High risk of permafrost thaw

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In the Arctic, temperatures are rising fast, and permafrost is thawing. Carbon released to the atmosphere from permafrost soils could accelerate climate change, but the likely magnitude of this effect is still highly uncertain. A collective estimate made by a group of permafrost experts, including myself, is that carbon could be released more quickly than models currently suggest, and at levels that are cause for serious concern. While our models of carbon emission from permafrost thaw are lacking, experts intimately familiar with these landscapes and processes have accumulated knowledge about what they expect to happen, based on both quantitative data … continued below

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Schuur, E. A. G.; Abbott, B.; Koven, C. D.; Riley, W. J. & Subin, Z. M. November 1, 2011.

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This article is part of the collection entitled: Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports and was provided by the UNT Libraries Government Documents Department to the UNT Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 746 times, with 5 in the last month. More information about this article can be viewed below.

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In the Arctic, temperatures are rising fast, and permafrost is thawing. Carbon released to the atmosphere from permafrost soils could accelerate climate change, but the likely magnitude of this effect is still highly uncertain. A collective estimate made by a group of permafrost experts, including myself, is that carbon could be released more quickly than models currently suggest, and at levels that are cause for serious concern. While our models of carbon emission from permafrost thaw are lacking, experts intimately familiar with these landscapes and processes have accumulated knowledge about what they expect to happen, based on both quantitative data and qualitative understanding of these systems. We (the authors of this piece) attempted to quantify this expertise through a survey developed over several years, starting in 2009. Our survey asked experts what percentage of surface permafrost they thought was likely to thaw, how much carbon would be released, and how much of that would be methane, for three time periods and under four warming scenarios that are part of the new IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

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  • Journal Name: Nature; Journal Volume: 480; Journal Issue: 7375; Related Information: Journal Publication Date: 2011

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

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  • November 1, 2011

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  • May 19, 2016, 9:45 a.m.

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  • Aug. 22, 2022, 3:20 p.m.

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Schuur, E. A. G.; Abbott, B.; Koven, C. D.; Riley, W. J. & Subin, Z. M. High risk of permafrost thaw, article, November 1, 2011; Berkeley, California. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc836756/: accessed February 29, 2024), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.

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