Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

×

Faster Global Warming From Permafrost Melt 119

Posted by Hemos
from the not-just-siberia dept.
jc42 writes, "A recent study published in Nature documents the accelerating release of methane from melting permafrost. Methane is a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide, so this may signal more rapid warming in the near future. If you don't subscribe to Nature, the Guardian has a good summary of the piece." It's not just Siberian permafrost. One of the major concerns is bogs — they account for a relatively small percent of total surface space, but have a large amount of carbon locked up. No one is sure if the greenhouse effect will cause them to lock up more, or to release more carbon.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Faster Global Warming From Permafrost Melt

Comments Filter:
  • You can bet your last dollar that, if it's happening in Siberia, then it's happening in Canada.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Walt Dismal (534799)
      I always knew blogs were full of methane. -- What? -- Oh, you said 'bogs'. Um, but it's still a lot of stinky vapor.
  • Panic!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Coming up next: american scientists denial of global warming. New device to dig head-sized hole in the ground now for sale at Wal-Mart.
  • bogs (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Monday September 11, 2006 @10:10AM (#16080623)
    One of the major concerns is bogs -- they account for a relatively small percent of total surface space, but have a large amount of carbon locked up.

    They also have a fair number of bogmen in them. Thanks to the highly acidic and low oxygen environment of bogs, the softer parts of animals (skin, hair, organs) remain intact while the bones dissolve. What you end up with is essentially a nice "sack of meat." Totally offtopic, but pretty fascinating stuff, imho.
  • I propose we figure a way to extract the methane from the athmosphere and burn it, thus creating less catastrophic gases :-)
    • I propose we figure a way to extract the methane from the athmosphere and burn it, thus creating less catastrophic gases :-)

      That's not entirely off base.

      Who woulda thunk that swamp-gas flares would actually decrease the greenhouse effect? The only thing I'd be concerned about would be whether the heat released from "wasteful" burning would outweight the greenhouse effect energy trapping.

      In addition, there have been several attempts to harness escaping methane for energy before it is dispersed into the at

    • by hey! (33014)
      I propose we figure a way to extract the methane from the athmosphere and burn it, thus creating less catastrophic gases :-)

      Seconded.

      And I propose we put Maxwell's Demon in charge of the project.
  • It's your fault (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    You know that, when the ozon is destroyed and the fish die, they will say "It was everybody's fault. We didn't do anything to stop it". They won't say it was George Bush's fault, or McDonalds fault.

    And they will be right. The only way to stop it is to slow down the circulation of money.
  • It seems that pollution is the cause. Specifically, soot lands on snow, the snow becomes less reflective than it was, absorbing more sunlight energy and melting more. This is causing major environmental damage (i.e. to glaciers throughout the world). Methane release is a consequence of this, but will now have its own consequences as well.

    The die is cast. Humans have majorly polluted the planet and the planet is fighting back, however gradually. I predict the final score will be planet 1 : humans 0.
  • by Pao|o (92817)
    Hmmmmmmmm... permafrost melt.... :P~~
  • by whoop (194)
    If permafrost melts, what ever will become of Lady Vox? Long as she doesn't hook up with Nagafen, we'll be alright...
  • The Gurdian lies (Score:1, Informative)

    by lrohrer (147725)
    The Guardian says "This means that a kilogram of methane warms the planet's atmosphere 23 times as much as the same amount of carbon dioxide."

    A gas can not warm the planet. The sun is the main heat source for the planet. We have to assume that the planet's own heat is constant. Increase the sun's output by fractions of a percentage to produce very dramatic warming on the earth. Greenhouse effect only relates to how much (or how little) the earth cools after it's been heated by the sun. Even man's exhaust f
    • by tverbeek (457094)

      A gas can not warm the planet.

      Slimy Defense Attorney: "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the prosecution has told you that my client the defendant ran over the deceased several times. But my client has knee injury and cannot run, let alone run over a person. And the deceased was covered by tire tracks, not footprints. The prosecution is obviously lying!"

      Weary District Attorney: "As the jury obviously understood, I meant that the ran over the deceased with his car."

