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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sub-Arctic timebomb: warming speeds CO2 release from soil




"Climate change is speeding up the release of carbon dioxide from frigid peatlands in the sub-Arctic, fuelling a vicious circle of global warming, according to a study to be published Thursday.
An increase of just 1.0 degree Celsius over current average temperatures would more than double the CO2 escaping from the peatlands.
Northern peatlands contain one-third of the planet's soil-bound organic carbon, the equivalent of half of all the CO2 in the atmosphere.
Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation found in wetlands or peatlands, which cover between two and three per cent of the global land mass. While present in all climate zones, the vast majority of peatlands are found in sub-Arctic regions.
A team of European researchers led by Ellen Dorrepaal of the University of Amsterdam artificially warmed natural peatlands in Abisko, in northern Sweden, by 1.0 C over a period of eight years.
The experimental plots exhaled and extra 60 per cent of CO2 in Spring and 52 per cent in Summer over the entire period, reported the study, published in the British journal Nature.
"Climate warming therefore accelerates respiration of the extensive, subsurface carbon reservoir in peatlands to a much larger extent than previously thought," the authors conclude.
The findings highlight the extreme sensitivity of northern peatland carbon reservoirs to climate change, and the danger of a self-reinforcing "positive feedback" in which the CO2 released adds to global warming.
And unlike the boreal forests in Canada, Russia and Northern Europe, very little of the extra carbon was absorbed by additional vegetation spurred by the warmer temperatures.
The researchers warn that annual surplus CO2 released by peatlands with a 1.0 C increase -- between 38 and 100 million tonnes -- could cancel out the European Union objective of slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 92 million tonnes per year.
In another study released last month, the Global Carbon Project based in Australia found that the amount of carbon stored in the Arctic and boreal regions of the world is some 1.5 trillion tonnes, more than double previous estimates."
Source of article:http://www.edmontonjournal.com/technology/environment/
Arctic+timebomb+warming+speeds+release+from+soil/1841325/story.html
Source of image:http://www.enr.gov.nt.ca/_live/images/rad/taiga_shield_High_subarctic.JPG

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed



Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia



A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed



Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein



The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi



The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller



Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns



Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama



Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -



Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.