Greenhouse gas release from permafrost is influenced by mineral binding processes
About a quarter of the organic carbon contained in ice-rich Arctic permafrost is more difficult for microorganisms to utilize. The reason for this is a strong binding of the organic material originating from dead plant remains to mineral soil particles. That is the result of a study conducted by a research group led by Professor Dr Janet Rethemeyer and Dr Jannik Martens at the University of Cologne’s Institute of Geology and Mineralogy. Accurate predictions of the release of greenhouse gases from permafrost deposits are therefore more complex than previously assumed.
The results of the joint project, which was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), are published in the article ‘Stabilization of mineral-associated organic carbon in Pleistocene permafrost’ in the journal Nature Communications.
The Arctic is warming dramatically fast compared to other parts of the world. Much of it is covered by permafrost and contains large amounts of carbon, almost twice as much as the atmosphere. This carbon comes from plants that have grown over thousands of years, decomposed in the soil and then become ‘frozen’. Due to strongly rising temperatures in the Arctic, this gigantic freezer is thawing fast. The old carbon stored in it can now be degraded by microorganisms, releasing carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases accelerate global warming. The warmer it gets, the more greenhouse gases are in turn released from the permafrost, causing temperatures to rise further and frozen soils and sediments to thaw even faster. “There is a feedback of carbon in permafrost with climate, the strength of which depends largely on those factors that influence microbial degradation,” said Janet Rethemeyer.
In the joint research project, scientists from the Institute of Zoology at the University of Cologne, the University of Tübingen, the Technical University of Munich and the Alfred-Wegener-Institute in Potsdam studied long permafrost cores from the Siberian Arctic. The cores come from very ice-rich, fine-grained sediments – similar to loess in our latitudes – that were deposited in large areas of Siberia and Alaska during the last ice age. The cores, up to 12 metres long, comprise sediments deposited over a period of up to 55,000 years.
The analyses of the permafrost cores show that a significant part (25-35 %) of the carbon is associated with the mineral particles and thus more difficult to access for microorganisms. “Predictions of interactions between thawing permafrost and climate are very complicated because the microbial degradability of the organic material in the sediments has varied greatly over the last 55,000 years. This is due to the different climatic conditions during this long period of deposition,” Janet Rethemeyer explained. Warmer and wetter conditions resulted in poorer binding of carbon to the mineral particles, while a colder and drier climate led to stronger binding, primarily to iron oxides. Stronger binding to iron oxides means that the decomposition rates of old plant material are lower, as Professor Dr. Michael Bonkowski from the Institute of Zoology, Department of Terrestrial Ecology at the University of Cologne has shown in laboratory experiments.
“These new findings can make a significant contribution to making computer models for forecasting greenhouse gas emissions from thawing permafrost more reliable,” said Jannik Martens, who is currently conducting research at Columbia University in New York.
Method of Research
Subject of Research
Stabilization of mineral-associated organic carbon in Pleistocene permafrost
Article Publication Date
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How to watch the Axiom-2 mission depart from the ISS on Tuesday – Digital Trends
This Tuesday, the crew of the second-ever all-private mission to the International Space Station will be returning to Earth. The Axiom 2 or Ax-2 mission launched last week and saw private astronauts Peggy Whitson, John Shoffner, Ali Alqarni, and Rayyanah Barnawi traveling to the ISS on a SpaceX Crew Dragon launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Now, the crew of four will be traveling back to Earth in the same Crew Dragon, and NASA will be livestreaming the departure of the spacecraft from the station. A separate stream will also be available showing the Crew Dragon splashing down off the coast of Florida. We’ve got the details on how to watch both below.
How to watch the mission departure
Coverage of the departure of the Crew Dragon from the ISS will begin at 9 a.m. ET (6 a.m. PT) on Tuesday, May 30. NASA will show a short introduction before the closing of the hatch of the station’s Harmony module at 9:10 a.m. ET (6:10 a.m. PT). There will then be a short break in coverage, which will resume at 10:45 a.m. ET (7:45 a.m. PT) to show the undocking of the Dragon at 11:05 a.m. ET (8:05 a.m. PT), with coverage ending 30 minutes after undocking.
You can watch the livestream of the hatch closing and the undocking on NASA’s YouTube channel, or by using the video embedded near the top of this page.
The crew will then travel back to Earth throughout Tuesday and into Wednesday, May 31. When the Crew Dragon is approaching Earth for splashdown, you’ll be able to tune into a livestream from Axiom Space. That will be available on Axiom’s website, but the company has not yet confirmed the exact time that coverage is expected to begin on Wednesday. You can find the latest updates on Axiom Twitter.
