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Member since: Mon Dec 19, 2016, 07:27 PM
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Massive Permafrost Thaw Documented in Canada, Portends Huge Carbon Release

Source: Inside Climate News

I realize many of us are still intellectually and emotionally dealing with the masses of fecal material the orange one flung around last night but I suspect that in the very near future we will have far larger issues to occupy our minds and bodies. Here's what I'm talking about.

"Huge slabs of Arctic permafrost in northwest Canada are slumping and disintegrating, sending large amounts of carbon-rich mud and silt into streams and rivers. A new study that analyzed nearly a half-million square miles in northwest Canada found that this permafrost decay is affecting 52,000 square miles of that vast stretch of earth—an expanse the size of Alabama."

Large sections of the Siberian permafrost are thawing and slumping (from the Cambridge University Press): "A megaslump at Batagaika, in northern Yakutia, exposes a remarkable stratigraphic sequence of permafrost deposits ~50–80 m thick."

Arctic ice coverage is at a historical low http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ and huge chunks of Antarctic glaciers are calving https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/02/07/science/earth/antarctic-crack.html .

What we are dealing with is exponential climate change. The concept of exponential change on a global scale is about as hard for the average person to conceptualize as what a billion dollars would look like in $100 bills (visualize 10 pallets each holding a ton of $100 dollar bills).

When I was a TA at university this is the image I used to help students understand exponential change:

"Imagine a tree full of leaves by a pond. On the first day the tree drops one leaf on the pond surface. The next day 2 leaves fall, the following day 4, and so on. Each day twice as many leaves fall on the pond as the day before. If on the 29th day half the leaves have fallen and the pond is half covered how many more days will it take until all the leaves have fallen and the pond is completely covered"

Some of you will immediately know but I suspect others will be surprised by the answer. Here's hint, I suspect that as far as the world goes we are very near day 29.

Houston we have a problem.

Read more: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/27022017/global-warming-permafrost-study-melt-canada-siberia
Posted by Rural_Progressive | Wed Mar 1, 2017, 02:50 PM (18 replies)
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