Arctic permafrost rapid drowning data collection team



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According to a new study, permafrost in the Arctic is thawing at a rate that could double in a few years the amount of greenhouse gases that are released from the organic matter long frozen in the ground.

"As soil temperature rises above freezing, microorganisms break down organic matter in the soil," wrote Merritt Turetsky, research chair of the integrative biology department at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. in a co-written Article published in the journal Nature.

"Greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, are released into the atmosphere, accelerating global warming," the authors note.

Permafrost, which consists of soil, rock, sediment and ice, is full of carbon due to the decomposition of organic material from dead plants, animals and microbes that accumulated in the soil for dozens and, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of years.

Permafrost is thawing so rapidly that it is "dramatic to see," the authors declare in their report.

"When we return to the field sites in Alaska, for example, we often find that the lands that were planted a year ago are now covered with lakes, the rivers that once vanished are full of sediments. sometimes carrying sensitive scientific equipment, "the study adds.

"Permafrost in [that] The depth, even within 100 years, would probably still be protected on the ground, "Turetsky told CBC recently. Except that here comes this really crazy liquification, where this abrupt melting really shakes this matter. "
According to projections, a rapidly increasing permafrost melt will release around a minimum of 200 billion tons of carbon over the next 300 years, says the study, which adds, however, that the figure of 200 billion could be a "great underestimation"

"We estimate that the abrupt thawing of permafrost in the lowland lakes and wetlands, along with that of the highland hills, could release between 60,000 and 100 billion tons of carbon for 2300. This adds up to 200,000 tons. millions of tons of carbon that are expected to be released in other regions that will be thawed gradually, "the study notes.

The abrupt thawing of permafrost releases carbon stored in a much shorter period of time, releasing vast amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas with an efficiency 30 times greater than that of carbon dioxide to trap heat.

To better understand the permanent thawing of permafrost, the researchers recommend improving the technologies used to measure permafrost and carbon in the Arctic as a means to "establish baselines of permafrost and changes in ecosystems with which future measurements can be compared "

In addition, the researchers recommend greater participation of national and international interests in the monitoring of sites such as rivers, where aquatic and marine measurements can be taken to monitor how organic matter is responding to melting.

Additional field measurements that measure the amount of carbon dioxide and methane that is being released into the atmosphere must now be collected more frequently. The new models of the Earth system, which predict key processes and thaw the dynamics, must also be built, they argue.

"We can not avoid the abrupt thawing of permafrost, but we can try to predict where and when it is likely to happen, to allow decision makers and communities to protect people and resources," according to the report.

"Reducing global emissions could be the surest way to slow the release of carbon from permafrost into the atmosphere, so let's keep that carbon where it belongs: frozen safely in the impressive northern soils," says the study.

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