WorldWideScience

Sample records for arctic permafrost soil

  1. Plant-derived compounds stimulate the decomposition of organic matter in arctic permafrost soils.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wild, Birgit; Gentsch, Norman; Čapek, Petr; Diáková, Kateřina; Alves, Ricardo J Eloy; Bárta, Jiři; Gittel, Antje; Hugelius, Gustaf; Knoltsch, Anna; Kuhry, Peter; Lashchinskiy, Nikolay; Mikutta, Robert; Palmtag, Juri; Schleper, Christa; Schnecker, Jörg; Shibistova, Olga; Takriti, Mounir; Torsvik, Vigdis L; Urich, Tim; Watzka, Margarete; Šantrůčková, Hana; Guggenberger, Georg; Richter, Andreas

    2016-01-01

    Arctic ecosystems are warming rapidly, which is expected to promote soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition. In addition to the direct warming effect, decomposition can also be indirectly stimulated via increased plant productivity and plant-soil C allocation, and this so called "priming effect" might significantly alter the ecosystem C balance. In this study, we provide first mechanistic insights into the susceptibility of SOM decomposition in arctic permafrost soils to priming. By comparing 119 soils from four locations across the Siberian Arctic that cover all horizons of active layer and upper permafrost, we found that an increased availability of plant-derived organic C particularly stimulated decomposition in subsoil horizons where most of the arctic soil carbon is located. Considering the 1,035 Pg of arctic soil carbon, such an additional stimulation of decomposition beyond the direct temperature effect can accelerate net ecosystem C losses, and amplify the positive feedback to global warming. PMID:27157964

  2. Plant-derived compounds stimulate the decomposition of organic matter in arctic permafrost soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wild, Birgit; Gentsch, Norman; Čapek, Petr; Diáková, Kateřina; Alves, Ricardo J. Eloy; Bárta, Jiři; Gittel, Antje; Hugelius, Gustaf; Knoltsch, Anna; Kuhry, Peter; Lashchinskiy, Nikolay; Mikutta, Robert; Palmtag, Juri; Schleper, Christa; Schnecker, Jörg; Shibistova, Olga; Takriti, Mounir; Torsvik, Vigdis L.; Urich, Tim; Watzka, Margarete; Šantrůčková, Hana; Guggenberger, Georg; Richter, Andreas

    2016-05-01

    Arctic ecosystems are warming rapidly, which is expected to promote soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition. In addition to the direct warming effect, decomposition can also be indirectly stimulated via increased plant productivity and plant-soil C allocation, and this so called “priming effect” might significantly alter the ecosystem C balance. In this study, we provide first mechanistic insights into the susceptibility of SOM decomposition in arctic permafrost soils to priming. By comparing 119 soils from four locations across the Siberian Arctic that cover all horizons of active layer and upper permafrost, we found that an increased availability of plant-derived organic C particularly stimulated decomposition in subsoil horizons where most of the arctic soil carbon is located. Considering the 1,035 Pg of arctic soil carbon, such an additional stimulation of decomposition beyond the direct temperature effect can accelerate net ecosystem C losses, and amplify the positive feedback to global warming.

  3. Plant-derived compounds stimulate the decomposition of organic matter in arctic permafrost soils

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Wild, Birgit; Gentsch, Norman; Čapek, Petr;

    2016-01-01

    Arctic ecosystems are warming rapidly, which is expected to promote soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition. In addition to the direct warming effect, decomposition can also be indirectly stimulated via increased plant productivity and plant-soil C allocation, and this so called "priming effect......" might significantly alter the ecosystem C balance. In this study, we provide first mechanistic insights into the susceptibility of SOM decomposition in arctic permafrost soils to priming. By comparing 119 soils from four locations across the Siberian Arctic that cover all horizons of active layer and...... direct temperature effect can accelerate net ecosystem C losses, and amplify the positive feedback to global warming....

  4. Permafrost thawing in organic Arctic soils accelerated by ground heat production

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hollesen, Jørgen; Matthiesen, Henning; Møller, Anders Bjørn; Elberling, Bo

    2015-06-01

    Decomposition of organic carbon from thawing permafrost soils and the resulting release of carbon to the atmosphere are considered to represent a potentially critical global-scale feedback on climate change. The accompanying heat production from microbial metabolism of organic material has been recognized as a potential positive-feedback mechanism that would enhance permafrost thawing and the release of carbon. This internal heat production is poorly understood, however, and the strength of this effect remains unclear. Here, we have quantified the variability of heat production in contrasting organic permafrost soils across Greenland and tested the hypothesis that these soils produce enough heat to reach a tipping point after which internal heat production can accelerate the decomposition processes. Results show that the impact of climate changes on natural organic soils can be accelerated by microbial heat production with crucial implications for the amounts of carbon being decomposed. The same is shown to be true for organic middens with the risk of losing unique evidence of early human presence in the Arctic.

  5. Storage and transformation of organic matter fractions in cryoturbated permafrost soils across the Siberian Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gentsch, N.; Mikutta, R.; Alves, R. J. E.; Barta, J.; Čapek, P.; Gittel, A.; Hugelius, G.; Kuhry, P.; Lashchinskiy, N.; Palmtag, J.; Richter, A.; Šantrůčková, H.; Schnecker, J.; Shibistova, O.; Urich, T.; Wild, B.; Guggenberger, G.

    2015-07-01

    In permafrost soils, the temperature regime and the resulting cryogenic processes are important determinants of the storage of organic carbon (OC) and its small-scale spatial variability. For cryoturbated soils, there is a lack of research assessing pedon-scale heterogeneity in OC stocks and the transformation of functionally different organic matter (OM) fractions, such as particulate and mineral-associated OM. Therefore, pedons of 28 Turbels were sampled in 5 m wide soil trenches across the Siberian Arctic to calculate OC and total nitrogen (TN) stocks based on digital profile mapping. Density fractionation of soil samples was performed to distinguish between particulate OM (light fraction, LF, fraction, HF, > 1.6 g cm-3), and a mobilizable dissolved pool (mobilizable fraction, MoF). Across all investigated soil profiles, the total OC storage was 20.2 ± 8.0 kg m-2 (mean ± SD) to 100 cm soil depth. Fifty-four percent of this OC was located in the horizons of the active layer (annual summer thawing layer), showing evidence of cryoturbation, and another 35 % was present in the upper permafrost. The HF-OC dominated the overall OC stocks (55 %), followed by LF-OC (19 % in mineral and 13 % in organic horizons). During fractionation, approximately 13 % of the OC was released as MoF, which likely represents a readily bioavailable OM pool. Cryogenic activity in combination with cold and wet conditions was the principle mechanism through which large OC stocks were sequestered in the subsoil (16.4 ± 8.1 kg m-2; all mineral B, C, and permafrost horizons). Approximately 22 % of the subsoil OC stock can be attributed to LF material subducted by cryoturbation, whereas migration of soluble OM along freezing gradients appeared to be the principle source of the dominant HF (63 %) in the subsoil. Despite the unfavourable abiotic conditions, low C / N ratios and high δ13C values indicated substantial microbial OM transformation in the subsoil, but this was not reflected in

  6. Relating the Chemical Composition of Dissolved Organic Matter Draining Permafrost Soils to its Photochemical Degradation in Arctic Surface Waters.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ward, C.; Cory, R. M.

    2015-12-01

    Thawing permafrost soils are expected to shift the chemical composition of DOM exported to and degraded in arctic surface waters. While DOM photo-degradation is an important component of the freshwater C cycle in the Arctic, the molecular controls on DOM photo-degradation remain poorly understood, making it difficult to predict how shifting chemical composition may alter DOM photo-degradation in arctic surface waters. To address this knowledge gap, we quantified the susceptibility of DOM draining the shallow organic mat and the deeper permafrost layer to complete photo-oxidation to CO₂ and partial photo-oxidation to compounds that remain in the DOM pool, and investigated changes in DOM chemical composition following sunlight exposure. DOM leached from the organic mat contained higher molecular weight, more oxidized and unsaturated aromatic species compared to permafrost DOM. Despite significant differences in initial chemical composition, permafrost and organic mat DOM had similar susceptibilities to complete photo-oxidation to CO₂. Concurrent losses of carboxyl moieties and shifts in chemical composition during photo-degradation indicated that carboxyl-rich tannin-like compounds in both DOM sources were likely photo-decarboxylated to CO₂. Permafrost DOM had a higher susceptibility to partial photo-oxidation compared to organic mat DOM, potentially due to a lower abundance of phenolic compounds that act as "antioxidants" and slow the oxidation of DOM. These results demonstrated how chemical composition controls the photo-degradation of DOM in arctic surface waters, and that DOM photo-degradation will likely remain an important component of the freshwater C budget in the Arctic with increased export of permafrost DOM to surface waters.

  7. Storage and transformation of organic matter fractions in cryoturbated permafrost soils across the Siberian Arctic

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N. Gentsch

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available In permafrost soils, the temperature regime and the resulting cryogenic processes are decisive for the storage of organic carbon (OC and its small-scale spatial variability. For cryoturbated soils there is a lack in the assessment of pedon-scale heterogeneity in OC stocks and the transformation of functionally different organic matter (OM fractions such as particulate and mineral-associated OM. Therefore, pedons of 28 Turbels across the Siberian Arctic were sampled in five meter wide soil trenches in order to calculate OC and total nitrogen (TN stocks within the active layer and the upper permafrost based on digital profile mapping. Density fractionation of soil samples was performed to distinguish particulate OM (light fraction, LF, −3, mineral associated OM (heavy fraction, HF, >1.6 g cm−3, and a mobilizable dissolved pool (mobilizable fraction, MoF. Mineral-organic associations were characterized by selective extraction of pedogenic Fe and Al oxides and the clay composition was analyzed by X-ray diffraction. Organic matter transformation in bulk soil and density fractions was assessed by the stable carbon isotope ratio (δ13C and element contents (C and N. Across all investigated soil profiles, total OC stocks were calculated to 20.2 ± 8.0 kg m−2 (mean ± SD to 100 cm soil depth. Of this average, 54% of the OC was located in active layer horizons (annual summer thawing layer showing evidence of cryoturbation, and another 35% was present in the permafrost. The HF-OC dominated the overall OC stocks (55% followed by LF-OC (19% in mineral and 13% in organic horizons. During fractionation about 13% of the OC was released as MoF, which likely represents the most bioavailable OM pool. Cryogenic activity combined with an impaired biodegradation in topsoil horizons (O and A horizons were the principle mechanisms to sequester large OC stocks in the subsoil (16.4 ± 8.1 kg m−2; all mineral B, C, and permafrost horizons. About 22% of the subsoil

  8. Demequina lutea sp. nov., isolated from a high Arctic permafrost soil

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Finster, Kai; Herbert, Rodney Andrew; Kjeldsen, Kasper Urup;

    2009-01-01

    Two Gram-stain-positive, pigmented, non-motile, non-spore-forming, pleomorphic, rod-shaped bacteria (strains SV45T and SV47), isolated from a permafrost soil collected from the Adventdalen valley, Spitsbergen, northern Norway, have been characterized taxonomically using a polyphasic approach....... Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed that the two permafrost isolates formed a distinct phyletic line within the suborder Micrococcineae of the order Actinomycetales. DNA-DNA hybridization analyses indicate that strains SV45T and SV47 are closely related (60-69 % relatedness) and...

