Permafrost Laboratory

Permafrost Laboratory

We aim to understand the properties and processes associated with permafrost landforms

30/08/2023

Measuring active layer thicknesses at Chandalar Shelf along the Dalton highway.

Earth’s atmosphere may be source of some lunar water | Geophysical Institute 27/04/2022

Need water on the moon? The new research estimates the moon’s polar regions could hold up to 3,500 cubic kilometers — 840 cubic miles — or more of surface permafrost or subsurface liquid water created from ions that escaped Earth’s atmosphere. That’s a volume comparable to North America’s Lake Huron, the world’s eighth-largest lake. Researchers based that total on the lowest volume model calculation — 1% of Earth’s atmospheric escape reaching the moon.

Press release by UAF/GI writer Rod Boyce.

Kletetschka, G., Klokočník, J., Hasson, N. et al. Distribution of water phase near the poles of the Moon from gravity aspects. Sci Rep 12, 4501 (2022). https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-08305-x

Earth’s atmosphere may be source of some lunar water | Geophysical Institute Hydrogen and oxygen ions escaping from Earth’s upper atmosphere and combining on the moon could be one of the sources of the known lunar water and ice, according to new research by University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institut

Earth’s atmosphere may be source of some lunar water 27/04/2022

Earth derived permafrost forming on the moon?

The new research estimates the moon’s polar regions could hold up to 3,500 cubic kilometers — 840 cubic miles — or more of surface permafrost or subsurface liquid water created from ions that escaped Earth’s atmosphere. That’s a volume comparable to North America’s Lake Huron, the world’s eighth-largest lake.

Researchers based that total on the lowest volume model calculation — 1% of Earth’s atmospheric escape reaching the moon.

Hydrogen and oxygen ions escaping from Earth’s upper atmosphere and combining on the moon could be one of the sources of the known lunar water and ice, according to new research by University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute scientists Gunther Kletetschka and Nick Hasson

Kletetschka and his colleagues suggest hydrogen and oxygen ions are driven into the moon when it passes through the tail of the Earth’s magnetosphere, which it does on five days of the moon’s monthly trip around the planet. The magnetosphere is the teardrop-shaped bubble created by Earth’s magnetic field that shields the planet from much of the continual stream of charged solar particles.

Recent measurements revealed significant numbers of water-forming ions present during the moon’s transit through this part of the magnetosphere.

The presence of the moon in the magnetosphere’s tail, called the magnetotail, temporarily affects some of Earth’s magnetic field lines — those that are broken and which simply trail off into space for many thousands of miles. Not all of Earth’s field lines are attached to the planet at both ends; some have only one attachment point. Think of each of these as a thread tethered to a pole on a windy day.

The moon’s presence in the magnetotail causes some of these broken field lines to reconnect with their opposing broken counterpart. When that happens, hydrogen and oxygen ions that had escaped Earth rush to those reconnected field lines and are accelerated back toward Earth.

The paper’s authors suggest many of those returning ions hit the passing moon, which has no magnetosphere of its own to repel them.

“It is like the moon is in the shower — a shower of water ions coming back to Earth, falling on the moon’s surface,” Kletetschka said.

Press release from UAF/GI writer Rod Boyce.

Kletetschka, G., Klokočník, J., Hasson, N. et al. Distribution of water phase near the poles of the Moon from gravity aspects. Sci Rep 12, 4501 (2022). https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-08305-x

https://uaf.edu/news/earths-atmosphere-may-be-source-of-some-lunar-water.php?fbclid=IwAR05fIsTv5NtE3cSCfYI5zz6izRdbAC8iqEnGPG-4JOjlhkBnhwbMHNDwL4 .tab=0

Earth’s atmosphere may be source of some lunar water Hydrogen and oxygen ions escaping from Earth’s upper atmosphere and combining on the moon could be one of the sources of the known lunar water and ice, according to new research by University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute scientists.

Don't Look Down: The ground beneath Alaska is collapsing 20/04/2022

The climate and energy focused Grist Magazine details the impacts of permafrost thaw on Alaska communities and the trouble ahead, but also about new methods in development, while we characterize the abrupt changes occurring.

Don't Look Down: The ground beneath Alaska is collapsing How permafrost thaw is changing the way Alaskans live

Nova episode explores Arctic methane explosions | Geophysical Institute 01/02/2022

Nova episode explores Arctic methane explosions | Geophysical Institute Mysterious massive holes have been appearing across the Arctic landscape, and a team of scientists is investigating the cause and the impact in a new episode of the public television science series Nova airing Wednesday.