    • by robertjw (728654)
      A gas can not warm the planet.

      Sure it can, just light a match.
      • by gx5000 (863863)
        Anybody saying that a gas (or a plethora of gasses) cannot warm the planet (or the family bathroom) has not experienced their Forty-year-old Father using the facilities in the evening. I suggest leaving the family Canary firmly in it's cage in the Kitchen. Thank you.
    • by Scrameustache (459504) * on Monday September 11, 2006 @11:48AM (#16081421) Homepage Journal
      The Guardian says "This means that a kilogram of methane warms the planet's atmosphere 23 times as much as the same amount of carbon dioxide."

      A gas can not warm the planet.


      So neither can a blanket warm you, then.
      Any other sophistries you'd like to share?
      • by ThosLives (686517)

        Actually, a blanket cannot warm you just as a gas cannot warm you.

        What both can do, incidentally, is keep you warm. A blanket just keeps your metabolic waste energy trapped close to you as warmth. Various gases just keep solar energy trapped close to the planet longer.

        • A blanket just keeps your metabolic waste energy trapped close to you as warmth.

          Thank you, Captain Obvious.

          For your next trick, please explain that water is wet. This ought to keep you missing the point for another short while.
        • "Actually, a blanket cannot warm you just as a gas cannot warm you."

          So we can all save a fortune next winter by throwing away our gas heaters and electric blankets?

          Disclaimer: The above statement is just as silly as your attempt to nit-pick.
    • by Sique (173459)
      This is not exactly true, as the ocean itself is influenced by Man. What we have here are multiple feedback loops, some are positive feedbacks, increasing the force, others are negative feedbacks, leading to a balance. One of those loops is closely connected to the sun's energy received by the earth. If the temperature of the earth is constant, it just means, that the earth itself radiates exactly as much energy as it receives from the sun (not necessarily in the same frequency range though). If the earth r
      • Not a bad summary. I am probably not telling you anything new but one of the best places on the web for in depth reporting of climate science is RealClimate [realclimate.org]. It's also and excellent source for articles that debunk common myths and assumptions. One of my favorite examples is the false (but common) assumption that economic models are more robust than climate models, leading to the politicaly inspired myth that international regulation of CO2 emmisions will "destroy the economy".

        As for TFA, methane from per
  • by phayes (202222) on Monday September 11, 2006 @10:32AM (#16080770) Homepage
    The title to the story is "Faster Global Warming from Permafrost Melt" yet TFA & even the extract say
    "No one is sure if the greenhouse effect will cause them to lock up more, or to release more carbon"...

    Sensationalist titles like this are why I still have my doubts about global warning. Every time any climate data is released, the global warning crowd comes out with another sensationalist global warning blurb.
    • by tverbeek (457094) on Monday September 11, 2006 @11:36AM (#16081335) Homepage
      Ignore the headlines. Read the articles and look at the data. Once you do, you'll start writing alarmed headlines as well.
    • by Scrameustache (459504) * on Monday September 11, 2006 @12:02PM (#16081558) Homepage Journal
      Sensationalist titles like this are why I still have my doubts about global warning.

      Ok, ignore the JOURNALIST'S READER-BAIT title, and think for a moment about the fact at hand:

      The permafrost is melting.
      The layer of soil named after the fact that it is permanently frozen is melting.

      Think about it.
    • The title deals only with permafrost, while the comment from the editor deals with bogs, something that has nothing to do with permafrost aside from being another kind of terrain common in more nordic regions. If the editor had stayed on track, there wouldn't be any confusion.

      As for the articles, the only thing remotely close to disagreement is the comment that if if it gets hot enough for all the permafrost underneath the lakes to melt then the water will be able to sink into the ground and you won't ha

    • by Pentagram (40862) on Monday September 11, 2006 @12:15PM (#16081671) Homepage
      The title to the story is "Faster Global Warming from Permafrost Melt" yet TFA & even the extract say
      "No one is sure if the greenhouse effect will cause them to lock up more, or to release more carbon"...


