An exposed wall of ice rich permafrost dwarfs a researcher along the coast of Herschel Island in the Yukon Territory of Canada. Permafrost is soil, oftenwater rich, that is below freezing. The sea rapidly erodes this permafrost in coastal zones, a geological process that could have major implications for humans living in such chilly coastal areas. Currently, Arctic coastlines are eroding by about 3 to 6 feet (1 to 2 meters) each year, according to the Alfred Wegener Institute. The Institute is now funding study of this erosion to understand how it happens and what triggers the coastline loss.