Warming fuels rise in methane threat – Climate News Network

LONDON, 6 January, 2016 – There is fresh concern among scientists over the rises they are detecting in one of the chief greenhouse gases, methane. A team of researchers from universities in Sweden and the US says methane is increasing in the atmosphere fast enough for emissions of the gas possibly to rise by between 20% and 50% before the end of the century. Over a century, methane is 25 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, the main gas contributing to global warming. But over a 20-year period, methane is 84 times more potent than CO2. Many methane sources are poorly understood, including lakes at high northern latitudes. But the researchers hope this may change. Water bodies A study in Nature Geoscience describes how compiling previously reported measurements made at 733 northern water bodies − from small ponds formed by beavers to large lakes formed by permafrost thaw or ice-sheets – has enabled researchers to estimate emissions over large scales more accurately. “The release of methane from northern lakes and ponds needs to be taken seriously,” says study leader Martin Wik, a PhD student at the Department of Geological Sciences and Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University. “These waters are significant, contemporary sources because they cover large parts of the landscape. They are also likely to emit even more methane in the future.” “Efforts to reduce human-induced warming are even more urgent in order to minimise this type of feedback of natural greenhouse gas emissions” Average temperatures in the Arctic are rising twice as fast as they are anywhere else in the world. At high northern latitudes, this warming means longer ice-free seasons. Together with permafrost thaw, this is likely to fuel methane release from lakes, potentially causing emissions to increase by between a fifth and a half by 2100. Change on this scale would probably generate a positive feedback in future warming, causing emissions to increase still further.  “This means that efforts to reduce human-induced warming are even more urgent in order to minimise this type of feedback of natural greenhouse gas emissions,” says a co-author of the study, David Bastviken, senior lecturer in environmental change at Linköping University. Sweden. “In a sense, every reduction in emissions from fossil fuels is a double victory.”

Faster than expected Two reports published last month raised concerns that methane emissions could be increasing faster than expected.

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Source: Warming fuels rise in methane threat – Climate News NetworkClimate News Network

Arctic Methane Emergency Group – AMEG – Arctic Sea Ice – Methane Release – Planetary Emergency

Arctic Methane Emergency Group – AMEG – Arctic Sea Ice – Methane Release – Planetary Emergency.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

TIME: Thursday, December 4, 2014, 12:00-12:30 PM

SUBJECT: Arctic meltdown: a catastrophic threat to our survival
AMEG calls for rapid refreezing of the Arctic to halt runaway melting

WHO: John Nissen, Chair AMEG, supported by Professor Peter Wadhams, Cambridge University, co-founder of AMEG and world-renowned expert on Arctic sea ice, with Paul Beckwith, AMEG blogger.

SUMMARY:
There is strong evidence of advanced acceleration in: 
• Arctic warming and sea ice decline in a vicious cycle
• Substantial ice loss in Greenland with potential massive loss due to unstable glaciers
• Disruption of jet stream behaviour, with abrupt climate change leading to crop failures, rising food prices and conflict in the Northern Hemisphere
• Rapid emissions of methane from the Arctic seabed, permafrost and tundra.

The tipping point for the Arctic sea ice has already passed.


Our conclusions are:
 

• The meltdown is accelerating and could become unstoppable as early as Sept 2015 
• Immediate action must be taken to refreeze the Arctic to halt runaway melting
• Greenhouse gas emissions reduction, however drastic, cannot solve this problem
• Calculations show that powerful interventions are needed to cool the Arctic 
• Any delay escalates the risk of failure
• Arctic meltdown is a catastrophic threat for civilisation.