Russian scientists: 2-degree warming in tundra doubles carbon dioxide emission

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MOSCOW, February 8. /TASS/. Krasnoyarsk scientists proved that the speed of carbon dioxide emission in tundra doubles when soil gets two degrees warmer. These results are very important in forecasting consequences from the global warming in the Arctic, the Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education’s press service said on Wednesday.

“Scientists of the Federal Research Center in Krasnoyarsk (the Academy of Sciences’ Siberian Branch) have studied how the Arctic soil reacts to warming,” the press service said. “The results show that warming by two degrees doubles carbon dioxide emission.”

For the experiment, the scientists made closed cells, where they could control the soil samples’ temperatures and humidity to see how they exchange with the environment the greenhouse gases, raising concentrations of which are believed to cause the global warming. The scientists modelled an Arctic summer, which in the tundra lasts for about 80 days, and during that period organic substances develop actively, and later on they get decomposed and processed.

In standard temperatures soils emitted quite substantial amounts of carbon dioxide in beginning of the warm season. The emission dropped to zero closer to the summer end. However, when the soil temperatures grew by two degrees, the emissions practically remained unchanged for the entire 80 days of the experiment. From every square meter, the warmer soil emitted additional 50 grams of carbon dioxide than the soil at regular temperatures.

“These results are important to evaluate carbon losses in the permafrost ecosystems when we forecast consequences from the global warming in the high latitudes,” the press service quoted a member of the studies, Svetlana Yevgrafova, as saying. “In our experiment, heating the Arctic soil by two degrees doubled emission of carbon dioxide, if we look at the entire vegetation season.”.

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