Claim: Permafrost carbon feedbacks threaten global climate goals

From the PNAS

Abstract

Rapid Arctic warming has intensified northern wildfires and is thawing carbon-rich permafrost. Carbon emissions from permafrost thaw and Arctic wildfires, which are not fully accounted for in global emissions budgets, will greatly reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that humans can emit to remain below 1.5 °C or 2 °C. The Paris Agreement provides ongoing opportunities to increase ambition to reduce society’s greenhouse gas emissions, which will also reduce emissions from thawing permafrost. In December 2020, more than 70 countries announced more ambitious nationally determined contributions as part of their Paris Agreement commitments; however, the carbon budgets that informed these commitments were incomplete, as they do not fully account for Arctic feedbacks. There is an urgent need to incorporate the latest science on carbon emissions from permafrost thaw and northern wildfires into international consideration of how much more aggressively societal emissions must be reduced to address the global climate crisis.

The summer of 2020 saw a record-breaking Siberian heat wave during which temperatures reached 38 °C, the highest ever recorded temperature within the Arctic Circle. During the same year, unprecedented Arctic wildfires released 35% more CO2 than in 2019 (the previous record high for Arctic wildfire emissions since 2003), and Arctic sea ice minimum was the second lowest on record. These are clear reminders of the extreme and accelerating effects of climate change in northern regions. The Arctic has already warmed to more than 2 °C above the preindustrial level, and this rapid warming is expected to double by midcentury (1). Climate-driven changes are having transformative consequences for northern communities and ecosystems (13). Furthermore, because of greenhouse gas emissions from thawing permafrost and wildfire, rapid Arctic warming threatens the entire planet and complicates the already difficult challenge of limiting global warming to 1.5° C or 2 °C.

The permafrost region contains a massive frozen store of ancient organic carbon (4), totaling approximately twice the amount of carbon as is in Earth’s atmosphere. This carbon accumulated over tens of thousands of years when cold and frozen conditions protected the carbon-rich organic material (derived from dead plants and animals) from microbial decomposition. However, warming and thawing of permafrost promotes decomposition of this once frozen organic matter, threatening to turn the Arctic carbon sink into a net source of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere (56). Permafrost thaw, which can proceed as a gradual, top-down process, can also be greatly exacerbated by abrupt, nonlinear thawing events that cause extensive ground collapse in areas with high ground ice (Fig. 1). These collapsed areas can expose deep permafrost, which, in turn, accelerates thaw. Extreme weather, such as the recent Siberian heat wave, can trigger catastrophic thaw events, which, ultimately, can release a disproportionate amount of permafrost carbon into the atmosphere (7). This global climate feedback is being intensified by the increasing frequency and severity of Arctic and boreal wildfires (89) that emit large amounts of carbon both directly from combustion and indirectly by accelerating permafrost thaw. Fire-induced permafrost thaw and the subsequent decomposition of previously frozen organic matter may be a dominant source of Arctic carbon emissions during the coming decades (9).

Fig. 1.

Fig. 1.

Abrupt permafrost thaw on the Peel Plateau in Canada. Thawing of ice-rich permafrost can cause abrupt ground collapse, which can further accelerate thaw and amplify permafrost carbon emissions. For scale, the lake length parallel to the headwall of the thaw feature is 150 m. Image credit: Scott Zolkos (photographer).

Despite the potential for a strong positive feedback from permafrost carbon on global climate, permafrost carbon emissions are not accounted for by most Earth system models (ESMs) or integrated assessment models (IAMs), including those that informed the last assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the IAMs which informed the IPCC’s special report on global warming of 1.5 °C (1011). While a modest level of permafrost carbon emissions was mentioned in these reports, these emissions were not then accounted for in the reported remaining carbon budgets. Within the subset of ESMs that do incorporate permafrost, thawing is simulated as a gradual top-down process, ignoring critical nonlinear processes such as wildfire-induced and abrupt thaw that are accelerating as a result of warming.

These nonlinear processes are particularly relevant when considering the pathway to 2 °C—that is, whether mitigation keeps global average temperature increase below 2 °C (“avoidance”) or causes an “overshoot” in temperature before stabilizing. Permafrost emissions from gradual thaw alone are highly dependent on both the extent and duration of the temperature overshoot (12). For example, for a 1.5 °C or 2 °C target, an overshoot of 0.5 °C leads to a twofold increase in permafrost emissions, and an overshoot of 1.5 °C leads to a fourfold increase (Fig. 2A) (12). The impact on carbon budgets of exceeding a given temperature target will only be amplified when accounting for abrupt thaw and wildfire, both of which will have long-lasting impacts, even if global temperatures are reduced (e.g., through negative emissions) following the period of temperature overshoot.

