Friday, 23 October 2009

Problems of Melting Permafrost, Siberia.

Problems of melting permafrost were reported by Luke Harding in Marresale, on the Yamal peninsula (NW Siberia) in The Guardian, Tuesday 20 October 2009. This report was a newspaper centre spread on: Climate change in Russia's Arctic tundra. Changing weather near the River Ob is causing major problems for reindeer herders, with late freezing, early melting and less predictable weather all disrupting the feeding and seasonal moving of reindeer herds. Geomorphological hazard effects include lake drainage which has occurred due to permafrost melting. Also coastal mass movement and recession due to permafrost melting. On a broader scale there is fear of release of large quantities of carbon dioxide and methane as permafrost melts. Many houses and other structures which rely on preservation of the permafrost to provide foundation stability are at risk due to melting of permafrost. Houses in some Arctic towns in the region are already reported as subsiding badly. The stability of 5,000 miles of railways is at risk with the continuing rise in temperatures and associated permafrost thawing, as is the stability of many roads on permafrost.
The image shows Permafrost & thaw lakes. Yamal Peninsula, Siberia. Photo from: Luke Harding, The Guardian, p19, 21 Oct 2009.