Sergei Zimov, chief scientist at the Russian Academy of Science's North Eastern Scientific station, reveals to the world a new danger, one that is destined to accelerate global warming beyond any predictions: mammoth dung.
Zimov points to melting permafrost and states that contained therein are layers of animal waste and other organic matter, which when exposed to the air will release tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as the material decays.
Although the UN reported in June that there was no widespread melting of permafrost that could accelerate global warming, they aren't going to disagree that it is possible, probably because it sounds scary.
But Zimov is an expert, we know that from this excerpt from the Reuter's article:
Sergei Zimov bends down, picks up a handful of treacly mud and holds it up to his nose. It smells like a cow pat, but he knows better.
"It smells like mammoth dung," he says.
Nevermind that Siberia has lots of cows, the man's an expert - he has to be. I know I couldn't tell cow dung from the dung of a giant woolly elephant-like creature that has been extinct for thousands of years just by sniffing it.
But more importantly, this potential threat of tons of carbon being released into the atmosphere because of global warming perhaps belongs on the other side of the argument.
In his movie An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore displays a chart showing carbon levels and global temperature. Gore says the chart shows that carbon dioxide leads to global warming but experts have debunked this chart, stating the contrary, that carbon levels follow global warming, lagging temperature increases by as much as 800 years.
If the warm period being experienced in the Arctic is indeed causing strata containing organic material to be exposed, and the resumed decaying of this previously frozen material is going to cause an upsurge in atmospheric carbon dioxide, then it stands to reason that those who called Gore's chart into question are correct and carbon dioxide increases do follow global warming and not the other way around.
Mammoth dung, prehistoric goo may speed warming