Friday, August 12, 2005
The sub-Arctic region of western Siberia, an area spanning more than a million sq km, is undergoing permafrost thaw on a scale previously unprecedented. The delicate climatic threshold which maintains permafrost has been breached. As this essentially frozen peat bog thaws it will potentially release sufficient quantities of methane (a greenhouse gas considerably more damaging than CO2) to significantly raise global temperatures. Climatologists are said to be 'alarmed' at the finding by Sergei Kirpotin (Tomsk State University, western Siberia) and Judith Marquand (Oxford University). Further details can be found in The Guardian and New Scientist (11th August 2005).