Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost

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  1. November 27, 2012 Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost Kevin Schaefer Ted Schuur Dave McGuire

  2. Focus Discussion on Report • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) • Nov 2012 at Doha Conference of Parties (CoP) • Authors • Coordinator: Ron Witt • Kevin Schaefer • HuguesLantuit • Vladimir E. Romanovsky • Edward A. G. Schuur • http://www.unep.org/pdf/permafrost.pdf

  3. Impact of Thawing Permafrost on Global Climate • ~1700 Gt of carbon in permafrost as frozen organic matter • Thawing permafrost will release CO2 and methane into atmosphere

  4. The Permafrost Carbon Feedback • Amplifies surface warming • Irreversible • Emissions for centuries Projected annual permafrost emissions for A1B scenario

  5. Estimates of Permafrost Fluxes a CO2 equivalent calculated assuming 2.7% of total emissions is methane (Schuur et al. 2011) and a global warming potential of 33 (Shindell et al. 2009) b calculated from emission rates in the paper c not available

  6. Impact on Climate Change Treaty • 2°C warming target • Account for permafrost emissions • AR5 Projections don’t include permafrost emissions • Temperatures higher with feedback • Emissions targets may be too high • Risk overshooting 2°C warming target Temperature Projections 4th Assessment Report

  7. Recommendation 1: Special IPCC report on permafrost emissions • IPCC special assessment report • Future permafrost degradation • Permafrost CO2and methane emissions • Projections with permafrost carbon feedback • Complement current projections • Support negotiation of emissions targets

  8. Recommendation 2: Create National permafrost monitoring networks • Issue: Current networks not adequate • Take over TSP/CALM • increase funding • standard measurements • expand coverage • All countries, especially Russia, Canada, China, United States Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) Thermal State of Permafrost (TSP)

  9. Recommendation 3: Plan for adaptation • Issue: No plans to address infrastructure impacts • Nations should develop adaptation Plans • Identify at-risk infrastructure • Evaluate risks, costs, mitigation • All countries, especially Russia, Canada, China, United States

  10. Breakout Objectives • How to implement recommendations? • Special IPCC Assessment • Nationalize CALM and TSP • Adaptation Plans • Focus on (1) • International Permafrost Association will focus on (2) and (3) • All suggestions welcome

  11. Questions to consider • How to make special assessment a priority? • Who should we talk to? • Which agencies should be involved? • How should science community be organized? • What should the special assessment include?

  12. Thank you

  13. Acknowledgements • Project Coordinator: Ron Witt, UNEP • Authors • Kevin Schaefer, University of Colorado • HuguesLantuit, Alfred Wegener Institute • Vladimir E. Romanovsky, University of Alaska Fairbanks • Edward A. G. Schuur, University of Florida • Full report: http://www.unep.org/pdf/permafrost.pdf

  14. Permafrost is permanently frozen ground • Occurs in 24% of Northern Hemisphere land

  15. Permafrost has begun to thaw Active layer thickness increasing Active Layer Permafrost temperatures rising Permafrost

  16. Permafrost will continue to thaw Projection of active layer thickness for A1B scenario year Active Layer Thickness (cm)

  17. Impacts of Climate Change on Permafrost Ecosystems Infrastructure