Global Warming: Arctic Permafrost Leaks Carbon Dioxide As It’s Melting

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Global warming also has another, never-before-observed impact on the Arctic permafrost, according to recent research. Accordingly, the Arctic permafrost leaks acids as it’s melting.

As we speak, there are some initiatives to clean up the world’s oceans by collecting debris out of the waters. However, some environmental issues are still tough to address. Under this category falls the Arctic permafrost melt, too. More specifically the accelerated melt of the Earth’s polar caps is threatening the world’s ecosystem.

In a vicious circle, the global warming, mostly caused by greenhouse gases such as CO2, is speeding up the ice sheets meltdown which, at its turn, allows the carbon dioxide trapped within the permafrost to escape, boosting the potency of climate change.

The Arctic permafrost releases carbon dioxide as it’s melting, sustaining the global warming

This situation has been analyzed by a crew of Canadian researchers who came up with two possible consequences. On the one hand, that phenomenon will compromise the characteristics of the nearby regions by producing more thermokarsts (irregular surface with marshy hollows appearing in the Arctic areas). On the other hand, an increased volume of carbon dioxide will be released into the Earth’s atmosphere.

“We can control many sources of CO2 to the atmosphere, caused by human activities, like fossil fuels and land-use change. But once Arctic permafrost starts to thaw and release CO2 and methane, that’s beyond our control. It’s not like we can put a giant thermal blanket on the Arctic,” explained Scott Zolkos, lead author of the study and University of Alberta Ph.D. candidate.

“It’s like taking a bag of frozen broccoli out of the freezer and putting it into the refrigerator. Once it thaws, it will eventually decay and break down,” added Kevin Frost, one of the scientists from the National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

Stacy Richardson

Stacy Richardson is a seasoned journalist with 15 years experience.. She has conducted numerous research studies on media effects including the effects of bullying on adolescents, and “sexy media” effects on sexual behavior.  As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Stacy covers stories affecting local politics and economy. Contact Stacy here.