Permafrost fear

From Florida State University  and the department of we’ve heard all this before comes this story

Researchers: Permafrost thawing could accelerate global warming

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A team of researchers lead by Florida State University have found new evidence that permafrost thawing is releasing large quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere via plants, which could accelerate warming trends.

The research is featured in the newest edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“We’ve known for a while now that permafrost is thawing,” said Suzanne Hodgkins, the lead author on the paper and a doctoral student in chemical oceanography at Florida State. “But what we’ve found is that the associated changes in plant community composition in the polar regions could lead to way more carbon being released into the atmosphere as methane.”

Permafrost is soil that is frozen year round and is typically located in polar regions. As the world has gotten slightly warmer, that permafrost is thawing and decomposing, which is producing increased amounts of methane.

Relative to carbon dioxide, methane has a disproportionately large global warming potential. Methane is 33 times more effective at warming the Earth on a mass basis and a century time scale relative to carbon dioxide.

As the plants break down, they are releasing carbon into the atmosphere. And if the permafrost melts entirely, there would be five times the amount of carbon in the atmosphere than there is now, said Jeff Chanton, the John Widmer Winchester Professor of Oceanography at Florida State.

“The world is getting warmer, and the additional release of gas would only add to our problems,” he said.

Chanton and Hodgkins’ work, “Changes in peat chemistry associated with permafrost thaw increase greenhouse gas production,” was funded by a three-year, $400,000 Department of Energy grant. They traveled to Sweden multiple times to collect soil samples for the study.

The research is a multicontinent effort with researchers from North America, Europe and Australia all contributing to the work.

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97 Responses to Permafrost fear

  1. ConfusedPhoton says:

    The old jokes are always the best!

    In another few years the same people will be warning us of the coming ice age!

  2. jim says:

    “permafrost thawing is releasing large quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere via plants, which could accelerate warming trends.”
    Would that be CO2 & methane containing “old” carbon? (Or a higher % of “old” carbon).
    Could this lead to a false conclusion that it is man’s CO2 building up in the atmosphere?

  3. Max Roberts says:

    So, how did the permafrost form if the air was full of CO2 that the permafrost trapped? These people have no sense of irony.

  4. jauntycyclist says:

    methane is the new co2 lol

    which bit of interglacial warming do they not understand.
    which bit of ice age cycle do they not get?
    its all happened before.
    the melting ice is revealing forests and human activity like Stone Age leather shoes and trousers.

    fear is not a scientific term. its a political one. science is there to dispel fears and superstitions not create them.

  5. Lewis P Buckingham says:

    ‘This impact of permafrost thaw on organic matter chemistry -could- intensify the predicted climate feedbacks of increasing temperatures, permafrost carbon mobilization, and hydrologic changes. ‘

    At least they are being careful in their conclusions.
    They are careful not to say that they ‘predicted’ the climate feedbacks of increasing temperatures.
    They qualify with the word ‘could’. for their own findings in organic chemistry.
    An interesting piece of scientific work in itself on peat bogs.

  6. Mike McMillan says:

    Maybe the permafrost in Greenland will melt so we can dig up some of those Viking farmer graves still locked solid after 800 years.

  7. Stephanie Clague says:

    Four hundred grand for a jolly to Sweden? Not to be sniffed at.

    Money for nothing more than rehashed waffle and discredited waffle at that and based upon faulty assumptions into the bargain. This is how the new pseudo science works, appeal to those with control of the funding stream and the sky is the limit really, fail to roll over and sit up and beg and the funding tap fails to turn on for some strange reason.

  8. Oldseadog says:

    “……. 5 times the amount of carbon in the atmosphere ….” says Prof. Chanton.
    Too many Dreamliners?

  9. jones says:

    So it’s 33 times worserer than we thought?

  10. Patrick says:

    “Methane is 33 times more effective at warming the Earth on a mass basis and a century time scale relative to carbon dioxide.”

    At ~18ppBILLION/v I don’t think so!

  11. Peter Miller says:

    “As the plants break down, they are releasing carbon into the atmosphere. And if the permafrost melts entirely, there would be five times the amount of carbon in the atmosphere than there is now,” said Jeff Chanton, the John Widmer Winchester Professor of Oceanography at Florida State.

    A moment’s thought would show this statement was complete BS. During the last ice age, which ended 10-12,000 years ago, glaciers scoured the Earth’s surface while wind, snow and rain removed most of the remaining soil and vegetation from the high latitude, permafrost areas.

    In geological terms, the permafrost soils are recent, mostly less than 10-12,000 years old.

    The carbon in the dead vegetation in the permafrost areas was nearly all deposited over the past 12,000 years, but especially during the Holocene Optimum period of 9.000 – 5,000 years ago. Is there any evidence from ice cores, or other sources, that huge amounts of CO2 were being extracted from the atmosphere at that time?

    Answer: No.

    Conclusion: Comment is typical unfounded climate alarmism.

