What Does Thawing Permafrost Signify?


Anthropogenic climate change in the Arctic region includes thawing permafrost. What does that mean? Permafrost is ground with a temperature below the pressure melting point for a minimum of two years in a row. (The Norwegian Polar Institute – The Arctic System). A significant amount of journal articles about permafrost can be found e.g. at NSIDC – National Snow & Ice Data Center. Again, according to for example The Arctic System, the thickness of permafrost varies from 100 up to 500 meters in depth. During summer months in the Arctic region, the permafrost naturally thaws up to one meter, providing a basis for flora and fauna to live in.

As reported by Phys.org – Defrosting the world´s freezer – thawing permafrost, the extent of how permafrost is now thawing with the fast warming of the Arctic region, is much larger than ever before. It is estimated that the Arctic could lose up to 70 % of its permafrost within the next 100 years, moving the southern boundary for permafrost hundreds of kilometers further south, releasing huge amounts of greenhouse gases methane and carbon dioxide into our atmosphere – the consequences of which are yet unknown.

To learn more about thawing permafrost, watch Climate State´s video Climate Change in the Arctic and Model Projections (2017):


Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys. For climate/environment-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank. Subscribe to Leading With Passion to receive my latest posts.

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