Icy Soil Permafrost

The frozen, sub-Arctic wastelands, packed with deadly greenhouse gases are much more vulnerable to global warming than it was previously estimated to be, warned a team of international on Monday.

The impacts of global warming can be felt in each aspect of the world. The soaring temperature has left no stone unturned to hit the planet with adverse effects and the strongly freezing, sub-arctic wastelands, which is believed to have trapped the frozen organic matter in its icy soils that contain more amount of carbon than the total quantity of carbon, presented in the atmosphere, is now reported to be more prone to warming than previous hypothesis.

In the new research paper, Sarah Chadburn, the lead author of the study and a research fellow at the University of Exeter Permafrost has claimed that the icy soil that has been iced up since last two years is much more sensitive and inclined to global warming than formerly thought. It is the first-of-its-kind study to enumerate the amount of permafrost which could be lost because of climate change in the coming years.

As said by the lead author, “The amount of permafrost that is now prone to global warming and under the risks of extinction is going to be really outsized, and this is the first time that we actually have put numbers on it”.

To those unaware, Permafrost is a type of frozen soil, commonly found in high-latitude provinces like the Arctic. The soil contains extremely high amounts of carbon dioxide and methane – two most deadly greenhouse gases which will be emitted into the atmosphere if the soil thaws out and decomposes. As warned by the new study, even if the Paris Agreement goals – which aim at restraining the global temperature at or below 2C above pre-industrial levels, are met, it won’t be able to prevent Permafrost from thawing out. Global warming will melt more than 40% of permafrost, or a region, nearly double the size of India, contributing to the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere more intense.

The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change also said that for each degree added to the global temperature, nearly 4 million sq km of permafrost would be melted. The 2015 Paris Agreement that is specialised in controlling the intensifying climate change and global warming and aims to limit this by 2 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with the cooperation of 197 countries. But following the current level of global warming, researchers have warned that “by the date, the Paris Climate Change Protocols have achieved; the most amount of permafrost will be lost.” The study also cautioned that the melt of permafrost would put roads, buildings, and other infrastructure at higher threat of collapsing in the coming years.


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