Why Is Permafrost A Climate Danger?

3Thawing permafrost, Herschel Island, off Yukon, Canada. Image Credit: Boris Radosavljevic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Permafrost: an Important Carbon Reservoir

Permafrost Extent & Coverage

In This Article:

  • Permafrost: an Important Carbon Reservoir
  • Where Is Permafrost Found?
  • What Is Permafrost Made Of?
  • How Does The Ground Freeze?
  • How Does Climate Change Affect Permafrost?
  • What Happens If Large Areas Of Permafrost Start Thawing?
  • Emissions of Nitrous Oxide: A New Danger
  • Unfortunately, The Arctic Is Getting Much Hotter
  • How High Do Temperatures Need To Rise In Order To Thaw The Permafrost?
  • How Does Thawing Permafrost Spread Disease?
  • Will Mercury Be Released Into The Food Chain?
  • Financial Consequences Of Permafrost Loss
  • References

Where Is Permafrost Found?

What Is Permafrost Made Of?

How Does The Ground Freeze?

How Does Climate Change Affect Permafrost?

What Happens If Large Areas Of Permafrost Start Thawing?

Emissions of Nitrous Oxide: A New Danger

Unfortunately, The Arctic Is Getting Much Hotter

How High Do Temperatures Need To Rise In Order To Thaw The Permafrost?

How Does Thawing Permafrost Spread Disease?

Will Mercury Be Released Into The Food Chain?

Financial Consequences Of Permafrost Loss

References

  1. “Encyclopedia of Geomorphology. 2.” Andrew Goudie, ed. (2004). New York: Routledge. p.777. ISBN 0–415–32738–5.
  2. “Distribution of permafrost in North America and its relationship to the environment: A review, 1963–1973.” Brown, Roger J.E.; Pewe, Troy L. (1973) Permafrost: North American Contribution — Second International Conference, 2: 71–100.
  3. Statistics and characteristics of permafrost and ground ice distribution in the Northern Hemisphere.” Zhang, T., Roger G. Barry, K. Knowles, J. A. Heginbottom, and J. Brown: Volume 31, 2008, pp. 47–68. July 2008.
  4. “Observations: Changes in Snow, Ice and Frozen Ground.” Lemke et al; IPCC Working Group I GI, 2007, pages 242–243.
  5. Soil organic carbon pools in the northern circumpolar permafrost region”. C. Tarnocai, J. G. Canadell, E. A. G. Schuur, P. Kuhry, G. Mazhitova, S. Zimov. (2009). Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 23 (2): GB2023.
  6. State of the Earth’s cryosphere at the beginning of the 21st century: glaciers, global snow cover, floating ice, and permafrost and periglacial environments: Chapter A in Satellite image atlas of glaciers of the world.” Edited by: Richard S. Williams Jr. and Jane G. Ferrigno. p. A435 (2013). Heginbottom, J. Alan, Brown, Jerry; Humlum, Ole, Svensson, Harald.
  7. Sub-Sea Permafrost.” T.E. Osterkamp. (2001) Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences, pp.2902–12, ISBN 9780122274305
  8. Deep Yedoma permafrost: A synthesis of depositional characteristics and carbon vulnerability.” Jens Strauss, Lutz Schirrmeister, Guido Grosse, Daniel Fortier, Gustaf Hugelius, Christian Knoblauch, Vladimir Romanovsky, Christina Schadel, Thomas Schneider von Deimling, Edward A.G.Schuur, Denis Shmelev, Mathias Ulrich, Alexandra Veremeeva. Earth-Science Reviews, Volume 172, September 2017, Pages 75–86.
  9. Extremes of summer climate trigger thousands of thermokarst landslides in a High Arctic environment. Nature Communications 10, 1329 (2019). Lewkowicz, A.G., Way, R.G.
  10. “The Race to Save Arctic Cities As Permafrost Melts. Melody Schreiber. citylab.com/ May 10, 2018.
  11. Arctic Report Card: Update for 2019.” NOAA.
  12. Schuur, E. A. G., and Coauthors, 2018: Chapter 11: Arctic and boreal carbon. In: Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR2): A Sustained Assessment Report, Cavallaro, N., G. Shrestha, R. Birdsey, M. A. Mayes, R. G. Najjar, S. C. Reed, P. Romero-Lankao, and Z. Zhu, Eds., U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, 428–468.
  13. Large loss of CO2 in winter observed across the northern permafrost region, Nature Climate Change (2019). Susan M. Natali et al.
  14. Chapter 3: Polar Regions (PDF). IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC). September 25, 2019. p. 173.
  15. “Permafrost nitrous oxide emissions observed on a landscape scale using the airborne eddy-covariance method.” Jordan Wilkerson, Ronald Dobosy, David S. Sayres, Claire Healy, Edward Dumas, Bruce Baker and James G. Anderson. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 19, 4257–4268, 2019.
  16. Permafrost and the Global Carbon Cycle.” T. Schuur. NOAA Arctic Essays. November 22, 2019.
  17. Unprecedented recent summer warmth in Arctic Canada”. Miller, G. H.; Lehman, S. J.; Refsnider, K. A.; Southon, J. R.; Zhong, Y. (2013). Geophysical Research Letters. 40 (21): 5745–5751.
  18. “Radical warming in Siberia leaves millions on unstable ground.” Anton Troianovski, Chris Mooney. Washington Post. October 3, 2019.
  19. NOAA 2019 Arctic Report Card.
  20. “Radical warming in Siberia leaves millions on unstable ground.” Anton Troianovski, Chris Mooney. Washington Post. October 3, 2019.
  21. Speleothems reveal 500,000-year history of Siberian permafrost.” Vaks A, Gutareva OS, Breitenbach SF, Avirmed E, Mason AJ, Thomas AL, Osinzev AV, Kononov AM, Henderson GM. Science. 2013 Apr 12;340(6129):183–6.
  22. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (2019). Summary for Policymakers.
  23. Radiative forcing and albedo feedback from the Northern Hemisphere cryosphere between 1979 and 2008. Nature Geosci 4, 151–155 (2011). Flanner, M., Shell, K., Barlage, M. et al.
  24. Arctic Ice Cover, Ice Thickness and Tipping Points. AMBIO 41, 23–33 (2012). Wadhams, P.
  25. Climate change and the permafrost carbon feedback. Nature 520, 171–179 (2015). Schuur, E., McGuire, A., Schadel, C. et al.
  26. Thirty-thousand-year-old distant relative of giant icosahedral DNA viruses with a pandoravirus morphology.” Matthieu Legendre, Julia Bartoli, Lyubov Shmakova, Sandra Jeudy, Karine Labadie, Annie Adrait, Magali Lescot, Olivier Poirot, Lionel Bertaux, Christophe Bruley, Yohann Coute, Elizaveta Rivkina, Chantal Abergel, and Jean-Michel Claverie. PNAS March 18, 2014 111 (11) 4274–4279
  27. Permafrost Stores a Globally Significant Amount of Mercury.” Paul F. Schuster, Kevin M. Schaefer, George R. Aiken, Ronald C. Antweiler, John F. Dewild, Joshua D. Gryziec, Alessio Gusmeroli, Gustaf Hugelius, Elchin Jafarov, David P. Krabbenhoft. Geophysical Research Letters. Feb 5, 2018.
  28. Climate policy implications of nonlinear decline of Arctic land permafrost and other cryosphere elements. Nat Commun 10, 1900 (2019). Yumashev, D., Hope, C., Schaefer, K. et al.

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Karina Collins

Karina Collins

I work in marketing by day — and pen my thoughts on climate change by night.

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