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Rapid thaw of permafrost could release large GHGs

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    18th Nov, 2020


The vast swaths of permafrost across the Arctic may thaw much before the current projections, releasing vast amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Key Highlights

  • The arctic and sub-arctic regions are heating up two times faster than the rest of the planet.
  • It will release perilous amount of methane and carbon dioxide thus far trapped under the ice.
  • This process is also known as abrupt thaw.
  • These regions under permafrost are inhabited by indigenous communities and have industrial infrastructure across the subarctic region, especially in Russia which could be adversely affected.

What is Permafrost?

  • Permafrost regions experience temperatures below freezing point.
  • They contain strata of soil and rocks over pockets of ice.
  • It contains organic matter that has never decomposed because of low temperatures.
  • When they thaw they become a reservoir of greenhouse gasses, including CO2 and methane.

What are Green House Gases?

  • Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are called greenhouse gases.

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