Photos from UAF Geophysical Institute's post 28/01/2022
NOVA | Arctic Sinkholes Preview | Season 49 | Episode 1 20/01/2022

Make sure to watch researchers at University of Alaska Fairbanks explain some unusual phenomena of methane release from permafrost in Russia and Alaska. Nova have confirmed they'll be broadcasting 'Arctic Sinkholes' on 2nd Feb at 9pm ET.

https://www.pbs.org/video/arctic-sinkholes-preview-lamink/

NOVA | Arctic Sinkholes Preview | Season 49 | Episode 1 In the Arctic, enormous releases of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, threaten the climate

A Huge Watery Reservoir May Lie Beneath the Surface of The "Grand Canyon" of Mars 23/12/2021

“We found a central part of Valles Marineris to be packed full of water – far more water than we expected. This is very much like Earth’s permafrost regions, where water ice permanently persists under dry soil because of the constant low temperatures.”
-Alexey Malakhov, of the Russian Space Research Institute and a co-author of the study, said in a statement.

A Huge Watery Reservoir May Lie Beneath the Surface of The "Grand Canyon" of Mars That early Mars was much wetter and warmer than it is today has been well established by numerous missions. Water ice is visible at the poles and many fossil rivers have been found in the southern highlands of Mars. The Curiosity rover found as well that the large crater where it landed -- Gale Cr

Black, Hot Ice May Be Nature’s Most Common Form of Water 14/12/2021

The findings, published today in Nature, lead by researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Lab, confirm the existence of “superionic ice,” a new phase of water forming at extreme pressure and temperature (e.g 2000 Degrees Kelvin (3140 F). However, some are saying it’s beyond water-ice, because the water molecules break apart; the ice is not quite a new phase of water, but a new state of matter.

The discovery of superionic ice potentially solves the puzzle of what giant icy planets like Uranus and Neptune are made of. They’re now thought to have gaseous, mixed-chemical outer shells, a liquid layer of ionized water below that, a solid layer of superionic ice comprising the bulk of their interiors.

Black, Hot Ice May Be Nature’s Most Common Form of Water A new experiment confirms the existence of “superionic ice,” a bizarre form of water that might comprise the bulk of giant icy planets throughout the universe.

Characterizing methane emission hotspots from thawing permafrost 02/12/2021

We develop a novel airborne method for detecting the most extreme methane emissions from permafrost. We estimate that thermokarst CH4 hotspots constitute less than 0.01% of the pan-Arctic land area, but contribute roughly 4% of annual pan-Arctic wetland emissions. We further hypothesize that Arctic CH4 emissions may grow significantly in the future with anticipated increases in thermokarst across the permafrost landscape.
https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2020GB006922?fbclid=IwAR1Tuy4vaXX-T8xfLL30jRTkYGBMj6H1XmQ6sdQn8BTbRVPKe5dGEWlja3k

Characterizing methane emission hotspots from thawing permafrost Repeat airborne spectral imaging geolocated a thermokarst CH4 hotspot with ground-validated emissions >10 g CH4 m-2 d-1 Hotspot CH4 emissions arose from

Behind the scenes of the Arctic Permafrost Atlas - GRID-Arendal Stories 28/11/2021

Behind the scenes of the Arctic Permafrost Atlas - GRID-Arendal Stories There are only 18 months left until the official launch of the Arctic Permafrost Atlas, and work is well underway. On October 7th, draft maps and graphics from the first introductory chapter were presented at the 5th Online General Assembly. Project participants shared their work using gather.town,....

The major emitter that's missing from climate negotiations 05/11/2021

“Our research indicates that, depending on how hot we let it get, emissions from permafrost thaw this century are likely to be on par with continued emissions by Japan (on the low end) or by the United States (on the high end). Japan or the U.S. That’s a big difference. But, either way, it’s equivalent to an entire nation — one of the world’s top emitters, no less. To put it another way, permafrost thaw emissions could eat up between 25 percent and 40 percent of our remaining carbon budget to cap warming within 2 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial temperatures. Those numbers go up dramatically if the goal is limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. To ignore this because we can’t fully constrain it is folly.“

The major emitter that's missing from climate negotiations Permafrost is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions that could derail international efforts to limit climate change, yet most people have never heard of it.

