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Russia may lose 30% of permafrost by 2050: official
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) July 29, 2011

Russia's vast permafrost areas may shrink by a third by the middle of the century due to global warming, endangering infrastructure in the Arctic zone, an emergencies ministry official said Friday.

"In the next 25 to 30 years, the area of permafrost in Russia may shrink by 10-18 percent," the head of the ministry's disaster monitoring department Andrei Bolov told the RIA Novosti news agency.

"By the middle of the century, it can shrink by 15-30 percent, and the boundary of the permafrost may shift to the north-east by 150-200 kilometres," he said.

The temperature of the zones of frozen soil in oil and gas-rich western Siberia territories will rise by up to two degrees Celsius to just three or four degrees below zero, he predicted.

Permafrost, or soil that is permanently frozen, covers about 63 percent of Russia, but has been greatly affected by climate change in recent decades.

Continued thawing of permafrost threatens to destabilise transportation, building, and energy extraction infrastructure in Russia's colder regions.

"The negative impact of permafrost degradation on all above-ground transportation infrastructure is clear," Bolov added.

Scientists have said that permafrost thawing will set off another problem because the process will release massive amounts of greenhouse gas methane currently trapped in the frozen soil.

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Fast-Shrinking Greenland Glacier Experienced Rapid Growth During Cooler Times
Buffalo NY (SPX) Jul 20, 2011
Large, marine-calving glaciers have the ability not only to shrink rapidly in response to global warming, but to grow at a remarkable pace during periods of global cooling, according to University at Buffalo geologists working in Greenland. The conclusion stems from new research on Jakobshavn Isbrae, a tongue of ice extending out to sea from Greenland's west coast. Through an analysis of a ... read more

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