Fig. 2.

Fig. 2.

Carbon emissions from Arctic permafrost thaw and the impact on global carbon budgets for 2 °C. (A) Cumulative carbon emissions from gradual permafrost thaw (solid line) and abrupt thaw, fire-induced thaw, and other nonlinear processes (dashed line) are expected to increase as temperatures “overshoot” the 2 °C temperature goal. (B) Permafrost emissions (only gradual thaw shown here) will therefore require additional negative emissions to draw temperatures back down to 2 °C. Figure combines modeled data (12) (black points), estimated trend based on these data (red solid line), and conceptual trend added for illustrative purposes (red dashed line).

A comprehensive understanding of the impacts of these pathways on permafrost carbon emissions—including from abrupt thaw and wildfire-induced thaw—and the implications for global emission budgets is urgently needed in order to motivate and guide mitigation decisions that will impact the state of the Arctic and the planet. Developing such an estimate is a critical next step for pinning down and communicating the relevance of permafrost carbon emissions to decision makers in order to support increased ambition to reduce fossil fuel emissions.

Scientists are aware of the risks of a rapidly warming Arctic, yet the potential magnitude of the problem is not fully recognized by policy makers or the public. Carbon emissions from thawing permafrost and intensifying wildfire regimes present a major challenge to meeting the Paris Agreement’s already difficult goal of holding the global average temperature increase to well below 2 °C above preindustrial levels—and an even bigger challenge to meet the aspirational goal of limiting the temperature increase to 1.5 °C. There is an urgent need for an accelerated scientific effort to more accurately estimate and communicate the likely magnitude of increased carbon dioxide and methane emissions from a warming Arctic to better inform decisions about the “increased ambition” that is needed to keep the global temperature increase well below 2 °C. At present, not even the current scientific understanding of future emissions from a warming Arctic is reflected in most climate policy dialogue and planning. That should be remediated without delay.

Read the full article here.

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Brad
May 17, 2021 6:09 pm

OMG, we’re all gonna die!!! Only by sending us billions of $ can you prevent this from happening🤬🤬🤬

dk_
May 17, 2021 6:18 pm

Once again, the final two paragraphs (this time) contain claims to facts not cited or referenced in the text, and statements advocating urgent action without specification. This is akin to intimidation and exthortion based on propaganda and hearsay. This article is a call for panic — climate terrorism — against a deceptively contrived threat. I don’t have the energy, and I bogarded the first one today. Someone else’s turn.
If you don’t want to knock it down on science or on ideology, I’d recommend skipping it. It isn’t worth your time.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  dk_
May 17, 2021 6:33 pm

At present, not even the current scientific understanding of future emissions from a warming Arctic is reflected in most climate policy dialogue and planning. That should be remediated without delay.

If nothing else, dk, that statement is profoundly problematic, although I do agree the previous two paragraphs are a tour de force of hyperbole, nonsense, inflated warnings and just plain gibberish. It’s the sort of thing that George Orwell addressed in his brilliant essay Politics and the English Language. Thank you for pointing these travesties out. Henceforth I will scroll immediately to the end of all articles to watch for this sort of thing.

H. D. Hoese
Reply to  Rory Forbes
May 17, 2021 7:05 pm

I call it reading the “fine print,” all too common in the marine/estuarine biological papers I read, especially if they are showing advocacy and/or human blame. Some are blatantly disingenuous with serious caveats in the end without mention in the abstract. Long considered a sin in journalism, seems too often overlooked at least in certain sciences. Also there can be overlooked points relevant to others. Reading the whole paper is called homework, send them back to elementary school. However, it is a human enough behavior to insist on continuing re-education. Editors and reviewers need to better question lack of citations for relevant conclusions.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  H. D. Hoese
May 17, 2021 8:36 pm

What annoys me are the numerous alarmist blogs and media drones who cite a particular article, only to find that what they cited had little (if anything) to do with the actual paper. Talk about stolen glory. Passively allowing the reader to believe they are being addressed by an expert. One must be very careful and very aware these days.

dk_
Reply to  Rory Forbes
May 17, 2021 11:03 pm

Yes. An old trick. Good spotting.

