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Posted Fri Jun 14 2013: from NASA:
Is a Sleeping 'Climate Giant' Stirring in the Arctic?
...Over hundreds of millennia, Arctic permafrost soils have accumulated vast stores of organic carbon - an estimated 1,400 to 1,850 petagrams of it (a petagram is 2.2 trillion pounds, or 1 billion metric tons). That's about half of all the estimated organic carbon stored in Earth's soils. In comparison, about 350 petagrams of carbon have been emitted from all fossil-fuel combustion and human activities since 1850. Most of this carbon is located in thaw-vulnerable topsoils within 10 feet (3 meters) of the surface.... "Permafrost soils are warming even faster than Arctic air temperatures - as much as 2.7 to 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius) in just the past 30 years," Miller said. "As heat from Earth's surface penetrates into permafrost, it threatens to mobilize these organic carbon reservoirs and release them into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane, upsetting the Arctic's carbon balance and greatly exacerbating global warming."... If climate change causes the Arctic to get warmer and drier, scientists expect most of the carbon to be released as carbon dioxide. If it gets warmer and wetter, most will be in the form of methane. The distinction is critical. Molecule per molecule, methane is 22 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide on a 100-year timescale, and 105 times more potent on a 20-year timescale.
[Read more stories about: permafrost meltdown, methane release, arctic meltdown, death spiral, holyshit]

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'Doc Michael says:
Nothing stinks up the joint like melting permafrost.

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