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Title: Expert assessment of vulnerability of permafrost carbon to climate change

Abstract

Approximately 1700 Pg of soil carbon (C) are stored in the northern circumpolar permafrost zone, more than twice as much C than in the atmosphere. The overall amount, rate, and form of C released to the atmosphere in a warmer world will influence the strength of the permafrost C feedback to climate change. We used a survey to quantify variability in the perception of the vulnerability of permafrost C to climate change. Experts were asked to provide quantitative estimates of permafrost change in response to four scenarios of warming. For the highest warming scenario (RCP 8.5), experts hypothesized that C release from permafrost zone soils could be 19–45 Pg C by 2040, 162–288 Pg C by 2100, and 381–616 Pg C by 2300 in CO2 equivalent using 100-year CH4 global warming potential (GWP). These values become 50% larger using 20-year CH4 GWP, with a third to a half of expected climate forcing coming from CH4 even though CH4 was only 2.3 % of the expected C release. Experts projected that two-thirds of this release could be avoided under the lowest warming scenario (RCP 2.6). These results highlight the potential risk from permafrost thaw and serve to frame a hypothesis aboutmore » the magnitude of this feedback to climate change. However, the level of emissions proposed here are unlikely to overshadow the impact of fossil fuel burning, which will continue to be the main source of C emissions and climate forcing.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [5];  [6];  [7];  [2];  [8];  [9];  [10];  [11];  [2];  [12];  [13];  [14];  [15];  [2];  [4];  [16] more »;  [17];  [14];  [18];  [19];  [1];  [20];  [2];  [16];  [21];  [2];  [14];  [1];  [22];  [23];  [16];  [24];  [25];  [13];  [2];  [26];  [27];  [28] « less
  1. Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL (United States)
  2. University of Alaska Fairbanks, AK (United States)
  3. Univ. of Vermont, Burlington, VT (United States)
  4. Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg (Germany)
  5. Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME (United States)
  6. Global Carbon Project CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Canberra (Australia)
  7. Florida State Univ., Tallahassee, FL (United States)
  8. Lund University, Lund (Sweden)
  9. LSCE, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Gif-sur-Yvette (France)
  10. Idaho State Univ., Pocatello, ID (United States)
  11. Univ. of California, Irvine, CA (United States)
  12. US Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA (United States)
  13. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  14. Stockholm University, Stockholm (Sweden)
  15. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
  16. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  17. CNRS/UJF-Grenoble 1, LGGE, Grenoble (France)
  18. National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (United States)
  19. University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK (United States). U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
  20. Arctic Network, National Park Service, Fairbanks, AK (United States)
  21. Alfred Wegener Institute, Potsdam (Germany)
  22. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States). National Snow and Ice Data Center, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences
  23. Univ. of Oxford (United Kingdom)
  24. AgriFoods, Ottawa (Canada)
  25. University of Guelph (Canada)
  26. U.S. Geological Survey, Boulder, CO (United States)
  27. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  28. North-East Scientific Station, Cherskii (Siberia)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER)
OSTI Identifier:
1407339
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Climatic Change
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 119; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 0165-0009
Publisher:
Springer
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 58 GEOSCIENCES