  12. jones says:

    So….18 billion somethings times 5 times carbon amounts multiplied by 33 worsts equals a very very baaaad thing…

  13. rogerknights says:

    To find WUWT threads countering this permafrost/methane alarmism, click
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/?s=permafrost
    Several turn up in the first page.

  14. M Simon says:

    …funded by a three-year, $400,000 Department of Energy grant.

  15. M Simon says:

    In case the previous was not clear grant

  16. Katherine says:

    Yeah, right. They go to Sweden to collect soil samples, then generalize to the whole world?

    Besides, the polar regions have been ice-free in the past and there was no runaway global warming from methane release, so why should it happen this time?

  17. Kelvin Vaughan says:

    ConfusedPhoton says:

    April 8, 2014 at 12:34 am

    The old jokes are always the best!

    I was passing the grave yard and heard strange musical coming from a grave. The vicar told me it was Beethoven decomposing.

  18. John from the EU says:

    Geez, we didn’t buy de CO2 crap so now they go for methane… Whats next? O2?

  19. Katherine says:

    Oh, and if the permafrost does melt entirely and results in five times the amount of carbon in the atmosphere than there is now, that would bring atmospheric CO2 to around 2,000 ppm. CO2 levels have been more than twice that—and during an ice age too!

  20. sophocles says:

    You notice the current concentration of methane in parts per BILLION are never mentioned ..
    just in case we get the idea that it’s all really rather trivial and nothing to get warmed up about..

  21. H.R. says:

    jauntycyclist says:
    April 8, 2014 at 12:51 am

    “[...]
    fear is not a scientific term. its a political one. science is there to dispel fears and superstitions not create them.”

    ============================
    Excellent point.

  22. garymount says:

    And if all the permafrost melts, then the earth was already warm and the extra CO2 wouldn’t make it much warmer but would greatly help all the plants and the animals that eat plants.

  23. Alan the Brit says:

    Chanton and Hodgkins’ work, “Changes in peat chemistry associated with permafrost thaw increase greenhouse gas production,” was funded by a three-year, $400,000 Department of Energy grant. They traveled to Sweden multiple times to collect soil samples for the study.

    Perhaps they could have saved the $taxpayer a few bob by collecting sufficient samples in “one” visit, e.g. the first visit!!!!! Sheesh! The sky grew dark last night, I expect it meant the end of the world because the Sun died! Oh no my mistake, it’s back this morning! sarc off.

  24. Paul Pierett says:

    As we head into uncharted waters in non, Meloncovitch cyclic global warming, Topography expands north and south of the Equator. Permafrost is probably doing what they say but for the wrong outcome. The Carbons are there for the expanding Topography.

    “They have the Cart before the Horse”, again.

    It is unfortunate that another IPCC inspired science paper has made the Headlines. Of a humorous note not too many Floridians get out of state and live in a swamp or on a beach. Most have never seen a mountain, a Canyon or a large river. To understand Topography, one has to travel from the Equator to Pruhoe Bay and at least three continents.

    So scratch up another one for the IPCC in its never ending battle to subdue the USA and allow India to soak us for some more cash. one should see who runs the IPCC and who stands to gain from it.

    Paul

  25. thegriss says:

    ummm.?. how did the peat get there in the first place if the area has always been frozen?

  26. Eric Worrall says:

    This is actually an argument for mining and burning it – better it be converted into CO2, than be released as damaging methane! :-)

  27. chinook says:

    Why did the FSU folks have to go to Sweden when Florida and much of the South is one big methane generator and has been for eon’s? Ever heard of Swamp Gas? There are road signs warning motorists. No wonder it’s so warm down there ;). Oh, the humanity! But, it’s more glamorous to travel to distant shores on a well-funded snipe hunt than to just walk out the back door.

  28. Joe Born says:

    Mark Twain comes to mind: “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.”

  29. AussieBear says:

    @thegriss, you wrote:

    “ummm.?. how did the peat get there in the first place if the area has always been frozen?”

    Good One!

    How many “journalists” in the MSM are going even THINK to ask that question? Even better that methane is measured in parts per BILLION. So what if methane is 33% more potent as a GHG? Measured at ppB, its sort of a like a pimple on a gnats knee compared to the “catastrophic” 400 ppM that is CO2…

  30. Bob Layson says:

    These are the time-servers that try men’s patience.

  31. Admad says:

    “As the plants break down, they are releasing carbon into the atmosphere. And if the permafrost melts entirely, there would be five times the amount of carbon in the atmosphere than there is now” But that can’t work, I mean the Guardian’s Damian Carrington has already said “The planet’s atmosphere is half-full of carbon” so how can you add 33 times as much, that would mean the atmosphere would be 17 times as biggerer than it is now and all carbon if my maths is right, oh God we’re all going to FRY…

    Meantime, I LOL.

  32. Rob says:

    “The world is getting warmer…” he said.

