MINERAL WEATHERING IN THAWING PERMAFROST: CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES
Enhanced thawing of the permafrost in response to warming of the Earth’s high latitude regions exposes previously frozen soil organic carbon (SOC) to microbial decomposition, liberating carbon to the atmosphere and creating a dangerous positive feedback on climate warming.
Thawing the permafrost may also unlock a cascade of mineral weathering reactions. These will be accompanied by mineral nutrient release and generation of reactive surfaces which will influence plant growth, microbial SOC degradation and SOC stabilisation. Arguably, weathering is an important but hitherto neglected component for correctly assessing and predicting the permafrost carbon feedback.
The goal of WeThaw is to provide a comprehensive assessment of the mineral weathering response in permafrost regions subject to thawing. By addressing this crucial knowledge gap, WeThaw will significantly augment our capacity to develop models that can accurately predict the permafrost carbon feedback.
This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the grant agreement number 714617.