The Permafrost Bogeyman

The permafrost Methane bogeyman disappears in the light of the facts.

1) When there was warming in places like Alaska, atmospheric methane did not increase.

2) Permafrost depletion in the NH stopped since 2005.

3) When permafrost thaws, vegetation grows and removes more CO2 than is released by the melting. The region acts as a sink, not a source of CO2.

4) Past warm periods (Medieval and Holocene warmings) did not produce increases in methane.

So scientists with models are stirring up alarm about thawing of Siberian permafrost. But there are scientists in Siberia monitoring the situation. What do they say?

“Indeed above at the surface it has gotten warmer, but that’s just part of a normal cycle. The permafrost is rock hard, And that is how it is going to stay. There’s no talk of thawing.” Michali Grigoryev

“It seems that the permafrost should be melting if the temperature is rising. However, many areas are witnessing the opposite. The average annual temperature is getting higher, but the permafrost remains and has even started to spread. Why? An important factor is the snow cover. Global warming reduces it, therefore making the heat insulator for the permafrost thinner. Then even weak frosts are enough to freeze the ground deeper below the surface.”

Nikolai Osokin is a glaciologist at the Institute of Geography, the Russian Academy of Sciences.
“The Russian Academy of Sciences has found that the annual temperature of soils (with seasonable variations) has been remaining stable despite the increased average annual air temperature caused by climate change. If anything, the depth of seasonal melting has decreased slightly.”

“This is just another scare story . . . This ecological structure is balanced and is not about to harm people with gas discharges.”
Vladimir Melnikov is the director of the world’s only Institute of the Earth’s Cryosphere. The Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute is located in the Siberian city of Tyumen and investigates the ways in which ground water becomes ice and permafrost.

“The boundaries of the Russian permafrost zone remain virtually unchanged. At the same time, the permafrost is several hundred meters deep. For methane, other gases and hydrates to escape to the surface, it would have to melt at tremendous depths, which is impossible.”
Yuri Izrael, director of the Institute of Climatology and Ecology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Runaway warming from permafrost thawing has not happened before, is not happening now, but we should believe it will happen if we don’t do something?


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