JRL NEWSWATCH: “Siberia’s ‘gateway to the underworld’ grows as record heat wave thaws permafrost” – Science Magazine/ Richard Stone

Cartoon Sun and Thermometer, adapted from cdc.gov

“… Known to locals as the ‘gateway to the underworld,’ Batagay is … [earth’s] largest thaw slump …. Once just a gully … the scar has expanded … as … permafrost thaws and meltwater carries off … sediment. Now more than 900 meters wide, it epitomizes the vulnerability of permafrost in the Arctic …. Outbursts of pent-up methane gas in thawing permafrost have pocked Russia’s desolate Yamal and Gydan peninsulas with holes tens of meters across. Apartment buildings are listing and collapsing on the unsteady ground, causing about $2 billion of damage per year to the Russian economy. Forest fires … have torched millions of hectares … blanketing … dark soot and charcoal that absorb heat and accelerate melting. Intensifying this year’s fires was a heat wave … [including] the hottest temperature ever recorded in the Arctic. … [One] question is how much carbon … thawing soil will release to the atmosphere, and whether the lusher growth of Arctic plants in the warming climate will absorb enough carbon to offset the release. …”

Click here: “Siberia’s ‘gateway to the underworld’ grows as record heat wave thaws permafrost” – Science Magazine/ Richard Stone