Thongchai Thailand

Thawing Permafrost Emissions

Posted on: April 22, 2019




  1. CITATION: Wilkerson, J., Dobosy, R., Sayres, D. S., Healy, C., Dumas, E., Baker, B., and Anderson, J. G.: Permafrost nitrous oxide emissions observed on a landscape scale using the airborne eddy-covariance method, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 19, 4257-4268,, 2019. ABSTRACT: The microbial by-product nitrous oxide (N2O), a potent greenhouse gas and ozone depleting substance, has conventionally been assumed to have minimal emissions in permafrost regions. This assumption has been questioned by recent in situ studies which have demonstrated that some geologic features in permafrost may, in fact, have elevated emissions comparable to those of tropical soils. However, these recent studies, along with every known in situ study focused on permafrost N2O fluxes, have used chambers to examine small areas (less than 50 square meters). In late August 2013, we used the airborne eddy-covariance technique to make in situ N2O flux measurements over the North Slope of Alaska from a low-flying aircraft spanning a much larger area: around 310 square km. We observed large variability of N2O fluxes with many areas exhibiting negligible emissions. Still, the daily mean averaged over our flight campaign was 3.8 (2.2–4.7) mg N2O m−2 d−1 with the 90 % confidence interval shown in parentheses. If these measurements are representative of the whole month, then the permafrost areas we observed emitted a total of around 0.04–0.09 g m−2 for August, which is comparable to what is typically assumed to be the upper limit of yearly emissions for these regions. FULL TEXT: [LINK] .
  2. INTERPRETATION OF THESE FINDINGS IN TERMS OF CLIMATE CHANGE APOCALYPSE:  “Emissions from thawing Arctic permafrost may be 12 times higher than thought, scientists say. ‘This needs to be taken more seriously than it is right now,’ says author of new study. [LINK]  .  “Emissions from thawing Arctic permafrost may be 12 times higher than previously thought, scientists have discovered.  #ClimateBreakdown #EcologicalEmergency” [LINK] . 
  3. TESTABLE IMPLICATION: The extreme heat trapping effect of N2O in conjunction with the large outflow of emissions from thawing Arctic permafrost in the North Slope of Alaska on August 2, 2013 is interpreted in the sources cited above as a dangerous positive feedback of greenhouse effect global warming. The testable implication is that this extreme event should have left a mark in the temperature record that should show a warming event. 
  4. A TEST FOR A TEMPERATURE EFFECT: Shown below are UAH satellite (deseasonalized) temperature anomalies for land in the North Polar region for each of the twelve calendar months in the sample period 2008-2018. The year 2013 falls in the middle of the study period 2008-2018.
  5. Figure 1 shows full span trends for each of the 12 calendar months. These trends are depicted graphically in the GIF image of Figure 3 which cycles through the twelve calendar months. The month of August, when the N2O emission was detected, does not appear to be different from the other months in either Figure 1 or Figure 3.
  6. Figure 2 is a GIF image that displays the trend across the twelve calendar months for each year in the study period 2008-2018. Nothing unusual is found in the year 2013 when the N2O emission was detected.
  7. The testable implication of the N2O event of August of 2013 is that if the GHG effect of the released N2O had an effect on temperature there ought to be something unusual about the month of August in Figure 3 or something unusual about the year 2013 in Figure 2. No such evidence is found in the data.
  8. Figure 1: Full span trends for each calendar month  fullspanTrends
  9. Figure 2: Temperature trends across calendar months January-December for each year in the sample period. The vertical red line marks the year 2013.    years-gif
  10. Figure 3: Temperature trends across the sample period 2008-2018 for each calendar month. The vertical red line marks the month of August.      months-gif
  11. CONCLUSION: It is noteworthy that the authors were able to detect a large release of N2O from thawing permafrost in the North Slope of Alaska but their further interpretation of the data in terms catastrophic runaway positive feedback warming due to the extreme GHG effect of N2O is not evident in the data.



















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