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How We Might Increase the Odds of Human Life Surviving Beyond 2050 - Update
Posted on Tuesday, May 16, 2006 @ 00:14:49 EDT by rob

General Overtone writes: Rapidly Melting Permafrost Threatens a Little Heralded Potential Cataclysm.


By Mark Goldes, Chairman & CEO, Magnetic Power Inc.

All of us, you and I, our children, and grandchildren, are facing the biggest challenge that has ever confronted humanity: the possible extinction of most, if not all, human life on earth by 2050, due to the melting of the Arctic permafrost. This is an unrecognized global emergency. Crucial global warming "tipping points", highlighted by the world scientific community, have already been passed, with possibly irreversible consequences.

No matter what we do, some of Global Warming's worst predicted effects cannot likely be avoided. We can anticipate more destructive hurricanes. The eventual flooding of major cities such as New York, Miami and London is threatened. Large areas of Florida, and numerous low-lying countries, are facing permanent inundation due to increasing sea levels and melting glaciers and ice caps. Shortfalls and rising prices for oil and gas are a parallel, much more evident, problem. Terrorism, Iraq and Iran preoccupy the media. But all these events pale before the looming catastrophe. Melting permafrost is already undermining a railroad under construction in NW China. Unless we quickly implement actions suited to the threat posed by runaway methane release from the Arctic permafrost melt, we may be sleepwalking toward the extinction of life on Earth.

More than a year ago, in an article readily available on the web, Geologist John Atcheson described what he called a "Ticking Time Bomb," an almost unrecognized dire threat to life on our planet. Huge quantities of methane, a greenhouse gas over 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, are buried in the Arctic tundra. This permafrost contains 3,000 times more methane than does the atmosphere. Twice before in the history of our planet, 251 million and 55 million years ago, runaway methane almost eliminated life on earth. In Atcheson's opinion, based on such prior events, a rise in global temperatures of a mere 11 degrees Fahrenheit, (6 degrees C), would likely catalyze this unstoppable catastrophe, releasing these gases into the sky. The ensuing rise in temperatures would release yet more methane, heating the Earth and seas further, and so on. The 400 gigatons of methane locked in the arctic tundra is enough to start a cataclysmic chain reaction. This would begin an unstoppable release of these greenhouse gases.

The first results from the most comprehensive study of greenhouse warming ever attempted (a massive effort designed by Oxford University scientists) indicates that average temperatures could easily rise beyond 6 degrees C in a few decades, unless extremely deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are made very rapidly. The study's chief scientist, David Stainforth, said: "Our experiment shows that increased levels of greenhouse gases could have a much greater impact on climate than previously thought." Another participating scientist said: "Even today's levels of greenhouse gases could already be dangerously high." Team member Myles Allen, an Oxford physicist, says, "The danger zone is not something in the future. We're in it now."

Carbon is the problem. We must rapidly replace technology that produces Carbon Dioxide with systems that do not. Alternatives include wind, solar, and a handful of other existing renewable systems, as well as a handful of revolutionary new, thus far severely underfinanced, technologies. Uranium fueled nuclear plants have numerous problems including long time delays, and are, therefore, not as desirable as alternative technologies.

Fuel burning vehicles and power plants are the biggest challenge. Almost every variety of fuel, when burned, contributes dangerous carbon dioxide, heating our atmosphere.

Ironically, had more scientists been open to examining the remarkable evidence available to them, the world might never have needed oil. Back in 1874, Wesley Gary, a Pennsylvania inventor, ignored scientific dogma and created the first of his fuel-free magnetic motors. Textbook science then, as now, denied such engines are possible. But Harvard and MIT professors visited Gary and confirmed that he had done precisely what he claimed. Two U.S. Patents were issued, and one in Canada. In 1879, Harper's Magazine carried an article about his work, ending with the comment that it might one day power a locomotive. The four wheeled automobile was invented six years later.

Then, in 1925, a German inventor named Hans Coler, demonstrated a small, magnetic generator without moving parts. In 1927, Nobel Laureate Werner Heisenberg stated: "I believe it is possible to utilize magnetism as an energy source." A decade later, Coler produced 6,000 watts of electricity from a magnetic generator, and Hitler's admiralty supported his efforts. At the time, there was no comprehension as to the source of the energy. Coler wrote: "These fundamental researches have made the first real and large breach in the citadel of present scientific belief." His laboratory was destroyed by an Allied bomb near the end of WWII. Coler survived, and cooperated with British Intelligence, which published a Classified Report in 1946 about this astonishing achievement. The Report was declassified in 1979. It is available on the Internet.

