Yup, scary stuff. I've become irritated at how people use the term "tipping point," though... a recent bunch of press has started using it to mean "if we stop increasing our anual CO2 production now, we won't stop or reverse global warming," which, while true, is more because the climate effects are caused by the amount that's currently there, not the amount that we add every year, so this is not new or particularly deep. Maybe I should be OK with the phrase, because at least it gets the attention of people who don't understand what I just described, but it bugs me because there may be something a lot worse in terms of what I call a tipping point: once things get to a certain point, there may be a self-sustaining "runaway" chain reaction.sorseress said:http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1176980,00.html
So we already know this...it still makes me fume!
More worrisome IMO are methane hydrates, which are stable only in a narrow P/T zone below the seafloor. If the oceans warm up substantially some of these hydrates could melt and make their way into the ocean/atmosphere system. Methane itself is another big fun greenhouse gas, but it would probably oxidize quickly in the atmosphere.monty said:Several worrisome things could happen if greenhouse gasses and global warming hit a certain threshold: Disolved CO2 in the oceans could be released to the air as the water temperature goes up, increasing the atmospheric greenhouse gasses further, raising the temperature more, releasing more CO2, ad infinitum. Also, as the glaciers shrink, there is less sunlight reflected by the white snow, and more absorbed by the dark ground and water, so the amount the planet is heated by the sun goes up.
Great cooling of parts of the planet will be the result of initial global warming!main_board said:I saw a documentary on an airplane that said instead of global warming, we should be worried about global cooling. Apparently, there is a reliable trend in the past that as CO2 emmissions increased and the temperature appeared to increase, it suddenly brought on a great cooling, similar to an ice age. The evidence they presented appeared strong and valid. Definitely took me by surprise. Just some more food for thought.
Yeah, read this book too! Very nice read!CapnNemo said:It all does not bode well!
I remember reading a fascinating book called Mapping the Deep which was the story of Ocean Science. A scientist in there suggested we could stave off Global Warming (I think) by feeding iron to Plankton or something, but unfortunately it might trigger an ice age.
There was a study recently that discovered that the number of "thermal sinks"Euprymna said:Great cooling of parts of the planet will be the result of initial global warming!
It's a succession of events that may appear contridactory...i.e. starts as an increase in temperature but may cause an iceage!
First melting icesheets will greatly reduce salinity of the water, which will stop this normally cold hypersaline water to sink---the driving factor of the thermohaline circulation the regulator of the climate of europe!
I think the increasing acidity of the oceans due to increased CO2 imight be more worrying...at least for our mollusc friends...let's see
I've seen proposals to mine the methane hydrate in the gulf of mexico and elsewhere. Besides disrupting unique ecosystems, a major release of methane from hydrate resevoirs has been called the reason for the permian extinction (98% of all species died but most of y'all already knew that). I think the critical number was 10 degrees IIRC.DHyslop said:More worrisome IMO are methane hydrates, which are stable only in a narrow P/T zone below the seafloor. If the oceans warm up substantially some of these hydrates could melt and make their way into the ocean/atmosphere system. Methane itself is another big fun greenhouse gas, but it would probably oxidize quickly in the atmosphere.
This particular model is purely theoretical and has been invoked for the rapid warming at the Paleocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum (an interesting hypothesis, albeit one that is untestable from what I've read).