Sunday, January 24, 2010

Russia Expert Paul Goble Reports on Global Warming

The potent greenhouse gas methane is bubbling up through thawing permafrost.

Watch biologist Dr. Sergei Kirpotin (Сергей Кирпотин), of the Tomsk State University in Tomsk, Russia, discuss and demonstrate the release of methane from Russia's permafrost in this Russian media report from Vesti.ru (8-22-09). Kirpotin is wearing an orange jacket in this video. Kirpotin also describes his research in this Russian Greenpeace video with English subtitles. For further details about these two videos see "A Mermaid Hovers Over Russia" (1-17-10).

I have posted a series of articles about Dr. Kirpotin's research. When Dr. Kirpotin sinks his boot into the bog, he is demonstrating how the methane is visibly bubbling through Russia's thawing permafrost.

Permafrost is a "refrigerator" that stores carbon in the form of undecayed organic matter. The permafrost stores millions of years of frozen organic matter; consequently, when the permafrost thaws, frozen organic matter stored in the permafrost "refrigerator" begins to decay; and the greenhouse gas methane is released. Dr. Kirpotin believes that this process is accelerating and irreversible, although perhaps it can be slowed down.

The famous Russia expert Dr. Paul A. Goble has a blog called Window on Eurasia. See his impressive professional credentials on the right side of his blog.

Sometimes, Dr. Goble posts articles about the impact of global warming on Russia. Perhaps after the British authorities investigate the alleged hacking of the server used by the East Anglia University's Climatic Research Unit (CRU), which was possibly perpetrated by Tomsk hackers in Russia, Dr. Goble will post his assessment of the so-called "Climategate" scandal.

In the meantime, Russia expert Brian Whitmore at RFE/RL (12-7-09) has posted a careful article titled "Climategate: A Russian Connection?" After Brian Whitmore's article was published, the Russian state security (FSB) reportedly suggested that the Chinese were behind the hacking of the East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU). [See the Daily Mail's article "Chinese hackers linked to 'Warmergate' climate change leaked emails controversy" (12-27-09).]

The Tomsk State University (TSU) permafrost expert Dr. Sergei Kirpotin claims that the hacking was a provocation that was ordered for the purpose of damaging the Copenhagen conference on climate change.

Whitmore summarizes the accusations on both sides and links up to the most important British media articles. Whitmore closes his article this this caution:

Now we at the Power Vertical [blog] love a good old cloak-and-dagger-style FSB-conspiracy yarn as much as anybody (actually, probably more than anybody). Our experience also tells us that the FSB is certainly capable of such an operation. And Russia, a major gas and oil exporter, certainly has motive to derail a new global climate pact.

But the evidence presented thus far is a bit thin and circumstantial. But this does merit keeping an eye on and we'll follow up if something more substantial turns up. If any readers come across anything, either supporting or debunking the alleged Russia connection, give us a shout in comments or by e-mail.

Hopefully, the British authorities will soon determine who was behind the alleged hacking. In the meantime, Dr. Goble's post, "Diverting Siberian Rivers to Central Asia Would Threaten Planet, Russian Academic Warns" (6-16-08), mentions an interesting article in Science Daily (6-11-08) titled "Permafrost Threatened By Rapid Retreat Of Arctic Sea Ice, Study Finds." The Science Daily article begins:

The rate of climate warming over northern Alaska, Canada, and Russia could more than triple during periods of rapid sea ice loss, according to a new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The findings raise concerns about the thawing of permafrost, or permanently frozen soil, and the potential consequences for sensitive ecosystems, human infrastructure, and the release of additional greenhouse gases. [See full text.]

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