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Carbon Stored In Soil Is More Vulnerable To Climate Change Than Expected

The findings suggest that warming will increase the activity of soil microbes to a greater extent than was previously expected, which could have implications for future rates of climate change. Image: Kristiina Karhu

The substantial carbon stores in Arctic soils could be more vulnerable to climate warming than currently predicted, a study has found.

The researchers say microbial communities in the soils of Arctic and Sub Arctic regions are reacting to climate temperature changes causing them to change the soil carbon sensitivity and release carbon dioxide, further contributing to climate change

Dr Kristiina Karhu of the University of Helsinki, says soils store more than twice as much carbon than the atmosphere, meaning changes in rates of decomposition and carbon dioxide release from soil could be very important.

“Our findings suggest that warming will increase the activity of soil microbes to a greater extent than was previously expected, which could have implications for future rates of climate change,” she says

Soils collected from a thermal gradient from the Arctic to the Amazon rainforest were tested.

The results of the study are published in the journal Nature.

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