When the permafrost melts, it literally changes the landscape, causing the ground to slump, and ripple. In Bethel, Alaska, roadways are literally warping as the ground beneath them becomes less solid. In other places, the melting permafrost is creating craters and sinkholes. You can see buildings that are kind of slumping into the ground. You can see that a lot in the Russian Arctic. Civil engineers are experimenting with new types of pilings and foundations to help keep Arctic buildings on strong footing.
There is one crater in Siberia so large it’s gotten the nickname "doorway to the underworld.” It’s a kilometer long and up to 100 meters deep. And it’s growing larger every year. The IPCC report underscores this as well – Melting permafrost will transform the landscape. Lakes will increase by 50 percent by 2100 under a high-emissions scenario. Meanwhile, after the soils melt, they may start to dry out, and increase the likelihood of wildfire in polar regions.
This is the fourth part of a 5 episode series on climate change and new diseases. You can check them all out using this link.