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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Methane levels rise, well, well, well

Hints of methane's renewed rise
Levels of the greenhouse gas methane in the atmosphere seem to be rising having remained stable for nearly 10 years.
Data from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) in the US suggest concentrations rose by about 0.5% between 2006 and 2007. The rise could reflect melting of permafrost, increased industrialisation in Asia or drying of tropical wetlands. Methane concentrations have shown small rises and falls during the years of stability, but rises have been associated with El Nino conditions which are known to induce more wildfires. Currently, the world is experiencing La Nina conditions, the opposite of El Nino. A sustained rise could be due to several reasons. Asia's spectacular industrialisation, reversion to older rice farming techniques, and a drying out of tropical wetlands would all be candidates if the rising trend is confirmed. Equally possible would be the release of methane from frozen zones of the world, notably the Arctic permafrost, as they warm.

I've been blogging for sometime that the environmental catastrophic change that would most impact on our civilisations ability to carry on with business as usual would be the massive jump in temperature caused by a mass frozen methane release melted by increasing greenhouse temperatures, and here we are with a jump after 10 years of stability during a La Nina when we would see the opposite, so the release of methane isn't from the seasonal traditions like forest fire. Despite the deniers who claim otherwise, our impact on the environment is fast approaching the dreaded tipping point where the pace of change goes beyond our ability to adapt, that is if we haven't already crossed that line.


At 26/4/08 8:57 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this country has its priorities sorted - V8 racing will be our economic saviour - do they have an olympic event " fiddling while rome burns "?


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