Arctic's wintry blanket can be warming

Forest snows keep northern soils relatively toasty, diminishing how much climate-warming carbon they can sequester

By Janet Raloff, 16:08 PM June 5, 2012

Arctic winters may be snowy and cold, but a deep blanket of snow can actually keep the soil surface fairly warm, a new study finds — at least in taiga, the conifer forests that may constitute almost half of the Arctic’s land cover.

Temperature plays a major role in determining not only plants’ uptake of climate-warming carbon, but also the soil’s potential for storing the element.

Scientists who develop computer programs to evaluate climate under changing conditions know this. Yet for con...

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