Infrastructure threatened by thawing permafrost
Houses fall, pipelines burst, roads sag – everyday life in the far north. 30 to 50 percent of today’s infrastructure in the landscapes around the Arctic Ocean could be destroyed by 2050. This was calculated by a working group from the University of Oulu in Finland. Around 69 percent of all residential buildings, traffic routes and industrial plants in the permafrost regions are located where the ground will soon hardly freeze all year round. The soft mud bottom destabilizes an infrastructure that was once built on hard ice. In addition, the upper layers of the northern permafrost likely store around 1.7 gigatonnes of carbon. How quickly and to what extent carbon enters the atmosphere in the form of CO₂ and methane is still largely an open question.
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