En-en adult card 41 permafrost

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Card #41: Permafrost

Causes Consequences
Front of the card "Permafrost"

Permafrost is permanently frozen ground.
Permafrost thawing leads to the decomposition of organic matter previously frozen underground, a phenomenon that releases methane and CO2 into the atmosphere.
Beyond +2°C, it is almost certain this phenomenon will accelerate and make the climate spiral out of control.


Permafrost is a soil that is permanently frozen for at least two consecutive years[1].

The two last cards to be added to the Collage after card 40 are potentially violent feedback loops or "climate bombs" which, if triggered, would cause us to lose control over the climate for good.

Thermokarst are veritable bioreactors at the heart of the process of releasing frozen carbon: when the permafrost thaws, pieces of soil detach and fall into the water, bringing nutrients and carbon to the bacteria and plankton present in the sea, which degrade them into CO2 (in the water layers near the surface) and methane or CH4 (in the oxygen-deprived bottom)[2].

Facilitation advice

For online murals, you can show this video from the University of Alaska Fairbanks showing the flammable methane stored in the permafrost.

Other possible links


Energy budget If we want to stay within the same logic of energy conservation, the thawing of the permafrost should be linked to the energy budget.

To go further

Climate Action Network France: Thawing permafrost carbon will increase global warming, 2018 (French)

RT France documentary: The mystery of permafrost (French)