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Siberian Permafrost Melting

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the hot-domino-effects dept.

Science 1023

TeknoHog writes "New Scientist Reports on a remarkable runaway process of global warming that has been going on in Siberia for the past few years. 'Western Siberia has warmed faster than almost anywhere else on the planet, with an increase in average temperatures of some 3C in the last 40 years.' As a result, a million square kilometers (the area of France and Germany) of frozen peat bog have been found to be melting, according to Russian and international scientists. This releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas, which contributes to further global warming."

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1023 comments

Well shit, son! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300976)

Slap a Stirling on that thar peat bog!

Third Post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300980)

Cue neo-con denial in 3... 2... 1...

Re:Third Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301029)

lol what?

Re:Third Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301055)

This is GP speaking:
My previous post was meant to imply that the neo-con http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoconservatism_in_th e_United_States [wikipedia.org] population of slashdot would immediately deny that this had anything to do with global climate change.
Also: Fuck yeah on getting the third post!

Re:Third Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301134)

Gary Payton?
Enjoying your extra long summer?
Time to use the 1.7 mil exception and play for a contender. May I suggest backing up Nash at the point?

Re:Third Post (5, Funny)

PsychicX (866028) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301034)

Yes, as a representative of Standard Oil Co....ehm...I mean, Exxon, Mobil, and other oil companies, I would like to assure all of the slashdot readers that there is no such things as global warming. These are lies spread by liberal commie scientists with an agenda. We, on the other hand, are completely impartial and unbiased.

Re:Third Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301056)

Neo-con? Is that the Matrix prequel? Never heard of it. Happy now?

Re:Third Post (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301126)

shut the fuck up

Re:Third Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301158)

Ohhh, real scary slick. You're really intimidating over the internet...

Word From the Whitehouse (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300982)

Not real science! Not like important sciencetists in my administration tell me!

La-la-la-la-la! MMMMM!!! I can't hear your!!! La-la-la-la-la!!

The war is going well, we plan to fix Social Security if the stubborn opponents would just see reason! I have political capital to spend and I'm going to spend it!

La-la-la-la-la! MMMMM!!! Hoo-Hah! Yellow rose of Texas .. HMMM MMM MMM MMM MMM MMMMMMM!!! La-la-la! (Dick see if we can round up some more troops and invade Siberberia, lookin' for weapons, setting up democracy sorta thing) La-la-la-la!!!

Re:Word From the Whitehouse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300991)

No kidding. At some point "we need more data" turns into "Manhattan is under a foot of water." There's real stuff happening out there, and it ain't lookin' good.

(Cue the but humans have nothing to do with it trolls...)

More like... (0, Offtopic)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301040)

No kidding. At some point "we need more data" turns into "Manhattan is under a foot of water." There's real stuff happening out there, and it ain't lookin' good.

"Ok, the data about the .. uh .. beachfront property in Austin is lookin like we have some extra water from somewhere. We're lookin into it and as soon as we have some good, hard data, we'll have some esplanations."

Re:More like... (1)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301127)

You know what? I really, really hope Slashdot and many of its long time residents are still around in 2008. Slashdot is going to implode when Dick Cheney is elected.

Re:Word From the Whitehouse (1, Troll)

mjh49746 (807327) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301037)

Don't blame me. I didn't vote for that backwards, warmongering son of a bitch. :-(

Re:Word From the Whitehouse (-1, Offtopic)

darkonc (47285) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301068)

Don't blame me. I didn't vote for that backwards, warmongering son of a bitch. :-(

Neither did anybody else! [blackboxvoting.org]
(Anybody who flames me for hyperbole should be shot by a potato gun firing squad.)

Re:Word From the Whitehouse (0, Offtopic)

mjh49746 (807327) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301144)

It sure amazes me that some people are still trying to push those crooked Diebold voting machines on the voting public. Those people certainly have no shame at all.

Re:Word From the Whitehouse (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301092)

There is not a *single* scientific report that can prove Global Warming, even as a theory. It's only the nut-job-leftists that tout their unprovable theories as fact.

Come back to me in 1000 years when they've been able to tell the differente between Human intervention and the natural cycles of the planet and then we'll talk.

Word from Chicken Little (0, Troll)

lheal (86013) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301093)

"The sky is falling! It's all our fault!"

