Moderate climate warming could melt permafrost

Moderate climate warming could melt permafrost

Ancient cave formations in Siberia reveal effects of warmer past on frozen ground

By Puneet Kollipara, 10:29 AM February 25, 2013

A stalagmite’s past may help reveal Earth’s future. By studying Siberian cave formations as old as 500,000 years, researchers have found that even moderate climate warming may set off significant thawing of permafrost.

If such extensive thawing of frozen soil occurred today, it could trigger a massive release of greenhouse gases, scientists report online February 21 in Science. Permafrost locks in huge amounts of carbon, so if the frozen ground thaws, much of the carbon could convert to ca...

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