Durban alarmism: permafrost – again

It's all over, pal

Funny, isn’t it, that when a stack of emails is released just before a climate conference, revealing climate scientists behaving badly, it’s regarded as malicious, whereas those very same climate scientists are perfectly happy to release alarmist research in an attempt to bolster that very same climate conference. Oops, I forgot for a minute – this is the mainstream media, where double standards are simply par for the course.

Today’s dose of alarmism, courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald (currently battling it out with the ABC for top spot in the climate hysteria stakes):

The threat to climate change posed by thawing permafrost, which could release stocks of stored carbon, is greater than estimated, a group of scientists say.

By 2100, the amount of carbon released by permafrost loss could be “1.7-5.2 times larger than those reported”, depending on how swiftly Earth’s surface warms, they said.

In volume terms, this is about the same as the amount of greenhouse gases released today from deforestation, they say.

But the impact on climate could be 2.5 times greater, as much of the gas will be methane, which is 25 times more efficient at trapping solar heat than carbon dioxide (CO2), they say.

Deforestation today accounts for up to 20 per cent of total greenhouse-gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

The study, published in the British journal Nature, coincides with a 12-day UN conference on climate change, unfolding in Durban, South Africa.

It touches on one of the biggest sources of concern, but also a major area of uncertainty, in climate science.

Permanently iced land covers around a quarter of the land in the northern hemisphere.

In essence, it is a carbon store, holding in icy stasis the organic remains of plants and animals that died millions of years ago.

The worry is that as temperatures rise, the soils defrost, microbes decompose the ancient carbon and release methane and CO2 to the atmosphere. (source)

This is obviously a dumb question, but why didn’t this happen in any of the recent phases of the climate that were warmer than today? And if it did, well, we’re still here aren’t we? That’s the obvious logical flaw in all of these tipping point arguments – if the planet is balanced so precariously on a knife edge, fearful of even the tiniest nudge, how come the climate system hasn’t toppled over and spiralled towards either permanent snowball or permanent hot-house in the last few million years, from which recovery was impossible? Answers on a postcard (from Durban).

Global warming to melt permafrost

I literally cannot keep up with the alarmism today. The warm-mongers must sense they’re on a roll and are churning stuff out for all they’re worth. Now it’s the permafrost:

Global warming could cause up to 60 percent of the world’s permafrost to thaw by 2200 and release huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere that would further speed up climate change, a study warned.

Using projections based on UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios, scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Colorado estimated that if global warming continues even at a moderate pace, a third of the earth’s permafrost will be gone by 2200.

If the planet warms at a faster pace, the world could see 59 percent of the permanently frozen underground layer of earth thaw out; as that happens, organic matter that has been trapped in the permafrost for tens of millennia will begin to decay, releasing carbon into the atmosphere.

The NSIDC scientists then used a model to predict how much carbon the thawing permafrost would release and came up with the staggering figure of 190 gigatons by 2200.

“That’s the equivalent of half the amount of carbon that has been released into the atmosphere since the dawn of the industrial age. That’s a lot of carbon,” NSIDC scientist Kevin Schaefer, the lead author of the study, told AFP. [I assume he’s just being sloppy and really means carbon dioxide – Ed]

A gigaton is one billion tons, so 190 gigatons is the equivalent of around a billion tons of carbon entering the atmosphere each year between now and 2200.

Schaefer said carbon that would be released from melting permafrost has to be accounted for in global warming strategies.

“If we don’t account for the release of carbon from permafrost, we’ll overshoot the C02 concentration we are aiming for and will end up with a warmer climate than we want,” he said.

But all was not doom and gloom, he said. [Gee, really? – Ed]

“If we start cutting emissions now [ah, there’s the rub – Ed], we will slow down the thaw rate and push the start of this carbon release off into the future,” he said. (source)

Of course, as it states at the start, this is based on the hugely exaggerated IPCC projections of 6 degrees by 2100 or something. But even if we ignore that, why didn’t all this happen thousands of years ago when temperatures were higher in the Holocene Optimum? Or the MWP? [The MWP didn’t exist, remember? Ask Michael Mann – Ed.] Why didn’t the climate spiral out of control then? Is there something different between temperature rises caused naturally and those allegedly caused by man-made CO2 which makes them melt permafrost faster? So many questions and so few answers.

%d bloggers like this: