Large quantities of greenhouse gases could be released in to the atmosphere over the next century.
It is believed that as much as 850 billion tons of carbon and 44 billion tons of nitrogen are stored within the Arctic permafrost, a ticking time bomb of greenhouse gases that could be released as the ground warms up over the next few decades. If that were to happen then the gases would contribute substantially to global warming, further exacerbating the existing problem.
"While the permafrost of the polar latitudes may seem distant and disconnected from the daily activities of most of us, its potential to alter the planet's habitability when destabilized is very real," said US Geological Survey director Marcia McNutt.
"The release of carbon and nitrogen in permafrost could exacerbate the warming phenomenon and will impact water systems on land and offshore according to USGS scientists and their domestic and international collaborators."
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Source: Science Daily
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