Insights · September 2nd, 2008

From Science Daily we learn of a new study published in the Journal of BioScience, Sep. 2008, on potential impacts of thawing arctic permafrost. Over millennia, according to the study authors, northern latitude permafrost has sequestered a trillion tons of organic compounds. Warming in the Arctic, which melts the polar ice cap, also has the effect of melting the permafrost and releasing carbon dioxide. The new study doubles the estimated amount of carbon stored, and likewise increases the amount estimated to be released into the atmosphere as the permafrost warms. In fact the estimate now is that leakage from northern permafrost may be the equivalent of half of all other carbon released by land use in this century on Earth.

It is this phenomenon that leads some scientists to be concerned about a run-away climate change scenario, in which temperatures could spiral more rapidly that can be dealt with. One possible counter balance will be the encroachment of carbon absorbing trees into the tundra, but this process is quite slow in relative terms.

Glen Hiemstra is a futurist speaker, consultant, blogger, internet TV show host and founder of Futurist.com. To arrange for a speech contact Futurist.com.

Category
Environment & Energy
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Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas is the Chief Futurist of the Futurist Think Tank. He is world-renowned futurist speaker, a Fellow of The RSA, and has worked with over 300 of the world’s most impactful companies to establish strategic foresight capabilities, identify trends shaping our world, help anticipate unforeseen risks, and design equitable futures for all. In his new book – ‘Facing Our Futures’ – he challenges short-term thinking and provides executives and organizations with the foundations for futures design and the tools to ignite curiosity, create a framework for futures exploration, and shift their mindset from what is to WHAT IF…

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