News That Matters

Tag: permafrost

Without sea ice, Arctic permafrost more likely to thaw

Without sea ice, Arctic permafrost more likely to thaw

Science
Jan. 8 (UPI) -- As the Arctic loses its sea ice, new research suggests permafrost is more likely to thaw and release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. As its name implies, permafrost is ground that remains frozen for long periods of time, allowing it to store significant amounts of carbon indefinitely. When permafrost melts, carbon is able to escape into the atmosphere. Because of its role in the carbon cycle, it's important for climate scientists to understand how permafrost is likely to respond to climate change, but predicting the fate of permafrost using modern observations alone is problematic. To develop more accurate prediction models, scientists set out to study the long-term relationships between permafrost melting, temperature and sea ice stability. "We were surprised to fin...
Thawing permafrost leaves traceable carbon footprint in Arctic rivers

Thawing permafrost leaves traceable carbon footprint in Arctic rivers

Science
May 7 (UPI) -- Researchers have found a way to measure the carbon released into Arctic rivers by thawing permafrost. Carbon is everywhere. It is also often on the move. But some carbon sources are sneakier than others. To better understand the planet's carbon budget and its influence on climate change, scientists must develop ways to more accurately track some of this sneaky carbon. When permafrost thaws, ancient carbon, sometimes frozen for hundreds of thousands of years, is freed up. As the planet continues to warm, more and more of this frozen carbon is escaping. But measuring this climate-carbon feedback is difficult. To better track the phenomena, scientists at Stockholm University decided to measure the radiocarbon signal of runaway carbon in large rivers. "Rivers transport carbon ...
Arctic permafrost home to large mercury reserves, study finds

Arctic permafrost home to large mercury reserves, study finds

Science
Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Scientists have discovered large mercury reserves trapped in Arctic permafrost.According to a new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the mercury reserves are the largest in the world."This discovery is a game-changer," lead study author Paul Schuster, a hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Boulder, Colorado, said in a news release. "We've quantified a pool of mercury that had not been done previously, and the results have profound implications for better understanding the global mercury cycle."The monumental mercury levels were revealed by permafrost cores drilled in northern Alaska. Analysis suggests the Arctic permafrost holds double the amount of Mercury found in all the rest of the planet's ocean, sediment and atmospheric systems combin...