Russia may lose 30% of permafrost by 2050

Jul 29, 2011
Permafrost or soil that is permanently frozen, covers about 63% of Russia
Russian scientists dig up food products buried in the Arctic permafrost in the Taymir peninsula. Russia has warned that vast permafrost areas may shrink by a third by the middle of the century due to global warming, endangering infrastructure in the Arctic zone.

Russia's vast permafrost areas may shrink by a third by the middle of the century due to global warming, endangering infrastructure in the Arctic zone, an emergencies ministry official said Friday.

"In the next 25 to 30 years, the area of permafrost in Russia may shrink by 10-18 percent," the head of the ministry's disaster monitoring department Andrei Bolov told the RIA Novosti news agency.

"By the middle of the century, it can shrink by 15-30 percent, and the boundary of the permafrost may shift to the north-east by 150-200 kilometres," he said.

The temperature of the zones of frozen soil in oil and gas-rich western Siberia territories will rise by up to two degrees Celsius to just three or four degrees below zero, he predicted.

Permafrost, or soil that is permanently frozen, covers about 63 percent of Russia, but has been greatly affected by in recent decades.

Continued thawing of permafrost threatens to destabilise transportation, building, and energy extraction infrastructure in Russia's colder regions.

"The negative impact of permafrost degradation on all above-ground is clear," Bolov added.

Scientists have said that permafrost thawing will set off another problem because the process will release massive amounts of greenhouse gas methane currently trapped in the .

Explore further: Geologists make new discoveries about the Newport-Inglewood Fault Zone in the Los Angeles Basin

Related Stories

Permafrost may nearly disappear by 2100

Dec 20, 2005

The National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., says global warming may destroy most permafrost across the Northern Hemisphere.

Thawing permafrost likely to boost global warming

Sep 01, 2008

The thawing of permafrost in northern latitudes, which greatly increases microbial decomposition of carbon compounds in soil, will dominate other effects of warming in the region and could become a major force promoting the ...

Peat and forests save permafrost from melting

Sep 13, 2007

Permafrost may be buffered against the impacts of climate change by peat and vegetation present in the northern regions, according to a study by McMaster researchers.

Permafrost carbon content double the old estimates

Sep 12, 2008

New research indicates that the amount of frozen organic carbon locked away in the world’s permafrost regions – a major potential source of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) – is double ...

Recommended for you

NASA sees new depression forms near Solomon Islands

11 hours ago

The Southern Pacific Ocean Tropical Cyclone Season just got an extension with the birth of a new tropical depression near the Solomon Islands. NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the new depression and saw ...

Monitoring volcanoes with ground-based atomic clocks

17 hours ago

An international team led by scientists from the University of Zurich finds that high-precision atomic clocks can be used to monitor volcanoes and potentially improve predictions of future eruptions. In addition, a ground-based ...

User comments : 7

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

3 / 5 (4) Jul 30, 2011
Will this also open up millions of acres to farming and ranching?
0.9 / 5 (55) Jul 30, 2011
Probably. It'll probably "open up" even more land for... well whatever you can do with a desert.
2.1 / 5 (7) Jul 30, 2011
It will also release a lot of water that is presently frozen, watering that "desert."
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 31, 2011
Better start looking towards getting some cheap vacation property in TROPICAL RUSSIA
2 / 5 (8) Aug 01, 2011
Did anyone else catch the picture caption above? It reads:
Russian scientists dig up food products buried in the Arctic permafrost in the Taymir peninsula.

Now, how did the food products get into the permafrost???

Wait, you mean the permafrost wasn't there when the food products ended up there?

Well, then, if that is the case then are we not merely returning to what was back when the food products ended up buried there?
1 / 5 (54) Aug 01, 2011
...They got there by digging, just like the scientists. lol
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 01, 2011
Possibly. The article does not tell us. I did have to ask, though, because various things have been found in the permafrost of Greenland that got there via agriculture, prior to the ground becoming permafrost there.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.