The Inside Climate news article Permafrost is Warming Around the World, Study Shows – That’s a Problem for Climate Change by Bob Berwyn (1/16/19) reports on the Nature Communications paper Permafrost is warming at a global scale by Boris K. Biskaborn et. el. (1/16/19). From the article:
Detailed data from a global network of permafrost test sites show that, on average, permafrost regions around the world—in the Arctic, Antarctic and the high mountains—warmed by a half degree Fahrenheit between 2007 and 2016.
The most dramatic warming was found in the Siberian Arctic, where temperatures in the deep permafrost increased by 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
Why does this matter? It creates a feedback loop:
By some estimates, the Arctic permafrost contains enough carbon to nearly double the amount of CO2 currently in the Earth’s atmosphere. A rapid meltdown would be disastrous because it could release a lot of CO2—in addition to methane, a powerful short-lived climate pollutant—to the atmosphere, where it would cause additional warming, said Ted Schuur, a permafrost expert at Northern Arizona University.
There are more graphs in the paper and a link to the data. The Guardian has a recent related article Scientists shocked by Arctic permafrost thawing 70 years sooner than predicted (6/18/19)