises and submersible dives (using the Johnson Sea‐Link, owned and operated by the Harbor Branch Foundation, Fort Pierce, Fla., and the Navy NR‐1) investigated the physiology, biochemistry, and distribution of these chemosynthetic organisms.
  11. Kennicutt, M. E., J. M. Brooks, and R. A. Burke Jr. “Hydrocarbon seepage, gas hydrates, and authigenic carbonate in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.” Offshore Technology Conference. Offshore Technology Conference, 1989.  Rapid deposition of organic rich sediments onto thick Jurassic salt deposits created conditions conducive to the formation and entrapment of large volumes of oil and gas as well as active salt diapirism. Resulting hydrocarbon seepage, brine seepage, hydrate formation and decomposition, methane oxidation, oil degradation, and authigenic carbonate precipitation have significantly effected the geology, geochemistry, and morphology of the continental slope of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Regional topography is largely controlled by salt diapirism and slumping, and is characterized by pock marks, mud volcanoes, disrupted sediments, and large accumulations of carbonate. Sediment chemistry is driven by the influx of oil, gas and brine seepage and secondarily altered by the enhanced microbial and benthic biology.
  12. MacDonald, IanR, et al. “Natural oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico visible from space.” Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans98.C9 (1993): 16351-16364.  Natural oil seepage in the Gulf of Mexico causes persistent surface slicks that are visible from space in predictable locations. A photograph of the sun glint pattern offshore from Louisiana taken from the space shuttle Atlantis on May 5, 1989, shows at least 124 slicks in an area of about 15,000 km2; a thematic mapper (TM) image collected by the Landsat orbiter on July 31, 1991, shows at least 66 slicks in a cloud‐free area of 8200 km2 that overlaps the area of the photograph. Samples and descriptions made from a surface ship, from aircraft, and from a submarine confirmed the presence of crude oil in floating slicks. The imagery data show surface slicks near eight locations where chemosynthetic communities dependent upon seeping hydrocarbons are known to occur on the seafloor. Additionally, a large surface slick above the location of an active mud volcano was evident in the TM image. In one location the combined set of observations confirmed the presence of a flourishing chemosynthetic community, active seafloor oil and gas seepage, crude oil on the sea surface, and slick features that were visible in both images. We derived an analytical expression for the formation of floating slicks based on a parameterization of seafloor flow rate, downstream movement on the surface, half‐life of floating oil, and threshold thickness for detection. Applying this equation to the lengths of observed slicks suggested that the slicks in the Atlantis photograph and in the TM image represent seepage rates of 2.2–30 m3 1000 km−2 d−1 and 1.4–18 m3 1000 km−2 d−1, respectively. Generalizing to an annual rate suggests that total natural seepage in this region is of the order of at least 20,000 m3 yr−1 (120,000 barrels yr−1).
  13. MacDonald, I. R., et al. “Gas hydrate that breaches the sea floor on the continental slope of the Gulf of Mexico.” Geology22.8 (1994): 699-702.  We report observations that concern formation and dissociation of gas hydrate near the sea floor at depths of ∼540 m in the northern Gulf of Mexico. In August 1992, three lobes of gas hydrate were partly exposed beneath a thin layer of sediment. By May 1993, the most prominent lobe had evidently broken free and floated away, leaving a patch of disturbed sediment and exposed hydrate. The underside of the gas hydrate was about 0.2 °C warmer than ambient sea water and had trapped a large volume of oil and free gas. An insitu monitoring device, deployed on a nearby bed of mussels, recorded sustained releases of gas during a 44 day monitoring period. Gas venting coincided with a temporary rise in water temperature of 1 °C, which is consistent with thermally induced dissociation of hydrate composed mainly of methane and water. We conclude that the effects of accumulating buoyant force and fluctuating water temperature cause shallow gas hydrate alternately to check and release gas venting.
  14. Sassen, Roger, et al. “Bacterial methane oxidation in sea-floor gas hydrate: significance to life in extreme environments.” Geology 26.9 (1998): 851-854.  Samples of thermogenic hydrocarbon gases, from vents and gas hydrate mounds within a sea-floor chemosynthetic community on the Gulf of Mexico continental slope at about 540 m depth, were collected by research submersible. Our study area is characterized by low water temperature (mean =7 °C), high pressure (about 5400 kPa), and abundant structure II gas hydrate. Bacterial oxidation of hydrate-bound methane (CH4) is indicated by three isotopic properties of gas hydrate samples. Relative to the vent gas from which the gas hydrate formed, (1) methane-bound methane is enriched in 13C by as much as 3.8‰ PDB (Peedee belemnite), (2) hydrate-bound methane is enriched in deuterium (D) by as much as 37‰ SMOW (standard mean ocean water), and (3) hydrate-bound carbon dioxide (CO2) is depleted in 13C by as much as 22.4‰ PDB. Hydrate-associated authigenic carbonate rock is also depleted in 13C. Bacterial oxidation of methane is a driving force in chemosynthetic communities, and in the concomitant precipitation of authigenic carbonate rock that modifies sea-floor geology. Bacterial oxidation of hydrate-bound methane expands the potential boundaries of life in extreme environments.
  15. Heggland, Roar. “Gas seepage as an indicator of deeper prospective reservoirs. A study based on exploration 3D seismic data.” Marine and Petroleum Geology 15.1 (1998): 1-9.  Three periods of sustained gas seepage in geological time have been revealed in Danish block 5604/26 in the North Sea by the use of exploration 3D seismic data. The most recent period is indicated by a cluster of seismic chimneys which ties in to buried craters near the seabed, and possible present gas escape through the seabed, along with amplitude anomalies indicating a shallow gas sand charged by gas migrating from a deeper level. The cluster of seismic chimneys indicative of vertical gas migration is visible down to 1.5 s TWT (1500 meters), and therefore the gas is interpreted as migrating from a deeper stratigraphic horizon. Below this level it becomes difficult to see the chimneys due to complex faulting. The faults may work as gas migration pathways. The geometry of the cluster of seismic chimneys indicates that the gas has been migrating from one point. The nearest possible source of the gas is an underlying prospect where an oil and gas discovery has been made. Two earlier periods of gas seepage are indicated by mounds, possibly carbonate buildups over gas seepages in Pliocene time, and,similarly, buried craters formed by gas seepages in an earlier period in Pliocene time. The results of this study are that gas seepage is a periodical process in geological time and that its presence and associated features can be used as an indicator of deeper prospective reservoirs.
  16. Quigley, Derek C., et al. “Decrease in natural marine hydrocarbon seepage near Coal Oil Point, California, associated with offshore oil production.” Geology 27.11 (1999): 1047-1050.  Prolific natural hydrocarbon seepage occurs offshore of Coal Oil Point in the Santa Barbara Channel, California. Within the water column above submarine vents, plumes of hydrocarbon gas bubbles act as acoustic scattering targets. Using 3.5 kHz sonar data, seep distribution offshore of Coal Oil Point was mapped for August 1996, July 1995, and July 1973. Comparison of the seep distributions over time reveals more than 50% decrease in the areal extent of seepage, accompanied by declines in seep emission volume, in a 13 km2area above a producing oil reservoir. Declines in reservoir pressure and depletion of seep hydrocarbon sources associated with oil production are the mechanisms inferred to explain the declines in seep area and emission volume.
  17. Aloisi, Giovanni, et al. “Methane-related authigenic carbonates of eastern Mediterranean Sea mud volcanoes and their possible relation to gas hydrate destabilisation.” Earth and Planetary Science Letters 184.1 (2000): 321-338.  Nautile submersible investigations of mud volcanoes and brine seep areas of the eastern Mediterranean Sea during the MEDINAUT cruise in November 1998 discovered extensive areas of authigenic carbonate crusts associated with methane emissions. Carbonate crusts form pavements, round slabs and circular mounds on the central, most active parts of mud volcanoes and in a fault-related valley where brines have accumulated to form a submarine brine lake. Authigenic carbonate nodules have been recovered from the same areas during the MEDINETH cruise in July 1999. Large 13C depletions of authigenic calcite, aragonite and dolomite indicate methane as a major carbon source for the carbonate. Crust pavements are formed when methane from a freshly emplaced, methane-charged mud flow is oxidised at the seafloor. In this environment, where bottom waters provide the sulphate and magnesium, aragonite is favoured versus calcite and accounts for the majority of the methane-related authigenic carbonates. Calcite, when present, contains significant amounts of Mg2+ (high-Mg calcite), and possibly other divalent ions in its crystal lattice. In areas of brine seep and accumulation, dolomitic nodules are present at shallow depth in the sediment. The 18O enrichment of the authigenic carbonates (up to 4‰ greater than calculated values for carbonates precipitating from modern eastern Mediterranean bottom waters) is interpreted as due to precipitation from 18O-rich fluids rather than as a temperature effect. The source of the 18O-rich fluids may be multiple and possibly includes the destabilisation of gas hydrates present at shallow subbottom depth, and the seepage of relic Messinian brines.
  18. Milkov, A. V. “Worldwide distribution of submarine mud volcanoes and associated gas hydrates.” Marine Geology167.1-2 (2000): 29-42.  The list of known and inferred submarine mud volcanoes is presented in this paper. They occur worldwide on shelves, continental and insular slopes and in the abyssal parts of inland seas. Submarine mud volcanoes are distributed on the Earth more extensively than their subaerial analogs. The estimated total number of known and inferred deep-water mud volcanoes is 103–105. There are two key reasons for the formation of submarine mud volcanoes—high sedimentation rate and lateral tectonic compression. Submarine mud volcanoes form by two basic mechanisms: (1) formation on the top of a seafloor-piercing shale diapir; (2) formation due to the rise of fluidized sediments along faults. Fluid migration is critical to the formation of a mud volcano. Gas hydrates are often associated with deep-water mud volcanoes and have many common features from one accumulation to another. Gas hydrates form by conventional low-temperature hydrothermal process around the central part of a mud volcano and by metasomatic processes at its periphery. A preliminary global estimate of methane accumulated in gas hydrates associated with mud volcanoes is about 1010–1012 m3 at standard temperature and pressure.
  19. Graue, K. “Mud volcanoes in deepwater Nigeria.” Marine and Petroleum Geology 17.8 (2000): 959-974. Detailed study of 3D seismic data from deepwater Nigeria has revealed the presence of features interpreted to be mud volcanoes. They occur in an upper slope environment seen as 1–2 km circular features at the seabed. Seabed cores from the mud volcanoes contain oil, gas and sand/shale–clast content richer than the seabed background. Pliocene fossils have been identified in the cores, demonstrating transport of material from depth. The features show a high seabed seismic amplitude above a chimney of chaotic seismic reflections and data wipe-out. The mud volcanoes in the study area shows two distinct clusters located over deeper structural culminations. Four active mud volcanoes (Area 1) are located above a rollover anticline in the central part of the area. Cuspate listric faults reach the seabed on the up-slope side of these mud volcanoes. Four abandoned mud volcanoes have also been identified, with progressively older ages towards the crest of the underlying structure. These abandoned features are associated with an extremely chaotic seismic signature. A combination of over-pressured carrier beds and low integrity top seals are believed to be responsible for the formation of these mud volcanoes. It is further believed that gas expansion, subsequent to seal failure, was the main driving force for what must have been violent eruptions. The long lived mud volcano activity over the deep structural closure suggests a plumbing system that focuses on escaping compaction water and hydrocarbons through time. In the south west of the study area, another cluster of five mud volcanoes is located above a shale diapir. The seabed expression of the members of this cluster is more varied. Some show a positive relief at the seabed while others show circular depressions. The largest feature represents an assemblage of many smaller mud volcanoes with a common root system. Their seismic expression is also different from that of Area 1, with a well-defined sediment wedge at surface and a shallower root system. These features are believed to represent a less violent type of mud volcano characterised by ductile flow. Tectonic stress, due to growth of the underlying diapir, is thought to have played an important role during eruption, in addition to focused methane escape and the low mechanical strength of the overburden.
  20. Schumacher, Dietmar “Deet. “Surface geochemical exploration for oil and gas: new life for an old technology.” The Leading Edge 19.3 (2000): 258-261.  Surface geochemical exploration for petroleum is the search for chemically identifiable surface or near-surface occurrences of hydrocarbons, or hydrocarbon-induced changes, as clues to the location of oil and gas accumulations. It extends through a range of observations from clearly visible oil and gas seepage (macroseepage) at one extreme to identification of minute traces of hydrocarbons (microseepage) or hydrocarbon-induced changes at the other.
  21. Sassen, Roger, et al. “Thermogenic vent gas and gas hydrate in the Gulf of Mexico slope: Is gas hydrate decomposition significant?.” Geology 29.2 (2001): 107-110.  Samples of vent gas and gas hydrate on the Gulf of Mexico slope were collected by research submersible (∼540 m water depth) and by piston coring (∼1060–1070 m water depth). Although gas hydrate that crops out is transiently unstable, the larger volume of structure II gas hydrate in the gulf is stable or increasing in volume because gas from the subsurface petroleum system is venting prolifically within the gas hydrate stability zone. Vent gas from gas hydrate shows no meaningful molecular evidence of gas hydrate decomposition. Gas hydrate fabrics, mainly vein fillings, are typical of ongoing crystallization. Once crystallized, most hydrocarbons are protected from bacteria within the crystal lattice of gas hydrate. A leaky petroleum system is proposed to be the main source of thermogenic greenhouse gases in the central gulf. Stable gas hydrate sequesters large volumes of greenhouse gases, suggesting that gas hydrate may not be a significant factor in models of climate change at present.
  22. Kvenvolden, Keith A., Thomas D. Lorenson, and William S. Reeburgh. “Attention turns to naturally occurring methane seepage.” Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union82.40 (2001): 457-457.  Methane is the most abundant organic compound in the Earth’s atmosphere. As a powerful greenhouse gas, it has implications for global climate change. Sources of methane to the atmosphere are varied. Depending on the source, methane can contain either modern or ancient carbon. Methane exiting from swamps and wetlands contains modern carbon, whereas methane leaking from petroleum reservoirs contains ancient carbon. The total annual source of methane to the atmosphere has been constrained to about 540 teragrams (Tg) per yearCicerone and Oremland, 1988”. Notably absent from any identified sources is the contribution of geologically sourced methane from naturally occurring seepage. Two approaches to making global estimates of geological methane seepage rates were used.The first was to compile existing information on the local, regional, and global seepage rates that have already been estimated and reported. This kind of information is currently scattered in the scientific literature, but consensus estimates were obtained by synthesis of data in hand. Based on this approach, it was estimated that about 50 Tg/yr of methane seeps from the seabed and about 30 Tg/yr of methane reaches the atmosphere. A second approach involved broad assumptions based on considerations of the availability of methane for seepage from known global geological sources through geologic time.The methods used in this approach were extrapolated for natural gas from two earlier research studies dealing with crude oil [Kvenvolden and Harbaugh, 1983; Miller, 1992]. Preliminary assumptions were made that need further refinement. The total geologic reservoir of methane was estimated to be between 104 and 108Tg, while the half-life of the total geologic methane reservoir was set at 108 yr.With these and other assumptions concerning the length of time for reservoir depletion (108-1012 yr),the flux of methane was estimated to be about 30 Tg/yr from the seabed and about 10 Tg/yr into the atmosphere.Thus, the results from this theoretical approach and the observational approach were similar within a factor of three. If the atmospheric input of geologically sourced methane is about 20 Tg/yr—the average of the observational and theoretical approaches—then the magnitude of the estimate is significant and should be included in the inventory of annual methane release rates from identified sources [Cicerone and Oremland, 1988].The participants recognize that these global estimates are first approximations to be refined as more information is obtained.
  23. Dimitrov, Lyobomir I. “Mud volcanoes—the most important pathway for degassing deeply buried sediments.” Earth-Science Reviews 59.1-4 (2002): 49-76.  This paper discusses the nature of the phenomenon of “mud volcanism” with respect to degassing of deeply buried sediments. Mud volcanoes are defined as geological structures and their main elements are described. Based on the nature of activity, mud volcanoes are grouped in to three main types and the relationship between each type and corresponding morphological expression is discussed. The presented up-to-date data of the world geographical distribution of mud volcanoes show that they approximate to 1800 individuals. A detail overview of geological environments in which they occur helps to deduce some necessary conditions for mud volcano formation. The basic mechanisms of mud volcano formation are discussed, specifically the fluid-pressure hypothesis, and some triggering events are identified. The most common investigation approach and some criteria for recognizing of a submarine mud volcano on side-scan sonar records and seismic sections are given. Mud volcanism in the Mediterranean Ridge (an accretionary complex) and Black Sea Abyssal Plane (a back ark basin with tectonic regime of extension) are described as case studies to show variety in morphology and common factors in development of mud volcanoes. The manifestation of continuous gas migration through mud volcanoes is clarified, and the attempt made to quantify the gas release shows that mud volcanoes are one of the significant natural sources of atmospheric methane emitting a total amount of about 10.3 to 12.6 Tg annually.
  24. Kholodov, V. N. “Mud volcanoes, their distribution regularities and genesis: communication 1. Mud volcanic provinces and morphology of mud volcanoes.” Lithology and Mineral Resources 37.3 (2002): 197-209.  The article discusses regularities in the distribution of mud volcanoes and characterizes most important mud volcanic provinces of the world. A new morphogenetic classification of mud volcanoes substantiated by results of their study in the Crimean–Caucasian and West Turkmenian regions is proposed.
  25. Judd, A. G., et al. “The geological methane budget at continental margins and its influence on climate change.” Geofluids 2.2 (2002): 109-126.  Geological methane, generated by microbial decay and the thermogenic breakdown of organic matter, migrates towards the surface (seabed) to be trapped in reservoirs, sequestered by gas hydrates or escape through natural gas seeps or mud volcanoes (via ebullition). The total annual geological contribution to the atmosphere is estimated as 16–40 Terragrammes (Tg) methane; much of this natural flux is ‘fossil’ in origin. Emissions are affected by surface conditions (particularly the extent of ice sheets and permafrost), eustatic sea‐level and ocean bottom‐water temperatures. However, the different reservoirs and pathways are affected in different ways. Consequently, geological sources provide both positive and negative feedback to global warming and global cooling. Gas hydrates are not the only geological contributors to feedback. It is suggested that, together, these geological sources and reservoirs influence the direction and speed of global climate change, and constrain the extremes of climate.
  26. Planke, S., et al. “Mud and fluid migration in active mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan.” Geo-Marine Letters 23.3-4 (2003): 258-268.  Mud volcanic eruptions in Azerbaijan normally last for less than a few hours, and are characterized by vigorous extrusion of mud breccias, hydrocarbon gases, and waters. Recent fieldwork and mapping on four active mud volcanoes show that dormant period activity ranges from quiet to vigorous flow of mud and fluids. Geochemical analyses of expelled waters show a wide range in solute concentrations, suggesting the existence of a complex plumbing system. The mud and fluids have a deep origin, but are sometimes stored in intermediate-depth mud chambers. A mixing model between deep-seated saline waters and shallow meteoric water is proposed.
  27. Kvenvolden, K. A., and C. K. Cooper. “Natural seepage of crude oil into the marine environment.” Geo-Marine Letters23.3-4 (2003): 140-146.  Recent global estimates of crude-oil seepage rates suggest that about 47% of crude oil currently entering the marine environment is from natural seeps, whereas 53% results from leaks and spills during the extraction, transportation, refining, storage, and utilization of petroleum. The amount of natural crude-oil seepage is currently estimated to be 600,000 metric tons per year, with a range of uncertainty of 200,000 to 2,000,000 metric tons per year. Thus, natural oil seeps may be the single most important source of oil that enters the ocean, exceeding each of the various sources of crude oil that enters the ocean through its exploitation by humankind.
  28. Olu-Le Roy, Karine, et al. “Cold seep communities in the deep eastern Mediterranean Sea: composition, symbiosis and spatial distribution on mud volcanoes.” Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers 51.12 (2004): 1915-1936.  Two mud volcano fields were explored during the French–Dutch MEDINAUT cruise (1998) with the submersible NAUTILE, one south of Crete along the Mediteranean Ridge at about 2000 m depth (Olimpi mud field) and the other south of Turkey between 1700 and 2000 m depth (Anaximander mud field) where high methane concentrations were measured. Chemosynthetic communities were observed and sampled on six mud volcanoes and along a fault scarp. The communities were dominated by bivalves of particularly small size, belonging to families commonly found at seeps (Mytilidae, Vesicomyidae, Thyasiridae) and to Lucinidae mostly encountered in littoral sulfide-rich sediments and at the shallowest seeps. Siboglinid polychaetes including a large vestimentiferan Lamellibrachia sp. were also associated. At least four bivalve species and one siboglinid are associated with symbiotic chemoautotrophic bacteria, as evidenced by Transmission Electronic Microscopy and isotopic ratio measurements. Among the bivalves, a mytilid harbors both methanotrophic and sulfide-oxidizing bacteria. Video spatial analysis of the community distribution on three volcanoes shows that dense bivalve shell accumulations (mainly lucinids) spread over large areas, from 10% to 38% of the explored areas (2500–15000 m2) on the different volcanoes. Lamellibrachia sp. had different spatial distribution and variable density in the two mud volcano fields, apparently related with higher methane fluxes in the Anaximander volcanoes and maybe with the instability due to brines in the Olimpi area. The abundance and richness of the observed chemosynthetic fauna and the size of some of the species contrast with the poverty of the deep eastern Mediterranean. The presence of a specialized fauna, with some mollusk genera and species shared with other reduced environments of the Mediterranean, but not dominated by the large bivalves usually found at seeps, is discussed.
  29. Pohlman, John W., et al. “The origin of thermogenic gas hydrates on the northern Cascadia Margin as inferred from isotopic (13C/12C and D/H) and molecular composition of hydrate and vent gas.” Organic Geochemistry 36.5 (2005): 703-716.  The isotopic (δ13C and δD) and hydrocarbon compositions of hydrate-bound and vent gas collected from the seafloor of Barkley Canyon (northern Cascadia Margin, offshore Vancouver Island, Canada) were evaluated to characterize the gas and infer the type and maturity of the source rock kerogen. The hydrate gas contained methane having δ13C values from −43.4‰ to −42.6‰δD values from −143‰ to −138‰ and a large percentage (14.9% to 31.9%) of C2 to C5+ hydrocarbons. These data are consistent with a thermogenic gas source. The data from Barkley Canyon are interpreted within the context of similar data from the Gulf of Mexico and Caspian Sea thermogenic hydrates, which occur in regions where the petroleum systems supporting gas and oil generationare better understood. A stable carbon isotope-based natural gas plot model and D/H data from the hydrate gas indicate that the source rock for the Barkley Canyon hydrate and vent gas had primarily Type III kerogen mixed with a small fraction of Type II kerogen. Oil from a seep having a pristane/phytane ratio of 3.2 was identified as a gas condensate, which supports the conclusions drawn from the gas data. A mechanism for explaining how fluids are conducted from the deep petroleum reservoir to the seafloor of Barkley Canyon is proposed.
  30. León, R., et al. “Sea-floor features related to hydrocarbon seeps in deepwater carbonate-mud mounds of the Gulf of Cádiz: from mud flows to carbonate precipitates.” Geo-Marine Letters 27.2-4 (2007): 237-247.  Underwater images taken from deepwater carbonate-mud mounds located along the continental margin of the Gulf of Cádiz (eastern Central Atlantic) have identified a great variety of hydrocarbon seep-related geomorphic features that exist on the sea floor. An extensive photographic survey was made along the Guadalquivir Diapiric Ridge, after detailed examination of the main mounds identified on previous swath bathymetry coverage, high-resolution seismic imagery, dredge and gravity core data. Recognised fluid-induced geomorphic features include seep precipitates, named here generically as hydrocarbon-derived authigenic carbonates (HDACs), mud-breccia flows and piping/rills, at scales ranging from metres to centimetres. Based on the viscosity, texture, morphology, and the nature of observed features, we have categorized the geomorphic seeps into the following types: mud-breccia flows and liquid seepages, which can be grouped as highly viscous and viscous mud-breccia flows, gassy mud-breccia flows, and small-scale piping/rills; HDACs types, including massive crusts, “honeycombed” carbonate crusts, nodular aggregated crusts, steeply dipping to vertical slabs, and pipe-like formations (chimneys). These widespread geomorphic features observed along the carbonate-mud mounds reveal alternate periods of (1) active mud-flow extrusion (mud-volcano formation), (2) reduced seepage activity, with the formation of extensive carbonate features by chemosynthetic organisms, and (3) formation of hardgrounds and colonisation by non-chemosynthetic organisms such as deepwater corals (e.g. Lophelia pertusaMadrepora oculata). The formation of large amounts of HDACs is related to the microbially mediated oxidation of hydrocarbon fluids (biogenic and thermogenic) during periods of slower fluid venting. This has led to the hypothesis that these carbonate-mud mounds could be built up by alternating episodes of varying fluid-venting rates, with peaks that may have been triggered by tectonic events (e.g. high-seismicity periods) and slower rates controlled by climate/oceanographic factors (e.g. glacial to interglacial climatic transitions, increasing shallow subsurface hydrate formation, and sealing of sea-floor fluid venting).
  31. Zhu, Wei-yao, et al. “Low-velocity non-Darcy gas seepage model and productivity equations of low-permeability water-bearing gas reservoirs.” Natural Gas Geoscience 5 (2008).  The flow behaviour of fluids in water-bearing gas reservoirs was analyzed based on the experimental study of low-velocity non-Darcy percolation. Three kinds of mathematical models were established under the influences of movable water, inmovable water and combined water. Deliverability equations of gas well were obtained with the gas slippage effect and the threshold pressure gradient existed respectively and simultaneously. The case study proved that the study was applicable and the corresponding equations could provide a necessary theoretical basis for defining reasonable gas-well deliverability under different water conditions.
  32. Manga, Michael, Maria Brumm, and Maxwell L. Rudolph. “Earthquake triggering of mud volcanoes.” Marine and Petroleum Geology 26.9 (2009): 1785-1798.Mud volcanoes sometimes erupt within days after nearby earthquakes. The number of such nearly coincident events is larger than would be expected by chance and the eruptions are thus assumed to be triggered by earthquakes. Here we compile observations of the response of mud volcanoes and other geologic systems (earthquakes, volcanoes, liquefactionground water, and geysers) to earthquakes. The compilation shows a clear magnitude–distance threshold for triggering, suggesting that these seemingly disparate phenomena may share similar underlying triggering mechanisms. The compilation also shows that pre-existing geysers and already-erupting volcanoes and mud volcanoes are much more sensitive to earthquakes than quiescent systems. Several changes produced by earthquakes have been proposed as triggering mechanisms, including liquefaction and loss of strength, increased hydraulic permeability or removing hydraulic barriers, and bubble nucleation and growth. We present new measurements of the response of erupted mud samples to oscillatory shear at seismic frequencies and amplitudes, and find that loss of strength occurs at strain amplitudes greater than 10−3. This is much larger than the peak dynamic strains associated with earthquakes that may have triggered eruptions or influenced already-erupting mud volcanoes. Therefore, we do not favor loss of strength as a general triggering mechanism. Mechanisms involving bubbles require significant supersaturation or incompressible mud, and neither condition is likely to be relevant. We analyze the response of the Niikappu group of mud volcanoes in Japan to several earthquakes. We find that this system is insensitive to earthquakes if an eruption has occurred within the previous couple of years, and that static strain magnitudes are very small and not correlated with triggering suggesting that triggering likely results from dynamic strain. Moreover, triggering may be frequency-dependent with longer period seismic waves being more effective at triggering. Available data are insufficient, however, to determine whether triggering characteristics at Niikappu are representative of triggered eruptions in general. Nor can we determine the exact mechanism by which dynamic (long-period) strains induce eruption, but given the apparent failure of all mechanisms except increasing permeability and breaching barriers we favor these. More observations and longer records are needed. In particular, gas measurements and broadband seismic data can be collected remotely and continuously, and provide key information about processes that occur during and immediately after the arrival of seismic waves.
  33. Wang, Cuiping, et al. “PAHs distribution in sediments associated with gas hydrate and oil seepage from the Gulf of Mexico.” Marine pollution bulletin 62.12 (2011): 2714-2723.  Six sediment samples collected from the Gulf of Mexico were analyzed. Total concentrations of the PAHs ranged from 52 to 403 ng g−1 dry weight. The lowest PAH concentration without 5–6 rings PAHs appeared in S-1 sample associated with gas hydrate or gas venting. Moreover, S-1 sample had the lowest organic carbon content with 0.85% and highest reduced sulfur level with 1.21% relative to other samples. And, analysis of the sources of PAHs in S-1 sample indicated that both pyrogenic and petrogenic sources, converserly, while S-8, S-10 and S-11 sample suggested petrogenic origin. The distribution of dibenzothiophene, fluorine and dibenzofuran and the maturity parameters of triaromatic steranes suggested that organic matters in S-1 sample were different from that in S-8, S-10 and S-11 sample. This study suggested that organic geochemical data could help in distinguish the characteristic of sediment associated with gas hydrate or with oil seepage.
  34. Anthony, Katey M. Walter, et al. “Geologic methane seeps along boundaries of Arctic permafrost thaw and melting glaciers.” Nature Geoscience 5.6 (2012): 419.  Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, accumulates in subsurface hydrocarbon reservoirs, such as coal beds and natural gas deposits. In the Arctic, permafrost and glaciers form a ‘cryosphere cap’ that traps gas leaking from these reservoirs, restricting flow to the atmosphere. With a carbon store of over 1,200 Pg, the Arctic geologic methane reservoir is large when compared with the global atmospheric methane pool of around 5 Pg. As such, the Earth’s climate is sensitive to the escape of even a small fraction of this methane. Here, we document the release of 14C-depleted methane to the atmosphere from abundant gas seeps concentrated along boundaries of permafrost thaw and receding glaciers in Alaska and Greenland, using aerial and ground surface survey data and in situ measurements of methane isotopes and flux. We mapped over 150,000 seeps, which we identified as bubble-induced open holes in lake ice. These seeps were characterized by anomalously high methane fluxes, and in Alaska by ancient radiocarbon ages and stable isotope values that matched those of coal bed and thermogenic methane accumulations. Younger seeps in Greenland were associated with zones of ice-sheet retreat since the Little Ice Age. Our findings imply that in a warming climate, disintegration of permafrost, glaciers and parts of the polar ice sheets could facilitate the transient expulsion of 14C-depleted methane trapped by the cryosphere cap.


