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Climate transformations were discussed at the international conference in Salekhard

Climate change is one of the main and modern problems around the world. Global warming in the Arctic region has a huge impact on the development of the society and the global economy, as climate change in the Arctic is proceeding rapidly. To determine the risks of changes in Arctic systems, an evaluation of the current and future state of permafrost is of particular importance.

For these purposes and to solve other tasks, more than 170 scientists from nine countries of the world participated in the international research/practice conference “Modern studies of cryosphere transformation and issues of geotechnical safety of buildings in the Arctic”, held in Salekhard. Experts from the world’s leading institutes and universities, representatives of major design and construction companies, scientists from Israel, USA, Austria, Great Britain, Russia and Kazakhstan contributed the work. Researchers from Poland, Canada, Finland, Germany and Mexico addressed the conference online.

3 - Climate transformations were discussed at the international conference in Salekhard
5 - Climate transformations were discussed at the international conference in Salekhard

Vladimir Romanovsky, an American geophysics, professor at the University of Alaska, spoke about the dynamics of global warming processes occurring in the Arctic area of the USA within his report “Past, present and future changes in permafrost in Alaska: measurement and modeling results”.

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Vladimir Romanovsky

At the same time, the American scientist expressed concern about the ongoing climate changes on the Yamal Peninsula, mentioning that this territory is similar to Alaska regarding this changes. The expert stressed that these transformations sophisticates the design, construction and operation of industrial facilities in permafrost. “When planning their activities in the territories of the Far North, subsoil users should lay down an expense for attracting scientists to study the area, being able to find a way to minimize the negative impact on environment, thereby slowing down the processes of climate warming and permafrost warming,” believes Vladimir Romanovsky.

But the conference participants (including those representing the interests of fuel and energy companies) figured out, that the modern business model of many enterprises involved in resource development on the Arctic shelf and in permafrost areas already provides plenty economic solutions for scientific support of business activities. However, several scientists noted that the statements of American experts about the dominant negative impact of human activity on global warming are much exaggerated.

4 - Climate transformations were discussed at the international conference in Salekhard

Professor of the Tyumen Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences Sergey Petrov in his report justified the fact that the degradation of permafrost is not artificial, but planetary in nature, and soil defrostation is a natural process. Arctic permafrost is not melting gradually, as scientists once predicted: on the scale of geological time, it is destroyed almost instantly.

petrov1 - Climate transformations were discussed at the international conference in Salekhard

Sergey Petrov

The Russian expert noted: “When soils soften and slide, they release traces of ancient life and huge carbon stocks that have been preserved in permafrost for thousands of years”. Getting into the atmosphere as methane or carbon dioxide, carbon threatens to accelerate climate change – while humankind is trying to slow them down, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels. This point of view has found a wide range of supporters, including American colleagues from the Alaska Institute.

In the history of permafrost, the big challenge is that many processes in it are simply invisible. Permafrost covers an area more than twice the size of the USA, and the population in the Far North as, for example, in New York. Basically, scientists study some small areas, monitor others remotely and draw conclusions about all the others. This practice does not fully reflect the real processes arising in the Arctic. That is the reason of growing need to increase the number of scientific research conducted in this area with the direct travel of climatologists to various remote northern areas where permafrost has still been preserved.

Climate issues have lately exceeded the scope of national interests. Not only scientific, but also the world political community recognizes the relevancy to study the Arctic aiming to identify positive, adverse or catastrophic aftereffects of global climate change for the environment, economy and social sphere. It is also required to develop economic and political strategies for adapting the modern world to the coming warming.

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