Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Earth Science News .




ICE WORLD
Arctic methane breach an 'economic time bomb'
by Staff Writers
Paris, France (AFP) July 24, 2013


Massive leakage of methane from thawing shoreline in the Arctic would devastate the world's climate and economy, a trio of scientists warned on Wednesday.

Billions of tonnes of this potent greenhouse gas are locked in the shallow frozen shelf of the Arctic Ocean, which warms when summer sea ice retreats as a result of the greenhouse-gas effect, they said in a contribution to Nature.

The team modelled what would happen if 50 billion tonnes, or gigatonnes (Gt), of methane escaped over a decade from the floor of the East Siberian Sea, covering two million square kilometres (772,200 square miles) of the Arctic Ocean off northeastern Russia.

"The methane release would bring forward the date at which the global mean temperature rise exceeds two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by between 15 and 35 years," said Chris Hope of Cambridge Judge Business School, part of England's University of Cambridge.

Gail Whiteman, a professor of sustainability, management and climate change at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, described the threat as an "invisible time bomb".

"The mean impacts of just this one effect -- $60 trillion -- approaches the $70 trillion value of the world economy in 2012."

The high cost is explained by damage to the climate system, reflected in worse floods, droughts, storms and heat stress, she said.

Eighty percent of the effects would occur in poorer economies in Africa, Asia and South America, according to their model, called PAGE09.

The estimates are based on how the added methane would affect two trends -- one for existing greenhouse-gas emissions, which are very high, and the other for lower emissions giving a more than one-in-two chance of meeting the UN's 2C warming target.

In an email exchange with AFP, Hope said that if the 50 Gt were released over 20 years, from 2015-2035, the cost would be around $64.5 trillion.

If the release were spread over 30 years, from 2015-2045, it would be $66.2 trillion.

"This is because more of the methane remains in the atmosphere in the period when impacts are expected to be higher in the latter half of this century," he said.

If 25 Gt were released, the cost in all scenarios would be roughly halved.

Scientists have long worried about methane locked up in shoreline sediments and also in permafrost on land.

Methane is 25 times more effective than carbon dioxide (CO2) in trapping solar heat.

The big concern is that the methane, if released to the atmosphere, adds to global warming, which thus accelerates the thaw, adding more gas and amplifying the temperature rise -- a "positive feedback," or vicious circle in climate terms.

But evidence for such a threat is sketchy, research into it is meagre and the conclusions often contested. Some experts also say there could be as-yet unknown mechanisms in permafrost thaw that may limit the methane leakage.

In 2008, Russian scientists writing in the journal Geophysical Research said they estimated 540 Gt of methane to be stored in the Siberian Arctic shelf. Of this, up to 50 Gt could be considered as being "highly possible for abrupt release at any time".

In 2010, another Russian team, reporting in Science, said they had found large amounts of leakage from perforated permafrost on the shelf.

In contrast, in 2011, another team, also Russian, said they saw evidence of outgassing in the East Siberian Sea. But they attributed this to a long-delayed consequence of the end of the last Ice Age, not from recent changes in the Arctic Ocean.

.


Related Links
Beyond the Ice Age






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ICE WORLD
Russia says evacuation of polar research station to cost $2 million
Moscow (UPI) Jul 15, 2013
The Russian government said Monday it has set aside $2 million to cover expenses caused by an urgent evacuation of a drifting polar research station. Preparations for an emergency evacuation of the North Pole 40 researcher station, referred to as SP-40, began in May as the ice floe it was situated on began to break up. SP-40, which was put into operation on Oct. 1, was originally ... read more


ICE WORLD
Malaysia says will get tough on illegal immigrants

More steam in Fukushima reactor building: TEPCO

Fukushima steam still baffling: TEPCO

The best defense against catastrophic storms: Mother Nature, say Stanford researchers

ICE WORLD
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who has the lowest noise of them all

Researchers seek metal-coating secrets of ancient gold-, silversmiths

Magnets make droplets dance

Delayed Shield game gadget to hit market on July 31

ICE WORLD
Scotland backs Hebrides conservation area despite fishing objections

Rapid upper ocean warming linked to declining aerosols

First global atlas of marine plankton reveals remarkable underwater world

From obscurity to dominance: Tracking the rapid evolutionary rise of ray-finned fish

ICE WORLD
Arctic methane breach an 'economic time bomb'

Ancient Antarctic ice got muddy

Russia blocks bid for Antarctic sanctuary: NGOs

Continuous satellite monitoring of ice sheets needed to better predict sea-level rise

ICE WORLD
Major global analysis offers hope for saving the wild side of staple food crops

Hunting said pushing central African forests to point of collapse

Britain funds agri-tech strategy to reinvent food supply chain

Scientists sound new warning for arsenic in rice

ICE WORLD
Tropical Storm Dorian forms in Atlantic

Rescuers battle to find China quake survivors

Quake shatters migrants' dream of better life for son

China quake survivors bury their dead

ICE WORLD
Covert U.S. flights could signal new Somalia action

Post-mortem on French operation in Mali

Nigeria to withdraw some troops from Mali

Climate change to hit Volta Basin for energy, farming

ICE WORLD
Japanese women retake top spot for life expectancy

Archaeologist says he's uncovered King David's palace

Brain signal said to create inner 'voice' we hear even if we're silent

Genetic evolution seen in peoples living at high altitudes




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement