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Ear to the Ground

Time: Earth Is at the Tipping Point

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Posted on Mar 27, 2006
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Time magazine’s special report on global warming is so worrisome that even a Bush administration scientist might take notice.


Time:

No one can say exactly what it looks like when a planet takes ill, but it probably looks a lot like Earth. Never mind what you’ve heard about global warming as a slow-motion emergency that would take decades to play out. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the crisis is upon us.

It certainly looked that way last week as the atmospheric bomb that was Cyclone Larry—a Category 5 storm with wind bursts that reached 180 m.p.h.—exploded through northeastern Australia. It certainly looked that way last year as curtains of fire and dust turned the skies of Indonesia orange, thanks to drought-fueled blazes sweeping the…

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By farakon, March 28, 2006 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yep, we’re pretty much screwed.  To most of us paying attention this is not news.

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By R. A. Earl, March 27, 2006 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m no scientist or climatologist. Just an interested bystander. I’m sure I’ve heard somewhere that this planet has gone through ENORMOUS changes time and time again… ice ages to tropics at the poles and back again. High water, low water, perhaps even no water to all water.

PERHAPS human “industry” is having some small effect on whatever change is currently underway, but, it’s my understanding and view that this planet will evolve - change in size, shape, temperature and climate - whether we fret about it or not, and in ways that it’s done for millions and millions of years.

Those organisms that can and do adapt to the changing conditions survive to tell about it. Those what do not, don’t. It’s just that simple.

I don’t think COMPLAINING about it is either intelligent or particularly helpful. PLANNING for the changes would be. Please wake me when you all decide it’s time to PLAN. In the meantime I’m taking a nap, with earplugs.

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By Brad Arnold, March 27, 2006 at 3:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Unfortunately, the TIME article didn’t include the most dire threat:  melting permafrost clathrate.  Permafrost clathrate (also known as hydrate) is ice that contains vast amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more powerful as CO2.  The National Center of Atmospheric Research predicts that 50% of permafrost will melt by 2050, and 90% by 2100.  There is an estimated 400 billion tons of methane contained in permafrost clathrate, a by product from microorganisms digesting carbon, which normal rises to the surface and enters the atmosphere slowly, but which was trapped by the frozen ground above over millions of years.

In other words, the earth will soon emit far more greenhouse gas than mankind, leading to runaway global warming.  This has not been included in global warming models, so their predictions are far too conservative.  Much more on this subject is available on the web:  just Google methane permafrost.

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