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Permafrost, a Ticking Time Bomb Frozen for thousands of years, the Arctic’s permafrost soil is gradually thawing due to climate change—and releasing potent greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. As Paris prepares to host the next UN Climate Change Conference (COP 21), CNRS International Magazine traveled to Kuujjuarapik in the Canadian Subarctic to investigate this phenomenon, which is vastly underestimated or neglected in climate models. Thermokarst ponds (here seen covered in snow), caused by thawing permafrost. The Arctic is believed to contain millions of them. © L. CAILLOCE/CNRS PHOTOTHÈQUE BY LAURE CAILLOCE, SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT IN NUNAVIK Ranging from dark to light blue, areas of continuous (90% of the surface) to sporadic (less than 10%) permafrost. © NASA EARTH OBSERVATIONS Kuujjuarapik Permafrost areas A photo gallery is available online: www.cnrs.fr/cnrsmagazine SPECIAL REPORT 33 SPRING 2015 N° 37


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