Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Arctic Permafrost Set for Faster Carbon Leak

Researchers now know more about the intricate mechanisms of change in the thawing Arctic permafrost.  And what they know is ominous.

Permafrost near the study site in northern Sweden. (Image Credit: Caitlin Singleton) Click to Enlarge.
The Arctic permafrost – a frozen store of at least half the planet’s organic carbon – could be about to release more carbon in the form of greenhouse gases than it absorbs in the growing season.

A 42-year study of atmospheric carbon dioxide over the north slope of Alaska reveals that the “cycling time” – that is, the time a quantity of carbon is locked away in the frozen subsurface of the tundra regions – has been reduced by more than 13% over four decades.

This means that in response to global warming, the world’s greatest single store of ancient sunshine in the form of peat and other preserved vegetation is about to surrender yet more carbon dioxide and methane, and accelerate the process.

Read more at Arctic Permafrost Set for Faster Carbon Leak

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