Oldspeak: “ Arctic permafrost is an area of intense research focus because of its climate threat. The frozen ground holds enormous stores of methane because the ice traps methane rising from inside the Earth, as well as gas made by microbes living in the soil. Scientists worry that the warming Arctic could lead to rapidly melting permafrost, releasing all that stored methane and creating a global warming feedback loop as the methane in the atmosphere traps heat and melts even more permafrost….Researchers are trying to gauge this risk by accurately measuring stores of methane in permafrost on land and in the ocean, and predicting how fast it will thaw as the planet warms. Though methane gas quickly decays once it escapes into the atmosphere, lasting only about 10 years, it is 30 times more efficient than carbon dioxide at trapping heat (the greenhouse effect)….Shakova and colleague Igor Semiletov of the Russian Academy of Sciences first discovered methane bubbling up from the shallow seafloor a decade ago in Russia’s Laptev Sea. Methane is trapped there in ground frozen during past ice ages, when sea level was much lower.” -Becky Oskin
“When you consider that global atmospheric methane concentrations are higher than at any point in at least the last 650,ooo years and rising, you do the math. As fossil fuel use and temperatures increase, the probability of a catastrophic methane pulse increase significantly. it’s not good that scientists have no idea fast methane hydrates are melting, as the planet warms. That means 50 GiGATONS of methane gas could be released into the atmosphere at any time. The arctic methane timebomb is ticking. it cannot be stopped or mitigated or adapted to. When it goes off it will be very very very bad for life on earth. We need to start accepting this reality.” -OSJ
By Mark Karlin @ Buzzflash:
In 1965, a singer-songwriter, Barry McGuire, wrote a song called “The Eve of Destruction.” It was inspired by the decade of violent foreign wars and civil rights clashes, but applies to the current acceleration of global warming:
But you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
Don’t you understand what I’m tryin’ to say
Can’t you feel the fears I’m feelin’ today?
Some readers may find the recent BuzzFlash at Truthout commentaries on the devastating climate change that is occurring a bit gloomy and lugubrious. After all, if US residents turn on the television or listen to the radio, few news outlets are discussing the looming cataclysm. Also, like carbon monoxide, it is odorless. In the air around us, it is not visible.
More frequently, nonetheless, we are seeing reports of its volatile impact in hurricanes, droughts, deluges and the melting of glaciers and the Arctic ice, among other ominous signs of its growing destructive power.
Yet, still most people don’t believe “we are on the eve of destruction,” as fossil fuel plunderers are granted the rights – even subsidized by the US government – to continue their destruction of our ecosphere.
Climate change is not due to any single cause, although carbon dioxide is the key catalyst. However, global warming results from a chain reaction of toxic changes in the Earth’s eco-balance.
For instance, as temperatures rise, ice melts and reduces the cooling of the atmosphere, thus causing an even warmer environment. As a result, areas that are covered with permafrost melt and methane is released. With the release of methane, climate change exponentially increases.
The website TGD Daily reports:
A team of researchers lead by Florida State University have found new evidence that permafrost thawing is releasing large quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere via plants, which could accelerate warming trends.
The research is featured in the newest edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“We’ve known for a while now that permafrost is thawing,” said Suzanne Hodgkins, the lead author on the paper and a doctoral student in chemical oceanography at Florida State. “But what we’ve found is that the associated changes in plant community composition in the polar regions could lead to way more carbon being released into the atmosphere as methane.”
Permafrost is soil that is frozen year round and is typically located in polar regions. As the world has gotten slightly warmer, that permafrost is thawing and decomposing, which is producing increased amounts of methane.
Relative to carbon dioxide, methane has a disproportionately large global warming potential. Methane is 33 times more effective at warming the Earth on a mass basis and a century time scale relative to carbon dioxide.
As TGD Daily notes, “If the permafrost melts entirely, there would be five times the amount of carbon in the atmosphere than there is now, said Jeff Chanton, the John Widmer Winchester Professor of Oceanography at Florida State.”
Methane is also increasingly being released from the oceans as ice that shielded it melts, with large methane bubbles, for instance, now rising up in the Arctic Ocean (which is expected to be free of ice cover in a few years due to higher temperatures) and being released into the atmosphere.
BuzzFlash at Truthout has mentioned before that the ruling elite in industry and in governments, in general, have moved from a position of virtually ignoring global warming and its likely devastation to a position of adaptation, if that is even remotely possible, to the pending disaster.
Given that sort of betrayal on the part of the developed world’s leadership, some of us may seek to live for the day, since we believe that there is little that we can do as we pass the last hours on the eve of destruction.
This is our collective Earth, however, and those who would so greedily lead us into an apocalyptic ruin should be removed from positions of power. Attempts at halting the advancing deterioration of the planet cannot begin soon enough.