Monday, July 27, 2009

New Life in Alaska

No, I'm not talking Palin but rather about something of which she and her head-in-the-sand right-wingers are in denial: global warming. Lots of those who dwell in the dank caves of the far-right scoff at the concept of global warming as if it is a socialist plot initiated by the United Nations.

Interestingly, the solid-red state of Alaska is in the bull's eye of the grand melt. The 'gosh and golly' former governor rebuffed all efforts of the Federal Government that sought to protect the fragile environment of Alaska. Now, however, it may be too late to save the state from an ecological nightmare: the permafrost is melting at a record rate.

Live Science has an article titled, Permafrost Could Be Climate's Ticking Time Bomb, which reports: " While melting in the Arctic might cause problems for plants and animals at lower latitudes, it's creating a downright sunny situation for Arctic biota. Arctic plants usually remain trapped in ice for most of the year. Nowadays, when the ice melts earlier in the spring, the plants seem to be eager to start growing. Research has found higher levels of the form of the photosynthesis product chlorophyll in modern soils than in ancient soils, showing a biological boom in the Arctic in recent decades."

Another article says that the 'locked-in' carbon of permanently frozen organic matter that covers approximately 20 to 25 percent of the land-surface area in the northern hemisphere, has a carbon-load potential estimated to contain up to 1,600 gigatons of carbon. By comparison, the atmosphere now contains around 825 gigatons of the element as carbon dioxide.

Twice as much stored carbon as the entire atmosphere now contains- just waiting to oxidize and become more CO2.

The time for denial is way-gone. Hopefully the scientists are working hard to discover ways of retarding that carbon loss.

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