Laboratory progress in such systems is currently confirming these claims, and new, fuel-free, magnetic systems are emerging. They appear capable of providing the necessary power. Given sufficient support, there is reason to believe they can be manufactured in a multitude of variations, in huge quantities, rapidly enough to avoid the runaway disaster.

A crash program needs to be implemented to speed this, as well as all other, urgently needed breakthrough technology, to market. Some systems already promise to replace car engines. Others may scale to a megawatt, or more. Capable manufacturers must be enlisted in this effort everywhere on the planet. The massive production of arms achieved during World War II demonstrated that industry can respond to emergencies in ways hardly imagined prior to a crisis. The necessary worldwide manufacturing capability exists. It must be utilized rapidly, and to the fullest extent practical.

Every hour of every day counts. The time for urgent action is now. Survival demands that we open our minds to unprecedented possibilities and act, intelligently, but without delay.

www.magneticpowerinc.com 5-9-06
2006 Magnetic Power Inc. All rights reserved.


 
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"How We Might Increase the Odds of Human Life Surviving Beyond 2050 - Update" | Login/Create an Account | 1 comment | Search Discussion
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Seafloor methane and runaway global warming (Score: 1)
by vlad on Tuesday, May 16, 2006 @ 16:09:16 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) http://www.zpenergy.com
The past 500 million years have recorded a number of runaway global warming episodes: the end-Permian, the end-Triassic, the Paleocene-Eocene, and two in the Jurassic.

Humans are emitting CO2 up to a hundred times faster than the volcanic eruptions that likely triggered past runaway global warming episodes (and 30 times faster than the trigger for the end-Permian, which resulted in the death of most life because of oxygen deprived ocean depths).

More than 90% of the heat from global warming goes into the oceans (with the atmosphere, the two Polar Regions, and mountain glaciers accounting for the rest). Most importantly, the heat is penetrating to the seafloor unexpectedly fast.

Inevitably, with the amount of global warming predicted to occur in the next century, significant amounts of seafloor methane will be released. Worse, there may be little lag time between ocean bottom warming and massive seafloor methane liberation.

With a greenhouse warming ability more than 20 times that of CO2, seafloor methane has the potential of doing far greater damage to the planet's climate and biosphere than all the CO2 that has been and will be emitted by burning fossil fuels.
>
Methane releases over more than ten thousand years cannot produce catastrophic consequences because they would be consumed by oxidation and microbes. The more powerful the trigger, the faster and stronger the runaway global warming episode is.

As ocean temperatures rise, the heat first begins to liberate the methane closest to the surface of the seafloor. This allows the escape of free methane gas that is buried more deeply, which leads to a depressurization of methane hydrate at the base. Finally, the entire sediment pile destabilizes, causing a seafloor avalanche. Underwater avalanches can abruptly free massive amounts of methane from the seafloor.

A sudden release of just 1% of seafloor methane has an immediate warming potential several times greater than the total amount of human greenhouse gas scientists predict will enter the atmosphere in the next century. A trigger leads to more warming, and more seafloor releases.

The initial jolt of a sudden massive methane release dramatically reorders the climate and oceans, causing a mass extinction. The longer term effects are a dramatic rise in global temperatures, acidic oceans, and the most severe consequence: oxygen deprived ocean depths possibly leading to a hydrogen sulfide catastrophe (like the end-Permian episode).

Once runaway global warming begins, the consequences for the planet and its inhabitants will be horrifying, and we won’t be able to do anything but wait it out. Tomorrow, Mauna Loa Observatory (in Hawaii) might detect the first shocking hint of a massive methane release.


Methane from melting permafrost will soon flood the air

· There is an estimated 400 billion tons of methane trapped in permafrost ice.

· An estimated 50% of surface permafrost will melt by 2050, and 90% by 2100.

· Methane is more than 20 times as strong a greenhouse gas as CO2-the sudden release of just 35 billion tons of methane would be like doubling the CO2 in the air.

Massive amounts of methane from melting permafrost ice will soon flood the air-far outpacing human greenhouse gas pollution.

· The effect of methane flooding the air is runaway global warming-this disastrous positive feedback loop has occurred before.

· Ocean bottom ice will start to melt-releasing some of the estimated 10,000 billion tons of methane trapped in it.

· A potential bottleneck for mankind-an existential threat to nations.

· The only solution is biological sequestration-removing the CO2 from the air after it is emitted.

http://www.commondreams.org/views04/1215-24.htm [www.commondreams.org]

http://planetsave.com/ps_mambo/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6724&Itemid=69 [planetsave.com]

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2003/07/04/2003057994 [www.taipeitimes.com]

http://comment.independent.co.uk/commentators/article338830.ece [comment.independent.co.uk]



 

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