Virus, Coal, and Seed: Subcutaneous Life in the Polar North: Anthrax, Coal, Flu, and the Global Seed Bank on Svalbard. The 2016 average annual temperature on Svalbard is projected to be above freezing for the first time ever. [more inside]
The Yamal Crater (previously) mysteriously appeared on the Yamal Peninsula in northern Siberia sometime in early 2014. Thought to be the result of methane accumulation in thawing permafrost, when first discovered the giant hole was too dangerous for people to enter. Now that the ground has frozen, scientists have explored the hole and released a a set of otherworldly photographs documenting their expedition.
The last hope of life on earth: Svalbard. Most of humanity depends on just 12 plant species, down from over 7,000 historically. Fortunately, seeds can be viable for up to thousands of years, and seed banks have already preserved many species, including the entire plant population of Antarctica. But with seed banks being destroyed as the result of wars and accident, Norway has has begun work on an underground facility, protected by polar bears, in the Arctic permafrost that is designed to hold millions of seeds, as "final safety net" for humanity.
Siberia's permafrost is melting. New Scientist reports that 250 million acres of permafrost are thawing, exposing the world's largest peat bog. This is likely to release billions of tons of methane gas. This would likely cause a positive feedback loop, massively accelerating global warming.
The U.S. Army Permafrost Tunnel provides researchers a unique opportunity to study the composition and behavior of ice structures, ice-saturated soils and frozen bioorganics dating over 40,000 years before present.