back to article Peat bogs will not cause runaway global warming

OK, so the world has warmed up a bit since 1950. This is terrible, because it means that the huge amounts of carbon stored in peat bogs will now start to be emitted into the atmosphere, which will cause more warming, which will release more peaty carbon and so on until all the Earth is a baking lifeless hell. It must be true …


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  1. Bomberb


    That article was in July 2004 !!!!!

  2. Frederic Bloggs

    The Fens...

    Were drained around the time that we were coming out of the "mini iceage" in the 16th century. We got warmer. Clearly this new research must be wrong! (er :-)

    Having got that off my chest, another lesson that could be drawn from history (if anyone could be arsed to look) is the what happens to the *level* of any peat bogs that would (presumably) then dry out. Equally, it might also be instructive to look back and see how *useful* this process might be, given the raging population growth that is predicted.

  3. Thomas 18

    Natural balance

    Does seem like when there's an over-abundance of something nature finds a way to exploit it and absorb it back into itself. I think we should be tapping into that potential with some geoengineering rather than fighting an unwinnable battle against CO2 emissions.

    1. Mme.Mynkoff

      Far too sensible

      We should go back to using medieval energy sources and pray to Gaia, just like the hippies suggest, in the hope she will Forgive Us For Our Sins.

  4. Tim Parker

    New Scientist link

    The issue in the article linked (atmospheric CO2 concentration) does not appear to be related to the effects the article the ACS are announcing - which seems to discussing surface dry-out according to the snippet quoted

    "Scientists have been concerned that global warming might dry out the surface of peatlands, allowing the release into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and methane"

    I can't seem to find a link to the full Environmental Science and Technology article so it's difficult to know however - if someone has a copy or link, that would be interesting.

    Looking at the NS article, it appears Mr. Freeman has had several (un-successful) attempts at predicting what might trigger net carbon release, before finding some mechanism that does cause it. That said, and ignoring the somewhat Chicken Little tone of some of his comments, there does appear to be some effect that it might be prudent to examine - even if only to discount it's effect based on proper real-world experimentation.

  5. Ian Yates

    Good news

    Nice to see some positive science on the subject. Though, hopefully there are other institutions performing the same research to confirm/dispute.

    My first thought on the article was: did the release of gases reduce, or the production? Is it possible that the surface is drying and locking in growing bubbles of gas?

    Ugh. Cynical Friday brain

  6. Some Beggar

    Can you explain what you think connects those two articles, Lewis? One is an observation of carbon dissolving into rivers, the other is an experiment in drying out peat/sand mixtures.

    This is very weak. Why couldn't you simply announce the recent research as good news instead of making a fatuous snipe at some perfectly valid and almost entirely unrelated research?

    1. Audrey S. Thackeray

      Agreed. It's almost as though it's the message not the science that is important.

  7. Natalie Gritpants

    Bog means wet

    And it's wet because it's at the bottom of a hill or somewhere where water doesn't drain away well. Surely a rise in global temperatures will result in more rain or rising sea levels so the bogs will get bigger or wetter not drier?

    1. Some Beggar

      It could go either way or both.

      Some bogs may dry out, some may flood. Both areas of research will have some relevance.

      Unless you live in Lewis's universe, apparently.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A long time another life so to speak,

    I had reason to be working on Shetland.

    The crew I was with needed to visit a remote station. We drove up the track and there in the distance were a couple of blokes sheltering from the cold and wet in an rusty old van.

    The greenhorn with us asked "Who's that?"

    "Peat Cutters" I muttered, not really wanting to be there at all.

    "Oh, you know him then?" the guy relplied.

    Que two sappers pissing themsleves laughing and one other looking rather perplexed.

    Ah, such good times.....

  9. hefty
    IT Angle

    What's the IT angle?

    Why does the register continue to post climate change opinion pieces? Stick to what you know.

  10. s. pam
    Thumb Up

    You're all missing the most obvious benefit!

    More Islay Malt Whisky if there's more Peat Bogs...


    1. Some Beggar

      I risk being turfed out* of the SMWS for this but ...

      the smokey character of Islay and lowland brews has bugger all to do with peat and everything to do with smoking the malted grain.

      (* pun intended)

  11. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Oh thank god the effect is not real. Otherwise we were going to have to burn all the peat to get rid of it!

  12. jonnyrad

    it's almost as if the scientific process is at work

    so have I got this right. some scientists (or 'boffins' to put them in their place) have done some research and conclude one thing. some other scientists have done some research and conclude something else.

    whatever next?! reasoned debate, more research and improved understanding of atmospheric processes.

    or Daily Mail-style articles like this.

    for another point of view on the role of peat bogs, it doesn't take much to find (in an "academic paper")

    'Carbon respiration from subsurface peat accelerated by climate warming in the subarctic', Ellen Dorrepaal, et al, Nature 460, 616-619 doi:10.1038/nature08216

    I often wonder why El Reg is 'Sci-Tech News for the World'. Keep it to tech, at least until Nature/PRL/BMJ start reviewing ultrabooks.


  13. Gobhicks


    ... but what about thawing permafrost?

  14. dwieske

    the expected issue did not come from bog drying out...but from permafrost in the russian tundra thawing and releasing crapload of methane

  15. 45RPM

    Lewis Page is a Troll

    Lewis Page is Reg's equivalent of Clarkson or The Daily Mail. Despite unanimous (well, unanimous from informed climate scientists anyway) evidence to the contrary, he still craps on about how climate change really isn't all that bad, probably not man made and definitely nothing to worry about.

    Please can we stop feeding it now?

  16. Brad Arnold

    Cold fusion a reality (save big money cutting emissions)

    There is a new clean energy technology that is 1/5th the cost of coal. Don’t believe me? Watch this video by a Nobel prize winner in physics:

    Still don’t believe me? It convinced the Swedish Skeptics Society:

    LENR using nickel. Incredibly: Ni+H+K2CO3(heated under pressure)=Cu+lots of heat. Here is a detailed description of the device and formula from a US government contract:

    According to Forbes, electricity will be "too cheap to meter" if the Oct 28 demonstration succeeds:

    Here's the latest, according to MSNBC it passed the test:

  17. Jim Birch
    Thumb Up

    Back on track

    Good to see that the Reg is back on track with cherry picked simplistic hooha. A couple of recent real-world complex science articles in the Reg - of all places! - were giving me category confusion. Thanks for returning to the familiar tribal landscape.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    off the mark

    The issue is peat bogs in state of permafrost that are thawing. Writing so it seems that the problem with permafrost is non-existant..weak

    Let someone else writeup the environmental stuff

  19. Nigel 11
    Thumb Down

    Wrong target

    I don't imagine for a moment that a study of methane hydrate under permafrost would give such a happy conclusion. We already know most of the answer.

    Runaway global warming caused by methane released from melting methane hydrates has happened many times in the recent geological past. The evidence is there in the geological record. We're about to trigger it again, for some geological value of "about".

    That's important. A run-away over 2000 years is an eye-blink in geological terms, but is slow enough that the human race will adapt to the changes and only historians will notice them. But if it proves to be 200 or 20? The human race is gambling for high stakes.

    (Before anyone shouts ... not *that* high. Life will survive as it did the times before. Humans will probably survive. It would just make a big mess of our civilisation. Today's flooded Bangkok, writ permanent and world-wide with saltwater).

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