The Arctic region of the planet is one of the most interesting and diverse areas in existence. Buried under all that snow, and in some cases living within it, are microorganisms that can tell us a lot about how life started and what might happen to us. Climate change has been one important topic of discussion that continues to gain relevance in today’s public discourse. Using ribo polymers, scientists have determined one important and poorly articulated fact about global warming.
The Icy Secret of Arctic Peat Lands
One of the largest sources for greenhouse gases lies beneath the permafrosted peatlands of the Arctic. This region has a substantial portion of the Earth’s soil organic carbon, or SOC, which is in danger of being released if those frosts melt. The problem is that as temperatures climb and snow melts, CH4 and CO2 are released into the atmosphere and we don’t understand what makes this happen.
Investigating the Soil
Scientists can use RNA polymers to test for reactions in the soil. Those reactions tell us a lot about the chemical composition of what’s below the frost. One of the concepts we’ve learned is that the peat soils convert to CO2 sources as the soil is oxidized.
We’ve also learned that there isn’t much difference between the potential for SOC degradation in the Arctic as opposed to other regions. Which suggests that if this bio-matter were exposed, there would be a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
More investigation is necessary before we truly understand how these factors contribute to global warming. There is still potential for harmful greenhouse gas emissions if humanity is not careful with its climate preservation efforts.
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