  1. Mud volcano refers to the seabed protrusion terrain that can spraymud, gas, and fluid. According to the studies of R.S. Newton et al. (1980), mud volcano is often triggered by high-pressure gas, fault activity, diapir effect, sedimentation, and other factors. Mud volcanowill increase the seabed slope gradient, reduce the safety coefficient of slope, and thus trigger subsea slope instability. This kind of instability is usually closely related to the rapid accumulation, compressive fault, diaper, and high-pressure gas of sediments.
  2. Mud volcanoespockmarks, and other fluid escape structures are common along the Iberian margin of the Gulf of Cadiz. They are interpreted as indicators of gas-rich, overpressured sediments occurring at different depths (300–1,200 m) [5]. Mud volcanoes are conduits for fluid venting and consequent carbonate precipitation within the sediments or at the seafloor. Some of the widespread shallow fluid venting on the seafloor is attributed to the local destabilization of gas-hydrate-rich sediments due to MOW warming [4]. Three major sites of seepage-related cluster structures can be identified along the Iberian upper continental slope [3,7,8] (Figure 61.1) that are representative of the fluid venting phenomena in three different geological environments: contouritic drifts, megasliding deposits (on the continental margin), and diapiric ridges.
  3. El Laberinto: This region is located on the upper slope (Figure 61.1) and comprises a cluster of separate, circular volcanoes outcropping over an extensive contouritic drift, covering 201 km2 (Figure 61.2). The volcanoes are surrounded by rings of subcircular pockmarks, formed as a product of degassing diapirs. Notable characteristic features include three mud volcanoes (Anastasya, Tarsis, and Pipoca) together with an adjacent prominent diapiric ridge and contouritic channels. Anastasya mud volcano has a regular cone geometry (diameter <1.5 km) covering 7.5 km2 and located at a depth of 452 m, with a height of 80 m above the level of surrounding seafloor. Sediments are plastic, mousse-like muds that are methanesaturated and draped by a thin layer of recent medium-grained sand. Tarsis mud volcano has a regular geometry (diameter <1 km) covering 4.5 km2, occurring at 762 m depth, with a height of 60 m. It has a 50-m deep pockmark depression circling the cone. The volcano is entirely surrounded by a sheeted contourite drift that is densely burrowed by decapods. Pipoca mud volcano (diameter <1.5 km) covers 6.6 km2 and displays a mud flow lobe flowing downslope and placed between two MOW moats.
  4. Hesperides Complex: This complex is representative of megasliding deposits and consists of a cluster of five single-cone mud volcanoes, covering ca. 7 km2 (680–730 m depth) [3] (Figure 61.3). The complex is affected by a MOW flow filament that descends along a channel, warming the deposits and thereby triggering the destabilization of hydrates and generating several pockmarks. Three cone morphotypes include: (a) twin circular and regular cones, (b) twin slightly flat cones with smooth surfaces and irregular contour lines, and (c) elongated single cone with strongly irregular and asymmetric hillsides. Scattered over the complex are carbonate chimneys and crusts providing hard substrata for benthic fauna. A large pockmark of 2.1 km2, with a maximum depth of 150 m, next to the complex contains bottom mud deposits without evidence of gas-enriched sediments or hard structures.
  5. Hormigas Ridge: The ridge is formed by a set of single mud volcanoes on top of several small hills from the deepest sector of one of the diapiric ridges, covering 45 km2 (890–935 m depth) and containing numerous carbonate chimneys, crusts, and slabs. The largest mound is the Cornide mud volcano (diameter <1.2 km) (Figure 61.4), covering 0.5 km2 (935 m depth) and located next to the Cadiz Channel. It is conformed by a twin flat mound with a height of 35 m below the diapir summit and with a cliff of ca. 235 m above the channel. The crest of the cone yielded large amounts of brown carbonate crusts and chimneys, and a polygenic matrix breccia covered by sandy sediments with a strong H2S smell.
  6. Geomorphic features related to fluid flow and availability of hard bottoms (e.g., chimneys, slabs) is influenced by the erosion patterns that affect each volcano. Therefore, different habitat types occur in association with different volcanoes. For example, exhumed chimneys and slabs can be seen in those volcanoes where strong deep currents have eroded the cone that originally enclosed these structures. Soft bottoms, from coarse sands to mud, generally occur adjacent to the volcanoes or in the pockmarks. Three major types of substrate for benthic and demersal fauna are as follows. Stable hard bottoms: These include crusts, pavements, and slabs as well as carbonate chimneys that are generally not covered by mud or sand. These types of bottoms are normally located in eroded volcanoes (Hespérides and Cornide), close to the summit or at the side of the volcano. This is a rare type of substrate compared to soft bottoms (Figures 61.5–61.7) and represents an ideal habitat for colonial organisms (e.g., corals, sponges).

