Permafrost Thaw in the Spotlight

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A study of aerial photos and satellite imagery of four ice-rich regions in northwestern Canada has found that the land area subject to slumping due to permafrost thaw has grown fourfold over 50 years in some regions, reports Environmental Research Web.

Not only has the area increased, but so too has the size of the slump and the rate of growth, according to the article. Warmer temperatures and increased precipitation have influenced the condition of the permafrost and made slopes unstable.

The news came as scientists from around the globe met in Germany for the International Conference on Permafrost. As that conference came to a close, researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey in Denver, Colorado, and the University of Calgary in Canada reported that, as the permafrost thaws, it is also opening up new underground pathways for water flow. Changes to the hydrology of the cryosphere will likely alter scientists’ understanding of freshwater flow into the Arctic Ocean.

The government of Nunavut has launched a website that tracks unstable permafrost conditions to help communities adapt to the changing climate, reported CBC News.

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About Author

Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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