As much as 44 billion tons of nitrogen and 850 billion tons of carbon stored in arctic permafrost, or frozen ground, could be released into the environment as the region begins to thaw over the next century as a result of a warmer planet according to a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey. This nitrogen and carbon are likely to impact ecosystems, the atmosphere, and water resources including rivers and lakes. For context, this is roughly the amount of carbon stored in the atmosphere today. http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=3436Whaddya mean - when this region begins to thaw? Ask the Inuit and Dene in the north - the permafrost is already thawing!
At his home in Arviat on the western shores of Hudson Bay, the snow is arriving later and melting sooner. Hunters are falling through the ice or becoming trapped in slush. Polar bears are so desperate for food that they are raiding the town’s garbage dumps.
Or watch the video below.....
And just in case you have forgoten that what happens in the Arctic affects us in the south, George Monbiot described the effects of Arctic melt on our food supply here.
The jet stream is a current of air travelling eastwards around the upper northern hemisphere. It separates the cold wet weather to the north from the warmer, drier weather to the south. Wobbling along this ribbon are huge meanders called Rossby waves. As the Arctic heats up, the meanders slow down and become steeper. The weather gets stuck. Stuck weather is another way of saying extreme weather. If the jet stream is jammed to the north of where you are, the weather stays hot and dry, and the temperature builds up – and up. If it’s lodged to the south of you, the rain keeps falling, the ground becomes saturated and the rivers burst their banks. This summer the UK and the US seem to have found themselves on opposite sides of stuck meanders, and harvests in both countries were savaged by opposing extremes of weather.
Spewing more carbon into the atmosphere is going to kill off the human species. Selling more oil faster is just plain suicidal. The Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline is an EXTREMELY stupid idea - speeding up the export of oil from the tar sands will ACCELERATE climate change.