  7. Mixed bottoms: These include scattered chimneys and crusts that occur in a matrix of sandy mud to muddy sediments. This mixture of substrates generally occurs within mud volcanoes, scattered between the stable hard substrates or at the base of the volcano, where chimneys and crusts are deposited (Hespérides and Córnide) (Figures 61.6 and 61.7). This substrate is less abundant than soft bottoms but exhibits similar coverage to rocky bottoms, especially in the El Laberinto and Cornide mud volcanoes (Figures 61.5 and 61.6). A mixed fauna occupies this habitat. Soft bottoms: These are mainly contouritic sands and muds occurring between the volcanoes and in the pockmark deposits. Soft-bottom types have the greatest spatial coverage and are composed of different sediment types (coarse sands, fine sands, and mud). Fisheries of commercial species in the vicinity of some mud volcanoes (El Laberinto) occur in these types of bottoms.

  8. Distribution and occurrence of cold-seepage and mud-volcano provinces
    Cold seeps and mud volcanoes are most common in areas of recent tectonic activity, that is, within the mobile tectonic belts of the Alpine-Himalayas, Pacific and Central-Asia and in areas with thick (5–20 km) sedimentary successions. Numerous field studies in the last decades have revealed that spontaneous discharge of subsurface fluids is a worldwide phenomenon, and such discharges are now known to be a common feature on active and passive continental margins. The areas of known seeps on the European and north African margins are shown in Fig. 6.13.
  9. The Håkon Mosby mud volcano (HMMV), one of the most thoroughly studied SMVs associated with gas hydrates, is located on the Norwegian shelf in 1250 m water depth (Sauter et al., 2006). Its diameter is 1500 m with rim rising less than 10 m above the seafloor. Thermal profiles and mass emissions of HMMV were reported by de Beer et al. (2011). As measured 750 m from the center outwardly, the HMMV has three concentric regions: (1) high-temperature center of 50 m diameter exhibiting periodic mass expulsions, (2) annulus around a high-temperature center in which white Beggiatoamats cover the surface, and (3) elevated outer ring populated by tube worms and gas hydrates.

  10. The total area of mud volcanism in Eastern Azerbaijan is 16,000 km2, including more than 200 mud volcanoes (Figure 2-1). Scientists believe that there are 150 underwater mud volcanoes in the Southern Caspian Sea and 9 mud-volcanic islands. It is ascertained that mud volcanoes are confined to the most deformed portions of late geosynclinal trend (i.e., to molasse troughs), to the periphery of folded systems (i.e., to foredeeps), periclinal troughs of active geosynclinal folded regions, where thickness of sedimentary fill exceeds 10 km. The following factors are prerequisites for generation of mud volcanoes: anticlinal structure, dislocations with breaks of continuity, plastic clays, buried formation water, accumulation of hydrocarbon gases and abnormally-high formation pressure.
  11. Mud volcanoes can form on shallow seafloor (eg, Caspian Sea), on top of seamounts (South Chamorro Seamount), and on islands (eg, Andaman Islands). Occasionally, mud volcanoes erupt with spectacular flames, sending tons of mud flowing down the sides of the craterODP Leg 195 drilled Site 1200 on the South Chamorro Seamount(Shipboard Scientific Party, Site 1200, 2002), one of 14 large (up to 50 km in diameter and rising up to 2 km above the surrounding seafloor) active serpentinite and blueschist mud volcanoes on the Mariana forearc (see Fryer and Fryer, 1987; Fryer, 1996; Fryer et al., 2000, 2006). Note that blueschist, also called glaucophane schist, is a metavolcanic rock that forms by the metamorphism of basalt and rocks with similar composition at high pressures and low temperatures, approximately corresponding to a depth of 15–30 km and 200°C to ~ 500°C. The blue color of the rock comes from the presence of the predominant minerals glaucophane and lawsonite. Drilling on the mud volcano on the South Chamorro Seamount allowed the composition of this deep-slab-derived water to be determined. Mottl et al. (2003a,b) found that the water ascending through the mud volcanoes has a pH of 12.5 and, relative to seawater, is enriched in sulfatealkalinity, NaCl, K, Rb, B, light hydrocarbons, ammonia, 18O, and deuterium. Surprisingly, it was found that within the upper 20 m below seafloor at South Chamorro Seamount, a microbial community operating at pH 12.5, made up overwhelmingly of extremophilic microbes, mainly Archaea, is oxidizing methane from the ascending fluid to carbonate ion and organic carbon, while reducing sulfate to bisulfide and probably dissolved nitrogen to ammonia. This microbial community is found to be not only extremophile but subsists on a source of chemical energy delivered from as deep as 27 km below the seafloor. Note that an extremophile (from Latin extremus meaning extreme and Greek philia meaning love) is an organism that thrives in physically or geochemically extreme conditions (eg, extraordinarily hot or acidic) that are detrimental to most life on Earth (see Rothschild and Mancinelli, 2001; Rampelotto, 2010). According to Mottl et al. (2003a,b), the sulfur enrichment near the seafloor results from Fe sulfide minerals that precipitate as a result of microbial (archaeal) sulfate reduction. The zone of sulfur enrichment extends to 25 m below seafloor (mbsf) at the cold spring to at least 15 mbsf 20 m away, and to only 5 mbsf 80 m from the spring. It is essentially absent on the summit of Conical Seamount, which also lacks a macrofauna. The enrichment of organic carbon at 0–3 mbsf farthest from the cold spring correlates with a high concentration of foraminifera. Mottl et al. (2003a,b) reckons that microbial sulfate reduction accompanied by production of carbonate, bisulfide, and ammonia at 1–3 and 13 mbsf is remarkable for three reasons: it is accomplished at pH 12.5, by an assemblage overwhelmingly dominated by Archaea rather than bacteria, in a setting that has essentially no sedimentary organic carbon. Bacterial biomass ranged from ≈ 104 to ≈ 106 cells/g dry wt. It was highest at 0–0.1 mbsf but was undetectable in the deepest sample at 53.8–53.9 mbsf. The surface sample had a diverse community structure, including ≈ 10% fatty acids that are common in anaerobic lithotrophic bacteria. Whereas bacteria were concentrated near the seafloor, archaeal biomass was exceptionally high in subsurface samples. In a further study, Wheat et al. (2008) made borehole observations of fluid flow from South Chamorro Seamount, an active serpentinite mud volcano in the Mariana forearc (see Fig. 1.43). Analysis of sediment samples recovered by surface coring from this area was carried out to ascertain mineral composition and sediment physical properties. A majority of these samples, collected in an area where pore water upwelling speeds are ~ 0.5 cm/year, were blue muds. The flow of mud was found to support a megafaunal assemblage on the summit of the seamount. The assemblage includes mussels, gastropods, tube worms, and galatheid crabs (see Fryer and Mottl, 1997a,b). Subsurface fauna supported by this fluid include Archaea (see Mottl et al., 2003a,b) and bacteria (see Takai et al., 2005). Typically, microbial sulfate reduction in Mariana mud volcanoes is limited to the upper meter of sediment (see Mottl et al., 2003a,b; Takai et al., 2005). In addition to this near-surface population, South Chamorro Seamount has a secondary microbial population. In ODP Hole 1200E, this population is at a depth of ~ 20 m. It has been found that the shallow “primary” microbial population is distinctly different from the deeper “secondary” population. Mottl et al. (2003a,b) showed that the formation fluid that upwells in South Chamorro Seamount is reduced by Archaea via anaerobic oxidationof methane. Interestingly, Wheat et al. (2008) found that at South Chamorro Seamount, the deeper secondary microbial zone correlates with the pore water upwelling speed; faster pore water upwelling speeds are associated with a deeper secondary microbial zone. Wheat et al. (2008) reckon that the deep microbial community observed at South Chamorro Seamount is related to the local geologic setting and hydrologic flow pattern. According to their studies, serpentinite mud is slowly ascending from its depth towards the summit of South Chamorro Seamount. In some areas, pore water ascends faster than the mud, at a few centimeters to tens of centimeters per year. There appears to be a single source for the formation fluid based on systematic variations in the chemical composition of shallow pore waters and from borehole fluids that ascended from a 200-m depth in ODP Hole 1200C. Generally, an active subsurface biosphere is evident only near the seafloor. The exception is South Chamorro Seamount, which has a secondary deep biosphere comprised mainly of sulfate-reducing Archaea. This deep biosphere appears to be associated with the high permeability zone and does not occur ubiquitously throughout the seamount, as indicated by the presence of sulfate in shallow pore waters elsewhere in the seamount. Wheat et al. (2008) argue that if this biosphere were ubiquitous, then there would be no measurable dissolved sulfate in any of the pore water samples, except for samples near the seafloor where diffusive exchange with seawater sulfate occurs. This apparent hydrologic restriction for the biosphere could be related to specific chemical and thermal conditions that are appropriate for metabolism. For example, highly permeable zones in the formation may attract and concentrate ions and/or dissolved gases (eg, methane, hydrogen) required for metabolic activity. A fundamental component for metabolic activity is likely methane, which is present in pore waters with a concentration of ~ 17 mmol/kg at the depth of sulfate reduction zone in ODP Hole 1200E (see Mottl et al., 2003a,b).
  12. Dashgil mud volcano is a 2-km-wide dome located in Azerbaijan near the western coast of the Caspian Sea. The summit area of the Dashgil volcano (Fig. 20.5) presents the typical structure of a mud volcano summit caldera. It is one of the most active mud domes of the Earth. Beyond its paroxysmal activity, it also represents a good example of a mud volcano with high seep activity in the dormant period. Gas, mud, and water seepage occurs at a number of different structures. In the southwestern sector of the summit area, a north–south-oriented field of active gryphons and mud cones exist. A deep bubbling sound and a faint oil smell are recorded inside at least some of the cones. Toward the eastern edge of the caldera, two lakes of low-viscosity mud (salsas) exist. In both, gas bubbles rise from the bottom of the lakes, which reach maximum depths of about 10 m (salsa A) and 8 m (salsa B), respectively (Kopf et al., 2009). Monitoring the activity of the Dashgil mud volcano in its “dormant” phase was carried out by using a portable short-period seismometerTromino (Albarello et al., 2012). Three sessions of seismic measurements were carried out in the crater area in June 2006 and July 2007 (sites I–III in Fig. 20.5A). Each session lasted 20 min and a sampling rate of 128 Hz was adopted. The two time series I (near crater) and II (near the lake of low-viscosity mud, salsa A) appear to be quite different to visual inspection (Fig. 20.6). Ground motion amplitude at the mud cone (site I) is about one order of magnitude larger than at the site II near salsa A. This is the effect of energy bursts (see their shape in the inset A1 in Fig. 20.6) that are present in the first series and absent in the second series. The 2007 measurement session was performed near mud cones (site III, Fig. 20.5). The energy bursts were clearly observed again (see the inset C1 in Fig. 20.6) confirming the possible presence of phenomena reflecting persistent activity in the summit area of mud volcano. The shape of the energy burst signals recorded at Dashgil dormant mud volcano may be comparable with the shape of the high-amplitude, high-frequency signals recorded at the newborn Lusi mud volcano (see Fig. 20.4). At the same time, they are quite different in spectral content, having the dominant frequencies within the interval between 3 and 6.5 Hz for Dashgil volcano and within the interval between 15 and 40 Hz for Lusi volcano.
  13. In 2010, the Besmaya mud-volcano field in the Yli depression (Figure KZ 1) was investigated by a consortium of geologists from Russia, Kazakhstan, and Israel. These researchers concluded from their work that the Besmaya mud-volcano field has gryphons and salsas like the mud-volcano fields of the Kerch and Taman Peninsulas, Russia (Shnyukov et al., 2009), and Azerbaijan (Vapnik, 2012: this volume). As in Taman and Azerbaijan, mud volcanism and the scoria-like paralavas in the Yli depression are linked to hydrocarbon-gas combustion.  Mud volcanoes in the Besmaya field occur along joints and strike-slip faults in the central part of the Yli depression, at the boundary between Oligocene-Quaternary sedimentary strata in the Almatinskiy Basin in the west and Triassic-Quaternary sedimentary strata in the Panfilov Basin in the east. Combustion foci and gryphons occur within an 18-km2 area. Besmaya mud volcanoes are represented by about 60 gryphons and dried up salsa lakes that contained silt, similar to the salsas of active mud volcanoes. The gryphons are flattened conical edifices, commonly about 80 cm tall; rarely exceeding 1.5–2 m in height. They occur within silty, dried up salsas. The silty regions are much more extensive than any gryphon and can be hundreds of square meters. Barchan dunes, 2–10 m high, commonly wrap around mud-volcano calderas (Figure KZ 2).

  14. Palchygh Pilpilasi (meaning “Mud Volcano” in Azery language) Oil Field is located in the Caspian Sea east of Baku and southeast of Pirallaghi Adasi (see Figure 6-3). The main base for exploration and development is at Neft Dashlary Field, 4 km southeast. Seismic surveys conducted during 1953–1957 outlined the structure between Chalov Adasi and Neft Dashlary and discovered another anticline Palchygh Pilpilasi (Samedov et al., 1960). Later, in 1963—1965, one more uplift, named Azi Aslanov, was discovered between Chalov Adasi and Palchygh Pilpilasi structures. By 1953, commercial oil saturation was established in nine units on both flanks of the Neft Dashlary anticline. The initial flow rates were high, over 50 tpd (365 bpd). Because Palchygh Pilpilasi area lies on the northwestern extension of the Neft Dashlary Oil Field and includes the same Middle Pliocene formations, it was suggested that the same units may be productive there. During the first few years of exploration (1952–1955), the objective was to penetrate the entire Productive Series and to study its lithology, stratigraphy, structure and petroleum potential. The first well (22) was spudded on August 10, 1952, over the most elevated area of the southwestern flank. This well (TD = 1,003 m), along with platform, was destroyed by a severe storm on December 11, 1952. By 1956, eight wells were completed. The crestal Well 20 tested oil with gas from Kala Suite and 0.5 to 1 tpd (3.6 to 7.3 bpd) of heavy oil (density = 0.945 g/cm3) from Podkirmaku Suite. Commercial flows from the exploratory wells spaced over 4 km were considered as indications of the high potential of the structure. An appraisal drilling program for the Palchygh Pilpilasi area was prepared by F. I. Samedov and A. M. Polaudin and approved on June 30, 1956. The program envisioned the drilling of 20 wells with proposed depth ranging from 1,000 to 1,900 m along seven profiles extended across the strike of the structure and encompassing both of its flanks. The spacing of profiles was 800 to 1,000 m. The appraisal drilling program was supposed to take two years (including the construction of offshore platforms). Some wells were proposed to be deviated and drilled from the existing platforms or platforms under construction at that time. The drilling program for 1956 included 12,000 meters with the remainder to be drilled in 1957. To study the KaS accumulation discovered in the northwestern area of the Neft Dashlary Oil Field, the drilling of four wells was proposed. Actually, five wells were drilled in 1956, with two wells yielding commercial oil production (18 and 45 tpd or 131 and 328 bpd). Four wells out of those drilled in 1957 flowed oil (15 to 22 tpd or 109 to 160 bpd), whereas one well flowed gas from Unit KaS4. Four of these wells, along with the other two which were not completed, have been destroyed by the hurricane on November 21, 1957. The hurricane severely affected the exploration and development program: no wells were drilled in 1958, and only one, in 1959. Nevertheless, the initial drilling program with some adjustments, was completed by 1958. As a result, oil accumulations have been discovered in KaS and PK suites and substantial amount of knowledge was gained about the geology and petroleum potential of the region. The most intensive drilling was conducted in 1960–1961. During that period, 12 wells were drilled that delineated discovered oil accumulations. Five of the wells tested oil (10 to 50 tpd or 73 to 365 bpd), four were water wet, one was plugged and abandoned, and two wells remained uncompleted. No wells were drilled in 1963. One well was drilled each year in 1964 and 1965, three in 1966, two in 1967 and five in 1968. A total of 46 exploratory and appraisal wells were drilled by 1969. Thirty-five of these wells were cored. The average profile spacing was 1,000 m, whereas the well spacing was 300 m. The profile spacing corresponded to the drilling program, whereas the well spacing was smaller due to drilling of some infill wells required by the complexity of the structure and lithology.






















  1. Uncertainties in global mean temperature estimation and and implications for trend uncertainty are studied by comparing four different temperature datasets, three temperature reconstructions from the instrumental record and one set of satellite microwave radiometry. They are identified with 3-letter acronyms as HAD (Hadley Center HadCRUT4), GIS (Goddard Institute of Space Studies), BRK (Berkeley Earth Climate Research), and UAH (University of Alabama Satellite data).  The common time span 1979-2018 is used for all four data sources restricted by data availability for UAH. The temperatures are delivered as deseasonalized temperature anomalies that should have no seasonal cycle remaining in the data. The analysis is carried out for each calendar month separately. In related posts at this site it is shown that trend behavior of temperature varies significantly among the calendar months [LINK] . The uncertainties found in this analysis are compared with uncertainties in the HadCRUT4 temperature reconstructions reported by Colin Morice  (
  2. Morice, Colin P., et al. “Quantifying uncertainties in global and regional temperature change using an ensemble of observational estimates: The HadCRUT4 data set.” Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 117.D8 (2012).
  3. Figure 1 presents the four temperature series BRK, GIS, HAD, and UAH in a GIF format that cycles through the twelve calendar months. The animation appears to show differences among the four estimations of global mean temperature with some variance of these differences among the calendar months.
  4. Figure 2 is a graphical summary of the visual information in the GIF animation in Figure 1. The left panel is a graphical presentation of detrended correlations among the three global mean temperature reconstructions BRK, GIS, and HAD. The red line in left panel shows a near perfect correlation between BRK and GIS and the black and blue lines display the somewhat lower correlations of HAD against the two nearly identical datasets GIS and BRK. These correlations appear to differ among the calendar months. The right panel of Figure 2 displays a similar comparison of the three surface temperature reconstruction series (BRK GIS HAD) with the UAH satellite based microwave sounding measurements for the lower troposphere.
  5. Figure 3 and Figure 4 present the corresponding analysis of these four datasets (BRK GIS HAD UAH) for decadal trends computed as OLS linear trend values within a moving ten-year window that moves through the time series one year at a time. Figure 3 presents these trends for all four data sources graphically in a GIF animation that cycles through the calendar months and Figure 4 displays their correlations in a graphical format.
  6. Correlations among the four decadal trend series shown in Figure 3 are summarized in Figure 4. The left frame of Figure 4 presents correlations among the three surface reconstructions UAH, GIS, and BRK. The right frame shows the correlation of the three surface reconstructions with UAH satellite data.
  7. An extension of this uncertainty analysis is presented in Figure 5 and Figure 6 with the Morice uncertainties in the HadCRUT4 global mean temperature data. In 2012 the Hadley Centre completed their work on estimating the uncertainty in temperature in their reconstruction and published the results online [LINK] . The full text of Colin’s paper is available online [LINK ]. More detail on Colin Morice’s work is presented in a related post [LINK] . The Morice uncertainties are presented graphically as animation in the two brief video presentations in Figure 5. The top frame compares temperatures and the bottom frame compares their decadal trends. The data for these graphics are derived from the Morice variances in a Monte Carlo simulation that creates four different data series possible under the uncertainty described by the variance. The variance used in the Monte Carlo simulation is derived from the 95% confidence intervals reported by Colin Morice. Figure 6 is a graphical display of the correlations among the four Monte Carlo series for both temperature and decadal trends. The correlations displayed graphically in Figure 2, Figure 4, and Figure 6 are tabulated in Figure 7. The tabulation shows as follows:
  8. Figure 7 Item#1: A near perfect correlation is found between BRK and GIS in both the temperature and decadal trend time series. Item#2: The comparison of nearly identical series BRK and GIS with HAD reveals lower correlations of both BRK and GIS against HAD in both the temperature and decadal trend time series with significant seasonal differences. The correlations are low in summer and high in winter for both temperature and decadal trends. Item#3: Comparison of the three surface temperature reconstruction (BRK GUS HAD) with satellite data for lower troposphere temperature (UAH). Here the summer correlations for both temperature and decadal trends are lower than in Item#1 and Item#2 although the winter correlations are strong. Item#4: Correlations among the four different Monte Carlo simulations of HAD with the Morice uncertainties show weaker correlations than the comparison of different measurement methods.
  9. CONCLUSION: Differences among global mean temperature sources and whether surface reconstructions or satellite lower troposphere temperature measurements are within surface reconstruction uncertainty reported for the HAD by Morice. We therefore conclude that no significant difference is found among these four datasets that can be ascribed to measurement methods. An oddity of the findings of this study is the extreme correspondence between the BRK (Berkeley Earth) and GIS (Goddard Institute of Space Sciences) reconstructions.






The Reference Document (RD) for this post is from the Cicero Center for Climate Research in Norway. The chief researcher is Glen Peters who is also the author of the RD which Dr. Peters has made available online [LINK] . The IPCC Synthesis Report used as a reference is also available online [LINK] . The Millar etal 2015 paper used in this post is discussed in more detail in a related post [LINK] and Richard Millar‘s commentary on his paper’s findings is available online courtesy of Carbon Brief [LINK] .




  1. In a related post we present the case that the essence of the climate change movement is that it is a reincarnation of the 1960s movement against fossil fuels [LINK] . In that context the fear of global warming, in terms of sea level rise, extreme weather, mass extinctions, mass migrations, agricultural and economic devastation, rampant epidemics, and the collapse of civilization, serves as motivation for climate action because climate action is guaranteed to control climate change and thereby to relieve humanity of these horrific climate impacts. In other words, the goal of climate change activism is climate action.
  2. Thus, the essence of the climate change movement and the purpose of climate science is to push for climate action in the form of reducing and eventually eliminating the the use of fossil fuels as a way of reducing and eliminating the “external” and artificial carbon emissions of the industrial economy that act as a dangerous perturbation of nature’s balanced carbon cycle and climate system.
  3. In practical terms, climate action is described as reducing fossil fuel emissions to meet maximum warming targets beyond which unacceptable levels of climate impacts are expected. The maximum warming target (MWT) was set in the Paris Agreement which sets the MWT at 2C but with bureaucratic language that also refers to a target of 1.5C. In practical terms for climate science, the 1.5C target is used to formulate the needed climate action procedures.
  4. The usual procedure for a climate action plan is to compute what is known as a carbon budget. A carbon budget is the total amount of carbon that can be emitted from the present time to the target date (cumulative emissions) if the MWT is not to be exceeded. For example, suppose that the Paris Agreement MWT is 1.5C since pre-industrial times. Of that 1C has already been used up to the present and so the warming target from now to the target date is reduced to MWT=0.5C.
  5. The total amount of carbon that can be emitted in for this MWT is computed using the Transient Climate Response to Cumulative Emissions (TCRE) described in the Matthews 2009 paper included in the bibliography below.  This reference paper shows that there is a near perfect proportionality between cumulative emissions and temperature. The linear regression coefficient derived from this proportionality is the TCRE parameter which describes degrees Celsius of warming per unit of cumulative emissions. When emissions are denominated in gigatons, the TCRE is the degC of warming per gigaton of cumulative emissions. The total gigatons of emission possible within the MWT constraint is then computed using the TCRE. This amount of cumulative emissions is the carbon budget.
  6. For example, if our MWT is 0.5C and the TCRE is found to be 0.0025 degC/gigaton, the carbon budget is 0.5/0.0025 = 200 gigatons of carbon equivalent cumulative emissions. Sometimes the carbon budget is stated in carbon dioxide (molecular weight 44) instead of the carbon equivalent (molecular weight 12). In this case the equivalent carbon dioxide budget is 200*44/12 = 733 gigatons of carbon dioxide.
  7. The IPCC published such a carbon budget in 2015 for a 0.5C MWT. That IPCC carbon budget is 250 gigatons of carbon dioxide. This carbon budget is the subject of Peter Glen’s analysis for the CICERO climate research center cited above and with full text available online [LINK] . There, Professor Peters points out that at an average rate of 40 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, the 250 gigaton CO2 budget would  be gone in 250/40 = 6.25 years and that therefore the carbon budget implies an unrealistically high rate of warming of 0.5/6.25 = 0.08C/year since the current rate of warming is closer to 0.025C/year. Clearly something is not right with the IPCC carbon budget for 1.5C.
  8. At the more realistic rate of warming, the real carbon budget has to be 3.2 times larger or about 800 gigatons. And in fact that is exactly what we see in the Millar etal 2017 paper listed in the bibliography below. Glen Peters, a recognized authority on the issue of carbon budgets (alongside researchers like Joeri Rogelj cited below in the bibliography), then resolves this issue in his article cited above and in so doing presents several key issues in carbon budget mathematics that expose an underlying weakness in the science of climate science.
  9. Carbon budgets are computed with the TCRE proportionality between cumulative emissions and temperature (temperature is cumulative warming). However, it is found that the procedure leads to mysterious inconsistencies when the time span is changed or when the remaining carbon budget is to be computed. In  climate science these inconsistencies are interpreted in terms of theory and their resolution is carried out with climate models in terms of Earth System Models and non-CO2 forcings.
  10. These resolutions are by their very nature a form of circular reasoning because these variables are fine tuned until the carbon budget anomaly is resolved. However, they also yield very large uncertainties. For example, the Millar 2017 paper uses a “climate-carbon-cycle” model to find that that the carbon budget for 1.5C is 920 to 1,980 gigatons of carbon dioxide for the period 2016 to 2100. In any other science discipline an uncertainty this large would imply that “we don’t know” but the climate science conclusion is that a budget of 920 gigatons give us “a 66% likelihood of staying below the 1.5C target“.
  11. However these mysterious complexities of the carbon budget including for example the mystery of the “remaining carbon budget” [LINK] have a much simpler and more rational explanation in terms of statistics. The underlying issue is that climate science is dealing with a spurious statistic and attempting to explain the random variations of the spurious statistic in terms of the science of climate change and with the help of climate models and earth system models of increasing complexity.
  12. The essential carbon budget issue is that the proportionality between temperature and cumulative emissions is spurious and illusory and its use in carbon budget construction is not a science but an error in statistics. The statistical issues with the TCRE are explained in related posts [LINK] [LINK] . The issues that this statistics error creates in carbon budgets are discussed in these related posts [LINK] [LINK] [TCRE] .




