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Home Tech Study determines economic impact of melting Arctic permafrost at $ 70 trillion!

Study determines economic impact of melting Arctic permafrost at $ 70 trillion!

April 24, 2019 by Steve Hanley


Dmitry Yumashev and a team of researchers from Lancaster University have studied the effects of melting ice sheets in the Arctic and have come to the conclusion that increasing the amount of carbon dioxide and methane due to permafrost melting along with additional absorption of heat from the sun The lack of sea ice that reflects sunlight away from the Earth's surface will raise the cost of global warming by as much as $ 70 trillion. This is ten times the economic benefit that could result from easier access to Arctic mineral resources and lower shipping costs around the world.

Carbon dioxide and melting permafrost

The study entitled "Climate policy implications of the non-linear decline of Arctic land permafrost and other elements of the cryosphereWas published on April 23 in the journal Nature Communications. In the introduction, Yumashev et al. say,

"The Arctic region warms twice as fast as the global average, manifested in a decline in sea ice, snow and glaciers, and permafrost degradation compared to their average benchmark conditions between 1979 and 2005. These changes can further accelerate global warming a variety of climatic feedback.

"Carbon released by thawing permafrost into the atmosphere leads to permafrost carbon feedback (PCF). Falling sea ice and land coverings increase solar absorption at high latitudes and lead to surface albedo (SAF) feedbacks. Both feedbacks amplify the anthropogenic signal. "

Study is the first of its kind

The authors tell The guard Their study is the first to calculate the economic impact of permafrost melt and reduced albedo – a measure of how much light is reflected onto a surface without being absorbed – based on the most advanced computer models likely to occur in the Arctic climb. It shows how destabilized natural systems aggravate the problem caused by man-made emissions, making the solution more difficult and more expensive.

Here is a look at their methodology. They have reached several points in the Arctic, which is known to be up to three meters deep in the current stocks of frozen organic matter in the soil. These data were routed through the world's most advanced simulation software in the US and the UK Met Office to predict how much gas will be released at different levels of warming. They then applied earlier economic impact models to assess the anticipated costs.

A lack of urgency remains

"It is daunting that we have that in front of us," says Yumashev. "Even at 1.5 ° C to 2 ° C, the effects and costs of thawing permafrost arise. However, they are significantly lower for these scenarios compared to business as usual. We have the technology and policy tools to limit warming, but we are not moving fast enough. "This urgency is what protesters from the Extinction Rebellion, Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders are talking about.

If good news can be found in this study, it can be expected that the effects of melting permafrost and lack of sea ice are somewhat lower than in previous projections. "We still have a time bomb, but it may not be as big as previously thought," says Yumashev. But that is no reason for complacency. Even at the bottom, the damage is enormous, the study is fraught with uncertainty, and the cost of some other potential tipping points still needs to be calculated.

Donald Trump, the greatest narcissist in history, says he will not spend trillions of dollars to protect himself from the effects of something that is the result of junk science – as if he were spending a penny of his fortune on someone except himself to help oneself. But if those researchers are right, the economic burden of climate change will ultimately amount to hundreds of billions of dollars. Prevention today could save an unimaginable amount of money, but not the possible reduction in human suffering and the loss of life emanating from a dramatically warmer planet.

Studies are still piling up, but most countries still pursue a business path and risk the existence of humanity and all living things on Earth to maintain the hegemony of fossil fuels. If, after the death of humankind, there is only too short a time on earth, the species-living species that will appear on Earth in a few million years, will flinch and look to William Shakespeare to explain the madness that leads to our death. "Lord, what fools are these mortals," wrote the bard.


keywords: Arctic, carbon dioxide, costs of climate change, ice melt, permafrost


About the author

Steve Hanley Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from home in Rhode Island and other places where Singularity could lead him. His motto is: "Life is not measured by how many breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away!" You can track it on Google + and on Twitter,



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