Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey say they’ve estimated the amount of greenhouse gases that could be released into the atmosphere as Arctic permafrost starts to melt, reports Bob Berwyn at the Summit Voice via Climate Progress. Recently published in the journal Geophysical Research Letter, the study says that as much as 44 billion tons of nitrogen and 850 billion tons of carbon could be released into the environment as the region begins to thaw over the next century. The carbon estimate reinforces the credibility of similar previous estimates in previous scientific studies. This added nitrogen and carbon are likely to impact ecosystems, the atmosphere, and water resources including rivers and lakes, and alter the habitability of the planet. It would roughly double the total amount of carbon present in the atmosphere today. The scientists and their scientific collaborators said that the release of carbon and nitrogen in permafrost would worsen the warming phenomenon, and impact water systems on land and offshore. Indeed, such a release could create a feedback cycle – where carbon release further warms the Earth, causing yet further carbon release – beyond human control or influence.
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Researchers Quantify Greenhouse Gases From Melting Arctic Permafrost: ‘Potential To Alter The Planet Is Very Real’ Bob Berwyn, via Summit County Citizens Voice http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/11/07/1155741/researchers-quantify-greenhouse-gases-from-melting-arctic-permafrost-potential-to-alter-the-planet-is-very-real/ climate progress