  1. Matthews, H. Damon, et al. “The proportionality of global warming to cumulative carbon emissions.” Nature 459.7248 (2009): 829.  The global temperature response to increasing atmospheric CO2 is often quantified by metrics such as equilibrium climate sensitivity and transient climate response1. These approaches, however, do not account for carbon cycle feedbacks and therefore do not fully represent the net response of the Earth system to anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Climate–carbon modelling experiments have shown that: (1) the warming per unit CO2 emitted does not depend on the background CO2 concentration2; (2) the total allowable emissions for climate stabilization do not depend on the timing of those emissions3,4,5; and (3) the temperature response to a pulse of CO2 is approximately constant on timescales of decades to centuries3,6,7,8. Here we generalize these results and show that the carbon–climate response (CCR), defined as the ratio of temperature change to cumulative carbon emissions, is approximately independent of both the atmospheric CO2 concentration and its rate of change on these timescales. From observational constraints, we estimate CCR to be in the range 1.0–2.1 °C per trillion tonnes of carbon (Tt C) emitted (5th to 95th percentiles), consistent with twenty-first-century CCR values simulated by climate–carbon models. Uncertainty in land-use CO2 emissions and aerosol forcing, however, means that higher observationally constrained values cannot be excluded. The CCR, when evaluated from climate–carbon models under idealized conditions, represents a simple yet robust metric for comparing models, which aggregates both climate feedbacks and carbon cycle feedbacks. CCR is also likely to be a useful concept for climate change mitigation and policy; by combining the uncertainties associated with climate sensitivity, carbon sinks and climate–carbon feedbacks into a single quantity, the CCR allows CO2-induced global mean temperature change to be inferred directly from cumulative carbon emissions.
  2. Allen, Myles R., et al. “Warming caused by cumulative carbon emissions towards the trillionth tonne.” Nature 458.7242 (2009): 1163.  Global efforts to mitigate climate change are guided by projections of future temperatures1. But the eventual equilibrium global mean temperature associated with a given stabilization level of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations remains uncertain1,2,3, complicating the setting of stabilization targets to avoid potentially dangerous levels of global warming4,5,6,7,8. Similar problems apply to the carbon cycle: observations currently provide only a weak constraint on the response to future emissions9,10,11. Here we use ensemble simulations of simple climate-carbon-cycle models constrained by observations and projections from more comprehensive models to simulate the temperature response to a broad range of carbon dioxide emission pathways. We find that the peak warming caused by a given cumulative carbon dioxide emission is better constrained than the warming response to a stabilization scenario. Furthermore, the relationship between cumulative emissions and peak warming is remarkably insensitive to the emission pathway (timing of emissions or peak emission rate). Hence policy targets based on limiting cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide are likely to be more robust to scientific uncertainty than emission-rate or concentration targets. Total anthropogenic emissions of one trillion tonnes of carbon (3.67 trillion tonnes of CO2), about half of which has already been emitted since industrialization began, results in a most likely peak carbon-dioxide-induced warming of 2 °C above pre-industrial temperatures, with a 5–95% confidence interval of 1.3–3.9 °C.
  3. Mackey, Brendan, et al. “Untangling the confusion around land carbon science and climate change mitigation policy.” Nature climate change 3.6 (2013): 552.  Depletion of ecosystem carbon stocks is a significant source of atmospheric CO2 and reducing land-based emissions and maintaining land carbon stocks contributes to climate change mitigation. We summarize current understanding about human perturbation of the global carbon cycle, examine three scientific issues and consider implications for the interpretation of international climate change policy decisions, concluding that considering carbon storage on land as a means to ‘offset’ CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels (an idea with wide currency) is scientifically flawed. The capacity of terrestrial ecosystems to store carbon is finite and the current sequestration potential primarily reflects depletion due to past land use. Avoiding emissions from land carbon stocks and refilling depleted stocks reduces atmospheric CO2concentration, but the maximum amount of this reduction is equivalent to only a small fraction of potential fossil fuel emissions.
  4. Gignac, Renaud, and H. Damon Matthews. “Allocating a 2 C cumulative carbon budget to countries.” Environmental Research Letters 10.7 (2015): 075004.  Recent estimates of the global carbon budget, or allowable cumulative CO2 emissions consistent with a given level of climate warming, have the potential to inform climate mitigation policy discussions aimed at maintaining global temperatures below 2 °C. This raises difficult questions, however, about how best to share this carbon budget amongst nations in a way that both respects the need for a finite cap on total allowable emissions, and also addresses the fundamental disparities amongst nations with respect to their historical and potential future emissions. Here we show how the contraction and convergence (C&C) framework can be applied to the division of a global carbon budget among nations, in a manner that both maintains total emissions below a level consistent with 2 °C, and also adheres to the principle of attaining equal per capita CO2emissions within the coming decades. We show further that historical differences in responsibility for climate warming can be quantified via a cumulative carbon debt (or credit), which represents the amount by which a given country’s historical emissions have exceeded (or fallen short of) the emissions that would have been consistent with their share of world population over time. This carbon debt/credit calculation enhances the potential utility of C&C, therefore providing a simple method to frame national climate mitigation targets in a way that both accounts for historical responsibility, and also respects the principle of international equity in determining future emissions allowances.
  5. Rogelj, Joeri, et al. “Mitigation choices impact carbon budget size compatible with low temperature goals.” Environmental Research Letters 10.7 (2015): 075003.  Global-mean temperature increase is roughly proportional to cumulative emissions of carbon-dioxide (CO2). Limiting global warming to any level thus implies a finite CO2 budget. Due to geophysical uncertainties, the size of such budgets can only be expressed in probabilistic terms and is further influenced by non-CO2 emissions. We here explore how societal choices related to energy demand and specific mitigation options influence the size of carbon budgets for meeting a given temperature objective. We find that choices that exclude specific CO2mitigation technologies (like Carbon Capture and Storage) result in greater costs, smaller compatible CO2 budgets until 2050, but larger CO2 budgets until 2100. Vice versa, choices that lead to a larger CO2 mitigation potential result in CO2 budgets until 2100 that are smaller but can be met at lower costs. In most cases, these budget variations can be explained by the amount of non-CO2 mitigation that is carried out in conjunction with CO2, and associated global carbon prices that also drive mitigation of non-CO2 gases. Budget variations are of the order of 10% around their central value. In all cases, limiting warming to below 2 °C thus still implies that CO2 emissions need to be reduced rapidly in the coming decades.
  6. Riahi, Keywan, et al. “Locked into Copenhagen pledges—implications of short-term emission targets for the cost and feasibility of long-term climate goals.” Technological Forecasting and Social Change 90 (2015): 8-23.  This paper provides an overview of the AMPERE modeling comparison project with focus on the implications of near-term policies for the costs and attainability of long-term climate objectives. Nine modeling teams participated in the project to explore the consequences of global emissions following the proposed policy stringency of the national pledges from the Copenhagen Accord and Cancún Agreements to 2030. Specific features compared to earlier assessments are the explicit consideration of near-term 2030 emission targets as well as the systematic sensitivity analysis for the availability and potential of mitigation technologies. Our estimates show that a 2030 mitigation effort comparable to the pledges would result in a further “lock-in” of the energy system into fossil fuels and thus impede the required energy transformation to reach low greenhouse-gas stabilization levels (450 ppm CO2e). Major implications include significant increases in mitigation costs, increased risk that low stabilization targets become unattainable, and reduced chances of staying below the proposed temperature change target of 2 °C in case of overshoot. With respect to technologies, we find that following the pledge pathways to 2030 would narrow policy choices, and increases the risks that some currently optional technologies, such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) or the large-scale deployment of bioenergy, will become “a must” by 2030.
  7. Rogelj, Joeri, et al. “Differences between carbon budget estimates unravelled.” Nature Climate Change 6.3 (2016): 245.  Several methods exist to estimate the cumulative carbon emissions that would keep global warming to below a given temperature limit. Here we review estimates reported by the IPCC and the recent literature, and discuss the reasons underlying their differences. The most scientifically robust number — the carbon budget for CO2-induced warming only — is also the least relevant for real-world policy. Including all greenhouse gases and using methods based on scenarios that avoid instead of exceed a given temperature limit results in lower carbon budgets. For a >66% chance of limiting warming below the internationally agreed temperature limit of 2 °C relative to pre-industrial levels, the most appropriate carbon budget estimate is 590–1,240 GtCO2 from 2015 onwards. Variations within this range depend on the probability of staying below 2 °C and on end-of-century non-CO2 warming. Current CO2 emissions are about 40 GtCO2 yr−1, and global CO2 emissions thus have to be reduced urgently to keep within a 2 °C-compatible budget.
  8. Rogelj, Joeri, et al. “Paris Agreement climate proposals need a boost to keep warming well below 2 C.” Nature 534.7609 (2016): 631.  The Paris climate agreement aims at holding global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and to “pursue efforts” to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius. To accomplish this, countries have submitted Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) outlining their post-2020 climate action. Here we assess the effect of current INDCs on reducing aggregate greenhouse gas emissions, its implications for achieving the temperature objective of the Paris climate agreement, and potential options for overachievement. The INDCs collectively lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to where current policies stand, but still imply a median warming of 2.6–3.1 degrees Celsius by 2100. More can be achieved, because the agreement stipulates that targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions are strengthened over time, both in ambition and scope. Substantial enhancement or over-delivery on current INDCs by additional national, sub-national and non-state actions is required to maintain a reasonable chance of meeting the target of keeping warming well below 2 degrees Celsius.
  9. Anderson, Kevin, and Glen Peters. “The trouble with negative emissions.” Science 354.6309 (2016): 182-183.  In December 2015, member states of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted the Paris Agreement, which aims to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. The Paris Agreement requires that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission sources and sinks are balanced by the second half of this century. Because some nonzero sources are unavoidable, this leads to the abstract concept of “negative emissions,” the removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere through technical means. The Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) informing policy-makers assume the large-scale use of negative-emission technologies. If we rely on these and they are not deployed or are unsuccessful at removing CO2from the atmosphere at the levels assumed, society will be locked into a high-temperature pathway.
  10. Pfeiffer, Alexander, et al. “The ‘2 C capital stock’for electricity generation: Committed cumulative carbon emissions from the electricity generation sector and the transition to a green economy.” Applied Energy 179 (2016): 1395-1408.  This paper defines the ‘2°C capital stock’ as the global stock of infrastructure which, if operated to the end of its normal economic life, implies global mean temperature increases of 2°C or more (with 50% probability). Using IPCC carbon budgets and the IPCC’s AR5 scenario database, and assuming future emissions from other sectors are compatible with a 2°C pathway, we calculate that the 2°C capital stock for electricity will be reached by 2017 based on current trends. In other words, even under the very optimistic assumption that other sectors reduce emissions in line with a 2°C target, no new emitting electricity infrastructure can be built after 2017 for this target to be met, unless other electricity infrastructure is retired early or retrofitted with carbon capture technologies. Policymakers and investors should question the economics of new long-lived energy infrastructure involving positive net emissions.
  11. Peters, Glen P., et al. “Key indicators to track current progress and future ambition of the Paris Agreement.” Nature Climate Change 7.2 (2017): 118.  Current emission pledges to the Paris Agreement appear insufficient to hold the global average temperature increase to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels1. Yet, details are missing on how to track progress towards the ‘Paris goal’, inform the five-yearly ‘global stocktake’, and increase the ambition of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). We develop a nested structure of key indicators to track progress through time. Global emissions2,3 track aggregated progress1, country-level decompositions track emerging trends4,5,6 that link directly to NDCs7, and technology diffusion8,9,10 indicates future reductions. We find the recent slowdown in global emissions growth11 is due to reduced growth in coal use since 2011, primarily in China and secondarily in the United States12. The slowdown is projected to continue in 2016, with global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industry similar to the 2015 level of 36 GtCO2. Explosive and policy-driven growth in wind and solar has contributed to the global emissions slowdown, but has been less important than economic factors and energy efficiency. We show that many key indicators are currently broadly consistent with emission scenarios that keep temperatures below 2 °C, but the continued lack of large-scale carbon capture and storage13 threatens 2030 targets and the longer-term Paris ambition of net-zero emissions.
  12. Millar, Richard J., et al. “Emission budgets and pathways consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 C.” Nature Geoscience10.10 (2017): 741.  The Paris Agreement has opened debate on whether limiting warming to 1.5 °C is compatible with current emission pledges and warming of about 0.9 °C from the mid-nineteenth century to the present decade. We show that limiting cumulative post-2015 CO2 emissions to about 200 GtC would limit post-2015 warming to less than 0.6 °C in 66% of Earth system model members of the CMIP5 ensemble with no mitigation of other climate drivers. We combine a simple climate–carbon-cycle model with estimated ranges for key climate system properties from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. Assuming emissions peak and decline to below current levels by 2030, and continue thereafter on a much steeper decline, which would be historically unprecedented but consistent with a standard ambitious mitigation scenario (RCP2.6), results in a likely range of peak warming of 1.2–2.0 °C above the mid-nineteenth century. If CO2emissions are continuously adjusted over time to limit 2100 warming to 1.5 °C, with ambitious non-CO2 mitigation, net future cumulative CO2emissions are unlikely to prove less than 250 GtC and unlikely greater than 540 GtC. Hence, limiting warming to 1.5 °C is not yet a geophysical impossibility, but is likely to require delivery on strengthened pledges for 2030 followed by challengingly deep and rapid mitigation. Strengthening near-term emissions reductions would hedge against a high climate response or subsequent reduction rates proving economically, technically or politically unfeasible.






The Geology of Interglacials

The Geology of ENSO

About the Arctic

About Antarctica

Svalbard Climate Oddities

Sea Ice Anomalies in the Chukchi Sea








  1. Northeast Lua Response Cruise, May5-13,2009 [LINK]   – I had  conversations with Robert Embley, one of the scientists on this and subsequent cruises. In 2014, I became interested in underwater volcanic activity as a source of heat triggering El Ninos since it didn’t seem logical that CO2/GHGs could be triggering them. Although at the time he was unaware of heat emanating from the lower layers of the Pacific Ocean, he did give me a reference later on indicating heat in a lower layer [LINK] and enjoyed communicating with him until the government cut it off.
  2. Magma chamber grows beneath New Zealand, COSMOS Earth Sciences June 6, 2016. Ocean warming, not atmospheric temperature, may be main contributor to glacier retreat, Science/Environment, July14,2016.
  3. Three articles relating to the Earth’s magnetic field #1: Does an anomaly in the Earth’s magnetic field portend a coming pole reversal? [LINK] , #2: How Scientists Are Tracking a Dangerous Weakening of Earth’s Magnetic Field, [LINK] #3: Clay jars store clues to Earth’s magnetic field strength [LINK]
  4. Vast lake of molten carbon discovered under western US [LINK]  
  5. Two articles about the East Pacific Rise and Climate Change:  #1: [LINK]  #2: Kinematics and dynamics of the East Pacific Rise linked to a stable, deep-mantle upwelling,  Rowley et al. Sci. Adv. 2016; 2:e1601107 23 December 2016.
  6. The river of molten iron: river-discovered speeding beneath Russia and Canada [LINK]  
  7. Massive lake of molten carbon under the USA [LINK]
  8. A Lava Lamp inside the earth (a description of the mantle in plain language [LINK]
Hope you find this of some interest with respect to climate change. Marty












