Jamais Cascio has made it official… “there’s a considerable amount of methane (CH4) coming from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, where it had been trapped under the permafrost. There’s as much coming out from one small section of the Arctic ocean as from all the rest of the oceans combined. This is officially Not Good.”
This blog was a bit more dramatic: “Ever wondered what makes for a Climate Progress nightmare. Wonder no longer.”
And, Climate Progress commentary reflected the deep concern among scientists that Natalia Shakhova’s announcement stimulated. “The methane CLATHRATES were first observed to be melting and releasing methane into the atmosphere in 2008, and this was not expected for at least another couple of decades, if at all this century. The climate models could be seriously underestimating the potential positive feedbacks.”
Editor’s note: Shakhova is the researcher at UAF’s International Arctic Research Center who announced the research findings.
Andrew C. Revkin covered the story, and even connected it with the prior BBC story, and yet in his next post quoted David Archer, “Methane sells newspapers, but it’s not the big story, nor does it look to be a game changer to the big story, which is CO2.” Which made me recall David Robert’s Syllogism of Doom.
The Syllogism of Doom goes:
1. If we (that is, humanity) increase our use of coal, the atmosphere will likely tip over into irreversible, catastrophic warming.
2. We are going to increase our use of coal.
3. The atmosphere will likely tip over into irreversible, catastrophic warming.
With melting permafrost comes increased GHG emissions, atmospheric degradation leading to irreversible catastrophes from global warming. This blog relayed a warning about such positive feedback in August 2007. The melting permafrost is a tipping point. “If we see runaway methane from underneath the Siberian permafrost,” portends Jamais Cascio, “we could see temperatures increasing far faster than even the most pessimistic CO2-driven scenarios — perhaps as much as 8-10° C, very much into the global catastrophe realm.”
Other AG Posts on topic of Melting Permafrost