Feedback Loops

In climate change, a feedback loop is the equivalent of a vicious or virtuous circle – something that accelerates or decelerates a warming trend. A positive feedback accelerates a temperature rise, whereas a negative feedback decelerates it.

Feedback loops are complex in themselves and even more complex when considered as part of an integrated global climate system. Uncertainties led some to compare releasing greenhouse gases into the air with "poking a beast with a sharp stick".

Here are 19 'feedback loops' There are certainly many, many others.

1) Methane hydrates are bubbling out the Arctic Ocean

2) Warm Atlantic water is defrosting the Arctic as it shoots through the Fram Strait

3) Siberian methane vents have increased in size

4) Drought in the Amazon triggered the release of more carbon.

5) Peat in the world’s boreal forests is decomposing.

6) Invasion of tall shrubs warms the soil, hence destabilizes the permafrost.

7) Greenland ice is darkening

8) Methane is being released from the Antarctic

9) Russian and Canadian forest and bog fires are growing

10) Cracking of glaciers accelerates in the presence of increased carbon dioxide

11) The Beaufort Gyre apparently has reversed course

12) Exposure to sunlight increases bacterial conversion of exposed soil carbon, thus accelerating thawing of the permafrost.

13) Summer ice melt in Antarctica is at its highest level in a thousand years.

14) Floods in Canada are sending pulses of silty water out through the Mackenzie Delta and into the Beaufort Sea, thus painting brown a wide section of the Arctic Ocean near the Mackenzie Delta.

15) Surface meltwater draining through cracks in an ice sheet can warm the sheet from the inside, softening the ice and letting it flow faster.

16) It appears a Heinrich Event has been triggered in Greenland. (large armadas of icebergs break off from glaciers)

17) Breakdown of the thermohaline conveyor belt is happening in the Antarctic as well as the Arctic, thus leading to melting of Antarctic permafrost.

18) Loss of Arctic sea ice is reducing the temperature gradient between the poles and the equator, thus causing the jet stream to slow and meander.

19) Arctic ice is growing darker, hence less reflective

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