A new study in the journal Bioscience finds permafrost holds twice as much greenhouse gas [ark | moreark] as previously thought, and that “release of even a fraction would accelerate climate change dramatically”. Covering some one fifth of the Earth's land surface, permafrost [search] is permanently frozen land, defined as soil that has remained below zero degrees C for at least two years. Permafrost was found to hold some 1,500 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide and methane, double what is currently held in the atmosphere.
Of all potential climate change positive feedback loops [search], skyrocketing atmospheric greenhouse gas levels leading to warming and melting of permafrost shows the most immediate potential to quicken global warming. The phenomenon of melting permafrost is so self evident, the mechanism so clear, that little doubt remains — continued warming trends, leads to widespread permafrost melting, and we start dying. These are very dangerous times and failure to implement emergency measures including ending cutting of natural vegetation and burning of coal will assuredly destroy being.