Could climate science possibly be unsettled?
Study looks at prehistoric climate change
EDMONTON, Alberta, March 15 (UPI) -- Canadian researchers say the impact of peatlands on prehistoric climate change has been overestimated but they could affect the current global warming trend.
University of Alberta researchers say northern peatlands, a boggy mixture of dead organic material and water covering more than 1.5 million square miles, sequester carbon in the form of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. As old peat is buried and begins to decompose it emits large amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, a university release said Tuesday.
The largest northern peatlands are located in the subarctic regions of Canada and Russia.
University researchers studied radiocarbon dates of ancient peatlands to examine how they first colonized northern regions at the end of the last ice age, a period of rapid global warming. Atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane rose dramatically 10,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age, and scientists believed that northern peatlands were a large, if not the principle, source of the dramatic increase in atmospheric methane.
But the research showed peatlands did not colonize the north until 500 to 1,000 years after the abrupt increases in atmospheric methane, suggesting other sources, such as tropical wetlands, were the main cause.
The researchers said their findings show how easily huge, complex areas of the planet and their effect on climate can be misunderstood.
Compare to a study published less than 5 years ago:
October 13, 2006 Mongabay.com
New research says that methane released from peat bogs at the end of the past ice age worsen global warming. The study warns that a similar event could worsen climate change by causing a rapid shift in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.
A news release from UCLA appears below.
Rapid Growth of Huge Northern Bog Complex May Have Helped Kick-Start Past Global Warming
Methane gas released by peat bogs in the northern-most third of the globe probably helped fuel the last major round of global warming, which drew the ice age to a close between 11,000 and 12,000 years ago, UCLA and Russian Academy of Sciences scientists have concluded...