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Thawing Permafrost and Climate Change


A video that introduces permafrost and its distribution on Earth. The video also describes the changing nature of permafrost across several regions due to higher surface temperatures and thepossible impact of permafrost thawing on Earth’s climate.

Students will learn about the characteristics of permafrost, its distribution across the globe and how permafrost is used to study soil conditions for periods dating back to several thousands of years by extracting ice cores for analyses. They will also learn that the thawing of permafrost has led to the release of greenhouse gases such as methane to the atmosphere which can in turn, impact the Earth’s climate.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. What is permafrost? Where is it found?
  2. Why is methane, a greenhouse gas, released into the atmosphere when permafrost thaws?
About Tool
Tool Name Thawing Permafrost
Discipline Geography, Environmental Sciences, Earth Sciences
Topic(s) in Discipline Permafrost, Methane, Thawing of Permafrost, Global Warming, Methanogens, Greenhouse Gases, Emissions, Active Layer of Soil
Climate Topic Climate and the Cryosphere, Greenhouse Effect
Type of tool Video
Grade Level High School, Undergraduate
Location New England, USA
Language English
Translation      –
Developed by NBC Learn, a part of Changing Planet Series, in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF)
Hosted at NBC Learn
Access Online
Computer Skills Basic


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