Freeze on Russian collaboration disrupts urgently needed permafrost data flow

two researchers hold a ladder steady for a third researcher who is working with equipment at the top of a mid-size tower in Alaska

Warming temperatures in the Arctic are accelerating the thaw of carbon-rich permafrost and threatening to add massive amounts of carbon dioxide and methane to an atmosphere already overheating from the buildup of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

More than half that permafrost lies beneath remote Russian soil, where scientists have long worked in an international research community that freely shared its field stations, climate sensors and data sets to better understand the rapidly changing polar region’s planetary impacts.

Researchers are especially eager to know when a dangerous tipping point may be reached that would trigger the release of vast amounts of greenhouse gases stored in frozen soils.

But then came the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, and all that cooperation came to a halt, part of the fallout of Western sanctions on Russia. Since then, international researchers outside Russia have applied creative workarounds in order to continue their research, but problems remain.

Read more on Mongabay.