dk_
Reply to  H. D. Hoese
May 17, 2021 11:11 pm

H.D. I think it may be lazy editors. Writers and students can kick out an article based on just about any group of statements or facts. Editors make them re-write, then often do their own hack at , usually just by rewriting an easily portable paragraph. My own feeling is there is actually a system there based on how typsetting was once done — the entire artilce was supposed to be modular and disposable from the last up. Once set in type, it was easier, than re-setting the top, to add a different editorial position at the end or summary at the bottom perhaps even in the printshop, just to make up fill space or to fit the editor’s desired slant.
But much of it is just as you say — sneaky. Slipping in an unsupportable position behind something attractive, at least to the editor/publisher.

dk_
Reply to  Rory Forbes
May 17, 2021 11:02 pm

Cheers, Rory. Don’t go straight to the end. I was taught (quite early, according to some people around me) to read news articles by title, lede and sometimes the next paragraph, then the last two. Sometimes skimming along the way. Get the byline and the source along the way. Then, take as many passes as required to absorb the writer’s intent, re-reading the top and bottom as necessary.
If it doesn’t still make sense, it could be me or the writer, editor, or publisher. Drop it and come back later, or skip it as a waste of time.
Interrupts: the other day I quoted “No need to read past the title and lede” I still can’t remember where I got that or even got it right, but it works. If I am in a hurry, and the title and lede paragraph don’t make sense or signal something that will be of interest — or something that tags it as irrelevant or malevolent, as if it was in a newspaper format, skip it as waste paper. Since the piece that brought back that memory was posted here on WUWT, I ignored my own advice, and later went back. I should have gone with my first decision. It was a waste of time.
Good reference to Orwell. I should re-read that essay — long time!

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  dk_
May 18, 2021 4:50 am

Yeah. Several statements like the following that presume that this feedback is not in already baked into the alarmist cake:

“There is an urgent need for an accelerated scientific effort to more accurately estimate and communicate the likely magnitude of increased carbon dioxide and methane emissions from a warming Arctic to better inform decisions about the “increased ambition” that is needed to keep the global temperature increase well below 2 °C.”

Just think how much more wrong the GCM’s will be once they do!

Graemethecat
Reply to  dk_
May 18, 2021 6:44 am

These authors are environmental activists masquerading as scientists. Scare statements like that have no place in a true scientific article.

philincalifornia
May 17, 2021 6:26 pm

This carbon accumulated over tens of thousands of years when cold and frozen conditions protected the carbon-rich organic material”

…. and it didn’t bother popping out when temperatures were much higher than today, for decades, if not centuries?

Don’t give up your day jobs in academia climate liars and other assorted nitwits. You would make horrible used car sales people.

DonM
Reply to  philincalifornia
May 17, 2021 8:44 pm

Bigger question … where did all that carbon come from in such an frozen conditions that kept “protected the carbon-rich organic material (derived from dead plants and animals) from microbial decomposition.”

dk_
Reply to  DonM
May 17, 2021 11:14 pm

DonM Good one. In the same vein — why are fossil fuels not biofuels? Fossils being the remains of living things, and all.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  philincalifornia
May 17, 2021 8:51 pm

It’s like they actually believe the nonsense they produce for the general public. Certainly no real scientist believes Michael Mann’s crap, for instance. Some of it is so obviously BS, like “ocean acidification” (in a warming ocean at that), one can’t take it seriously. Another is the endangered Polar Bear … whose population has been growing steadily since hunting was restricted, 50 years ago. The idea that CH4 (regardless of its potency as a GHG) could accumulate in such and oxygen rich atmosphere is preposterous. Even the insistence on calling CO2 “carbon” makes me cringe. These errors are so fundamentally wrong, yet they claim “consensus”. They think we’re idiots.

Last edited 4 months ago by Rory Forbes
dk_
Reply to  Rory Forbes
May 17, 2021 11:21 pm

But it doesn’t matter, Rory, if they believe it or not. Your last sentence shows “they” got you mad. They do me, all the time. But it isn’t bowling — you’ll have to take them out one at a time, or decide to pass one by to get a bigger one behind.
I’m trying to ignore anything by, about, or from Greta. It will take practice. Nothing from that source has any reasonable substance, and is self refuting, and is only designed to distract me, personally from the real attack.

