Toxic Thaw Syndrome
Melting permafrost carries unknown dangers for Arctic marine life. On a small island in the Beaufort Sea, brown muck slides down tall cliffs, oozes into mud pools, and slithers into the ocean. It’s summer, and the permafrost is thawing. As the sediment enters the sea, it clouds the coastal waters, releasing organic carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. But that’s not all.