SOURCE: Scientific American

DATE: May 30, 2017

SNIP: The thawing of the Arctic permafrost is releasing a potent greenhouse gas into the atmosphere that has rarely been considered as a threat despite its tremendous potential to drive global warming.

Nitrous oxide, or N2O, is more of a threat to the Arctic and global warming than previously believed, according to a study published yesterday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Currently, it’s not usually considered when researchers create models to predict the future warming of the region.

As the permafrost thaws, emissions of nitrous oxide increase, researchers found. That’s significant because naturally occurring nitrous oxide, which is locked inside the permafrost when it is frozen, is a potent greenhouse gas with 300 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.