Updated Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 05:48 AM
The United Nations is warning that a thawing in the permafrost that covers almost a quarter of the northern hemisphere could "significantly amplify global warming."
The warning came in a U.N. report released as climate talks intensified on Tuesday in Qatar.
The report says the dangers of carbon dioxide and methane emissions from warming permafrost are becoming an emerging issue among climate scientists. These dangers have so far not been factored in projections about future temperature rises.
Representatives from over 200 countries are negotiating a climate deal in Doha that would keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees C (3.6 F) - compared to preindustrial times - by 2100.
The World Bank has projected temperatures to increase by up to 4 degrees C (7.2 F) by then.
OSAMA FAISAL / AP
Organizers are seen on stage at the opening ceremony of the 18th United Nations climate change conference in Doha, Qatar, Monday.