  9. Permafrost Soils Database for Northern Alaska 2014

    Data.gov (United States)

    Arctic Landscape Conservation Cooperative — This database contains soil and permafrost stratigraphy for northern Alaska compiled from numerous project data files and reports. The Access Database has main data...

  10. Transport of petroleum hydrocarbons in permafrost soils

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A sampling program was conducted to determine the presence and extent of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination in permafrost soils at an abandoned arctic weather station. Core samples were taken of frozen silty clay at two known contaminated sites and analyzed for total petroleum hydrocarbon content. Contamination was observed at depths of 0.5 m into the permafrost. The most influential transport mechanism is likely to be migration of hydrocarbons through cracks, fissures and filled voids in the permafrost soil due to gravity drainage and capillary action. Another possible transport mechanism is by diffusion in unfrozen water within the permafrost. 19 refs., 4 figs

  11. Permafrost response to increasing Arctic shrub abundance depends on the relative influence of shrubs on local soil cooling versus large-scale climate warming

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Deciduous shrub abundance is increasing across the Arctic in response to climatic warming. In a recent field manipulation experiment in which shrubs were removed from a plot and compared to a control plot with shrubs, Blok et al (2010 Glob. Change Biol. 16 1296–305) found that shrubs protect the ground through shading, resulting in a ∼ 9% shallower active layer thickness (ALT) under shrubs compared to grassy-tundra, which led them to argue that continued Arctic shrub expansion could mitigate future permafrost thaw. We utilize the Community Land Model (CLM4) coupled to the Community Atmosphere Model (CAM4) to evaluate this hypothesis. CLM4 simulates shallower ALT (∼− 11 cm) under shrubs, consistent with the field manipulation study. However, in an idealized pan-Arctic + 20% shrub area experiment, atmospheric heating, driven mainly by surface albedo changes related to protrusion of shrub stems above the spring snowpack, leads to soil warming and deeper ALT (∼+ 10 cm). Therefore, if climate feedbacks are considered, shrub expansion may actually increase rather than decrease permafrost vulnerability. When we account for blowing-snow redistribution from grassy-tundra to shrubs, shifts in snowpack distribution in low versus high shrub area simulations counter the climate warming impact, resulting in a grid cell mean ALT that is unchanged. These results reinforce the need to consider vegetation dynamics and blowing-snow processes in the permafrost thaw model projections.

  12. Petroleum contamination movement into permafrost in the high Arctic

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The extent of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination that has penetrated the active layer into the permafrost at sites where spills have occurred in Canada's Arctic was discussed. There was evidence to suggest that hydrocarbon contamination may enter the permafrost layer through gravity drainage and cap suction through fissures in the frozen soil, and perhaps by diffusion through the unfrozen water of fine-grained soils. Core samples were taken in frozen silty clay to be sectioned and analyzed for total petroleum hydrocarbons, using ultrasonic solvent extraction and gas chromatography and mass spectrometry analysis. It was concluded that it is possible for petroleum contamination in permafrost to migrate by gravity drainage down soil fissures and then diffuse into surrounding soil. 2 figs

  13. Permafrost soils and carbon cycling

    OpenAIRE

    Ping, C. L.; J. D. Jastrow; Jorgenson, M. T.; Michaelson, G. J.; Y. L. Shur

    2015-01-01

    Knowledge of soils in the permafrost region has advanced immensely in recent decades, despite the remoteness and inaccessibility of most of the region and the sampling limitations posed by the severe environment. These efforts significantly increased estimates of the amount of organic carbon stored in permafrost-region soils and improved understanding of how pedogenic processes unique to permafrost environments built enormous organic carbon stocks during the Quaternary. This...

  14. The seasonal dynamics of Arctic surface hydrology in permafrost environments

    OpenAIRE

    Trofaier, Anna Maria

    2014-01-01

    Climate-induced landscape evolution is resulting in changes to biogeochemical and hydrologi- cal cycling. In the Arctic and sub-Arctic permafrost zones, rising air temperatures are warming, and in some regions even thawing, the frozen ground. Permafrost is a carbon sink. The thermal state of the ground therefore has important implications on carbon exchange with the atmo- sphere. Permafrost thaw mobilises previously sequestered carbon stocks, potentially turning these high latitude regions in...

  15. Beaded streams of Arctic permafrost landscapes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. D. Arp

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available Beaded streams are widespread in permafrost regions and are considered a common thermokarst landform. However, little is known about their distribution, how and under what conditions they form, and how their intriguing morphology translates to ecosystem functions and habitat. Here we report on a Circum-Arctic inventory of beaded streams and a watershed-scale analysis in northern Alaska using remote sensing and field studies. We mapped over 400 channel networks with beaded morphology throughout the continuous permafrost zone of northern Alaska, Canada, and Russia and found the highest abundance associated with medium- to high-ice content permafrost in moderately sloping terrain. In the Fish Creek watershed, beaded streams accounted for half of the drainage density, occurring primarily as low-order channels initiating from lakes and drained lake basins. Beaded streams predictably transition to alluvial channels with increasing drainage area and decreasing channel slope, although this transition is modified by local controls on water and sediment delivery. Comparison of one beaded channel using repeat photography between 1948 and 2013 indicate relatively stable form and 14C dating of basal sediments suggest channel formation may be as early as the Pleistocene–Holocene transition. Contemporary processes, such as deep snow accumulation in stream gulches effectively insulates river ice and allows for perennial liquid water below most beaded stream pools. Because of this, mean annual temperatures in pool beds are greater than 2 °C, leading to the development of perennial thaw bulbs or taliks underlying these thermokarst features. In the summer, some pools stratify thermally, which reduces permafrost thaw and maintains coldwater habitats. Snowmelt generated peak-flows decrease rapidly by two or more orders of magnitude to summer low flows with slow reach-scale velocity distributions ranging from 0.1 to 0.01 m s−1, yet channel runs still move water

  16. Chemical composition of dissolved organic matter draining permafrost soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ward, Collin P.; Cory, Rose M.

    2015-10-01

    Northern circumpolar permafrost soils contain roughly twice the amount of carbon stored in the atmosphere today, but the majority of this soil organic carbon is perennially frozen. Climate warming in the arctic is thawing permafrost soils and mobilizing previously frozen dissolved organic matter (DOM) from deeper soil layers to nearby surface waters. Previous studies have reported that ancient DOM draining deeper layers of permafrost soils was more susceptible to degradation by aquatic bacteria compared to modern DOM draining the shallow active layer of permafrost soils, and have suggested that DOM chemical composition may be an important control for the lability of DOM to bacterial degradation. However, the compositional features that distinguish DOM drained from different depths in permafrost soils are poorly characterized. Thus, the objective of this study was to characterize the chemical composition of DOM drained from different depths in permafrost soils, and relate these compositional differences to its susceptibility to biological degradation. DOM was leached from the shallow organic mat and the deeper permafrost layer of soils within the Imnavait Creek watershed on the North Slope of Alaska. DOM draining both soil layers was characterized in triplicate by coupling ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry, 13C solid-state NMR, and optical spectroscopy methods with multi-variate statistical analyses. Reproducibility of replicate mass spectra was high, and compositional differences resulting from interfering species or isolation effects were significantly smaller than differences between DOM drained from each soil layer. All analyses indicated that DOM leached from the shallower organic mat contained higher molecular weight, more oxidized, and more unsaturated aromatic species compared to DOM leached from the deeper permafrost layer. Bacterial production rates and bacterial efficiencies were significantly higher for permafrost compared to organic mat DOM

  17. Stability of permafrost dominated coastal cliffs in the Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoque, Md. Azharul; Pollard, Wayne H.

    2016-03-01

    Block failure is considered to be an important component of coastal retreat in permafrost regions. A comprehensive model is developed to study the effects of thermoerosional niche and ice wedge morphology on the stability of permafrost dominated coastal cliff against block failure. The model is formulated by coupling slope stability analysis with a time dependent progression of thermoerosional niches and the morphology of the nearby ice wedges. Model computations are initially performed for failure conditions for a given cliff height, frozen soil strength, ice content, water pressure in the active layer, thermoerosional niche depth and ice wedge morphology. Under these conditions block failures are found to be predominantly overturning failures and are governed by the tensile strength of frozen soil, thermoerosional niche depth and ice wedge location and depth. The effects of ice wedges are then examined by analyzing failure conditions for ice wedges of different locations and depths. For a given cliff height, strength and thermoerosional niche, block failure may occur at a range of different combinations of ice wedge locations and depths. Two stability nomograms are developed through repeated model calculations for range of cliff heights and frozen soil tensile strength. These nomograms can be used to determine the critical combinations of thermoerosional niche depth, ice wedge distance and ice wedge depth that lead to block collapse of a cliff of known height and soil strength. Some analytical expressions are also derived to determine potential block failure criteria along Arctic coasts.

  18. Resilience of Arctic Permafrost Carbon in Mackenzie River Basin: An Incubation Experiment to Observe Priming Potentials and Biodegradability of Arctic Permafrost Peatlands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hedgpeth, A.; Beilman, D.; Crow, S. E.

