Permafrost is the layer of ground below the Earth’s surface that has been frozen continuously for at least two consecutive years and, in most cases, for hundreds or thousands of years.
It extends over a quarter of the Northern Hemisphere, including many regions that are not covered by snow.
The Earth’s permafrost is thawing, and indigenous Arctic communities and scientists around the world are calling for this alarming loss of land ice receive the global attention and corresponding research it deserves.
This melting is reshaping landscapes, displacing entire villages and disrupting fragile animal habitats, and threatens to release dangerous microorganisms and possible emissions of the carbon that has been frozen inside for thousands of years.
An equally alarming tragedy is occurring on the other side of the globe: the Arctic, where rising temperatures are shrinking ancient glaciers, reducing sea ice and warming and thawing the planet’s permafrost.