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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Chill out on the Siberian permafrost, umm, defrost

The permafrost melting scare seems to be evaporating. Russian scientists at the Institute of Climatology and Ecology of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of the Cryosphere say scaremongering about permafrost melting is much ado about nothing. From the August 22, 2005 posting of RIA Novosti, "This is just another scare story, this time about the Siberian swamps."–Academician Vladimir Melnikov, Institute of the Cryosphere. As Melnikov pointed out, "Both scientific findings and experience suggest that small lakes result from irregularities when laying oil and gas pipes and other engineering systems... [b]ut the scale on which new formations are appearing is small, and they do not pose any threat." Melnikov also pointed out that the naturally-occurring Siberian swamps' methane deposits, far from posing a hazard actually bind CO2, thus drawing down a major greenhouse gas. Institute of Climatology and Ecology of the Russian Academy of Sciences directorYuri Izrael notes that there has been no significant change in the permafrost boundries, and he adds that the sublimation of moisture from the natural swamps which formed the basis of the scaremongering actually serves to cool the atmosphere. So, apparently we can chill out on this one. Crossposted at Balanced Newsblog h.t. Jerry Pournelle's Chaos Manor Mail
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