Just Released! Order “Waking Up to Climate Change” by George Ropes, and receive 25% Discount. Learn More

Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

HOME          CATEGORIES          OUR TAKE

As permafrost thaws, scientists study the risks

 

Permafrost
Source: Josh Haner/The New York Times

There is a growing concern that increased thawing of permafrost due to warming temperatures in the Arctic has the potential to release large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.  A recent estimate suggests that Arctic permafrost contains twice as much carbon as the entire atmosphere.  If significant amounts of these greenhouse gases are released, it could cause a positive feedback, intensifying global warming.  Methane, in particular, is an especially efficient greenhouse gas, and its potential release is of even more concern to scientists than the carbon dioxide that would be released simultaneously. Preliminary projections suggest that Arctic permafrost could eventually become an annual source of carbon, contributing an amount equivalent to 15-35% of current annual greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.  However, it is believed that if emissions are brought under control now, contributions from thawing permafrost could potentially be much less. Scientists have declared the need to understand this problem as a major priority, recognizing the large amount of uncertainty that still exists.  Experts’ most significant worry at this point is that once the carbon in permafrost begins to break down, it will be impossible to stop.

Gary Monitz

Comment on this article

ClimateYou moderates comments to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (New York time) and can only accept comments written in English.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE


More Posts Like This

CITY TECH BLOG

How Climate Change is Changing My Home City

As a person living in a coastal city, more specifically New York City, my area of living is a prime target for climate change occurrences. From rising sea levels and temperatures to structures being damaged or completely destroyed, a lot will change and has changed in my home,

CITY TECH BLOG

Climate Change and the Industries of the World

It’s no surprise that when the climate of an area changes, it impacts most, if not all of their industries and way of life of countries. Some of these industries include tourism, agriculture, fishery, and infrastructure, which all dictate the economy and life quality of the residents in

CITY TECH BLOG

Cloud Computing: Driving Environmental Sustainability in the Digital Age

Sustainable technology, known as Green IT, is reshaping the way we approach technology in business and industry. It emphasizes developing and using technology without harming the environment. Cloud computing is a prime example of sustainable technology. It allows companies to store data on external servers which reduces costs and infrastructure