Methane has been locked in the permafrost of the far north for thousands of years, but it is being released because of the thaw associated with global warming. The permafrost has been thawing rapidly over the last three decades and if this trend continues the consequences could be catastrophic. Referred to as a methane pulse, vast amounts of this destructive GHG could be released into the atmosphere. This will profoundly exacerbate global warming and may push us pass irreversible tipping points.
Methane is one of the worst greenhouse gases because it stays in the atmosphere more than 20 times longer than carbon dioxide. More methane equals more warming and the release of even more methane.
For more information see NBC’s series called “Changing Planet” which explores the impact that climate change is having on our planet. Information in this series is provided by the National Science Foundation.
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A Primer on Greenhouse Gases
Video – Massive Costs Associated with Arctic Methane
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More Evidence that Arctic Warming is an Economic and Ecological Time Bomb
Why the Fate of the Arctic Should be of Concern to Us All
The Dramatic Implications of Melting Arctic Sea Ice
Melting Arctic Ice is Releasing Massive Amounts of Methane
Video – Arctic Warming: Risks for Methane Emissions
Environmental Tipping Points
Bill McKibben: Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math