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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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  • by Silver Sloth (770927) on Monday September 11, 2006 @10:07AM (#16080602)
    You can bet your last dollar that, if it's happening in Siberia, then it's happening in Canada.
  • 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.
  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Monday September 11, 2006 @10:45AM (#16080876)
    Make energy expensive.

    http://www.whynot.net/ideas/2195 [whynot.net]

    People in hot areas will start adding insulation, whitewashing their houses, adding trees and ivy people in cold areas will start adding insulation, heat pumps etc.

     
  • 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.
  • Re:The Gurdian lies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jc42 (318812) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @08:34AM (#16087790) Homepage Journal
    Hey, fart jokes are common even among scientists when discussing atmospheric methane. It's been known for a couple decades that roughly 1/3 of the methane in our atmosphere comes from the digestive systems of ruminants (cattle, etc.), so fart jokes are inevitable. Actually, a recent report claimes that cattle produce most of their methane by belching, which sorta took a bit of the fun out of it. But cattle also fart a lot.

    OTOH, a few years ago some researchers tracked down the source of another 1/3 of the methane: termites. Most people don't suspect how incredibly many termites there are on this planet. They are all digesting plant fibers via a process similar to that of cattle (and using some of the same bacteria). This produces the image of trillions and trillions of tiny little termite farts.

    That discovery did pretty much account for most of the methane. Aside from those two major sources, there are thousands of small sources, none of them very good sources of humor.

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