    Key statement. We might as well commission computer models of scientists doing studies that add to the narrative and save the money of actually doing them. We’re clearly getting nothing out of the live models that wasn’t parametered in.

  33. Patrick says:

    Sorry, that should be 1800ppBILLION/v, or 1.8ppm/v. My bad!

  34. urederra says:

    I read the title and I thought that the fear was that due to the polar vortex thingy, the new ice layer in many places in Canada and USA wasn’t going to melt during this summer.

  35. Don Tabor says:

    Then why are we here?
    If the current warmth is sufficient to release methane from the permafrost, and cause a runaway warming of catastrophic consequences, then why did this not happen during the Roman and Medieval warm periods? They were certainly warm enough and long enough.

  36. Eliza says:

    Why even give any attention to this drivel?? (from the NAS)

  37. So only human-C02 emissions affect peat, which in turn will somehow affect the 1 million many to many relationships, found in climate ? Peat is now the new toxin ? We pay for this junk ?

    “Chanton and Hodgkins’ work, “Changes in peat chemistry associated with permafrost thaw increase greenhouse gas production,” was funded by a three-year, $400,000 Department of Energy grant. They traveled to Sweden multiple times to collect soil samples for the study.”

    My own theory is that Phd’s in climate theology are less educated than grade 9′s in times past [since the pretty happy dudes believe in the flat-earth - Earth is a greenhouse fiction].

  38. son of mulder says:

    Better get planting some trees in the fertile soils freed by the melting permafrost. If the Yamal region is anything to go by all the extra warmth and CO2 will make them grow really quickly. That could capture masses of carbon. Extrapolating from the work of esteemed climate scientists from Penn State and East Anglia one would expect a massive hockeystick shaped uptick in carbon sequestration.

  39. M Seward says:

    Intrigued to know where all that permafrost to study is in Australia for the local lads and lassies in on this project.

    Oh, silly me. They have models!
    Duh!

  40. JohnB says:

    So let me get this straight – the midieval warm period was a localized regional effect. where was this region? Oh yeah somewhere up by Norway or Sweden. But if it was quite warm up there then, why didn’t it turn into a catastrophic global event? Or did it? Only it wasn’t really catastrophic? It was just really agreeable climmate … all over the world.

  41. Ed says:

    If CO2 is such a crisis, why are these w@nkers to-ing and fro-ing to Sweden? Or did they travel on mooseback? Oh! I forgot, it’s just the ordinary people that are supposed to reduce their carbon output.

  42. John says:

    And in 10 years, when the warming productions continue to fail, they’ll switch from methane to ????

  43. Joel O'Bryan says:

    Heres the Peer reviewed rebuttal:
    Lupascu et al. Nature Climate Change, January 2014.
    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n1/full/nclimate2058.html

    Their conclusion:
    Consequently, the High Arctic has the potential to remain a strong C sink even as the rest of the permafrost region transitions to a net C source as a result of future global warming.

  44. chris moffatt says:

    “…Methane is 33 times more effective at warming the Earth on a mass basis and a century time scale relative to carbon dioxide.”

    SH of CO2 @ 275K = 0.819
    SH of CH4 @275K = 2.191
    2.191/0.819 = 33
    Clearly I am missing something.

  45. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    @Jim

    Quite right: methane and CO2 from permafrost (there is a lot of that as well) are old, just like coal carbon. Yes it is not AS old but it is old enough to have significantly depleted 14C.

    Bu-ut….on another topic: “Methane is 33 times more effective at warming the Earth on a mass basis and a century time scale relative to carbon dioxide.”

    So, what happened to ’20 times’ that we have been told 20 times before? “Century time scale”? Gimme a break. What happened to ’20 years’ that we were told 20 times before?

    Research on the North Slope using modern methane instruments showed years ago that there is very little if any impact from melting permafrost because of the huge increase in tree growth that occurs once it has melted permanently. There is a lot more carbon in the trees that grow on melted ground than emerges from the frozen biomass, which if one has even half a clue, will be remembered, grew there in a former, warmer, time. Duh!

    I see this paper as cooking up more time and impact and alarm than many other scientists consider prudent.

  46. Patrick says:

    “chris moffatt says:

    April 8, 2014 at 4:30 am

    SH of CO2 @ 275K = 0.819
    SH of CH4 @275K = 2.191
    2.191/0.819 = 33
    Clearly I am missing something.”

    Yeah, the ~1.8ppMILLION/v concentration of CH4 in air, in an open, dynamic, chaotic, non-lab system.

  47. Tim says:

    A team of researchers lead by the almighty dollar have found new evidence that joining the warmist religion is extremely profitable.

  48. chris moffatt says:

    Given equal atmospheric masses of CO2 and CH4 it seems to me that the heat capacity of the CH4 would be ~2.7 times that of the CO2. Whence the figure of 33?
    Given that the actual concentration of CH4 is so low – about 1/200 of CO2 it also seems to me that as an atmospheric warming agent it is negligible. What am I missing here?

