Just how much Arctic permafrost will thaw in the future and how fast heat-trapping carbon dioxide will be released from those warming soils is a topic of lively debate among climate scientists.
To answer those questions, scientists need to understand the mechanisms that control the conversion of organic soil carbon into carbon dioxide gas. Until now, researchers believed that bacteria were largely responsible.
But in a study published online in the journal Science Aug. 22, 2014, University of Michigan researchers, including Professor George Kling, show for the first time that sunlight, not microbial activity, dominates the production of carbon dioxide in Arctic inland waters.
Read more in the Michigan News press release