Permafrost contains a lot of organic matter that decomposes slowly. Should global warming thaw out the permafrost, a lot of carbon dioxide and also methane would be released into the atmosphere, further contributing to the global warming. Even though there are lots of shrubs in areas with permafrost, there would not be enough to compensate for the excess CO2 being released.
The release of the carbon trapped in the permafrost might accelerate the rate of global warming as well. This cycle would then feed upon itself, with increasing temperatures causing a faster rate of warming, which would cause more permafrost to melt, which would then release more carbon. The thawing of permafrost can also have drastic effects on various ecosystems, accelerating the rate and intensifying the effects of climate change.
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