Friday, August 12, 2005

Siberia is meeeeeeeeeltinnnnnnnnnnnng

Hey, President Bush, Global Warming is happening. Get your head out of the sand and pay attention!! And, oh, paying attention doesn't have to mean economic troubles!!

Climate warning as Siberia melts (11 August 2005, NewScientist.com news service, Fred Pearce)

A huge area of Siberia's permafrost is melting. In this case "huge" means 1 million square kilometers. Now, that's interesting by itself, but what's most interesting (alarming actually) is what this means.

he sudden melting of a bog the size of France and Germany combined could unleash billions of tonnes of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.

The news of the dramatic transformation of one of the world's least visited landscapes comes from Sergei Kirpotin, a botanist at Tomsk State University, Russia, and Judith Marquand at the University of Oxford.

Kirpotin describes an "ecological landslide that is probably irreversible and is undoubtedly connected to climatic warming". He says that the entire western Siberian sub-Arctic region has begun to melt, and this "has all happened in the last three or four years".

What was until recently a featureless expanse of frozen peat is turning into a watery landscape of lakes, some more than a kilometre across. Kirpotin suspects that some unknown critical threshold has been crossed, triggering the melting.