Study: Releasing herds of animals into the Arctic could help fight climate change

CBS News discusses how releasing herds of animals into the Arctic could help fight climate change, study finds.

Herds of horses, bison and reindeer could play a significant part in saving the world from an acceleration in global heating. That is the conclusion of a recent study showing how grazing herbivores can slow down the pace of thawing permafrost in the Arctic.

The study — a computerized simulation based on real-life, on-the ground data — finds that with enough animals, 80% of all permafrost soils around the globe could be preserved through 2100.

The research was inspired by an experiment in the town of Chersky, Siberia featured on CBS News’ “60 Minutes.” The episode introduces viewers to an eccentric scientist named Sergey Zimov who resettled grazing animals to a piece of the Arctic tundra more than 20 years ago.

Last year their fears were confirmed when a study led by scientists at Woods Hole Research Center revealed that the Arctic was no longer storing as much carbon as it was emitting back into the atmosphere.

The results, published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, show that if emissions continue to rise unchecked we can expect to see a 7-degree Fahrenheit increase in permafrost temperatures, which would cause half of all permafrost to thaw by 2100.

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