A team of researchers have found that carbon is being thaw released from Yedoma along the northernmost Siberian Arctic coast which stretches to around 7000 km. Increased warming of the Arctic climate may accelerate the collapse of the Yedoma leading to more CO2 being released. The Arctic region is experiencing double the climate warming which is considered as the global average.
Yedoma are carbon-rich ice-complex permafrost structures that have not been studied much due to the inaccessibility of the region. These structures cover an area of around 1million sq.km.. Globally, approximately 50% of the carbon pool in soils is held in the Arctic frozen surficial permafrost. This amount is twice the amount in atmospheric CO2.
When compared to other permafrost bodies, coastal Yedoma is under more risk as it is subject to wind and wave erosion apart from thermal collapse. Longer ice-free seasons and rise in sea-levels are inducing the coastal Yedoma erosion.
Studies of an island in the SE Laptev Sea that is disappearing due to erosion of Yedoma slopes suggest that even before the soil gets washed into the sea, they seem to get converted into CO2. The study reveals that the CO2 release is increasing and will be a major contributor to the global CO2 levels in the future.
The research team had earlier reported that extensive methane releases were occurring due to the continuing collapse of the subsea permafrost in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf region.