Permafrost Melting is Growing Threat
Must say that I was not to put out by the cold, rainy June weather in the Northeast — packing up a house full of books & rushing around getting ready to move are somewhat easier under cool conditions. Rainiest June on record, around here, for sure. Which shouldn’t, however, make one forget that there is a thing called global warming actually happening — and the luke-warm Democratic posturing in Washington doesn’t address it in any meaningful way. From Reuters, here is the latest news via a recent paper in the latest issue of Global Biogeochemical Cycles. (Reuters wants $300 for blog reprint for educational purposes, unless I reprint all their ads too, which I wont do — so here are the opening paras. You can find the whole article here.)
Permafrost melting a growing climate threatTue Jun 30, 2009 5:03pm EDT
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The amount of carbon locked away in frozen soils in the far Northern Hemisphere is double previous estimates and rapid melting could accelerate global warming, a study released on Wednesday says.
Large areas of northern Russia, Canada, Nordic countries and the U.S. state of Alaska have deep layers of frozen soil near the surface called permafrost.
Global warming has already triggered rapid melting of the permafrost in some areas, releasing powerful greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane.
As the world gets warmer, more of these gases are predicted to be released and could trigger a tipping point in which huge amounts of the gases flood the atmosphere, rapidly driving up temperatures, scientists say.
“Massive amounts of carbon stored in frozen soils at high latitudes are increasingly vulnerable to exposure to the atmosphere,” said Pep Canadell, executive director of the Global Carbon Project at Australia’s state-funded Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.