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Defusing the methane bomb—we can still make a difference

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, causing the carbon-containing permafrost that has been frozen for tens or hundreds of thousands of years to thaw and release methane into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to global warming. The findings of a study that included researchers from IIASA, however, suggest that it is still possible to neutralize this threat.  Permafrost is soil that remains frozen for two or more consecutive years. It is usually composed of rock, soil, sediments, and varying amounts of ice that bind the elements together. The permafrost of the Arctic landscape represents one of the largest natural reservoirs of organic carbon in the world. When the permafrost thaws, the soil microbes contained in the soil can turn the carbon into carbon dioxide and methane, which are both greenhouse gases that are known to contribute to global warming when released into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, this is exactly what is currently happening as a result of climate change. In fact, the massive amounts of methane that could potentially be released as a result of permafrost thaw, has often been described as a ticking time bomb and has long been a concern for climate scientists.  Read more...

 

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