1.4 Trillion Metric Tons of Carbon Released in the Arctic

A dangerous feedback loop is happening right now in the Arctic biome.

As climate change continues to intensify, major sources of greenhouse gas emissions get tracked around the world. One of the most significant contributors to this effect isn’t a specific industry or country.

The Arctic is now releasing more carbon dioxide in winter than it absorbs during the summer months. This biome is warming at three times the global average, which means the greenhouse gases that would usually stay trapped get released into the atmosphere.

That means 1.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide get released from Arctic soils each year. That means there is a potential for a 1.4 trillion metric ton problem over the next decade.

The Arctic Can Only Absorb 1.1 Billion Metric Tons of CO2

Plant growth in the Arctic biome during the summer months allows for 1.1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide to come out of Earth’s atmosphere. The remaining deficit of 600 billion metric tons stays to contribute to warming temperatures.

That means the Arctic deficit exceeds the CO2 levels of 189 countries.

The United States, India, Russia, Japan, China, and Germany account for about 50% of the world’s human-made contributions to greenhouse gas emissions.

A United Nations panel on climate change estimates that we cannot exceed 420 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide releases if we are going to achieve the desired results of the Paris Climate Agreement. The Arctic biome makes this outcome even less likely to happen.

Over 1,000 Readings Have Verified This Information

A team of scientists from a dozen different countries placed monitoring devices across 100 sites in the Arctic. They have taken over 1,000 readings with this equipment to verify the CO2 releases. 

Their estimates are that emissions from this region will increase by 40% through 2100 if no significant efforts are taken to stop using fossil fuels.

It might already be too late. Even if we make the necessary changes to our society, the emissions levels will still rise by 17% through the end of the century. What is even worse is that the biome is becoming a significant methane emitter, which is up to 30 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide.

This feedback loop creates a dangerous scenario. If countries are unwilling to bring their net emissions to zero, then human activities will combine with natural greenhouse gases to develop a devastating future for the next generations.