What to expect from the mission departure
The Ax-2 crew will have spent 10 days in space before heading home, and they will be bringing around 300 pounds of cargo back with them. The mission is notable for including the first two astronauts from Saudi Arabia, Ali Alqarni and Rayyanah Barnawi, as well as famous American astronaut Peggy Whitson who has spent more days in space than any other American or any other woman.
Axiom Space launched its first private mission to the ISS in April last year, with a third mission planned for November this year and a fourth planned for 2024.
NASA's New Horizons Spacecraft Captures ''Heart-Shaped'' Glacier On Pluto's Surface – NDTV
Space agency NASA routinely captures stunning images of our universe, leaving space lovers mesmerized. On Sunday, NASA shared a stunning image on Instagram taken by its New Horizons spacecraft showing a heart-shaped glacier on Pluto’s surface. The heart-shaped region is known unofficially as Tombaugh Regio and is made of nitrogen and methane.
The image was captioned as ”Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Our New Horizons spacecraft captured this heart-shaped glacier. It lies on Pluto’s surface, which also features mountains, cliffs, valleys, craters, and plains, thought to be made of methane and nitrogen ice ”
See the image here:
It described the image as ”Pluto’s surface is marked with cracks and craters in shades of brown. The partially visible heart appears in the lower right of the small world, which is surrounded by black space.”
New Horizons launched in January 2006 and reached Pluto in July 2015, flying within 7,800 miles of its surface, and becoming the first probe to fly by Pluto and its moons. The far-traveling spacecraft also visited a distant Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule (2014 MU69) in January 2019.
Instagram users loved the picture and shared a variety of comments. One user wrote, ”Wouahh what a great capture, thanks to New Horizon spacecraft.” Another commented, ”For me, Pluto will always be a planet.”
A third said, ”Why is Pluto, not a plane? it literally has a heart!” A fourth added, ”Being afar doesn’t mean you aren’t part of the family.”
Pluto was once considered the ninth planet in the solar system, however, it was demoted in 2006 and reclassified as a dwarf planet. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) downgraded the status of Pluto to that of a dwarf planet because it did not meet the three criteria the IAU uses to define a full-sized planet.
Pluto is slightly over 1,400 miles (2250 km) wide or about half the breadth of the United States or two-thirds the width of the Moon. With its average temperature of -387F (-232C) – Pluto’s surface is coated in ice made of water, methane, and nitrogen and is believed to have a rocky core and possibly a deep ocean.
This Week @NASA: Private Astronaut Mission, Autonomous Snake-Like Robot Explorer, TROPICS Launch – SciTechDaily
The second all-private astronaut mission to the space station …
Completing the set of tiny severe weather trackers …
And a robotic explorer – with a twist …
A few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at <span class="glossaryLink" aria-describedby="tt" data-cmtooltip="
” data-gt-translate-attributes=”["attribute":"data-cmtooltip", "format":"html"]”>NASA!
Second Private Astronaut Mission to the Space Station
On May 21, a <span class="glossaryLink" aria-describedby="tt" data-cmtooltip="
” data-gt-translate-attributes=”["attribute":"data-cmtooltip", "format":"html"]”>SpaceX Dragon spacecraft launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Axiom Mission 2, the second all private astronaut mission to the International Space Station.
The four-person crew, commanded by former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, is scheduled to spend several days conducting research, outreach, and commercial activities on the space station.
Final Pair of Storm-Observing CubeSats Launched
The final two CubeSats for NASA’s TROPICS mission launched from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand on May 26. The small satellites will join two other identical spacecraft that launched to orbit earlier this month.
All four will fly, as a constellation, in a unique low Earth orbit that will allow them to observe tropical cyclones, including hurricanes and typhoons, more often than what is possible with
current weather satellites.
Autonomous Snake-Like Robotic Explorer
A team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is creating and testing a snake-like robot called EELS, short for Exobiology Extant Life Surveyor. The self-propelled, autonomous robot is
being developed to go where other robots can’t go.
Although it was inspired by a desire to look for signs of life in the sub-surface ocean on <span class="glossaryLink" aria-describedby="tt" data-cmtooltip="
” data-gt-translate-attributes=”["attribute":"data-cmtooltip", "format":"html"]”>Saturn’s icy moon, Enceladus, EELS is not currently part of any NASA mission.
Artemis Rocket Engine Test Series Continues
On May 23, NASA’s Stennis Space Center conducted a hot fire test of an RS-25 rocket engine. It was the eighth hot fire of the current 12-test series to certify production of new RS-25s.
Four of the engines will help power NASA’s Space Launch System rocket on future Artemis missions to the Moon.
That’s what’s up this week @NASA.
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