Rapidly Melting Arctic Sea Ice Threatens Permafrost

NWF   |   July 30, 2008

A recent study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the National Snow and Ice Data Center found that in periods of rapid sea ice retreat, Arctic land temperatures can increase at a rate triple the average warming rate estimated in global climate models.

The study’s lead author, David Lawrence of NCAR, is quoted as saying that this study "…suggests that, if sea-ice continues to contract rapidly over the next several years, Arctic land warming and permafrost thaw are likely to accelerate."

Arctic permafrost and soils contain at least 30 percent of the carbon stored in soils worldwide. The acceleration of thawing of Arctic permafrost has the potential to significantly increase the emissions of greenhouse gases released when permafrost thaws.

This is a dangerous feedback loop we can’t afford to let happen.

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