Permafrost Melt — Panic, but not Full-Panic — Yet

August 25, 2016

SurrealPaintingGray-matter again still this near-noon Thursday on California’s north coast — the marine layer feels more-chilly, though, a quick peek of sunshine much earlier might have caused a sense of colder temperatures.
Now it’s deep in the bowels of fog-city…

Good news from a study on an eventual-horrible situation with global warming: ‘“Our research indicates that the dramatic increase in permafrost carbon emissions that is expected to imminently occur shows no sign of having commenced.”

Operative words in the above, ‘imminently occur,’ actually reveals the true sense of place. According to WunderBlog, permafrost covers 24 percent of Northern Hemisphere landmass, in which there’s a shitload of carbon, and as our planet heats this permafrost melts, releasing carbon dioxide and methane, powerful heat-trapping gases, into the air.
In turn, accelerating climate change, quickly-ushering in a catastrophic calamity.

Breathing spell — bottom line right now, however, off this new research:

The new study found the rate of old carbon released during the past 60 years to be relatively small.
Model projections conducted by other studies expect much higher carbon release rates — from 100 to 900 times greater — for its release during the upcoming 90 years.
This suggests that current rates are still well below what may lay ahead in the future of a warmer Arctic.

In a reality-check, though, UAF researcher Katey Walter Anthony explains (ScienceDaily): ‘“If you open the freezer door, you thaw permafrost soil that’s been frozen for a long time, and the organic matter in it is decomposed by microbes.”

Another piece on the study per the Toronto Star yesterday, also with caveats:

Researchers have confirmed the widespread release of ancient carbon from melting Arctic permafrost in what could be the lit fuse on a climate-change bomb.
A paper published this week in Nature Geoscience has released the first measurements of greenhouse gases from permafrost under Arctic lakes.
But while the study confirms those gases locked away in ice for thousands of years are seeping free, it concludes the amounts are not yet large.
“It’s a lit fuse, but the length of that fuse is very long,” said lead author Katey Walter Anthony of the University of Alaska.
“According to the model projections, we’re getting ready for the part where it starts to explode. But it hasn’t happened yet.”

Not to be fluffed-away — recent methane-release events on Belyy Island in Russia’s Siberia, as reported last month by DigitalJournal:

As one researcher said, according to EcoWatch, “It is evident even to amateurs that this is a very serious alarm.”
Another researcher added, “There is a serious reason to be concerned if gas bubbles appear in the permafrost zone.”
The researchers worry over the unpredictable’ consequences.

In that regard of history, and its bearing upon mankind’s biggest-predicament ever — new-more research from the deep-past and the rapid-approaching future
From yesterday’s Climate Central:

In a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, a group of researchers has knitted together such natural records — found, for example, in coral reefs, ice sheets and caves.
They used those records to trace the thread of human-driven warming back to what they say is its beginning, nearly 200 years ago, when the coal-burning that took off with the Industrial Revolution was still revving up.
Some climate scientists not involved in the research quibble with just how much of that early signal can actually be attributed to greenhouse gases.
However, there is broad agreement that the study reinforces the importance of the starting point that is used when evaluating how much the Earth has already warmed and how close we are to breaching international climate goals.
“This early warming does mean that our instrumental records (which typically only begin in the 1880s) don’t allow us to see the picture of how humans have changed the climate,” study co-author Nerilie Abram, a paleoclimatologist at Australian National University, said in an email.
“So when we are talking about targets of trying to limit climate warming to less than 1.5?C, we are actually closer to that limit than what we would calculate from instrumental records alone.”

Also more from

Lead researcher Associate Professor Nerilie Abram from The Australian National University (ANU) said the study found warming began during the early stages of the Industrial Revolution and is first detectable in the Arctic and tropical oceans around the 1830s, much earlier than scientists had expected.
“It was an extraordinary finding,” said Associate Professor Abram, from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences and ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science.
“It was one of those moments where science really surprised us. But the results were clear. The climate warming we are witnessing today started about 180 years ago.”
The new findings have important implications for assessing the extent that humans have caused the climate to move away from its pre-industrial state, and will help scientists understand the future impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the climate.
“In the tropical oceans and the Arctic in particular, 180 years of warming has already caused the average climate to emerge above the range of variability that was normal in the centuries prior to the Industrial Revolution,” Associate Professor Abram said.

History to commence…

(Illustration above found here).

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