    2015-12-01

    Arctic permafrost zones cover 25% of the Northern Hemisphere and hold 1672Pg of soil carbon (C) with 277Pg in Arctic permafrost peatlands, which is 1/3 of the CO2 in the atmosphere. This currently protected C is a potential source for increased emissions in a warmer climate. Longer growing seasons resulting in increased plant productivity above and below ground may create new labile C inputs with the potential to affect mineralization of previously stable SOM, known as the priming effect. This study examined the response of soil respiration to labile substrate addition in carbon-rich (42-48 %C) permafrost peatland soils along a N-S transect in the central Mackenzie River Basin (69.2-62.6°N). Active layer and near surface soils (surface Δ14C values > -140.0) were collected from four sites between -10.5 and -5.2 MAT. Soils were spiked with 0.5 mg D-glucose g-1soil, and incubated at 10°C for 23 days to determine potential, short term (i.e., apparent) priming effects. On average glucose addition increased respiration in all samples. One site showed priming evidence in active layer soils despite one-way ANOVA not illustrating statistically significant differences between control and treated final cumulative CO2. Apparent priming effects were seen in two near surface permafrost samples, however cumulative increases in CO2 were not identified as significant. When all results from all sites and depths were considered, the addition of glucose showed no significant effect on total CO2 production relative to controls (p=0.957), suggesting that these sites may be resilient to increased inputs in that little priming evidence was observed. To test the idea that the soils that showed priming effects are of poorer quality, we conducted an additional incubation experiment to explore the biodegradability of these permafrost peatland soils. Soils from these four sites were inoculated and incubated for 17 days. The two sites with observed priming showed the highest biodegradability

  19. Methane-cycling microbial communities in permafrost affected soils on Herschel Island and the Yukon Coast, Western Canadian Arctic

    OpenAIRE

    Frank-Fahle, Béatrice A.

    2013-01-01

    Permafrost-affected ecosystems including peat wetlands are among the most obvious regions in which current microbial controls on organic matter decomposition are likely to change as a result of global warming. Wet tundra ecosystems in particular are ideal sites for increased methane production because of the waterlogged, anoxic conditions that prevail in seasonally increasing thawed layers. The following doctoral research project focused on investigating the abundance and distribution of the ...

  20. Hydro-climatic and lake change patterns in Arctic permafrost and non-permafrost areas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karlsson, Johanna Mård; Jaramillo, Fernando; Destouni, Georgia

    2015-10-01

    This paper investigates patterns of lake-area and hydro-climatic change in Arctic river basins, and possible influence of permafrost change reflected in such patterns. A salient change pattern, emerging across all investigated basins in both permafrost and non-permafrost areas, is an opposite change direction in runoff (R) from that in precipitation (P). To explain this change contrast, an increase (decrease) in relative water-balance constrained evapotranspiration ETwb/P is required where R decreases (increases). Increasing temporal variability of daily river discharge (sdQ) is found in all basins with spatially extensive lake decrease, which also exhibit decrease in ETwb/P. Clear indication of basin-wide permafrost thaw is found in only one basin, and is possible in two more, but unlikely in the largest of the total four investigated permafrost basins.

  1. Global warming and carbon dynamics in permafrost soils: methane production and oxidation

    OpenAIRE

    Dirk Wagner; Susanne Liebner;  ,

    2009-01-01

    The Arctic plays a key role in the Earths climate system, because global warming is predicted to be most pronounced at high latitudes, and one third of the global carbon pool is stored in ecosystems of the northern latitudes. The degradation of permafrost and the associated intensified release of methane, a climate-relevant trace gas, represent potential environmental hazards. The microorganisms driving methane production and oxidation in Arctic permafrost soils have remained poorly investiga...

  2. Metagenomics Reveals Microbial Community Composition And Function With Depth In Arctic Permafrost Cores

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jansson, J.; Tas, N.; Wu, Y.; Ulrich, C.; Kneafsey, T. J.; Torn, M. S.; Hubbard, S. S.; Chakraborty, R.; Graham, D. E.; Wullschleger, S. D.

    2013-12-01

    The Arctic is one of the most climatically sensitive regions on Earth and current surveys show that permafrost degradation is widespread in arctic soils. Biogeochemical feedbacks of permafrost thaw are expected to be dominated by the release of currently stored carbon back into the atmosphere as CO2 and CH4. Understanding the dynamics of C release from permafrost requires assessment of microbial functions from different soil compartments. To this end, as part of the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment in the Arctic, we collected two replicate permafrost cores (1m and 3m deep) from a transitional polygon near Barrow, AK. At this location, permafrost starts from 0.5m in depth and is characterized by variable ice content and higher pH than surface soils. Prior to sectioning, the cores were CT-scanned to determine the physical heterogeneity throughout the cores. In addition to detailed geochemical characterization, we used Illumina MiSeq technology to sequence 16SrRNA genes throughout the depths of the cores at 1 cm intervals. Selected depths were also chosen for metagenome sequencing of total DNA (including phylogenetic and functional genes) using the Illumina HiSeq platform. The 16S rRNA gene sequence data revealed that the microbial community composition and diversity changed dramatically with depth. The microbial diversity decreased sharply below the first few centimeters of the permafrost and then gradually increased in deeper layers. Based on the metagenome sequence data, the permafrost microbial communities were found to contain members with a large metabolic potential for carbon processing, including pathways for fermentation and methanogenesis. The surface active layers had more representatives of Verrucomicrobia (potential methane oxidizers) whereas the deep permafrost layers were dominated by several different species of Actinobacteria. The latter are known to have a diverse metabolic capability and are able to adapt to stress by entering a dormant yet

  3. Molecular investigations into a globally important carbon pool: Permafrost-protected carbon in Alaskan soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Waldrop, M.P.; Wickland, K.P.; White, Rickie; Berhe, A.A.; Harden, J.W.; Romanovsky, V.E.

    2010-01-01

    The fate of carbon (C) contained within permafrost in boreal forest environments is an important consideration for the current and future carbon cycle as soils warm in northern latitudes. Currently, little is known about the microbiology or chemistry of permafrost soils that may affect its decomposition once soils thaw. We tested the hypothesis that low microbial abundances and activities in permafrost soils limit decomposition rates compared with active layer soils. We examined active layer and permafrost soils near Fairbanks, AK, the Yukon River, and the Arctic Circle. Soils were incubated in the lab under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Gas fluxes at -5 and 5 ??C were measured to calculate temperature response quotients (Q10). The Q10 was lower in permafrost soils (average 2.7) compared with active layer soils (average 7.5). Soil nutrients, leachable dissolved organic C (DOC) quality and quantity, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the soils revealed that the organic matter within permafrost soils is as labile, or even more so, than surface soils. Microbial abundances (fungi, bacteria, and subgroups: methanogens and Basidiomycetes) and exoenzyme activities involved in decomposition were lower in permafrost soils compared with active layer soils, which, together with the chemical data, supports the reduced Q10 values. CH4 fluxes were correlated with methanogen abundance and the highest CH4 production came from active layer soils. These results suggest that permafrost soils have high inherent decomposability, but low microbial abundances and activities reduce the temperature sensitivity of C fluxes. Despite these inherent limitations, however, respiration per unit soil C was higher in permafrost soils compared with active layer soils, suggesting that decomposition and heterotrophic respiration may contribute to a positive feedback to warming of this eco region. Published 2010. This article is a US Government work and is in the public domain in the

  4. Priming-induced Changes in Permafrost Soil Organic Matter Decomposition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pegoraro, E.; Schuur, E.; Bracho, R. G.

    2015-12-01

    Warming of tundra ecosystems due to climate change is predicted to thaw permafrost and increase plant biomass and litter input to soil. Additional input of easily decomposable carbon can alter microbial activity by providing a much needed energy source, thereby accelerating soil organic matter decomposition. This phenomenon, known as the priming effect, can increase CO2 flux from soil to the atmosphere. However, the extent to which this mechanism can decrease soil carbon stocks in the Arctic is unknown. This project assessed priming effects on permafrost soil collected from a moist acidic tundra site in Healy, Alaska. We hypothesized that priming would increase microbial activity by providing microbes with a fresh source of carbon, thereby increasing decomposition of old and slowly decomposing carbon. Soil from surface and deep layers were amended with multiple pulses of uniformly 13C labeled glucose and cellulose, and samples were incubated at 15° C to quantify whether labile substrate addition increased carbon mineralization. We quantified the proportion of old carbon mineralization by measuring 14CO2. Data shows that substrate addition resulted in higher respiration rates in amended soils; however, priming was only observed in deep layers, where 30% more soil-derived carbon was respired compared to control samples. This suggests that microbes in deep layers are limited in energy, and the addition of labile carbon increases native soil organic matter decomposition, especially in soil with greater fractions of slowly decomposing carbon. Priming in permafrost could exacerbate the effects of climate change by increasing mineralization rates of carbon accumulated over the long-term in deep layers. Therefore, quantifying priming effect in permafrost soils is imperative to understanding the dynamics of carbon turnover in a warmer world.

  5. Seasonal fluxes and age of particulate organic carbon exported from Arctic catchments impacted by localized permafrost slope disturbances

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Projected warming is expected to alter the Arctic permafrost regime with potential impacts on hydrological fluxes of particulate organic carbon (POC) and sediment. Previous work has focused on large Arctic basins and revealed the important contribution of old carbon in river POC, but little is known about POC fluxes from smaller coastal watersheds, particularly where widespread postglacial raised marine sediments represent a potential source of old soil carbon that could be mobilized by permafrost disturbance. To evaluate these processes, the characteristics of POC, particulate nitrogen (PN) and suspended sediment transport from paired small coastal Arctic watersheds subject to recent permafrost disturbance were investigated at the Cape Bounty Arctic Watershed Observatory (CBAWO) in the Canadian High Arctic. Approximately 2% of the total suspended sediment load from both watersheds was composed of POC and the majority of the sediment and POC fluxes occurred during the spring snowmelt period. Radiocarbon analysis of POC indicates recent permafrost disturbances deliver substantially older POC to the aquatic system. Localized permafrost slope disturbances have a measurable influence on downstream POC age and dominate (estimated up to 78% of POC) sediment fluxes during summer baseflow. The elevation of disturbances and Holocene emergence data show limited age sensitivity of POC to the location of disturbance and suggest slope failures are likely to deliver carbon with a relatively similar age range to the aquatic system, regardless of landscape location. (paper)

  6. Changing climate: Geothermal evidence from permafrost in the Alaskan Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lachenbruch, A.H.; Marshall, B.V.

    1986-01-01

    Temperature profiles measured in permafrost in northernmost Alaska usually have anomalous curvature in the upper 100 meters or so. When analyzed by heat-conduction theory, the profiles indicate a variable but widespread secular warming of the permafrost surface, generally in the range of 2 to 4 Celsius degrees during the last few decades to a century. Although details of the climatic change cannot be resolved with existing data, there is little doubt of its general magnitude and timing; alternative explanations are limited by the fact that heat transfer in cold permafrost is exclusively by conduction. Since models of greenhouse warming predict climatic change will be greatest in the Arctic and might already be in progress, it is prudent to attempt to understand the rapidly changing thermal regime in this region.

