21 Com­pla­cent about Arc­tic

Down to Earth - - THE FORTNIGHT -

In our cover story in May 16-31, 2012, we dis­cussed how na­tions sur­round­ing the Arc­tic, In­dia and China, are in a frenzy not to let go of even an inch of their ter­ri­tory and the huge nat­u­ral re­sources trapped be­neath it. We asked, "Is Arc­tic rush worth it?" Sci­en­tists warn that locked in its per­mafrost is twice as much car­bon as in the at­mos­phere. Free­ing up of this car­bon and ac­cess to more hy­dro­car­bons will ac­cen­tu­ate global warm­ing. A re­cent study pub­lished in

Na­ture in April 2015 un­der­scores our fear. It says 1,330-1,580 bil­lion tonnes of car­bon is stored in per­mafrost in the north­ern hemi­sphere, which is likely to be re­leased over many decades. Th­ese emis­sions would trans­late into an ad­di­tional cli­mate warm­ing of 0.130.27oC by 2100, and up to 0.42oC by 2300.

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