Over the past two or three decades the notion of Global Warming has been a problem regarding melting sea ice and the rapid decline in Polar Bears. Even though these are major concerns in the environment, what is now a real cause for concern is the warm temperature in the Arctic has caused the thawing of frozen soil. Frozen soil is a lighter term for permafrost, and permafrost emits carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. This emission can weaken the already beaten up Ozone Layer.
What makes researchers most nervous is, “There may be more than twice as much carbon contained in northern permafrost as there is in the atmosphere itself. That’s a staggering thought.” Even though there is already around 24% of permafrost currently emitted in the atmosphere, the idea of having close to or above 50% is frightening.
Robert Max, senior scientist at Woods Hole Research Center explained in detail how permafrost works and how environmentally devastating it can be. “As permafrost thaws, microbes start to chow down on the organic material that it contains, and as that material decomposes, it emits either carbon dioxide or methane. Experts think most of the release will take the form of carbon dioxide — the chief greenhouse gas driving global warming — but even a small fraction released as methane can have major consequences.”
The reason for high levels of carbon and methane in the melting Arctic is the amount of dead animals and plants which have decomposed in the frozen Arctic and are beginning to thaw and release all of these gases at once. Even though permafrost is not the greatest concern of the melting Arctic, it still posses a threat which gives concerns to many researchers and scientists.
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