  7. Complete and Partial Photo-oxidation of Dissolved Organic Matter Draining Permafrost Soils.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ward, Collin P; Cory, Rose M

    2016-04-01

    Photochemical degradation of dissolved organic matter (DOM) to carbon dioxide (CO2) and partially oxidized compounds is an important component of the carbon cycle in the Arctic. Thawing permafrost soils will change the chemical composition of DOM exported to arctic surface waters, but the molecular controls on DOM photodegradation remain poorly understood, making it difficult to predict how inputs of thawing permafrost DOM may alter its photodegradation. To address this knowledge gap, we quantified the susceptibility of DOM draining the shallow organic mat and the deeper permafrost layer of arctic soils to complete and partial photo-oxidation and investigated changes in the chemical composition of each DOM source following sunlight exposure. Permafrost and organic mat DOM had similar lability to photomineralization despite substantial differences in initial chemical composition. Concurrent losses of carboxyl moieties and shifts in chemical composition during photodegradation indicated that photodecarboxylation could account for 40-90% of DOM photomineralized to CO2. Permafrost DOM had a higher susceptibility to partial photo-oxidation compared to organic mat DOM, potentially due to a lower abundance of phenolic moieties with antioxidant properties. These results suggest that photodegradation will likely continue to be an important control on DOM fate in arctic freshwaters as the climate warms and permafrost soils thaw. PMID:26910810

  8. Relevance of mineral-organic associations in cryoturbated permafrost soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gentsch, Norman; Mikutta, Robert; Bárta, Jiří; Čapek, Petr; Gittel, Antje; Richter, Andreas; Šantrůčková, Hanna; Schnecker, Jörg; Shibistova, Olga; Urich, Tim; Wild, Birgit; Guggenberger, Georg

    2014-05-01

    Enhanced microbial decomposition of deep buried organic matter (OM) increase the release of CO2and CH4from high latitude ecosystems, thus being an uncertain but potentially crucial positive feedback to global warming. The role of soil minerals as stabilization agents of OM against microbial attack gain in importance as soon abiotic soil conditions will change in permafrost soils. We investigated changes in storage and turnover of soil organic carbon (OC) and total nitrogen (TN) associated with minerals in 27 cryoturbated permafrost soils from the west to the east Siberian Arctic. Furthermore, we studied the mineral composition and the potential of OM to interact with soil minerals via different binding mechanisms. Mineral-associated organic matter (MOM) was separated from particulate plant debris by density fractionation in sodium polytungstate (density cut-off 1.6 g cm-3). Their apparent 14C ages were determined by accelerator mass spectrometry and potential mineralization rates were analyzed in a 180 days incubation experiments at 5 and 15° C. The mineral composition was analyzed by X-ray diffraction and selective extractions. Desorption experiments (stepwise extraction with KCl and NaH2PO4) using the permafrost soils as well as reference soils from temperate regions (three Stagnolsols from Germany) were performed to study OM sorbed to mineral surfaces or complexed with polyvalent metal ions. The proportion of OC associated with minerals (MOC) ranged from 5.1 to 14.9 kg m-2 (average: 11.0 kg m-2), corresponding to ~55% from the total soil OC storage (average: 20.2 ± 8.0 kg m-2) in the first meter of the Cryosols. In contrast to temperate soils, where maximum MOC concentrations are present in topsoils, cambic, or spodic horizons, cryoturbation in permafrost soils leads to high MOC concentrations within the whole solum. Cryoturbated OM-rich pockets in the subsoil store 18% (2.0 ± 1.3 kg m-2) of the MOC while another 34% (3.8 ± 3.5 kg m-2) was located in the

  9. Using dissolved organic matter (DOM) composition to detect permafrost thaw in arctic and boreal watersheds

    Science.gov (United States)

    ODonnell, J. A.; Aiken, G.; Walvoord, M. A.; Butler, K.

    2013-12-01

    Permafrost thaw can profoundly alter hydrology and carbon dynamics in northern high-latitude regions. Thawing of permafrost has been detected through monitoring of borehole temperatures and active layer thickness (ALT), but these measurements have limited spatial inference and primarily reflect local conditions. Remote sensing analyses have been useful for detecting thermokarst features, yet have limited application in upland forests or in ice-poor regions not susceptible to ground subsidence. Analysis of stream discharge time-series (e.g. recession flow analysis) can be a powerful tool for detecting watershed-scale changes in ALT, but long-term hydrologic data is sparse in many northern regions. Given the large pool of organic carbon (C) in permafrost soils, most research has focused on how permafrost thaw impacts C released to the atmosphere. However, permafrost thaw may also modify the lateral flux of C from terrestrial to aquatic systems, often through increasing groundwater discharge to stream flow. Here, we present data from arctic (n=36) and boreal rivers (n=60) of Alaska to address the question: can DOM character in rivers be used as a tool for detecting permafrost thaw in high-latitude watersheds? We hypothesize that the chemical composition of DOM is sensitive to permafrost configuration as a control on (1) groundwater transit times, (2) microbial processing, and (3) stabilization in mineral soils. Using measurements of DOM optical properties, chemical fractionation, and 14C-DOC, we distinguished DOM character between supra- and sub-permafrost aquifers. DOM transported from supra-permafrost soils to rivers is subject to seasonal thawing and re-freezing of the active layer. DOC concentrations peaked during spring snowmelt (7.5 to 41.7 mgC L-1), when frozen soils confine subsurface flow to organic-soil horizons, and declined during summer (2.6 to 27.3 mgC L-1), when soils of the active layer thaw. Δ14C-DOC in three boreal rivers also declined seasonally

  10. Erosion of Organic Carbon from Permafrost Zones in the Arctic as a Geological Carbon Dioxide Sink

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hilton, R. G.; Galy, V.; Gaillardet, J.; Dellinger, M.; Bryant, C.; O'Regan, M.; Gröcke, D. R.; Coxall, H.; Bouchez, J.; Calmels, D.

    2015-12-01

    Soils of the northern high latitudes store carbon over millennial timescales and contain almost double the carbon stock of the atmosphere. The exposure and decomposition of aged organic matter in these soils is a carbon dioxide (CO2) source to the atmosphere. Permafrost thaw over the coming century may result in a significant CO2 release. However, some of this soil organic carbon in permafrost zones can be eroded and input to rivers. If it escapes degradation during river transport and is buried in ocean sediments, it instead contributes to a longer-term (>104 yr), geological CO2sink. Despite this recognition, the erosional flux and fate of particulate organic carbon (POC) in large rivers draining permafrost zones remains poorly constrained. We quantify POC source, flux and fate in the Mackenzie River Basin, the main sediment supplier to the Arctic Ocean, using radiocarbon, stable carbon isotopes and element ratios to correct for rock-derived POC. The eroded biospheric POC has resided in the basin for millennia, with a mean radiocarbon age of 5800±800 yr. Rivers eroding continuous permafrost zones contribute the oldest biospheric POC. Based on the measured biospheric POC content and annual sediment flux, we calculate a biospheric POC flux of 2.2 (+1.3/-0.9) TgC yr-1 from the Mackenzie River to the Arctic Ocean, three times the CO2 drawdown by silicate weathering. Offshore we find evidence for efficient terrestrial carbon burial over the Holocene period. Our findings demonstrate how erosion of organic carbon-rich, high latitude soils can result in a significant geological CO2sink. We postulate that this geological CO2 sink is sensitive to climate conditions in the Arctic. The transfer can operate when high latitudes host carbon stocks in soil, and while rivers can erode and transfer sediments to the Arctic Ocean. Over the last 1Ma, the erosional transfer was likely to have been enhanced during interglacials. We propose that erosion of biospheric carbon by large

  11. Undiscovered Arctic gas hydrates: permafrost relationship and resource evaluation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cherkashov, G. A.; Matveeva, T.

    2011-12-01

    Though ice-core studies show that multidecadal-scale methane variability is only weakly correlated with reconstructed temperature variations (Mitchell et al., 2010) methane emission to the atmosphere still consider as the most significant contributions to the global warming processes. Pockmarks, seeps, mud volcanoes and other features associated with methane fluxes from the seabed have been widely reported, particularly during the last three decades. On continental margins, seepage of hydrocarbon gases from shallow sedimentary layers is a common phenomenon, resulting either from in situ formation of gases (mainly methane) by bacterial decomposition of organic matter within rapidly accumulated upper sediments or from upward migration of gases formed at greater depths. Furthermore, processes associated with seabed fluid flow have been shown to affect benthic ecology and to supply methane to the hydrosphere and the atmosphere (Judd, 2003; Hovland and Judd, 2007). The most recent investigations testified that revaluation of the role of gas seeps and related gas hydrate formation processes in the Arctic environment is necessary for the understanding of global methane balance and global climate changes (Westbrook et al., 2009; Shahova and Semiletov, 2010). With respect to gas hydrate formation, due to the presence of relict permafrost the Arctic submarine environment holds a specific place that is distinct from the rest of the Ocean. Submarine gas hydrates in the Arctic may be confined to (1) relict permafrost occurrences on the shelf; (2) concentrated methane infiltration toward the seafloor (shallow-seated gas hydrates); (3) dissipated methane infiltration from great depths (deep-seated gas hydrates). Permafrost-related or cryogenic gas hydrates form due to exogenous cooling of sediment (intra- and sub-permafrost gas hydrates). It is also suggested that some parts of hydrates may be preserved owing to a self-preservation effect above the gas hydrate stability zone

  12. Shoreface of the Arctic seas - a natural laboratory for subsea permafrost dynamics

    OpenAIRE

    Are, Felix E.

    2003-01-01

    Subsea permafrost on the Arctic shelf occupies some 13 million km2, but is poorly understood. Mathematical modeling, based on the differential equation of heat conduction, is widely used for the compilation of predictive permafrost maps. Realistic geocryological conditions on the Arctic shelf cannot however be explained simply by heat conduction. Laboratory and field investigations show that heat convection and mass transfer play an important role in marine permafrost dynamics. Correspondingl...

  13. Projecting the release of carbon from permafrost soils using a perturbed physics ensemble

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacDougall, A. H.; Knutti, R.