Climate Change Is Melting Russia’s Permafrost—and Challenging Its Oil Economy 20/10/2021

“We must be prepared for this,” said Mr. Putin during a nationwide address in June. Last month, he ordered the creation of a national permafrost monitoring system to analyze data from 140 stations.

Russian economic officials and scientists estimate that thawing permafrost could affect more than a fifth of Russian infrastructure. The economy stands to lose more than $68 billion by 2050, a government minister said in May. The government says that 40% of buildings and infrastructure facilities in permafrost-covered areas have already been damaged.

“In the near past, everybody believed that permafrost would have an impact on infrastructure by the end of the century. Now we know we don’t have much time,” said Vladimir Romanovsky, professor of geophysics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “Oil, gas, villages—it’s all on the line.”

Climate Change Is Melting Russia’s Permafrost—and Challenging Its Oil Economy What happens when ground thought to be forever frozen begins to thaw instead? Residents and businesses across Siberia are finding out in real time.

15,000-year-old viruses discovered in Tibetan glacier ice 21/07/2021

15,000-year-old viruses discovered in Tibetan glacier ice Scientists who study glacier ice have found viruses nearly 15,000 years old in two ice samples taken from the Tibetan Plateau in China. Most of those viruses, which survived because they had remained frozen, are unlike any viruses that have been cataloged to date.

Scientists Find Ancient Critters Alive After 24,000 Years in Permafrost 29/06/2021

Scientists Find Ancient Critters Alive After 24,000 Years in Permafrost The hardy rotifer can live through all manner of conditions, but this is a historic feat even for this tiny creature.

Cave deposits show surprising shift in permafrost over the last 400,000 years 29/04/2021

Cave deposits show surprising shift in permafrost over the last 400,000 years Nearly one quarter of the land in the Northern Hemisphere, amounting to some 9 million square miles, is layered with permafrost—soil, sediment, and rocks that are frozen solid for years at a time. Vast stretches of permafrost can be found in Alaska, Siberia, and the Canadian Arctic, where persiste...

Scientists use forest color to gauge permafrost depth | Geophysical Institute 03/03/2021

Scientists use forest color to gauge permafrost depth | Geophysical Institute Scientists regularly use remote sensing drones and satellites to record how climate change affects permafrost thaw rates — methods that work well in barren tundra landscapes where there’s nothing to obstruct the view.

Russian lab to research prehistoric viruses in animals dug from melted permafrost 17/02/2021

The research in collaboration with North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk began with analysis of tissues extracted from a prehistoric horse believed to be at least 4,500 years old.

Researchers said they would also probe the remains of mammoths, elk, dogs, partridges, rodents, hares and other prehistoric animals.

Maxim Cheprasov, head of the Mammoth Museum laboratory at North-Eastern Federal University, said in a press release that the recovered animals had already been the subject of bacterial studies.

He said: “We are conducting studies on paleoviruses for the first time.”

Russian lab to research prehistoric viruses in animals dug from melted permafrost Project aims to identify paleoviruses and study virus evolution using the remains, Siberian lab says

Extreme Researchers: Carl Benson and Matthew Sturm 02/02/2021

If your fascinated by the history of snow, ice, and permafrost, I highly recommend this discussion with Carl Benson and Matthew Sturm of the Geophysical Institute. As Issac Newton once said “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants”. This discussion takes us through the history of how snow, ice, and permafrost sciences evolved through the 20th century, for which the current disciplines stand on. Amazing tribute to those who forged the way forward!

Extreme Researchers: Carl Benson and Matthew Sturm It’s fair to call University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysicist Carl Benson one of the school’s superstars. A veteran of World War II, he joined the university in 1960. His former student and now col…

The Economist (Великобритания): российский ученый надеется замедлить таяние Арктики 01/02/2021

Fantastic article! Permafrost history, context, and great storytelling
[Russian article will google translate nicely].

The Economist (Великобритания): российский ученый надеется замедлить таяние Арктики С 1960 года он живет в простом деревянном доме на самом краю России — севернее Рейкьявика и восточнее Токио — на берегу Колымы, где основал международную исследоват....

29/01/2021

PhD position opening: Developing high-resolution permafrost dynamics maps for Northern Alaska regions.

Start date: September 1, 2021 or January 1, 2022. With funding available for 4 years.

Deadline for submission: March 1, 2021.

