Friday, April 27, 2018

Earlier Spring Melt in Siberia Impacts Truckers

An example of the complex terrain of Siberia.
The New York Times published an interesting article today by Andrew E. Kramer about the challenges  brought about in the trucking industry of earlier thaws in Siberia. Check out the article here.

Climate changes are felt more at the poles than they are at the equator due the extremes experienced in those locations. We have all heard about the decrease in Arctic and Antarctic ice. Indeed, new shipping lanes have opened in the Arctic Ocean in recent years to to significant chances in sea ice distribution and extent.

The Times article points out that the warming is causing earlier melting of soil in Siberia. Many areas of permafrost turn into marshy and swampy landscapes during the summer. Ice in surface soils melts and is prohibited from entering into the subsurface. As a result, the landscape in these regions becomes quite unstable. Built objects can fail and roads can disappear into the landscape.

In Siberia, roads are built each year once the ground freezes and they are destroyed in the spring once the ice in the soil melts. Now, the melt is happening earlier and it is causing problems for distribution of materials in the region.

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