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The Arctic is burning — and turning up the heat on the planet

Thursday 11 May 23 10:30am

 

The Far North (Arctic) is both a massive carbon sink and a potent environmental time bomb. The region stores a huge amount of CO2 in boreal forests and underlying soils.

Organic peat soil, for instance, covers just 3 percent of the Earth’s land area (there’s some in tropical regions too), yet it contains a third of its terrestrial carbon. And Arctic permafrost has locked away thousands of years’ worth of plant matter, preventing rot that would release clouds of planet-heating carbon dioxide and methane. 

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