Permafrost is ground that is frozen year round and is located throughout the Arctic. In some places, above the permafrost, there is an 'active layer' which thaws in the summer and freezes in the winter. Permafrost is rich in organics, the cold temperature preventing material from decomposing.
As the global temperature continues to rise, the permafrost active layer, generally, is increasing, diminishing the amount of frozen tundra and permafrost. Once thawed, decomposition of the stored organics will commence, releasing high amounts of greenhouse gases (methane) into the atmosphere, triggering further global warming. Additionally, the thawing of the ground alters the structural integrity and water flow of the earth, leading to infrastructure and ecological catastrophe.
This is a video I made with two collaborators, Kyle @kzollove and Saleha, at Bates College for a class project. Beyond giving greater detail to the permafrost background info that I just summarized, we analyze and interpret borehole data collected from 5 permafrost boreholes. Watch and learn!