Northern permafrost soils represent the largest terrestrial organic carbon pool on Earth. A study the northern circumpolar permafrost zones reveals that landscapes susceptible to abrupt thawing with the release of significant quantities of carbon dioxide and methane cover 20% of the northern permafrost region and store up to half its soil organic carbon.
New evidence from analyzing fossil plankton shells has revealed that CO2 concentration in the Earth’s atmosphere was about triple current levels around 52 million years ago. It then declined to levels close to current atmospheric CO2 concentration 34 million years ago when Antarctica began to glaciate.
The last deglaciation was characterized by increases in surface temperatures of 10-15 °C punctuated by millennial-scale warming/cooling periods, pulses of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide and asynchronously increasing methane. A geospatial-temporal variance analysis reveals a global warming trend correlating with rising CO2 on which is superimposed second trend millennial-scale regional warming/cooling periods associated with variation in the strength of the Atlantic overturning current.
In 2009 a widely used dataset indicated that the average temperature of the Earth’s surface may have stopped warming, or that it was warming at a lower rate than the long term average. A new analysis shows that the trend for 1998–2012 is indistinguishable from the best estimate of the long trend for 1951–2012.