The Effects of ​Melting Permafrost in Greenland

Most of the terrain in Greenland is threatened by the degradation of permafrost. Even the smallest changes in the permafrost can have dramatic consequences.

Many locals live in permafrost areas, and their homes and other key infrastructures, such as roads and bridges, are built on frozen ground. As the permafrost thaws, the ground becomes less able to support these structures​ and this can cause buildings to collapse, and roads and pipelines to fail. Sorting out these problems is usually possible — yet very expensive. People are being pushed away from their housing, and this problem is further isolating these remote communities. 

​Permafrost affects not only the population with the soil collapsing, but it also changes the physical landscape, creating new space in which people and animals have to adapt.

The Remote Arctic Town That Is Melting Away

As the Arctic loses ice at dramatic rates, people in Qaanaaq, the northernmost town in Greenland, are finding their homes, livelihoods, customs, and very survival at risk.