The Arctic landscape is changing in response to climate warming. Essential characteristics of the Arctic landscape are controlled by its unique climate and by the presence of permafrost—permanently frozen ground. Relatively rapid degradation of ice-rich permafrost is adversely affecting human infrastructure, altering Arctic ecosystem structure and function, changing the surface energy balance, and has the potential to dramatically impact Arctic hydrological process and increase greenhouse gas emissions. However, processes leading to permafrost change are poorly understood.

This science theme focuses on how the degradation of permafrost will affect both the Arctic and the globe. The full science goals and objectives can be found here.

Permafrost activities are coordinated by an Action Team led by Ted Schuur, Northern Arizona University, and in collaboration with the Permafrost Carbon Network.