Is the Arctic permafrost in a warming feedback loop that will unleash a methane bomb, pushing the planet past a tipping point and into inevitable climate doom?
But the warming permafrost does release greenhouse gases, and they do matter. Understanding the Arctic permafrost's role in the global climate cycle is important. And there absolutely is alarming evidence of climate change in the Arctic, to which we must pay attention.
In this episode, permafrost researcher Dr. Gustaf Hugelius of Stockholm University explains what the best scientific evidence says about the thawing of Arctic permafrost and its significance to the climate. We also debunk some of the hyperbolic claims that have been made about it. You’ll learn why, although there are climate feedback loops acting in the Arctic, they are much more predictable and modest in effect than they have been made out to be. You’ll also learn that there are no well-defined “tipping points,” nor is there likely to be a ’methane bomb’ emerging from the permafrost.
So if you’ve been worrying that a tipping point emanating from the Arctic is going to render the whole project of climate action futile, you need to listen to this episode. It’s not so.
Dr. Gustaf Hugelius is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Physical Geography at Stockholm University. He is also the Vice Director of the Bolin Centre of Climate Research and the co-lead of the research unit Landscape, Environment and Geomatics. Previously, he was a visiting scholar at Stanford University.
On Twitter: @BolinCentre
On the Web: Gustaf’s page at Stockholm University
Recording date: February 16, 2023
Air date: April 5, 2023
Geek rating: 6