Ed Hanley
May 17, 2021 7:04 pm

OK. A serious question: What natural and/or man-made mechanisms can humanity use, with absolute certainty of outcome, to raise or lower the earth’s temperature? Anyone?

Burl Henry
Reply to  Ed Hanley
May 17, 2021 8:20 pm

Ed Hanley::

With absolute certainty of outcome, Earth’s temperatures can be lowered by increasing Sulfur Dioxide aerosol levels in our atmosphere, and temperatures can be increased by extracting them from our atmosphere..

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Burl Henry
May 17, 2021 10:56 pm

BH,
It is unusual for experienced scientists to speak of ‘absolute certainty’ of any prediction. It does not even apply to horse races or lottos. Geoff S

Burl Henry
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
May 18, 2021 4:13 am

Geoff Sherrington:

This certainty comes simply from an observation of Nature. EVERY VEI4, or larger volcanic eruption spews enough SO2 aerosols into the stratosphere to cause a decrease in average anomalous global temperatures. And when they eventually settle out, temperatures warm up because of the decreased amount of SO2 aerosols in the atmosphere.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Burl Henry
May 18, 2021 10:43 am

Certainly sulfate aerosols have been shown to be important. However, volcanoes spew out more than just that, including very fine-grained ash, usually light colored when derived from explosive volcanoes.

Burl Henry
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
May 18, 2021 3:33 pm

Clyde Spencer:

The fine-grained ash is far heavier than SO2 aerosols, and most settles out within a month, or so (depending upon the size of an eruption), , causing some local cooling and spectacular sunsets. SO2 aerosols, on the other hand, circle the Earth, taking ~12 to 18 months to finally settle out of the atmosphere and cooling the Earth all the while… .

Also, it is not reflective, like SO2 aerosols, which NASA states “reflect incoming sunlight, cooling the Earth’s surface. The S)2 has a much larger effect.”

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Burl Henry
May 23, 2021 1:44 pm

and most settles out within a month, or so

How does (100%-Most) compare to the volume of sulfates? What is the ratio of the remaining very fine-grained ash to sulfates?

Some volcanic ejecta are dark and absorbent. However, many or most tuffs, derived from high-silica magmas, are very white. Interestingly, if one applies an oxy-hydrogen torch to the surface of a black obsidian cobble, the froth that forms on the surface is white. I’m not convinced that high-silica ejecta are “not reflective.”

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Burl Henry
May 18, 2021 7:42 pm

Burl henry,
One problem exists with the hyoithesis that volcanic ejecta in the air cause global temperatures to drop for years.
The temperature record fails to show the theorised drop very well.
Willis Eschenbach noted this years ago and wrote about 6 blog articles on WUWT.
You can start here. Geoff S
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/16/volcanic-disruptions/

Burl Henry
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
May 19, 2021 8:52 pm

Geoff Sherrington:

I have done an analysis of the Central England Instrumental Temperatures Data Set, which spans the years 1659 to the present, and includes about 1’3 of the LIA.

ALL of the low temperatures in that period of the LIA resulted from the effects of individual volcanic eruptions. In fact, every known VEI4, or higher, volcanic eruption from 1659 on (plus a few unknown-probably sea bed eruptions) show up in that temperature record.

I have an article on this in a pre-print side https://www.osf.io/b2vxp/

Willis is completely wrong in his conclusions that Volcanic eruptions have little effect on Earth’s Climate.

SO2 aerosols from volcanic eruptions and industrial activities ARE what controls Earth’s climate!

dk_
Reply to  Ed Hanley
May 17, 2021 11:27 pm

Ed — right! “Do SOMETHING” is conveniently not specific. “FIght climate change” is inciting, but meaningless. “Do MORE,” says nothing. The point is to advocate panic, at the bottom, to distract from the feeling that your wallet is gone. There’s other reasons, I’m partial to similarities to the French Terror, once they get people going along with you in fear, getting a rush from action from the anonymity of the group, they can get you to do anything.

Zeddy
Reply to  Ed Hanley
May 18, 2021 1:11 am

Based on past evidence, a massive volcano/super-volcano eruption e.g. Mt Tambora in 1815, or asteroid impact-derived concentration of dust and ashes in atmosphere can substantially lower the Earth’s temperature; I can’t think of any to rise it (beyond increased Sun activity)

Burl Henry
Reply to  Zeddy
May 18, 2021 4:50 pm

Zeddy:

The temperature rises when the volcanic pollution eventually settles out of the atmosphere, increasing the intensity of the sun’s radiation striking the Earth’s surface..

