Permafrost

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Permafrost is a “thick subsurface layer of soil that remains frozen throughout the year, occurring mostly in polar regions”. Permafrost is located in many different areas of the Earth. Alaska and Siberia has permafrost under most of the region there. Unfortunately permafrost is melting very rapidly. This is affecting not only Alaska and Siberia, but it is affecting our food chain, the environment, and the polar regions. With the melting permafrost Alaska has had many areas cave in, which means that not will the ground make a hole, buildings, houses, and trees and collapsing, and damaging property. This can run the risk of people dying or getting killed in these unfortunate situations. Permafrost is very essential to these polar regions, and without it, we will lose plants, animals, and humans will start to die off. We the people need to make a change in order to save the permafrost.


Viruses found in melting permafrost

Scientists have found many different giant viruses in the melting permafrost in Siberia. One of the viruses that could possibly be found if we are not careful is small pox. [1] Most common viruses that are found, only have around 4 genes, which is not enough to be considered alive. The issue with big viruses is that they can be as big as bacteria, and they have a lot more genetic material. They have hundreds to thousands of genes within them. This would be enough to consider them a hazard (alive). As the permafrost is melting, scientist are finding them more frequently.[2] Within the past two years, French and Russian scientist have discovered a "second new species" in one sample of the Siberian permafrost within the past two years. Some of these viruses are still infectious, and if we do not handle this appropriately, then they could come back and hit the population. This disease has been gone for many years because of the vaccinations, but they found it alive in the melting permafrost. Dr. James Van Etten a professor from the University of Nebraska reassured the people that these big viruses that have been found will not be a danger to the humans. He said the reason being is that these viruses would reach the ocean, and then become decomposed because of physical and biological events. Dr. Etten quoted that “Most likely a virus that entered the ocean would probably be degraded by both physical and biological events before it came in contact with its host. Therefore, this scenario is extremely unlikely". [3] Even though this is unlikely, there is still a possibility that a virus can emerge into humanity.

Methane and carbon being released from permafrost

Methane has increased in the atmosphere. Methane is not as important as carbon dioxide is, but it is very dangerous. Methane preserves thirty times more heat than carbon dioxide does. The methane that is being released into the atmosphere is now accelerating at a rapid pace. The methane is being released as the permafrost melts because the soil decomposition accelerates. [4] This means that more emission is let out into the atmosphere. Also, there is a twice as much carbon in permafrost then what there is in the atmosphere already. So as the permafrost melts, more carbon is released into the air. This means that the climate will change even more dramatically. As the climate gets warmer and warmer, more permafrost will melt, which means more carbon and methane will be released. Also, plants will deteriorate quicker, so animals that will only eat plants will either have to change their eating habits, or they will eventually die off. This means that as the animals die off, humans will start to die off. It is a vicious cycle that the Earth is entering and it is not good.


Thawing permafrost

As the air temperatures rise, the ground temperatures are rising as well. As the ground temperatures rise, the permafrost that is underground begins to melt. Right now, permafrost is melting at a high rate, higher than it has ever before. [5] As the temperatures increase, the permafrost will continue to thaw at a rapid pace. In Alaska, the temperatures have been rising very quickly for the past couple of decades. As this is happening, the permafrost has been melting even quicker. Scientists have indicated that if there is no change of the temperatures rising, than the permafrost will eventually all melt away. When permafrost starts to thaw or melt, the land that is above the permafrost will start to change its shape, or sink into the ground. There are many issues that come across with the melting permafrost. In essence, the melting permafrost has many effects to the world. One of the biggest effects is food security threat for third world countries like Jean MArie River N.W.T. This place depends on permafrost not only to keep their building and forest upright, but to preserve their food that they harvest each year. [6] Because they do not have the technologies that other countries have, they live like the Indians, and they count on the Earth, and as the world is getting warmer, and the permafrost is melting, this third world country will eventually die out, if changes are not made in the world.

Effects from melting permafrost

There are many different effects that the melting permafrost will have on the Earth. These different effects are…

  1. Damage to buildings and land.
  2. The ecosystem (trees falling over or at a big tilt).
  3. Lots of carbon trapped in permafrost, so as it melts more carbon circles through the air.
  4. Food security is threatened in third world countries.
  5. Big viruses that have been detected in the melting permafrost.
  6. The loss of plants, animals, and eventually humans
Here is a picture of permafrost under the ground by the water.


See also

Other closely related articles in this wiki include:


References

[7] [8] [9] [10] [11]


  1. Danny, Lewis. 2015. “Microbiologists Keep Finding Giant Viruses in Melting Permafrost.” Microbiologists Keep Finding Giant Viruses in Melting Permafrost. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/microbiologists-keep-finding-giant-viruses-melting-permafrost-180956647/?no-ist.
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  7. Clay, Whittaker. 2015. “Giant Viruses Are Hiding in Permafrost, But Not for Long.” Giant Viruses Are Hiding in Permafrost, But Not for Long. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/09/27/giant-viruses-are-hiding-in-permafrost-but-not-for-long.html.
  8. John, Abraham. 2015. “Methane release from melting permafrost could trigger dangerous global warming.” Methane release from melting permafrost could trigger dangerous global warming.http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2015/oct/13/methane-release-from-melting-permafrost-could-trigger-dangerous-global-warming.
  9. Global Climate Change. 2015. “Thawing Permafrost.” Thawing Permafrost. http://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/kids/impacts/signs/permafrost.html Tags .
  10. Kate, Kyle. 2015. “Thawing permafrost threatens food security in Jean Marie River, N.W.T.” Thawing permafrost threatens food security in Jean Marie River, N.W.T.http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/thawing-permafrost-threatens-food-security-in-jean-marie-river-n-w-t-1.3234198.
  11. Scott, Johnson. 2015. “Some Permafrost Might Soak up Methane as Climate Warms.” Some Permafrost Might Soak up Methane as Climate Warms. http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/08/some-permafrost-might-soak-up-methane-as-climate-warms/.

External links

  1. http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/24jun_permafrost/
  2. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/IPY/multimedia/ipyimg_20080528.html
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2w4UQfJHD-A
  4. http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/27/15483823-melting-permafrost-being-ignored-at-climate-talks-experts-warn?lite