This article discusses how Arctic permafrost is starting to thaw. Here’s why you should care.
Nyzell and her colleague Jenny Gåling are master’s students at Stockholm University. They’re here in Abisko, Sweden, to study Arctic permafrost — soil that’s been frozen year-round for at least two years — and the gases that seep out into the atmosphere when it thaws. Specifically, they’re measuring the gas bubbling up from sediment in lakes like this one, which dots the landscape here.
These scientists love the research process and the places it takes them — places like this lake. But the data they’re collecting tells a very sobering story.
One of the main gases bubbling up and out of this lake is methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. As our human-caused carbon pollution causes the planet to heat up, that warming is thawing out Arctic permafrost, which, in turn, is triggering an increase in natural carbon emissions from places like this.
n other words, all around the Arctic, climate change caused by human pollution is causing even more of the same greenhouse gases to move from once-frozen soil into the atmosphere.
For researchers around the world, that is a very frightening change, because there is a lot of carbon in that soil.