Tuesday, 8 September 2020
Sunday, 30 August 2020
New research finds - global heating is melting vast northern fields of permafrost so fast that - within decades - they'll likely stop cooling the planet as they have for millennia - and start doing just the opposite.
by Larry Powell
|Permafrost Slide at Big Fox Lake, Ontario, Canada - 2015.|
A Creative Commons photo by MIKOFOX.
For thousands of years, so-called "permafrost peatlands" in Earth's Northern Hemisphere have been cooling the global climate. They’ve done it by trapping large amounts of carbon and nitrogen which would otherwise escape into the air as harmful greenhouse gases.
More recently however, scientists have observed, they've been melting due to manmade global heating. As they melt, they're releasing large amounts of substances like methane - a potent greenhouse gas - into the air.
But, without proper maps, it's been hard for scientists to get a handle on the degree to which this might be happening - until now. New ones drawn up using thousands of field observations, show; Permafrost peatlands cover a vast area of almost four million square kilometres.
And, to quote from the study, "Under future global warming scenarios, half to nearly all of peatland permafrost could be lost this century.”
This means their age-old role, mostly as net “sinks,” keeping harmful greenhouse gases in the ground, would transform to a net source of atmospheric carbon, primarily methane.
A permafrost "slump" in Alaska. A USGS photo.
The findings were published recently in PNAS, the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (US).
But the impact of the nitrogen trapped in these fields cannot be underestimated, either. A separate study, also published in PNAS about three years ago, reveals, "Some 67 billion tons of it, accumulated thousands of years ago, could now become available for decomposition, leading to the release of nitrous oxide (N2O) to the atmosphere. N2O is a strong greenhouse gas, almost 300 times more powerful than CO2 for warming the climate. Although carbon dynamics in the Arctic are well studied, the fact that Arctic soils store enormous amounts of nitrogen has received little attention so far. We report that the Arctic may become a substantial source of N2O when the permafrost thaws, and that N2O emissions could occur from surfaces covering almost one-fourth of the entire Arctic."
Only “Heroic Efforts” Will Spare Earth’s Mighty Boreal Forest From the Worst Ravages of Climate Change - Experts.
Sunday, 9 August 2020
Global death rate from rising temperatures projected to surpass the current death rate of all infectious diseases combined
The Climate Impact Lab
|A PinP photo.|
This summer, the world is experiencing record hot temperatures: A weather station in Death Valley, California, clocked one of the hottest temperatures ever observed on Earth. Simultaneously, the coronavirus pandemic’s devastating mortality impact and economic fallout are demanding society prioritize public health like never before. Details here.
Saturday, 8 August 2020
This animation shows the sheet rapidly receding, losing almost half its mass.
The Canadian Ice Service.
The Canadian Ice Service.
Tuesday, 28 April 2020
Global lockdowns have lowered emissions but longer-term changes needed, say scientists.
|A PinP photo.|
Saturday, 18 January 2020
Like Adding'Five to Six Hiroshima Bombs of Heat Each Second,' Study Shows Oceans Warming at Record Rate
"If you want to understand global warming, you have to measure ocean warming." Story here.
Saturday, 23 November 2019
|An emaciated moose in Riding Mtn. National Park, Canada.|
A PinP photo.
All but one of 459 species have traits making them vulnerable to rising temperatures, study finds.
To quote from the initial study in Nature, Climate Change:
"Climate change is a threat to ecosystems and biodiversity globally and has emerged as a driver of observed and potential species decline and extinction. Government laws and policies should play a vital role in supporting climate change adaptation for imperilled species, yet imperilled species protections have been critiqued as insufficient in Australia, Canada and Europe."
Wednesday, 24 July 2019
New research finds that previous periods of warming and cooling driven by natural causes were regional shifts in temperature rather than global events. Story here.
|A grey heron suffers during a heatwave - 2013. |
Photo by Gail Hampshire from Cradley, Malvern, U.K
Monday, 3 June 2019
The frequency of downpours of heavy rain—which can lead to flash floods, devastation, and outbreaks of waterborne disease—has increased across the globe in the past 50 years, research led by the University of Saskatchewan (USask) has found. Story here.
Friday, 17 May 2019
|Antarctica. Wikimedia public domain.|
New research shows affected areas are losing ice five times faster than in the 1990s, with more than 100m of thickness gone in some places. Story here.
Wednesday, 22 August 2018
Tuesday, 21 August 2018
Usually frozen waters open up twice this year in phenomenon scientists described as scary. More here.
Monday, 30 April 2018
British and US scientists are to examine the risk of the Thwaites glacier collapsing, which is already responsible for a 4% sea-level rise. More here.
Thwaites Glacier. European Space Agency
Wednesday, 8 November 2017
Thursday, 24 August 2017
Canada's National Energy Board has rejected recommendations from big business and big oil, agreeing for the first time in its history to consider both upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emissions while reviewing a major pipeline project. Story here
Saturday, 5 August 2017
Authorities in 11 countries warn residents and tourists to take precautions amid region’s most intense heatwave – nicknamed Lucifer – since 2003. Story here.
Could a million freshwater turtles help clean up some of Australia's polluted rivers? A team of scientists believes, they could!
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Manitoba's Decker Hutterite Colony says, several dead hogs spotted recently on a public roadway, nearby, died of natural causes.by Larry Powell Hog carcasses in two dumpsters on a side road near the Decker Colony, northwest of Brandon, Apr. 24th. I spott...
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Is Manitoba's Brokenhead River about to become a dumping ground for an Alberta-based sand-mining company?by Don Sullivan Kayakers on the Brokenhead River. A Wikimedia photo. The Brokenhead River begins in the wetlands of Sandilands Provi...