Otherworldly

A couple days ago, i decided to take a hike up the frozen surface of this small river near the border between the Yukon and Alaska. Naturewalks are never particularly easy in this area ... It's a thick, tangled jungle, and walking on the mossy, lichen carpeted Taiga floor in summer is like climbing across a giant wet sponge, so ... It's easy and inviting to hike up a frozen riverbed at this time of year, particularly if the ice is free of snow cover. At any rate, the clear ice was very thick, nearly 1 meter and filled with amazing patterns caused by bubbles of methane gas trapped within. Seeing these patterns below my feet made the hike into a sort of weird ,eerie experience ..... I've seen this before, but never to this extent. What really should have worried me, however, is this .................................

Increase in methane production in the Arctic regions is worrisome to the extent that it illustrates what a circular, self amplifying phenomena global warming is .... In fact, this ties into the observation that the warming in the Arctic, ENTIRELY ASIDE FROM THE MELTING OF THE POLAR ICEPACK, may itself be one of the major factors contributing to GLOBAL warming ...... For thousands of years, in the Arctic and SubArctic regions of the planet, the seasonal vegetation has grown, died and been frozen without fully decomposing, meaning that the (now melting!) permafrost of these regions is a huge bank of stored methane gas .... As the permafrost retreats, the methane stored during endless centuries of short summers and long, cold winters is suddenly ( in the geological sense) released, with the potential to become THE SINGLE BIGGEST contributing factor to global warming ....... Tiny Bubbles .......

( although some streams still bear meter thick ice, as shown here, our climate in the Yukon remains dramatically warmer than historical norms ...)

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Taken on November 14, 2007
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