Sat. Jan 22nd, 2022

But that barrier is being restored due to climate change, which is heating up the Arctic. Four times faster As the rest of the planet. “In an uninterrupted tundra ecosystem, permafrost is protected from warmer climates by excessive vegetation and soil organic matter,” said Yaping Chen, a climate scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, lead author of the new paper. “However, when there is a fire, it kills the vegetation and allows heat to enter the bottom along the soil profile which melts the permafrost.”

This allows the plants to dry more easily And Increasing frequent thunderstorms provide more opportunities for it to ignite during storms. (More heat means warmer air in the atmosphere, The way lightning strikes.) Due to climate change, hot temperatures already trigger thermosets to melt, just as ice cubes on your countertop can slowly melt. But a fire is like holding a flame near that cube.

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To make matters worse, the fire burns the ground and darkens it, so it will be even hotter now More Fast sun. When the landscape is flat, a neat hole in the molten ice will form and grow, as water also easily absorbs solar radiation. All the plants that were previously stuck in the ice will also sink under the water hole, making it even darker.

Permafrost is basically a refrigerator for organic matter — and if it warms up and melts, germs start to grow in it, just as it will stay on your food when you unplug your fridge. Only this tundra bacterium is chewing through millennia-old organic matter, emitting methane, it is a greenhouse gas. 80 times stronger than carbon dioxide. (If there is no water in the melted permafrost and the plant material dries out, the germs will release CO.2 Instead, it is less likely because the holes create smaller ponds.)

“The thermocurst allows you to melt deeper and deeper layers of permafrost, much more efficiently than leaving the thermocurst,” said Vladimir Romanovsky, a permafrost geophysicist at Fairbanks University in Alaska who was not involved. “The thermocoust process can turn a surface that was relatively dry into some types of wetlands and wetlands are producing methane.”

Photo: Christian Andersen and Mark Lara

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