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7/12/2009

Frozen carbon a climate change threat

An Australian-led team of scientists says it has determined the amount of frozen carbon in Earth's northern regions is more than double previous estimates.

We now estimate the deposits contain over 1.5 trillion tons of frozen carbon, about twice as much carbon as contained in the atmosphere, said Charles Tarnocai of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the study's lead author.

Pep Canadell, executive director of Australia's Global Carbon Project and study co-author, said the existence of super-sized deposits of frozen carbon means any thawing of permafrost due to global warming might lead to significant emissions of carbon dioxide and methane -- both greenhouse gases.

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