Near-surface Permafrost Will Be Gone by 2100


U.S. Geological Survey photo.

Most of Earth’s near-surface permafrost to be gradually gone by 2100. This conclusion was reached by an international team of scientists after comparing current climate trends to the planet’s climate 3 million years ago.

Scientists have found that the volume of near-surface permafrost could shrink by 93% compared to the pre-industrial period between 1850 and 1900. This is under the most extreme warming scenario described in the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

By 2100, Earth’s near-surface permafrost, within the upper 10 to 13 feet of the soil layer, may exist only in the eastern Siberian uplands, Canadian High Arctic Archipelago and northernmost Greenland — just like it did in the mid-Pliocene Warm Period, the scientists report.

The study was led by Donglin Guo of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology. Scientists from Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States also participated in the study.

The loss of this much near-surface permafrost over the next 77 years will have widespread implications for human livelihoods and infrastructure, for the global carbon cycle and for surface and subsurface hydrology, Professor of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, co-author of the study said. This research rings yet another alarm bell for what is happening to Earth’s climate.

Source: University of Alaska Fairbanks