Monday, May 29 2017
All Cities
Choose Your City
'Kolchak was 'like an Englishman'-the analogy oddly recurs in an official Soviet account of the execution'
Peter Fleming, 'The Fate of Admiral Kolchak'

New warning about climate change linked to peat bogs

By Vera Salnitskaya
05 May 2015

Expert says deadly gas released from melting permafrost region will lead to 'awful' consequences for global warming.

Thaw of the frozen bogs, which take up as much as 80 per cent of the landmass of western Siberia, will release billions of tonnes of methane. Picture: Sergey Kirpotin

A leading Siberian scientist has delivered another stark warning about climate change and said melting peat bogs could speed up the process.

Professor Sergey Kirpotin, director of the BioClimLand Centre of Excellence for Climate Change Research in Tomsk, said he has concerns over the 'awful' consequences in Russia’s sub-Arctic region.

He said that a thaw of the frozen bogs, which take up as much as 80 per cent of the landmass of western Siberia, will release billions of tonnes of methane – a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide – into the atmosphere. That, he concluded, will greatly speed up the effects of global warming around the world with potentially devastating consequences.

Sergey Kirpotin

Prof Kirpotin, 51, first made the discovery about the threat 10 years ago when it was found the permafrost melting for the first time since being formed at the end of the Ice Age. Picture: Vera Salnitskaya

'Bogs are extremely important for humanity,' explained Prof Kirpotin. 'Over thousands of years bogs have been absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it at peat deposits. Carbon is a basic component of greenhouse gases. This way, bogs function as a sort of natural freezer as they don’t let the carbon build up in the atmosphere.

'However, the permafrost in northern areas of western Siberia has started melting. As the permafrost thaws, it creates new lakes and old ones get bigger. This way, all the organics trapped in permafrost started decomposing rather quickly. Obviously, a lot of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, are released into the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide.'

He added: 'There is a so-called methane threat in the north of the bog. On top of that, the ice shelf is also thawing releasing methane hydrates and something really awful is happening.'

Probes with methane


Sergey Kirpotin and Rinat

Probes with methane. Sergey Kirpotin(left) and Rinat Manasypov holding the probes of snow, taken on Vasyugan Mire this winter. Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya

Various experts have been examining Siberia’s bog land, and its changing conditions, for decades. The bogs covering western Siberia spread out to a total of 7.5million hectares and give the region a unique eco-system. Within this region, the Vasyugan Mire bog is the largest anywhere in the world.

At more than 53,000km sq in size – making it bigger than Switzerland – Vasyugan Mire is 10,000-years-old and is famous around the world for its rare flora and fauna. Under ice and snow for much of the year, recently tourism officials launched a bid to attract wildlife lovers and environmentalists to the area.

The BioClimLand centre was established a year ago and mainly focuses on climate studies, with a special laboratory for biochemical and remote environment monitoring.

Prof Kirpotin, 51, first made the discovery about the threat 10 years ago when it was found the permafrost melting for the first time since being formed at the end of the Ice Age.

Vasyugan Mire


Vasyugan Mire


Vasyugan Mire


Vasyugan Mire


Vasyugan Mire

'Bogs are extremely important for humanity. Over thousands of years bogs have been absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it at peat deposits.' Pictures: Sergey Kirpotin

He warned at the time that it could be an 'ecological landslide that is probably irreversible'. Now it seems the situation is more advanced than first thought. He said: 'The Arctic regions are more subject to climate change. There are so-called hot spots in the Arctic and northern western Siberia is one of them.

'That’s happening for a few reasons. Scandinavia is warmed by the Gulfstream so the changes there are not as rapid. Canada and Alaska have shorter meridional lengths. Siberia is the largest Arctic territory in the world, besides, there is a vast climate change [from continental] to extreme continental as you move from the west to the east. This way the changes in western Siberia are more extreme and dramatic than elsewhere in the world.'

The new warning comes just weeks after another Russian expert said the Arctic could be completely ice-free within just 40 years.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Oleg Anisimov said there is now evidence that temperatures are rising four times faster in the frozen region than the rest of the planet.

It would mean open water at the top of the world by 2050, with nothing more than a few floating icebergs where the North Pole was once located.

Comments (5)

A correction to my last comment, I meant to write the last part like this. You see, once again money talks louder to them...than the piffling subject of "Climate Change".
Jaker, Dundalk
11/05/2015 07:49
2
1
But will your masters listen to you, Professor? Most likely not. Climate Change is talked about by world politicos but then put on the long finger regards tackling or addressing same. Russia in particular treat it with ambivalence. Well...Siberia...like a lot of the world in recent times has been deluged by floods & these incidents will only increase & then mix that in with all the dangers you're talking about & you have complete disaster impending. And yet you Professor...have to factor that a lot of your fellow scientists don't go with the severity of what you say, in that, they think it won't be near as bad as that. And so, they talk another talk & it's also a fact that your government is more interested with the fossil fuel reserves under the ice that they are nearly praying for this to happen, so that they can more easily tap into these resources. You see, once again money talks louder to them...than the pilfering subject of "Climate Change".
Jaker, Dundalk
11/05/2015 03:43
3
0
Good to see news on climate research from Russia. The scale of the problem is huge and we know so little about it. http://www.climateoutcome.kiwi.nz/climate-threats.html
Bob Bingham, New Zealand
07/05/2015 11:54
9
0
You can find a translation into Spanish of the article here: "Nueva advertencia sobre el cambio climático vinculado a las turberas." http://rumbocolision.blogspot.com.es/2015/05/nueva-advertencia-sobre-el-cambio.html
Rumbo de Colisión, Aigües, Spain
06/05/2015 14:34
5
0
Ummm, Arctic ice free this year I say, United States Navy says by next year, sept. Gulfstream is the reason why bioscience people each december past five years wish goodbye, as in were going to die this time. Gulfstream has been a huge effect on releasing methane clathrates, hopefully we change soon enough to breath methane instead of oxygen, lol
Allan Barr, Covelo, California, United States
06/05/2015 11:23
9
3
1

Add your comment

We welcome a healthy debate, but do not accept offensive or abusive comments. Please also read 'Siberian Times' Privacy Policy

Name

Town/Country

Add your comments

The views expressed in the comments above are those of our readers. 'Siberian Times' reserves the right to pre-moderate some comments.

Control code*

Type the code

* obligatory


Features

Business

The Bank of Russia official exchange rates of foreign currencies
EUR63.37USD56.71GBP72.79Other...