Here's the really scary part. Beneath the Arctic is a layer of permafrost "more than 1000 feet thick in some places" made of "partially decomposed trees, plants, woolly mammoths and other organic matter that lived in the region thousands of years ago." The terrifying reality is this:
As it thaws, all that rotting debirs send carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Worse, the debris is a feast for microscopic bugs that transform it into methane, a greenhouse gas at least 20 times more potent than CO2. All told, there are some 1 TRILLION metric tons of carbon buried in the Arctic - the equivalent of the oil, gas and coal reserves on the entire planet."
It gets worse.
"A similarly huge amount of methane is frozen in the floor of the shallow seas surrounding the Arctic. As the water warms, these bubbles of methane ice can bubble to the surface and release million of tons of methane -- more or less cooking the planet overnight."
Think of the enormity of that sum of methane - "equivalent to more than all of the oil, gas and coal reserves on the entire planet," doubled. Then recognize that methane is TWENTY times more potent than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere. What we are talking about is no less a global meltdown that would raise sea levels by as much as nine feet by the end of the century. Such a rise in water levels would leave major cities like Miami, London, New York and Shanghai under water. It would also flood entire countries in low lying areas like Bangladesh, destroying the homes of millions of people.
The time to take action to stop global warming has come; in fact, it may have already passed.