From: University of Leeds
Published April 11, 2017 11:54 AM

Huge permafrost thaw can be limited by ambitious climate targets

Global warming will thaw about 20% more permafrost than previously thought, scientists have warned; potentially releasing significant amounts of greenhouse gases into the Earth’s atmosphere.

A new international research study, including climate change experts from the University of Leeds, University of Exeter and the Met Office, reveals that permafrost is more sensitive to the effects of global warming than previously thought.

The study, published today in Nature Climate Change, suggests that nearly four million square kilometres of frozen soil – an area larger than India – could be lost for every additional degree of global warming experienced.

Permafrost is frozen soil that has been at a temperature of below 0ºC for at least two years. Large quantities of carbon are stored in organic matter trapped in the icy permafrost soils. When permafrost thaws the organic matter starts to decompose, releasing greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane which increase global temperatures.

Read more at University of Leeds

Image: Thawing permafrost peat plateaus in northern Norway. (Credits: Sebastian Westermann)

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

2017©. Copyright Environmental News Network