Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Expert assessment of vulnerability of permafrost carbon to climate change
Show others and affiliations
2013 (English)In: Climatic Change, ISSN 0165-0009, E-ISSN 1573-1480, Vol. 119, no 2, 359-374 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Approximately 1700 Pg of soil carbon (C) are stored in the northern circumpolar permafrost zone, more than twice as much C than in the atmosphere. The overall amount, rate, and form of C released to the atmosphere in a warmer world will influence the strength of the permafrost C feedback to climate change. We used a survey to quantify variability in the perception of the vulnerability of permafrost C to climate change. Experts were asked to provide quantitative estimates of permafrost change in response to four scenarios of warming. For the highest warming scenario (RCP 8.5), experts hypothesized that C release from permafrost zone soils could be 19-45 Pg C by 2040, 162-288 Pg C by 2100, and 381-616 Pg C by 2300 in CO2 equivalent using 100-year CH4 global warming potential (GWP). These values become 50 % larger using 20-year CH4 GWP, with a third to a half of expected climate forcing coming from CH4 even though CH4 was only 2.3 % of the expected C release. Experts projected that two-thirds of this release could be avoided under the lowest warming scenario (RCP 2.6). These results highlight the potential risk from permafrost thaw and serve to frame a hypothesis about the magnitude of this feedback to climate change. However, the level of emissions proposed here are unlikely to overshadow the impact of fossil fuel burning, which will continue to be the main source of C emissions and climate forcing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 119, no 2, 359-374 p.
National Category
Environmental Sciences Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences Ecology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-93190DOI: 10.1007/s10584-013-0730-7ISI: 000321955100012OAI: diva2:645777


Available from: 2013-09-05 Created: 2013-09-04 Last updated: 2013-09-05Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Hugelius, GustafKuhry, PeterSannel, A. Britta K.
By organisation
Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology
In the same journal
Climatic Change
Environmental SciencesMeteorology and Atmospheric SciencesEcology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 34 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link