Climate Change: Worst Case Scenario Becoming Plausible
(November 16, 2012) According to researchers at Southern Cross University, Australia’s biggest coal seam gas field, the Queensland’s Tara gas field, has been leaking large amounts of methane.
The researchers said methane, carbon dioxide and other gases appear to be leaking through the soil and bubbling up through rivers, according to a 11/15 article by United Press International.
The Tara gas field produces the equivalent of 6.86 billion barrels of oil, says the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics, or the eerily exact amount of oil consumed in the United States in 2011.
Methane gas is of particular concern to climate scientists as it has four times the negative affect on global warming as that of carbon dioxide. In addition, there are incalculable amounts of methane trapped in permafrost layers of the more northern latitudes like Siberia. Scientist have calculated that this large carbon pool represents more carbon than currently exists in all living things and twice as much carbon as exists in earth’s atmosphere.
Climate change models today all reveal a tipping point of no return while most scientist agree that we will be way past that point once a significant amount of permafrost begins to thaw.
“‘The concentrations here (Tara) are higher than any measured in gas fields anywhere else that I can think of, including in Russia,” Damien Maher, a biochemist who helped conduct the tests, was quoted as saying in the UPI article. ”The extent of these enriched concentrations is significant.”
Under Australia’s carbon tax plan, which went into effect in July, businesses that emit 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide or the equivalent in other greenhouse gases must pay $24 per ton.
The Tara Gas Field is owned by Britain’s BG Group.
Is Climate Change Happening faster Than Predicted
Climate change is likely to be worse than many computer models have projected, according to a new analysis.
The work, published yesterday in Science, finds evidence that Earth’s climate is more sensitive to the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than some earlier studies had suggested.
If the new results are correct, that means warming will come on faster, and be more intense, than many current predictions. Moreover, the impacts of that warming, including sea level rise, drought, floods and other extreme weather, could hit earlier and harder than many models project, said study co-author John Fasullo, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
“Temperatures are likely to go up to the high side of current projections, as is [atmospheric] water vapor,” he said. “To the extent those environmental impacts influence events like [Superstorm] Sandy, expect the impacts to be on the high side.”
For scientists like Fasullo and co-author Kevin Trenberth, head of NCAR’s climate analysis section, determining the climate’s precise sensitivity to the CO2 accumulating in the atmosphere has been an unusually tough task.