More carbon is released into the atmosphere would amplify climate warming, and that, in turn, would cause more permafrost to thaw and release more carbon, causing the cycle to continue. Recent research by scientists has confirmed the suspicion scientists were making regarding the Arctic permafrost.
Scientists estimate there is more than 10 times the amount of carbon in the Arctic soil than has been put into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels since the start of the Industrial Revolution.
To look at it another way, scientists estimate there is two and a half times more carbon locked away in the Arctic deep freezer than there is in the atmosphere today.
Now, with a warming climate, that deep freezer is beginning to thaw and that long-frozen carbon is beginning to be released into the environment.
While climatologists are carefully watching carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere another group of scientists is exploring a massive storehouse of carbon that has the potential to significantly affect the climate change picture.
University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography researcher Aron Stubbins is part of a team investigating how ancient carbon, locked away in Arctic permafrost for thousands of years, is now being transformed into carbon dioxide and released into the atmosphere. The results of the study were published in Geophysical Research Letters.