Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Thawing permafrost increases greenhouse gas emission from subarctic mires

25.02.2004


The permafrost in the mires of subarctic Sweden is undergoing dramatic changes. The part of the soils that thaws in the summer, the so-called active layer, has become deeper since 1970 and the permafrost has disappeared altogether in some locations. This has lead to significant changes in the vegetation composition and subsequent increase in emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas methane. Methane is 25 times more potent compared to carbon dioxide as greenhouse gas.



Behind these new findings is an international research team lead from the GeoBiosphere Science Centre at Lund University, Sweden. The results have just been published in the prestigious American scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters. The results are unique as there are very few places in the circumpolar North where a multi-decadal comparison of observations is possible. The Abisko region in subarctic Sweden is unique in the circumpolar North with respect to long-term records of climate, permafrost and other environmental variables. There are likewise many historical investigations that recent observations may be compared with. The Abisko area is recognised as part of the international network of Man and the Biosphere Reserves (under the auspices of UNESCO).

In the present study airborne infrared images are used to compare the vegetation distribution in 1970 with that of 2000. Dramatic changes are observed and these are related to the climate warming and decreasing permafrost extent that has been observed over the same period. Also the land-atmosphere exchanges of carbon dioxide and methane has been studied for a long time in Abisko. The exchange of carbon dioxide with ecosystems can either be an atmospheric source or sink while in the case of methane it is predominantly a source. Methane is released from the breakdown of plant material under wet soil conditions.


Permafrost disappearance and subsequent wetter soil conditions have lead to increases in methane emissions.

"At a particular mire, Stordalen, we have been able to estimate an increase in methane emissions of at least 20% but maybe as much as 60% from 1970 to 2000” says one of the researchers Torben R. Christensen at the GeoBiosphere Science Centre at Lund University.

"Despite methane being such an important greenhouse gas it is often forgotten in the discussions around the greenhouse effect. Methane is released from rice agriculture and meat production but the largest single source of methane is the natural wetlands. If what is seen in subarctic Sweden is a representative picture for the circumpolar North this could mean an acceleration in the rate of predicted climate warming.

"The annual mean temperature in Abisko is –0.7ºC but during recent years it has often been above zero. One might imagine the cold subarctic ecosystems as very static but in areas where the mean annual temperature is around zero the ecosystems may be extremely sensitive. The ecosystems are dynamic and their response to climate change is very rapid. This we have seen clearly here in Abisko” says Torben R. Christensen.

Göran Frankel | alfa
Further information:
http://www.lu.se/info/pm/670_pressm.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target
22.05.2018 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH

nachricht Monitoring lava lake levels in Congo volcano
16.05.2018 | Seismological Society of America

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch

22.05.2018 | Life Sciences

PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target

22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences

Achema 2018: New camera system monitors distillation and helps save energy

22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>