DISCUSSION: As science and society head further into the 21st Century, there is no debate that climate change (and variability thereof) is at the forefront of many people's and scientist's minds. Among the many concerns regarding both natural and anthropogenic (i.e., man-made or man-influenced) factors which have been thoroughly researched and scientifically linked as being connected to global climate change, one of the bigger topics has been the potential impact of Arctic permafrost. Arctic permafrost is essentially long-lasting snow which contains incredibly large amounts of carbon which has been deposited and stored over the course of many years, decades, centuries, and even millennia in some cases. Thus, one of the premiere concerns from the global climate science community is the net warming trend which the Earth is currently undergoing.
As the Earth continues to gradually warm throughout the rest of the 21st century, there is a very real possibility that much of this carbon may be released into the global atmosphere. Hence, if such a process were to begin to occur and potentially be invigorated by ongoing or even quicker rates of net planetary warming trends, this could release even more carbon into the global atmosphere at an even quicker pace. If this were to become a reality, it would amplify the effects of the infamous greenhouse effect which is fueled by the addition of carbon to the atmosphere in addition other variables such as water vapor, volcanic ash, and more. Attached below are a few exact excerpts from the study conducted and published by the corresponding group of NASA research scientists.
"Permafrost in the coldest northern Arctic -- formerly thought to be at least temporarily shielded from global warming by its extreme environment -- will thaw enough to become a permanent source of carbon to the atmosphere in this century, with the peak transition occurring in 40 to 60 years, according to a new NASA-led study.
The study calculated that as thawing continues, total carbon emissions from this region over the next 300 years or so will be 10 times as much as all human-produced fossil fuel emissions in the single year 2016. The study, led by scientist Nicholas Parazoo of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, found that warmer, more southerly permafrost regions will not become a carbon source until the end of the 22nd century, even though they are thawing now. That is because other changing Arctic processes will counter the effect of thawing soil in these regions.
Permafrost is soil that has remained frozen for years or centuries under topsoil. It contains carbon-rich organic material, such as leaves, that froze without decaying. As rising Arctic air temperatures cause permafrost to thaw, the organic material decomposes and releases its carbon to the atmosphere in the form of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane."
To read the full story on this issue as published by NASA, click on the following link: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/far-northern-permafrost-may-unleash-carbon-within-decades.
To learn more about other interesting stories related to global climate issues, be sure to click on the following link: www.globalweatherclimatecenter.com/climate!
© 2018 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz