Wetter permafrost clings to carbon better

In 12-year lab study, moist soil samples released less greenhouse gas as they warmed

By Erin Wayman, 14:29 PM July 26, 2013

Frozen soil saturated with water hung on to more carbon while thawing than drier permafrost did in a long-term lab study. Scientists may need to consider more than just temperature to predict how quickly greenhouse gases will escape from the vast supplies of carbon stored in the world’s permafrost.

In 1996, Bo Elberling of the University of Copenhagen and colleagues collected chunks of permafrost from northeastern Greenland to investigate thawing’s effects. Over 12 years, the team kept the sam...

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