The melting of the Arctic permafrost and the subsequent gas release such as carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere is estimated at around $43 trillion by the end of the next century.
A study by researchers from the University of Cambridge and the National Snow and Ice Data Center Boulder, Colorado estimates a 13 per cent increase on the predicted economic impact of climate change by 2200, up from $326tn to $369tn.
The Arctic is one of the fastest warming regions on the planet and the permanent ice on land. The Arctic permafrost prevents billions of tonnes of greenhouse gasses that are currently trapped beneath the surface from being released into the atmosphere.
Without its protection, both carbon dioxide and methane will be released into the atmosphere, the result of which will be massive.
Kevin Schaefer from the National Snow and Ice Data Center says that a fundamental change in the way we produce energy is a key first step.
$43tn is extra economic damage which is equivalent to more than half of the current output of the global economy, the researchers calculate in a a study published in the journal Nature Climate change.
“These results show just how much we need urgent action to slow the melting of the permafrost in order to minimise the scale of the release of greenhouse gases,” said coauthor Chris Hope of the Cambridge Judge Business School.