Map of projected permafrost loss from peatlands. Colors indicate temperature thresholds when equilib

Over many millennia, northern peatlands have accumulated large amounts of carbon and nitrogen, thus cooling the global climate. Over shorter timescales, peatland disturbances can trigger losses of peat and release of greenhouses gases.

Despite their importance to the global climate, peatlands remain poorly mapped, and the vulnerability of permafrost peatlands to warming is uncertain. This study compiles over 7,000 field observations to present a data-driven map of northern peatlands and their carbon and nitrogen stocks. We use these maps to model the impact of permafrost thaw on peatlands and find that warming will likely shift the greenhouse gas balance of northern peatlands. At present, peatlands cool the climate, but anthropogenic warming can shift them into a net source of warming.

Link to article in PNAS:

Listen to piece on SR Vetenskapsradion (in Swedish)