MELTING sea ice and permafrost could cost the world £54trillion, according to the world’s most advanced economic study on the cost of climate change in the Arctic.
Gases like methane and carbon dioxide will be released from the permafrost as it melts, which would further speed up the global warming process.
Getty – Contributor Melting permafrost will release gases that will speed up the global warming process
Permafrost is a thick layer of frozen ground, which can include rock and soil, that has remained frozen for longer than two years and it makes up about 24% of exposed land surface on Earth.
A study by Lancaster University has found that gases released as the Arctic permafrost melts and the additional loss of heat deflecting white ice could cause a 5% rise in global warming and its costs.
As ice is white it can reflect a lot of the suns rays but the loss of it means that the Earth will end up absorbing even more of them and becoming even hotter.
The study has been published in Nature Communications and stresses that more needs to be done to keep the global temperature from rising by more than 2C.
Getty – Contributor The current impact of melting land permafrost was not as high as previously feared but is still considered “disheartening”
In 2015, almost all of the world’s nations signed a deal called the Paris Agreement which set out ways in which they could tackle climate change and keep temperatures below 2C.
However, the study highlights that all the countries need to stick to the rules they outlined in the agreement and even improve on them to avoid dire consequences.
So far, only a small amount of greenhouse gases have been released from melting permafrost but scientists think this will increase greatly once temperatures have increased by over 1.5C.
The study also says that the economic burden of this climate change would likely increase global inequality because poorer countries, like India and Africa, are more likely to get warmer.
Lead author of the study Dr Dmitry Yumashev called the results “disheartening”.
However, the current impact of melting land permafrost was not as high as previously feared.
The researchers took samples of permafrost that was up to three metres deep in the Arctic and used supercomputers and economic models to calculate their results.
They have said that they hope their work will lead to more studies about the risks posed by climate change and how to control them.
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Another recent permafrost study found that diseases laying dormant in ancient ice could soon be unleashed due to climate change.
And, scientists have warned that two thirds of ice in the Alps will melt by 2100.
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