Permafrost in Siberia increases greenhouse gases

Permafrost in Siberia increases greenhouse gases

May 11, 2022

Scientists have estimated previously unknown stocks of carbon released due to warming.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Tomsk scientists announced the amount of carbon in the thermokarst lakes of Siberia, which appeared due to warming in the permafrost zone. The research results are published in the leading specialized journal Biogeochemistry.

The research took place in Western Siberia, including its Arctic tip. Permafrost is actively melting over vast areas, and the area of ​​thermokarst lakes is growing. Carbon released from permafrost accumulates in bottom sediments, the volume of which in the region has reached 1.3 billion tons.

Every year, the carbon mass grows by eight million tons. On a global scale, the thermokarst lakes of Western Siberia take 25-40 percent of the organic carbon that accumulates in the boreal lakes of the Earth.

“It can be predicted that in the event of further warming and thawing of frozen peatlands, the scale of their degradation and the influx of organic carbon from frozen peat into lakes will increase. At the same time, most of the labile organic carbon will enter the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide and methane”, explained Rinat Manasypov, senior researcher at the BioGeoKlim laboratory.

Tomsk scientists are trying to figure out what they will face in the future due to climate warming in the northern latitudes. Thawing of permafrost results in the release of carbon, which is subsequently partially released into the atmosphere, buried in the soil, and transferred to the hydrological network. Data on the stocks and rate of accumulation of organic carbon in the bottom sediments of thermokarst lakes in Western Siberia will help in building models for the balance of the global carbon cycle in the biosphere.

The study of the carbon cycle, which is the greenhouse gases’ main component, is a key task that is being solved within the framework of the strategic project of Tomsk scientists – Global changes in the Earth: climate, ecology, quality of life. The project is being implemented with the support of the Priority 2030 federal program.

These studies will allow not only to better understand natural processes under warming conditions, but also to create climate change mitigation mechanisms and ways to adapt to them.

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Text: Denis Kozhevnikov, Photo: Nikolay Shipko and Tomsk State University /

May 11, 2022

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