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Fairbanks, Alaska (SPX) Aug 06, 2010
Permafrost warming continues throughout a wide swath of the Northern Hemisphere, according to a team of scientists assembled during the recent International Polar Year.
During the International Polar Year, Romanovsky and his colleagues launched a field campaign to improve the existing permafrost-monitoring network. The permafrost thermal state is monitored with borehole sensors, which gather data from holes drilled deep into the permafrost.
The researchers established nearly 300 borehole sites that serve as permafrost observatories across the polar and sub-polar regions in the Northern Hemisphere. Their work more than doubled the size of the previously existing network
"The heart of monitoring is the measuring of temperatures in boreholes," Romanovsky said. "For permafrost temperatures, you have to be there. You have to establish boreholes."
Having data from across the circumpolar North allows scientists to analyze trends affecting permafrost. The article notes that permafrost temperatures have warmed as much as two degrees Celsius from 20 to 30 years ago.