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Articles on Permafrost

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Permafrost and ice wedges have built up over millennia in the Arctic. When they thaw, they destabilize the surrounding landscape. Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Thawing permafrost is roiling the Arctic landscape, driven by a hidden world of changes beneath the surface as the climate warms

Ground is collapsing and massive lakes are draining in a matter of days. Thawing permafrost is having profound effects on the region and its infrastructure.
Changes in vegetation and temperature affect wildlife and humans, as well as the climate. Lisa Hupp/USFWS

Arctic greening won’t save the climate – here’s why

The growing season on the tundra is starting earlier as the planet warms, but the plants aren’t sequestering more carbon, a new study finds.
Community members from Utqiagvik, Alaska, look to open water from the edge of shorefast sea ice. Matthew Druckenmiller

2021 Arctic Report Card reveals a (human) story of cascading disruptions, extreme events and global connections

Sea ice is thinning at an alarming rate. Snow is shifting to rain. And humans worldwide are increasingly feeling the impact of what happens in the seemingly distant Arctic.
The Denali Highway as it crosses the Susitna River. Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Infrastructure bill passed by Congress promises billions for bridge repair – rural Alaska shows the growing need as temperatures rise

Alaska is warming faster than any other U.S. state, and that’s causing problems, a team of bridge engineers and social scientists explains. The infrastructure bill in Congress would offer some help.
Permafrost is thawing across the Arctic, releasing microbes and organic materials that have been trapped in the frozen ground for thousands of years. NOAA via Wikimedia Commons

Thawing permafrost is full of ice-forming particles that could get into atmosphere

New research shows that permafrost contains huge amounts of particles that make it easier for cloud moisture to freeze. Thawing permafrost is releasing these ice-nucleating particles.
Missing a field season can be devastating if your research subject is melting away. Karen Lloyd

From permafrost microbes to survivor songbirds – research projects are also victims of COVID-19 pandemic

Three scientists describe the fieldwork they’ve had to delay in 2020 because of the pandemic. These are setbacks not just for their careers, but for the body of scientific knowledge.
This Arctic heat wave has been unusually long-lived. The darkest reds on this map of the Arctic are areas that were more than 14 degrees Fahrenheit warmer in the spring of 2020 compared to the recent 15-year average. Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory

100 degrees in Siberia? 5 ways the extreme Arctic heat wave followed a disturbing pattern

The Arctic is warming about twice as fast as the planet as a whole, with serious consequences. Scientists have been warning about this for decades.
Some lakes in the Arctic are expanding and others are disappearing as permafrost thaws. This lake north of Inuvik, N.W.T., is expanding as the ice wedges (darker lines leading away from the lake) around this lake melt and the ground subsides. (Philip Marsh)

Collapsing permafrost is transforming Arctic lakes, ponds and streams

Hundreds of thousands of lakes, rivers and streams in the Arctic exist only because of the permafrost that lies beneath them. The warming Arctic threatens to change that.

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