Jim Clarke
May 17, 2021 7:20 pm

Rapid Arctic warming has intensified northern wildfires and is thawing carbon-rich permafrost. Carbon emissions from permafrost thaw and Arctic wildfires, which are not fully accounted for in global emissions budgets, will greatly reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that humans can emit to remain below 1.5 °C or 2 °C.”

There are so many things wrong in the first two sentences that I cold barely read any more. First of all, the permafrost is in constant flux, at least during inter-glacials like the current Holocene. The Holocene climate optimum was 8,000 years ago, and we have had alternating warm and cold spells since then, with the permafrost thawing and freezing. There is no indication this had any significant impact on climate. Secondly, wildfires were much greater 100 years ago than they are today. Again, no significant impact on climate was discernable.

Papers like this seem to start with the assumption that the Earth’s climate started 50 years ago, and nothing before that applies today. This paper also assumes that we can control the Earth’s climate and temperature by controlling the atmospheric CO2 concentration. While this assumption is very popular, it has no bases in reality.

Modern climate-change research consists of rotating assumptions fed into a fictional story.

Reply to  Jim Clarke
May 18, 2021 2:42 am

“Carbon emissions from permafrost thaw and Arctic wildfires, which are not fully accounted for in global emissions budgets, will greatly reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that humans can emit to remain below 1.5 °C or 2 °C.”

Jim – that was the first sentence that definitely shouted out for rejection – a “full-Monty” of academic stupidity from the PNAS heads at the National Academy of Sciences.

Where do they find these idiots – in academia these days there seems to be an inverse meritocracy, as the scoundrels and imbeciles rise to the top.

Leftist political fraud is the primary driver of this climate nonsense – see this paper:

SCIENCE’S UNTOLD SCANDAL: THE LOCKSTEP MARCH OF PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES TO PROMOTE CLIMATE CHANGE
By Tom Harris and Dr. Jay Lehr, May 24, 2019
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/05/25/sciences-untold-scandal-the-lockstep-march-of-professional-societies-to-promote-the-climate-change-scare/

Excerpt from my latest paper – more on the scoundrels and imbeciles of global warming:

The Climate-and-Covid scares are false crises, concocted by wolves to stampede the sheep.
 
The tactics used by the global warming propagandists are straight out of Lenin’s playbook.
 
The Climategate emails provided further evidence of the warmists’ deceit – they don’t debate, they shout down dissent and seek to harm those who disagree with them – straight out of Lenin.
 
The purported “science” of global warming catastrophism has been disproved numerous ways over the decades. Every one of the warmists’ very-scary predictions, some 80 or so since 1970, have failed to happen. The most objective measure of scientific competence is the ability to correctly predict – and the climate fraudsters have been 100% wrong to date.
 
There is a powerful logic that says that no rational person can be this wrong, this deliberately obtuse, for this long – that they must have a covert agenda. I made this point circa 2009, and that agenda is now fully exposed – it is the Marxist totalitarian “Great Reset” – “You will own nothing, and you’ll be happy!”
 
The wolves, proponents of both the very-scary Global Warming / Climate Change scam and the Covid-19 Lockdown scam, know they are lying. Note also how many global “leaders” quickly linked the two scams, stating ”to solve Covid we have to solve Climate Change”- utter nonsense, not even plausible enough to be specious.
 
Regarding the sheep, especially those who inhabit our universities and governments:
The sheep are well-described by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of the landmark text “The Black Swan”, as “Intellectual-Yet-Idiot” or IYI – IYI’s hold the warmist views as absolute truths, without ever having spent sufficient effort to investigate them. The false warmist narrative fitted their negative worldview, and they never seriously questioned it by examining the contrary evidence.
 

Sara
May 17, 2021 7:35 pm

Oh, that’s going on in Russia, too, way out in the tundra. It’s just part of the cycle. Pockets of ice from the last ice sheets got covered with many layers of dirt, built up thicker over many centuries, and now they are melting.
It isn’t really that big a deal, is it?

Reply to  Sara
May 17, 2021 8:36 pm

Good answer. Common sense. It’s all natural. In fact, we need more CO2 — not less …https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xcc5-ApXFm8

Rory Forbes
Reply to  John Shewchuk
May 17, 2021 9:00 pm

In fact, we need more CO2 — not less

That has been the case for millennia, since the planet appears to be particularly good at sequestering the stuff and would have eventually drawn down the concentration to dangerously low, even life threatening, levels. All one needs to do is look at the White cliffs of Dover or even Gibraltar to understand how much CO2 Earth once had.

