Add Nitrous Oxide to the List of Permafrost Melt Concerns
Melting #permafrost is among the biggest #climate change issues. That’s because it contains billions of tons of carbon that, if it melts, will be released in the form of carbon dioxide and methane, an even more potent greenhouse gas.
Less studied is what happens to the 67 billion tons of nitrogen stored in the currently frozen soil. New research shows that a permafrost meltdown could cause that nitrogen to be released as nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that’s nearly 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. That would crank up the planetary heat even further, and with it, the risks posed by sea level rise, increasingly extreme weather, and other climate change impacts.