Climate Change and Land, an IPCC special report

  1. IPCC: Governments challenged the IPCC to take a comprehensive look at the whole land-climate system. The IPCC did this through many contributions from experts and governments worldwide. This is the first time in IPCC report history that a majority of authors – 53% – are from developing countries,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC. This report shows that better land management can contribute to tackling climate change, but is not the only solution. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors is essential if global warming is to be kept to well below 2C, if not 1.5C.  [Comment: “better land management can contribute to tackling climate change, but is not the only solution“. That “tackling climate change” is inserted in the sustainable land management context reveals that the real purpose of this document is to push the UN’s climate action program although no evidence has been submitted that such action in land management will reduce the rate of warming. Also one is left wondering what the reference is in the statement that “it is not the only solution“. If there are other solutions why are farmers being thus burdened in their sustainable land management practices. Clearly, the IPCC is not the appropriate UN agency for this job particularly since the UN has an agriculture agency called the Food and Agriculture Organization.]
  2. IPCC: In 2015, governments backed the Paris Agreement goal of strengthening the global response to climate change by holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5ºC. Biofuels & The Land Climate System: Land must remain productive to maintain food security as the population increases and the negative impacts of climate change on vegetation increase. Therefore, there are limits to the contribution of land to addressing climate change with cultivation of energy crops and afforestation. It takes time for trees and soils to store carbon effectively. Biofuel production needs to be managed to avoid risks to food security, biodiversity and land degradation. Desirable outcomes will depend on locally appropriate policies and governance systems. [Comment-1: The purpose of the document is to describe the role of land use by humans in the climate system but what is a “land climate system“. The invention and interjection of this phrase may help the UN’s bureaucratic needs but does not serve the purpose of clarity in communication. Perhaps this kind of language is used to create an air of elevated scientific reality, perhaps of some deep scientific knowledge yet unspecified, known by the IPCC, but with which the reader is not as familiar. Such bureaucratic tools have no place in clear science communication.]  [Comment-2: [“Land must remain productive to maintain food security as the population increases and the negative impacts of climate change on vegetation increase. Therefore, there are limits to the contribution of land to addressing climate change with cultivation of energy crops and afforestation“. This is a bizarre and fraudulent way for the IPCC to acknowledge its gross and destructive error in the promotion of biofuel as a way of combating climate change. The error was pointed out early on by agricultural science as well as the FAO with reference to not only the allocation of land resources (mentioned by the IPCC in this document) but also, and more importantly, the allocation of critical and scarce resources such as phosphorus fertilizer (omitted in this IPCC document). It should be noted that at that time, many researchers along with the FAO had argued that the mis-allocation of phosphorus fertilizer to climate action would adversely affect food production and food security. An even bigger issue in Southeast Asia is that the push for biodiesel production from palm oil led to a devastating destruction by fire of tens of millions of hectares of forest particularly in Indonesia. The IPCC and its minions must take full responsibility for the destructive failure of their idea, even now promoted by the IPCC, that all the world’s problems can now be framed in terms of climate change and that their resolution is somehow tied in with climate action.]  Comment-3:  [The issue of food security and land use is an agricultural issue and the UN has an agriculture agency in the form of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). That the UN and the world now depend on IPCC climate science experts for food and agriculture issues such as food security and land use, is a worrying sign of how distorted and dysfunctional the UN has become as a global body by having morphed into a one-issue creature that sees everything in terms of climate change and climate action.]
  3. IPCC: Land is a critical resource: Sustainability in agriculture is needed to tackle climate change because land plays an important role in the climate system. Agriculture, forestry and other types of land use account for 23% of human greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time natural land processes absorb carbon dioxide equivalent to almost a third of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry. Therefore, management of land resources sustainably helps to address climate change.  Comment: [Here, the IPCC having admitted that it had gone wrong when it had redefined land as a climate action device in terms of biofuel production, instead of defining land as a critical food and agriculture asset, now goes back to that same flawed position that got them into the biofuel blunder. Thus, once again, the climate priority of the UN and the IPCC redefines the role of land in terms of climate change and climate action having paid lip service to its food and agriculture function.]
  4. IPCC: Land already in use could feed the world in a changing climate and provide biomass for renewable energy, but early, far-reaching action across several areas is required. The conservation and restoration of ecosystems and biodiversity is necessary. Desertification and land degradation: When land is degraded, it becomes less productive, restricting what can be grown and reducing the soil’s ability to absorb carbon. This exacerbates climate change, while climate change in turn exacerbates land degradation in many ways. The solution is sustainable land management. The choices we make about sustainable land management can help reduce and in some cases reverse these adverse impacts. Comment: [Sustainable land management in the traditional sense (see bibliography below) has to do with maintaining its productivity over a longer life span. Here, the IPCC uses the same phrase to mean something entirely different. While appearing to present “sustainable land management as a tool to help farmers, it appears that the real purpose of this verbiage is to sell its climate agenda in terms of using land to absorb carbon. In this context it should be noted that the “human cause” argument in global warming is that in the industrial economy humans started bringing up fossil fuels from under the ground, where they had been sequestered from the carbon cycle for millions of years, and injecting that carbon into the current account of the carbon cycle. This injection of carbon is taken as an artificial and unnatural perturbation of the carbon cycle and therefore of the climate system by way of the GHG effect of atmospheric CO2. This extension of AGW theory from the impact of the “industrial economy” on climate to all human activities, even those that predate the Industrial Revolution, is arbitrary and capricious. The perturbation of the current account of the carbon cycle with “external carbon” can only be assessed in terms of non-surface carbon that is peculiar to the industrial economy][LINK] .
  5. IPCC: In a future with more intensive rainfall the risk of soil erosion on croplands increases, and sustainable land management is a way to protect communities from the detrimental impacts of this soil erosion and landslides but there are limits to the ability of sustainable land management to control soil erosion. There are land areas known to experience desertification. These lands are vulnerable to climate change extreme events including drought, heatwaves, and dust storms, with an increasing global population providing further pressure. Comment: [ So what? What on earth is the point of this item in the context of this report? Has climate science shown that global warming has caused soil erosion, landslides, or desertification? or is it some inane bureaucratic climate verbiage derived from the UN’s standard climate fear mongering database? That you need to stick things like that in a report about sustainable land management exposes your hidden agenda.]
  6. IPCC: We propose options to tackle land degradation, and prevent or adapt to further climate change. It also examines potential impacts from different levels of global warming. New knowledge shows an increase in risks from dryland water scarcity, fire damage, permafrost degradation and food system instability, even for global warming of around 1.5°C. Very high risks related to permafrost degradation and food system instability are identified at 2°C of global warming. Comment: [Sadly, this laundry list of standard and unproven climate impacts is neither new nor knowledge. In fact the invention of scary climate impacts to sell climate action propositions is standard operating procedure of the UN, the IPCC, and the whole of the climate movement that you have organized. Please see [LINK] . 
  7. IPCC: Food security: Coordinated climate action can simultaneously improve land, food security and nutrition, and help to end hunger. The report highlights that climate change is affecting all four pillars of food security: availability (yield and production), access (prices and ability to obtain food), utilization (nutrition and cooking), and stability (disruptions to availability). Food security will be increasingly affected by future climate change through yield declines especially in the tropics increased prices, reduced nutrient quality, and supply chain disruptions. Comment: [That “climate change is affecting all four pillars of food security” and that “food security will be increasingly affected by future climate change through yield declines” are utter and complete falsehoods with no evidence provided by the UN or by anyone else. That the UN is still holding that line after evidence to the contrary reveals that this document is not an information delivery vehicle but a vehicle for climate activism and fear mongering.  
  8.  IPCC: We will see different effects in different countries, but there will be more drastic impacts on low-income countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. About 1/3 of food produced is lost or wasted. Causes of food loss and waste differ substantially between developed and developing countries, as well as between regions. Reducing this loss and waste would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve food security. Comment: [Yes there is food waste in third world poor shit-hole countries and that derives mostly from not having refrigerators, potable water, and inadequate protection from insects and rodents. These things are not climate impacts. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is not a method of attaining food security. Giving these people fossil fuels, electricity, and refrigerators, and increasing their greenhouse gas emissions is the more rational response to their pitiful condition. Poverty is not an opportunity to sell climate snake oil. 
  9. IPCC: Some dietary choices require more land and water, and cause more emissions of heat-trapping gases than others. Balanced diets featuring plant-based foods, such as coarse grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, and animal-sourced food produced sustainably in low greenhouse gas emission systems, present major opportunities for adaptation to and limiting climate change. Comment: [The “human cause” argument in global warming is that in the industrial economy humans started bringing up fossil fuels from under the ground, where they had been sequestered from the carbon cycle for millions of years, and injecting that carbon into the current account of the carbon cycle. This injection of carbon is taken as an artificial and unnatural perturbation of the carbon cycle and therefore of the climate system by way of the GHG effect of atmospheric CO2. This extension of AGW theory from the impact of the “industrial economy” on climate to all human activities, even those that predate the Industrial Revolution, is arbitrary and capricious. The perturbation of the current account of the carbon cycle with “external carbon” can only be assessed in terms of non-surface carbon that is peculiar to the industrial economy][LINK]
  10. IPCC: Risk management of food systems can enhance resilience to extreme events, which has an impact on food systems. This can be the result of dietary changes or ensuring a variety of crops to prevent further land degradation and increase resilience to extreme or varying weather. Reducing inequalities, improving incomes, and ensuring equitable access to food so that regions where land cannot provide adequate food are not disadvantaged, are other ways to adapt to the negative effects of climate change. There are also methods to manage and share risks, some of which are already available, such as early warning systems. Comment: [What are these negative effects of climate change and how were they causally linked to fossil fuel emissions? That “reducing inequalities, improving incomes, and ensuring equitable access to food” are not something we do and should aspire to anyway but that are something imposed on us by climate change adaptation is ignorant and narrow minded and likely derived from and obsession with climate change.]
  11. IPCC: An overall focus on sustainability coupled with early action offers the best chances to tackle climate change. This would entail low population growth and reduced inequalities, improved nutrition and lower food waste. This could enable a more resilient food system and make more land available for bioenergy, while still protecting forests and natural ecosystems. However, without early action in these areas, more land would be required for bioenergy, leading to challenging decisions about future land-use and food security. Policies that support sustainable land management, ensure the supply of food for vulnerable populations, and keep carbon in the ground while reducing greenhouse gas emissions are important. Comment: [Here we come full circle back to biofuels. The obscene logic for sustainable land management is that (1) it will reduce net carbon emissions from soils and (2) it will increase efficiency of land use to make way once again for the biofuel push that the IPCC had once preached, then retreated, the apologized, and now is once again promoting with no mention of the phosphorous fertilizer issue. When the IPCC preaches sustainable land management it is a form of climate action that they are after, not land management and the welfare of farmers. 
  12. IPCC: Policies that are outside the land and energy domains, such as on transport and environment, can also make a critical difference to tackling climate change. Acting early is more cost-effective as it avoids losses. We are using technologies and good practices, but they need to be scaled up and used in other suitable places that they are not being used in now. More sustainable land use and reduction in over-consumption and food-waste, eliminating the clearing and burning of forests, preventing over-harvesting of fuelwood, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, thus helping to address land related climate change issues. Comment: [Now they return to to the core of the issue and that is climate action with all their apparent concerns about human welfare being derived from the need for climate action. And yet, no evidence has yet been presented by climate science that climate action will reduce the rate of warming except with things like the carbon budget that contain serious statistical flaws as described in a related post [LINK] . 




by Roger Pielke Jr published as a Twitter Thread

  1. I started studying extreme events in 1993 when I began a post-doc at NCAR on a project focused on lessons learned in Hurricane Andrew & the Midwest floods of 1993. I worked for MickeyGlantz, who was one of my most significant mentors. On March 15, 2006 I received an award from the NAS & gave a lecture to a large audience at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in DC. My work was viewed to be important, novel and, legitimate. Two months later, An Inconvenient Truth came out, focused on politicizing extreme weather in the climate debate. Extreme weather had always been part of the debate, but it was becoming more central as advocates tried to make climate more relevant to the public.

  2. That same May, 2006 I was busy organizing a major international workshop in partnership with MunichRe in Hohenkammer, Germany. We wanted to assess the science of disasters and climate change as input to the upcoming IPCC AR4 report. We wanted to assess scientific understandings on the causes of the trend shown in the data. Why were disasters getting more costly (Chart#1)?  We started by thinking that we’d produce a “consensus/dissensus” report, but wound up with 100% consensus. The workshop [LINK] involved 32 participants & we comissioned 24 background papers. We produced a summary that was published in Science [LINK] [LINK] .
  3. The three consensus statements most relevant to this talk are: [Analysis of long term records of disaster losses indicate that societal change and economic development are the principal factors responsible for the increasing losses to date] and [Because of issues related to data quality, the stochastic nature of extreme event impacts, length of time series, and various societal factors present in the disaster loss record, it is still not possible to determine the portion of the increase in damages that can be attributed to climate change due to GHG emissions]. If increasing disaster losses were the result of climate change due to GHG emissions, we could not detect that. It was not a close call, it was unanimous.
  4. So when the IPCC AR4 came out, I excitedly looked to see what role this report played in their report. I went to Section “ Summary of disasters and hazards” only to be blindsided. The report cited “one study” that was apparently at odds with what we had concluded in our assessment. How could 32 experts have all missed this “one study”? The IPCC report said, [ Summary of Disasters and Hazards: Global losses reveal rapidly rising costs due to extreme weather related events Since the 1970s. One study has found that while the dominant signal remains that of the significant increases in the values of the exposure at risk, once losses are normalized for exposure, there still remains an underlying rising trend].
  5. The IPCC AR4 included a mysterious chart [Chart#2] that relates increasing catastrophic losses to rising global temperature. It had never seen that chart before. The reference was [Muir-Wood et al 2006]. It was one of the papers we had commissioned for the Hohenkammer workshop. But I knew it did not include that mysterious graph nor any analysis of temperatures and disasters [Chart#3]. The mysterious temperature to catastrophic loss chart was mysteriously slipped into the IPCC report by one of its authors. who mis-cited it to our Hohenkammer white paper to circumvent an IPCC deadline. He had expected the chart to appear in a future publication but had to mis-cite it to meet the IPCC deadline [Chart#4].
  6. That future paper was eventually published well after the IPCC AR4 was released. The paper says [We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and normalized catastrophe losses.] That seemed like a big deal & it was. The Sunday Times did a very good news story on it [Chart#5]. I was interviewed by Christina Larson and it was this interview in which I described the IPCC AR4 irregularities, that resulted in the hit job below [Chart#6] which turned me into a climate “denier”. The Center for American Progress amplified the hit job & continued a campaign of de-legitimization of me & my work. It was relentless. In 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner Paige St. John quoted me innocuously, only to have others calling for her to be fired for doing so. She wrote: [You should come with a warning label. Quoting Roger Pielke will bring a hail storm down on your work from the Guardian, Mother Jones, and Media Matters]. 
  7. In 2012 the IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) was published. It arrived as the same conclusion as we had at Hohenkammer. Key conclusion: [Long term trends in economic disaster losses adjusted for wealth and population increases have not been attributed to climate change, but a role for climate change has not been excluded. Medium evidence. High agreement] [Chart#7].
  8. Despite the IPCC consensus aligned with and drawing upon the work of our  Hohenkammer workshop, the de-legitimization efforts intensified. In 2015 I was the subject of an Congressional “investigation” (w/ 6 other academics), accused of secretly taking Exxon money  [Chart#8]. I cannot describe how penal, professionally and personally, it is to be identified as the subject of a congressional investigation. I suppose that was the entire point. I never have taken any money from energy companies. I was cleared in the “investigation [Chart#9]. The reality is Dr. Holdren got caught out while articulating the Al Gore version of disasters & climate change and ignoring the latest IPCC version. I had testified to the IPCC version before the Senate in 2013.










