Alaskan Tundra

Warmer tundra increases CO2, report scientists in articles in Harvard University SEAS News 8 May 2017 and PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.161856, Published online 8 May 2017.

A group of scientists from School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) at Harvard University, NASA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have measured the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) being released from soils in the Arctic tundra during Autumn and early Winter using collected data from ground based towers in Barrow, Alaska, and from aircraft flying over Alaska. They report: “Long-term records at Barrow, AK, suggest that CO2 emission rates from North Slope tundra have increased during the October through December period by 73% ± 11% since 1975, and are correlated with rising summer temperatures.” (AK is Alaska)

The scientists suggest the increase in carbon dioxide occurs because the soils do not freeze over as early in the winter as they used to. They go on to say: “Together, these results imply increasing early winter respiration and net annual emission of CO2 in Alaska, in response to climate warming. Our results provide evidence that the decadal-scale increase in the amplitude of the CO2 seasonal cycle may be linked with increasing biogenic emissions in the Arctic, following the growing season.”

According to SEAS News “More carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere will accelerate climate warming, which, in turn, could lead to more carbon dioxide released from these soils, especially in early winter.”


Editorial Comment: Soils are alive with microbes, fungi, worms, insects and other small invertebrates, all of which produce carbon dioxide as a result of normal biological processes. These living things are more active when the soil is warmer, and go dormant if soil freezes over. Therefore, the longer the soil remains unfrozen, the more carbon dioxide will be emanating from the soil.

This brings up an important issue in the current climate change debate. The scientists are admitting increasing carbon dioxide is the result of the warming in the Alaskan tundra. However, they are reluctant to take the next logical step and admit that a warmer climate means more biological activity everywhere (as long as there is water as well), and therefore, who is brave enough to point out that the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the result of global warming, not the cause?

Evidence News vol. 17, No. 10
8 June 2017
Creation Research Australia

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