Rising Temperatures are Causing Sinkholes to Form on the Arctic Seafloor

Rising Temperatures are Causing Sinkholes to Form on the Arctic Seafloor

When we hear of global warming, the first thing that most people think of are droughts, heat waves, and wildfires. However, the Arctic has not been shielded from the effects of climate change either. The ocean is experiencing warming thrice as fast as the global average. This means that snow will melt, sea levels will rise, and native species will die off.

One of the most alarming developments is the massive sinkholes forming along its seafloor. Environmentalists are pointing their fingers at climate change as well. Charlie Paull of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute explained that despite knowing monumental changes in the Arctic, they had only been deploying technology to check offshore developments recently.

Sinkholes in the Arctic

For years now, the permafrost in the Arctic has been melting. Unbeknownst to most people, subsea permafrost has been thawing due to global warming as well. Underwater mapping has allowed researchers to observe the rapid deterioration of the permafrost lying 500 ft underneath the surface of the Beaufort Sea in Canada. Among the major structural changes associated with this are massive sinkholes.

Between 2010 and 2019, there has been an emergence of 41 sinkholes within a radius of ten square miles. On average, they have a depth of 22 feet. Some, however, were as big as 738 x 312 ft. Though the melting of permafrost is believed to have also taken place during the last Ice Age, climate change is expected to speed up the process.

Melting Permafrost and Surrounding Areas

The massive sinkholes on the ocean floor are already worrying enough, but there is more. Communities in the Arctic are also seeing the effects of the melting permafrost. People in rural Siberia are witnessing rising temperatures. With permafrost thawing rapidly, houses built on top of it are collapsing due to the weakening of their foundation.

Alexey Maslakov, a scientist from the Moscow State University, said that there is not one single settlement in the Russian Arctic without a deformed or destroyed building. Old cities in Siberia like Churapcha know how dangerous climate change is and will be. Hopefully, these alarming developments can serve as a wake-up call to do something about the worsening rate of global warming. It is only a matter of time before it comes to the rest of the world.

Elizabeth White

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