Warming up: permafrost at risk
Up to 90% of the permafrost in the polar regions of Canada, Russia and Alaska could disappear by 2100 due to global warming - much earlier, in fact, than what researchers have so far predicted .
This is what a study by the American Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) reveals.
What is permafrost?
Permafrost is the layer of the earth's soil that is permanently frozen at depth. It represents a quarter of the entire northern hemisphere. It is also known as permafrost.
According to the study, the area of permafrost will be reduced from 4 to 0,4 million square kilometers by the end of the century, 1,5 million square kilometers under the most optimistic scenario.
In addition, melting permafrost will gradually release billions of tonnes of methane into the earth's atmosphere, generated by organic matter when these lands were not frozen over 10 years ago. Learn more about methane hydrates.
The NCAR study predicts that the impact of this greenhouse gas, 22 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, will be much greater than what previous research had predicted. Its massive release is expected to accelerate and intensify global warming.
In addition, the melting arctic ice will increase the absorption of solar rays by the sea, which will increase its temperature in the medium term.
This environmental disaster will pose significant challenges for governments. These will have to reinforce shorelines in the throes of accelerated erosion, anticipate the consequences on road and industrial infrastructure and even expect to relocate communities within 50 years.