For peat's sake


  • Randy Showstack


With climate models predicting a sharp increase in global temperature over the coming decades, three scientists are investigating how this warming trend will affect a huge band of peat wetlands that ring the Northern Hemisphere around Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia, and the former Soviet Union.

“We are concerned about the impact of a major climate change on these ecosystems with tons of soil carbon,” says Scott Bridgham, a professor at the University of Notre Dame, who is a principal investigator in the study along with Jiquan Chen of Michigan Technological University and John Pastor of the University of Minnesota. Bridgham says that peatlands make up just 2.5% of the Earth's surface but contain about one-third of its soil carbon pool.