  49. Steve from Rockwood says:

    I’m confused. I’ve been to the Arctic once and the sub-Arctic several times. As I recall plants thrive in areas of permafrost. I can only assume the very near surface warms up enough in the summer for the plants to survive. But ignoring all the greenery, where exactly is this build up of dead plant material that is decaying and releasing so much CO2 and methane into the atmosphere. Because all I’ve ever seen is 1) water, 2) barren outcrop and 3) grass.

  50. Steve C says:

    If you worry about methane being “33 times as evil” as carbon dioxide, then you ought to be quite pleased to hear that it’s also reactive enough to combine readily with atmospheric oxygen when given only the tiniest tweak from solar UV. This might also account for its minimal atmospheric concentration, given the quantity of decaying organic matter in the world.

  51. Man Bearpig says:

    ok, 0 temperature rise in last 17 years.. CH4 is 33x more powerful than CO2 … lets see … 33 x 0 = oh my god! We’re all gonna die!

  52. Bill Illis says:

    1.8 ppm times 33 = 59 ppm equivalent to CO2

    In the last 30 years, Methane has increased about 0.2 ppm or 6.6 ppm equivalent to CO2 or about 3 years worth of CO2 increase.

    In relative terms, Methane has produced in 30 years, what CO2 is doing in 3 years.

    And then Methane concentrations are flattening out. The peak at Barrow Alaska (the leading indicator for the world and right in the middle of where the permafrost is supposedly melting and very close to the oil and gas operations in Alaska), the peak at Barrow was almost exactly the same as last year, roughly 2 or 3 ppbillion increase.

  53. Ric Werme says:

    Methane is 33 times more effective at warming the Earth on a mass basis and a century time scale relative to carbon dioxide.

    This is spin:

    1) We report trace gas concentrations (e.g. CO2 at 400 ppm) on a volume basis. By using mass CH4 (atomic mass of 16 or so) there will be a bigger effect compared to air (most N2, which is 28 or so). 33 x 16/28 = 18, closer to the 20X I’ve heard.

    2) I think I understand what they’re implying with “century time scale” but I have nearly zero faith in any of the residence times I’ve heard of for CO2 and CH4.

  54. Alan Robertson says:

    There is some evidence that these researchers weren’t completely clueless. Did they make multiple trips to Siberia? No, they went several times to Sweden.

  55. chuck says:

    chris moffatt says:
    April 8, 2014 at 4:30 am
    ” Clearly I am missing something.”
    ..
    What you are missing is the MASS basis.
    CO2 is 44 g/mol
    CH4 is 16 g/mol

    Recalculate on a mass basis

  56. chuck says:

    chris moffatt says:
    April 8, 2014 at 4:30 am
    “Clearly I am missing something.”
    ..
    You are also missing the fact that specific heat and IR adsorption are two different things.

  57. RJ says:

    This is a very reassuring paper. It reports that ever increasing amounts of methane are being released into the atmosphere, while we know from temperature records that during this time (well at least 17 years) the temperature has been stable. The conclusion has to be that “greenhouse gasses” don’t make any difference to atmospheric temperature. Panic over.

  58. Jimbo says:

    “We’ve known for a while now that permafrost is thawing,” said Suzanne Hodgkins, the lead author on the paper and a doctoral student in chemical oceanography at Florida State.

    Check ✔

    Abstract
    Arctic Warming” During 1920-40:
    A Brief Review of Old Russian Publications
    Sergey V. Pisarev
    1. The idea of Arctic Warming during 1920–40 is supported in Russian publications by the following facts: * retreating of glaciers, melting of sea islands, and retreat of permafrost* decrease of sea ice amounts…..
    http://mclean.ch/climate/Arctic_1920_40.htm

  59. Richard Day says:

    I bet a nice chunk of that grant went to sampling aquavit.

  60. Alan Robertson says:

    Eliza says:
    April 8, 2014 at 3:23 am

    Why even give any attention to this drivel?? (from the NAS)
    _______________________
    Shine a light on ‘em and cockroaches will scurry for cover.

  61. JimS says:

    This team of researchers at Florida State University forgot to read the memo that told them this was an old scare ploy, soundly refuted. The warmist scare mongers are obviously not well connected administratively.One “team” a few years ago claimed that 4.5 billion humans would be dead by 2012 because of all the released methane from the permafrost. Chicken Little, eat your heart out.

  62. Bruce Cobb says:

    That’s another $400k flushed down the loo by grant-grubbing “researchers” in the name of Climatism. They could have just asked sea ice “expert” Peter Wadhams, who believes we could have an ice-free arctic in summer as early as next year (2015) about permafrost melt and methane.
    Excerpt:
    “The loss of sea ice leads to seabed warming, which leads to offshore permafrost melt , which leads to methane release, which leads to enhanced warming, which leads to even more rapid uncovering of seabed. If a large release has not occurred by 2016 the danger will be continuously increasing. It is thought that at 2-3C of global warming, which means 6-8C of Arctic warming, methane release from permafrost on land will be greatly increased.”
    Even noted Alarmist Gavin Schmidt pooh-poohs the arctic methane scare, though. If only his skepticism wasn’t so selective.