Sara
Reply to  Sara
May 18, 2021 5:49 am

To be frank, my little house sits on the top of an ancient dune that used to be part of the shore line of Lake Michigan, long, long ago. A highway was cut through it a long time ago, and underneath the dirt, if you dig down far enough (haven’t tried it!) is beach sand, probably clamshells, too. Saw that in Chicago when a water line had to be excavated and the deeper the guys dug, the more sand and clamshells they threw up. I should have collected a couple of those, but it’s the same thing.
All of Waukegan, IL, is built on one of those ancient dunes. they go all the way over to Marengo, where the land finally flattens out. Now I’m wondering if, at the end of the last meltback, any iced-up ponds were left behind and might start caving in.
Not worried about my space, but these rolling hills and valleys and the marshes and lakes that have been created by water and ice over millennia really do have something that may be hidden. Now THAT would be interesting.

Doonman
May 17, 2021 8:05 pm

Boreal snow forests are known as Tiaga, and occur from 50 degrees north latitude to almost 70 degrees north latitude. Above that, there is no forest. Of course, the arctic begins at 66 degrees 30 minutes north latitude, so the severe arctic forest fires predicted can only occur within about 3 degrees north latitude and never in mountainous regions, all of which are above the treeline. Time for Russia, Norway and Sweden to get better fire departments out there I guess. Or wait until the snow puts them out.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Doonman
May 17, 2021 9:10 pm

You’re just not playing the game. You get to do one of three things, declare that “it’s worse than we thought” or; run around bleating “the sky is falling” or: site some future date in which we’re doomed.

You do NOT get to use logic or cite any actual science. Common sense and history are strictly limited as well.

May 17, 2021 8:43 pm

Textural clarification:

.”There is an urgent need for an accelerated flow of Money into our bank accounts in order to exaggerate the likely magnitude of carbon dioxide and methane emissions from an Arctic to fool the public about the need to keep the global temperature increase below 2 °C.”
….

“That should be remediated without delay.”

DMacKenzie,
May 17, 2021 9:07 pm

The permafrost line has moved from about the US/Canada border to the Arctic circle in the last 80 centuries. Did that cause global warming or was it the other way around ? Inquisitive minds want an answer from PNAS.

dk_
Reply to  DMacKenzie,
May 17, 2021 11:31 pm

DMacKenzie. Good! Actually, PNAS acronym deserves its obvious pronunciation. Hard to discredit an organization, but they seem to be willing to help discredit themselves.

John V. Wright
May 17, 2021 9:13 pm

On top of all the sensible comments below, it should be noted that the Paris Agreement is completely useless for its intended purpose as the world‘s largest CO2 emitter, China, has been given a free pass until 2030. It is currently building 1,760 coal plants at an astonishing rate. Not that manmade CO2 will lead to catastrophic global warming – it clearly won’t – but its constant referencing in this specious‘research’ is meaningless.

dk_
Reply to  John V. Wright
May 17, 2021 11:33 pm

John. Correct. Endorsement of Paris accord is a good litmus test to determine its value.

Editor
May 17, 2021 9:42 pm

It is a Political pile of misleading garbage.

Permafrost used to be far south to around 45 degrees North (far south as Mid Oregon and mid France, Italy), which melted back fairly rapidly when Glaciation ended, yet no catastrophic warming developed.

It was significantly warmer in early Holocene, still no horrible climate shift happened.

Last edited 4 months ago by Sunsettommy
Chris Hanley
May 17, 2021 9:44 pm

The latitude of the current tree line in northern Siberia varies but is hundreds of kms south of where it was 10000 – 3000 years BP.
“Given the slow rate of northward forest extension observed thus far, coupled with the climatic, edaphic and ecological factors outlined above, it is difficult to envision that the anticipated northward forest expansion and development of new forest communities as projected by model experiments such as that presented in the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (2004)would be completed by AD 2100”.
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5841429_Climate_change_and_the_northern_Russian_treeline_zone

Last edited 4 months ago by Chris Hanley
Mike McMillan
Reply to  Chris Hanley
May 18, 2021 10:19 am

The treeline won’t reach the north pole until well into the 22nd Century, so we needn’t worry.

