Monday, February 11, 2013

Arctic soil producing more bad news as it warms?

One of the worries concerning warmer temperatures in the arctic besides the effects of ever-shrinking summer ice coverage has been arctic methane release. But initial findings of Rose Cory, an environmental scientist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and her team would seem to indicate that it will also produce some unpleasant surprises when it comes to CO2 production. Carbon being released by melting permafrost and then reacting chemically to turn into CO2 has been recognized for a while now but it turns out, at least in research done so far, that carbon being released from the places where permafrost melting has resulted in holes and landslides, known as thermokarst failures, can be even worse. The carbon from deeper layers of soil that are revealed in rapid bursts are actually different from the carbon closer to the surface, with tests showing that carbon to be 40% more susceptible to conversion into CO2.

This seems to be just another piece of bad news when it comes to unexpected feedback systems being discovered as warming continues.