      Um no. First of all, you obviously haven't read TFA because it doesn't say this. It was apparently written by the /. submitter, who is in any case referring to uncertainty over bogs, not the melting permafrost.

      Sensationalist titles like this are why I still have my doubts about global warning.

      You decide whether or not to accept scientific studies based on Slashdot headlines? We're in more trouble than I thought.
    • Right, so rather than do something preventative just in case likely global warming is occurring, it's clear that we should instead WAIT AND SEE if our species dies out and mass extinctions radically alter the face of the planet. Then, and only then will we know who is right, which is what REALLY MATTERS.

      Of course, that will still leave the question of WHOSE FAULT IT IS, man or nature, so clearly since the whole thing will never prove someone right, we should simply not worry about it at all, because it's ON
      • by phayes (202222)
        Oh sure, so we humans have become the most adaptable species ever, yet we are supposedly all going to die because of a minor climate change? Much like the preachers who scream "REPENT! THE END IS NEAR! OBEY ME OR ALL IS LOST!", you lose most of your credibility when you attempt to paint everything using only two colors.

        I can remember back to the 70's when most climatologists were warning about our impending doom from an impending Ice Age! Niven & Pournelle wrote a book about it. When you see the same

  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Monday September 11, 2006 @10:43AM (#16080859) Homepage Journal
    Here we've got a positive feedback loop. The warmer it gets, the more CH4 is presumably released from permafrost.

    There are also negative feedback loops. The warmer it gets, the more water evaporates, the more clouds there are, and clouds reflect sunlight. On the other hand, clouds can also hold heat in, and water vapor is a greenhouse gas.

    If you want to make forecasts you have to put numbers on all those effects, and they have to be fairly precise numbers or you get hit by the uncertainties of (approximate large number minus other approximate large number). You've also got to account for discontinuities, things that only start happening at threshold temperatures (permafrost melting) or that stop happening after some amount of C)2 gets absorbed (oceanic absorption).

    That's where all your tax money is going. It's paying to send highly trained people to uncomfortable places to get hard facts.

    That also tells you that it's taken a huge amount of field data to get general agreement on what our CO2 output does to climate.
  • No one is sure if the greenhouse effect will cause them to lock up more, or to release more carbon.

    Oh, well, case closed then!

  • This is more like "scientific fact, long ago known, by anyone who's followed global warming", not "News". What's next, a Ric Romero story about how the oceans store tons (literally) of CO2?
  • by Kesch (943326)
    Let me get this straight. Globabl warming is caused by farts from Siberian snow?

    There's a bad Soviet Russia joke in here.
  • The weather man can not predict the weather 7 days in advance, why should I believe that weather predictions in the 10, 50, 100, or 200 years from now range are going to be right? I am sorry; I just can not swallow that one!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by soft_guy (534437)
      This isn't about predicting the weather. It is more similar to predicting that summer will be hot in Texas.
    • How much longer do we have to put up with the "weatherman" red herring. Climate is the long term statistics of weather, if you can't understand that then you are either a troll, willfully ignorant, or simply a wanker without a clue.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      yes, let your complete igorance guide you. Perhaps invisible ponies will fix everything just fine.

      Consideringe climatology is different from meterology, I would say you comparison is....crap.
      I predict that comparison will still be crap in 100 years.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Cedric Tsui (890887)
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Instrumental_Te mperature_Record.png [wikipedia.org]

      Have a look at this graph. There's a lot of noise. If you were to look at 3 years in a row, it's pretty much impossible to guess what the temperature will be in the next year. But if you look at the whole graph, then it's pretty clear that things are on the whole getting hotter. Notice especially how fast the heating trend is in the last 10 years (9 of which are the hottest years ever recorded)

      It's actually easier to predict things in th
  • I seem to remember watching a documentary on Discovery HD about how, in one of the past instances of global warming, methane was released from deep in the sea and caused a mass extinction. This news doesn't surprise me at all.
  • WOn't ANYONE think of the Children !!! ..Actually why not in this case... Doing nothing is in effect wagering our children's future.. (I can't beleive I just typed that...the new Simp season just started right ?)

You can be replaced by this computer.

Working...