The Nunataryuk project aims to study permafrost distributions and trends, and how its melting could impact climate change and indigenous communities around the Arctic. This map used data obtained in 2019 to visualise terrestrial and submarine permafrost in the northern hemisphere (Source: GRID-Arendal/Nunataryuk).

permafrost map nunataryuk

This map shows terrestrial and submarine permafrost in the Northern Hemisphere. It was produced in 2020 as part of the Nunataryuk research project.

Over the summer of 2020, blazes, heat waves, and record high temperatures scarred the Arctic landscape. From temperatures reaching 37.8oC in June, to smouldering fires in the Arctic peatlands, disasters like these certainly had implications on what could eventually become of the Arctic permafrost. One project aims to study permafrost melt and its implications for climate change and human well-being, especially in indigenous communities. Studies like these could help set out climate adaptation and mitigation strategies. 

The focus

Permafrost is technically ground that remains below freezing for a continuous period of at least two years. As it melts, it releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas, by microbial decomposition. This release of methane contributes to global warming, further exacerbating permafrost melt, forming a feedback cycle between permafrost melt and warming. Monitoring and quantifying these processes is challenging, and their potential impact make it paramount to do so. 

Their activities

Why projects like this matter

This article was written by Javier Chai Rui Cheng. 

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