Earlier in the week news poured out from the media about a commentary appearing in Nature by Gail Whiteman, Chris Hope, and Peter Wadhams, who claim that methane released by “thawing permafrost beneath the East Siberian Sea, off northern Russia, alone comes with an average global price tag of $60 trillion in the absence of mitigating action — a figure comparable to the size of the world economy in 2012.” Absurd.
Nature devolves to a science-fantasy tabloid.
In school we were taught when solving a science problem to ask yourself if the answer you got really made sense. For example: How big would John’s bucket need to be if he wanted to fill the bath tub with it in 15 minutes? If the answer you get is something 5000 cubic meters, then you can be sure the answer is wrong. If a student is unable to recognize that, then he/she needs to go back a few grades.
This appears to be the case with the “answers” Whiteman, Hope, and Wadhams came up with. Worse, the mainstream media and Nature editors could not even recognize the absurd dimensions of their claims. This is the sad state that the media and communicators of science have devolved to. The journal Nature has degenerated to a tabloid level.
The claims made by Whiteman, Hope, and Wadhams are so far out in left field that even notoriously warmist scientists such as Gavin Schmidt are embarrassed about them, and have publicly dismissed them in no uncertain terms.
The New York Times’ Andrew Revkin titled his blog commentary: “Arctic Methane Credibility Bomb“.
Judith Curry here called the claims “impossible”.
Geden reveals what this is really all about. It is not about sloppy quality control at Nature, but rather it’s about having thrown all quality standards overboard so that even highly imaginative fantasies about the future can find their way into the pages of Nature. It’s a last desperate attempt by catastrophe-obsessed ideologues to get attention for a dying narrative.
For some media, what appears in a once prestigious journal must still be good enough to pass on as news for the public without any scrutiny, just as Christoph Seidler of Spiegel demomnstrates. The flagship German news magazine gladly disseminated the outlandish apocalyptic claims as hard scientific news, even calling the result “a dizzying figure: it corresponds to the total annual world economic output.”