阿姆斯特丹自由大學凡惠斯特丹（Dr. J. van Huissteden）博士表示，甲烷的溫室氣體效應比二氧化碳還強。他解釋說，科學家已開始注意到北極永凍土層所釋放的甲烷，因為這種強力的溫室氣體極可能成為全球氣候暖化效應的正向回饋。
Large amounts of the greenhouse gas methane will be released into the atmosphere in the near future, according to a Dutch scientist speaking today at the European Geosciences Union meeting in Vienna. He said global warming could lead to melting of the arctic tundras, setting free large volumes of methane, which would in its turn increase global warming. Other scientists said glaciers are melting at an unprecedented rate and the oceans are turning acidic.
Methane is a much stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide said Dr. J. (Ko) van Huissteden of Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. He explained that methane fluxes from the arctic permafrost areas attract scientific attention because the release of this powerful greenhouse gas may act as a positive feedback to climate warming.
Van Huissteden's research in the tundra of northeast Siberian, conducted in cooperation with the Yakut institute of Biology, shows that the floodplains of arctic lowland rivers are major methane sources, where methane fluxes may be five times as high as in non-flooded tundra bogs.
Moreover, he said, these fluxes are very sensitive to river discharge fluctuations and the incidence of river floods. Currently, both air temperature and river discharges are rising significantly in the arctic.
A panel of glaciologists at EGU 2006 said the consequence of global warming may be that, even in this century, coastal areas will be flooded worldwide. The Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets are losing ice at much faster rates than has been predicted, while the mechanisms causing this are not yet fully understood, they said Monday.
Europe's Alps could lose three-quarters of their glaciers to climate change during the coming century, according to new research from Zurich's World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMC) presented at the meeting. "From 1850 to the 1970s, there is an average loss of 2.9 percent per decade," WGMC's Michael Zemp told EGU participants. But that percentage of loss is accelerating rapidly. "From the 1970s until 2000 it is 8.2 percent per decade, and we see most of that increase since 1985," Zemp said.
Alpine glaciers serve as freshwater reservoirs, storing winter snowfall and releasing it over the warm months for use in homes and on farms. Without the glaciers, snowmelt would run off all at once in the spring, causing flooding and leaving little stored water for summer and fall.
An unexpected effect of increasing emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) was reported Monday at EGU 2006. A panel of ocean experts said that by the end of this century, corals in large parts of the oceans will see their shells dissolving in sea water that is more and more acidic. Cold water corals, species that have only been recently discovered, appear to be most threatened.
Panel members said that the oceans have so far absorbed about a third of human-caused CO2 emissions, and that this uptake has serious consequences for ocean chemistry. Adding CO2 to seawater reduces the pH level, which is referred to as ocean acidification. New findings indicate that changes in ocean chemistry due to acidification over the last 10 years are measurable even in the deep ocean.
Most research so far focused on the decline in calcification of corals, other reef organisms and some major planktonic groups of the open ocean due to this acidification. But less is known about the long-term effect of decalcification on the ecosystem. Research needs to be done on the ecosystem's response and adaptation to more acid oceans, the scientists said.
According to Joan Kleypas from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, the only solution seems to be to decrease carbon dioxide emissions.