Carbon Sinks Are Emerging in the Regions of the Arctic, Scientists Say

Global climate change may cause peatland plants to expand in the Arctic. An international study team uncovered evidence of a “proto-peat,” which might represent the start of new peatlands.

Plants, the ocean, and soil are examples of carbon sinks since they absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they emit.

On the other hand, a carbon source is anything that emits more carbon into the atmosphere than it absorbs, such as the combustion of fossil fuels or volcanic activities.

Arctic carbon sinks?

A picture shows oil palm trees at a plan

(Photo : TED ALJIBE/AFP via Getty Images)

In 2018, an international team of scientists drilled holes for soil samples in three locations around the Isfjorden fjord in Norway’s Svalbard, as per ScienceDaily.

Each drilling location revealed the same phenomenon: mineral soil coated by a thin layer of organic materials.

In another sense, this layer includes a significant amount of carbon derived from the atmosphere by photosynthesis.

The University of Helsinki’s study group, led by researcher Minna Väliranta, has given the name proto-peat to such soil organic stockpiles, which are largely constituted of moss developed under increasingly mild arctic temperature conditions.

Such proto-peat deposits pique international attention.

Väliranta is a part of a bigger project supported by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), a British organization equivalent to the Academy of Finland.

This initiative looks into the same phenomena, namely if global warming has already resulted in the migration of peatland vegetation into the Arctic.

This vegetation spread is part of a larger phenomenon known as “arctic greening,” which generally refers to increased shrub growth in the Arctic as vascular plants extend to formerly barren areas.

Also Read: Fjords Act as Major Carbon Sinks, Study Says

What are carbon sinks?

Carbon is necessary for all life on Earth; it is found in our DNA, the food we consume, and the air we breathe.

The carbon content on Earth hasn’t ever shifted, but its location is continually shifting as it travels in between the atmosphere and Earth’s organisms as it is released or absorbed.

This is referred to as the carbon cycle, and it has been perfectly balanced for thousands of years.

A carbon sink collects Carbon dioxide from the air. The world’s major carbon sinks are the ocean, soil, and forests.

Carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere by a carbon source.

Carbon sources include using fossil fuels such as gas, coal, and oil, as well as the destruction of forests and volcanic activity.

Protecting carbon sinks

Preserving carbon sinks is critical for combating climate change and maintaining a stable climate. However, they are under growing jeopardy.


Every year, the world’s forests absorb 2.6 billion tonnes of CO2. Despite its critical value, a football field-sized area is destroyed every second.

Humans advocate for the sustainable use and protection of forests. This endeavor is divided into three parts: strengthening legislation, empowering forest communities, and combating illicit logging and commerce.


Every year, the Earth’s soil absorbs around a quarter of all human emissions, with a major percentage of this retained in bogs or permafrost.

However, it is under threat from rising global food production demand, chemical contamination, and climate change. We are advocating for a new agriculture model.

Related article: Southern Ocean Acts as ‘Carbon Sink,’ Absorbing More CO2 from Atmosphere Than it Discharges

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