Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Nightmare Scenario Unfolding

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Nightmare Scenario Unfolding

Article excerpt

IT IS one of the nightmare scenarios of global warming - as the temperature rises, vast areas of permafrost begin to thaw, allowing dead vegetation and the bodies of countless millions of animals to decompose.

The associated release of methane and carbon dioxide adds to global warming, causing more permafrost to melt in a vicious upward spiral.

Now a new scientific paper has found the frozen wastes of places such as Siberia and Canada are much more susceptible to warming than previously thought.

The researchers estimate about four million square kilometres of land - an area larger than India - will melt for every degree of global warming. That figure is about 20% higher than the one currently used in climate model projections.

In total, about 15 million square kilometres on land is permafrost, which is defined as an area that remains below zero degrees Celsius for at least two years.

Writing in the journal Nature Climate Change, the researchers said the "loss of permafrost . …

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