Carbon Stored in Arctic Soils Higher Than Previously Thought

NWF   |   August 27, 2008

082808_nasa_arctic_image A recent study led by Chien-Lu Ping of University of Alaska-Fairbanks and published in Nature Geoscience estimates that organic carbon stored in the North American Arctic Region is considerably higher than previously thought.

The study, entitled High stocks of soil organic carbon in the North American Arctic region, analyzes 117 1-meter deep measurements of soil organic carbon in the North American Arctic region and previously published measurements from the same region. The researchers found that soil organic carbon stores are highly dependent on landscape type, and extrapolating from their measurements, the authors estimate that the total organic carbon pool in North American Arctic soils is 60 percent higher than previously estimated.

A recent article Global warming time bomb trapped in Arctic soil: study highlights that these measurements are not included in current climate models and that landscapes in Europe and Russia probably contain a comparable amount of carbon.

The potential release of these greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from the thawing of permafrost is a dangerous feedback loop that we must not let happen.

Published: August 27, 2008