Background
The Permafrost Laboratory at the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks seeks a PhD student to work on the National Science Foundation-funded research project: Resilience and adaptation to the effects of permafrost degradation induced coastal erosion.

Requirements
− Master's degree in geophysics, applied mathematics, physics, or related field. Some experience with geocryological processes is beneficial.
− good computational skills and knowledge of at least one high-level programming language (e.g. Matlab, Python); experience with Linux is an asset
− good working knowledge of the written and oral English language

Please contact Dmitry Nicolsky ([email protected]) or Louise Farquharson ([email protected]) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute Permafrost Laboratory.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks is characterized by
− excellent long-standing research history in geocryology and Arctic landscape dynamics
− collaboration and cooperation with various national and international research groups
− excellent future career opportunities
− a diverse group of students and faculty

We look forward to your application!

Please submit your application, including (1) a one-page statement of academic and research goals, (2) three letters of recommendations, (3) a CV with a list of publications, (4) official transcript. Non-official transcript will be sufficient before an offer is made. Selected candidates will be invited to present their research and then participate in an online interview.

Frosty scenes in martian summer 12/01/2021

Elon Musk will need permafrost geologist in the future.

On Mars, at these high latitudes, carbon dioxide ice and frost develop. Frost can be seen within polygonal cracks in the terrain, a feature that indicates the presence of water ice embedded in the soil. The black spots observed throughout the scene are due to dark soil being pushed through cracks in the carbon dioxide ice as it sublimates – turns directly from solid ice to vapour – in the summer months.

The scale is indicated on the image.

The ExoMars programme is a joint endeavour between ESA and Roscosmos.

Frosty scenes in martian summer Frosty scenes in martian summer

21/12/2020

Arctic report card from NOAA Arctic program. Coastal Permafrost Erosion.
https://arctic.noaa.gov/Report-Card/Report-Card-2020/ArtMID/7975/ArticleID/904/Coastal-Permafrost-Erosion

Warning bells jingle for December climate 07/12/2020

Warning bells jingle for December climate The Christmas month starts with exceptional heat across major parts of the Arctic.

Whatever Happened To ... The Melting Permafrost? 25/09/2020

An estimated 1,400 to 1,600 billion metric tons of carbon are currently frozen in the permafrost. "There are a lot of questions about what's going to happen when that [carbon]starts to thaw," Douglas says.

Whatever Happened To ... The Melting Permafrost? Spoiler alert: It's still melting. A new study looks at the impact of rising rainfall. Meanwhile, scientists are more concerned about environmental threats than defrosting pathogens.

Тайна ямальского кратера: ученые выясняют причины образования гигантской дыры 30/08/2020

The phenomenon of permafrost cryovolcanism in Yamal Russia continues and now the 17th crater discovered.

“The origin of these Yamal crater can be explained in terms of cryospheric processes. Thus, the Yamal crater appears to result from collapse of a large pingo, which formed within a thaw lake when it shoaled and dried out allowing a large talik (that is layer or body of unfrozen ground in a permafrost area) below it to freeze back. The pingo collapsed under cryogenic hydrostatic pressure built up in the closed system of the freezing talik. This happened before the freezing completed, when a core of wet ground remained unfrozen and stored a huge amount of carbon dioxide dissolved in pore water. This eventually reached gas-phase saturation, and the resulting overpressure came to exceed the lithospheric confining stress and the strength of the overlying ice. As the pingo exploded, the demarcation of the crater followed the cylindrical shape of the remnant talik core.”

[Buldovicz et al, Scientific Reports 2018]

Тайна ямальского кратера: ученые выясняют причины образования гигантской дыры Ученые на Ямале изучают уникальное природное явление, которое уже стало мировой сенсацией. Огромные воронки идеальной цилиндрической формы уходят в землю на деся....

Alaska is getting wetter: That's bad news for permafrost and the climate 29/07/2020

Alaska is getting wetter: That's bad news for permafrost and the climate Alaska is getting wetter. A new study spells out what that means for the permafrost that underlies about 85% of the state, and the consequences for Earth's global climate.

21 TB of open source code deposited in Arctic Code Vault 22/07/2020

The code is now stored in a chamber deep inside hundreds of meters of permafrost on an island of the Svalbard archipelago, Norway.

"Our mission is to preserve open source software for future generations by storing your code in an archive built to last a thousand years," said GitHub.

21 TB of open source code deposited in Arctic Code Vault We know everything about the Arctic and want to share with you!

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