    2015-12-01

    The soils of the Northern Hemisphere permafrost region are estimated to contain 1100 to 1500 Pg of carbon (Pg C). A substantial fraction of this carbon has been frozen and therefore protected from microbial decay for millennia. As anthropogenic climate warming progresses much of this permafrost is expected to thaw. Here we conduct perturbed physics experiments on a climate model of intermediate complexity, with an improved permafrost carbon module, to estimate with formal uncertainty bounds the release of carbon from permafrost soils by year 2100 and 2300. We estimate that by 2100 the permafrost region may release between 56 (13 to 118) Pg C under Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 2.6 and 102 (27 to 199) Pg C under RCP 8.5, with substantially more to be released under each scenario by year 2300. A subset of 25 model variants were projected 8000 years into the future under continued RCP 4.5 and 8.5 forcing. Under the high forcing scenario the permafrost carbon pool decays away over several thousand years. Under the moderate scenario forcing a remnant near-surface permafrost region persists in the high Arctic which develops a large permafrost carbon pool, leading to global recovery of the pool beginning in mid third millennium of the common era (CE). Overall our simulations suggest that the permafrost carbon cycle feedback to climate change will make a significant but not cataclysmic contribution to climate change over the next centuries and millennia.

  14. The Ecological Situation in the Russian Arctic Permafrost Zone

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Petrov Sergei

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available The paper describes innovative approaches to ensure environmental safety in the production of hydrocarbon material in a permafrost zone. Studies the anthropogenic environmental factors, climatic and geographical and geological conditions of Purovskiy district of Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area (YaNAO. We consider the chemical characteristics of wastewater discharged into surface water objects, polluting emissions into the atmosphere. The conclusions of the environmental situation in Purovskiy and Ustpurovsk-Tazovskiy permafrost areas. Calculate the concentration of pollutants in the control section of the water object and the maximum ground-level concentrations of pollutants in the atmospheric air. The conclusions about the exceeding the maximum permissible concentration (MPC in the atmospheric air for solids, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide. Was examined the climatic conditions of the Far North. Correlational analysis was performed between human factors and temperature conditions of the northern territories, as well as between the climate and natural features cryological and disturbed permafrost soils.

  15. Reviews and Syntheses: Effects of permafrost thaw on arctic aquatic ecosystems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. E. Vonk

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available The Arctic is a water-rich region, with freshwater systems covering 16 % of the northern permafrost landscape. The thawing of this permafrost creates new freshwater ecosystems, while at the same time modifying the existing lakes, streams, and rivers that are impacted by thaw. Here, we describe the current state of knowledge regarding how permafrost thaw affects lentic and lotic systems, exploring the effects of both thermokarst (thawing and collapse of ice-rich permafrost and deepening of the active layer (the surface soil layer that thaws and refreezes each year. Within thermokarst, we further differentiate between the effects of thermokarst in lowland areas, vs. that on hillslopes. For almost all of the processes that we explore, the effects of thaw vary regionally, and between lake and stream systems. Much of this regional variation is caused by differences in ground ice content, topography, soil type, and permafrost coverage. Together, these modifying variables determine the degree to which permafrost thaw manifests as thermokarst, whether thermokarst leads to slumping or the formation of thermokarst lakes, and the manner in which constituent delivery to freshwater systems is altered by thaw. Differences in thaw-enabled constituent delivery can be considerable, with these modifying variables determining, for example, the balance between delivery of particulate vs. dissolved constituents, and inorganic vs. organic materials. Changes in the composition of thaw-impacted waters, coupled with changes in lake morphology, can strongly affect the physical and optical properties of thermokarst lakes. The ecology of thaw-impacted systems is also likely to change, with thaw-impacted lakes and streams having unique microbiological communities, and showing differences in respiration, primary production, and food web structure that are largely driven by differences in sediment, dissolved organic matter and nutrient delivery. The degree to which thaw

  16. Reviews and syntheses: Effects of permafrost thaw on Arctic aquatic ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vonk, J. E.; Tank, S. E.; Bowden, W. B.; Laurion, I.; Vincent, W. F.; Alekseychik, P.; Amyot, M.; Billet, M. F.; Canário, J.; Cory, R. M.; Deshpande, B. N.; Helbig, M.; Jammet, M.; Karlsson, J.; Larouche, J.; MacMillan, G.; Rautio, M.; Anthony, K. M. Walter; Wickland, K. P.

    2015-12-01

    The Arctic is a water-rich region, with freshwater systems covering about 16 % of the northern permafrost landscape. Permafrost thaw creates new freshwater ecosystems, while at the same time modifying the existing lakes, streams, and rivers that are impacted by thaw. Here, we describe the current state of knowledge regarding how permafrost thaw affects lentic (still) and lotic (moving) systems, exploring the effects of both thermokarst (thawing and collapse of ice-rich permafrost) and deepening of the active layer (the surface soil layer that thaws and refreezes each year). Within thermokarst, we further differentiate between the effects of thermokarst in lowland areas vs. that on hillslopes. For almost all of the processes that we explore, the effects of thaw vary regionally, and between lake and stream systems. Much of this regional variation is caused by differences in ground ice content, topography, soil type, and permafrost coverage. Together, these modifying factors determine (i) the degree to which permafrost thaw manifests as thermokarst, (ii) whether thermokarst leads to slumping or the formation of thermokarst lakes, and (iii) the manner in which constituent delivery to freshwater systems is altered by thaw. Differences in thaw-enabled constituent delivery can be considerable, with these modifying factors determining, for example, the balance between delivery of particulate vs. dissolved constituents, and inorganic vs. organic materials. Changes in the composition of thaw-impacted waters, coupled with changes in lake morphology, can strongly affect the physical and optical properties of thermokarst lakes. The ecology of thaw-impacted lakes and streams is also likely to change; these systems have unique microbiological communities, and show differences in respiration, primary production, and food web structure that are largely driven by differences in sediment, dissolved organic matter, and nutrient delivery. The degree to which thaw enables the delivery

  17. Effect of Terrain Characteristics on Soil Organic Carbon and Total Nitrogen Stocks in Soils of Herschel Island, Western Canadian Arctic

    OpenAIRE

    Obu, Jaroslav; Lantuit, Hugues; Myers-Smith, Isla; Heim, Birgit; Wolter, Juliane; Fritz, Michael

    2015-01-01

    Permafrost landscapes experience different disturbances and store large amounts of organic matter, which may become a source of greenhouse gases upon permafrost degradation. We analysed the influence of terrain and geomorphic disturbances (e.g. soil creep, active-layer detachment, gullying, thaw slumping, accumulation of fluvial deposits) on soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (TN) storage using 11 permafrost cores from Herschel Island, western Canadian Arctic. Our results indicate a...

  18. Radiocarbon age-offsets in an arctic lake reveal the long-term response of permafrost carbon to climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gaglioti, Benjamin V.; Mann, Daniel H.; Jones, Benjamin M.; Pohlman, John W.; Kunz, Michael L.; Wooller, Matthew J.

    2014-01-01

    Continued warming of the Arctic may cause permafrost to thaw and speed the decomposition of large stores of soil organic carbon (OC), thereby accentuating global warming. However, it is unclear if recent warming has raised the current rates of permafrost OC release to anomalous levels or to what extent soil carbon release is sensitive to climate forcing. Here we use a time series of radiocarbon age-offsets (14C) between the bulk lake sediment and plant macrofossils deposited in an arctic lake as an archive for soil and permafrost OC release over the last 14,500 years. The lake traps and archives OC imported from the watershed and allows us to test whether prior warming events stimulated old carbon release and heightened age-offsets. Today, the age-offset (2 ka; thousand of calibrated years before A.D. 1950) and the depositional rate of ancient OC from the watershed into the lake are relatively low and similar to those during the Younger Dryas cold interval (occurring 12.9–11.7 ka). In contrast, age-offsets were higher (3.0–5.0 ka) when summer air temperatures were warmer than present during the Holocene Thermal Maximum (11.7–9.0 ka) and Bølling-Allerød periods (14.5–12.9 ka). During these warm times, permafrost thaw contributed to ancient OC depositional rates that were ~10 times greater than today. Although permafrost OC was vulnerable to climate warming in the past, we suggest surface soil organic horizons and peat are presently limiting summer thaw and carbon release. As a result, the temperature threshold to trigger widespread permafrost OC release is higher than during previous warming events.

  19. Biodegradability of dissolved organic carbon in permafrost soils and aquatic systems: a meta-analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jorien E. Vonk; Suzanne E. Tank; Paul J. Mann; Robert G.M. Spencer; Claire C. Treat; Striegl, Rob; Benjamin W. Abbott; Wickland, Kimberly P.

    2015-01-01

    As Arctic regions warm and frozen soils thaw, the large organic carbon pool stored in permafrost becomes increasingly vulnerable to decomposition or transport. The transfer of newly mobilized carbon to the atmosphere and its potential influence upon climate change will largely depend on the degradability of carbon delivered to aquatic ecosystems. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) is a key regulator of aquatic metabolism, yet knowledge of the mechanistic controls on DOC biodegradability is currently poor due to a scarcity of long-term data sets, limited spatial coverage of available data, and methodological diversity. Here, we performed parallel biodegradable DOC (BDOC) experiments at six Arctic sites (16 experiments) using a standardized incubation protocol to examine the effect of methodological differences commonly used in the literature. We also synthesized results from 14 aquatic and soil leachate BDOC studies from across the circum-arctic permafrost region to examine pan-arctic trends in BDOC.An increasing extent of permafrost across the landscape resulted in higher DOC losses in both soil and aquatic systems. We hypothesize that the unique composition of (yedoma) permafrost-derived DOC combined with limited prior microbial processing due to low soil temperature and relatively short flow path lengths and transport times, contributed to a higher overall terrestrial and freshwater DOC loss. Additionally, we found that the fraction of BDOC decreased moving down the fluvial network in continuous permafrost regions, i.e. from streams to large rivers, suggesting that highly biodegradable DOC is lost in headwater streams. We also observed a seasonal (January–December) decrease in BDOC in large streams and rivers, but saw no apparent change in smaller streams or soil leachates. We attribute this seasonal change to a combination of factors including shifts in carbon source, changing DOC residence time related to increasing thaw-depth, increasing water temperatures later

  20. Biodegradability of dissolved organic carbon in permafrost soils and aquatic systems: a meta-analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vonk, J. E.; Tank, S. E.; Mann, P. J.; Spencer, R. G. M.; Treat, C. C.; Striegl, R. G.; Abbott, B. W.; Wickland, K. P.

