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Permafrost thaw: No upside
Date:3/21/2014

hree year long Carbon in Permafrost Experimental Heating Research (CiPEHR) project warmed air and soil and thawed permafrost using two warming experiments. The "winter warming" treatment consisted of snow packs, which functioned like down comforters insulating the ground during the winter until the snow was removed at the start of the growing season. The "summer warming" treatment consisted of open-topped greenhouses that warmed the air during the summer. The team measured warming effects on CO2 uptake by plants and release by plants and microbes.

Scientists estimate that within the next century permafrost will have declined 30% to 70% and there is limited accounting of how much carbon is stored in these frozen soils or the rate at which it will be released. For Dr. Natali:

"The only way we can accurately project future climate is to understand the responses of both plants and microbes to a warming climate. This study was the first to simulate whole ecosystem warming in the arctic, including permafrost degradation, similar to what is projected to happen as a result of climate change. There is a strong potential for significant global carbon emissions if rates calculated here become typical for permafrost ecosystems in a warmer world."


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Contact: Eunice Youmans
eyoumans@whrc.org
508-444-1509
Woods Hole Research Center
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. UF researchers experiment is first to simulate warming of Arctic permafrost
2. New knowledge about permafrost improving climate models
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Permafrost thaw: No upside
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