New permafrost is forming around shrinking Arctic lakes, but will it last?

Jun 10, 2014 by Katherine Gombay
New permafrost is forming around Twelvemile Lake in Alaska, but researchers have concluded that this permafrost will have disappeared by the end of the century due to continued climate change. Credit: Martin Briggs, US Geological Survey

Researchers from McGill and the U.S. Geological Survey, more used to measuring thawing permafrost than its expansion, have made a surprising discovery. There is new permafrost forming around Twelvemile Lake in the interior of Alaska. But they have also quickly concluded that, given the current rate of climate change, it won't last beyond the end of this century.

Twelvemile Lake, and many others like it, is disappearing. Over the past thirty years, as a result of and thawing permafrost, the water has been receding at an alarming rate. It is now 5 metres or 15 feet shallower than it would have been three decades ago. This is a big change in a very short time.

As the lake recedes, bands of willow shrubs have grown up on the newly exposed lake shores over the past twenty years. What Martin Briggs from the U.S. Geological Survey and Prof. Jeffrey McKenzie from McGill's Dept. of Earth and Planetary Science have just discovered is that the extra shade provided by these willow shrubs has both cooled and dried the surrounding soil, allowing new permafrost to expand beneath them.

The researchers were initially very excited by this find. But after analyzing the thickness of the new permafrost and projecting how it will be affected by continued climate change and the expected rise in temperature in the Arctic of 3°C, they arrived at the conclusion that the new permafrost won't last beyond the end of the century.

As Twelvemile Lake recedes willow shrubs have planted themselves, permitting the soil beneath them to develop new permafrost. But researchers believe that this new permafrost will not last beyond the end of this century. Credit: Martin Briggs, US Geological Survey

To read "New is forming around shrinking Arctic lakes, but will it last?" by Martin Briggs et al in Geophysical Research Letters: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.1002/2014GL059251/

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User comments : 13

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antigoracle
1.5 / 5 (16) Jun 10, 2014
Hmmm... AGW "science" where 2 wrongs make a right.
Well, as long as there is consensus.
supamark23
3.6 / 5 (15) Jun 10, 2014
Hmmm... AGW "science" where 2 wrongs make a right.
Well, as long as there is consensus.


kinda like your parents... two wrongs made an idiot.
tadchem
5 / 5 (3) Jun 10, 2014
If it doesn't last, is it really *perma*frost?
Shootist
1.5 / 5 (8) Jun 10, 2014
will it last


does it matter?
antigoracle
1.4 / 5 (11) Jun 10, 2014
Hmmm... AGW "science" where 2 wrongs make a right.
Well, as long as there is consensus.


kinda like your parents... two wrongs made an idiot.

and yours made a turd.
supamark23
4.3 / 5 (6) Jun 10, 2014
Hmmm... AGW "science" where 2 wrongs make a right.
Well, as long as there is consensus.


kinda like your parents... two wrongs made an idiot.

and yours made a turd.


Oooh, snappy comeback...
full_disclosure
1.5 / 5 (8) Jun 10, 2014
Hmmm... AGW "science" where 2 wrongs make a right.
Well, as long as there is consensus.


kinda like your parents... two wrongs made an idiot.

and yours made a turd.


Typical CAGW braintrust….think harder bro'...
antigoracle
1 / 5 (7) Jun 10, 2014
Hmmm... AGW "science" where 2 wrongs make a right.
Well, as long as there is consensus.


kinda like your parents... two wrongs made an idiot.

and yours made a turd.


Oooh, snappy comeback...

Says the turd.
InterestedAmateur
4.9 / 5 (11) Jun 10, 2014
Sorry I thought adults read this site, didn't realise it was for kids to exchange school-yard insults... grow up!
runrig
5 / 5 (8) Jun 11, 2014
Sorry I thought adults read this site, didn't realise it was for kids to exchange school-yard insults... grow up!

I'm afraid that those us who have seen the same mythic/ignorant arguments brought up by the denialists of this site for the nth time, AND, it must be said, have (me FI) rebutted such with links to peer-reviewed science and/or empirical observation, only for it to be rejected (or more likely ignored) have grown rather tired of such antics.
Hence some rather terse responses from us at times.
This, using their bizarre logic, the denialists use as a reason the science is wrong.
Not only do they *know* better, but the other side refuses to engage in discussion.
The one begets the other.
Start from first principles and sort out who is being obstructive here my friend.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (3) Jun 12, 2014
Well, I'll hand it to you Riggy, you're are one of the very few who is worth having a discussion with sometimes.
Caliban
5 / 5 (2) Jul 06, 2014
Well, I'll hand it to you Riggy, you're are one of the very few who is worth having a discussion with sometimes.


Hahahahahahha!

And just when, in recent times, have you, auntiegriselda, engaged in an actual discussion?

Last time I checked, a "discussion" still implied a give'n'take exchange of information and ideas between two or more persons.

Therefore, your MO of emitting the occasional "pithy" remark, and calling other commenters "turd" doesn't pass the definition test.

But fear not: Nursie will be along to get you out of that full-to-overflowing diaper very soon.

Hark! Methinks she can be heard muttering down the corridor, even now!
rockwolf1000
5 / 5 (1) Jul 06, 2014
Well, I'll hand it to you Riggy, you're are one of the very few who is worth having a discussion with sometimes.


That alone, speaks volumes!