As the frozen ground warms much faster than expected, it’s reshaping the landscape—and releasing carbon gases that fuel global warming.
BY CRAIG WELCH
PHOTOGRAPHS BY KATIE ORLINSKY
For almost two years I have been working on “The Carbon Threat," an article for National Geographic written by Craig Welch that tackles the urgent issue of permafrost thaw and it is now online! It was one of the most challenging stories I've ever photographed, a journey that fluctuated from frustrating and disturbing to fascinating and inspiring. What is happening to our planet is not easy to swallow, but we must confront it head-on.
Working on this story was both a serious responsibility and an honor.
Arctic permafrost is thawing much faster than expected, releasing carbon gases that could drastically speed up climate change. Just over the course of our reporting scientists have come to believe that what was once hundreds of years away could now happen in our lifetime, with permafrost thaw releasing 2 to nearly three 3 times more greenhouse gases than expected. I hope our article can help the public and policymakers recognize this new, urgent reality and take action.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this story happen from Utqiagvik, Alaska to Chersky, Siberia. And thank you to the outstanding writer/partner in crime Craig Welch, the brilliant, dedicated and ever so patient Sadie Quarrier and Sarah Leen for her vision, guidance and trust.