Posted By: MrFusion [Send E-Mail]
Date: Sunday, 11-Nov-2012 20:55:28
With the IPCC rumored to be ready to release a new report projecting scary predictions of Climate Change, the following provides a fitting counterbalance:
Swedish boffins: An ICE AGE is coming, only CO2 can save us
Forget Hurricane Sandy - fear the peat powered freeze
By Lewis Page • 9th November 2012
A group of Swedish scientists at the University of Gothenburg have published a paper in which they argue that spreading peatlands are inexorably driving planet Earth into its next ice age, and the only thing holding back catastrophe is humanity's hotly debated atmospheric carbon emissions.
"We are probably entering a new ice age right now. However, we're not noticing it due to the effects of carbon dioxide," says Professor of Physical Geography Lars Franzén, from the Department of Earth Sciences at Gothenburg uni.
Franzén and his colleagues have examined various scenarios for the peatlands of Sweden, which are a continually expanding "dynamic landscape element". According to the scientists:
Peatlands grow in height and spread across their surroundings by waterlogging woodlands. They are also one of the biggest terrestrial sinks of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Each year, around 20 grams of carbon are absorbed by every square metre of peatland.
The scientists have calculated that the potential is there for Swedish peatlands to triple in extent, enormously increasing their carbon sink effect. By extrapolating to include the rest of the world's high-latitude temperate areas - the parts of the globe where peatland can expand as it does in Sweden - they project the creation of an extremely powerful carbon sink. They theorise that this is the mechanism which tends to force the Earth back into prolonged ice ages after each relatively brief "interglacial" warm period.
"Carbon sequestration in peatland may be one of the main reasons why ice age conditions have occurred time after time," says Franzén.
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