The Hot Zone

Arctic’s carbon reserves in danger

About 50 percent of the world’s organic carbon stored in the soil is locked down in the frigid northern reaches of the Arctic, below an icy permafrost cap and in rich peat lands. If all that carbon were released, atmospheric CO2 concentrations could go up a whopping 660-870 parts per million. Global warming is gradually unlocking these Arctic carbon reserves. In a paper published recently in the Journal of Geophysical Research, University of Alaska, Fairbanks geophysicist Guido Grosse and colleagues... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on September 8, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists

Warming Arctic sparks tundra fires

In the late summer of 2007, lightening struck a remote corner of the Arctic on Alaska’s North Slope and burned for three months. The tundra soil there was dry because the permafrost, which normally encapsulates the carbon-rich soil in an icy sealant, had melted. The fire burned until October snowfalls put it out, but left a char the size of Cape Cod – some 400 square miles- and large enough to see from space. Photo: Michelle Mack Michelle Mack, a biologist from the University of Florida,... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on July 29, 2011 1 Comment »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists


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