Saturday, June 17, 2006

Earth to climate model science: don't forget the permafrost!

Take a frozen meat and vege dinner out of your freezer, leave it and in a few days it rots, releasing carbon dioxide as bacteria breaks thawing organic matter down. Now take ancient woolly mammoth bones and grasslands locked in a million-square-kilometre stretch of Siberian permafrost, raise the global average temperature by one degree celcius over 100 years and it rots, releasing carbon dioxide as bacteria breaks thawing organic matter down. This analogy is provided by University of Florida botany professor, Ted Schuur, who with colleagues published a report in yesterday's issue of Science journal. :::[SMH]

... while other global warming researchers were factoring carbon reserves in the ocean, and in current soils and vegetation on the earth into their calculations, they had overlooked vast amounts of carbon trapped in permafrost in the northern plains of Siberia and central Alaska.

If all the permafrost thawed and was released as heat-trapping carbon dioxide, it could nearly double the 730 billion tonnes of carbon now in the atmosphere, the scientists said.

Carbon stored over tens of thousands of years could bubble up from thawed soil in as little as 100 years.

Also in Science journal is a pay per view story on what I can only interpret as the extremes the US Government is prepared to go to to maintain their global warming denialism: :::[]

on 5 June, the U.S. government decided to strip several climate instruments off a suite of polar-orbiting satellites intended to provide the next generation of weather and climate-monitoring data for military, civilian, and scientific users.

Maybe there is a fair enough explanation but this does fit a pattern of previous denial. And take it to new heights.

Learn: :::[Wikipedia/Permafrost]:::[Science Magazine]

Other posts on the thawing permafrost:
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