  1. Smyth, A. J., and Julian Dumanski. “A framework for evaluating sustainable land management.” Canadian Journal of Soil Science 75.4 (1995): 401-406.  Concerns for the effects of global environmental change, caused primarily by the interrelated issues of environmental degradation and population growth, have prompted a consortium of international and national agencies to develop a Framework for Evaluation of Sustainable Land Management (FESLM). The FESLM, based on logical pathway analyses, provides a systematic procedure for identification and development of indicators and thresholds of sustainability. An assessment of sustainability is achieved by comparing the performance of a given land use with the objectives of the five pillars of sustainable land management: productivity, security, protection, viability and acceptability. A classification for sustainability is proposed, and plans for future development of the FESLM are described.
  2. Droogers, P., and J. Bouma. “Soil survey input in exploratory modeling of sustainable soil management practices.” Soil Science Society of America Journal 61.6 (1997): 1704-1710.  Soil survey information combined with exploratory simulation modeling was used to define indicators for sustainable land management. In one soil series in the Netherlands (the genoform), three different phenoforms were formed as a result of different management practices. Locations were identified using a soil map and interviews with farmers. Organic matter, bulk densities, and porosities were significantly different for the three phenoforms: biodynamic management (Bio), conventional management (Conv), and permanent grassland (Perm). By applying a dynamic simulation model for water movement, crop growth and N dynamics, the three phenoforms were analyzed in terms of sustainability indicators by defining four scenarios based on productivity and N leaching to the groundwater: (i) potential production, (ii) water-limited production, (iii) current management, and (iv) the environmental scenario. The latter was divided into EnvA: never exceeding the N-leaching threshold of 11.3 mg L-1; EnvB: exceedance occurring in one out of 30 yr; and EnvC: exceedance occurring in three out of 30 yr. Biodynamic management obtained the lowest yield under current management, while yields for Perm were highest. EnvA could not be reached for Perm as a result of high mineralization rates. Obtainable yields for scenarios EnvA, EnvB, and EnvC differed substantially, illustrating the importance of selecting “acceptable” risks in environmental regulation. The presented methodology demonstrates the importance of pedological input in sustainability studies.
  3. Bindraban, P. S., et al. “Land quality indicators for sustainable land management: proposed method for yield gap and soil nutrient balance.” Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment81.2 (2000): 103-112.  The required increase in agricultural production to meet future food demand will further increase pressure on land resources. Integrative indicators of the current status of the agricultural production capacity of land and their change over time are needed for promoting land management practices to maintain or improve land productivity and a sustainable use of natural resources. It is argued that such land quality indicators should be obtained with a holistic systems-oriented approach. Two land quality indicators are elaborated that deal with (1) yield gaps, i.e. the difference of actual yield and yield obtained under optimum management practices, or yields determined by the land-based natural resources, and (2) a soil nutrient balance, i.e. the rate with which soil fertility is changing. The yield gap is based on the calculation of land-based cereal productivity at three different levels in terms of potential, water limited, and nutrient limited production, considering weather, soil and crop characteristics. These modelled production levels do not incorporate socio-economic aspects, which may impede agricultural management in its effort to release stress because of inadequate soil fertility, water availability and/or occurrence of pests and diseases. Therefore, location specific actual yield levels are also considered. Besides an evaluation of the actual status of the land, it is important to consider the rate of change. The quantification of changes in soil nutrient stocks is crucial to identify problematic land use systems. The soil nutrient balance, i.e. the net difference between gross inputs and outputs of nutrients to the system, is used as measure for the changes. The indicator for the soil nutrient balance combines this rate of soil nutrient change and the soil nutrient stock. Indicators for yield gaps and soil nutrient balances are defined, procedures for their quantification are described and their general applicability is discussed.
  4. Herrick, Jeffrey E. “Soil quality: an indicator of sustainable land management?.” Applied soil ecology 15.1 (2000): 75-83.  Soil quality appears to be an ideal indicator of SLM. Soil is the foundation for nearly all land uses. Soil quality, definition: Soil Quality=capacity to sustain plant and animal productivity, maintain or enhance water and air quality, and promote plant and animal health. By reflecting the basic capacity of the soil to function, it integrates across many potential uses. Nonetheless, few land managers have adopted soil quality as an indicator of sustainable land management. There are a number of constraints to adoption. Most could be overcome through a concerted effort by the research community. Specifically, we need to address the following issues: (1) demonstrate causal relationships between soil quality and ecosystem functions, including biodiversity conservation, biomass production and conservation of soil and water resources. True calibration of soil quality requires more than merely comparing values across management systems; (2) increase the power of soil quality indicators to predict response to disturbance. Although there are many indicators that reflect the current capacity of a soil to function, there are few that can predict the capacity of the soil to continue to function under a range of disturbance regimes. Both resistance and resilience need to be considered; (3) Increase accessibility of monitoring systems to land managers. Many existing systems are too complex, too expensive, or both; (4) Integrate soil quality with other biophysical and socio-economic indicators. Effective early-warning monitoring systems will require not just the inclusion of both biophysical and socio-economic indicators, but also the development of models that incorporate feedbacks between soil quality and socio-economic conditions and trends and (5) Place soil quality in a landscape context. Most ecosystem functions depend on connections through time across different parts of the landscape. In conclusion, soil quality is a necessary but not sufficient indicator of sustainable land management. Its value will continue to increase as limitations are diminished through collaboration between scientists, land managers and policymakers.
  5. Holt-Giménez, Eric. “Measuring farmers’ agroecological resistance after Hurricane Mitch in Nicaragua: a case study in participatory, sustainable land management impact monitoring.” Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 93.1-3 (2002): 87-105.A study using a participatory research approach and simple field techniques found significant differences in agro-ecological resistance between plots on “conventional” and “sustainable” farms in Nicaragua after Hurricane Mitch. On average, agro-ecological plots on sustainable farms had more topsoil, higher field moisture, more vegetation, less erosion and lower economic losses after the hurricane than control plots on conventional farms. The differences in favor of agro-ecological plots tended to increase with increasing levels of storm intensity, increasing slope and years under agro-ecological practices, though the patterns of resistance suggested complex interactions and thresholds. For some indicators agro-ecological resistance collapsed under extreme stress. With the help of 19 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and 45 farmer–technician teams, 833 farmers measured key agroecological indicators on 880 plots paired under the same topographical conditions. These paired observations covered 181 communities of smallholders from southern to northern Nicaragua. The broad geographical coverage took into account the diversity of ecological conditions, a variety of practices common to sustainable agriculture in Nicaragua, and moderate, high and extreme levels of hurricane impact. This coverage, and the massive mobilization of farmer–technician field research teams, was made possible by the existence of the Movimiento Campesino a Campesino (MCAC) (farmer-to-farmer movement), a widespread smallholders’ network for sustainable land management. An approach for measuring agroecological resistance is introduced, and it is suggested that comparatively higher levels of agroecological resistance are an indication of lower vulnerability and higher sustainability. However, the effectiveness of practices appears to be bounded by a combination of steep slopes, maintenance and design of soil conservation structures, and extremely high storm intensity. The study concludes that the participatory research can contribute significantly to the monitoring and development of sustainable land management systems (SLM) among smallholders, and recommends a sustainable, participatory approach to agricultural reconstruction following natural disasters.
  6. Bouma, Johan. “Land quality indicators of sustainable land management across scales.” Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 88.2 (2002): 129-136.  Existing definitions of “soil quality” and “sustainable land management” are analysed to derive a procedure for defining land quality (LQ) indicators of sustainable land management. Land rather than soil qualities are considered to reflect the impact of the climate on soil behaviour. LQ is different for different types of land use and attention is arbitrarily confined here to agriculture. Simulation modelling of crop growth and solute fluxes is used to define LQ as the ratio between a conditioned crop yield and potential yield×100. The actual agro-ecological condition and its potential, both expressed by LQ for a given piece of land, is considered here as independent input into broader land-use discussions which tend to be dominated by socio-economicand political considerations. Agro-ecological considerations should not be held hostage to socio-economic and political considerations which may change in the near future while the LQ has a much more permanent character. The proposed LQ reflects yields, risks of production as simulations are made for many years, and soil and water quality associated with the production process. The latter are expressed here in an exploratory manner for seven tropical soils and in more detail for Dutch conditions in terms of the probability that groundwater is polluted with nitrates, reflecting the most dominant current LQ problem. The proposed procedure requires the selection of acceptable production and pollution risks by the user before a LQ value can be obtained. Existing definitions implicitly emphasise the field and farmlevel. However, LQ is also important at the regional and higher level which, so far, has received little attention. Then, again, an agro-ecological approach is suggested when defining the LQ as input into the planning process, emphasising not only an independent assessment of the potential for agricultural production, but also of nature conservation.
  7. Fakoya, E. O., M. U. Agbonlahor, and A. O. Dipeolu. “Attitude of women farmers towards sustainable land management practices in South-Western Nigeria.” World journal of agricultural sciences 3.4 (2007): 536-542.  The knowledge of the fungibility (replacable) and renewability potential of natural resources are critical determinants of the attitude and management conservation measures adopted to achieve a sustainable use. Women farmers have taken dominant roles in primary agricultural production in Nigeria over last two decades. The study was carried out among women farmers in Ondo State, South-West Nigeria, to investigate their knowledge and attitude towards sustainable land management practices in arable food crop production. Multistage sampling technique was adopted in selecting a total of 160 women farmers drawn from 18 extension blocks in the state. Data was collected on socio-demographic characteristics, knowledge/attitude towards land management practices and measures adopted by the women. The data was then analysed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The results revealed that the mean age of the women farmers in the state was 45.3 years, most of the farmers (about 58.77 percent) were married and that majority of the farmers presently cultivated personal land. Also, it was observed that most of the farm lands were inherited or family-owned. Mixed cropping is the most dominant cropping system and the women were mainly farmers though about 12 percent of them are also involved in off-farm processing. The correlation analysis revealed that there is a strong positive (r = 0.63; p< 0.05) correlation between the attitude score and land management practices adopted by the women farmers. The study recommends increase in awareness campaigns on land use fertility and management practices, also that women farmers, through appropriate policy of land tenure and ownership be given equal assess to land resources
  8. *Kassie, Menale, et al. “The economics of sustainable land management practices in the Ethiopian highlands.” Journal of agricultural economics 61.3 (2010): 605-627.  This article uses data from household‐ and plot‐level surveys conducted in the highlands of the Tigray and Amhara regions of Ethiopia. We examine the contribution of sustainable land management (SLM) practices to net value of agricultural production in areas with low vs. high agricultural potential. A combination of parametric and non‐parametric estimation techniques is used to check result robustness. Both techniques consistently predict that minimum tillage (MT) is superior to commercial fertilisers (CFs), as are farmers’ traditional practices (FTPs) without CFs, in enhancing crop productivity in the low agricultural potential areas. In the high agricultural potential areas, in contrast, use of CFs is superior to both MT and FTPs without CFs. The results are found to be insensitive to hidden bias. Our findings imply a need for careful agro‐ecological targeting when developing, promoting and scaling up SLM practices.













Future cumulative budgets from January 2015 for percentiles
of the distribution of RCP8.5 (LEFT) AND RCP2.6 (RIGHT)



Emission budgets and pathways consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 °C
Richard J. Millar, Jan S. Fuglestvedt, Pierre Friedlingstein, Joeri Rogelj, Michael J. Grubb, H. Damon Matthews, Ragnhild B. Skeie, Piers M. Forster, David J. Frame & Myles R. Allen
Nature Geoscience volume 10, pages 741–747 (2017)  LINK TO FULL TEXT PDF:  2017CARBON-BUDGET-PAPER-PDF 




The Paris Agreement has opened debate on whether limiting warming to 1.5 °C is compatible with current emission pledges and warming of about 0.9 °C from the mid-nineteenth century to the present decade. We show that limiting cumulative post-2015 CO2 emissions to about 200 GtC would limit post-2015 warming to less than 0.6 °C in 66% of Earth system model members of the CMIP5 ensemble with no mitigation of other climate drivers. We combine a simple climate–carbon-cycle model with estimated ranges for key climate system properties from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. Assuming emissions peak and decline to below current levels by 2030, and continue thereafter on a much steeper decline, which would be historically unprecedented but consistent with a standard ambitious mitigation scenario (RCP2.6), results in a likely range of peak warming of 1.2–2.0 °C above the mid-nineteenth century. If CO2 emissions are continuously adjusted over time to limit 2100 warming to 1.5 °C, with ambitious non-CO2 mitigation, net future cumulative CO2 emissions are unlikely to prove less than 250 GtC and unlikely greater than 540 GtC. Hence, limiting warming to 1.5 °C is not yet a geophysical impossibility, but is likely to require delivery on strengthened pledges for 2030 followed by challengingly deep and rapid mitigation. Strengthening near-term emissions reductions would hedge against a high climate response or subsequent reduction rates proving economically, technically or politically unfeasible.
















  1. Figure 5 is a split-half reliability test of the near perfect proportionality between surface temperature and cumulative emissions from which the TCRE and the carbon budget are derived. In this context, it is best to understand surface temperature as cumulative warming. Therefore the correlations we see in these charts are correlations between cumulative values – cumulative warming as a function of cumulative emissions.
  2. Three different datasets of mean global temperatures are used – two temperature reconstructions (HADCRUT & BERKELEY) and the RCP8.5 business as usual projection of CMIP5 forcings. The full span is restricted to 156 years as 1861-2016 constrained by the the RCP8.5 series. The split halves are therefore 78 years. What we see in Figure 5 is that both the correlation and the regression coefficient (TCRE) between cumulative warming and cumulative emissions show large differences among full span, first half, and second half values not only for the temperature reconstructions but also for the theoretical projections from climate models in the RCP8.5 values. We conclude from the analysis in Figure 5 that the TCRE is an unreliable statistic because it fails the spit half test and is therefore likely to be spurious and illusory. A further conclusion is that since these differences are also seen in the theoretical RCP series, the problem with the TCRE proportionality is likely to be a structural issue and not unique to these data.
  3. The structural nature of the spuriousness of correlations between cumulative values of time series data is examined in Figure 6 and Figure 7 by studying the behavior of random numbers. It is noted that emissions data are always positive and the temperature data in a period of warming has a bias for positive differences from one year to the next and that therefore there is some bias for the sum of temperature changes from year to year to be positive. These sums for the three data sets used, RCP8.5, HadCRU, and Berkeley are 14.6, 14.5, and 18.6 respectively. The random numbers used in Figure 6 and Figure 7 are therefore studied with positive random values for emissions against random temperature values with and without a bias for positive changes.
  4. In the analysis of random numbers, Figure 6 shows the behavior of the data when no bias exists in year to year changes in temperature but with emissions restricted to positive numbers. The two GIF images display an animation of the data under this condition. The first video displays the randomness of the relationship between the simulated positive annual emissions and simulated annual warming data without a sign constraint. No relationship is evident in the video. The second video shows the relationship between the cumulative  values of the data presented in the first video. Although some random spurious correlations are seen both positive and negative, on the whole we see no evidence of a proportionality between cumulative warming and cumulative emissions.
  5. The corresponding videos with a positive bias in temperature changes appear in Figure 7. Here, though no relationship is seen in the source data, a strong proportionality is found in the cumulative values of random numbers, just as climate science had found in the actual data for emissions and temperature. It is on this basis that we propose that the TCRE proportionality in climate science (Matthews 2009) is indistinguishable from the same proportionality in random numbers. The data presented in the GIF animations of Figure 6 and Figure 7 are summarized in Figure 8. These charts make it clear that the strong proportionality between cumulative emissions and cumulative warming found by climate science is illusory and not real because it is a creation of the bias for positive temperature changes that can be recreated in random numbers. Therefore, though carbon budgets may be constructed on the basis of the Matthews 2009 proportionality, no conclusions can be drawn from such budgets because the correlation is spurious and illusory and has no interpretation in the real world.
  6. It is shown in a related post [LINK]  that in statistical procedures that use source data repeatedly, a loss in effective sample size (EFFN) is incurred due to multiplicity in the use of the data and that this loss in EFFN translates into a loss in degrees of freedom. An extreme case of such multiplicity in the use of source data is the construction of a time series of the cumulative values of another time series. It is shown in an online paper that the in all such cases the effective sample size of cumulative  values is EFFN=2 and that therefore the degrees of freedom is DF=0. It should also be noted that the time series of cumulative values has no time scale since the there is no moving window of fixed size that moves through the time series but the size of the window changes from TS=1 to TS=N-1. Thus the time series of the cumulative values of another time series contains neither degrees of freedom nor time scale.
  7. We conclude from the analysis presented above, that the TCRE is a spurious and illusory statistic that has no interpretation and that therefore, carbon budgets constructed from he TCRE are mathematical illusions. The Millar 2017 paper cited above shows that despite its statistical flaws, climate science makes use of the TCRE in its construction of carbon budgets. The authors write “the relationship between CO2-induced future warming compatible with cumulative emissions is broadly consistent with that expected from the IPCC-AR5 likely range of TCRE”. In a related post [LINK] , it is shown that the complexity of the Remaining Carbon Budget issue in climate science derives from the statistical flaw of the TCRE described in this work,
  8. CONCLUSION: The near perfect proportionality between cumulative warming and cumulative emissions described by Matthews and others in 2009  [LINK] is a creation of the transformation to cumulative values. That proportionality is also found in the cumulative values of random numbers. This correlation derives from a sign pattern wherein emissions are always positive, and in a time of global warming, changes in temperature have a positive bias. It is shown here that under the same conditions the same correlation is found in random numbers. Therefore although strong correlation and regression coefficients can be computed from the time series of cumulative values, these statistics have no interpretation because they are illusory. The presentation of climate action mathematics by climate science in the form of carbon budgets derived from the TCRE has no interpretation in the real world because the TCRE is a creation of a spurious correlation. The instability and unreliability of the TCRE demonstrated in this work, has been noted in climate science research [LINK][LINK], and in other posts on this site [LINK] . This work provides further evidence of instability along with a statistical basis for  instability in the TCRE.


















