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Day 56 – Q 1. What is permafrost? What would be the impact of its melting on global climate? Discuss.

1. What is permafrost? What would be the impact of its melting on global climate? Discuss.

पमाफ्रोस्ट क्या है? वैश्विक जलवायु पर इसके पिघलने का क्या असर होगा? चर्चा करें।


Permafrost is permanently frozen soil, and occurs mostly in high latitudes. Permafrost comprises 24% of the land in the Northern Hemisphere and also to a lesser extent in Southern Hemisphere, and stores massive amounts of carbon.


Impact of melting permafrost on global climate

  • Researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre estimate that if, 60% of the Northern Hemisphere’s permafrost is melted, and it could release around 190 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere. This amount is about half of all the carbon released in the industrial age. The affect this will have on the rate of atmospheric warming could be irreversible.
  • Albedo of Snow is high which helps  balancing heat budget of earth melting of permafrost will disrupt the balance
  • Health Risk: microbes that have been frozen in the permafrost for millennia can come back to life after the thaw. There has already been the re-emergence of ancient viruses like anthrax, as recently discovered by French and Russian researchers.
  • Roadways are warping and foundation shifting:  Bethel, Alaska, roadways are literally rippling and warping as the ground beneath them becomes less solid. In other places, the melting permafrost is creating craters and sinkholes.  Buildings can lose structural integrity and become unstable even with modest increases in ground temperature, well before all-out melt. In Alaska alone, the destruction of buildings and infrastructure due to permafrost thaw over the next century could cost more than $2 billion, according to a 2017 study
  • Methane and Mysterious craters: Ice like mixtures of methane and water, trapped below and within the permafrost, expands as they warm, heaving up the ground until it erupts. This will be like a ticking time bomb.
  • The upper  air circulation due to  polar winds might get effected .This will alter movement of temperate cyclones .

However few positive of perma frost melting could include

1) Reviving ancient plants which were frozen for longest time: In 2012   when researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences sprouted three dozen Silene stenophylla, herby white tundra flowers, from 30,000-year-old fruits.

2) Understand the origin of life by studying virus

3) Permafrost thaw may help archaeologists discover sites because the warming ground leads to erosion, which exposes artefacts

4) New routes of communication can be discovered

According to a 2017 study in Nature Climate Change, if countries stick to the Paris Agreement, holding global average temperature to 1.5 to 2 C (2.7 to 3.6 F) above pre-industrial levels, then 55 to 70 percent of permafrost land area could be saved, compared with its near elimination under our current warming trajectory.

Best Answer: Black Bird

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