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Methane from thawing permafrost could be increasing the rate of global warming

Thawing permafrost poses even greater global warming threat than previously thought, suggests study As the world warms, methane trapped underneath the frozen tundra could be released, increasing the rate of warming in a vicious circle, The Independent,  Ian Johnston Environment Correspondent  @montaukian 19 July 17 Runaway global warming is, without a doubt, a nightmare scenario for humanity.

As the temperature rises, it has knock-on effects that drive the mercury higher still in a vicious circle that the likes of Professor Stephen Hawking have warned could turn the Earth into a planet like Venus, where it’s a balmy 250 degrees Celsius and the rain is made of sulphuric acid.

One of the most feared of these feedback loops is the vast amount of organic material currently trapped in permafrost, which would release methane and other greenhouse gases in large amounts given the right conditions.

And now a team of researchers has discovered another significant source of emissions that would result from the thawing of the tundra. For the frozen ground acts as a cap on much more ancient gas deposits, preventing them from escaping into the atmosphere.

These seeps were known about, but just how important they would be was poorly understood.

The new study, of 10,000 square kilometres of the Mackenzie Delta in Canada, found that the seeps there were responsible for 17 per cent of the total emissions from the land even though they were only found in about one per cent of the area, according to a paper in the journal Scientific Reports……..

the thawing of permafrost in places like the coastal plains of North Alaska and the major river basins of Siberia could open up new methane seeps.

By studying the Mackenzie Delta, Professor Sachs said the researchers had opened “a window into the future”.

How big an effect this new source of methane would be was “speculative”, he added, adding that further study was needed to try to work this out. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/thawing-permafrost-global-warming-climate-change-glaciers-antarctic-threat-mackenzie-delta-a7849211.html

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July 21, 2017 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change

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