Printer Friendly

Super-size deposits of frozen carbon in Arctic a growing threat to climate.

Byline: ANI

Washington, July 1 (ANI): A new study has estimated that the vast amount of carbon stored in the arctic and boreal regions of the world is more than double that previously estimated, which raises new concerns over the role of the northern regions as future sources of greenhouse gases.

"We now estimate the deposits contain over 1.5 trillion tons of frozen carbon, about twice as much carbon as contained in the atmosphere," said Dr. Charles Tarnocai, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, and lead author of the study.

According to Dr. Pep Canadell, Executive Director of the Global Carbon Project at CSIRO, Australia, and co-author of the study, the existence of these super-sized deposits of frozen carbon means that any thawing of permafrost due to global warming may lead to significant emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane.

Carbon deposits frozen thousands of years ago can easily break down when permafrost thaws releasing greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, according to another recent study by some of the same authors.

"Radioactive carbon dating shows that most of the carbon dioxide currently emitted by thawing soils in Alaska was formed and frozen thousands of years ago. The carbon dating demonstrates how easily carbon decomposes when soils thaw under warmer conditions," said Professor Ted Schuur, University of Florida and co-author of the paper.

The authors point out the large uncertainties surrounding the extent to which permafrost carbon thawing could further accelerate climate change.

"Permafrost carbon is a bit of a wildcard in the efforts to predict future climate change," said Dr Canadell.

"All evidence to date shows that carbon in permafrost is likely to play a significant role in the 21st century climate given the large carbon deposits, the readiness of its organic matter to release greenhouse gases when thawed, and the fact that high latitudes will experience the largest increase in air temperature of all regions," he added. (ANI)

Copyright 2009 Asian News International (ANI) - All Rights Reserved.

Provided by an company
COPYRIGHT 2009 Al Bawaba (Middle East) Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Asian News International
Date:Jul 1, 2009
Previous Article:US to set up own monitoring cell to keep tabs on entire Pak aid package.
Next Article:Even minor weight loss 'ups fertility' in obese women.

Related Articles
Global warming might reduce if nations cut greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent.
UN chief warns of Gulf Stream threat; Time 'running out for a deal on emissions'.
A day for planetary justice.
A day for planetary justice.
Arctic lands and oceans account for 25 percent of world's net sink of CO2.
Arctic lands and oceans account for 25 percent of world's net sink of CO2.
Global warming 'worse than thought'.
Global warming 'worse than thought'.
Global warming 'worse than thought'.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters