Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Increased Arctic Temperatures Could Speed Up Global Warming

Date:
March 2, 1999
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
New research suggests that an increase in arctic temperatures as a result of global warming could result in significantly higher levels of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. This, in turn, could fuel global warming even more.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- New research suggests that an increase in arctic temperatures as a result of global warming could result in significantly higher levels of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. This, in turn, could fuel global warming even more.

The study found that artificially elevating summer temperatures by about 2 degrees Celsius (3.6F) on plots of arctic tundra increased the CO2 emissions by 26 to 38 percent under normal snowfall. When snowfall on some plots was increased -- which is one possibility under global warming -- CO2 emissions increased 112 to 326 percent.

“We found significant losses of carbon dioxide from the soil of the tundra,” said Michael Jones, a post-doctoral researcher in evolution, ecology and organismal biology at Ohio State University. “Anticipated global warming may increase this carbon loss.”

The study appears in a recent issue of the journal Arctic and Alpine Research.

The arctic, which covers about one-fifth of the globe, contains nearly one-third of the earth’s stored soil carbon. Researchers have found that arctic carbon loss from respiration of CO2 by plants and soil micro-organisms far surpasses the amount taken in by plants each growing season. Carbon dioxide is a major player in global warming.

“The arctic has the most rapidly changing climate of any region on earth,” Jones said. He and his colleagues measured CO2 emissions from moist and dry tundra surrounding Toolik Lake, Alaska. Researchers believe carbon dioxide loss may be different in moist and dry tundra areas. They manipulated winter precipitation in each area by setting up a large snow fence on each tundra type. These fences provided increased snow accumulation and also helped simulate potential changes in environment and climate.

“We know there will be more snow accumulation with increasing winter temperatures,” Jones said. “If the snow takes longer to melt, that shortens the growing season, and that may influence how much carbon dioxide is released.”

The study found that the deep snow sites took about four weeks longer to completely melt than the normal-snow sites.

The researchers also increased summer temperatures in both tundra sites. They used small open-top fiberglass chambers -- much like mini greenhouses -- to warm the air. They used a temperature recording device to take air and soil temperatures in three warmed and three unwarmed plots every 48 minutes from the end of May to mid-August.

Both air and soil temperatures in the open-top chambers were about 2C (3.6F) higher than the temperatures in the unmanipulated sites.

Carbon dioxide concentrations were measured in all plots using an infrared gas analyzer attached to a Plexiglas box. Measurements were taken every four hours for a 24-hour period once a week from early June to late August.

The results showed that moist tundra emitted more carbon dioxide than dry tundra, although losses at both types of sites were significant. The researchers found that in both tundra types, seasonal CO2 loss was higher in the experimentally warmed plots, regardless of the amount of snowfall the previous winter.

Under experimental warming, carbon dioxide emissions were greater from deep-snow plots than those with normal snowfall. However, under normal temperatures, CO2 emissions were lower in deep-snow plots compared to plots with normal snowfall.

“Our results show there is already carbon dioxide loss under current climate conditions, and we expect this will only increase under global warming,” Jones said.

Other researchers included Jace Fahnestock and Jeff Welker of the Department of Renewable Resources, University of Wyoming at Laramie; and Donald Walker and Marilyn Walker of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The research was supported by a grant from the Office of Polar Programs at the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Increased Arctic Temperatures Could Speed Up Global Warming." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 March 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990302063807.htm>.
Ohio State University. (1999, March 2). Increased Arctic Temperatures Could Speed Up Global Warming. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990302063807.htm
Ohio State University. "Increased Arctic Temperatures Could Speed Up Global Warming." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990302063807.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) Thundering surf spawned by Hurricane Marie pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town. High surf warnings were posted for Los Angeles County south through Orange County. (Aug. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) Researchers at UC Berkeley are testing a prototype of an earthquake early warning system that California is pursuing years after places like Mexico and Japan already have them up and running. (August 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brazil Tries Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to Fight Dengue

Brazil Tries Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to Fight Dengue

AFP (Aug. 25, 2014) A factory in the industrial state of Sao Paulo produces genetically modified mosquitoes to fight dengue, a deadly tropical disease more prevalent in Brazil than anywhere else in the world. Duration: 00:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins