"In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

Over 40% Of World’s Permafrost Is At Risk Of Thawing Even If Humans Succeed In Limiting Global Warming To 2 Degrees Celsius

In Uncategorized on April 11, 2017 at 7:26 pm
Rising Seas And Warming Temperatures Force Alaskan Coastal Community To Move Inland

Thawing permafrost has communities like Newtok, Alaska literally losing the ground under their feet. Credit: Getty Images

Oldspeak: “While the civilized world is in full SHIT FIT mode after United Air “reaccommodated” a old man, The Big Cheeto bombed a deserted airfield in Syria & his idiot stepbrother/press secretary, lodged his clubbed foot down deep in his gullet with some inane Holocaust denying, this pretty much fate sealing news was reported and largely ignored in most media. Consider this life extinguishing news in the context of the stark reality articulated so honestly & eloquently by climate scientist Jason Box about 2 years ago:

Even if a small fraction of the Arctic carbon were released to the atmosphere, we’re fucked… the methane bubbles were reaching the surface. That was something new in my survey of methane bubbles. The conventional thought is that the bubbles would be dissolved before they reached the surface and that microorganisms would consume that methane, and that’s normal, but if the plumes are making it to the surface, that’s a brand new source of heat-trapping gases that we need to worry about. The Arctic is our most immediate carbon concern.

Box said, referring also to the CH4 escaping from the melting permafrost. But the sentiment can be expanded to all of climate change:

We’re on a trajectory to an unmanageable heating scenario, and we need to get off it, We’re fucked at a certain point, right? It just becomes unmanageable. The climate dragon is being poked, and eventually the dragon becomes pissed off enough to trash the place.”

So, yeah. Now about 2 years later, we’re discovering that close to 50 FUCKING PERCENT of Arctic permafrost, at least 50 GIGATONS, laden with methane hydrates, is pretty much certain to be liberated to the atmosphere, as we have ZERO CHANCE of limiting global warming to 2C. We’ve known, since 2015 that the collective pledges of nations under the much ballyhooed Paris climate agreement fall far shy of limiting emissions to 2c. Then of course there’s the  inconvenient truth that atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are rising at rates unseen in the instrumental record.  In fact, it was recently reported that “If carbon emissions continue on their current trajectory, new findings show that by mid-century, the atmosphere could reach a state unseen in 50 million years. Back then, temperatures were up to 18°F (10°C) warmer, ice was almost nowhere to be seen and oceans were dramatically higher than they are now.”  We’re seeing unprecedented discharges of armadas of icebergs, from greenland right now. One week, there were 37. The next week, there were 481. In past similar events, massive discharges of icebergs porteneded nothing good. Carbon sinks are becoming less effective and switching to carbon sources throughout the global ecosystem.  The Arctic Ocean is literally turning into the Pacific ocean  it’s become so warm there right now. That methane hydrate is coming out RIGHT NOW, in KILOMETER DIAMETER PLUMES. The climate dragon is trashing the fucking place right now. The jig is up kids, not a matter of if, but when.” -OSJ

Written By Zahra Hirji @ Inside Climate News:

More than 40 percent of the world’s permafrost—landscape covered in frozen soil—is at risk of thawing even if the world succeeds in limiting global warming to the international goal of 2 degrees Celsius, according to a new study.

Currently, permafrost covers about nearly 5.8 million square miles, and scientists found as much as 2.5 million square miles of that could thaw—about twice the area of Alaska, California and Texas combined—in a 2 degree Celsius scenario. Thawing would be more limited if warming can be held to 1.5 degrees Celsius, but could still affect 1.8 million square miles.

The new research was published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Permafrost contains vast amounts of carbon in the form of plants that died since the last ice age and have remained frozen rather than decomposing. When permafrost thaws, this long-trapped carbon is released into the atmosphere, further propelling future warming. A 2015 study estimated that the thawing permafrost could release up to 92 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere by the century’s end.

This new study did not estimate the greenhouse gas emissions that would be released from the thawing, or how those emissions could then spur greater rates of permafrost loss in a vicious cycle.

Instead, the international team of scientists focused on how warming air temperatures would affect the extent of permafrost.

They said their calculations suggest a much more extensive loss than previously thought.

“These results alarm me because they predict even greater permafrost loss than shown in the global models for the 2°C warming target,” Kevin Schaefer, a researcher at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, wrote in an email to InsideClimate News. “Even hitting the global 2°C warming target implies major impacts to people and infrastructure in the Arctic.” Schaefer was not involved in the study.

Roughly 35 million people live in permafrost zones. Collapsing ground under roads and buildings present serious risks to those communities.

“The ability to more accurately assess permafrost loss can hopefully feed into a greater understanding of the impact of global warming and potentially inform global warming policy,” said study author Eleanor Burke in a statement. Burke is a permafrost scientist at the Met Office; she conducted this study with colleagues at the University of Exeter, University of Leeds, Stockholm University and University of Oslo.

 

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