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The carbon budget of the northern cryosphere region

October 1, 2010

The northern cryosphere is undergoing substantial warming of permafrost and loss of sea ice. Release of stored carbon to the atmosphere in response to this change has the potential to affect the global climate system. Studies indicate that the northern cryosphere has been not only a substantial sink for atmospheric CO2 in recent decades, but also an important source of CH4 because of emissions from wetlands and lakes. Analyses suggest that the sensitivity of the carbon cycle of the region over the 21st Century is potentially large, but highly uncertain because numerous pathways of response will be affected by warming. Further research should focus on sensitive elements of the carbon cycle such as the consequences of increased fire disturbance, permafrost degradation, and sea ice loss in the northern cryosphere region.

Publication Year 2010
Title The carbon budget of the northern cryosphere region
DOI 10.1016/j.cosust.2010.05.003
Authors A. David McGuire, Robie W. Macdonald, Edward A.G. Schuur, Jennifer W. Harden, Peter Kuhry, Daniel J. Hayes, Torben R. Christensen, Martin Heimann
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
Index ID 70168807
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Leetown