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Permafrost carbon estimates doubled

Source:  Copyright 2008, AAP
Date:  September 12, 2008
Original URL: Status ONLINE

A new study by a team of international scientists has revealed the amount of carbon frozen in the world's permafrost is double what was previously thought.

The three-year study concluded that the amount of carbon locked up in the world's permafrost is at least 1,500 billion tonnes more than double previous estimates and the equivalent of twice the current amount of Co2 in the world's atmosphere.

Permafrost is frozen soil found at high latitudes, close to the north or south poles, and contains the remains of plants and animals which due to the extreme cold do not decompose, trapping carbon in the soil.

This is the most accurate assessment yet of the amount of carbon contained in worldwide permafrost but the actual amount may well be higher, says CSIRO scientist and study team member Dr Pep Canadell.

"We are now in the ballpark of what probably is there, there is still a big issue and that is the depth, our database goes down to ...

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