Is the horror of the "Creature From the Black Lagoon" in our future? As our planet warms and our glaciers melt, the world that is now locked away in permafrost will come alive. They'll be tiny, so they won't be obviously menacing, but they WILL start churning out greenhouse gases, making global warming worse.
Permafrost is soil that has been frozen for thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of years, and it's full of dead plants and once-living critters that were there when it formed. When these microbes are again exposed to the atmosphere, they release greenhouse gases containing carbon, and scientists are worried that this could pump a large amount of methane (the most potent greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere.
Arctic permafrost is estimated to contain more than 250 times the greenhouse gas emissions that came from the US in 2009. In LiveScience.com, Wynne Parry quotes researcher Janet Jansson as saying, "Nobody has looked at what happens to microbes when the permafrost thaws."
She led a study that recorded what happened when chunks of Alaskan permafrost thawed for the first time in 1,200 years, and says, "We now have a picture, there wasn't really one before." So what happened? The researchers saw an initial burst of methane after two days of thawing, but after seven days, the methane concentration had decreased. The samples also gave off large amounts of carbon dioxide; unlike methane, which DID NOT drop off like the methane did.
Whitley Strieber had never heard of climate change until the Master of the Key burst into his Toronto hotel room in 1998 and warned him about it. Then, when he sat down at his computer to research things like ice cores and tree rings, he discovered that everything MOTKE had told him was TRUE! Read all the other things MOTKE told him, with a new foreword from Whitley telling which of these predictions have COME TRUE, in the new edition of The Key, in bookstores NOW. You can also get it from the Whitley Strieber Collection, and if you do, it comes with an autographed bookplate designed by Whitley!