“Er, that was it, Mr. Gore.”
Perhaps, the most dangerous positive feedback is the melting of the Arctic permafrost. Not only does such regions in the world contain more carbon dioxide than the entire atmosphere holds today, Joe tells us, but worse, thawing permafrost can release methane, which is about 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.
Permafrost melting is widespread and no IPCC model has taken into consideration the feedback from a melting permafrost and, thus, the likely future impact of permafrost melting has been underestimated. “Whereas the models indicate that about half of the ice loss from 1979 to 2006 was due to increased greenhouse gases, and the other half due to natural variations in the climate system, the new study indicates that greenhouse gases may be playing a significantly greater role.”
Meanwhile, on the other side of the untapped oil reserves in the North Pole, we seem to be headed toward the cliff at breakneck speed. In the 11th Hour Leonardo DiCaprio states, “It’s clear humans have had a devastating impact on our planet’s ecological web of life. Because we’ve waited, because we’ve turned our backs on nature’s warning signs, and because our political and corporate leaders have consistently ignored the overwhelming scientific evidence, the challenges we face are that much more difficult.”
And, we have yet to get to the Albedo Flip, something about which James Hansen and other scientists at NASA and the Columbia University Earth Institute have expressed grave concern. We are closer to a tipping point than previously thought. Even “moderate additional” greenhouse emissions are likely to push Earth past “critical tipping points” with “dangerous consequences for the planet.”
In addition to warning us about early Siberian springtimes, Romm also relayed a prediction made by Dr. Doug Smith, who leads a team at the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research:
“At least half of the years 2009 to 2014 will be hotter than 1998, the warmest year on record. And their research predicts 2014 is likely to be 0.3C warmer globally than 2004. This is a sharp increase, as the average global temperature has risen by only 0.8C since 1900.”
Actually, according to some other recent news, 1998 was not the warmest year on record. Someone caught an error, so recalculations show that 1998 was the second warmest; 2006 was the warmest.
From study of 19 climate models, using data dating back to 1860 and projecting into the future, to the year 2100, researchers have reached the consensus that more drought conditions will occur in some regions of the world. As previously noted, climate change alters the movement of storms and moisture in the atmosphere. In some semi-arid regions of the world, global heating will result in even drier, less life sustaining condition; models show the drying trend continuing all the way to 2100 — for more than 90 years.