"WASHINGTON -- Scientists who study the Arctic say they’re worried that nations meeting this week to set targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions aren’t adequately considering how much carbon dioxide and methane could be released from the world’s rapidly thawing permafrost."
"Researchers have known the permafrost is warming for some time, but they’ve only recently begun to accurately measure just how much carbon is in the Earth’s frozen regions. And they’re only beginning to understand the consequences of such unanticipated greenhouse gas emissions, which weren’t factored into the manmade emissions targets world leaders are considering this week at the United Nations climate talks in Doha, Qatar.
Permafrost, ground that stays frozen for at least two years in a row, stores vast amounts of decayed plant matter. As the Earth warms, that frozen organic matter thaws and is released in the former of carbon dioxide or, more troublingly, methane. Global warming is creating a feedback loop – as the Earth warms, higher temperatures put the permafrost at greater risk. And melting permafrost releases the very greenhouse gases that contribute to the Earth’s warming."