Saturday, September 23, 2017

Permafrost Carbon Sink Decreasing

I first began to become aware of the phenomenon of melting permafrost in the early 1980s when I read about tombstones of Alaska's early settlers tipping over because permafrost was melting. And now, a long time Alaskan resident that I met recently shared how winter's lowest winter temperatures in the Arctic are about 20 degrees above normal. Then I read about how it is the higher winter temperatures that are having the greatest influence in permafrost melting.

Search: Siberian Alaskan Arctic Permafrost


Previous Interglacials and Thermal Episodes

When one looks at the temperature graphs and paleontological evidence of previous interglacial periods and compares such with our current interglacial, one can't help but notice that we should have long ago hit the higher temperatures that we could easily have expected.

I consider the distinct likelihood that the comet swarm strike that kicked off the Younger Dryas Period is the cause of our lesser temperatures.

Note: Our currently artificially unsequestering vast amounts of CO2 in a relatively short period of time is amplifying the greenhouse effect.
If we continue with this as we have been, we can eventually expect to experience the beginnings of what was experienced due to prolonged heavy volcanic activity during the Paleocene/Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) 55 million years ago with CO2 Levels at 1500 ppm.

CO2 Currently Rising Faster Than The PETM Extinction Event:

65 million year temperature record:

Earth's geological temperature record:

Global Warming: Milankovitch Cycles

'Global warming skeptics' like to point out that previous interglacial periods achieved global temperatures a bit higher than what we have yet to experience. This is true. And interestingly, the probable reason that Earth has not experienced those higher interglacial temperatures this time around is the comet strike that induced  the 'Younger Dryas' mini-ice age 13,000 years ago which dampened the interglacial warming that had begun just before the comet strike. 

Since it's true that the higher previous interglacials' temperatures came about without the influence of artificially high CO2 levels, we know that these were the result of the natural Milankovitch cycle. 

We should note, however, that natural temperature changes induced by orbital variances do NOT occur so rapidly as what is occurring today.

We recognize now that the sudden current global temperature's rapid increase is being artificially fueled by CO2 releases. 

And because greenhouse gases endure for many centuries, we face the prospect of CO2 further amplifying any eventual natural temperature increases that the Milankovitch effect does induce.

Unlike the last interglacial that saw hippos basking in England, they'll someday be able to enjoy the fjords of Norway. Am I joking? Only time will tell. But, almost certainly Montana will some day be semi-tropical after ocean currents begin to shift. Am I joking? No, I'm quite serious. 
Climate change and ocean currents:

Milankovitch Cycles: