Atmospheric and Climate Measurements and Modeling

The trouble with thaw

About one fourth of the Northern Hemisphere is covered in permafrost. Now, these permanently frozen beds of soil, rock, and sediment are actually not so permanent: They’re thawing at an increasing rate.

Human-induced climate change is warming these lands, melting the ice, and loosening the soil. This may sound like any benign Spring thaw, but the floundering permafrost can cause severe damage: Forests are falling; roads are collapsing; and, in an ironic twist, the warmer soil is releasing even more greenhouse gases, which could exacerbate the effects of climate change.

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