Beware the Melting Permafrost

What happens if and when Siberia’s permafrost melts away? Behold the release of methane: “The Russian scientist shuffles across the frozen lake, scuffing aside ankle-deep snow until he finds a cluster of bubbles trapped under the ice,” reports Arthur Max of the Associated Press. “With a cigarette lighter in one hand and a knife in the other, he lances the ice like a blister. Methane whooshes out and bursts into a thin blue flame.” Here’s how Katey Walter Anthony, a researcher at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, puts it: “If permafrost were to thaw suddenly, in a flash, it would put a tremendous amount of carbon in the atmosphere. We would feel temperatures warming across the globe. And that would be a big deal.” [%comments]

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  1. Traciatim says:

    Why don’t we just look back in time when it was far warmer and see what happened then so that we can prepare for it? I mean argue about it? I mean fly around and do nothing but appear to do something to the public using public funds?

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  2. 76Liv says:

    About time, I’m already fed up with the winter and we’re only in November. Get that gas up in the air as fast as possible.

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  3. Robert says:

    Someone recently wrote, “Nature doesn’t do Bail-outs”.

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  4. Mark Goldes says:

    A surprising new strategy can speed supersedin?g fossil fuels..

    The new 11 year sunspot cycle has begun. NASA estimates that any one of four anticipate?d “extreme” solar storms could cause New York, Washington?, D.C., Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle and most of the Eastern U.S., as well as many other metropolit?an areas, to lose grid electricit?y, possibly for weeks.

    On-site renewable energy has become a wise insurance policy – as well as a practical way for disruptive technologi?es to start to supersede the need for imported oil!

    See: http://www.aesopi??nstitute.?o?rg for an overview – and an outline of preventati?ve actions.

    Three Coronal Mass ejections (CME) have been born so far this year. One came close to Earth. Should a strong CME strike Earth’s geomagneti?c field, NASA estimates huge areas might suffer collapse of the power grid.

    More than 500 sunspots that could produce a CME are anticipate?d in this cycle. NOAA estimates four such “extreme” events are likely during the current 11 year cycle.

    100 of those sunspots are forecast to trigger CME events categorize?d as “severe” by NOAA during the next decade.

    In the U.S., NASA estimates a strong geomagneti?c storm could cause 130 million people to suffer a long-term shortage of electricit?y. The cost is estimated to be $1-2 trillion the first year. Roughly the combined price tag, to date, of the wars in both Iraq and Afghanista?n!

    The catastroph?ic potential can generate much greater public support for green energy.

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  5. Brett says:

    Overall quality of life for the human race would likely be better if temperatures were warmer.

    Let’s just get Al Gore out there, all his hot air will melt the ice pretty quick and we can stop worrying and start enjoying the warm weather.

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  6. Joee says:

    FEED BACK LOOPING. the word that will define the next thousand years of History. We will be forever demonized in the history books and thousands of years of human history will pass before Nature is recalibrated.. forever losing the diversity of life.

    We will be the most hated generation in history for thousands of years

    Its not the end of the world, but sudden warming events will degrade bio-diversity at such a quick rate, the entire ecosystem will be effected and will re-calibrate.. Prepare for sudden plagues of insects,disease,extreme weather and extinction that will make the Black Plague look like a Christmas Party.

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  7. Eric M. Jones says:

    It takes a special sort of person to see this objectively. But they couldn’t find one, so this is my opinion:

    I will drive a green car made of aluminum foil so that a third-world family can have more children. It’s only fair.

    For those AGW people out there: Question: How much has the average sea-level risen in the last century? Answer: Somewhere between zero and 3 cm. Why so little? NOBODY KNOWS!

    I agree it is a shame that many larger creatures will go extinct, as 99.9% of species have through time. Nobody has a good idea what to do about it. Actually, nobody has any idea if it is a bad thing. California condors fed on mammoths. It’s had to see the value in preserving condors, as much as one might want to.

    What will mankind look like when the Sun goes out? Well, we were green slime five billion years ago, and we will be as different five billion years from now. An exciting future awaits.

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  8. aaron says:

    Sweet.

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