Permafrost Essay

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Melting Permafrost’s Negative Contribution to Global Warming

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Global Warming is a problem that impacts the entire planet. The average temperature of our planet has risen about 0.5°C in the last 100 years. According to field biologist Wolter in 2008, the melting of permafrost in the colder regions of the world is mostly responsible for global warming; causing the world’s climate to be at risk. (Wolter, 2008) “Permafrost is any rock or soil that remains frozen constantly for 2 or more years” (Unknown, 2008). Greenhouse gases are trapped within the frozen permafrost. Permafrost is rich in CO2 and Methane; Methane preserves twenty three times more heat than CO2 in our atmosphere. (Wolter, 2008) The more permafrost melts, the more methane and CO2 are released. Methane and CO2 are greenhouse gases; greenhouse gases are gases that retain heat very well and release it slowly, thus causing the greenhouse effect. Methane and CO2 are captured into the permafrost when animals and plants die and are buried under the permafrost. When the permafrost warms up or melts, the decomposing bacteria breaks down the dead organism. The melting of permafrost, due to the rise in temperature is going to cause temperatures to rise at an even faster rate due to the CO2 and Methane contained within the frozen soil. Permafrost is primarily found in three areas of the globe: 1) The Continuous Zone- Permafrost is found almost everywhere in this zone. This zone includes the entire northern slope and most of western Alaska, 2) The Discontinuous Zone- Permafrost is found in this zone intermittently. This zone is located in the Arctic Circle, 3) Sporadic Zone- Permafrost is found in small isolated masses. This can be found in the Taiga regions along with some areas of continuous amounts of permafrost. (Unknown, 2008) Permafrost is primarily found at higher altitudes, but permafrost is still found in many other places where temperatures remain below freezing...
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