Current climate models predict an annual temperature increase in the Arctic between 4 and 6° C by the end of the 21st century with widespread impacts on all aspects of the Arctic system including Arctic environment and socio-economy. More than 85% of the Arctic landscape is underlain by permanently frozen ground (permafrost) that is vulnerable to warming. Thawing has significant impact on the widespread permafrozen high-latitude peat lands and on the decomposition of marine gashydrates - both of which will significantly increase the rate of carbon dioxide and methane release to the atmosphere and thus influence global climate.
One problem in evaluating the impact of climate changes on permafrozen ground and gashydrates is a lack of long-term data series that enables a comparison of climatic variations with changes in gashydrates, permafrost and permafrost related processes. The study of permafrost and gashydrates by their very nature therefore involves both multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approaches to understand and predict the energy exchanges at the Earth’s frozen surfaces and to evaluate the impact of climate change on permafrost and gashydrate thawing.
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- Programområde 5: Natur og klima