Permafrost - physical aspects and carbon cycling, databases and uncertainties

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Boike, J. , Langer, M. , Lantuit, H. , Muster, S. , Sachs, T. , Ovderduin, P. P. , Westermann, S. , Roth, K. and McGuire, A. D. (2012): Permafrost - physical aspects and carbon cycling, databases and uncertainties / R. Lal , K. Lorenz , R. Hüttl , B. Schneider and J. von Braun (editors) , Recarbonization of the Biosphere (Ecosystems and the Global Carbon Cycle), Dordrecht Heidelberg New York London, Springer Book, 545 p., ISBN: 978-94-007-4158-4 . doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-4159-1
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Permafrost is defined as ground that remains below 0°C for at least 2 consecutive years. About 24% of the northern hemisphere land area is underlain by permafrost. The thawing of permafrost has the potential to influence the climate system through the release of carbon (C) from northern high latitude terrestrial ecosystems, but there is substantial uncertainty about the sensitivity of the C cycle to thawing permafrost. Soil C can be mobilized from permafrost in response to changes in air temperature, directional changes in water balance, fire, thermokarst, and flooding. Observation networks need to be implemented to understand responses of permafrost and C at a range of temporal and spatial scales. The understanding gained from these observation networks needs to be integrated into modeling frameworks capable of representing how the responses of permafrost C will influence the trajectory of climate in the future.

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