Under the Tundra: Thawing Permafrost — Arctic tundra is underlain by permafrost, perennially frozen ground which stores methane and carbon dioxide. But in our changing world, the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe. As permafrost thaws the land above can fail, forming thermokarst features, sinkholes and landslides. In these videos geophysical researchers track permafrost changes to better understand the implications of this transformation.

Arctic Permafrost and Climate Change

According to Vladimir Romanovsky, Geophysics professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the most common definition of permafrost is any material below ground which is at or below 0 degrees Celsius for two or more years consecutively.

[ video ] The Permafrost Tilted House Vladimir Romanovsky visits Fairbanks resident Ruth Macchioni to talk about permafrost effects on houses and how to build over permafrost.
[ video ] It’s A Bore Hole! Vladimir Romanovsky and Sergey Marchenko visit a bore hole and download data collected over a year’s time. Marchenko and Romanovsky describe what the collected data shows about permafrost.
[ video ] Permafrost Patterns Ronald Daanen (assistant professor at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks) and Vladimir Romanovsky (professor in Geophysics, and professor of geology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks) explain patterns that permafrost has created in the Arctic.

People: Vladimir Romanovsky, Sergey Marchenko, Ronald Daanen

Video locations: Fairbanks, Alaska, & Boreholes located throughout Alaska

✧ Explore all articles related to Permafrost

Carbon in permafrost and tomorrow’s atmosphere (Laura Nielsen) Permafrost, Climate Change
Survey: Abrupt permafrost thaw increases climate threat (Marie Gilbert) Permafrost, Climate Change
Frontier Scientists releases new videos about Permafrost, a blog about the Dog Mushing Weather Dance, and a video description of FLOPs (Liz O’Connell) Permafrost, Weather, Computational Science
Far-north permafrost cliff is one of a kind (Ned Rozell) Permafrost
Permafrost scientist snowmachining from Alaska to Atlantic (Ned Rozell) Permafrost
Thermal State of Permafrost in North America: A Contribution to the International Polar Year (Vladimir Romanovsky) Permafrost
Flowing tongues of rock, ice and dirt (Ned Rozell) Permafrost, The Icy Cryosphere
Arctic lakes getting a closer look (Ned Rozell) Permafrost, The Atmosphere
Geologic methane seeping from thawing cryosphere (Marmian Grimes) Permafrost, The Atmosphere
Beating the burn: tundra recovery after the 2007 Anaktuvuk River fire (Laura Nielsen) Wildfire
Recovery after world’s largest tundra fire raises questions (Ned Rozell) Wildfire
Dust on the sun’s mirror (Laura Nielsen) Climate Change
Sunken Treasure under Lake El’gygytgyn (Laura Nielsen) Historical Climate

Collapsed permafrost block of coastal tundra on Alaska’s Arctic Coast / Courtesy USGS Alaska Science Center

Collapsed permafrost block of coastal tundra on Alaska’s Arctic Coast / Courtesy USGS Alaska Science Center

Permafrost project

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3 Responses to “Permafrost”

Dr. Les White on June 4th, 2012 12:04 pm:

Love your video clips. Well Done !

Check out the work we are undertaking on contaminants in permafrost and the implications of climate change.

Les White

Dr. John Van Leer on April 21st, 2013 1:51 pm:

I will be in Alaska between June 10th and 27th near Fairbanks and might extend later. I am interested in learning about permafrost for my sustainable living courses at the University of Miami in Florida. Sea level rise is tied to both permafrost and glacial melting. I have been to Greenland and Iceland with student trips and am looking into doing something similar on permafrost next year. I would very much like to visit the tundra tunnel and other points of permafrost interest and talk to faculty at UAF. My cell number is 305-215-2347 and the email you have above. I am also interested in geothermal energy and plan to visit Chena Power.

richard stern on June 17th, 2013 5:39 am:

I am considering to heat a house in Bethel, AK using geothermal heating. Is it feasible. How deep would the bore holes need to be?

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