News Stories

The Methane Mystery

As we've written here before, one of the mysteries about global warming events of the past is that huge amounts of the greenhouse gas methane were suddenly released into the atmosphere. Where did this come from, and could it happen again? Scientists think one of the culprits may have been ordinary dirt.

One theory is that the large amounts of methane buried in the ocean floor were suddenly released, perhaps by earthquakes or volcanic activity. Now researchers are looking at the carbon buried in frozen soil on land. David Suzuki writes for the Environmental News Network: "So what does [global warming] have to do with soil? Plenty, as it turns out. Soil holds carbon that may otherwise be released into the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. Permafrost?soil that normally stays frozen year round?is especially effective at holding carbon because the cold prohibits the breakdown of organic matter. It's estimated that one-quarter to one-third of all soil carbon is locked in permafrost. But as humans have heated up the planet, permafrost has started to melt."

Those of us who live in warmer climates forget that a great deal of the world's soil is permanently frozen. Suzuki writes, "It's possible that new plant growth could eventually absorb some of the carbon released as the soils melt. But that could take decades. In the meantime, wet, decomposing organic matter in the soils could release huge amounts of methane, an extremely powerful greenhouse gas, which could make global warming much worse."

Is there anything we can do about this impending disaster? It turns out there is. We can treat the soil in special ways and grow special crops that will cause the soil to absorb more CO2. However, like other issues related to global warming, this takes planning, and there's no news about any such planning and testing going on. As global warming progresses, we're going to have to redirect water sources, move agriculture to new areas and maybe move people too. Perhaps our government working right now, making detailed plans about all this in secret, so as not to alarm us?we'd hate to believe they're sitting on their hands and doing nothing. We need Global Warming Security, as well as Homeland Security, if we're going to survive.

As Suzuki says, "We've faced other big environmental problems before, from lead in gasoline and ozone-depleting substances to persistent pollutants that build up in the food chain. Each time, the international community has worked together to solve them?and we did. Lead has been virtually eliminated, the ozone layer is beginning to heal, and persistent pollutants will now be phased out. We can do the same thing with global warming?if we demand action from our leaders."

A more traditional mystery is the secret legacy of an ancient noble family over generations and a trail of clues hidden in the English countryside that lead to a mysterious grotto, a forgotten attic, and the lost chalice known as the grail. Graham Phillips uncovers these secrets on this week's Dreamland! And subscribers get to learn even more: the secret behind the Coral Castle. And here's another secret: according to one expert, the Bible says the world will end in 2009. Find out more about it on Mysterious Powers.

Photo credits: http://www.freeimages.co.uk/

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