Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Permafrost is Becoming Permanently Lost

New lakes have started to appear from nowhere on the Tibet Plateau. These new lakes are being formed from the melting of the plateau's permafrost. The world's permafrost is thawing. This is very bad news. The amount of carbon held in permafrost is four times that of the carbon already released into the atmosphere. Releasing all that compressed carbon and methane into the atmosphere will accelerate climate change and global warming.

The South China Post has mapped out the locations of the world's permafrost. In a series of maps and visualizations it explains what permafrost is and the effect its thawing will have on the environment and the world's climate. Permafrost seals in highly compressed carbon and methane gases created from decomposed organic and vegetal remains. When the permafrost layer thaws greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. This then contributes to global warming, which in turn leads to the loss of more permafrost.

The Tibet Plateau is the largest alpine permafrost region on the globe. In What is permafrost and why might it be the climate change time bomb? you can view how the thawing of the plateau's permafrost is effecting the size of many of Tibet's lakes. A series of satellite images of Tibet's lakes demonstrate how these lakes have becoming much larger in recent years. Each image includes a slider which allows you to directly compare the size of a lake now to its size in previous decades. The article also includes an astonishing video of permafrost flowing like lava down a Tibetan valley.

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