Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ancient Arctic Ice Could Tell Us About Future Of Permafrost

Date:
September 29, 2008
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
Researchers have discovered the oldest known ice in North America, and that permafrost may be a significant touchstone when looking at global warming.

Duane Froese examines an ancient ice wedge.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Alberta

Researchers have discovered the oldest known ice in North America, and that permafrost may be a significant touchstone when looking at global warming.

"Previously it had been thought that permafrost completely melted out of the interior of Yukon and Alaska about 120,000 years ago, when climate was warmer than today," said Duane Froese, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science and lead author of the study.

"What we found is that even within the discontinuous permafrost zone-the area where permafrost is warm and within a few degrees of 0C and shallow, only a few to tens of metres thick-it has survived at some locations for more than 700,000 years." Because of the potential longevity of the permafrost, it tells the story of climate changes over the course of hundreds of thousands of years, which Froese says is immeasurably valuable.

When permafrost thaws, much of the carbon that was formerly locked up becomes available for decomposition in thawed soil or beneath lakes and is released as carbon dioxide or methane. "Based on the incredible antiquity of the ice wedges we documented, we think that permafrost that is more than several metres below the surface is more resilient to climate warming that previously thought," said Froese.

However, Froese and his colleagues emphasize that their study is not an invitation to ignore the potentially serious impacts of climate warming, particularly in the North.

"Permafrost is like the glue that holds the Arctic together," said University of Alberta graduate student Alberto Reyes. "Widespread deep thaw would be bad news for northern infrastructure and economic development, and may have dramatic effects on ecosystems that are adapted to the presence of shallow permafrost."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. The original article was written by Jamie Hanlon. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "Ancient Arctic Ice Could Tell Us About Future Of Permafrost." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080922184922.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2008, September 29). Ancient Arctic Ice Could Tell Us About Future Of Permafrost. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080922184922.htm
University of Alberta. "Ancient Arctic Ice Could Tell Us About Future Of Permafrost." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080922184922.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Iceland Lowers Aviation Alert on Volcano

Iceland Lowers Aviation Alert on Volcano

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Iceland has lowered its aviation alert on its largest volcano after a fresh eruption on a nearby lava field prompted authorities to enforce a flight ban for several hours. Duration: 01:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

AP (Sep. 1, 2014) A lightning strike injured three people on a New York City beach on Sunday. The storms also delayed flights and interrupted play at the US Open tennis tournament. (Sept. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Fears are mounting in Bangkok that poor planning and lax law enforcement are tipping Thailand towards a waste crisis. Duration: 01:21 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Melting Ice Shelves Drive Rapid Antarctic Sea Level Rise

Melting Ice Shelves Drive Rapid Antarctic Sea Level Rise

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) A study of almost 20 years' worth of satellite images shows Antarctic sea levels are on the rise as ice shelves continue to melt. Video provided by Newsy
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