Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Publication Date
18 January 2024

Earth system models must include permafrost carbon processes



Accurate representation of permafrost carbon emissions is crucial for climate projections, yet current Earth system models inadequately represent permafrost carbon. Sustained funding opportunities are needed from government and private sectors for prioritized model development. Permafrost carbon emissions are one of the largest uncertainties in future climate projections and therefore need to be accurately represented in Earth system models (ESMs). Quantifying the potential of additional carbon emissions from the permafrost region is of high urgency given that the region is warming up to four times faster than the rest of the globe. Despite steady improvement of land model process representation, permafrost carbon remains either inadequately represented, or not represented at all, in current ESMs. Incorporation of permafrost carbon feedbacks into ESMs is of unique urgency given the exceptional warming in the Arctic and the threat to global climate mitigation goals.

Schädel, Christina, Brendan M. Rogers, David M. Lawrence, Charles D. Koven, Victor Brovkin, Eleanor J. Burke, Hélène Genet, et al. 2024. “Earth System Models Must Include Permafrost Carbon Processes”. Nature Climate Change. Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi:10.1038/s41558-023-01909-9.
Funding Program Area(s)
Additional Resources: