Arctic Sinkholes I Full Documentary I NOVA I PBS

Published 2022-02-03
In the Arctic, enormous releases of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, threaten the climate.

Colossal explosions shake a remote corner of the Siberian tundra, leaving behind massive sinkholes. In Alaska, a huge lake erupts with bubbles of inflammable gas. Scientists are discovering that these mystifying phenomena add up to a ticking time bomb, as long-frozen permafrost melts and releases vast amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. What are the implications of these dramatic developments in the Arctic? Scientists and local communities alike are struggling to grasp the scale of the methane threat and what it means for our climate future.

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00:00 Introduction
02:22 Giant Sinkhole in Siberia
05:54 Evidence of Methane in Sinkholes
09:02 Alaskan Lake Bubbling
14:47 Effects of Permafrost Thaw on Climate
17:26 Native Alaskan Solutions to Permafrost
21:37 Organic Matter Impacted by Permafrost
24:44 Greenhouse Gasses Emitted from Permafrost Thaw
33:37 Fossil Methane in Earth’s Crust
42:19 Arctic Regions are Sinking
47:47 How Communities are Finding Solutions to Permafrost Melting
50:15 Conclusion

(Premiered Wednesday, February 2 at 9PM ET on PBS.)

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All Comments (21)
  • @novapbs
    Discover how scientists are trying to capture methane in this short from NOVA and PBS Terra:
  • I lived in Anchorage in the 70s, and I recall local news reporting on permafrost thaw. The main complaint was the smell and the increased mosquito harvest. It was worrisome that the groundwater was thawing the permafrost and scientists we're studying it. I would say that this mega methane leakage is far greater than any methane produced by cattle around the world.
  • @bigdaddi1629
    Weird how we hate school and being educated as children… But as an adult I long for knowledge and discovery
  • @jasonrench7300
    In the Amish ice House where food is stored one would put saw dust packed in with the ice the saw dust acted as a thermo blanket. The saw dust would absorb heat as the inside of the dust froze and acted like permafrost keeping the cubes of ice frozen longer. Saw dust a natural element is useful.
  • @user-rv3mi1fy5m
    Incredible documentary. Thank you PBS I've been watching since I was a little kid!
  • I grew up on pbs, I enjoyed it so much and now it's why I enjoy documentaries!
  • @Alltime2050
    I remember learning about predictions of massive methane releases from melting permafrost a couple of decades ago. Why is Nova presenting this as a surprise to scientists? It's long been known that once methane starts pouring out of the permafrost would be a signal that the tipping point has been reached. Nova is making this sound as if it's a brand new idea. Does David H. Koch being one of Novas biggest sponsors have anything to do with that?
  • @LucianoDelaney
    I live in Fairbanks. I remember my dog walking in the ponds and releasing a trail of gas bubbles from the sediments. Back in the 80s I was lucky to get on a tour of the permafrost tunnel in Fox. Like the guide said in the video, the smell is unique, and it's amazing to see all the specimens thawing out of the ceiling and walls.
  • @leilegion
    Learned so much today. Thanks for sharing this on Youtube.
  • @samnangsam84
    I remember being 9 years old, poor, and only having access to PBS. Now I love science.
  • I watched PBS as a child as well always loved this channel !! A BIG THANKS for staying around til now, don't you go anywhere😉🤩👽❤💯💯
  • Extraordinarily interesting. Once again, Thank You, Nova. Keep up the great work!!
  • As an Alaskan I can confirm the environment is changing incredibly rapidly here. This was a fantastic documentary
  • @derbsmcbergs
    the dramatic drum beats make it just that much better
  • @user-lq8vd4vo9q
    Fantastic documentary from Nova again!! Thank you for the learning of our earth giving all incite to the truth around the world.this segment " Arctic sink holes!" Was an eye opener....❤❤it!!😊
  • @ressque
    The explosion at 31:17 when the guy nearly gets set on fire was WILD! Great Job NOVA PBS!
  • Yes indeed. I am from here in Kotzebue Alaska. Thanks to the scientific research on our area. We've always known that lake had some form of anomaly hole like structure way below the permafrost underneath the lakes. We have a lot going on, been doing this research all my life. This video tells a lot of whats happening here, and all over as well. #kotzebuealaska #thegallahornfamily
  • @cuaruaocsen
    em cám ơn chương trình đã chia sẻ video rất hay và bổ ích ❤❤
  • @araneljones
    Our tiny southeast Texas town of Daisetta has been dealing with sinkholes since the 70s. In 2008, we were on world news when one the size of several football fields formed within a day across the street from our high-school. Another, roughly a quarter the size of the original, suddenly appeared next to it. Several of us, myself included, had reported hearing gunshot like sounds around the same time each day before it, and were mocked. They aren't mocking now. As the ground warmed each afternoon, you could hear small explosions without a clear origin. If it's happening here, where we are actively pumping salt water into the ground, why wouldn't it happen where the environment is more delicate?