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The Fate of Carbon in a Warming Temperate Peatland
Reference
Cai, S. and Yu, Z. 2011. Response of a warm temperate peatland to Holocene climate change in northeastern Pennsylvania. Quaternary Research 75: 531-540.

Background
Global warming is often predicted to lead to the releasing to the atmosphere of long-sequestered carbon in earth's peatlands, possibly freeing enough of it at a sufficiently rapid rate to rival CO2 emissions from anthropogenic sources, with the end result of this scenario being a strong positive feedback to the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content, which climate alarmists contend will lead to further warming of the planet. But is this contention correct?

What was done
In a study that broaches this important question, Cai and Yu employed multi-proxy data derived from a 1073-cm sediment core they extracted in March of 2007 from Tannersville Bog, which is located near the edge of the Pocono Mountains in Monroe County, Pennsylvania (USA), in order to document the Bog's historical peat accumulation pattern and rate, as well as climate variations experienced by this "temperate tree-covered poor fen" that is located at "the extreme warm end of climate space for northern peatlands."

What was learned
In the words of the authors, "carbon accumulation rates increased from 13.4 to 101.2 g C/m2/year during the last 8000 years," with a long-term average value of 27.3 g C/m2/year. This mean rate significantly exceeds the 18.6 g C/m2/year obtained for boreal, subarctic and arctic peatlands based on measurements made at 33 sites in the Northern Hemisphere (Yu et al., 2009); and they state that this relatively high accumulation rate "was likely caused by high primary production associated with a warmer and wetter temperate climate."

What it means
Cai and Yu say their study implies that "northern peatlands can continue to serve as carbon sinks under a warmer and wetter climate, providing a negative feedback to climate warming," which is the exact polar-opposite of what has historically been claimed by the world's climate alarmists.

Reference
Yu, Z.C., Beilman, D.W. and Jones, M.C. 2009. Sensitivity of northern peatland carbon dynamics to Holocene climate change. In: Baird, A.J., Belyea, L.R., Comax, X., Reeve, A. and Slater, I. (Eds.). Carbon Cycling in Northern Peatlands. American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC, USA, pp. 55-69.

Reviewed 20 July 2011