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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.
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Faster Global Warming From Permafrost Melt

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  • The Gurdian lies (Score:1, Informative)

    by lrohrer (147725) <lrohrer@@@lsquared...com> on Monday September 11, 2006 @10:25AM (#16080737) Homepage
    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 from all sources can not warm the first 500 feet of the ocean anywhere close to what the sun does. The oceans and its currents affect weather far more than anything man does or at present can do.

    I note that the study was purposely trying to find locations on a lake and lakes that spew larger amounts of methane. So the intent was to find more gas. The intent was to collect it better than previous studies. With out satelite confirmation over the same areas, it is a biased study.
  • by soft_guy (534437) on Monday September 11, 2006 @07:43PM (#16085557)
    This isn't about predicting the weather. It is more similar to predicting that summer will be hot in Texas.
  • by Cedric Tsui (890887) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @04:53PM (#16099155)
    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 the long term (given enough data) than it is to say, predict the weather in a week's time. Random fluctuations tend to even themselves out given enough time. That being said, the graph above isn't really enough data to show conclusively what is going to happen.

    Ced

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