Permafrost melting study shows larges amounts of carbon in Arctic soil

By on December 11, 2013

Permafrost in the Arctic (Credit: Brocken Inaglory, Wikimedia Commons)

Researchers from the University of Florida performed the first ever experiment in the Arctic to simulate permafrost melting due to climate change, according to a University of Florida release.

They piled snow up in drifts in select Alaskan sites to trap in heat and cause the permafrost beneath to melt during winter. Then they removed the snow in April to simulate typical spring warming.

They took soil samples and monitored carbon emissions during the process.  They found the water content had a significant impact on how much carbon is released.

Ted Schuur, a UF biology professor and head of the Permafrost Carbon Network, said arctic permafrost holds twice as much carbon as the Earth’s atmosphere.

Climate change may potentially cause permafrost to melt, which has been frozen for tens of thousands of years.

Image: Permafrost in the Arctic (Credit: Brocken Inaglory, Wikimedia Commons)

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