Scientists Predict Ancient Carbon Emission into Earth’s Atmosphere

A team of researchers from Russia, the United States and the Netherlands analyzed the consequences of arctic fires releasing carbon accumulated for millennia from peat soils. Scientists’ findings could turn mankind’s understanding of the role of the Arctic. Northern vegetation threatens to turn from carbon sink to carbon source. The results of the study, in which an employee of the Krasnoyarsk Scientific Center of the SB RAS took part, was published in the journal Current Opinion in Environmental Science & Health.

Scientists have recorded that fires in the Arctic occur, as a rule, on carbon-rich permafrost peatlands. The burning of vegetation and the melting of ancient ice leads to the release of colossal amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, which has accumulated in these soils over the centuries. In the not too distant future, fires that have become more frequent due to global warming can turn the Arctic territories from absorbers of dangerous gas into its “producers”, the press service of the Krasnoyarsk Center of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences quotes scientists.

The danger of fires in the regions of the north has increased markedly over the past hundred years. There is reason to believe that due to climate change, temperatures will rise, and the duration of the fire season will increase. There is an urgent need for accurate estimates of carbon emissions during fires in connection with their effect on the chemistry of the atmosphere, stated the candidate of biological sciences, senior researcher at the Institute of Forest named after V.I. VN Sukacheva SB RAS Elena Kukavskaya.

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