Research Press Release

Permafrost carbon

Nature Geoscience

September 10, 2012

Carbon released from thawing permafrost could lead to significant warming, even under low anthropogenic emissions scenarios, reports a study published online this week in Nature Geoscience.

Permafrost soils contain almost twice as much carbon as the atmosphere. As the climate warms, some of this carbon will be transferred to the atmosphere. Andrew H. MacDougall and colleagues used a global climate model to assess the magnitude of permafrost carbon release, and associated warming, under a range of future greenhouse gas emissions pathways. They show that permafrost carbon release could lead to an additional warming of 0.13 to 1.69 °C by 2300, independent of the anthropogenic emissions pathway followed.


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