Poor Pitt the Younger

Poor Pitt the Younger.
He must have had a rough time with geography at school, having to learn useless things like capital cities instead of awesome things like about methane clathrates, which are solid chunks of methane (a bit like ice) that sit on the ocean floor and in the permafrost that can be found in the northern parts of the northern hemisphere.

How are they related to geography? Well as we know, humans are massively changing the chemical composition of the atmosphere, which is causing the permafrost to melt, releasing all this methane. That’s pretty bad as methane has a global warming potential (GWP) of 72 over 20 years, making it exactly 72 times worse as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over the same time period.

The tricky thing with the methane in the permafrost is that the more it melts the more methane will be released so it will get warmer so it will melt more so more methane will be released so it will get warmer so it will melt more … this could go on for a while. That’s what we call a positive feedback loop. They are bastards to model, so we don’t have a great understanding of them and climate change science is full of them.

Methane release is wack. PHOTO: sandiegofreepress.org

So maybe Pitt the Younger was happy with his crappy geography classes, safe from the knowledge of methane and over grazing and erosion and land clearing and water pollution?

I think what I’m trying to say is that while a solid understanding of geography (or science in general) can be depressing (see discussion of methane, above), it is important have that knowledge and be excited about it (as PtY clearly wasn’t) so we can start solving those problems. The permafrost would still be melting even if we didn’t know about it, knowing about it helps as you need to identify a problem before you try to solve it.

Actually, really what I’m trying to say is that we should all watch Black Addder.


Author: mirisumwelt



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