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Posted Mon Mar 14 2016: from PhysOrg:
Degrading ice wedges reshape Arctic permafrost and landscape
The wedges, which can be the size of a house, gradually formed over hundreds or even thousands of years as water seeped into permafrost cracks. On the ground surface, they form polygon shapes roughly 15-30 meters wide--a defining characteristic of northern landscapes.... Ice wedge degradation has been observed before in individual locations, but this is the first study to determine that rapid melting has become widespread throughout the Arctic. "Here we're combining observations from people working in the field across the Arctic--Russia, Canada and Alaska--where we're seeing the same ice wedge melting phenomenon," said Liljedahl, the lead author of the study.... "It's really the tipping point for the hydrology," Liljedahl said. "Suddenly you're draining the landscape and creating more runoff, even if the amount of precipitation remains the same. Instead of being absorbed by the tundra, the snowmelt water will run off into lakes and larger rivers. It really is a dramatic hydrologic change across the tundra landscape."
[Read more stories about: tipping point, arctic meltdown, permafrost meltdown, death spiral, faster than expected]

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'Doc Michael says:
Wouldn't you expect a wedge to have a tipping point?

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