    2015-12-01

    As Arctic regions warm and frozen soils thaw, the large organic carbon pool stored in permafrost becomes increasingly vulnerable to decomposition or transport. The transfer of newly mobilized carbon to the atmosphere and its potential influence upon climate change will largely depend on the degradability of carbon delivered to aquatic ecosystems. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) is a key regulator of aquatic metabolism, yet knowledge of the mechanistic controls on DOC biodegradability is currently poor due to a scarcity of long-term data sets, limited spatial coverage of available data, and methodological diversity. Here, we performed parallel biodegradable DOC (BDOC) experiments at six Arctic sites (16 experiments) using a standardized incubation protocol to examine the effect of methodological differences commonly used in the literature. We also synthesized results from 14 aquatic and soil leachate BDOC studies from across the circum-arctic permafrost region to examine pan-arctic trends in BDOC. An increasing extent of permafrost across the landscape resulted in higher DOC losses in both soil and aquatic systems. We hypothesize that the unique composition of (yedoma) permafrost-derived DOC combined with limited prior microbial processing due to low soil temperature and relatively short flow path lengths and transport times, contributed to a higher overall terrestrial and freshwater DOC loss. Additionally, we found that the fraction of BDOC decreased moving down the fluvial network in continuous permafrost regions, i.e. from streams to large rivers, suggesting that highly biodegradable DOC is lost in headwater streams. We also observed a seasonal (January-December) decrease in BDOC in large streams and rivers, but saw no apparent change in smaller streams or soil leachates. We attribute this seasonal change to a combination of factors including shifts in carbon source, changing DOC residence time related to increasing thaw-depth, increasing water temperatures later

  1. Contrasting radiation and soil heat fluxes in Arctic shrub and wet sedge tundra

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Juszak, Inge; Eugster, Werner; Heijmans, Monique M.P.D.; Schaepman-Strub, Gabriela

    2016-01-01

    Vegetation changes, such as shrub encroachment and wetland expansion, have been observed in many Arctic tundra regions. These changes feed back to permafrost and climate. Permafrost can be protected by soil shading through vegetation as it reduces the amount of solar energy available for thawing.

  2. Projecting the release of carbon from permafrost soils using a perturbed parameter ensemble modelling approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacDougall, Andrew H.; Knutti, Reto

    2016-04-01

    The soils of the northern hemispheric permafrost region are estimated to contain 1100 to 1500 Pg of carbon. A substantial fraction of this carbon has been frozen and therefore protected from microbial decay for millennia. As anthropogenic climate warming progresses much of this permafrost is expected to thaw. Here we conduct perturbed model experiments on a climate model of intermediate complexity, with an improved permafrost carbon module, to estimate with formal uncertainty bounds the release of carbon from permafrost soils by the year 2100 and 2300 CE. We estimate that by year 2100 the permafrost region may release between 56 (13 to 118) Pg C under Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 2.6 and 102 (27 to 199) Pg C under RCP 8.5, with substantially more to be released under each scenario by the year 2300. Our analysis suggests that the two parameters that contribute most to the uncertainty in the release of carbon from permafrost soils are the size of the non-passive fraction of the permafrost carbon pool and the equilibrium climate sensitivity. A subset of 25 model variants are integrated 8000 years into the future under continued RCP forcing. Under the moderate RCP 4.5 forcing a remnant near-surface permafrost region persists in the high Arctic, eventually developing a new permafrost carbon pool. Overall our simulations suggest that the permafrost carbon cycle feedback to climate change will make a significant contribution to climate change over the next centuries and millennia, releasing a quantity of carbon 3 to 54 % of the cumulative anthropogenic total.

  3. Biodegradability of dissolved organic carbon in permafrost soils and waterways: a meta-analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vonk, J. E.; Tank, S. E.; Mann, P. J.; Spencer, R. G. M.; Treat, C. C.; Striegl, R. G.; Abbott, B. W.; Wickland, K. P.

    2015-06-01

    As Arctic regions warm, the large organic carbon pool stored in permafrost becomes increasingly vulnerable to thaw and decomposition. The transfer of newly mobilized carbon to the atmosphere and its potential influence upon climate change will largely depend on the reactivity and subsequent fate of carbon delivered to aquatic ecosystems. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) is a key regulator of aquatic metabolism and its biodegradability will determine the extent and rate of carbon release from aquatic ecosystems to the atmosphere. Knowledge of the mechanistic controls on DOC biodegradability is however currently poor due to a scarcity of long-term data sets, limited spatial coverage of available data, and methodological diversity. Here, we performed parallel biodegradable DOC (BDOC) experiments at six Arctic sites (16 experiments) using a standardized incubation protocol to examine the effect of methodological differences used as common practice in the literature. We further synthesized results from 14 aquatic and soil leachate BDOC studies from across the circum-arctic permafrost region to examine pan-Arctic trends in BDOC. An increasing extent of permafrost across the landscape resulted in higher BDOC losses in both soil and aquatic systems. We hypothesize that the unique composition of permafrost-derived DOC combined with limited prior microbial processing due to low soil temperature and relatively shorter flow path lengths and transport times, resulted in higher overall terrestrial and freshwater BDOC loss. Additionally, we found that the fraction of BDOC decreased moving down the fluvial network in continuous permafrost regions, i.e. from streams to large rivers, suggesting that highly biodegradable DOC is lost in headwater streams. We also observed a seasonal (January-December) decrease in BDOC losses in large streams and rivers, but no apparent change in smaller streams and soil leachates. We attribute this seasonal change to a combination of factors including

  4. Nonlinear thermal and moisture response of ice-wedge polygons to permafrost disturbance increases heterogeneity of high Arctic wetland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Godin, Etienne; Fortier, Daniel; Lévesque, Esther

    2016-03-01

    Low-center polygonal terrains with gentle sloping surfaces and lowlands in the high Arctic have a potential to retain water in the lower central portion of ice-wedge polygons and are considered high-latitude wetlands. Such wetlands in the continuous permafrost regions have an important ecological role in an otherwise generally arid region. In the valley of the glacier C-79 on Bylot Island (Nunavut, Canada), thermal erosion gullies were rapidly eroding the permafrost along ice wedges affecting the integrity of the polygons by breaching and collapsing the surrounding rims. Intact polygons were characterized by a relative homogeneity in terms of topography, snow cover, maximum active layer thaw depth, ground moisture content and vegetation cover (where eroded polygons responded nonlinearly to perturbations, which resulted in differing conditions in the latter elements). The heterogeneous nature of disturbed terrains impacted active layer thickness, ground ice aggradation in the upper portion of permafrost, soil moisture, vegetation dynamics and carbon storage.

  5. The transcriptional response of microbial communities in thawing Alaskan permafrost soils

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M J L Coolen

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available Thawing of permafrost soils is expected to stimulate microbial decomposition and respiration of sequestered carbon. This could, in turn, increase atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, and create a positive feedback to climate warming. Recent metagenomic studies suggest that permafrost has a large metabolic potential for carbon processing, including pathways for fermentation and methanogenesis. Here, we performed a pilot study using ultrahigh throughput Illumina HiSeq sequencing of reverse transcribed messenger RNA to obtain a detailed overview of active metabolic pathways and responsible organisms in up to 70 cm deep permafrost soils at a moist acidic tundra location in Arctic Alaska. The transcriptional response of the permafrost microbial community was compared before and after eleven days of thaw. In general, the transcriptional profile under frozen conditions suggests a dominance of stress responses, survival strategies, and maintenance processes, whereas upon thaw a rapid enzymatic response to decomposing soil organic matter (SOM was observed. Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, ascomycete fungi, and methanogens were responsible for largest transcriptional response upon thaw. Transcripts indicative of heterotrophic methanogenic pathways utilizing acetate, methanol, and methylamine were found predominantly in the permafrost table after thaw. Furthermore, transcripts involved in acetogenesis were expressed exclusively after thaw suggesting that acetogenic bacteria are a potential source of acetate for acetoclastic methanogenesis in freshly thawed permafrost. Metatranscriptomics is shown here to be a useful approach for inferring the activity of permafrost microbes that has potential to improve our understanding of permafrost SOM bioavailability and biogeochemical mechanisms contributing to greenhouse gas emissions as a result of permafrost thaw.

  6. Estimation of permafrost thawing rates in a sub-arctic catchment using recession flow analysis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. W. Lyon

    2009-05-01

    Full Text Available Permafrost thawing is likely to change the flow pathways taken by water as it moves through arctic and sub-arctic landscapes. The location and distribution of these pathways directly influence the carbon and other biogeochemical cycling in northern latitude catchments. While permafrost thawing due to climate change has been observed in the arctic and sub-arctic, direct observations of permafrost depth are difficult to perform at scales larger than a local scale. Using recession flow analysis, it may be possible to detect and estimate the rate of permafrost thawing based on a long-term streamflow record. We demonstrate the application of this approach to the sub-arctic Abiskojokken catchment in northern Sweden. Based on recession flow analysis, we estimate that permafrost in this catchment may be thawing at an average rate of about 0.9 cm/yr during the past 90 years. This estimated thawing rate is consistent with direct observations of permafrost thawing rates, ranging from 0.7 to 1.3 cm/yr over the past 30 years in the region.

  7. Utilization of ancient permafrost carbon in headwaters of Arctic fluvial networks

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mann, Paul J.; Eglinton, Timothy I.; McIntyre, Cameron P.; Zimov, Nikita; Davydova, Anna; Vonk, Jorien E.; Holmes, Robert M.; Spencer, Robert G M

    2015-01-01

    Northern high-latitude rivers are major conduits of carbon from land to coastal seas and the Arctic Ocean. Arctic warming is promoting terrestrial permafrost thaw and shifting hydrologic flowpaths, leading to fluvial mobilization of ancient carbon stores. Here we describe 14 C and 13 C characteristi

  8. Microbial communities and processes in Arctic permafrost environments

    OpenAIRE

    Dirk Wagner

    2008-01-01

    In polar regions, huge layers of frozen ground, termed permafrost, are formed. Permafrost covers more than 25 % of the land surface and significant parts of the coastal sea shelfs. Its habitats are controlled by extreme climate and terrain conditions. Particularly, the seasonal freezing and thawing in the upper active layer of permafrost leads to distinct gradients in temperature and geochemistry. Microorganisms in permafrost environments have to survive extremely cold temperatures, freeze-th...

