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Study: Permafrost thaw is

Reduced rate of gas release not cause to celebrate, scientists say

WASHINGTON – A “slow-motion time bomb” of trapped greenhouse gases being released by the Arctic’s thawing tundra may not go off quite as fast as once feared, a new study found.

Even so, it remains a problem that in the long run is still likely to worsen global warming in an uncontrollable way, researchers reported.

The study, to be published Thursday in the journal Nature, looked at thawing parts of the state of Alaska and found that greenhouse gas releases initially are sucked up by new plants as the Arctic gets warmer and greener. But that helpful effect does not last.

Eventually, in between 15 and 50 years, those plants “can’t keep up” and get overwhelmed, said study lead author Ted Schuur, a University of Florida ecologist.


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