  1. The theory of AGW climate change since pre-industrial times; and the need for climate action against this trend (AGW-CC-CA) is based on a causation sequence as follows. First fossil fuel emissions of the industrial economy causes the atmospheric CO2 concentration to rise. Second the higher CO2 concentration of the atmosphere increases its GHG effect and causes warming. Third the warming is dangerous and possibly catastrophic in terms of sea level rise, extreme weather, mass extinctions, and effects on agriculture and health. Fourth the undesirable and dangerous changes being caused by AGW climate change can and must be attenuated by taking climate action in the form of a synchronized global emission reduction program. Climate action will work because emission reduction will reduce the rate of rise in atmospheric CO2 and at zero emissions, the rise will cease. Following that atmospheric CO2 can be reduced with carbon dioxide removal and sequestration technologies being developed [LINK] .
  2. Fossil fuel emissions and atmospheric composition Part-1: The AGW-CC-CA causation sequence begins with the assumption that the observed changes in atmospheric concentration since pre-industrial times are explained exclusively in terms of fossil fuel emissions. Two arguments are presented by climate as proof of this relationship. The first argument is the flow account of the carbon cycle with and without fossil fuel emissions. The flow accounting presented shows that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is explained in terms of fossil fuel emissions. There are two problems with the methodology in this argument. First, nature’s carbon cycle flows are not directly measurable but are results of gross estimations with large uncertainties. To balance this flow account, uncertainties are ignored and the much larger natural flows of the carbon cycle are inferred with the implicit assumption that the increase in atmospheric CO2 derives from fossil fuel emissions. The flow accounting thus achieved of course shows that changes in atmospheric CO2 are driven by fossil fuel emissions. However, when uncertainties in natural flows are taken into account, it is shown that fossil fuel emissions cannot even be detected in the context of these uncertainties. The relevant analysis is presented in the post Carbon Cycle Measurement Problems Solved with Circular Reasoning 
  3. Fossil fuel emissions and atmospheric composition Part-2: Yet another proof of the causal relationship between fossil fuel emissions and rising atmospheric CO2 concentration is the observation that atmospheric CO2 is rising during a time of continued fossil fuel emissions since the Industrial Revolution first noted in the Callendar 1938 paper and subsequently repeated in AGW studies that followed. And in fact, if we look at the correlation between the time series of source data we find a strong and apparently statistically significant positive correlation between rising atmospheric CO2 concentration and fossil fuel emissions. However, it is well known that correlations between the source data of time series often derive from shared trends and not necessarily from responsiveness of one to changes in the other at a finite time scale at which this causation should occur. This property of time series data has been extensively documented by Tyler Vigen [LINK] . To separate responsiveness at the time scale of interest from the spurious effect of shared trends it is necessary to remove the trends from the data in what is called detrended correlation analysis as explained by Alex Tolley in this lecture [LINK] .
  4. When this procedure is used, the correlation in the source time series vanishes and no detrended correlation is found at scales from 1 to 5 years. This result supports and strengthens the conclusion drawn in the carbon flow accounting analysis with the common conclusion that no evidence is found in the observational data that atmospheric CO2 concentration is responsive to fossil fuel emissions in a measurable way. Details of this work is presented in a related post on this site [LINK] . It is noted in that post the analysis presented by climate science contains circular reasoning because it is carried out strictly in the context of assumed causes and in the absence of natural flows particularly the known large geological flows of carbon from plate tectonics and volcanism both above ground and in the ocean floor particularly so in the East Pacific Rise and in the Pacific Ring of Fire, a region of intense geological activity.
  5. The 14C Dilution Argument: A further argument presented by climate science to support the attribution of the observed rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration to fossil fuel emissions is that of Carbon-14 dilution by fossil fuel emissions. Carbon-14 (14C) forms naturally in the atmosphere by the action of cosmic rays on nitrogen but it is radioactive and so, once formed, 14C decays exponentially with a half-life of about 5,700 years. Radioactive decay is balanced by new cosmogenic synthesis and at equilibrium roughly one part per trillion of atmospheric carbon dioxide is made with radiocarbon. All carbon life-forms contain the prevailing equilibrium ratio of atmospheric 14C as long as they are alive and their bodily carbon is being replenished. When they die, however, the radiocarbon fraction in their body begins an exponential decay.
  6. The relevance of these relationships in climate science derives from the idea that fossil fuels are dead remains of living things that has been dead for millions of years and that therefore all their 14C has decayed leaving them 14C-free. It is thus postulated that the release of fossil fuel emissions into the atmosphere reduces the radiocarbon portion of atmospheric carbon dioxide and that therefore the degree of such radiocarbon dilution serves as a measure of the contribution of fossil fuel emissions to the observed increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.
  7. The primary evidence for such dilution is the Stuiver and Quay paper (SQ) based on tree ring analysis of Douglas Firs in the Pacific Northwest of the USA that grew during the period 1815 to 1975. Their data show a steady 14C ratio from 1820 to 1900 with perhaps a gradual decline of about 5% and then a steep decline of about 20% from 1900 to 1950. These data are generally accepted as empirical evidence that the observed increase in atmospheric CO2 since pre-industrial times is derived from fossil fuel emissions because of the dilution of atmospheric 14C with pure 12C carbon of fossil fuels.
  8. However the attribution of these changes to fossil fuels contains a fatal flaw. During the period of the SQ study, 1900-1950, total fossil fuel emissions were 50 gigatons of carbon equivalent or 180 gigatons of carbon dioxide. These flows could not have caused a 14C dilution of more than 8%. The dilution of 20% reported by SQ is therefore not evidence of the effect of fossil fuel emissions. It should be mentioned in this context that geological carbon emissions are also pure 12C free of 14C carbon isotopes. If anything, the SQ data point to the more plausible geological flow explanation of changes to atmospheric composition. The Stuiver and Quay post on this site may be found here [LINK] .
  9. Climate Action and the Carbon Budget. The essence of climate change activism is climate action, stated as reductions in fossil fuel emissions needed to limit AGW warming to an upper limit considered safe. The unspoken principle is reduction in the use of fossil fuels with eventual elimination of fossil fuels altogether from the global energy infrastructure but stated in terms of emissions. In that sense AGW theory and its claimed calamitous impacts serve as the rationale for the energy infrastructure changes sought.
  10. AGW theory holds that warming occurs in a two-step process without a well defined time scale. First, emissions cause atmospheric CO2 to rise and second the higher atmospheric CO2 level increases surface temperature so that relative to the lower CO2 concentration prior to the increase, a warming trend is created such that emissions cause warming. This relationship can be used in climate models to create pathways for different emission reduction plans and these pathways can then be used to design an emission reduction plan for a target rate of warming. The target rate is usually stated as the total amount of warming since pre-industrial times by the target date as for example 1.5C of warming since pre-industrial times by the year 2100. The sum of all the emissions that can be made from the present to the target date to stay within the warming limit is called the carbon budget. The carbon budget has thus become the focal point of climate action design and evaluation.
  11. However because of inconvenient non-linearity and large uncertainties in climate model pathways, carbon budget mathematics are instead based on the TCRE (Transient Climate Response to Emissions) described in a related post [LINK] . The TCRE arises from the near perfect proportionality between cumulative warming and cumulative emissions first noticed by climate scientists in 2009. The corresponding regression coefficient in units of degC of cumulative warming per trillion tons of cumulative emissions is the TCRE. This relationship is supported byn a linear relationship with correlation > 90%.  The TCRE is simpler to compute and appears to be mathematically more precise and robust than emission pathway computations of climate models.
  12. The important contribution of the TCRE in climate science has been in the area of climate action. In its AGW theory, climate science forecasts what it thinks are the undesirable effects of AGW such as sea level rise and extreme weather, attributed to fossil fuel emissions of the industrial economy. In its climate action plan, climate science shows humanity the path to avoid these undesirable impacts of climate. Climate action refers to a globally coordinated effort to reduce fossil fuel emissions as a way of attenuating the rate of AGW and thus moderating its undesirable impacts.
  13. Globally coordinated climate action plans such as the Paris Agreement are designed according to a carbon budget. The carbon budget refers to the total amount of cumulative emissions that can be made to stay at or below a given target temperature. The carbon budget is derived from the TCRE. For example, after 1C of warming from pre-industrial times, the carbon budget for a target of 1.5C would be the cumulative emissions that correspond to cumulative warming of 0.5C. Thus cumulative emissions from now to the 1.5C target would be the 0.5C/TCRE where TCRE is denominated in degC/trillion tons of cumulative emissions. A typical v alue of the TCRE coefficient is TCRE=2 degC/trillion tons. Thus in this case, the carbon budget would be 0.5/2 or 2.5 trillion tons of cumulative emissions allowable to stay at or below 1.5C warming since pre-industrial.
  14. THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF A CARBON BUDGET: The carbon budget can be computed as shown in the previous two paragraphs, but in light of the absence of attribution of changes atmospheric CO2 concentration to fossil fuel emissions, the carbon budget is an anomaly. Although a carbon budget can be computed, and well developed procedures exist for its computation, the budget thus computed may not have a real interpretation. This intuition becomes evident when we examine the remaining carbon budget problem in the next section of this presentation.
  15. THE REMAINING CARBON BUDGET PROBLEM: The convenience in constructing carbon budgets offered by the TCRE comes with an apparently mysterious inconvenience discovered by climate scientists and described in a related post [LINK] . It turns out that partway into a carbon budgeted time span, the remaining budget cannot be estimated by subtraction. Instead the TCRE carbon budget computation must be done anew for the remaining portion of the time span. The reason for this, described in the same document linked above, is that the TCRE proportionality, though showing a strong near perfect correlation, does not survive the so called “split-half test” in which the time span of a time series is split into two halves and the correlation is tested in both halves. In the case of the TCRE proportionality, the value of the regression coefficient fails the split half test [LINK] in the sense that its value can change significantly when its time span is changed. The split-half instability implies that the remaining carbon budget must be computed according to the different regression coefficient in the remaining time span.
  16. FAILURE OF THE TCRE: Although the RCB computations can be carried out and the remaining carbon budget can be computed, the underlying weakness of the TCRE implied by this anomaly cannot be ignored. As shown in the TCRE post [LINK] , the real problem with the TCRE is that time series of cumulative values have neither time scale nor degrees of freedom. The effective N (sample size) of the cumulative values of a time series is EFFN=2 and therefore the degrees of freedom is DF=2-2=0. Therefore, although a TCRE coefficient can be computed it has no interpretation in the real world because both correlation and regression coefficient are spurious and illusory.
  17. FINITE TIME SCALES: Finite time scales can be created in this kind of computation if a finite time scale is used instead of using the full span. For example in a full span of 100 years, if a moving window of 20 years is used the time scale is now 20 years and the effective degrees of freedom is approximately 100/20 or 5. If the TCRE implies a real correlation between the rate of emissions and the rate of warming, we should be able to find it at finite time scales. This test is presented in a related post [LINK] where time scales of 10 to 30 years are tried. No statistically significant correlation is found. We can therefore conclude that the high correlations seen in the cumulative value time series is illusory and is not a real property of the data. AND THAT THEREFORE CARBON BUDGETS BASED ON THE TCRE ARE ILLUSORY. They can be computed but they have no interpretation in the real world.









  1. Climate change science has proposed a change in the energy infrastructure of the world away from fossil fuels because it has identified fossil fuel emissions as a cause of global warming since the Little Ice Age [LINK to Little Ice Age Post] . The undesirability of global warming and climate change has been described in terms of its proposed impacts that include sea level rise, floods, droughts, and extreme weather. A principal feature of the extreme weather impact of climate change is described in terms of more intense and more destructive tropical cyclones as described in a related post [Climate Change and Hurricanes] . In addition to the North Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Basin where tropical cyclones are called Hurricanes, there are five other basins where they form. In the West Pacific Basin they are called Typhoons. In the other four basins (North Indian, South Indian, East Pacific, and South Pacific, they are simply called “tropical cyclones”.
  2. The link between climate change and intensification of tropical cyclones is sea surface temperature (SST). Rising global surface temperature since the LIA in the climate change era, ascribed to fossil fuel emissions, includes an upward trend in SST. In theory, the higher the surface temperature is the more energy there will be in the tropical cyclone, and therefore the greater the potential for the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of the tropical cyclone. Climate models indicate a causal link from fossil fuel emissions to sea surface temperature and thence to stronger, wetter, longer lasting, more intense, and more destructive hurricanes.
  3. EMPIRICAL WORK #1: Empirical evidence for the proposition that climate change increases the destructiveness of hurricanes is presented in a baseline paper by MIT climate scientist Kerry Emmanuel. The summary of this paper and its critical review is presented in a related post [LINK] . The critical review of the Emmanuel paper reveals serious statistical weaknesses in the methodology and analysis. These weaknesses make it impossible to accept its premise that climate change increases the destructiveness of hurricanes (or that of tropical cyclones in general).
  4. EMPIRICAL WORK #2: The proposed relationship between sea surface temperature and total energy (ACE) of tropical cyclones is tested in a related work posted on this site [LINK] . No evidence is found that the ACE of tropical cyclones is related to SST. This finding challenges a basic assumption about tropical cyclones that allows climate science theory to relate cyclone energy to global warming. The abstract of this work says: The proposed relationship between sea surface temperature (SST) and tropical cyclone activity is tested with data for global mean Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) in all six basins and global mean SST in the study period 1945-2013. Three different time scales from annual to decadal are studied. Although some strong correlations are seen in the source time series, no correlation is found in the detrended data. A test with only Northern Hemisphere tropical cyclone basins and Northern Hemisphere SST also failed to find the needed correlation. We conclude that no evidence is found in these data to relate the ACE measure of tropical cyclone activity to mean SST.
  5. EMPIRICAL WORK #3:  The climate science proposition that climate change is causing tropical cyclones to become more intense implies that along with the global warming trend we should see a corresponding trend in total global ACE of all tropical cyclones in all basins. This hypothesis is tested in a related post on this site [LINK] . No trend is found that could support a global warming to total global ACE causation. This work is a further refutation of the claimed relationship between climate change and tropical cyclones. Abstract: In this work, the ACE index is used to compare decadal mean tropical cyclone activity worldwide in all six basins among seven decades from 1945 to 2014. Some increase in tropical cyclone activity is found relative to the earliest decades. No trend is found after the decade 1965-1974. A comparison of the six cyclone basins in the study shows that the Western Pacific Basin is the most active basin and the North Indian Basin the least. These findings are best understood in terms of the known under-count bias in the data in the earliest decades; and not in terms of the theory of anthropogenic global warming and climate change.
  6. EMPIRICAL WORK#4: In this post we examine the fall back proposition by climate science that perhaps the impact of climate change is not the intensity or the frequency of tropical cyclones but their geographical distribution where we find that the hypothesis was derived from the data and then tested with the same data. The finding is therefore a creation of circular reasoning and confirmation bias. [LINK]
  7. EMPIRICAL WORK #5:  In a related work, a list of pre-industrial tropical cyclones is presented to demonstrate the existence of intense and destructive tropical cyclones that pre-date the climate change era and that might have been interpreted in terms of climate change if they had occurred in the climate change era. [LINK]


CONCLUSION: No evidence is found in observational data to support the claim by climate science that fossil fuel emissions acting through global warming and climate change have caused tropical cyclones to become more intense and therefore more destructive. A list of pre-industrial tropical cyclones does not show that tropical cyclones were less intense in an era without fossil fuel emissions. The claim by climate science that fossil fuel emissions make tropical cyclones more destructive is likely a part of the anti fossil fuel activism of climate science meant to motivate a move of the global energy infrastructure away from fossil fuels. Activism in climate science is described in a related post [LINK] .