A new study has shed light on the possible dangers being kept intact by the Arctic cold. According to the study, published in the British journal Nature Geoscience, climate change’s warming of the Arctic ice could end up releasing massive stores of carbon dioxide from the Arctic soil. In fact, the carbon stores have been severely misrepresented, and could be as much as 60% more than previously estimated.
Needless to say, the warming caused by carbon dioxide, that would release more carbon dioxide, is not a helpful turn of events.
What’s worse, according to one commentary on the research which was published this past Sunday, is that the current models predicting future climate change currently do not take in to account the possible release of these stores of carbon.
The fact that there is carbon stored in the soil in the Arctic is not necessarily news. Scientists have known for a long time now that organic carbon has been trapped up there, held in check by the extreme cold temperatures.
However, just how much carbon has been a mystery, and until now, a thoroughly underestimated mystery.
A team of American researchers, led by Chien-Lu Ping of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, took soil samples from all across the North American Arctic region. A total of 117 sites were traversed, and each sample was taken to a depth of at least a meter, so as to provide a full assessment of the region’s “carbon pool.”
Prior to this research, evidence of the carbon pool being harbored in the Arctic was based upon much less thorough investigations, with only five out of the 48 soils examined actually from the Arctic region, and only to a depth of 40 centimeters.
What they found was that the carbon stores in the North American Arctic regions alone were up to 60% higher than previously tested. Subsequently, these figures have been excluded from all climate models, and could prove a real danger.
What’s worse is that this is only for the North American region, leaving a vast stretch of Arctic still to be calculated.