25 August 2008

You Know That Old Joke About Oceanfront Property In Arizona?

May not be a joke in a few decades.

From Discovery News comes this wonderful news:

Locked away in the frozen soils of the Arctic tundra, there lies a ticking time bomb.

Nothing more than accumulated leaves, roots and other plant matter, the unassuming detritus is rich in carbon, giving it the power to dramatically enhance the effects of global warming should it ever get into the atmosphere. But for now it mostly lies dormant, in cold storage in the permafrosts of Siberia, Alaska, and Canada.


In a study published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience,
[the team of researchers at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks] estimate there may be almost 100 billion tons of carbon in the first meter of soil alone.
(emphasis mine)

In the permafrost.

Which is starting to thaw.

That's equivalent to about a quarter of the amount currently in Earth's atmosphere, or 10 years' worth of global emissions from human activity.

Read the whole article here.

No comments: