Huge slabs of Arctic permafrost in northwest Canada are slumping and disintegrating, sending large amounts of carbon-rich mud and silt into streams and rivers.
A new study that analyzed nearly a half-million square miles in northwest Canada found that this permafrost decay is affecting 52,000 square miles of that vast stretch of earth—an expanse the size of Alabama. …
Similar large-scale landscape changes are evident across the Arctic including in Alaska, Siberia and Scandinavia, the researchers wrote in a paper published in the journal Geology in early February. ….
Permafrost is land that has been frozen stretching back to the last ice age, 10,000 years ago. As the Arctic warms at twice the global rate, the long-frozen soils thaw and decompose, releasing the trapped greenhouse gases into the air. Scientists estimate that the world’s permafrost holds twice as much carbon as the atmosphere.
Inside climate News: Bob Berwyn: 28 Feb 2017