Update: Melting permafrost and Global Warming

Hurricane IreneBy: Roger Greenway. 

You have probably heard that melting permafrost is a big contributor to increasing the levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, and that melting permafrost may even cause an unstoppable acceleration of global warming.

New research, however, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), counters this widely-held scientific view that thawing permafrost uniformly accelerates atmospheric warming, indicating instead that certain arctic lakes store more greenhouse gases than they emit into the atmosphere.

The study, published this week in the journal Nature, focuses on thermokarst lakes, which occur as permafrost thaws and creates surface depressions that fill with melted fresh water, converting what was previously frozen land into lakes.

The research suggests that arctic thermokarst lakes are “net climate coolers” when observed over longer, millennial, time scales.

Read the rest at: ENN

29 Responses to Update: Melting permafrost and Global Warming

  1. Rob N. Hood August 11, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

    Accept that water (unfrozen) absorbs heat much much more than ice/snow. So this doesn’t pass the smell test for me. And, methane is a hugely greater greenhouse gas than CO2. So….

    And another thing: many people posting here (ahem, not naming any names) have indicated and/or alluded to the “enviro-nazi” agenda of some if not all environmentalists/green movements. To wit- the ultimate reduction in the human population for the benefit of the earth and nature. There’s obviously no proof of this, and flies in the face of the fact that what they try to do is reduce or eliminate things that are detrimental to humans. Aside from the obvious “green marketing” fad, this logic, or illogic, is glaring. If this was some kind of conspiracy with global aspects, or even non-global aspects the conspirators would be very pleased with global warming, etc. They would also be QUIET about it, even to the point of trying to quell any and all concerns. Sound familiar? Yes, but I am NOT saying this site is a psy-ops or “reverse propaganda” operation. Although using the same conspiratorial logic that you guys use, it could be…??!!

    • Neilio August 11, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

      Your facts are not correct there RNH. There is no difference in the heat absorbtion rate between frozen water and liquid water. It depends entirely how much heat is applied and how close to equilibrium the water/ice and the heat source are. You may be describing latent heat. That is the heat absorbed during a change of phase, from solid to liquid, or liquid to gas, when heat is absorbed but the temperature of the substance does not change. Other than that the substance is the same chemical compound and its chemical properties don’t change from phase to phase.

      On your other point, I don’t know….. Should we not take THEIR OWN WORDS about it?

      1. UK Television Presenter Sir David Attenborough: “We are a plague on the Earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now”

      2. Paul Ehrlich, a former science adviser to president George W. Bush and the author of “The Population Bomb”: “To our minds, the fundamental cure, reducing the scale of the human enterprise (including the size of the population) to keep its aggregate consumption within the carrying capacity of Earth is obvious but too much neglected or denied”

      3. Paul Ehrlich again, this time on the size of families: “Nobody, in my view, has the right to have 12 children or even three unless the second pregnancy is twins”

      4. Dave Foreman, the co-founder of Earth First: “We humans have become a disease, the Humanpox.”

      5. CNN Founder Ted Turner: “A total world population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.”

      • Neilio August 11, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

        Ooops! I forgot these. 🙂

        6. Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso about medical patients with serious illnesses: “You cannot sleep well when you think it’s all paid by the government. This won’t be solved unless you let them hurry up and die.”

        7. David Rockefeller: “The negative impact of population growth on all of our planetary ecosystems is becoming appallingly evident.”

        8. Environmental activist Roger Martin: “On a finite planet, the optimum population providing the best quality of life for all, is clearly much smaller than the maximum, permitting bare survival. The more we are, the less for each; fewer people mean better lives.”

        9. HBO personality Bill Maher: “I’m pro-choice, I’m for assisted suicide, I’m for regular suicide, I’m for whatever gets the freeway moving – that’s what I’m for. It’s too crowded, the planet is too crowded and we need to promote death.”

