"The Newest Threat to a Warming Alaskan Arctic: Beavers"

"The large rodents are creating lakes that accelerate the thawing of frozen soils and potentially increase greenhouse gas emissions, a study finds."

"Alaskan beavers are carving out a growing web of channels, dams and ponds in the frozen Arctic tundra of northwestern Alaska, helping to turn it into a soggy sponge that intensifies global warming.

On the Baldwin Peninsula, near Kotzebue, for example, the big rodents have been so busy that they're hastening the regional thawing of the permafrost, raising new concerns about how fast those organic frozen soils will melt and release long-trapped greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, said scientists who are studying the beavers' activity.

The number of new beaver dams and lakes continues to grow exponentially, suggesting that "beavers are a greater influence than climate on surface water extent," said University of Alaska, Fairbanks scientist Ken Tape, a co-author of a new beaver and permafrost study published today in the journal Environmental Research Letters."

Bob Berwyn reports for InsideClimate News June 29, 2020.

Source: InsideClimate News, 06/30/2020