  63. Jeff Alberts says:

    son of mulder says:
    April 8, 2014 at 3:29 am

    Better get planting some trees in the fertile soils freed by the melting permafrost. If the Yamal region is anything to go by all the extra warmth and CO2 will make them grow really quickly.

    Nah, only one tree in Yamal will be happy with the extra CO2, the rest will be sorta blase’ about it.

  64. Jeff Alberts says:

    Is this Recursive Methane Fury?

  65. captainfish says:

    I need a multi-million dollar research grant to prove that storm damage is increasing. And with increasing storm severity, the damage from those storms increase as well. I also need a grant to show that when storms hit populated areas as opposed to rural ones, damage also increases.

    I eagerly await your check.

  66. kenw says:

    Could saved a lot of carbon footprints by getting those samples via FedEx from Sven. I guess working a shovel is a graduate-level skill set…..

  67. Philip Finck says:

    Actually, Canadian arctic research shows that permafrost survived Eemian and there are great records of successive interglacial/glacial cycles, so the permafrost won’t disappear, it may melt to some extent near the surface and retreat in extent.

  68. son of mulder says:

    ” Jeff Alberts says:
    April 8, 2014 at 7:28 am

    Nah, only one tree in Yamal will be happy with the extra CO2, the rest will be sorta blase’ about it.”

    Jeff, the trick is that you should plant most of the seeds upsidedown.

  69. James at 48 says:

    I still await a quantitative, unbiased proof that permafrost loss is happening on any sort of grand scale. Anecdotes based on construction excavations, road cuts and other disturbances do not count. Of course the permafrost melts if you did a hole into it!

  70. Jimbo says:

    Greg says:
    April 7, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    The cumulative grants graph is a bit misleading. My “cumulative” income is ramping up like that too, but I’m not getting any richer and my buying power is declining year by year.

    But the look of the graph if you plotted his annual grant funding in inflation adjusted dollars it would flat. The exponential growth in the graph is misleading and probably intentionally so.

    Check out this grant for ONE year! Who needs adjustments for inflation? He was well on a hockey stick trajectory.

    [Reconstructing Tropical Pacific Climate Variability and Monsoon Systems, and Abrupt Changes from Ice Cores on Irian Jaya, Indonesia and Hualcan, Peru
    Investigator(s):
    Lonnie Thompson thompson (Principal Investigator)
    Ellen Mosley-Thompson (Co-Principal Investigator)
    $1,094,433.00 2008
    http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=0823586&HistoricalAwards=false ]

  71. Jimbo says:

    Ooops! Wrong thread. :-O

  72. James at 48 says:

    Did -> dig.

  73. Owen in GA says:

    My only question here is we know it was warmer in the Minoan, Roman and Medieval (at least as warm) warm periods, so shouldn’t these layers that we are seeing melt now have already melted at least once during those periods? This would mean that any methane locked up in those melted layers have already vented to the atmosphere a millennia or ten ago and would have relatively little left for current thermageddon imaginings. As those warmer warm periods would have melted deeper than current weak warm period, we will not have even melted down to the point of adjacent layers being “virgin” permafrost laden with loads of this “deadly trap”.

    Of course all of this will just wind up as food for the tree line as it moves north (south for our southern hemisphere).

  74. Phil. says:

    chris moffatt says:
    April 8, 2014 at 5:13 am
    Given equal atmospheric masses of CO2 and CH4 it seems to me that the heat capacity of the CH4 would be ~2.7 times that of the CO2. Whence the figure of 33?
    Given that the actual concentration of CH4 is so low – about 1/200 of CO2 it also seems to me that as an atmospheric warming agent it is negligible. What am I missing here?

    That the heat capacity isn’t the key parameter, the absorbance of IR is. The methane is still at a low enough concentration that it doesn’t exhibit a log dependence.

  75. Frank Kotler says:

    Pave the permafrost! Save the planet!

  76. Joel O'Bryan says:

    @captainfish,

    the impacts of climate change on Bali no doubt.

    Personally I think a study of climate change on Key West is in order.

  77. tty says:

    I will repeat my usual comment on this theme: during the previous (Eemian) interglacial the Arctic was much warmer than now (5-10 degrees centigrade), with extensive permafrost melt and forest growing all the way to the Arctic Ocean in Siberia, but methane content in the air was about the same as now.

    By the way I wonder why they “traveled to Sweden multiple times to collect soil samples for the study”, since there is practically no permafrost in Sweden, and none at all that is easily accessible. Wouldn’t have made more sense to go to Alaska where there is any amount of permafrost easily available?

