Frosty landscapes convey the impression of frozen eternity, both as glaciers in the Swiss alps or as permafrost in Siberia. But both are undergoing change. They are not only thawing as a result of global warming, but they are also concurrently contributing to it, reports Prof. Dr. Gabriela Schaepman-Strub, professor for Spatial Ecology and Remote Sensing at the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at UZH in the SRF Einstein documentary "Thawing permafrost: Climate in danger" of April 1st 2021. Therein, Einstein follows up on the question why melting ice leaves behind more than water.
The Siberian permafrost ground is covered by a thin layer of tundra, comparable to a protective skin. It is the fragile foundation for the complex ecosystem of the region. The interdependency between vegetation and climate is investigated by Prof. Dr. Schaepman-Strub and her team at UZH. Her research recorded significant changes of the tundra over the last years. And while the fieldwork trips to Siberia are certainly an exciting scientific challenge, the same accounts for their logistics and the personal experience.