Satellites Reveal Thawing Permafrost


In Northern Alaska, people don’t need to be convinced about climate change because they see it happening all around them and literally under them — the very ground is changing.

Each year, the sea ice gets thinner and arrives later. The lack of shore ice that used to protect them from storms is leading to some villages being moved inland. Fish species from warmer waters, new birds and new insects, like spruce bark beetles, which kill trees, are appearing.

Houses are built on stilts, to avoid melting the permafrost, a layer of frozen earth that begins about two feet beneath the surface and goes down, in North Alaska, some 2,000 feet. Some of those houses are collapsing. Roads which needed resurfacing once a decade because of melting permafrost are now being resurfaced every year. So-called ‘drunken forests‘ are appearing as trees start to keel over.

The ground is changing, melting and it could be a preview of our worst climate nightmare. Read more…

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