Permafrost and man

Hugues.Lantuit [ at ]


Permafrost, a thermal condition of the ground, has long been an understated phenomenon because it is not necessarily detectable by the human eye and because it is found in areas that had little economic relevance for mankind. Permafrost-man interactions are however many and manifold. Rising air temperatures in the Arctic, Antarctic and the high mountain regions and consequently rising permafrost temperatures have has resulted in great threats on infrastructure of the higher latitudes northern and mountain, even though man had learnt to build on permafrost since thousands of years in some cases. Accelerating rock glaciers, greater risk of natural hazard in mountain regions, stronger coastal erosion and the danger of gas hydrates thawing are all anthropogenic impacts to a certain extent. Mankind has however also learnt to use the permafrost regions and sought to exploit it early on for its freezing properties in summer to store goods, or recently on a larger scale to protect seeds, to store carbon dioxide or even to extract information from permafrost bacteria in genetic research. The growingåå number of economic activities in the Arctic, the Antarctic and mountain regions will create considerable challenges for the permafrost environment and prompts the need for comprehensive monitoring strategies of permafrost.

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DOI 10.2312/polarforschung.81.1.69

Cite as
Lantuit, H. and Schirrmeister, L. (2011): Permafrost and man , Polarforschung, 81 (1), pp. 69-75 . doi: 10.2312/polarforschung.81.1.69

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