"Headache?" you say. "What's that got to do with permafrost?"
Today I read in Permafrost thaw exacerbates climate change , based on a Woods Hole Research Center report:
Scientists estimate that within the next century permafrost will have declined 30% to 70% ...
Thirty to seventy percent thaw in just a hundred years! What a slap to the head!
I thought permafrost thaws slowly.
Permafrost holds a currently estimated carbon pool of double atmospheric carbon, mainly as potential methane. [source Arctic Methane Emergency Group]
Supposing conservatively it were all CO2 instead of methane, as we have 400 ppm now, a 30% thaw would pump an extra 240 ppm out and a 70% thaw would pump an extra 560 ppm out. But of course it'll be mainly methane, which is a far worse greenhouse gas, until it decays into CO2. Plus, when permafrost thaws it becomes wetlands, also a continuing methane hazard.
They naturally emit some methane but as they warm they put out more methane. They can respond rapidly to a jump in Arctic warming putting out much more methane. [source Arctic Methane Emergency Group]
So all of that on top of the carbon from "business as usual"
and from Arctic sea floor methane release.
Methane eruptions from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean have become especially noticeable over the past half year.
Everything's escalating and converging.
These different methane sources will combine to accelerate the rate of methane emission from each one and to accelerate the rate of Arctic warming. [source Arctic Methane Emergency Group]
So we have got the uncertainty on this that things might move extremely fast. [George Marshall]
So, *yeah* existential angst headache today.
Today I saw a video of our grandchildren reading and singing. I cringe at their future.