Perennially frozen ground, permafrost, governs complex geo- and ecosystems in the Arctic. Millions of people reside on the frozen ground that has historically supported the integrity of their cities and transportation infrastructure. Permafrost, however, is not permanent but sensitive to the ongoing climate change. Recently, rapid warming and thawing of permafrost have been observed globally. This is prone to incur continued, increasingly crucial implications for the natural and human systems in the Arctic.

This thesis examines the contemporary characteristics of the Northern Hemisphere permafrost and assesses its sensitivities to 21st-century climate change. The results show that near-surface permafrost and associated landforms may be lost over extensive areas, and that permafrost thaw-related ground instabilities put a large amount of Arctic infrastructure at risk.

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Published: 2020-03-03