Research: High risk of permafrost thaw

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on December 16, 2011

Northern soils will release huge amounts of carbon in a warmer world, say Edward A. G. Schuur, Benjamin Abbott and the Permafrost Carbon Network.

  • “Arctic temperatures are rising fast, and permafrost is thawing. Carbon released into the atmosphere from permafrost soils will accelerate climate change, but the magnitude of this effect remains highly uncertain. Our collective estimate is that carbon will be released more quickly than models suggest, and at levels that are cause for serious concern. We calculate that permafrost thaw will release the same order of magnitude of carbon as deforestation if current rates of deforestation continue. But because these emissions include significant quantities of methane, the overall effect on climate could be 2.5 times larger.”
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