  78. Ron C. says:

    Alan Robertson says:
    April 8, 2014 at 6:03 am

    Yes, they avoided Siberia, where there are Russian scientists based there. And what do they say:

    “Indeed above at the surface it has gotten warmer, but that’s just part of a normal cycle. The permafrost is rock hard, And that is how it is going to stay. There’s no talk of thawing.” Michali Grigoryev
    http://notrickszone.com/2012/11/19/russian-arctic-scientist-permafrost-changes-due-to-natural-factors-its-going-to-be-colder/

    “It seems that the permafrost should be melting if the temperature is rising. However, many areas are witnessing the opposite. The average annual temperature is getting higher, but the permafrost remains and has even started to spread. Why? An important factor is the snow cover. Global warming reduces it, therefore making the heat insulator for the permafrost thinner. Then even weak frosts are enough to freeze the ground deeper below the surface.”

    Nikolai Osokin is a glaciologist at the Institute of Geography, the Russian Academy of Sciences.

    http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20070323/62485608.html

    “The Russian Academy of Sciences has found that the annual temperature of soils (with seasonable variations) has been remaining stable despite the increased average annual air temperature caused by climate change. If anything, the depth of seasonal melting has decreased slightly.”

    “This is just another scare story . . . This ecological structure is balanced and is not about to harm people with gas discharges.”

    Vladimir Melnikov is the director of the world’s only Institute of the Earth’s Cryosphere. The Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute is located in the Siberian city of Tyumen and investigates the ways in which ground water becomes ice and permafrost.

    “The boundaries of the Russian permafrost zone remain virtually unchanged. At the same time, the permafrost is several hundred meters deep. For methane, other gases and hydrates to escape to the surface, it would have to melt at tremendous depths, which is impossible.”
    Yuri Izrael, director of the Institute of Climatology and Ecology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

    http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20050822/41201605-print.html

  79. Steve from Rockwood says:

    Ron C. says:
    April 8, 2014 at 10:03 am

    “The Russian Academy of Sciences has found that the annual temperature of soils (with seasonable variations) has been remaining stable despite the increased average annual air temperature caused by climate change. If anything, the depth of seasonal melting has decreased slightly.”
    ———————————————————————–
    If the surface is melting every year then what caused the buildup of CO2 and CH4 that is now being released?

  80. aaron says:

    Anthony and mod, I think it’s time to start a methane concentration monitoring page.

    Multiple data sets, emissions, historical proxies…

  81. Ron C. says:

    Permafrost is defined as any material that has been continuously frozen for two or more years. Under that definition, solid rock is considered to be permafrost. Likewise peat moss and tundra, BELOW THE ACTIVE LAYER, are also considered to be permafrost. The active layer freezes and thaws with the seasons. The depth of the active layer depends upon the latitude, southern or northern exposures, vegetation and the nature of the soil.

    As with every unsubstantiated, speculative prediction made by alarmists and climate models, there is a grain of truth regarding melting tundra/permafrost releasing stored carbon dioxide. But researchers have discovered that when these melted areas are thawed, the explosion of new growth of vegetation becomes a positive CO2 sink that sequesters carbon dioxide in greater quantities than that released from the thaw. So instead of permafrost melting being a positive warming feedback, it actually becomes a negative feedback – funny how the climate always seems to do that in the end.

  82. aaron says:

    Why didn’t this set off runaway warming during other warmings, when the area affected was larger.

  83. aaron says:

    Doesn’t this tell us CO2 proxies are bunk?

  84. aaron says:

    How does the methane release compare to the total bio mass thawed? I suspect that when that bio-mass froze, an equal amount thawed in massive bio-permafrosts of the SH.

  85. Janice Moore says:

    Re: the above propaganda leaflet dropped out of a plane somewhere between Sweden and Florida…

    THIS is the only type of response such junk deserves:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcfH1rdj0b4

    Just LOOK at all that “carbon” puffing into the atmosphere. Hm. That happened a long time ago. Hm. Temperatures aren’t going up and up and up….

    LOL,
    here’s something to put into your pipe and smoke, all you Enviroprofiteers:

    CO2 UP. WARMING STOPPED.

    Puff, puff, toot, toot, off [to the dustbin of history you] go!

    *******************************************************************

    The REALLY neat thing about stupid articles like this one is the comments below them!
    SO MUCH GREAT HUMOR AND WIT (and excellent science!) ABOVE (so little time to acknowledge)…

    “… the Sun died!” — Alan the Brit
    “dig up the Viking graves…” — Mike McMillan
    “permafear” — Charles the Mod (good to see you! #(:))
    “Beethoven decomposing” — Kelvin Vaughan

    and many others… .

    Thanks, everyone!

  86. Steven Mosher says:

    “Patrick says:
    April 8, 2014 at 1:22 am
    “Methane is 33 times more effective at warming the Earth on a mass basis and a century time scale relative to carbon dioxide.”

    At ~18ppBILLION/v I don’t think so!”

    ###############
    Physics doesnt care what you think.

  87. asybot says:

    @ John,April 8, 2014 at 4:07 am

    And in 10 years, when the warming productions continue to fail, they’ll switch from methane to ????
    answer: Oxygen.

