Science Highlights

The ability to map snow depth in high resolution and over a large areas permits for the first time a dataset that can be used to quantify the impact of heterogeneous snow distribution on hydrology and carbon exchange.

Rapid warming in the Arctic is leading to the thawing of carbon-rich soils that have been permanently frozen for millennia. The release of greenhouse gases from thawed permafrost could increase the rate of global warming, but this depends on the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere, and whether carbon is released as carbon dioxide or the more potent greenhouse gas methane.

Results show that climate warming and permafrost thaw could potentially enhance methylmercury toxin production by an order of magnitude, impacting Arctic terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems by increased exposure to mercury through bioaccumulation and biomagnification in the food web.