        10. MIT professor Penny Chisholm: ”The real trick is, in terms of trying to level off at someplace lower than that 9 billion, is to get the birthrates in the developing countries to drop as fast as we can. And that will determine the level at which humans will level off on earth.”

        • Neilio August 11, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

          And these.

          11. Julia Whitty, a columnist for Mother Jones: “The only known solution to ecological overshoot is to decelerate our population growth faster than it’s decelerating now and eventually reverse it—at the same time we slow and eventually reverse the rate at which we consume the planet’s resources. Success in these twin endeavors will crack our most pressing global issues: climate change, food scarcity, water supplies, immigration, health care, biodiversity loss, even war. On one front, we’ve already made unprecedented strides, reducing global fertility from an average 4.92 children per woman in 1950 to 2.56 today—an accomplishment of trial and sometimes brutally coercive error, but also a result of one woman at a time making her individual choices. The speed of this childbearing revolution, swimming hard against biological programming, rates as perhaps our greatest collective feat to date.”

          12. Colorado State University Professor Philip Cafaro in a paper entitled “Climate Ethics and Population Policy”: “Ending human population growth is almost certainly a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for preventing catastrophic global climate change. Indeed, significantly reducing current human numbers may be necessary in order to do so.“

          13. Professor of Biology at the University of Texas at Austin Eric R. Pianka: “I do not bear any ill will toward people. However, I am convinced that the world, including all humanity, WOULD clearly be much better off without so many of us.”

          14. Detroit News Columnist Nolan Finley: “Since the national attention is on birth control, here’s my idea: If we want to fight poverty, reduce violent crime and bring down our embarrassing drop-out rate, we should swap contraceptives for fluoride in Michigan’s drinking water.

          We’ve got a baby problem in Michigan. Too many babies are born to immature parents who don’t have the skills to raise them, too many are delivered by poor women who can’t afford them, and too many are fathered by sorry layabouts who spread their seed like dandelions and then wander away from the consequences.”

          15. John Guillebaud, professor of family planning at University College London: “The effect on the planet of having one child less is an order of magnitude greater than all these other things we might do, such as switching off lights. An extra child is the equivalent of a lot of flights across the planet.”

          • andrew September 3, 2014 at 11:12 pm #

            the thing is, although I have no love at all for those scumbag elites who would happily kill off billions of us great unwashed so to speak, the fact is that we DO need to drastically reduce the human population. but I think we ought to begin by culling all the psychopaths among us. wait a minute…that means most of the folks who in power, in both government and corporations. how about this: the elites should lead by example. they can go first, since they are so concerned about the planet. we will appreciate your sacrifice for the good of the earth, oh masters.

          • Neilio September 4, 2014 at 5:06 am #

            Don’t buy in to this overpopulation nonsense. People have been freaking out ever since Paul Ehrlich’s The Overpopulation Bomb came out in the 60’s. That book has been thoroughly debunked by reality. Not one single prediction in it came to pass. The truth is that populations are declining in developed nations. If you want to control population the best way to do it is to get underdeveloped, and developing countries developed.
            There are always new technologies and improvements that expand resources too.

    • Neilio August 11, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

      16. Democrat strategist Steven Rattner: “WE need death panels. Well, maybe not death panels, exactly, but unless we start allocating health care resources more prudently — rationing, by its proper name — the exploding cost of Medicare will swamp the federal budget.”

      17. Matthew Yglesias, a business and economics correspondent for Slate, in an article entitled “The Case for Death Panels, in One Chart”: “But not only is this health care spending on the elderly the key issue in the federal budget, our disproportionate allocation of health care dollars to old people surely accounts for the remarkable lack of apparent cost effectiveness of the American health care system. When the patient is already over 80, the simple fact of the matter is that no amount of treatment is going to work miracles in terms of life expectancy or quality of life.”

