Melting Permafrost Emitting Potent Greenhouse Gas Nitrous Oxide
A recent study led by researchers from the University of Eastern Finland reveals that permafrost thaw may greatly increase emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O) from northern permafrost peat-lands.
Melting tundra is not just releasing CO2 and methane but is also releasing the super potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide N2O in significant amounts.
Nitrous oxide is a very strong greenhouse gas: 300 times more powerful per unit mass in warming the climate than CO2. It is known that thawing of permafrost may enhance climate warming by releasing the vast carbon stocks locked in Arctic soils as the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). The role of N2O for permafrost–climate feedbacks, however, is not yet well understood.
A vulnerability assessment indicated that areas with high probability for N2O emissions cover approximately one fourth of the Arctic. According to the authors, the Arctic N2O budget will depend strongly on future moisture and vegetation changes. However, the authors state that the Arctic will likely become a substantial source of N2O when permafrost thaws.
The Arctic is the most critical factor in climate change and global warming because:
1. It contains vastly more carbon than all human contributions throughout history.
2. The Arctic is heating vastly more and more rapidly than any other part of the Earth and is already out-gassing massive amounts of greenhouse gases.
The UN'S Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has mostly excluded the Arctic from its assessments and predictions, which have consistently proven to be highly inaccurate if not fraudulent.
Human carbon emissions have already peaked and should soon start to decline but atmospheric greenhouse gas levels continue to climb rapidly from natural sources and the Earth's inability to absorb so much CO2.
While it is essential that humans greatly reduce carbon emissions now, it alone won't be enough to stop runaway climate change and mass extinction.
Given the realities, it is prudent to plan for the worst and develop strategies to live on a planet that is no longer as supportive of human life, is much hotter, with much higher ocean levels and lower oxygen levels.