Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




ICE WORLD
Caves point to thawing of Siberia
by Staff Writers
Oxford, UK (SPX) Feb 28, 2013


File image.

Evidence from Siberian caves suggests that a global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius could see permanently frozen ground thaw over a large area of Siberia, threatening release of carbon from soils, and damage to natural and human environments.

A thaw in Siberia's permafrost (ground frozen throughout the year) could release over 1000 giga-tonnes of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, potentially enhancing global warming.

The data comes from an international team led by Oxford University scientists studying stalactites and stalagmites from caves located along the 'permafrost frontier', where ground begins to be permanently frozen in a layer tens to hundreds of metres thick. Because stalactites and stalagmites only grow when liquid rainwater and snow melt drips into the caves, these formations record 500,000 years of changing permafrost conditions, including warmer periods similar to the climate of today.

Records from a particularly warm period (Marine Isotopic Stage 11) that occurred around 400,000 years ago suggest that global warming of 1.5C compared to the present is enough to cause substantial thawing of permafrost far north from its present-day southern limit.

A report of the research is published in this week's Science Express. The team included scientists from Britain, Russia, Mongolia and Switzerland.

'The stalactites and stalagmites from these caves are a way of looking back in time to see how warm periods similar to our modern climate affect how far permafrost extends across Siberia,' said Dr Anton Vaks of Oxford University's Department of Earth Sciences, who led the work. 'As permafrost covers 24% of the land surface of the Northern hemisphere significant thawing could affect vast areas and release giga-tonnes of carbon.

'This has huge implications for ecosystems in the region, and for aspects of the human environment. For instance, natural gas facilities in the region, as well as power lines, roads, railways and buildings are all built on permafrost and are vulnerable to thawing. Such a thaw could damage this infrastructure with obvious economic implications.'

The team used radiometric dating techniques to date the growth of cave formations (stalactites and stalagmites). Data from the Ledyanaya Lenskaya Cave - near the town of Lensk latitude 60N - in the coldest region showed that the only period when stalactite growth took place occurred about 400,000 years ago, during a period with a global temperature 1.5C higher than today.

Periods when the world was 0.5-1C warmer than today did not see any stalactite growth in this northernmost cave, suggesting that around 1.5C is the 'tipping point' at which the coldest permafrost regions begin to thaw.

Dr Vaks said: 'Although it wasn't the main focus of our research our work also suggests that in a world 1.5C warmer than today, warm enough to melt the coldest permafrost, adjoining regions would see significant changes with Mongolia's Gobi Desert becoming much wetter than it is today and, potentially, this extremely arid area coming to resemble the present-day Asian steppes.'

.


Related Links
University of Oxford
Beyond the Ice Age






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ICE WORLD
Flow of research on ice sheets helps answer climate questions
University Park PA (SPX) Feb 21, 2013
Just as ice sheets slide slowly and steadily into the ocean, researchers are returning from each trip to the Arctic and Antarctic with more data about climate change, including information that will help improve current models on how climate change will affect life on the earth, according to a Penn State geologist. "It is not just correlation, it is causation," said Richard Alley, Evan Pug ... read more


ICE WORLD
Water On The Moon: It's Been There All Along

Building a lunar base with 3D printing

US, Europe team up for moon fly-by

Russia to Launch Lunar Mission in 2015

ICE WORLD
Lab Instruments Inside Curiosity Eat Mars Rock Powder

First-ever space tourist plans mission to Mars

Mars rover ingests rock powder for tests

Opportunity Is On A Rock Hunt

ICE WORLD
Stanford scientist closes in on a mystery that impedes space exploration

U.S. research to be free online

NASA Creates Space Technology Mission Directorate

Educator Teams Fly On NASA Sofia Airborne Observatory

ICE WORLD
Welcome Aboard Shenzhou 10

Reshuffle for Tiangong

China to launch 20 spacecrafts in 2013

Mr Xi in Space

ICE WORLD
Record Number of Students Control ISS Camera

NASA briefly loses contact with space station

Temporary Comm Loss Interrupts Crew's Day

Low-Gravity Flights Will Aid ISS Fluids and Combustion Experiments

ICE WORLD
'Faulty Ukrainian Parts' Blamed for Zenit Launch Failure

The light-lift member of Arianespace's launcher family is readied for its second mission

SpaceX 2 Launch Set for March 1

NASA Releases Glory Taurus XL Launch Failure Report Summary

ICE WORLD
Scientists spot birth of giant planet

NASA's Kepler Mission Discovers Tiny Planet System

Kepler helps astronomers find tiny exo planet

Searching for a Pale Blue SPHERE in the Universe

ICE WORLD
Ancient Egyptian pigment points to new security ink technology

Laser mastery narrows down sources of superconductivity

In probing mysteries of glass, researchers find a key to toughness

Glasses.com turns heads with 3-D iPad app




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement