Have you heard of yedoma? Outside of those folks that study ice cores and worry about melting permafrost (the fragile layer of frozen soil found in arctic and some subarctic regions) on this planet, most of us would likely have no reason to know anything about it. It is, however, a subject we may want to acquire some basic knowledge about.
In the course of coming up with some ideas for a piece I have to submit in a couple of weeks to the Kansas City Star, I read a couple of articles regarding a study published in the journal Nature, and a European-sponsored project regarding Antarctic "ice coring."
It seems that scientists have been able to get sample ice cores that go back some 800,000 years. Air bubbles trapped within these "cores" can tell scientists the amount of greenhouse gas concentrations over nearly a million-year period. The long and short of it is that carbon dioxide levels are a good deal higher than at any time in 800,000 years.
Possibly even more worrisome is that the increasing melting of the permafrost, especially in Siberia, an area covering some 10 million square kilometers, is not only releasing more CO2 but also Methane. Methane is an especially nasty "greenhouse gas." While methane disperses faster than carbon dioxide, some 10 years versus 100 years for CO2, it is about 23 times more powerful in trapping heat than CO2.
Methane is being released from the permafrost much, much faster than expected. Greenhouse gases and rising temperatures are connected and self-perpetuating: more greenhouse gases mean more melting, leading to increasing amounts of green house gases, and so forth.
Yedoma is a type of permafrost located primarily in parts of Siberia, and mostly lies under lakes. What is of interest here is that the melting permafrost releases methane, whereas under dry permafrost carbon dioxide is released.
In the United States, within two months, Americans will again have another opportunity to break out of their own carefully constructed insane asylum. We will have a chance to change the makeup of the U.S. Congress. Global warming is happening now, and we Americans have another possibility of demonstrating we're not a country of total ignoramuses.