Bubble in the desert

A blog I started whilst on a GE "Bubble" assignment in Nevada. I'm back in Cambridge (UK) now but still miss the desert and my friends out there.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

What is a Global Warming Feedback Effect?

I mentioned Global Warming feedback effects recently on my blog. There are several kinds of feedback effect. One of the most serious, and easy to understand, concerns permafrost.

Across Siberia, peat bogs have for thousands of years been encased in permafrost. This ice, which never melts, has captured methane from the peat, effectively removing it from the system preventing it from contributing to the greenhouse effect and global warming.

The trouble is, because the Earth is now warming the permafrost has started to melt. As it melts it is venting Methane, a far worse greenhouse gas than CO2.

Here's a video highlighting this feedback effect which is worrying scientists.

If we fail to dramatically cut the greenhouse gases which are under our control, like CO2, feedback effects which are not under our control will worsen. This is why scientists reckon that we have 20 years to cut CO2 by 90% or it will be too late to do anything about it. These feedback effects will be too strong to rein in and the Earth's temperature will become too great to sustain human life.


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