Ted Schuur

Northern Arizona University, Professor of Ecosystem Ecology, Center for Ecosystem Science and Society, Department of Biological Sciences

December 12, 2011

Attention to Arctic warming: Keep soils frozen to store carbon

Ted Schuur

Photograph courtesy of Ted Schuur

As global temperatures rise, frozen soils are thawing in the Arctic. A new study led by Ted Schuur (2011) estimates that carbon and methane stored in the frozen soils will be released to the atmosphere more quickly than models suggest, which will accelerate climate change. The study stresses the urgent need to reduce man-made greenhouse gas emissions. “If you think about fossil fuel and deforestation, those are things people are doing, so presumably if you had enough will, you could change your laws and adjust your society to slow some of that down,” Schuur says.

August 5, 2011

‘Wake-up call’ for managing Arctic fires 

Ted Schuur

For the first time in nearly 10,000 years, wildfires are again occurring in the Arctic. In a new study of the Anaktuvuk River fire, which covered more than 400 square miles on Alaska’s North Slope, Ted Schuur (2011) and his colleagues found that when soil there burned, it released about twice as much carbon as the volume of greenhouse gases produced by the city of Miami in a year. According to the researchers, the loss of soil could cause the release of additional carbon that has been stored for hundreds or thousands of years in the permafrost -- frozen ground beneath the soil organic layer -- and accelerate global warming. The team hopes their findings will start a dialogue about managing tundra fires.