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Earth Science

Ticking Arctic Carbon Bomb May Be Bigger Than Expected 339

sciencehabit writes "Scientists are expressing fresh concerns about the carbon locked in the Arctic's vast expanse of frozen soil. New field studies quantify the amount of soil carbon at 1.9 trillion metric tons, suggesting that previous estimates underestimated the climate risk if this carbon is liberated. Meanwhile, a new analysis of laboratory experiments that simulate carbon release by thawed soil is bolstering worries that continued carbon emissions could unleash a massive Arctic carbon wallop."
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Ticking Arctic Carbon Bomb May Be Bigger Than Expected

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  • Talking points (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 08, 2012 @02:14PM (#42226363)

    I don't see what's so bad about global warming, especially looking out my window right now and seeing snow on the roofs of the outbuildings.

    And when we have record breaking Summer temperatures that "disproves" what you say?

    Even assuming the earth is warming (and we aren't confident we know why), the earth has been through many warm spells.

    Yes. And? Were they as dramatic as they are now? And what was the result? Extinctions for one.

    Better to spend the money trying to figure out ways to live and thrive in a warmer climate.

    Yep. Fuel prices will go through the roof. Cities will flood. Crop yields will plummet, Poor people will starve - not a problem for some: they're poor for a "reason" after all and deserve it!

    The sooner we realize this, the better off we'll be.

    We already realize it but nobody is willing to do anything or they bury their heads in the sand. Nothing will be done until it's too late, I'm afraid.

    Think China and India might stop using coal? Think they'll stop building coal-fire power plants?

    Actually yes, they will. You see, the Chinese leadership made up of scientists and engineers (and I think one "lowly" economist) and they see the writing on the wall. And as it is now, they are concerned about pollution and air quality.

    We need to get real about this. NOW.

    Yes we do. Folks need to stop listening to the pundits who have no science background let alone one in climatology and who offer no counter evidence or data and only offer ad homminem attacks on the climatologists. If one has a real criticism about human caused climate change or global warming, I wish they'd offer evidence with data to counter the claims.

  • by rknop ( 240417 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @02:19PM (#42226401) Homepage

    You confuse "global warming proponents" (by which I assume you mean lobbyist and such who are trying to convince the world that global warming is real) with "climate researchers".

    The latter have reached an overwhelming consensus that anthrogenic global warming is real, and to deny that that is a "reasoned scienctific view" is right up there with denying evolution or the germ theory of disease, saying they're all just political movements.

    It is true that there are some in the political area who have cried wolf or who have oversold things. But to deny the utter and overwhelming reality of the results of vast quantities of climate scientists (including some who came in skeptical when they started, but realized that, hey, the data say what the data say) is simply wrong.

  • by A bsd fool ( 2667567 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @02:24PM (#42226443)
    I will "keep that in mind" as I point out that during the Paleogene, when the average global temperature was the same or higher as during the Cretaceous, mammals flourished and came to dominate. The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum was indeed very good for mammals. Were it not for that time period, Plesiadapis would probably not have come to be so successful, and humans today would not exist as a result.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 08, 2012 @02:26PM (#42226461)

    What the fuck do you think the methane will break down into?

  • Re:it's a media game (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 08, 2012 @02:28PM (#42226477)

    Methane has a short lifetime because it turns INTO carbon dioxide. Burning it makes that happen a lot faster.

    It's preferable to leave the methane in the clathrate or underground, but if it is coming out and you can't stop it, then it's better to oxidize it right away.

  • Re:I'm ready... (Score:4, Informative)

    by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @03:05PM (#42226745) Homepage

    The global warming discussion started a VERY long time ago. Concern over emissions and pollution have been an issue for as long as I can remember... so just over 40 years. Things could have been done... should have been done. Not much has actually been done.

    What stupid things have been done? Like "taxing" polution. Seriously. And the rate of taxation was lower than the cost of fixing the problem so guess which way business went? And what was done with the money? It went back into the "enconomy" and by that I mean the major players who are also major polluters.

    Taxing was a stupid idea. Making them ineligible for government contracts would have been the way to go.

  • by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @03:22PM (#42226883) Homepage Journal

    Those tankers contain, what, a half-dozen tons of CO2? Probably less than that; the truck can only carry a few dozen tons and the containers themselves far outweigh the mass of the CO2.

    The worldwide CO2 output is on the order of 30 BILLION tons of CO2. All the soda bottlers in the entire world don't add up to a rounding error.

    There, you have an answer. Which you could probably have figured out all by yourself, but I'm sure you enjoy the fact that anonymity means you can ask this all over in the next CO2 thread and pretending nobody ever gives you an answer.

  • Re:I'm ready... (Score:2, Informative)

    by rs79 ( 71822 ) <> on Saturday December 08, 2012 @04:01PM (#42227235) Homepage

    "Also, shifts in the weather zones is going to cause a lot of the agricultural Haves to become Have-Nots, and vice versa."

    Yes but this happens so slowly man has a chance to adapt. As in adaptation or survival of the fittest. Evolution in action: this is not a test.

    They grow almonds in England now. It's too hot and dry for grain any more.

    Keep in mind the Irish grew potatoes because the climate changed; they used to grow wheat, but it became too cold and damp to do that any more around 800 years ago.

    For those keeping track, pre-1976 British summers were cold and wet. Since then, not so much.

    I'm sure this stuff is all terribly scary if you don't read much.

  • by riverat1 ( 1048260 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @04:42PM (#42227617)

    By the definition that cryologists and climate scientists use an ice age is any period when there are significant ice sheets on the Earth. Like Antarctica and Greenland. Within the ice age there are cycles of glacials when the continental ice sheets advance and interglacials when they retreat. /pedant

    But in the popular vernacular ice age refers to a glacial cycle so it's an easy mistake to make.

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