An icy world defrosted: NASA targets Arctic permafrost thaw

Tipsy trees in a “drunken forest” — thawing permafrost and destabilized soil cause the trees to lean

Credit: Idrose/flickr

Scott Goetz and NAU Center for Ecosystem Science and Society (ECOSS) researcher Ted Schuur were recently featured in a Science Magazine article highlighting permafrost research conducted under NASA’s ABoVE project.  Schuur’s experimental field studies measure how much carbon is released to the atmosphere due to permafrost thaw.  This work has now gained an airborne ally.  NASA aircraft capable of mapping topography and emitting radar pulses that penetrate the ground surface and measure depth to permafrost are now flying missions in conjunction with field-based permafrost studies.  These flights will help link field based measurements to remote sensing data and scale these fine scale measurements up to larger spatial scales.

Read more about this project here.  Read more about “drunken trees” here.

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