One of the many serious consequences of the climate crisis is that precious permafrost is thawing, and this is unleashing even more carbon to the atmosphere and further exacerbating climate change. However, it’s complicated. For example, sometimes permafrost can thaw rapidly and scientists are unsure why and what these abrupt thaws mean in terms of feedback loops. This makes it difficult to predict the future impact on the climate. Thanks to an ESA–NASA initiative, new research digs deep into understanding the complexities of permafrost thaw and how carbon is released over time.