PCman999
May 17, 2021 9:46 pm

And yet, in spite of all that ‘thawing carbon’, CO2 emissions drop drastically every year late spring to early fall. The Arctic is famous for its rapid and intense blooming.

Geoff Sherrington
May 17, 2021 10:53 pm

If you consider the UAH monthly lower troposphere North Pole temperatures adequate for the task, then May 2021 at -0.78 Deg C was in the 75 coldest months in the 509 months so far measured.
Colder than 83% or so of the times.
Where is the alarm over future temperatures coming from?

Geoff S
(Yes, there is some cherry picking here, but there is also a need to explain the mechanisms that allow such rapid cooling in a region said to be ‘warming X or Y times faster than other places on the globe’.)

Rod Evans
May 17, 2021 11:18 pm

The climate alarmists have a problem now.
If the permafrost is melting and it contains twice the CO2 of the atmosphere, no matter what strategy humanity adopts, to reduce our CO2 outpouring activity, we can never match the increasing outpourings of the permafrost.
Humanity is responsible for around 4% of the annual CO2 production most of which gets recycled by the natural carbon cycle.
With that in mind, what mechanisms do they suggest humanity adopts, to limit CO2 build up?
Maybe we can all start to evolve into shell fish? .
This latest “it is worse than we thought” effort, could well be the ultimate petard to explode in their make believe world.

Vincent Causey
May 17, 2021 11:32 pm

It is trivially true that permafrost contains stored carbon which if all released would raise the atmospheric CO2 levels, in the same way that it is trivially true that there is a store of comets orbiting the Oort cloud that could become perturbed into a pathway directly towards Earth.

Joao Martins
May 18, 2021 2:11 am

How do you say BS in American English?

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Joao Martins
May 18, 2021 8:37 pm

Michael Mann

Joseph Zorzin
May 18, 2021 4:01 am

What’s so great about tundra? If it thaws- it’ll return to forest. The trees will recapture the carbon and provide a rich environment for wildlife.

Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
May 18, 2021 5:55 am

“The permafrost region contains a massive frozen store of ancient organic carbon”

Yeah? How did it get there?

Three mental pictures:
1. Tundra with short bushes underlain by unending permafrost, 10 kg per sq m biomass coverage.
2. Melted permafrost covered by lodge pole forest, lakes and swamps, 100 kg per sq m biomass coverage.
3. Fully developed temperate forest with well developed soils and mature trees, 500 kg per sq m biomass coverage.

When tundra permafrost melts completely it becomes a vast forest. Check the places known as “Canada’ and “Siberia” for evidence. It is everywhere.

I call BS on the “threat” from melting permafrost. When it melts, forests grow. Every time.

Cheshire Red
May 18, 2021 6:03 am

The abstract reads like a sales pitch, which is exactly what this ‘study’ is.

2hotel9
May 18, 2021 6:18 am

Yep, the Earth is greening and the environtards are pissed as hell about it.

Bruce Cobb
May 18, 2021 6:52 am

Oh Noes! You know what this means, don’t you?
It means we are – GASP –
TRIPLE DOG DOOMED! That’s right, we have gone directly from doomed, skipped both the dog- doomed and double-dog -doomed phases to the triple-dog phase. If you guessed correctly, your prize is the famous, much-coveted leg-lamp. Congratulations. It should arrive any day now, in a crate the size of a house.

garboard
May 18, 2021 7:02 am

according to Princeton scientists who actually went to the arctic to study perma frost melt , cyanobacteria release by the melt not only consumed the methane released but actually drew down atmospheric carbon .

Steve Z
May 18, 2021 9:44 am

[QUOTE FROM ARTICLE]”The permafrost region contains a massive frozen store of ancient organic carbon (4), totaling approximately twice the amount of carbon as is in Earth’s atmosphere. This carbon accumulated over tens of thousands of years when cold and frozen conditions protected the carbon-rich organic material (derived from dead plants and animals) from microbial decomposition.” [END QUOTE]

So, thousands of years ago before the formation of the permafrost, those plants and animals were alive and thriving in a warmer climate, then were killed by a sudden global (or local) cooling of the climate.

Also, in Figure 1, the area around the sinkhole looks fairly green, with lots of grass and trees about 5 meters tall (if the length of the lake is 150 m), and some of the trees down the hill to the right appear to be more than 10 meters tall. If organic carbon is released from the permafrost, the soil would be rich for seedlings from the nearby existing trees to sprout, and any CO2 released by the permafrost would stimulate the growth of the surrounding grass and trees.