Citation Formats

Schuur, E. A. G., Abbott, B. W., Bowden, W. B., Brovkin, V., Camill, P., Canadell, J. G., Chanton, J. P., Chapin, F. S., Christensen, T. R., Ciais, P., Crosby, B. T., Czimczik, C. I., Grosse, G., Harden, J., Hayes, D. J., Hugelius, G., Jastrow, J. D., Jones, J. B., Kleinen, T., Koven, C. D., Krinner, G., Kuhry, P., Lawrence, D. M., McGuire, A. D., Natali, S. M., O’Donnell, J. A., Ping, C. L., Riley, W. J., Rinke, A., Romanovsky, V. E., Sannel, A. B. K., Schädel, C., Schaefer, K., Sky, J., Subin, Z. M., Tarnocai, C., Turetsky, M. R., Waldrop, M. P., Walter Anthony, K. M., Wickland, K. P., Wilson, C. J., and Zimov, S. A. Expert assessment of vulnerability of permafrost carbon to climate change. United States: N. p., 2013. Web. doi:10.1007/s10584-013-0730-7.
Schuur, E. A. G., Abbott, B. W., Bowden, W. B., Brovkin, V., Camill, P., Canadell, J. G., Chanton, J. P., Chapin, F. S., Christensen, T. R., Ciais, P., Crosby, B. T., Czimczik, C. I., Grosse, G., Harden, J., Hayes, D. J., Hugelius, G., Jastrow, J. D., Jones, J. B., Kleinen, T., Koven, C. D., Krinner, G., Kuhry, P., Lawrence, D. M., McGuire, A. D., Natali, S. M., O’Donnell, J. A., Ping, C. L., Riley, W. J., Rinke, A., Romanovsky, V. E., Sannel, A. B. K., Schädel, C., Schaefer, K., Sky, J., Subin, Z. M., Tarnocai, C., Turetsky, M. R., Waldrop, M. P., Walter Anthony, K. M., Wickland, K. P., Wilson, C. J., & Zimov, S. A. Expert assessment of vulnerability of permafrost carbon to climate change. United States. doi:10.1007/s10584-013-0730-7.
Schuur, E. A. G., Abbott, B. W., Bowden, W. B., Brovkin, V., Camill, P., Canadell, J. G., Chanton, J. P., Chapin, F. S., Christensen, T. R., Ciais, P., Crosby, B. T., Czimczik, C. I., Grosse, G., Harden, J., Hayes, D. J., Hugelius, G., Jastrow, J. D., Jones, J. B., Kleinen, T., Koven, C. D., Krinner, G., Kuhry, P., Lawrence, D. M., McGuire, A. D., Natali, S. M., O’Donnell, J. A., Ping, C. L., Riley, W. J., Rinke, A., Romanovsky, V. E., Sannel, A. B. K., Schädel, C., Schaefer, K., Sky, J., Subin, Z. M., Tarnocai, C., Turetsky, M. R., Waldrop, M. P., Walter Anthony, K. M., Wickland, K. P., Wilson, C. J., and Zimov, S. A. Tue . "Expert assessment of vulnerability of permafrost carbon to climate change". United States. doi:10.1007/s10584-013-0730-7. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1407339.
@article{osti_1407339,
title = {Expert assessment of vulnerability of permafrost carbon to climate change},
author = {Schuur, E. A. G. and Abbott, B. W. and Bowden, W. B. and Brovkin, V. and Camill, P. and Canadell, J. G. and Chanton, J. P. and Chapin, F. S. and Christensen, T. R. and Ciais, P. and Crosby, B. T. and Czimczik, C. I. and Grosse, G. and Harden, J. and Hayes, D. J. and Hugelius, G. and Jastrow, J. D. and Jones, J. B. and Kleinen, T. and Koven, C. D. and Krinner, G. and Kuhry, P. and Lawrence, D. M. and McGuire, A. D. and Natali, S. M. and O’Donnell, J. A. and Ping, C. L. and Riley, W. J. and Rinke, A. and Romanovsky, V. E. and Sannel, A. B. K. and Schädel, C. and Schaefer, K. and Sky, J. and Subin, Z. M. and Tarnocai, C. and Turetsky, M. R. and Waldrop, M. P. and Walter Anthony, K. M. and Wickland, K. P. and Wilson, C. J. and Zimov, S. A.},
abstractNote = {Approximately 1700 Pg of soil carbon (C) are stored in the northern circumpolar permafrost zone, more than twice as much C than in the atmosphere. The overall amount, rate, and form of C released to the atmosphere in a warmer world will influence the strength of the permafrost C feedback to climate change. We used a survey to quantify variability in the perception of the vulnerability of permafrost C to climate change. Experts were asked to provide quantitative estimates of permafrost change in response to four scenarios of warming. For the highest warming scenario (RCP 8.5), experts hypothesized that C release from permafrost zone soils could be 19–45 Pg C by 2040, 162–288 Pg C by 2100, and 381–616 Pg C by 2300 in CO2 equivalent using 100-year CH4 global warming potential (GWP). These values become 50% larger using 20-year CH4 GWP, with a third to a half of expected climate forcing coming from CH4 even though CH4 was only 2.3 % of the expected C release. Experts projected that two-thirds of this release could be avoided under the lowest warming scenario (RCP 2.6). These results highlight the potential risk from permafrost thaw and serve to frame a hypothesis about the magnitude of this feedback to climate change. However, the level of emissions proposed here are unlikely to overshadow the impact of fossil fuel burning, which will continue to be the main source of C emissions and climate forcing.},
doi = {10.1007/s10584-013-0730-7},
journal = {Climatic Change},
number = 2,
volume = 119,
place = {United States},
year = {2013},
month = {3}
}

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