Alaska tundra source of early-winter carbon emissions
Warmer temperatures and thawing soils may be driving an increase in emissions of carbon dioxide from Alaskan tundra to the atmosphere, particularly during the early winter, according to a new study from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
A new paper led by Roisin Commane, an atmospheric researcher at SEAS, finds that the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from northern tundra areas between October and December each year has increased 70 percent since 1975.
Commane and a team of researchers analyzed three years of aircraft observations from NASA’s Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE) airborne mission to estimate the spatial and seasonal distribution of Alaska’s carbon dioxide emissions. They also studied NOAA’s 41-year record of carbon dioxide measured from ground towers in Barrow, Alaska. The aircraft data provided unprecedented spatial information, while the ground data provided long-term data not available anywhere else in the Arctic.
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