SOURCE: Russia Beyond The Headlines

DATE: September 11, 2015

AUTHOR: Yana Pchelintseva

SNIP: Russian scientists have found about 700 “methane holes” in the Arctic shelf. The scale of emissions shows that the permafrost has degraded severely, and researchers think the thawing is irreversible.

A team of Russian scientists spent over 20 years examining thermokarst lakes – bodies of water formed by permafrost thawing. These lakes are sources of carbon dioxide, and recently they’ve begun to grow rapidly in size. Some are difficult to recognize on satellite imagery compared to a few years ago, and in certain areas the coastline has shifted by 70 meters in just two or three years. The question of carbon emissions in the Arctic continental shelf, however, is an even more serious issue than the thaw lakes.