The climate on planet Earth has gotten less than a degree warmer in the last 150 years.

http://www.ecobridge.org/content/g_evd.htm#graph [ecobridge.org]

Re:Word from Chicken Little (2, Insightful)

haydon4 (123439) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301154)

The climate on planet Earth has gotten less than a degree warmer in the last 150 years.

I'd contribute it to the global cycle of change just like spring, summer, fall, and winter,
day and night, axial tilt, the tides, the ice age,
and the inevitability of mid-season on FOX.

But let's not jump to any conclusions.

Re:Word from Chicken Little (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301161)

Did you even read that link you're posting?

The bottom half of it is filled with fucking horrible things that the report states are a result of global warming.

If less than a degree is all it takes to screw us all over, then I say its way more than enough cause for concern.

Interestingly enough... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301165)

..this submission is a good example of why your statistics aren't representative of the real picture of climate change. When you say, "Hey, it's not even 1 degree warmer! Bok bok bok!", you're talking about average temperatures.

Meanwhile, some places -- like Siberia -- are heating up, while others -- like warm ocean currents that heat air -- are cooling down. So it's not surprising that some areas are getting hotter and some are getting cooler. The point is that we can see evidence that a climactic equilibrium that has existed for hundreds of years is now becoming much more dynamic and unpredictable. And we're probably to blame for at least some of it, and maybe most of it.

Anyway, the short version of this speech is: Averages are often terribly misleading statistics.

Re:Word From the Whitehouse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301111)

Wow, what a poster child of an ignorant, immature liberal idiot you are.

Re:Word From the Whitehouse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301142)

Wait, so are you for or against helping other countries?

Re:Word From the Whitehouse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301172)

And how is this just Bush's fault?

If global warming is real and such a big thing as everyone seems to think it is, it started LONG before 6 years go when Bush was elected.

At least pick valid reasons to pick on Bush. This is really stretching it.

Problematic, but some benefits (4, Interesting)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300989)

This is a serious problem, but there are a few small benefits in this. A lot of previously inaccessible things will be popping up -- animals that have been frozen for a long time will be accessible. It's like nature (or I guess millions of motorists) is doing the heavy lifting for us.

Again, from all the science it seems like global warming will be a catastrophe, but it would be nice to find a few more bog people.

And yes, I have a degree in anthropology.

Re:Problematic, but some benefits (1)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301004)

Again, from all the science it seems like global warming will be a catastrophe, but it would be nice to find a few more bog people.

Yeah, nice consolation prize. Like in Glengary Glenross - first prize is a trip to Hawaii, second prize is you're fired.

Re:Problematic, but some benefits (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301007)

No, second prize was steak knives. Third prize was you're fired.

Re:Problematic, but some benefits (1)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301024)

I like my version better.

Re:Problematic, but some benefits (2, Funny)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301033)

Well, I guess it's closer to the reality of global warming.

"Yes, I have a grant to find bogmen in Siberia, but I can't make it because of the catastrophic flooding..."

Re:Problematic, but some benefits (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301016)

A lot of previously inaccessible things will be popping up -- animals that have been frozen for a long time will be accessible.

What? Like, "Fred, Dino's at the door and he wants to disembowel you!"

Alternate energy source (2, Interesting)

Khyber (864651) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300994)

With all that methane being produced, you could surely turn that area into a methane farm. We've got engines that can run off methane, and those could be used as generators for power into the grid. This would be a good thing for Russia. Might as well take advantage of the energy that's about to come your way.

Re:Alternate energy source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301088)

Considering the scale of the area that's thawing out, I doubt that this will be practical. It's one thing to harvest methane over a couple of acres of land. It's quite another to do so over several thousand acres ...

Burning methane (4, Interesting)

Mal-2 (675116) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301096)

Not only that, but the waste products would be water and carbon dioxide. CO2 is of course a greenhouse gas, but one far less potent than methane. IIRC, it's a factor of about 100 to 1, which means that if one molecule of methane produces one molecule of CO2 when burned, you're solving 99% of the problem.

It is debatable whether 99% remediation is sufficient, but surely it's a good start. At the very least, it would be nice to use some of the energy produced in combustion to sequester the CO2 rather than dump it into the atmosphere.

Mal-2

yeah but it'll stink won't it? (0, Offtopic)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301097)

There is already methane in the atmosphere, but at too low a concentration for us to smell.

Methane being basically fart gas, what I want to know is at what concentration will living on Planet Earth smell like being inside a fat mans pants?

