Thursday, January 25, 2007

Siberia's Once-Frozen Tundra Is Melting

WASHINGTON, October 12, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The landscape of Siberia is transforming. New lakes are forming in the north, while existing lakes are getting larger. Some buildings and houses built upon the permafrost are sinking and starting to crack.

What's more, scientists expect this process to speed up, because as the lakes thaw, they release carbon and methane into the air, which in turn contributes to global warming.
And now for the really bad news:

Vicious Circle

And, Siberia's problems affect not only Siberians. Walters found that melting permafrost in Siberia is releasing five times the amount of methane than was previously thought. And methane is a particularly potent greenhouse gas -- it is considered 20 times more damaging as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

This means that Siberia is not just suffering from the consequences of global warming but is also actively contributing to it.

Walters has compared the melting of the Siberian permafrost to a time bomb waiting to go off. Until her team published a paper in the science magazine "Nature" last month, few scientists had an accurate picture of how much methane was being released. Current climate-change models have not yet been updated to predict how Siberian permafrost will affect climate in this century.
But glogal warming is a myth and a hoax, right?


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