The European Space Agency (ESA) has released a series of maps that allow people to track the gradual melting of permafrost around the Arctic from 2003 to 2017,media reported. In the coming decades, the melting of permafrost may add large amounts of greenhouse gases to the thawing of the atmosphere, potentially exacerbating the effects on climate change.
It is understood that the permafrost is a completely frozen ground for two years, commonly found in colder, high latitudes and high altitudeareas such as high mountains or polar regions.
When the land freezes, it locks a lot of carbon — sometimes in the form of dead plants that cannot be decomposed — in its icy arms. Because it is below the surface, it is difficult to monitor it from a distance, so on-site data collection is required.
Large permafrost in the Arctic is vulnerable to rising global temperatures. Climate scientists worry that if the permafrost melts and releases the large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane it contains, the greenhouse gases will enter the atmosphere and exacerbate an already dire situation.
According to a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, temperatures in the permafrost have risen sharply since the 1980s.
Now, a newly released dynamic map shows the dynamic ups and downs of the permafrost cover. In the video, white represents the area constantly covered by the permafrost, while the darker areas represent the changing area.
The scientists behind the map caution that while they will provide many useful insights into the characteristics of permafrost, others should not draw conclusions about climate trends. Later this year, they will release a map covering 30 years of data, which would be better suited to the job.