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Northern Permafrost to Emit Carbon

According to a new NASA study conducted by a scientist, Nicholas Parazoo of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the Permafrost, present in the coldest northern Arctic, shall defrost soon to become a permanent source of carbon to the atmosphere.

A permafrost is a soil, rock or sediment that is frozen for more than two consecutive years. It consists of carbon rich organic material such as leaves. These leaves freeze without decaying. This permafrost in northern Arctic was expected to act as a guard from global warming, but all proved to be wrong. As a result of increased air temperature in the northern Arctic, the permafrost defrosts and releases carbon due to decomposition of carbon.

The study estimates that by 2300, the total amount of carbon emissions in the form of carbon and methane shall amount to 10 times the human-produced fossil fuel emissions in the year 2016. The NASA team divided the Arctic region into a colder northern region and a warmer southerly belt. They found that there are more permafrost in the northern region that is in the south. Also, the northern region lost five times more carbon per century than southern permafrost. It was found that there is faster plant growth in southern region. Increased plant growth means less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It is because more plants means more photosynthesis, which shall balance increased permafrost emissions until the late 2100s.


By: Anuja Arora


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