    @captainfish, wanna go halfsies?

  88. Steven Mosher says:

    “sophocles says:
    April 8, 2014 at 1:52 am
    You notice the current concentration of methane in parts per BILLION are never mentioned ..
    just in case we get the idea that it’s all really rather trivial and nothing to get warmed up about..”

    #############
    This just in.
    The concentration of GCRs is less than methane, therefore they can have no effect
    The magnitude of tidal forces on the sun from the planets are really small, therefore they can have no effect.

    here is something else where the forces are tiny, but the effect significant

    http://arxiv.org/abs/0901.4597

    which explains this

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_anomaly

  89. Janice Moore says:

    @ asybot (12:07pm) lol.

    “We are going to EXPLODE!!!!” Can hear it now…

    And the Enviroprofiteers will be deeply invested Oxygen-sequestration … they’ll use parts off all those derelict windmills from the early 2000′s that have been just sitting there for decades, blighting the landscape from California to Maine… and build….

    Oxygen Suckers
    {taxpayer subsidized, of course…}
    (kinda nifty little double entendre there hm?, heh, heh, heh — WELL! if I don’t laugh at my own jokes, who will???!!! (smiling))

  90. Richard111 says:

    I read on a blog recently that people in Northern Ontario have given up on their gardens this year as the ground is frozen down to two metres! Ah, well. We shall see what we shall see.

  91. Patrick says:

    “Steven Mosher says:

    April 8, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Physics doesnt care what you think.”

    The reality is what I said is true. CH4 at ~1800ppb/v isn’t anything to worry about unless you want to eradicate all termites, healthy forest etc etc living on this rock. Physics dons’t care about that either.

  92. Owen in GA says:

    Patrick,

    While I understand your sentiment, Physics underlies everything! It’s just that most of the time a good approximation can stand in for the statistical mechanical or quantum mechanical presentation and describe the world “close enough”. Most of the other fields of science build on these approximations for their results, though occasionally a chemist (more often) or biologist (a little less often) will have to go back to the root physics to describe their problems. When you get right down to it everything we experience is a result of the fundamentals of Electromagnetic force, Strong and Weak Nuclear forces and gravity, with the conservation of Mass-Energy, momentum, angular momentum and spin and thermal dynamics/statistical mechanics rounding out the details.

    With that said, sometimes people misrepresent physics or simplify it beyond all reckoning.

  93. Patrick says:

    Physics is a science we use so that *WE* can better understand the physical and real world around us. The physical and real world, outside us and our understanding of it, has no concept of the science of physics.

  94. David A says:

    Russian scientist says…”The average annual temperature is getting higher, but the permafrost remains and has even started to spread. Why? An important factor is the snow cover. Global warming reduces it, therefore making the heat insulator for the permafrost thinner. Then even weak frosts are enough to freeze the ground deeper below the surface”

    And yet, NH snow cover has been flat for two decades at least, so , although I agree with him that there is no threat from melting permafrost, the snow cover changes he is referring to are regional and certainly not global.
    ————————————————————
    Mosher is back with his usual cryptic comments that make zero logical sense. “Physics doesnt care what you think.” and the author you critique never said it did, so your comment is meaningless. You then point out that small amounts of something’s have a strong affect. That is irrelevant, and the author never said there is nothing in the universe affected by small amounts of any substance. However in the thread several cogent comments were made about why the small methane increase has no measureable affect on warming. Yet you did not respond to those points so you lose the debate due to your usual habit of irrelevant criticism, and failure to address the actual valid points made.

  95. Dr. Strangelove says:

    This is the usual fear mongering. You cannot melt all the permafrost because most of it is hundreds of meters underground. Less than 1% is within 4 m deep. It melts by heat conduction which is very slow. Geothermal gradient is 25 C per 1,000 m depth. Permafrost below 4 m deep has been continuously warmed by heat flowing from 1,000 m deep for several hundred thousand years. Yet it still has not melted completely. To melt it from heat flowing from air above ground, the air temperature must over 25 C. So maybe all the permafrost will melt when Siberia becomes as warm as Hawaii and stay warm for 100,000 years.

