Permafrost, defined as ground that stays below freezing for at least two consecutive years. The permafrost inside has been frozen for tens of thousands of years. A historic feature are the fossil bones from mammoths and bison protruding from the tunnel walls.
- Changing pathways of ground and surface water,
- Interruptions of regional transportation, and the release to the atmosphere of previously stored carbon.
- Permafrost thawing (To change from a frozen solid to a liquid by gradual warming)will set off another problem because the process will release massive amounts of greenhouse gas methane currently trapped in the frozen soil. Nearly 1,600 gigatons of carbon are stored in the frozen organic matter, and that’s a mega source of greenhouse gases. More than twice that amount is already in the atmosphere.
- Another consequence to an Arctic thaw is waking up dormant viruses that have been frozen for thousands of years.
- Permafrost, or soil that is permanently frozen, covers about 63 percent of Russia, but has been greatly affected by climate change in recent decades.
How does Permafrost Contribute to Green House Gases?
This is how it works: as the permafrost heats up, the ice turns to water and the permafrost turns to thawed mud. The mud is full of dense biomass, like plants and mossy peat, that have been locked in the soil for thousands of years. The decomposition of the biomass releases CO2 and methane into the atmosphere. The thawing process will flip the switch from permafrost carbon sink, meaning it absorbs and locks the CO2, to greenhouse gas spigot.