“Arctic Methane Bomb” Shows Quality Control At Nature And Mainstream Media Is Fatally Flawed

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

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”.

German energy think-tanker and warmist Oliver Geden tweeted: “We’ll see more of these hypes until #COP21“.

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.”

 

9 responses to ““Arctic Methane Bomb” Shows Quality Control At Nature And Mainstream Media Is Fatally Flawed”

  1. Stephen Richards

    The flagship German news magazione 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.”

    Even after realising that the figure was really, really stupid they still published ? That really is a case of stupid is as stupid does.

    1. DirkH

      “Even after realising that the figure was really, really stupid they still published ? ”

      Der Spiegel has no realistic concept of economy. They are a leftist hivemind – with the exceptions of Fleischhauer and Bojanowski, who actually know something.

    2. pyeatte

      They print it because there will be some that believe it. Saul Alinsky said as long as it supports the far-left agenda tell any lie and keep repeating it – some will buy it. There are a lot of air-heads on the left out there, and will believe absolutely anything that supports their leftist views.

  2. Dwight E. Howell

    It also suggests that the people doing the publishing are just publishers with little real education which is an ouch if I ever saw one. I don’t know maybe they’re just desperate prophets of doom trying to drive sales by screaming, “We are all going to die!” even though they don’t believe a word of it.” The bottom line is they have demisihing credibilty and that was the one thing they truly had that was worth buying.

    1. DirkH

      Nature is owned by the German Holtzbrinck group, HQed in Stuttgart. Stuttgart in turn is the capital of the land of Baden-Württemberg, and in the last state elections they elected a Green prime minister ( who was, like all old greens, in the 70ies a k0mmunist ) .

      So you can expect the most heavy-handed green catastrophist bias imaginable.

  3. DirkH

    …and regarding the greenhouse potential of Methane, Bevan observed:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/07/25/gavin-on-why-the-arctic-methane-alarm-is-implausible/#comment-1371582
    Bevan says:
    July 26, 2013 at 12:17 am
    “The main absorption peak for methane is at a wavelength of about 3.3 microns”

    to which I commented:

    Very nice; that should correspond to a color temperature of about 1200 K or 900 deg C.
    ( Wien’s displacement law)
    Methane should be great in capturing and re-emitting radiative heat of furnaces then.

  4. Stephen Richards

    When I was a young scientist the only papers that counted as real scientific papers were those reviewed by the institutions. Mind you, these days they are no better than nature or ScAm.

    1. pyeatte

      There was a time that Scientific American was a great publication – that ended sometime in the 80s and I stopped subscribing after many years. Their far-left agenda became too much to bear.