Two recent international studies are poised to change the way scientists view the crucial relationship between Earth’s climate and the carbon cycle. These reports explore the global photosynthesis and respiration rates—the planet’s deep “breaths” of carbon dioxide, in and out—and researchers say that the new findings will be used to update and improve upon traditional models that couple together climate and carbon.
Ancient permafrost submerged in the Arctic Ocean is releasing methane gas into the atmosphere at rates comparable to previous estimates for all the world’s oceans combined, researchers say. This underwater permafrost represents a large but previously overlooked source of methane, and experts say that similar but more widespread emissions of the gas could have dramatic effects on global warming in the future.
The discovery creates “an urgent need” for further research to understand the methane release and its possible impact, researchers say in the new issue of Science.