  9. Warming increases methylmercury production in an Arctic soil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Ziming; Fang, Wei; Lu, Xia; Sheng, Guo-Ping; Graham, David E; Liang, Liyuan; Wullschleger, Stan D; Gu, Baohua

    2016-07-01

    Rapid temperature rise in Arctic permafrost impacts not only the degradation of stored soil organic carbon (SOC) and climate feedback, but also the production and bioaccumulation of methylmercury (MeHg) toxin that can endanger humans, as well as wildlife in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Currently little is known concerning the effects of rapid permafrost thaw on microbial methylation and how SOC degradation is coupled to MeHg biosynthesis. Here we describe the effects of warming on MeHg production in an Arctic soil during an 8-month anoxic incubation experiment. Net MeHg production increased >10 fold in both organic- and mineral-rich soil layers at warmer (8 °C) than colder (-2 °C) temperatures. The type and availability of labile SOC, such as reducing sugars and ethanol, were particularly important in fueling the rapid initial biosynthesis of MeHg. Freshly amended mercury was more readily methylated than preexisting mercury in the soil. Additionally, positive correlations between mercury methylation and methane and ferrous ion production indicate linkages between SOC degradation and MeHg production. These results show that climate warming and permafrost thaw could potentially enhance MeHg production by an order of magnitude, impacting Arctic terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems by increased exposure to mercury through bioaccumulation and biomagnification in the food web. PMID:27131808

  10. Contribution of permafrost soils to the global carbon budget

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Climate warming affects permafrost soil carbon pools in two opposing ways: enhanced vegetation growth leads to higher carbon inputs to the soil, whereas permafrost melting accelerates decomposition and hence carbon release. Here, we study the spatial and temporal dynamics of these two processes under scenarios of climate change and evaluate their influence on the carbon balance of the permafrost zone. We use the dynamic global vegetation model LPJmL, which simulates plant physiological and ecological processes and includes a newly developed discrete layer energy balance permafrost module and a vertical carbon distribution within the soil layer. The model is able to reproduce the interactions between vegetation and soil carbon dynamics as well as to simulate dynamic permafrost changes resulting from changes in the climate. We find that vegetation responds more rapidly to warming of the permafrost zone than soil carbon pools due to long time lags in permafrost thawing, and that the initial simulated net uptake of carbon may continue for some decades of warming. However, once the turning point is reached, if carbon release exceeds uptake, carbon is lost irreversibly from the system and cannot be compensated for by increasing vegetation carbon input. Our analysis highlights the importance of including dynamic vegetation and long-term responses into analyses of permafrost zone carbon budgets. (letter)

  11. Identifying active methane-oxidizers in thawed Arctic permafrost by proteomics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lau, C. M.; Stackhouse, B. T.; Chourey, K.; Hettich, R. L.; Vishnivetskaya, T. A.; Pfiffner, S. M.; Layton, A. C.; Mykytczuk, N. C.; Whyte, L.; Onstott, T. C.

    2012-12-01

    The rate of CH4 release from thawing permafrost in the Arctic has been regarded as one of the determining factors on future global climate. It is uncertain how indigenous microorganisms would interact with such changing environmental conditions and hence their impact on the fate of carbon compounds that are sequestered in the cryosol. Multitudinous studies of pristine surface cryosol (top 5 cm) and microcosm experiments have provided growing evidence of effective methanotrophy. Cryosol samples corresponding to active layer were sampled from a sparsely vegetated, ice-wedge polygon at the McGill Arctic Research Station at Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, Canada (N79°24, W90°45) before the onset of annual thaw. Pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene indicated the occurrence of methanotroph-containing bacterial families as minor components (~5%) in pristine cryosol including Bradyrhizobiaceae, Methylobacteriaceae and Methylocystaceae within alpha-Proteobacteria, and Methylacidiphilaceae within Verrucomicrobia. The potential of methanotrophy is supported by preliminary analysis of metagenome data, which indicated putative methane monooxygenase gene sequences relating to Bradyrhizobium sp. and Pseudonocardia sp. are present. Proteome profiling in general yielded minute traces of proteins, which likely hints at dormant nature of the soil microbial consortia. The lack of specific protein database for permafrost posted additional challenge to protein identification. Only 35 proteins could be identified in the pristine cryosol and of which 60% belonged to Shewanella sp. Most of the identified proteins are known to be involved in energy metabolism or post-translational modification of proteins. Microcosms amended with sodium acetate exhibited a net methane consumption of ~65 ngC-CH4 per gram (fresh weight) of soil over 16 days of aerobic incubation at room temperature. The pH in microcosm materials remained acidic (decreased from initial 4.7 to 4.5). Protein extraction and

  12. The behaviour of petroleum spills in permafrost soils

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Recent laboratory and field investigations of the migration of non-aqueous phase liquids into frozen soil dispelled the general assumption that permafrost provides an impermeable barrier, thus preventing the migration of spilled hydrocarbons into the frozen soil. In actual fact, these investigations confirm gravity-driven downward migration in the presence of air voids within the frozen soil matrix. This paper reviews the results of research on the migration of hydrocarbons into permafrost and frozen soils, and explains the mechanisms believed to be responsible for the phenomenon. To date, unfrozen portion of the pore water in permafrost, air voids in unsaturated fill installed for construction pads, and the network of fissures that develop as a result of frozen soil undergoing thermal contraction as temperature decreases, have been identified as conduits facilitating the migration of free phase petroleum hydrocarbons into permafrost or frozen soils. Each of these mechanisms and their potential impact are discussed. 4 refs., 5 figs

  13. New permafrost is forming around shrinking Arctic lakes, but will it last?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Briggs, Martin A.; Walvoord, Michelle A.; McKenzie, Jeffrey M.; Voss, Clifford I.; Day-Lewis, Frederick D.; Lane, Jr., John W.

    2014-01-01

    Widespread lake shrinkage in cold regions has been linked to climate warming and permafrost thaw. Permafrost aggradation, however, has been observed within the margins of recently receded lakes, in seeming contradiction of climate warming. Here permafrost aggradation dynamics are examined at Twelvemile Lake, a retreating lake in interior Alaska. Observations reveal patches of recently formed permafrost within the dried lake margin, colocated with discrete bands of willow shrub. We test ecological succession, which alters shading, infiltration, and heat transport, as the driver of aggradation using numerical simulation of variably saturated groundwater flow and heat transport with phase change (i.e., freeze-thaw). Simulations support permafrost development under current climatic conditions, but only when net effects of vegetation on soil conditions are incorporated, thus pointing to the role of ecological succession. Furthermore, model results indicate that permafrost aggradation is transitory with further climate warming, as new permafrost thaws within seven decades.

  14. Mapping Deep Low Velocity Zones in Alaskan Arctic Coastal Permafrost using Seismic Surface Waves

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dou, S.; Ajo Franklin, J. B.; Dreger, D. S.

    2012-12-01

    Permafrost degradation may be an important amplifier of climate change; Thawing of near-surface sediments holds the potential of increasing greenhouse gas emissions due to microbial decomposition of preserved organic carbon. Recently, the characterization of "deep" carbon pools (several meters below the surface) in circumpolar frozen ground has increased the estimated amount of soil carbon to three times higher than what was previously thought. It is therefore potentially important to include the characteristics and processes of deeper permafrost strata (on the orders of a few to tens of meters below surface) in climate models for improving future predictions of accessible carbon and climate feedbacks. This extension is particularly relevant if deeper formations are not completely frozen and may harbor on-going microbial activity despite sub-zero temperatures. Unfortunately, the characterization of deep permafrost systems is non-trivial; logistics and drilling constraints often limit direct characterization to relatively shallow units. Geophysical measurements, either surface or airborne, are often the most effective tools for evaluating these regions. Of the available geophysical techniques, the analysis of seismic surface waves (e.g. MASW) has several unique advantages, mainly the ability to provide field-scale information with good depth resolution as well as penetration (10s to 100s of m with small portable sources). Surface wave methods are also able to resolve low velocity regions, a class of features that is difficult to characterize using traditional P-wave refraction methods. As part of the Department of Energy (DOE) Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE-Arctic) project, we conducted a three-day seismic field survey (May 12 - 14, 2012) at the Barrow Environmental Observatory, which is located within the Alaskan Arctic Coastal Plain. Even though permafrost at the study site is continuous, ice-rich and thick (>= 350m), our Multichannel Analysis of

  15. Is Thawing Permafrost as a Result of Global Warming a Possible Significant Source of Degradable Carbon for Microbiota Residing In Situ and in Arctic Rivers?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhu, E. Y.; Coolen, M. J.

    2008-12-01

    Northern high-latitude ecosystems contain about half of the world's soil carbon, most of which is stored in permanently frozen soil (permafrost). Global warming through the 21st century is expected to induce permafrost thaw, which will increase microbial organic matter (OM) decomposition and release large amounts of the greenhouse gasses methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In addition, Arctic rivers are a globally important source of terrestrial organic carbon to the ocean and further permafrost melting will impact surface runoff, directly affecting groundwater storage and river discharge. Up to now, it remains largely unknown to what extent the ancient OM stored in newly thawing permafrost can be consumed by microbes in situ or by microbes residing in Arctic rivers which become exposed to newly discharged permafrost OM. In addition, we know little about which microbes are capable of degrading permafrost OM. During a field trip to the Toolik Lake Arctic Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) field station in northern Alaska in August 2008, we cored permafrost located near the Kuparuk River down to 110 cm below the active layer (i.e. the top layer which melts each summer) and analyzed the initial microbial enzymatic cleavage of particulate OM (POM) stored in permafrost. Alkaline phosphatase activity remained fairly constant throughout the permafrost and was only one order of magnitude lower than in the active layer. The latter enzyme cleaves organic phosphoesters into phosphate, which could cause eutrophication of lakes and rivers via ground water discharge. Similar results were found for β-glucosidase, which cleaves cellobiose into glucose. This process could fuel heterotrophic bacteria to produce carbon dioxide which, in return, could be converted to the stronger greenhouse gas methane by methanogenic archaea. Leucine aminopeptidase activities, on the other hand, were highest in the top Sphagnum root layer and quickly dropped to below detection limit

  16. Permafrost dynamics structure species compositions of oribatid mite (Acari: Oribatida) communities in sub-Arctic palsa mires

    OpenAIRE

    Markkula, Inkeri

    2014-01-01

    Palsa mires are sub-Arctic peatland complexes, vulnerable ecosystems with patches of permafrost. Permafrost thawing in palsa mires occurs throughout Fennoscandia, probably due to local climatic warming. In palsa mires, permafrost thaw alters hydrological conditions, vegetation structure and microhabitat composition with unknown consequences for invertebrate fauna. This study's objectives were to examine the role of microhabitat heterogeneity and the effects of permafrost dynamics and thaw on ...

