Permafrost degradation and methane: low risk of biogeochemical climate-warming feedback Journal Article


Authors: Gao, Xiang; Schlosser, C. Adam; Sokolov, Andrei; Anthony, Katey Walter; Zhuang, Qianlai; Kicklighter, David
Article Title: Permafrost degradation and methane: low risk of biogeochemical climate-warming feedback
Abstract: Climate change and permafrost thaw have been suggested to increase high latitude methane emissions that could potentially represent a strong feedback to the climate system. Using an integrated earth-system model framework, we examine the degradation of near-surface permafrost, temporal dynamics of inundation (lakes and wetlands) induced by hydro-climatic change, subsequent methane emission, and potential climate feedback. We find that increases in atmospheric CH4 and its radiative forcing, which result from the thawed, inundated emission sources, are small, particularly when weighed against human emissions. The additional warming, across the range of climate policy and uncertainties in the climate-system response, would be no greater than 0.1 degrees C by 2100. Further, for this temperature feedback to be doubled (to approximately 0.2 degrees C) by 2100, at least a 25-fold increase in the methane emission that results from the estimated permafrost degradation would be required. Overall, this biogeochemical global climate-warming feedback is relatively small whether or not humans choose to constrain global emissions.
Keywords: MODEL; CARBON; WETLANDS; METHANE; FLUXES; LAKES; PERMAFROST; EMISSIONS; Thaw; climate feedback
Journal Title: Environmental Research Letters
Volume: 8
Issue: 3
ISSN: 1748-9326
Publisher: IOP PUBLISHING LTD  
Publication Place: BRISTOL; TEMPLE CIRCUS, TEMPLE WAY, BRISTOL BS1 6BE, ENGLAND
Date Published: 2013
Start Page: 035014
End Page: 035014
DOI/URL:
Notes: PT: J; TC: 0; UT: WOS:000325247100059