Not-So-Perma Frost

Warming climate is taking its toll on subterranean ice

By Sid Perkins, 15:56 PM April 15, 2008

Daniel Fortier spends his summers studying the permafrost on Bylot Island, high in the eastern Canadian Arctic. While hiking there early in the 1999 field season, he distinctly heard the sound of running water yet saw no streams nearby. "I thought to myself, 'Where is this sound coming from?'" says Fortier. "So, like a good researcher, I started to dig."

Excavating the soil, known as permafrost because its temperature is below 0°C year-round, Fortier tapped into a torrent-filled tunnel a mete...

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