Research highlight

Permafrost degradation leads to wetland loss

Nature Geoscience

June 6, 2011

Permafrost thawing reduces the areal extent of wetlands, according to a study published online in Nature Geoscience. A reduction in wetland area could influence high-latitude carbon emissions, as wetlands both take up and store carbon, and release carbon dioxide and methane.

Christopher Avis and colleagues use a global climate model to examine the impact of permafrost melt caused by rising greenhouse gas emissions on wetlands in the high northern latitudes. Their simulations suggest that permafrost degradation reduces the areal extent of wetlands, owing to the drainage of near-surface water to deeper soil layers.

doi: 10.1038/ngeo1160

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