"Man is not to blame": what Russian scientists learn about climate
) - Global warming is not due to people, Russian experts say. They have their own hypothesis. Independent experts point out that this concept is vulnerable to criticism. However, modern climatology is, in principle, far from perfect.
Weakness of the Anthropogenic Hypothesis
Warming, especially noticeable in the Arctic, is an indisputable fact, confirmed by thermometer readings. But it is not so easy to explain it.
The world is dominated by anthropogenic theory, pointing to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions as a result of human activities. Supported by the leading mass media, this concept has acquired the status of a political consensus. On its basis, the most important international treaties are concluded, such as the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. They are rebuilding the world economy, and the resource-producing countries, including Russia, suffer first of all.
Supporters of the anthropogenic theory are generously funded. However, not everyone in the scientific community shares their point of view.
There is an opinion that the influence of people on the climate is negligible and warming occurs for natural reasons. The earth warmed up and cooled down many times. And the eruption of even one volcano can exceed all anthropogenic emissions in decades.
Greenhouse gas emissions have indeed increased. However, this may just be a coincidence.
“The anthropogenic hypothesis does not explain why modern warming began precisely in 1979. Industrial emissions in the 20th century grew gradually. If some major event had occurred in 1978 or a few years before, like the explosion of an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, but only many times more powerful, it would be understandable. But nothing like this happened then," Leopold Lobkovsky, Russian Arctic researcher, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, tells RIA Novosti.
Together with other scientists, he identified natural factors that could trigger the global climate crisis.
Earthquake as a trigger
A group led by Lobkowski proposed a seismogenic-trigger hypothesis, an alternative to the anthropogenic one. An article about this, supported by the Russian Science Foundation, was published in the leading geological journal Geosciences.
In the area of the Aleutian Islands, stretching from Chukotka to Alaska, there is a so-called subduction zone, where thin oceanic crust goes under a thick continental one. The friction of tectonic plates causes seismic activity. In the late 1950s and the first half of the 1960s, there was a series of powerful earthquakes.
After tremors, deformation waves propagate through the lithosphere - the solid shell of the planet. Lobkowski and his colleagues calculated that such fluctuations are capable of traveling vast distances, moving at a speed of about 100 kilometers per year. Thus, approximately 20 years after the events in the Aleutian Islands, the waves should have reached the East Siberian Sea, where large-scale emissions of methane, the strongest greenhouse gas, occur.
The scientists believe that methane is found in permafrost at the bottom of the sea in the form of so-called metastable gas hydrates - gas bubbles with an ice film. Even with a small external impact, the film is destroyed, the gas enters the sea water, and then into the atmosphere.
The echo of the earthquakes of the 1950s and 60s in the area of the Aleutian arc reached the East Siberian Sea by the end of the 1970s, when the warming began.
Methane gives a much stronger greenhouse effect than CO2, but it lingers in the atmosphere for a maximum of ten years. For warming to continue, greenhouse gas concentrations must be maintained. According to Lobkovsky, this happens by itself. A massive release of methane, triggered by earthquakes, warmed the atmosphere. Melting of permafrost accelerated, which in turn led to new gas emissions. The result is a positive feedback loop.
Similarly, events developed on the other side of the Earth. In 1960, in the central part of the Chilean subduction zone, the most powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 9.5 was recorded in the history of observations. Its deformation waves reached Antarctica.
In the coming years, these processes will only intensify, since at the turn of the century there was another series of strong tremors in the region.
Scientific ethics does not allow scientists to have a public discussion in the media. In private, some experts told RIA Novosti that they doubt the ability of deformation waves to overcome such large distances and be more intense than earthquakes that constantly occur directly in the area of active gas seeps in the Laptev Sea.
In addition, in an article by geophysicists led by Vasily Bogoyavlensky, it is noted that in the north of the shallow shelf of the Laptev and East Siberian Seas, at present, there is practically no permafrost, and, consequently, gas hydrates.
The methane emission in the Laptev Sea has a different nature, not associated with earthquakes in such a remote area.
Finally, experts draw attention to the fact that the methane content in the atmosphere has been measured only since the 1980s, indicators for previous years were calculated by indirect signs, so it is not entirely correct to compare the data.
"The dissociation of methane hydrates and the processes of degassing of bottom sediments, apparently, occurred slowly (as did the degradation of permafrost rocks) and without any powerful long-term gas emissions that could have a significant impact on the global methane content in the atmosphere and climate processes occurring on Earth," — Bogoyavlensky writes with his colleagues in another recent work.
This is confirmed by the results of studies about the content of methane and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, carried out in the analysis of the Antarctic ice core from a Russian well at the Vostok station.
"The main thing is to get to the truth"
However, Lobkowski does not claim that his hypothesis is the ultimate truth.
“Of course, tectonic waves are a theory. They still need to be identified. This is a whole scientific area that requires funding. But so far, money has been allocated only for the anthropogenic hypothesis. Scientists involved in alternative research do it as a hobby,” he says.
In his opinion, global climate science needs an alternative view and appropriate programs. Now there is nothing to discuss and compare: only "the dominant point of view, which has not been proven", is presented, and yet "an absolutely huge consequence follows from it, affecting the entire world economy," Lobkovsky believes.
"The main thing is to get to the truth, to find out which factor is the main one - anthropogenic or natural," he clarifies. "And then you can already discuss adaptation or defense mechanisms."
On the other hand, Lobkovsky adds, recently the problem of decarbonization in the West has given way to other, more urgent ones - coal mines that were closed due to the green agenda have to be reopened.
A new University of Alaska report aims to help state leaders craft energy policies as the Arctic changes
The second section, on Alaska’s Arctic energy systems, discusses the way energy is used in Alaska, including potential for modernization and integration of renewables. The third section discusses the need for infrastructure that is resilient to climate change, which is happening faster in Alaska and the Arctic than in almost every other place in the world. That section mentions the disastrous impacts in Alaska last fall of Typhoon Merbok as one recent event that shows the need for climate-adapted infrastructure.