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Posts Tagged ‘methane’

What is the Arctic Ice ‘Death Spiral’?

August 14, 2013 1 comment

tcktcktck.org

Sea Ice Spiral

Arctic sea ice in the summer. Creative Commons: Guido Appenzeller, 2011

“The record or near-records being reported from year to year in the Arctic are no longer anomalies or exceptions. Really they have become the rule for us, or the norm that we see in the Arctic and that we expect to see for the forseeable future” – Jackie Richter-Menge, US Army Corps of Engineers

Last week’s ‘State of the Climate’ report confirmed it: ice is melting in the Arctic at one of the fastest rates in human history. Researchers and climate scientists monitoring ice melt in the Arctic have started using the ominous term ‘death spiral’ to describe what’s happening at the top of the world. But what does it mean? And is Read more…

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Arctic methane leaks threaten climate

April 24, 2012 1 comment

newscientist.com

Methane released as ice retreats could force greater climate warming <i>(Image: KPA/Zuma/Rex Features)</i>Methane released as ice retreats could force greater climate warming (Image: KPA/Zuma/Rex Features)

As Arctic sea ice breaks apart, massive amounts of methane could be released into the atmosphere from the cold waters beneath.

High concentrations of the greenhouse gas have been recorded in the air above cracks in the ice. This could be evidence of yet another positive feedback on the warming climate – leading to even faster Arctic warming.

The Arctic is home to vast stores of methane – there are billions of tonnes of methane in permafrost alone. It is a potent greenhouse gas, so a major methane release would greatly accelerate climate change. The gas is found in icy crystals called hydrates beneath the shallow seas that flood some areas of the continental crust, as well as in permafrost. It is also being released from Arctic wetlands.

But this doesn’t explain why Eric Kort of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and his colleagues found patches of methane in remote regions of the Arctic Ocean, far from any of these known methane sources.

The team found the patches during five flights over the Arctic Ocean between 2009 and 2010, as part of a project to systematically map greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.

Kort estimates Read more…

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World’s Oceans In ‘Shocking’ Decline

June 21, 2011 Comments off

bbc

Coral and fishThe oceans are in a worse state than previously suspected, according to an expert panel of scientists.

In a new report, they warn that ocean life is “at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history”.

They conclude that issues such as over-fishing, pollution and climate change are acting together in ways that have not previously been recognised.

The impacts, they say, are already affecting humanity.

The panel was convened by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), and brought together experts from different disciplines, including coral reef ecologists, toxicologists, and fisheries scientists.

Its report will be formally released later this week.

“The findings are shocking,” said Alex Rogers, IPSO’s scientific director and professor of conservation biology at Oxford University.

“As we considered the cumulative effect of what humankind does to the oceans, the implications became far worse than we had individually realised.

“We’ve sat in one forum and spoken to Read more…