NASA continues studies of warming in the Arctic

According to NASA, winter temperatures rose in the Arctic for the fourth year in a row. Scientists continue to study the impact of the rising temperatures and what it means for the rest of the region and the world.

Permafrost thaw could spew greenhouse gases within decades
(Mar 2018) ‘CNETFar northern permafrost may unleash carbon within decades: NASA study‘Brinkwire (press release)

Permafrost in coldest Arctic areas will melt faster than thought, releasing large amounts of greenhouse gases
(Mar 2018) ‘Discover Magazine (blog)

Permafrost thaw could spew greenhouse gases within decades

A surprising NASA study say the coldest areas of Arctic permafrost may start to thaw and unleash their reservoirs of carbon within mere decades.

This comes as a surprise since scientists previously thought the cold, remote areas of the arctic would be less vulnerable to climate change and take longer to become a significant carbon source (rather than remaining carbon-neutral) than the Arctic’s warmer, more southerly regions. ‘

The warmer southern areas of the Arctic are already experiencing some permafrost thaw, but this region’s carbon footprint will likely be offset by plant growth. The study shows increased photosynthesis from plants will balance the southerly emissions until the late 2100s.

The new study estimates that “as thawing continues, by the year 2300, total carbon emissions from this region will be 10 times as much as all human-produced fossil fuel emissions in 2016.”

Should we be worried? The key findings, ‘Parazoo says, are that the cold northern Arctic will transition into a net carbon source earlier than expected, but it won’t likely become a substantial source of carbon for a couple centuries. “However, the region should be closely monitored due to the large amount of vulnerable carbon,” he says.

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Permafrost in coldest Arctic areas will melt faster than thought, releasing large amounts of greenhouse gases

|Update March 9:’I’ve added some commentary at the end of this piece on’the implications of the permafrost research described here. |

The coldest reaches of the Arctic on land were once’thought to be at least temporarily shielded from’a’major ‘ and worrisome ‘ effect of a warming climate: widespread melting of permafrost.

But a’recent study suggests these northernmost Arctic areas are likely to thaw much sooner than expected. That’s concerning because’melting permafrost’releases climate-warming greenhouse gases.

Overall, the new findings, coupled with previous research, suggest that the Arctic has entered a new epoch ‘ call it “The Great Thawing” ‘ with implications for the entire planet.

Permafrost is permanently’frozen soil, sediment, and rock, sometimes found with wedges of ice. Although it is found’across’15 percent of Earth’s surface, it harbors’about half of our planet’s stores of soil carbon. Scientists have long feared that a warming climate would cause substantial amounts of that carbon to be released into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide and methane, helping to accelerate global warming.


Watching: Arctic According, CNET Far, Reference Other

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