      18. Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger: “All of our problems are the result of overbreeding among the working class”

      19. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”

      20. Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger: “The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”

    • Neilio August 11, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

      21. Salon columnist Mary Elizabeth Williams in an article entitled “So What If Abortion Ends Life?”: “All life is not equal. That’s a difficult thing for liberals like me to talk about, lest we wind up looking like death-panel-loving, kill-your-grandma-and-your-precious-baby storm troopers. Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides.”

      22. Alberto Giubilini of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia and Francesca Minerva of the University of Melbourne in a paper published in the Journal of Medical Ethics: “[W]hen circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible. … [W]e propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide,’ to emphasize that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus … rather than to that of a child. Therefore, we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk.”

      23. Nina Fedoroff, a key adviser to Hillary Clinton: “We need to continue to decrease the growth rate of the global population; the planet can’t support many more people.”

      24. Barack Obama’s primary science adviser, John P. Holdren: “A program of sterilizing women after their second or third child, despite the relatively greater difficulty of the operation than vasectomy, might be easier to implement than trying to sterilize men.

      The development of a long-term sterilizing capsule that could be implanted under the skin and removed when pregnancy is desired opens additional possibilities for coercive fertility control. The capsule could be implanted at puberty and might be removable, with official permission, for a limited number of births.”

      25. David Brower, the first Executive Director of the Sierra Club: “Childbearing [should be] a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license … All potential parents [should be] required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.”

    • Neilio August 11, 2014 at 5:34 pm #

      26. Thomas Ferguson, former official in the U.S. State Department Office of Population Affairs: “There is a single theme behind all our work–we must reduce population levels. Either governments do it our way, through nice clean methods, or they will get the kinds of mess that we have in El Salvador, or in Iran or in Beirut. Population is a political problem. Once population is out of control, it requires authoritarian government, even fascism, to reduce it…”

      27. Mikhail Gorbachev: “We must speak more clearly about sexuality, contraception, about abortion, about values that control population, because the ecological crisis, in short, is the population crisis. Cut the population by 90% and there aren’t enough people left to do a great deal of ecological damage.”

      28. Jacques Costeau: “In order to stabilize world population, we must eliminate 350,000 people per day. It is a horrible thing to say, but it is just as bad not to say it.”

      29. Finnish environmentalist Pentti Linkola: “If there were a button I could press, I would sacrifice myself without hesitating if it meant millions of people would die”

      30. Prince Phillip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II and co-founder of the World Wildlife Fund: “In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, in order to contribute something to solve overpopulation.”

      So…… Does that count? It’s enough for me to think that there might be something to it.

    • Neilio August 11, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

      Actually the more I think about it….. What is cold? Cold is the absence of heat, so something cold has much more capacity to absorb heat than the same substance at a higher temperature. So frozen water would actually absorb heat faster than liquid water. If you set a block of ice next to a container with the same amount of liquid water next to each other the liquid will equalize with ambient temperatures before the ice does but that is only because the ice has to absorb a lot more heat to equalize to ambient temperatures than the liquid water that already has a much higher heat content and is closer to the ambient temperature already.
      But if you change the ambient temperatures by, say, putting the block of ice, and the container with an equal amount of liquid water in it, into an oven and turn the oven up to 10,000 deg., I bet the ice doesn’t last much longer than the liquid. Before you know it, all of the water will be superheated steam.
      I think the only advantage liquid water has over ice is that the liquid will develop convection currents while it is being heated, and the ice can’t until it goes through the phase change to liquid. But as far as actual absorption rates? I’m not real sure about that. The absorption rate would be the maximum capacity to absorb heat for any given substance. I do know for a fact that the greater the temperature difference, the greater the transfer of heat so when the equalization is nearly complete the absorption rate is nowhere near its maximum capacity.

