What is actually Permafrost ?

What is actually Permafrost ?

Permafrost is an issue that has recently resurfaced in the global media, due to the climate change effects. In short detail, permafrost is part of the ground that continuously remains below 0 °C (32 °F) for a few years, located on land or under the ocean. Approximately 15% of the Northern Hemisphere or 11% of the global surface is underlain by permafrost, including areas like Alaska, Greenland, Canada and Siberia.

Permafrost is not necessarily the first layer above ground. It can be from an inch to several miles deep under the Earth’s surface. It frequently occurs in ground ice, but it can also be present in non-porous bedrock. Permafrost is formed from ice holding various types of soil, sand, and rock in combination.


Permafrost resurfaces in large-scale land forms, such as palsas and pingos as well as smaller forms, such as patterned ground found in arctic, periglacial and alpine areas. In ice-rich permafrost areas, melting of ground ice initiates thermokarst landforms such as thermokarst lakes, thaw slumps, thermal-erosion gullies, and active layer detachments.

Contraction crack (ice wedge) polygons on Arctic sediment.

Climate change effects.

The increased heat cause by climate change has brought higher temperatures to multiple areas with permafrost, causing some permafrost to thaw. While the impacts of climate change on permafrost vary at regional and local scales, permafrost thawing has been observed in multiple parts of the world.

The thawing of permafrost however can have detrimental consequences. For example, as ice-filled permafrost thaws, it can evolve into a mud slurry that cannot support the weight of the soil and vegetation above it. Infrastructure such as roads, buildings, and pipes could also be damaged as permafrost thaws.

Our work regarding permafrost.

In our project, me and my partner @dogukant are analyzing permafrost and it’s effects with the OpenFoam solver permaFoam, while using supercompurting infrastructures.

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