With the growing global warming, there is a real risk of the permafrost glaciers thawing and releasing excessive amounts of greenhouse gases (oxides of carbon and nitrogen) which would further increase the thawing (melting) process and hence facilitate further release of these agents until theoretically all of the permafrosts have melted and all these agents have leaked into the atmosphere.
This is just one example where all of the people of the earth suffer the outcomes of the doings of some of its residents.
I'm too cool to Post
28th November 2003
There have been similar concerns about CO2 stored in oceans. If this is true global warming would turn into a self reinforcing process. Well, more so than it already is.
Yes. With the increase in temperature, the solubility of gases in liquids starts decreasing. So as the temperatures rise, the carbon dioxide in the oceans would start escaping into the atmosphere.
But as far as I think, in the case of the oceans, its not this carbon dioxide release which is threatening but the decrease of dissolved oxygen in the ocean waters. As majority of marine animals breathe this dissolved oxygen, a lack in its levels would mean global scale decreases in the populations of fishes, mollusks, octapeds, plankton and theoretically every marine creature.
Interestingly, geologists tell us that there have been times when the ocean levels were 40 feet higher than what they are today and the temperature of the earth was also higher. But surprisingly, the oceans of those eras were teeming with diverse forms of life.
17th June 2002
That's because glaciers and the polar icecaps shouldn't actually be there, at least not in the quantities they're currently at. They're the last vestiges of the ice age we're currently reaching the end of. We're just speeding the process along a bit. Earth was considerably warmer prior to their existence.
I think it was in the Permian Era that the earth reached its highest mean temperature. I'm not dead sure of it though.
Glaciers have always been present at the poles though. Not in as huge amounts as they are now, however.
Inspite of all the advancement in the field of geology, we still don't know what triggers an ice age and what marks its end.
17th June 2002
We'll know what marks the end of this one when the Netherlands are under water though!