Thawing permafrost could amplify global warming: UNEPListen /
Almost a quarter of the northern hemisphere is covered by permafrost which contains twice the amount of carbon as that in the atmosphere.
Carbon is part of greenhouse gases which scientists say are responsible for global warming.
A new report issued by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) on Tuesday, warns that the thawing of permafrost could significantly amplify global warming.
The report, titled "Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost" says that warming permafrost can also alter ecosystems and cause costly damage to infrastructure as a result of increasingly unstable ground.
The new study was released as delegates gathered in Doha, Qatar, for a two-week United Nations conference on climate change which started on Monday.
To find out more about the issue, Derrick Mbatha spoke on the line to Doha with Kevin Schaefer, one of the authors of the report and first asked him to describe permafrost.