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Alaskan Tundra Has an Early Start in Carbon Emissions

Updated on July 26, 2017

Alaskan Tundra has an Early Start in Carbon Emissions

What do you get when more carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere? You get more greenhouse gasses. This is no joke. Although carbon dioxide is an important factor to keeping the Earth warm and at balance, more carbon dioxide than needed is being emitted into the atmosphere. In my Global Climate Change class at Lane Community College, I learned that the increase of greenhouse gases are due to anthropogenic causes. Due to the increase in greenhouse gases, the Earth has increased 1.4° Fahrenheit since 1880 (NASA). Although that number may not seem like a big increase, it has completely changed the global biosphere. For example, NASA, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, made a huge discovery recently about the tundra in Alaska.

We also learned in our class that thawing ice and thawing a tundra can release more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This event adds to the greenhouse gases. However, scientists recently discovered that carbon dioxide is being released much sooner than ever before! This effect greatly speeds up the effects of global climate change. Ellen Gray, a writer for NASA’s Earth Science News Team reported, “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.” Gray also adds concerns by saying, “More carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere will accelerate climate warming, which, in turn, could lead to the release of even more carbon dioxide from these soils.” I found these statements extremely concerning. During an interview, Gray asked questions to the scientist who did the study, and he said once, “In the past, refreezing of soils may have taken a month or so, but with warmer temperatures in recent years, there are locations in Alaska where tundra soils now take more than three months to freeze completely.”

I found the evidence very strong, and I found the measurements very reliable. I highly recommend reading the article. NASA updates current information about Global Climate Change, and I found that much of their information is very well done. This is the website link to the article I read:


Gray, Ellen. Alaska Tundra Source of Early-Winter Carbon Emissions. NASA. 05/08/2017. Web. 05/14/2017.


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