Re:yeah but it'll stink won't it? (3, Funny)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301187)

Methane doesn't have a smell, and it's not the primary component of farts. Profane Muthafucka has been working hard and long in his laboratory to answer the age-old question: what's in farts, why do they smell so bad, and why do I enjoy my own farts, but nobody else's?

The answer is that it's mostly hydrogen, which doesn't smell. The odor comes from organic compounds such as indole, skatole, and mercaptans, and the inorganic gas hydrogen sulfide. All of these compounds taken into the nose together, oddly enough, smell like poop.

The phenomenon of enjoyment of your own farts, but nobody else's farts is still something of a mystery to me. I am currently spending long hours in a closed box, alternately by myself and with a man eating Taco Bell burritos to find the answer. I am confident that this research might have some remote application to the war on terror, either for detecting bin Ladin, or for flushing him out. Literally.

Re:yeah but it'll stink won't it? (2, Informative)

eggstasy (458692) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301190)

Pure methane is odorless, but when used commercially is usually mixed with small quantities of strongly-smelling sulfur compounds such as ethyl mercaptan to enable the detection of leaks.
(from wikipedia)

Re:yeah but it'll stink won't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301199)

what I want to know is at what concentration will living on Planet Earth smell like being inside a fat mans pants?

For you? Immediately, if not sooner.

They're going to have to change the name.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300999)

... to Tempafrost.

Global warming (-1, Flamebait)

truckaxle (883149) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301001)

Global warming is faux science while intelligent design is worth teach as an alternative - yeah ok I buy that!

Re:Global warming (2, Insightful)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301120)

hey, Global warming is just a THEORY...

oh, I guess I should add that ID is just an idea, but I will omit that in order to dupe the retarded public.

In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301002)

... the globe warms YOU

TF Text from TFA (1, Redundant)

dadrox (900167) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301015)

THE world's largest frozen peat bog is melting. An area stretching for a million square kilometres across the permafrost of western Siberia is turning into a mass of shallow lakes as the ground melts, according to Russian researchers just back from the region.

The sudden melting of a bog the size of France and Germany combined could unleash billions of tonnes of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.

The news of the dramatic transformation of one of the world's least visited landscapes comes from Sergei Kirpotin, a botanist at Tomsk State University, Russia, and Judith Marquand at the University of Oxford.

Kirpotin describes an "ecological landslide that is probably irreversible and is undoubtedly connected to climatic warming". He says that the entire western Siberian sub-Arctic region has begun to melt, and this "has all happened in the last three or four years".

What was until recently a featureless expanse of frozen peat is turning into a watery landscape of lakes, some more than a kilometre across. Kirpotin suspects that some unknown critical threshold has been crossed, triggering the melting.

Western Siberia has warmed faster than almost anywhere else on the planet, with an increase in average temperatures of some 3 C in the last 40 years. The warming is believed to be a combination of man-made climate change, a cyclical change in atmospheric circulation known as the Arctic oscillation, plus feedbacks caused by melting ice, which exposes bare ground and ocean. These absorb more solar heat than white ice and snow.

Similar warming has also been taking place in Alaska: earlier this summer Jon Pelletier of the University of Arizona in Tucson reported a major expansion of lakes on the North Slope fringing the Arctic Ocean.

The findings from western Siberia follow a report two months ago that thousands of lakes in eastern Siberia have disappeared in the last 30 years, also because of climate change (New Scientist, 11 June, p 16). This apparent contradiction arises because the two events represent opposite end of the same process, known as thermokarsk.

In this process, rising air temperatures first create "frost-heave", which turns the flat permafrost into a series of hollows and hummocks known as salsas. Then as the permafrost begins to melt, water collects on the surface, forming ponds that are prevented from draining away by the frozen bog beneath. The ponds coalesce into ever larger lakes until, finally, the last permafrost melts and the lakes drain away underground.

Siberia's peat bogs formed around 11,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age. Since then they have been generating methane, most of which has been trapped within the permafrost, and sometimes deeper in ice-like structures known as clathrates. Larry Smith of the University of California, Los Angeles, estimates that the west Siberian bog alone contains some 70 billion tonnes of methane, a quarter of all the methane stored on the land surface worldwide.

His colleague Karen Frey says if the bogs dry out as they warm, the methane will oxidise and escape into the air as carbon dioxide. But if the bogs remain wet, as is the case in western Siberia today, then the methane will be released straight into the atmosphere. Methane is 20 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide.

