GI researcher co-author of international permafrost report

November 27, 2012

Fairbanks, Alaska--University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher Vladimir Romanovsky is one of four scientists who authored a report released today by the United Nations Environmental Programme.

The report, "Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost," seeks to highlight the potential hazards of carbon dioxide and methane emissions from warming permafrost, which have not thus far been included in climate-prediction modeling. The report notes that permafrost covers almost a quarter of the northern hemisphere and contains 1,700 gigatonnes of carbon--twice that currently in the atmosphere--and could significantly amplify global warming should thawing accelerate as expected.

When permafrost thaws, previously frozen organic material begins to decompose, which releases carbon, in the form of methane and carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. In some areas, permafrost forms a cap over gaseous methane deep underground. As that continuous permafrost cap thaws, it can develop holes that allow methane to vent into the atmosphere. Methane is important in the global climate picture because it is a potent greenhouse gas. It is more than 20 times more effective at trapping atmospheric heat than carbon dioxide.

Romanovsky is a permafrost researcher at the UAF Geophysical Institute. His recent work includes leading an effort to describe the thermal state of high-latitude permafrost as part of the International Polar Year. The work of the international team, which included Romanovsky, more than doubled the size of the previously existing permafrost monitoring network in the Arctic and subarctic.
-end-
ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Vladimir Romanovsky, 907-474-7459 or veromanovsky@alaska.edu. Amy Hartley, GI information officer, at 907-474-5823 or amy.hartley@gi.alaska.edu.

NOTE TO EDITORS: The UNEP's full press release and photos are available online at www.uafnews.com. Romanovsky is available for interviews after 4:30 p.m. USA eastern time. Video clips of Romanovsky discussing the report's findings and more photos are available for download. Visit this headline on www.uafnews.com for FTP site access.

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Related Methane Articles from Brightsurf:

When methane-eating microbes eat ammonia instead
As a side effect of their metabolism, microorganisms living on methane can also convert ammonia.

Making more of methane
Looking closely at the chemical process that transforms methane into useful products could help unveil more efficient ways to use natural gas.

Methane: emissions increase and it's not a good news
It is the second greenhouse gas with even a global warming potential larger than CO2.

Measuring methane from space
A group of researchers from Alaska and Germany is reporting for the first time on remote sensing methods that can observe thousands of lakes and thus allow more precise estimates of methane emissions.

New 3D view of methane tracks sources
NASA's new 3-dimensional portrait of methane concentrations shows the world's second largest contributor to greenhouse warming.

Show me the methane
Though not as prevalent in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas.

Containing methane and its contribution to global warming
Methane is a gas that deserves more attention in the climate debate as it contributes to almost half of human-made global warming in the short-term.

Microorganisms reduce methane release from the ocean
Bacteria in the Pacific Ocean remove large amounts of the greenhouse gas methane.

Origin of massive methane reservoir identified
New research provides evidence of the formation and abundance of abiotic methane -- methane formed by chemical reactions that don't involve organic matter -- on Earth and shows how the gases could have a similar origin on other planets and moons, even those no longer home to liquid water.

Unexpected culprit -- wetlands as source of methane
Knowing how emissions are created can help reduce them.

Read More: Methane News and Methane Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.