The Weekend Wonk: Anton Vaks on Permafrost Melt
March 16, 2013
I’m posting the interview I did by Skype with Anton Vaks, whose recent research figured prominently in one of my recent videos.
Doctor Vaks has looked at the growth of speleothems, i.e. stalactites and stalagmites, in caves underlying areas of continuous and discontinuous permafrost in Siberia. 400,000 years ago, during an interglacial period slightly warmer than this one (so far), large areas of permafrost did go into a melting process once temp reached about 1.5 C above preindustrial temps. We are a little more than half way to that point, at about 0.8C above preindustrial.
The good news is, as the orbital cooling processes kicked in, the planet cooled, and permafrost did not run away. The bad news is, we are pushing the process much, much harder than the orbital forcings ever have.
Per Youtube limitations, had to break it up. Part 2 below.
If you have not seen yet, the permafrost video is below.