In May this year, Katey Walter of the University of Alaska Fairbanks told a meeting in Washington of the Arctic Research Consortium of the US that she had found methane hotspots in eastern Siberia, where the gas was bubbling from thawing permafrost so fast it was preventing the surface from freezing, even in the midst of winter.

An international research partnership known as the Global Carbon Project earlier this year identified melting permafrost as a major source of feedbacks that could accelerate climate change by releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. "Several hundred billion tonnes of carbon could be released," said the project's chief scientist, Pep Canadell of the CSIRO Division of Marine and Atmospheric Research in Canberra, Australia.

Re:TF Text from TFA (4, Informative)

Atryn (528846) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301115)

estimates that the west Siberian bog alone contains some 70 billion tonnes of methane
Methane is 20 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide.
According to this [nef.org.uk] site, the approximate annual CO2 emissions worldwide is about 140M tonnes. If methane is 20 times as potent, that would be the equivalent of about 7M tonnes of methane. Using that number, the amount of methane contained in the peat bog is equivalent to 10,000 years of CO2 emissions at the current rate.

So I guess the remaining question is how fast this 70 billion tonnes of methane is actually entering the atmosphere (adjust properly for acceleration effects)...

Yeah it sucks, but.... (2, Funny)

mikejz84 (771717) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301021)

I'm will to bet you won't hear that many people in Siberia complaining.

Re:Yeah it sucks, but.... (5, Informative)

darkonc (47285) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301140)

Something similar is happening in Northern canada, and they are complaining. Polar bears are starving, the permafrost is turning into a bog, the hunting is getting messed up, and thawing ground is messing up buildings and other infrastructure designed with (no longer permanent) permafrost in mind.

And the polar ice cap is melting fast too... Most of us may live to see it all but disappear. Think of it as the mother of all ice cubes, and imagine what the melting is going to do --- dilute the 'drink' (which will change water density which will change ocean water flow, which will seriously mess with weather patterns) and once it finishes melting, it's function as a thermal buffer disappears and global warming will really start to hurt us.

I'm thinking that people are underestimating that last point.

Re:Yeah it sucks, but.... (2, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301153)

I'm will to bet you won't hear that many people in Siberia complaining.

You will if the ground turns to mud and their roads, houses, etc. begin to sink in it. Probably be about Avagadro's # of mosquitoes, too.

Look on the bright side (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301026)

Of course all of the liberals are going to turn around and claim that this validates their so-called "theory" of "global warming", and that therefore we can reverse this problem by imposing socialist restrictions on the right of industrial corporations to do business as they please. But the truth is, solid science suggests that its simply a result of natural changes in the ecosystem, and the solution is to allow markets to develop solutions that allow everyone to live better in the warmer world of the future.

And the fact of the matter is, we need more habitable land to accomodate the world's rising population, and getting rid of permafrost is a sure-fire way to increase the supply. If the methane is really a problem, the solution is to allow free enterprise to trap the gas and use it as an energy source. But it may be a better idea to let it rise, which will allow more people to enjoy warmer temperatures and probably boost the tourism industry in many parts of the world that are now too cold to be year-round vacation destinations. One thing is for sure: If anyone knows that Communism is a failure, it is the Russians, so there is no doubt that we are going to see a proactive solution instead of more socialist regulation.

Re:Look on the bright side (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301137)

actually, science suggests that it is caused by our belching out Green house gases and that global warming in the past has happened due to natural processes.

but what ever you republican scum.

Game (-1, Flamebait)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301030)

We all know how the comments are going to go. Everyone will get angry, no minds will be changed, and nothing new will be said. So moderators, I implore you to mod down every on-topic comment and up the off-topics and trolls. Spare us all this stupid argument again and fill this space with penis birds and goatse links. For the sake of the children.

Let me get this straight... (2, Funny)

acidradio (659704) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301031)

People who live in an area considered the "frozen hell" of this world are complaining about it finally warming up?

Re:Let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301117)

A Siberian nomad and his son hiking across the Russian tundra stop to make camp. The father with his dried up, frostbitten facial features settles down under the bear fur blanket with his son at his side. He asks his son what bedtime story he would like to hear, and his son says, "Daddy, can you tell me about how after we die we will go to the great lake of fire?"

Re:Let me get this straight... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301181)

People who live in an area considered the "frozen hell" of this world are complaining about it finally warming up?

1950: "Noooo, not the Gulog! I'll confess!"

2150: "Screw humid Disneyland, I'm going to Gulog!"
       

Contrast the responses (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301035)

American Left scientist: This is bald proof that Global Warming is occuring and causing climatic changes in our lifetime. The rise in greenhouse gasses since the advent of the Industrial Revolution matches the rise in global temperatures, giving further proof that humans are a key component in the climatic puzzle. By drastically reducing our fossil fuel emissions and other man-made greenhouse gasses, it should be possible to manage the expected warming trend. Acting now is absolutely necessary to keeping pristine environments like the Siberian taiga in their pristine state.

American Right scientist: This is interesting data. However a few degrees change over a short span of only 40 years is not indicative of any long-term trend towards either a cooling cycle or a heating cycle. Nevertheless, as the historical temperature has fluctuated greatly in the past and it seems that we are actually coming out of a trough, it seems reasonable to assume that a warming trend would be on the horizon. At the least, it should indicate that we need more study of the phenomenon.

European scientists: Ziss is clearly ze work of ze fat, stinking Americans and zer fat, stinking wives and cars.

Siberian citizens: Ya, I am sinkink dat I like za balmy weather.

Re:Contrast the responses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301176)

This is bald proof that Global Warming is occuring

Bald proof? Perhaps it should look into those "proof toupes" I'm always hearing about.

Re:Contrast the responses (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301197)

European scientists: Ziss is clearly ze work of ze fat, stinking Americans and zer fat, stinking wives and cars.

Do you have scientific evidence that fat people fart more? Maybe some are fat because they *don't* fart.
       

You can't see the master plan... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301044)

Clearly, Bush is deliberately doing nothing about global warming, so that the methane released by these peat bogs can be used as fuel when hes helped use up all the oil on the planet.

American jobs! (2, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301045)

[President] Bush refused to commit to an agreement reducing green-house gases because he wanted to "protect" American jobs. So what happens? USA continues to pollute! The results of pollution can be seen in the increase of skin cancers and asthma in America especially children. Others say that Louisiana, which appears to be sinking is also a victim of global warming.

That aside, one wonders what presidents eat when they get into the White House. How can one protect American jobs while exporting our entire industrial base with the so called out-sourcing?

PS: I am speaking as an American.

Re:American jobs! (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301078)

All real science I've ever seen shows global warming to be total bullshit. Also, we know from history that the planet goes through cycles of hot and cold (remember the fact that there was an Ice Age anyone?) so there's no proof that any changes in temperatures are from human causes.

Re:American jobs! (0)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301139)

You forgot to add that the so called ice age is a theory. What about this?

In the beginning, God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the garden of Eden...and the story goes on. In the beginning to the present day, no mention is made of the ice age - anywhere. Now that's strange.

Re:American jobs! (1)

evilpenguin (18720) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301156)

Could you give me the name of the peer reviewed journal in which you read your "real science" please?

The titles of the papers would be helpful as well.

Re:American jobs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301116)

Ozone depletion is a separate issue from global warming. CFCs have been phased out so as far as I know, ozone depletion shouldn't be as much of an issue now.

Not particularly scientific. (2, Interesting)

Reservoir Penguin (611789) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301046)

But as a native of Western Siberia I can confirm some very unusual weather patterns. For instance this summer has been so far very tropics-like. Around 35C during the day with 80%+ humidity. Very unusual...

What is Peat? (2, Insightful)

ugmoe (776194) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301054)

What is Peat?

http://www.waverley.gov.uk/waste/peat.asp#What%20i s%20Peat? [waverley.gov.uk] Peat is made of incompletely decomposed plant remains, which accumulate in waterlogged soils over thousands of years. It occurs because the natural processes of decay are prevented by the acidic water logging and depleted oxygen.

If the Siberian wasteland was covered with plants and water for thousands of years, doesn't that imply that during that time the wasteland was not frozen?

And, if it was not frozen, doesn't that imply that it was warmer in the distant past than it was in the recent past?

So, the question is, what caused that warming thousands of years ago and what is the "proper" temperature for the earth?

If the earth wants to return the tundra to a boglike state, more power to him!

Please don't interfere with the Bush bashing (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301099)

We wouldn't want any serious questions or conversation. It's much more fun to sling high school insults at a world leader. So, please, shut up.

Re:What is Peat? (1)

coshx (687751) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301132)

And, if it was not frozen, doesn't that imply that it was warmer in the distant past than it was in the recent past?

You're correct that the earth goes through warmer and colder phases. The problem is that these phases normally last millions of years, and the transitions between them are often extremely slow (unless some catastrophic event, like a meteor crash or global warming, occurs). What worries scientists is not that the earth is heading into a warmer phase due to natural occurrances, but rather the fact that the change is happening so rapidly, and is due to human factors.

New "Scientist" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301059)

*yawn* Call me when someone other than the New Scientist reports it.

Geeks: Do yourself a favor and find a more credible source for science news, one less prone to editorializing and baseless speculation. You don't need your science articles to try to do your thinking for you.

Don't panic! (1, Interesting)

ultraslacker (597588) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301060)

I'm sure our esteemed leader will put it in proper perspective just like he did with CO2 levels.

"We expel methane all the time...well, Laura and I do"

The world actually needs more bogs (4, Informative)

ugmoe (776194) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301070)

http://www.waverley.gov.uk/waste/peat.asp#What%20i s%20Peat? [waverley.gov.uk]

David Bellamy said, "We criticise people from the third world countries for not conserving their rainforests, but when it comes to our peat bogs which are actually a rarer habitat than the tropical rainforest, we are doing a much worse job". (The Times, Saturday November 25, 2000).

Exploitation by afforestation, conversion to agriculture and commercial peat extraction has destroyed much of our peat lands. In the last century we lost 75% of our blanket bogs and 94% of our raised bogs. Gardeners and horticulture used a staggering 2.55 million cubic metres of peat each year. In the UK there is less than 9,500 acres of near natural raised bog left.

Global warming (1)

M$ Agent 2 (897060) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301080)

Does this mean that the movie "The Day After" is comming true ? I mean its going to have its ups and downs I can imagine the sale of Ski's will skyrocket and the sale of swimming pools will plumet... all jokeing aside this isnt good...

Air is getting warmer inside heads too... (2, Interesting)

bornbitter (813458) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301090)

lol... I know this is going to be modded a troll, but has anyone taken into consideration that the earth has been warming up steadily for the past several thousand years? (give or take a millennia)

Hello, we are coming out of an ice age! I know I am one of the 'unwashed masses' when it comes to the science of Global Warming, so don't take this as an authority, but last I heard, the Earth fluctuates quite frequently (geologic time) in temperature, and the dinosaurs were enjoying world-wide tropics.

We very well may be causing this, which would be bad, but what if we are not?

Before you mod me down, remember, good scientists ask lots of questions, annoying questions.

The Unhealthy Valley. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301141)

The problem isn't so much that it's happenning, but the speed (relatively speaking) at which it's happenning. Also our contribution may be putting higher peaks, and deeper valleys in that curve.

Re:Air is getting warmer inside heads too... (4, Insightful)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301160)

Before you mod me down, remember, good scientists ask lots of questions, annoying questions.

Good scientists ask a lot of questions, but then they do research to try to find answers. The problem with this topic is that every jackass on both sides thinks he's an environmental scientist because he noticed Earth used to be hot or that it's really big or that we burn a lot of crap. Or, more likely, he heard someone on the radio who heard from "a scientist" that everything is going to either be okay or explode, depending on which station you listen to.

I wish everyone who didn't at least have a very strong chemistry background would just shut up about it. Which might be quite a few people on Slashdot, but every time my boss mentions it, he deserves to be punched in the mouth.

I don't know. I'm not one of those chemistry guys. I don't have the kind of equipment you'd need to measure this stuff. My stance on the issue is entirely based on the fact that I don't think it's a good idea to be pumping billions of tons of anything into the atmosphere, and that should get slowed down a little.

No, you are incorrect (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301193)

The earth hasn't really been steadily warming up for the last thousand years. What it did [noaa.gov] was suddenly and drastically warm up about ten thousand years ago. Since then it has been relatively steady in a single place.

Aside from this, the problem with global warming is that it does not represent the earth steadily warming up-- even if the earth had been steadily warming before human-caused global warming started. Instead, what we see is a decidedly non-steady, drastic, sudden, and accelerating trend in increasing temperatures right at the beginning of the industrial age.

We very well may be causing this, which would be bad, but what if we are not?

Then we're going to have to come up with entirely new models of how climate and atmosphere works, because the ones we have right now all say at the most basic level that if you drastically increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (and humanity has definitely done this) the climate changes.

