Researchers studying the climate in the Arctic regions of Siberia, Canada and Alaska, USA, have confirmed that the rate at which methane is now being released into the atmosphere from the melting tundra region's permafrost could soon exceed dangerous tipping points, beyond which humans' ability to mitigate climate change may become futile.
In these regions, the permafrost has been frozen for thousands if not hundreds of thousands of years. However, climate change-induced temperature rise is causing permafrost in areas such as Siberia to melt, releasing some of the region's estimated 50 billion tons of stored methane, over ten times the amount currently in the atmosphere.
Dr. Katey Walter Anthony of the University of Alaska, who for the past decade has been studying the tundra and its reaction to global warming, stated, “If permafrost were to thaw suddenly, in a flash, it would put a tremendous amount of carbon in the atmosphere. We would feel temperatures warming across the globe. And that would be serious.”
An international team of scientists recently analyzing the underwater Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf region also discovered that the constant release of methane into the relatively shallow ocean waters there is causing them to become supersaturated, raising concerns that further release of the vast underground methane stores could set off irreversible warming at any time.
Thank you, Dr. Walter Anthony and colleagues, for reminding us of the gravely precarious situation presented by global warming. May we all comprehend the magnitude of the threat to life on Earth and quickly act to save our beautiful planet.
During a September 2009 videoconference in South Korea, Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke with concern about the urgency of our situation as she has on previous occasions, while highlighting the most effective measures necessary to reverse our global predicament.