This begs the question: is all that vegetation growing over the top of permafrost? A tree 5 or 10 meters tall needs to send roots down at least half a meter deep into soil that is not permanently frozen, in order to resist winter storms in Canada without being knocked over by the wind, and extract nutrients and water in spring and summer. These trees are probably several decades old, meaning that the ground there near the surface has been thawing every spring for decades.

Any “permafrost” underneath the surface soil layer is likely fairly deep underground, and formed during a time when the climate was much colder, and summer thaws were much shorter, than in today’s climate. Would the Little Ice Age of circa AD 1300 to 1850 have been cold enough to form deep permafrost after the Medieval Warm Period? Or was that permafrost formed during an earlier, longer, colder Ice Age when glaciers hundreds of meters thick covered this area year-round, and it has been slowly thawing ever since?

Clyde Spencer
May 18, 2021 10:35 am

Has anyone here seen any studies comparing the annual CO2 increase with boreal wildfires? Supposedly, only about half of the anthropogenic emissions end up in the atmosphere. I’m wondering if anyone has demonstrated a similar relationship with CO2 produced by wildfires and what ends up in the atmosphere.

Reginald R. Muskett, Ph.D.
May 18, 2021 11:51 am

John P. Holdren. Ex-Obama climate alarmist psychotic.

No acknowledgements!

All wrong! Move along.

May 18, 2021 12:49 pm

Researchers who have actually studied permafrost have found that, once the life wakes up, the site is a carbon sink. It’s that simple. The bozos, who think they understand something they have not studied, assume that the permafrost life will just rot. It’s just the opposite. Such areas have spent many thousands of years going back and forth between living and freezing. That’s their lifestyle. Duh.

ATheoK
May 18, 2021 4:42 pm

Rapid Arctic warming has intensified northern wildfires and is thawing carbon-rich permafrost. Carbon emissions from permafrost thaw and Arctic wildfires, which are not fully accounted for in global emissions budgets”

  • Make an absurd claim regarding Arctic wildfires.
  • Add in a claim that Northern wildfires are thawing permafrost.
  • Insist that this thawing permafrost is not properly accounted for in models and global carbon budgets.
  • Refer to the Paris Agreement.

“There is an urgent need to incorporate the latest science on carbon emissions from permafrost thaw and northern wildfires into international consideration of how much more aggressively societal emissions must be reduced to address the global climate crisis.”

Claim there is an “urgent need” to push permafrost carbon into international debate and politics so that additional demands upon the populace, “aggressively societal emissions must be reduced to address“.

The summer of 2020 saw a record-breaking Siberian heat wave during which temperatures reached 38 °C, the highest ever recorded temperature within the Arctic Circle.”

Make specious claims regarding a Siberian heat wave. Throw in a few more specious claims regarding wildfire CO₂, Arctic sea ice (of course not Antarctic), and assert that “extreme and accelerating effects of climate change in northern regions.

“The permafrost region contains a massive frozen store of ancient organic carbon (4), totaling approximately twice the amount of carbon as is in Earth’s atmosphere. This carbon accumulated over tens of thousands of years when cold and frozen conditions protected the carbon-rich organic material (derived from dead plants and animals) from microbial decomposition.”

Throw in some impossible carbon numbers from rectally derived assumptions. Insist that that the permafrost accumulated over tens of thousands of years…
A length of time that doesn’t align with the last glaciation.
Nor do these charlatans mention one word about the Holocene’s much warmer periods over the past 10,000 years.

Throw in a picture allegedly showing permafrost collapses. Which I suppose is meant to prove that the entire Arctic’s permafrost will collapse.

Never mind that their own picture shows permafrost collapses over an unknown period of time that might add up to several football fields.

This is pure unmitigated attempts to pluck emotions without providing any facts. Without venturing anywhere in the Polar regions to observe and physically measure all possible causations.

Nope, only one causation allowed for consideration, the evil demon CO&#*322; (now called carbon since people can’t see CO₂ and no-one seriously believes Greta can).

This is a manufactured crisis and the article is pure press release seeking attention.

Pat from kerbob
May 18, 2021 8:33 pm

We are nowhere near the warmest period in history, within millions of years and supposedly this is the highest concentration of CO2 in millions of years?

So previous warming, even 1000 years ago melted permafrost.
Why do we not find spikes of CO2 in the record?

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