Aside from this, think of it like this. Driving while drunk might kill you. However, what if it will not? Well, to what extent does the answer to this question matter? Because that's an outside chance at best.

Before you mod me down, remember, good scientists ask lots of questions, annoying questions.

Indeed, so in future if I were you I would stick to asking questions rather than randomly positing statements like "the earth has been steadily warming up for the last several thousand years" without finding backup for that.

What is the status of hydrogen fuel cells? (0, Offtopic)

sentanta (619440) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301101)

Mod me as off topic - but hasn't GM promised to deliver the first hydrogen fuel cell car by 2010? We're still burning fossil fuels like crazy, oil topped $66 dollars a barrel today (up 50%+ vs two years ago), and the new Chines middle class is the first generation buying cars.... We're fcuked.

we be fucked (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301102)

the worst ice age the earth ever saw was caused by methane deposits warming the globe rapidly and throwing the earth into a sever and quick ice age soon after.

Well I guess it wasn't so perma now was it? (1, Insightful)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301118)

Just like the "perms" my wife Betty-Lou get's down at the dang booteek or whateer that durned place is called. Yeap -- they call it a "permunant", but it just a stinkin bunch of moppy curls that done go way after a few weeks. And I always tell that woman she's throwin her $5 away, but she won't do no listenen!

But about this "perma" snow or whartever -- can you believe that?? Leave it to them Russkies to not even know how to make snow. Why them commies ain't never done nuthin right. Ain't nothin like good ol' USA snow, though I don't ever really see any here in Tennessee, American snow is the best. And I bet is stays frosty much longer than that phony snow from any commie or french country.

peer-reviewed? you're kidding. (1)

rangefinder (836739) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301133)

"ecological landslide that is probably irreversible"

"undoubtedly connected to climatic warming"

"The warming is believed to be a combination of...."

"suspects that some unknown critical threshold has been crossed"

It's stunning that this "sudden" event wasn't foreseen, and yet an often crushing certainty is paraded to explain it, and warn that it was inevitable, irreversible, etc. Exactly how often can the sky fall? Does anyone wonder why they're not taken seriously any more?

I know humans are probably causing.. (1)

dBLiSS (513375) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301146)

I know humans are probably causing some of the current global warming that has been going on, but is there any proof that this isn't a normal part of the earths climate cycle? I am all for being careful, and trying to reduce our affect on increasing global warming. BUT. Isn't possible that this IS a normal part of the earths climate cycle? For example the heat up before another ice age?

Anyone have any actual scientific input on this?

The orgy must end (4, Insightful)

nysus (162232) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301149)

The last 100 years has been just one big huge orgy of mass consumption and it still continues, spreading to developing countries like China. But anyone who thinks we can just continue to rape the globe forever with no consquences is delusional.

Question is, are we going to be stupid enough to continue down this wreckless path? Does humanity secretly have an unfulfilled death wish? Was World War II just a fluke or was it a flash of the selfish inhumanity really lies within each of us?

Listen I'm willing to admit I'm part of the problem. I recognize things have to change. Each of needs to wake up, find a way to snap out of these unsustainable lifestyles we all lead and avoid the terrible consequences that surely await us if we don't.

Let's quit being fucking idiots. What do we need to do?

Top Real Estate in 70 years (1, Troll)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301155)

I've heard that one of the reasons that the Russians didn't sign the Kyoto Agreement was because they are tired of the cold and *want* a warmer country.

Global warming may be good for *some* countries.
       

Re:Top Real Estate in 70 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301189)

but they did sign the Kyoto treaty!

"Global" "Warming"? (1, Insightful)

That's Unpossible! (722232) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301191)

'Western Siberia has warmed faster than almost anywhere else on the planet, with an increase in average temperatures of some 3C in the last 40 years.'

Hmm. Sounds like local warming, not global warming.

In my opinion, you can't believe anything you read about "global warming" or "climate change" -- for or against the idea -- because there's so much bullshit coming from both sides pushing their agendas.

I am listening to Michael Crichton's STATE OF FEAR book, and I'll admit I have my doubts now about global warming claims. Or at least I'm more skeptical now about claims from either side. Suffice it to say, Crichton is normally a very astute researcher for his books, even though he obviously bends the truth to make his fiction more interesting.

What if we just all try to not waste as much stuff (food, electricity, natural resources), and assume it'll help?

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