Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


FSU Scientist Joins Global Study of Decomposing Permafrost

Florida State University oceanographer Jeff Chanton is part of an international team embarking on a new study of permafrost decomposition in arctic Sweden. What he and his fellow researchers discover there may be critical given the permafrost’s key role in climate change, and vice versa.

It is all part of an ominous feedback loop, Chanton says.

The warming climate is causing the Swedish permafrost to thaw and decompose and, as it does, the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane are released into the atmosphere, creating a feedback loop of further warming temperatures and accelerating permafrost’s decomposition.

“There are 1,672 gigatons of carbon stored in the permafrost as soil and peat organic matter,” Chanton said. “To put that quantity in perspective, it is three times the amount of carbon found in our atmosphere, which contains 550 gigatons in the form of carbon dioxide. What will happen if all the permafrost thaws, releasing its gigantic store of carbon into the atmosphere? Will the respiration of that decomposing organic matter by bacteria produce not only carbon dioxide but also methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent?

“We know that increasing carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere creates a positive feedback to global warming,” he said. “Our new study will shed vital additional light on how the thawing affects the atmosphere, which affects warming, and how the thawing of the permafrost affects the organic carbon stored there.”

A three-year, $2.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy will fund the collaborative investigation, to be undertaken by researchers from five universities on three continents. University of Arizona scientists are leading the team, which includes Florida State’s Chanton and research colleagues at the universities of New Hampshire, Stockholm (Sweden), and Queensland (Australia).

Chanton will receive a $300,000 share of the DOE grant. He also has a part of a larger share of the award that will be used to purchase lasers and other field instruments for the entire team.

The study will periodically find Chanton north of the Arctic Circle, where he kicked off his research in August near Abisco, Sweden, amid the mosquitoes and black flies typical of the arctic summer there. While this is his first foray into Sweden’s remote arctic realms, Chanton is no stranger to permafrost research. His previous studies focused on Alaska and Siberia.

Chanton is a faculty member in Florida State University’s Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science (EOAS), where he holds the dual titles of Winchester Professor of Oceanography and Distinguished Research Professor. Visit the EOAS website at to learn more about the cutting-edge research under way there.

Jeff Chanton | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Receding glaciers in Bolivia leave communities at risk
20.10.2016 | European Geosciences Union

nachricht UM researchers study vast carbon residue of ocean life
19.10.2016 | University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>