New NASA-funded research has discovered that Arctic permafrost’s expected gradual thawing and the associated release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere may actually be sped up by instances of a relatively little known process called abrupt thawing. Abrupt thawing takes place under a certain type of Arctic lake, known as a thermokarst lake that forms as permafrost thaws.
The impact on the climate may mean an influx of permafrost-derived methane into the atmosphere in the mid-21st century, which is not currently accounted for in climate projections.
The Arctic landscape stores one of the largest natural reservoirs of organic carbon in the world in its frozen soils…
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