In the global north, 15% of the earth’s surface is covered in permafrost. Permafrost is a frozen layer of rocks, soil, ice and partially decomposed plants – and it’s a massive carbon sink.
Permafrost contains 1.5 trillion tons of carbon. That’s twice the amount currently in our atmosphere. And, no surprise, climate change is melting it at an accelerated rate.
The decline of permafrost is bad for the atmosphere and for Arctic communities. And because it’s historically been so difficult to predict, the climate impact is not being considered by policymakers.
New research could change our understanding of the problem. This week, we’ll talk with a scientist who’s trying to fill the gaps in our knowledge about the climate impact of permafrost.
Guest: Dr. Sue Natali, an arctic ecologist who leads the Woodwell Climate Arctic Program. Read about her Permafrost Pathways research.
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