Global warming projections: way worse than we thought

The permafrost, which holds lot of frozen vegetation and keeps it from decaying and contributing to atmospheric CO2, will melt enough to kick into a positive feedback of warming and melting.

NSIDC bombshell: Thawing permafrost feedback will turn Arctic from carbon sink to source in the 2020s, releasing 100 billion tons of carbon by 2100.

Figure:  Carbon emission (in billions of tons of carbon a year) from thawing permafrost.

The thaw and release of carbon currently frozen in permafrost will increase atmospheric CO2 concentrations and amplify surface warming to initiate a positive permafrost carbon feedback (PCF) on climate…. [Our] estimate may be low because it does not account for amplified surface warming due to the PCF itself….  We predict that the PCF will change the arctic from a carbon sink to a source after the mid-2020s and is strong enough to cancel 42–88% of the total global land sink. The thaw and decay of permafrost carbon is irreversible and accounting for the PCF will require larger reductions in fossil fuel emissions to reach a target atmospheric CO2 concentration.

This could triple atmospheric CO2. Translation: we’re screwed.

5 Responses to “Global warming projections: way worse than we thought”

  1. Natalie Says:

    And yet still the deniers rage on… :(

  2. andrelle Says:

    what is permafrost

  3. monado Says:

    Permafrost is permanently frozen ground. In the Arctic, houses have to be insulated on the bottom so that they do not melt (unevenly!) into the earth.

  4. andrelle Says:

    thanks for reply it was really helpful

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