Permafrost, the seemingly permanently frozen soils of the Arctic, are warming up and starting to release unpredicted amounts of carbon dioxide and the more potent greenhouse gas methane, NASA scientists are observing, reports reports Alan Buis at NASA, the National Atmospheric & Space Administration. Over the millenia, polar soils melt and life blossoms and dies, so that organic carbon soaks into the wet soil, eventually joining the permanently frozen layer. In this way, permafrost has built up vast reservoirs of carbon. Now, with human driven climate change, these soils are warming even faster than the dramatically warming Arctic air above them. Under NASA’s Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment, or CARVE, they are trying to understand the balance of greenhouse gases that will be released as the Arctic warms. If the warming Arctic becomes drier, more carbon dioxide will be released; if wetter, more methane, a far more potent greenhouse gas will be released, triggering a shorter term but much stronger acceleration of global warming and further carbon releases. This, then, could become an uncontrollable, self-driving cycle of global warming.
Join the swelling numbers of voters TELLING Congress they’ll vote for Clean Energy candidates here: http://signon.org/sign/we-are-the-clean-99?source=c.em.cp&r_by=487176 . This is an ongoing campaign (the next Congressional election is in 2 years!) so please, spread the word. It’s our way of telling Congress that a strong clean energy voting bloc is out there. This is how YOU can make a difference.
For more on Climate Change, check out my weekly column at the HuffingtonPost, Climate Change This Week : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/index.php?author=mary-ellen-harte
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