Thursday, August 7, 2014

Via JMG: Climatologist: We Might Be F'd

Climatologists such as the one above are not mincing words after a huge blow-hole appeared in the Siberian tundra. The deep cavern, they believe, was caused by the venting of methane. Via Salon:
The study concerns the large deposits of methane (CH4) — a greenhouse gas over twenty times more potent than CO2 — known to be buried beneath the Arctic. Stockholm University researchers found that some of that methane is leaking, and even making it to the ocean’s surface. They called the discovery “somewhat of a surprise,” which, according to [Jason] Box, doesn’t quite communicate its importance. “The Arctic is our most immediate carbon concern,” Box said, referring also to the CH4 escaping from the melting permafrost. But the sentiment can be expanded to all of climate change: “We’re on a trajectory to an unmanageable heating scenario, and we need to get off it,” he said. “We’re fucked at a certain point, right? It just becomes unmanageable. The climate dragon is being poked, and eventually the dragon becomes pissed off enough to trash the place.”
More from an Australian news outlet:
Siberia’s Yamal region contains some of Russia’s largest gas reserves. It’s little coincidence that the first vent hole appeared about 40km from the nation’s largest gas field — Bovanenkovo. Since then another crater has been identified nearby. This one is smaller: Some 15m in diameter. Locals first found it in September last year, but it has only now come to the attention of authorities. A third — this time only 4m wide — was found several hundred kilometres away on the Taymyr Peninsula. Russian scientists examining the first blowhole found it to be 60-80m wide and some 70m deep. It runs into the permafrost of ice and mud. There is an icy lake at its bottom. Methane. It’s the lasting remains of an event which happened some 50 million years ago. An outbreak of a tiny green weed transformed the Earth from a virtually lifeless greenhouse by sucking the carbon out of the air and pumping oxygen back into it. It was a process which took millions of years to create the world as we know it. But the methane left trapped under the Arctic permafrost is a ticking time bomb — set to send the world into a mass extinction and set the climate clock back by millennia. “We have been too long on a trajectory pointed at an unmanageable climate calamity; runaway climate heating,” Dr Box writes.

Reposted from Joe Jervis

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