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

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Presentation on theme: "Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost November 27, 2012 Kevin Schaefer Ted Schuur Dave McGuire Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost."— Presentation transcript:

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

2 Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost Focus Discussion on Report United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Nov 2012 at Doha Conference of Parties (CoP) Authors –Coordinator: Ron Witt –Kevin Schaefer –Hugues Lantuit –Vladimir E. Romanovsky –Edward A. G. Schuur

3 Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost Impact of Thawing Permafrost on Global Climate ~1700 Gt of carbon in permafrost as frozen organic matter Thawing permafrost will release CO 2 and methane into atmosphere

4 Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost The Permafrost Carbon Feedback Amplifies surface warming Irreversible Emissions for centuries Projected annual permafrost emissions for A1B scenario

5 Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost 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 Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost 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 4 th Assessment Report

7 Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost Recommendation 1: Special IPCC report on permafrost emissions IPCC special assessment report –Future permafrost degradation –Permafrost CO 2 and methane emissions –Projections with permafrost carbon feedback Complement current projections Support negotiation of emissions targets

8 Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost 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 Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost 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 Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost Breakout Objectives How to implement recommendations? 1)Special IPCC Assessment 2)Nationalize CALM and TSP 3)Adaptation Plans Focus on (1) International Permafrost Association will focus on (2) and (3) All suggestions welcome

11 Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost 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 Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost Thank you

13 Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost Acknowledgements Project Coordinator: Ron Witt, UNEP Authors –Kevin Schaefer, University of Colorado –Hugues Lantuit, Alfred Wegener Institute –Vladimir E. Romanovsky, University of Alaska Fairbanks –Edward A. G. Schuur, University of Florida Full report:

14 Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost Permafrost is permanently frozen ground Occurs in 24% of Northern Hemisphere land

15 Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost Permafrost has begun to thaw Permafrost Active Layer Active layer thickness increasing Permafrost temperatures rising

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

17 Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost Impacts of Climate Change on Permafrost EcosystemsInfrastructure


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