Growing threat of wildfires in the Arctic could unleash greenhouse gases from tundra

July 28, 2011 –  ARCTIC – After a 10,000-year absence, wildfires have returned to the Arctic tundra, and a University of Florida study shows that their impact could extend far beyond the areas blackened by flames. In a study published in the July 28 issue of the journal Nature, UF ecologist Michelle Mack and a team of scientists including fellow UF ecologist Ted Schuur quantified the amount of soil-bound carbon released into the atmosphere in the 2007 Anaktuvuk River fire, which covered more than 400 square miles on the North Slope of Alaska’s Brooks Range. The 2.1 million metric tons of carbon released in the fire — roughly twice the amount of greenhouse gases put out by the city of Miami in a year — is significant enough to suggest that Arctic fires could impact the global climate, said Mack, an associate professor of ecosystem ecology in UF’s department of biology. “The 2007 fire was the canary in the coal mine,” Mack said. “In this wilderness, hundreds of miles away from the nearest city or source of pollution, we’re seeing the effects of a warming atmosphere. It’s a wake-up call that the Arctic carbon cycle could change rapidly, and we need to know what the consequences will be.” Smoke from the fire pumped greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, but that’s just one part of a tundra fire’s potential impact. The fire also consumed up to 30 percent of the insulating layer of organic matter that protects the permafrost beneath the tundra’s shrub- and moss-covered landscape. –Science Daily
This entry was posted in Climate unraveling, Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Extreme Weather Event, Wildfires. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Growing threat of wildfires in the Arctic could unleash greenhouse gases from tundra

  1. Xcommunicate says:

    Global warming is the greatest scam ever pulled on the world. If one cares to examine evidence such as ice core data they would see that temperatures rise before CO2 release. Also, read this … article..http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-data-blow-gaping-hold-global-warming-alarmism-192334971.html

    There is still snow on the peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains as well as a record cold winter in the southern hemisphere this year. England has suffered very low summer temps for the last two years as well as severe snows last winter.

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  2. sinoed says:

    We in England have had very high summer temps the last two years along with the average…they just appear to be changing the time they arrive, so we will get them in spring instead of summer…I’ve been out in teeshirt in March when the temp has been 65%…as for winter we have been having very mild winters for years this last one was far more normal for us and not severe…well not unless you’ve been born in the last thirty years!!!

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  3. jeff armes says:

    Hi, I appreciate you, I respect your beliefs and also you speaking your mind. Here is my take- I believe everything that I need to be happy I have been freely given by my creator. I also believe that I will be accountable for my actions and I behave as such. To me being accountable and being prepared for any catastrophe go hand in hand. Distractions are very easy for me to find and they detract from my purpose of being happy and thankful, so I try not to give them much. It don’t matter to me if its a scam or not. I don’t believe thriving on a finite resource is a good idea or way of life personally, and my actions reflect my belief. I think this is a wonderful blog and I enjoy a reading daily. Thanks for your input xcommunicate
    Jeff

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  4. Barrie says:

    Excellent article. Fortunately the CO2 emissions from the Arctic are still relatively small compared to our own emissions (this fire released an equivalent of around 0.4% Australia’s annual emissions). However, the worrying thing is that the Tundra is moving from being a carbon sink to a carbon source – for the first time in 10,000 years! There is enough carbon and methane stored in the Arctic to completely swamp our own emissions. If this happens, we will not be able to reduce the increase in atmospheric CO2 and prevent further global warming whatever we do.

    To the naysayers, I simply ask this, just say if, by some stretch of your imagination you might perhaps be wrong and the scientists right, what would your children say? Also, as Jeff says, given that fossil fuels are finite, one would think it would be better to find an alternative sooner rather than later!

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  5. Global warming is very real, you have to look at other media outlet’s outside the US to get your facts. This site is my first click with my morning coffee. You cannot listen to media outlet’s who owner’s are owned and operated by big Oil and Coal in the USA. I have lived in West Virginia for 40 yrs and I can tell you climate change is very real. When you blow a Mtn away to nothing but a chunck of rock and dust it changes everything around it. If you fill all the streams with the dirt from these Mtr sites and run all the wildlife away it “CHANGES” the climate in the area. Streams, animals, plants, flower’s the complete eco-system is destroyed. Some seem to forget these thing’s supply us with the air “HUMANS” and animals need to live. Then we turn around and burn the precious coal and cause more Oxygen killing CO2 emissions to be released into the air.

    God did not give this planet to the fossil fuel industry to ruin. I live less than 3 miles from a huge wind farm and it produces tons of clean energy that power’s a town ran by big coal. I have heard “COAL KEEPS THE LIGHTS ON” my whole life…..funny now how Wind energy is keeping their lights on now. The area around the Wind farm is breathtaking everything God made is still there untouched but you will never ever see that on our local media.

    Bottom line is climate change is real it’s getting worse everyday and killing millions of innocent people. The worst part is it destroy’s our children and grandchildren’s future, So people like Don Blankenship can retire on an Island resort after killing 29 God given Angels.
    Shellee
    Ps: Blessings Alvin still can’t find the book and still recovering from carpal tunnel surgery so forgive me for any spelling errors. 🙂

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    • Email- We’ll have to remedy that…Shellee.

      God bless,
      Alvin

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    • nibikwe says:

      Blessings of Love and Light to you Shellee, and all dear ones experiencing the rape and murder of our beloved mother earth’s body first hand by corporate entities like Don Blankenship and his ilk. It breaks my heart to think of it. Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do…..or do they?

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