  2. Rob N. Hood August 11, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    “Except”- typo

  3. Rob N. Hood August 11, 2014 at 9:10 pm #

    Except you forgot or ruled out radiated heat. And I could post a long list of greenies who don’t endorse assisted population reduction in any form. So that’s a bust. We all know or have read these quotes- what has been done in reality to support their beliefs? Nothing. Only war and abortion are the current voluntary/societally accepted (mostly) reducers, Or am I missing something? It’s the conservatives who would like nothing better than to cut programs that help people such as food stamps and health care- that could/would reduce the population directly as a result. So once again the political facts definitely muddy the waters.

    • Neilio August 11, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

      Ok. You are talking about the albedo effect. Then, in that context, you would be right. But that is ice and snow reflecting sunlight, and does not really have anything to do with ice and snow’s capacity to absorb heat. So, in that context I am right. So what you are saying is that the pools of liquid water won’t reflect the radiation and will absorb it causing it to warm even more. I can’t disagree with that, but the whole concern about that effect occurring was that it would release more greenhouse gases which is what this article says isn’t. They do say that they may contribute to warming due to the initial release of methane but in the long term will absorb more CO2 than they will ever release. I thought it was interesting.
      As far as the other thing, I would like to see a list of quotes like you describe.

  4. Fietser August 11, 2014 at 11:31 pm #

    You see how this blog is biased editing out important information?

    “It is true that they do warm climate by strong methane emissions when they first form, but on a longer-term scale, they switch to become climate coolers because they ultimately soak up more carbon from the atmosphere than they ever release.”

    It really doesn’t matter if in the long run over millennia they will soak up some of the carbon again, the damage by then is already done.

    Another blog post busted.

    • Neilio August 15, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

      No I don’t see that because that was in the article I posted. How can you accuse me of editing out information that is in the article? That is just stupid!!
      I’ll admit that I am biased. I don’t believe in human caused global warming, and I will post stories that support my view, and I will not post stories that support a competing view. But I have that prerogative! I am exercising my free speech rights and I don’t care if you disagree, or claim I’m “cherry picking”, or whatever!
      You can either argue with me, disagree, or not read what I have to say. I don’t care. You are not going to change your view, or even consider changing your view because you are hardcore believer in human caused global warming. And because you have already made up your mind and closed it to any alternatives anything I say will be lost on you.
      But you are making sh*t up! You say I’m editing things out that I have not edited out, and that thing you say I edited out is in the story I posted!
      I can tell by your responses to some things that you only read the very first part of the stories posted here, and you don’t click the link to read the full story. It is obvious. You really should read the full story before you go off half cocked and accuse me of something that I didn’t do. It might make you look like a stupid idiot.

      • Fietser August 18, 2014 at 3:46 am #

        Then why didn’t you post the full quote? Is the truth to hard to bear for you?

        • Neilio August 18, 2014 at 8:07 am #

          Um, what? You obviously don’t understand how this blog is set up.
          I am a guest blogger here and I have no control, or even any input, as to how this website is set up. There are certain rules I have to follow in posting stories here. One of them is that we post the first few paragraphs of a story then provide a link to the original so you can read the entire story where it is actually published. I don’t know for certain but I suspect this is done so we are directing traffic to the websites the stories come from so they don’t sue us for stealing stories from them. So if you are too lazy to click on the link and read the rest of the stories, then that is your problem, not ours. So don’t give me this whiny BS about not posting the whole quote. I mean seriously, a person of your obviously superior intellect should be able to figure that out without crying like a newborn. Shouldn’t you?

  5. divergent August 16, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

    Geo-engineering and solar radiation management programs that are in place now, (aka. chemtrails), can make it hot or cold, it all depends on what the powers to be want it to be. It is all a big hoax. They claim we did it and we need to cut our carbon footprint, but yet the powers to be do not make things that will last a lifetime, do they. They make junk that has to be replaced consistently. The whole thing is a hoax. When I can buy products that will last a lifetime, that is when I will believe them. Everything is made to not last on purpose. How can the consumers possibly be at fault? I would love to reduce my carbon footprint by not having to constantly replace the junk that is made these days by the powers to be, but the powers to be wouldn’t get rich and live like kings, while they blame the peasants; now would they. Better drink some more of the koolaid.

