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Permafrost is a dynamic, but understudied, element of Arctic coastal areas that is presently responding to climate warming with potentially far-reaching impacts on terrestrial and marine processes and ecosystems, geohazards, biogeochemical processes and freshwater flux. In order to address societal needs at local, regional and global scales, there is a need to identify and address key research gaps and adopt a transdisciplinary approach to permafrost research.

GRID-Arendal is coordinating the development of a Rapid Response Assessment to assess critical research gaps related to Arctic coastal permafrost and to consider how these gaps can be addressed through international cooperation. Within the context of permafrost responding to a warming Arctic, the goals are to consolidate societal research priorities affecting the well-being of those living in the north and to determine the global-scale drivers that are influencing issues such as natural emissions of greenhouse gases.

In keeping with the targeted nature of an RRA, the focus will be on the western Arctic of North America where rising sea level is rising and coastal areas are underlain by unconsolidated, ice-rich sediments with extensive occurrences of offshore permafrost. The similarity of the geology in this area to that in northern Siberia and elsewhere will allow extension of our findings to other parts of the Arctic.

Status: In progress

Type: Polar

Programme: Polar and Climate

Tags: permafrost Coastal Arctic

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