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Can Melting Antarctic Permafrost Help Push Global Warming?

How did ancient global warming occur and are we heading that way again? First, let’s just state the obvious and not carp on is it or isn’t it true. Our Earth goes through its own life-cycles, and it does grow warm and cool depending on so many variables that we, humans, can’t yet contemplate. Our scientists do the best they can with the information they can “see”, but there are so many other factors that play a part in these Earth changes. One example is the tilt of our Earth. Every twenty-thousand years or so, the earth wobbles in its orbit; this wobble tilts the Earth just right and wham! The Sahara Desert is now a tropical oasis. I was so excited when I first learned this, but we have at least another fifteen thousand years to go before the next ‘wobble’.

So is there a global warming. You bet there is. But, I do not believe it is caused just by humans, although we may play a small role in it, I honestly think we are entering one of Mother Earth’s changes. Such an event took place some fifty-five million years ago. During that change the world abruptly warmed by 5 degrees Celsius and turned the oceans acidic.

But how? That is the question scientists have been working on for over fourteen years, and may finally have an answer. The green-house gases needed may have gushed into the atmosphere from thawing permafrost in an ice-free Antarctica. Although this is still a theory, it is possible that extremely large stores of methane hydrates, created by rotted plants stored in coal, the mud in oceans and lakes and in soil can freeze and become huge storage vaults. As the permafrost melts, the gas is released.

So as we thaw permafrost today, it is releasing these greenhouse gasses back into the atmosphere. Once the tipping point is met and substantial melting occurs you can have a sudden explosion of methane gas gushing into the atmosphere.

The problem with this theory, just like any other, is how do you prove it.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2012 in Earth Changes, Global Warming, Science

 

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Antarctica Dinosaurs

Credit: Charles R. Knight; (inset) Cerda/Naturwissenschaften

Before penguins ruled Antarctica, dinosaurs roamed across what was then a forested continent, migrating over from Australia and other land masses that were connected to it at the time. Several Antarctic dinosaurs have already been found, including an armored ankylosaur and a handful of birdlike dinosaurs. But researchers working on James Ross Island off the Antarctic Peninsula have now reported the discovery of what may be the biggest dino yet: a fossil (inset) from the tailbone of a sauropod, a giant, four-legged dinosaur with a long neck and tail. As they write in Naturwissenschaften this week, the researchers believe this plant-eating beast lived during the Cretaceous period, which lasted until about 65 million years ago. The team can’t identify which of the 150 sauropod species the dinosaur belonged to, but it hopes to find some of his friends still buried in the frozen wasteland.

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2011 in Earth Changes, Science

 

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