permafrost

noun
per·​ma·​frost | \ ˈpər-mə-ˌfrȯst \

Definition of permafrost

: a permanently frozen layer at variable depth below the surface in frigid regions of a planet (such as earth)

Examples of permafrost in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Worse, melting permafrost contributes to global warming itself. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Melting Permafrost Poses a Huge Danger to Artic Infrastructure," 11 Dec. 2018 Warmer summers have also meant that diseases, long locked in the Arctic permafrost, may thaw and spread among herds, though scientists aren’t completely sure how much of an impact this is having. Brian Resnick, Vox, "The Arctic has lost 2.6 million reindeer over the past 20 years," 11 Dec. 2018 An example would be the thawing of large areas of permafrost, which could release the carbon stored in them. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Researchers suggest we could tip into a hothouse Earth—here’s what that means," 10 Aug. 2018 In the Arctic and Antarctic, warming can lead to the melting of permafrost, releasing carbon dioxide that has been frozen for millennia. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Warn Earth's Ecosystems Could Start Releasing CO2 On Their Own," 7 Aug. 2018 In addition, the decomposition of the permafrost also releases toxic gases, otherwise known as greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide and methane, which accelerate climate change and make the planet increasingly warmer. Elly Belle, Teen Vogue, "Arctic Wolf Spiders Are Getting Bigger and It Could Slow Part of Climate Change," 24 July 2018 Melting of the permafrost was mentioned no less than four times. Anchorage Daily News, "Readers write: Letters to the editor, January 15, 2018," 15 Jan. 2018 Arctic lands are covered by areas of ground known as permafrost that have been frozen since the Pleistocene. Paul Mann, Smithsonian, "Can Bringing Back Mammoths Help Stop Climate Change?," 14 May 2018 As a warming climate thaws this permafrost, more and more of the older carbon will be broken down by microbes and released as carbon dioxide or methane, with the potential to greatly warm the planet. Chris Mooney, Anchorage Daily News, "Ancient carbon is coming from Arctic soil. It might be fine, but it might be terrible.," 1 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'permafrost.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of permafrost

1943, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for permafrost

permanent + frost

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about permafrost

Share permafrost

Dictionary Entries near permafrost

perm

Perm'

permaculture

permafrost

permalloy

permanence

permanency

Statistics for permafrost

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for permafrost

The first known use of permafrost was in 1943

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for permafrost

permafrost

noun

English Language Learners Definition of permafrost

: a layer of soil that is always frozen in very cold regions of the world

More from Merriam-Webster on permafrost

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with permafrost

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about permafrost

Comments on permafrost

What made you want to look up permafrost? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

important, real, or meaningful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!