2011-08-10 01:10:16Russia may lose 30% of permafrost by 2050 -- AFP
John Hartz
John Hartz

Is anyone working on a new article about the consequences of melting permafrost? Was the article, Permafrost Melt Soon Irreversible Without Major Fossil Fuel Cuts by Stephen Leahy posted on SkS? (The lack of comments prompts me to ask.) 

Russia may lose 30% of permafrost by 2050

(AFP) – Jul 29, 2011   

MOSCOW — 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 climate change 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 transportation infrastructure 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 frozen soil.


2011-08-10 03:09:41
Andy S


Lou Grinzo had a post on this that may interest you.

Lou argues that emissions from the permafrost could quadruple our own fossil-fuel emissions. I think that's a big oversestimate because much of the carbon in permafrost soils will stay there no matter how hot it gets by 2030. Still, even if Lou is off by an order of magnitude, that's some worrying shit.