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Thawing Permafrost Emitting Higher Levels of Potent Greenhouse Gas Than Previously Thought: Study PDF Print E-mail
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Posted by Joan Russow   
Wednesday, 17 April 2019 07:38

 

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Point Barrow

 

 

Point Barrow, the northern-most location in the United States sits between the Chukchi Sea (west) and the Beaufort Sea on the east. (Photo: NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team/Flickr)

new study shows that emissions of a potent greenhouse gas from thawing permafrost in the planet's northernmost region may be 12 times higher than previously thought.

 

 

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/04/16/thawing-permafrost-emitting-higher-levels-potent-greenhouse-gas-Nitrous oxide is nearly 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide

"This needs to be taken more seriously than it is right now."
—Jordan Wilkerson, lead author

That's according to a study published this month in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. The paper's findings add even more weight to scientists' urgent warnings about the mounting threats of permafrost thaw.

Permafrost is a frozen mix of soil, rocks, and sand that covers about a fourth of the Northern Hemisphere—and is primarily found in the uppermost areas, where temperatures are rising more rapidly than the rest of the world.

When permafrost melts because of human-caused global warming, it pours greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) into the atmosphere, further heating the planet.

Nitrous oxide (N2O), a greenhouse gas nearly 300 times more potent than CO2, stays in the atmosphere for an average of 114 years, per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

N2O "has conventionally been assumed to have minimal emissions in permafrost regions," the report said, citing research published in the 1990s.

But the new study's findings challenge that assumption.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 April 2019 07:53
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