The Arctic region: consequences of melting permafrost

It is pretty strange to me, that in the world of media and in the 21st century, it took me almost 23 years of my life, until i got to the point of writing my first blog contribution. And what´s even funnier, that I would never be writing this blog, if it wasn´t obligatory for getting a credit for my university subject J However, here I am, hoping that what will be written in the next minutes will support some great ideas and provide general knowledge about environmental problems some people are dealing with on a daily basis.

And at the beginning I would like to say, that I have noticed a great degree of ignorance over the years when it come to effects of environmental changes. We actually might think, that the environmental changes won´t take its price in the place we live. But let me remind you of something. As the global environmental system is interconnected, if something goes wrong in a far away country and the environmental system is exposed to severe imbalance, it may have sooner of later a serious impact in other countries.

I must say, thay I am very lucky to live in the country, where the climate and environmental changes are not of such a high scale than people are experiencing in other countries all over the world. Of course, I would be lying, if I said, that Slovakia has no problems with climate and changing environment at all. But comparing the conditions of Slovakia to e.g. Egypt (facing droughts and soil degradation) makes me very grateful to live in such a nice place. To express the beauty of my homeland and the need of the protection of its many natural treasures, I would like to present the fact, that Slovakia is the country with highest biodiversity in the European Union.

I would like to devote these few lines to environmental changes that people are facing in the Arctic. When I have mentioned ignorance, when it comes to global warming, the perfect example of such behaviour could be the Arctic. For most of the people it is a region far away from their homelands, knowing pretty little about this area and difficulties, that people started to experience since the tempreture rose beyond its critical point. But for these people it is not just a changing environment, it means losing their homes completely. If you still think that melting of some constantly frozen land cannot affect you in the future and that you are safe, you are not… but before anything let me explain to you what permafrost is…

According to scientists, permafrost is a part of a soil which has been frozen(below 0 Celsius degree) for more than two consecutive years. And now, let me show you what may happen if the tempreture rises two quickly and the permafrost starts to melt:

PermafrostUnderminesHouses

For a better imagination, what permafrost looks like:

permafrost_melting

Damaged houses is not the only negative impact, that thawing permafrost has, but the first of many. Another difficulty for the native people in the Arctic is problem with hunting. Hunting represents a normal way of living for the aboriginal people living in the Arctic. As hunting requires a knowledge which is given from the older generation to the younger one, it has also a social meaning and it keeps families together. As the permafrosts melts, there is less solid ground, and hunting, which is by itself a very difficult activity, becomes even more complicated. As a result, some of the hunters may end up trapped in the middle of nowhere.

By now, I was talking about the influence that melting permafrost has on people living in the Arctic. But let´s have a closer look, what influence the thawing of permafrost has on us- people living far away from the Arctic circle. According to scientists, there is a high potential for large amounts of carbon to be released from the Arctic ecosystems. When permafrost thaws, the microorganisms in the soil make methan. If there is oxygen, the microorganisms make carbon dioxide. Now imagine, what consequences it may have on the world climate if all the carbon dioxide will be released. But the question with the thawing of the permafrost it´s not all or nothing thing. If we can limit our CO2 emissions, the Arctic region will release less carbon in the atmosphere (because the permafrost will melt slower), which will significantly contribute to slowing down the global warming and global weather patterns.

At the end of this blog contribution I would like to share a link on a short video which provides a brief view of some experts dealing with the topic of thawing permafrost. And remember, the Arctic region is one of the most beautiful regions in the world, the responsibility to keep it that way is upon us. Not the next generations. If you still did not find a reason why wearctic bears should try to keep the arctic wilderness the way it is, you may find it in this last picture 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLCgybStZ4g

Author: Zuzana Haničáková

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2 thoughts on “The Arctic region: consequences of melting permafrost

  1. Thanks for such an interesting article 🙂 It makes me sad to see that this is happening and nobody is doing anything about that 😦 The next generations will definitely suffer from the ignorance of this generation…

    Barbora Paulíková

    Like

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