WASHINGTON — Global warming could cause up to 60 percent of the world's permafrost to thaw by 2200 and release huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere that would further speed up climate change, a study warned.
Using projections based on UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios, scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Colorado estimated that if global warming continues even at a moderate pace, a third of the earth's permafrost will be gone by 2200.
If the planet warms at a faster pace, the world could see 59 percent of the permanently frozen underground layer of earth thaw out; as that happens, organic matter that has been trapped in the permafrost for tens of millennia will begin to decay, releasing carbon into the atmosphere.
The NSIDC scientists then used a model to predict how much carbon the thawing permafrost would release and came up with the staggering figure of 190 gigatons by 2200. Read More
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