    • Neilio August 16, 2014 at 5:37 pm #

      Chem trails? Really? So, what is the chemical in the chem trails? You seem to know so much about it, can you even answer that simple question? I got news for you, chem trails are an urban legend. I used to live in St. Paul, MN., not real far from MSP airport, and there were days where every single plane that flew overhead left a contrail, and there were days when no planes left a contrail. Unless every airline is involved in the conspiracy, and are able to keep the fueling crews silent, and all the crew members silent, and anyone else involved with adding chemicals to the fuel or the secret pods they store the chemical in then it is unlikely there is a huge conspiracy to do that. My brother works for Delta, and he would be one of these people of which I speak. And if there was something like that he would tell me, because he tells me everything else, if it were going on he would not work for them as his ethics would not allow him to stay on. Contrails are made up of water vapor and exhaust particles, and they only occur at certain temperatures and pressures. There are no chem trails.

      I work for Sears as a refrigeration technician and I can tell you with certitude that they don’t make things like they used to because they can’t. Many people think they make things not to last on purpose, but it is actually a result of a combination of economic factors and regulations. Materials cost money. Labor costs money. And especially refrigerators with all the EPA regulation of refrigerants, and energy efficiency mandates by other govt. regulations on pretty much everything else they can’t make things like they used to because if they did the unit costs would be too high, so high that very few people could afford them, and they would also be in violation of a myriad of govt. rules and regulations.

      I’m afraid that it just may be that your upper lip is purple.

  6. Rob N. Hood August 17, 2014 at 8:11 am #

    The solar industry now employs at least 142,000 people in the United States. Solar workers outnumber coal miners in this country. In Texas, solar supports more jobs than ranching and California has more solar workers than actors. Wind jobs are growing fast too. They hit a total of 80,000 last year.

    And there’s this little bit of factoid phrase for good ol Neil: planned obsolescence. Chem trails may not be real (they aren’t) but P.O. certainly is.

    • Neilio August 17, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

      I am not surprised at the number of jobs for these “alternative energy” industries. Just goes to show how expensive it is, and it still doesn’t compete, not even a little bit, with the power production of coal. Those outnumbered coal miners produce gigajoules more in energy per year.

      As far as planned obsolescence, I have been working on all major brands of refrigerators for almost ten years now, and at the beginning I was a firm believer in planned obsolescence. But working on these products has made me aware of some things that make me discount it.
      First off, how do you design something to fail at a certain point? As far as I know the engineers who design refrigerators are not that smart. Sure, they use inferior, cheap materials but that factors into the cost. They also design things to be made from as little plastic as possible, and some manufacturers design things to snap together to avoid using fasteners. These things weaken structures, and reduce the life expectancy of units.
      Secondly. Unless they have been doing planned obsolescence from the beginning of the industry, why are failure rates the same now as they have been historically? Between 6%-8% of everything manufactured fails in the first year. You can go online and read all about how people are pissed off about their refrigerators failing and it can give the impression that everything is junk. But! The only reason it seems like a lot more units fail than they used to is just a product of the fact that they make way more machines now than they did even 20-30 years ago by orders of magnitude. So 6%-8% of 1000 is a much smaller number than 6%-8% of 1,000,000.
      Really, the only thing that has changed is the life expectancy from 25-30 years to 10-15 years but that is not a result in specific planning for that outcome. It is a consequence of using cheaper materials, and low paid laborers who don’t care. But I’m sure the manufacturers aren’t exactly shedding any tears over that fact. It’s not planned obsolescence, it’s just the state of modern manufacturing.

