Site: Bonanza Creek LTER

Increases in air temperatures and depth of insulating snow cover during winter are accelerating the rate of permafrost thaw. In areas of ice-rich permafrost, widespread thermokarst is having significant consequences for biogeochemical cycling and surface hydrology.
Credit: Ted Schuur

Measurements across latitudinal gradients, field experiments, and laboratory incubations all point to significant releases of CO2 and CH4 from soils that have been frozen or waterlogged since the last ice age. Over decadal time scales, this carbon release could overwhelm increased plant carbon uptake. In a warmer world, the boreal forest could be transformed into a major carbon emitter, putting the forest on par with global land use change.