by Robert Hunziker
Pingos may sound cute, but they are not cute, even though they start out as small, kinda cute, mounds of earth. Rather, they are monsters from the depths. Whether pingos are threatening is a stimulating question that scientists are still trying to figure out. Pingos are suddenly popping up in the darnedest places!
Pingos are one more solid piece of evidence that global warming is a real threat to humanity. Global warming is quintessentially part of the Great Acceleration. Is the world ready?
Already, Russian scientists have identified 7,000 “alternative pingos” in Siberia. According to The Washington Post, “Russian Scientists Find 7,000 Siberian Hills Possibly Filled with Explosive Gas,” March 27, 2017, Vladimir E. Romanovsky, geophysicist at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks claims: “This is really a new thing to permafrost science. It has not been reported in the literature before,” Ibid. Romanovsky estimates there could be as many as 100,000 “alternative pingos” (smaller than regular pingos) across the entire Arctic permafrost.
Scientists have little doubt that human-caused global warming is the culprit behind sudden eruptions of pingos, what else could possibly account for the extreme rapid melting of permafrost: “It’s definitely related to warming,” Romanovsky said. If these solid chunks warm up and decompose — and the Arctic region is heating up at a rate double the rest of the planet — the methane gas within the alternative pingo builds up,” Ibid.
The National Academy of Sciences carried an article about pingos Postglacial Response of Arctic Ocean Gas Hydrates to Climatic Amelioration, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 114, No. 24, Pavel Serov.
The referenced National Academy article, upon conversion into plain English, reads as follows: Massive Underwater Domes of Methane Look Set to Blow at Any Moment, ScienceAlert, June 6, 2017.
“… Methane look set to blow at any moment” is a powerful sounding statement. The ultimate risk factor (only guessing because it is too early to know for sure) is obliteration of global agriculture. Then, people starve, get angry, and fight… viciously. But, first they migrate. No surprise there as migration has already started in the Middle East and along the southern coastline of the Mediterranean. Why migration? The Middle East carries the distinction as the “fastest drying region of the world”… global warming at work.
Here are some quips from articles about drying up Middle East nations (350 million people) and northern Africa… Iran’s Lake Urmia is Drying Up Fast… Portions of Iraq Drying Up Completely… NASA Study Shows Alarming Water Loss in the Middle East… Dead Sea Drying… One-Half of the World’s Most Water-Stressed Countries in the Middle East and north Africa region. Global warming is likely the most deadly crisis to ever hit humanity. It could be “lights out.”
Syria’s worst drought in 900-years lasted 5 years just prior to the onset of armed conflict, driving 1.5 million farmers and herders off their parched land into the cities, migrating/searching for sustenance. Ever since war started, they’ve been re-migrating out of the cities to Turkey, Mediterranean states, and all across Europe, except for Poland, Hungary, and Czech Republic, which refuse. Global warming/armed conflicts cause people to do crazy things.
What of pingos? Do they pose a threat to humanity? Maybe yes, maybe no, it’s too early to know for certain. After all, the sudden eruptions of weird perfectly round, smooth craters in the northernmost latitudes has only recently popped-up, exploding upwards from within Earth, forming craters that make people scratch their heads in disbelief whilst reflecting, hmm!
If we did not have anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming, pingos would not suddenly be ubiquitous, and there would be no reason to write this article. However, thousands of earthen hills have been popping-up in the lower Arctic regions. The operative question therefore is whether pingos, by releasing methane, will accelerate global warming, leading to way too much heat, and runaway global warming, resulting in burnout of agriculture. Then, starvation sets in for millions, maybe billions. Thereafter, global warfare reigns supreme. Life turns sour. No Hollywood film has ever captured the essence of the shockingly appalling scenario that unfolds, but the TV series The Walking Dead sure seems close. Do films reflect future society?
Methane (CH4) is much worse than carbon dioxide (CO2). There’s no comparison. CH4 cooks the climate at least 10 times faster (actually much faster during its initial years) than CO2. The fact is that when too much carbon (oil, gas, and coal) is removed from the ground and emitted into the atmosphere, e.g., gasoline-powered cars, the planet turns into an oven, like our sister planet Venus where surface temperatures can hit up to 1300°F. That’s hot! Why so hot? The answer is that 95% of Venus’s atmosphere consists of greenhouse gases which acts like a blanket, trapping heat on the planet, whereas Mercury, which is closer to the sun, is cooler. Its atmosphere is not loaded up with carbon.llo Earthlings, you’ve got incipient global warming. It’s not fake!
Alarmingly, it’s probably progressed beyond “incipient” at certain latitudes. Batten down the hatches.