      • Neilio August 17, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

        I am not saying that there is no such thing as planned obsolescence. Light bulbs were a good example of that, we’ve all heard that story so we know that it does happen. I’m just saying that it’s not as widespread as some people think, and some things that are thought to be planned obsolescence are really just a result of other factors. I talk about refrigerators because that’s where I have some expertise on the matter. And trust me, refrigerator design engineers are not that smart.

  7. Fietser August 18, 2014 at 3:48 am #

    Can any climate denier here explain why the permafrost is thawing like the article says?

    • Neilio August 18, 2014 at 7:52 am #

      Because the climate is changing. We here do not deny that the climate is changing. It always changes and it is a natural process. This is a point I have made repeatedly over the years. What we do dispute is that the climate is changing due to human activity. The real question is why is it thawing even though there has been no global warming for more than 18 years? I, and I admit I have no expertise in permafrost, think it is probably something to do with a timescale of a cycle. Maybe permafrost is not as permanent as its name suggests, and it has thawing and freezing cycles that we are not aware of caused by something other than air temperature? I say that with a question mark because I don’t know. what I do know is that it is hard to say that globalwarmingclimatechangedisruptiondying is the cause of the thawing with certitude. Think about this. How long have we been studying permafrost? And are researchers coming at it with a preconceived notion that it’s globalwarmingclimatechangedisruptiondying that is causing it to thaw?

      • Fietser August 24, 2014 at 10:22 am #

        What natural processes you’re talking about can thaw permafrost thousands and then thousands years old???

  8. John August 20, 2014 at 9:19 am #

    Have to agree with you Neil. As an engineer in the environmental energy sector, I’ve noticed a lot of things. First of all, these alternative energy generators do not work as advertised. Solar farms killing wildlife. Wind farms killing wildlife. And they do not work all the time. The sun only shines half the day and the wind doesn’t always blow. One thing no one is taking into consideration is the energy density of the source. Solar is barely at 8% efficiency even at its best. As I said before, the wind doesn’t always blow with enough capacity or at times too much. Coal, Oil, and Natural Gas have taken millions of years to create. All that energy from the sun tied up into the fossil fuels over time is what we use. We burn thousands of years worth of created compounds in a day. The only other source that has very dense energy is nuclear. Anyone remember Einstein?

    If we are committing the great sin of warming up our planet, why are the polar caps of Mars melting? I guess our SUVs here on earth is really plying the trade lanes of inter-solar system freeways. Global warming is a hoax. In the 70’s it was Global Cooling as we hit a minimum. And Global Warming “is” being driven by elitist groups that would love nothing better than the un-washed masses to just go away. But, you can’t tell that to someone who has been fed at the liberal pap for their entire lives.

    Wake up and smell the coffee. The only way the Elites get what they want is for a mass die-off of the human animal.

  9. Rob N. Hood August 21, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

    Instead of some elitist conspiracy to rid the earth of useless eaters, I believe many first world countries simply want to avoid complete global crisis/collapse and spend funds researching risk. Why? Because the less civilized (technologically, etc.) would drag down the first world too, thus undermining any true security and long-lasting leisure class. Talk about smelling the coffee. How about some logic?

  10. Rob N. Hood August 21, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

    A poll involving 20 countries and more than 16,000 people revealed that the United States leads the planet when it comes to ACD denial, finding that 52 percent of US citizens agreed with this statement: “The climate change we are currently seeing is a natural phenomenon that happens from time to time.” The United States was tied by India, and China was a close second.

    The United States also got the blue ribbon for having a scant 32 percent of its population disagree with this statement: “The climate change we are currently seeing is largely the result of human activity.” Australia, which just repealed its carbon tax, came in second with that statement, with 25 percent of its population saying they didn’t believe in ACD.

    Back in the real world, the US military is not letting polls nor politicians hinder its planning for ACD as it is pushing forward on strategies with partner nations to mitigate security effects resulting from ACD.

  11. jimbo September 2, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

    Water vapor remains the #1 greenhouse gas. No surprise that politicians aren’t clamoring about that one…

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