High-latitude permafrost regions store vast amounts of organic carbon. Rising temperatures are causing frozen grounds to thaw, facilitating the microbial decomposition and conversion of soil organic carbon into the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane. The release of permafrost carbon into the atmosphere represents a positive feedback effect that may accelerate climate change. In a related feedback, carbon might be released from submarine permafrost stored beneath the Arctic Ocean’s continental shelves. We present a selection of overview articles and primary research from Nature, Nature Climate Change, Nature Geoscience, Nature Reviews Microbiology and Nature Communications over the past two years that discuss the interaction between climate change and the permafrost carbon pool, including the role of microbes in permafrost soils.

Credit: Alaska landscape by Ted Schuur


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