The permafrost is melting. So much for the perma- part. The Arctic is warming faster than the planet. In addition to melting the ice cap, the increased temperatures are thawing the permafrost. Permafrost can sound like something difficult to deal with, but we’ve learned to adapt to it and count on it for foundations. Permafrost also locked up significant amounts of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide and methane. As the permafrost melts, the gases are released, exacerbating climate change. As the permafrost melts, the infrastructure human rely upon effectively melts, as well. Highways, houses, bridges require significant reconstruction as the ground beneath them dramatically softens. This isn’t just an expensive nuisance; it is also a threat to oil rigs, pipelines, and storage facilities. Until recently, the permafrost was expected to persist, at least for a while. Now, however, it is apparent that it is melting faster than expected.
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