  96. Permafrost may be crucial for understanding the current climate change.
    So … – although I a little late …

    The most important (for me) are those comments (and best I like them):
    “… we can dig up some of those Viking farmer graves still locked solid after 800 years.” (Mike McMillan)
    “… all the extra warmth and CO2 will make them grow really quickly.” (son of mulder).
    “… the High Arctic has the potential to remain a strong C sink …” (Joel O’Bryan)
    I would have added this sentence (in paper cited by Joel: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n1/full/nclimate2058.html):
    “… warming combined with wetting increased the CO2 sink strength by an order of magnitude. Further, wetting while relocating recently assimilated plant C into the deep soil decreased old C loss …”
    “Yes it is not AS old but it is old enough to have significantly depleted 14C.” (Crispin in Waterloo)
    That is true – Zimov, 2005. (http://forms.mbl.edu/sjp/pdf/readings/zimov_permafrost2005.pdf): “The 13C/12C isotope ratio of the permafrost reservoir is similar to that of soil, vegetation, and marine biota. Unlike these reservoirs, however, permafrost carbon is depleted in radiocarbon (14C).”
    Nowinski (2010, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2886135/): “Radiocarbon ages of heterotrophically respired C ranged from <50 to 235 years BP in July mineral soil samples and from 1,525 to 8,300 years BP in August samples, suggesting that old soil C in permafrost soils may be metabolized upon thawing.”
    “There is a lot more carbon in the trees that grow on melted ground than emerges from the frozen biomass, which if one has even half a clue, will be remembered, grew there in a former, warmer, time.”
    … and it’s also true.
    “But researchers have discovered that when these melted areas are thawed, the explosion of new growth of vegetation becomes a positive CO2 sink that sequesters carbon dioxide in greater quantities than that released from the thaw.” (Ron C.)

    The researchers of permafrost (as the authors commented paper) often think too “a straight line” or “exponentially”, but changes may be bell-shaped. These same warming which firstly releases of CO2 and CH4, also “CO2 and CH4” (after some time) begins to remove.
    Heterotrophic bacteria grow rapidly, the “tissue autotrophs” initially slower (according to this model: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/58/Cheetah_Baboon_LV.jpg). Described it Zech (2011, http://www.clim-past.net/7/501/2011/cp-7-501-2011.pdf) and Yu (2010,http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/yu2010/yu2010.html): “… results indicate that deep-sea-released CO2 during the early deglacial period (17.5 to 14.5 thousand years ago) was preferentially stored in the atmosphere, whereas during the late deglacial period (14 to 10 thousand years ago), besides contributing to the contemporary atmospheric CO2 rise, a substantial portion of CO2 released from oceans was absorbed by the terrestrial biosphere.

    Wetlands, created after thawing of permafrost, also accumulate huge amounts of C.
    Minaeva (2011.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/189567400: “The results show that carbon stocks in mineral soils are many times smaller than in waterlogged soils and an order of magnitude smaller than in bog soils. Mineral and bog soils are characterized by similar rates of carbon accumulation averaged over the entire period of their existence. The highest rate of carbon accumulation has been noted for the soils of waterlogged habitats …”
    Pries (2013, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.12058/abstract): “Areas with greater thaw also had the greatest primary production. Warming in permafrost ecosystems therefore leads to increased plant and old soil respiration that is initially compensated by increased net primary productivity.”

    Is it only “initially”?… and „future increases in old soil respiration will likely outpace productivity, resulting in a positive feedback to climate change?

    The strongest (and fast) melted permafrost in the 20′s and 30′s of the XX century (http://www.skepticalscience.com/pics/1_Fig.2loss-of-permafrost.png). During this time, the permafrost was a net source of CO2 and CH4. Currently is, and will be, a net sink (despite -notwithstanding the current – as a source – continuous increase gross; increase NPP permafrost was – however – and will be, even faster than the increase permafrost as a source of CO2 and CH4)

    Wang (2010. http://m.iopscience.iop.org/1755-1315/9/1/012004/pdf/1755-1315_9_1_012004.pdf): “The uncertainties related to our model simulations are mainly caused by the terrestrial vegetation …”„The rather ABRUPT INCREASE in modeled soil organic carbon after 1975 (Fig. 2c) reflects accelerated CO 2 enhancement of NPP (Fig. 3a) and an ABRUPT INCREASE in litter inputs to the soil system …”

    Biosphere of permafrost as a result global warming, so removed from the atmosphere (in the final effect) to the soil (remainders, humus, etc.) huge amounts carbon – much more than permafrost emits.

    The second conclusion of the above-cited paper Nowinski (2010): 6-8 thousand. years ago, today melting of permafrost, had to be covered by the vegetation, which now are mineralize …

    … as with this period of time (to the present day) have changed the concentration of methane?
    … and how varied the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere?

    Well, like this:
    Changes in the greenhouse gases CO2 and methane over the last 12,000 years. Methane (CH4) data from GRIP ice core, Summit Greenland (Blunier et al., 1995), and CO2 (http://books.nap.edu/books/0309095069/xhtml/images/p2000c604g73001.jpg)

    … and the temperature as follows: (http://www.realclimate.org/images//Marcott.png , http://www.seafriends.org.nz/issues/global/gisp2-apica.gif)
    (red line in the first graph, of course, you can omit – it’s typical “apples and oranges” …)

    We see that even the ice cores show that from about 7tys. years (with a long-term decline in temperatures up to LIA!) the amount (of atmosphere) of CO2 (and CH4 from 5 thousand. years BP) increased steadily!

    (.. well, unless we determine that the credibility of the cores in this case, is too small …)

    P. S. This comment (with completed the reference) I will send to the authors of research.

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