  17. The Arctic CH4 sink and its implications for the permafrost carbon feedbacks to the global climate system

    Science.gov (United States)

    Juncher Jørgensen, Christian; Christiansen, Jesper; Mariager, Tue; Hugelius, Gustaf

    2016-04-01

    Using atmospheric methane (CH4), certain soil microbes are able to sustain their metabolism, and in turn remove this powerful greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. While the process of CH4 oxidation is a common feature in most natural and unmanaged ecosystems in temperate and boreal ecosystems, the interactions between soil physical properties and abiotic process drivers, net landscape exchange and spatial patterns across Arctic drylands remains highly uncertain. Recent works show consistent CH4 comsumption in upland dry tundra soils in Arctic and High Arctic environments (Christiansen et al., 2014, Biogeochemistry 122; Jørgensen et al., 2015, Nature Geoscience 8; Lau et al., 2015, The ISME Journal 9). In these dominantly dry or barren soil ecosystems, CH4 consumption has been observed to significantly exceed the amounts of CH4 emitted from adjacent wetlands. These observations point to a potentially important but largely overlooked component of the global soil-climate system interaction and a counterperspective to the conceptual understanding of the Arctic being a only a source of CH4. However, due to our limited knowledge of spatiotemporal occurrence of CH4 consumption across a wider range of the Arctic landscape we are left with substantial uncertainites and an overall unconstrained range estimate of this terrestrial CH4 sink and its potential effects on permafrost carbon feedback to the atmospheric CH4 concentration. To address this important knowledge gap and identify the most relevant spatial scaling parameters, we studied in situ CH4 net exchange across a large landscape transect on West Greenland. The transect representated soils formed from the dominant geological parent materials of dry upland tundra soils found in the ice-free land areas of Western Greenland, i.e. 1) granitic/gneissic parent material, 2) basaltic parent material and 3) sedimentary deposits. Results show that the dynamic variations in soil physical properties and soil hydrology exerts an

  18. Landscape and Hydrological Transformation in the Canadian High Arctic: Climate Change and Permafrost Degradation As Drivers of Change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lamoureux, S. F.; Lafreniere, M. J.

    2014-12-01

    Recent climate warming and landscape instability arising from permafrost degradation in the Canadian High Arctic have resulted in significant changes to the hydrological system. We have undertaken an integrated watershed and permafrost research program at the Cape Bounty Arctic Watershed Observatory (75°N, 109°W) in paired watershed-lake systems to assess the impact of these changes. Research has captured hydrological changes resulting from exceptional warmth, and permafrost degradation and disturbance. Results highlight the contrasting effect of thermal (deeper soil thaw) versus physical perturbation (slope failures and permafrost degradation). Thermal perturbation applies to most of the landscape, and results indicate that ground ice melt alters flow and mobilizes solutes for a number of years following a single warm year. These effects are measureable at the slope-catchment scale, especially during baseflow. By contrast, physical disturbance is highly localized and produces high sediment and particulate carbon erosion from slopes, but downstream particulate delivery is dependent on surface connectivity. Recovery from disturbances appears to occur rapidly, and continued geomorphic change and new slope channels result in sustained delivery of particulates to channels. The result is increased long term landscape heterogeneity with respect to erosion compared to the pre-disturbance condition. Downstream channel response to particulate loading further dampens the response to physical disturbance through channel storage of material. Hence, at the larger watershed scale, the effect of physical perturbation is minimal in the initial years of recovery. These results point to a landscape that has been substantially impacted by recent hydrological and permafrost changes. Understanding and distinguishing these impacts provides a basis for systematically evaluating biogeochemical cycling and ecosystem responses in aquatic settings.

  19. Carbon Fluxes in a sub-arctic tundra undergoing permafrost degradation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bracho, R. G.; Webb, E.; Mauritz, M.; Schuur, E. A. G.

    2014-12-01

    As an effect of climate change, temperatures in high latitude regions are increasing faster than in the rest of the world and future projections indicate it will increase between 7°C and 8°C by the end of the 21st century. Permafrost soils store around 1700 Pg of Carbon (C), which is approximately the amount of C stored in terrestrial vegetation and in the atmosphere combined. Sustained warming induces permafrost thaw, leads to a thicker seasonal active layer, and creates subsided patches in the landscape. Carbon that was previously inaccessible to decomposition is thus exposed, increasing the likelihood of positive feedback of CO2 to the atmosphere. We measured C fluxes (Net ecosystem carbon flux, NEE, and Ecosystem respiration, Re) using the eddy covariance approach in a tundra landscape (Eight Mile Lake Watershed, Alaska) undergoing permafrost degradation from the beginning of the growing season in 2008 and throughout most winters until May 2014. This interval encompassed a range of climatic variability that included a deviation of ± 50% from the long term average in growing season precipitation. Active layer depth (thaw depth at the end of the growing season) and subsidence in the footprint were used as indicators of permafrost degradation. Results indicate that annual NEE ranged from a sink of 0.76 MgC ha-1 yr-1 to a source of 0.55 MgC ha-1 yr-1. NEE during the growing seasons fluctuated from 1.1 to 1.8 MgC ha-1 season-1 in net C uptake. Annual NEE was strongly affected by winter Re, which represented between 33% and 45% of the annual value regardless of of the large drop in both air and soil temperature. Parameters from the light response curve (optimum NEE, NEEopt and quantum yield, α) showed a seasonal and interannual variability and were different between the most and least degraded sites in the footprint, which affected the magnitude of the carbon cycle and may have implications for landscape C balance in sub-arctic tundra.

  20. Utilization of ancient permafrost carbon in headwaters of Arctic fluvial networks

    OpenAIRE

    Paul J. Mann; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Mcintyre, Cameron P.; Zimov, Nikita; Davydova, Anna; Vonk, Jorien E.; Holmes, Robert M.; Spencer, Robert G.M.

    2015-01-01

    Northern high-latitude rivers are major conduits of carbon from land to coastal seas and the Arctic Ocean. Arctic warming is promoting terrestrial permafrost thaw and shifting hydrologic flowpaths, leading to fluvial mobilization of ancient carbon stores. Here we describe 14 C and 13 C characteristics of dissolved organic carbon from fluvial networks across the Kolyma River Basin (Siberia), and isotopic changes during bioincubation experiments. Microbial communities utilized ancient carbon (1...

  1. Correlations between the Heterogeneity of Permafrost Thaw Depth and Vegetation in Boreal Forests and Arctic Tundra in Alaska.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Uy, K. L. Q.; Natali, S.; Kholodov, A. L.; Loranty, M. M.

    2015-12-01

    Global climate change induces rapid large scale changes in the far Northern regions of the globe, which include the thickening of the active layer of arctic and subarctic soils. Active layer depth, in turn, drives many changes to the hydrology and geochemistry of the soil, making an understanding of this layer essential to boreal forest and arctic tundra ecology. Because the structure of plant communities can affect the thermal attributes of the soil, they may drive variations in active layer depth. For instance, trees and tussocks create shade, which reduces temperatures, but also hold snow, which increases temperature through insulation; these aspects of vegetation can increase or decrease summer thaw. The goal of this project is to investigate correlations between the degree of heterogeneity of active layer depths, organic layer thickness, and aboveground vegetation to determine how these facets of Northern ecosystems interact at the ecosystem scale. Permafrost thaw and organic layer depths were measured along 20m transects in twenty-four boreal forest and tundra sites in Alaska. Aboveground vegetation along these transects was characterized by measuring tree diameter at breast height (DBH), tussock dimensions, and understory biomass. Using the coefficient of variation as a measure of heterogeneity, we found a positive correlation between thaw depth variability and tussock volume variability, but little correlation between the former and tree DBH variability. Soil organic layer depth variability was also positively correlated with thaw depth variability, but weakly correlated with tree and tussock heterogeneity. These data suggest that low vegetation and organic layer control the degree of variability in permafrost thaw at the ecosystem scale. Vegetation can thus affect the microtopography of permafrost and future changes in the plant community that affect vegetation heterogeneity will drive corresponding changes in the variability of the soil.

  2. Susceptibility of Permafrost Soil Organic Carbon under Warming Climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Z.; Wullschleger, S. D.; Liang, L.; Graham, D. E.; Gu, B.

    2015-12-01

    Degradation of soil organic carbon (SOC) that has been stored in permafrost is a key concern under warming climate because it could provide a positive feedback. Studies and conceptual models suggest that SOC degradation is largely controlled by the decomposability of SOC, but it is unclear exactly what portions of SOC are susceptible to rapid breakdown and what mechanisms may be involved in SOC degradation. Using a suite of analytical techniques, we examined the dynamic consumption and production of labile SOC compounds, including sugars, alcohols, and small molecular weight organic acids in incubation experiments (up to 240 days at either -2 or 8 °C) with a tundra soil under anoxic conditions, where SOC respiration and iron(III) reduction were monitored. We observe that sugars and alcohols are main components in SOC accounting for initial rapid release of CO2 and CH4 through anaerobic fermentation, whereas the fermentation products such as acetate and formate are subsequently utilized as primary substrates for methanogenesis. Iron(III) reduction is correlated to acetate production and methanogenesis, suggesting its important roles as an electron acceptor in tundra SOC respiration. These observations corroborate strongly with the glucose addition during incubation, in which rapid CO2 and CH4 production is observed concurrently with rapid production and consumption of organics such as acetate. Thus, the biogeochemical processes we document here are pertinent to understanding the accelerated SOC decomposition with temperature and could provide basis for model predicting feedbacks to climate warming in the Arctic.

  3. The Role of Explicitly Modeling Bryophytes in Simulating Carbon Exchange and Permafrost Dynamics of an Arctic Coastal Tundra at Barrow, Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yuan, F.; Thornton, P. E.; McGuire, A. D.; Oechel, W. C.; Yang, B.; Tweedie, C. E.; Rogers, A.; Norby, R. J.

    2013-12-01

    Bryophyte cover is greater than 50% in many Arctic tundra ecosystems. In regions of the Arctic where shrubs are expanding it is expected that bryophyte cover will be substantially reduced. Such a loss in cover could influence the hydrological, biogeochemical, and permafrost dynamics of Arctic tundra ecosystems. The explicit representation of bryophyte physiological and biophysical processes in large-scale ecological and land surface models is rare, and we hypothesize that the representation of bryophytes has consequences for estimates of the exchange of water, energy, and carbon by these models. This study explicitly represents the effects of bryophyte function and structure on the exchange of carbon (e.g., summer photosynthesis effects) and energy (e.g., summer insulation effects) with the atmosphere in the Community Land Model (CLM-CN). The modified model was evaluated for its ability to simulate C exchange, soil temperature, and soil moisture since the 1970s at Barrow, Alaska through comparison with data from AmeriFlux sites, USDA Soil Climate Networks observation sites at Barrow, and other sources. We also compare the outputs of the CLM-CN simulations with those of the recently developed Dynamical Organic Soil coupled Terrestrial Ecosystem Model (DOS-TEM). Overall, our evaluation indicates that bryophytes are important contributors to land-atmospheric C exchanges in Arctic tundra and that they play an important role to permafrost thermal and hydrological processes which are critical to permafrost stability. Our next step in this study is to examine the climate system effects of explicitly representing bryophyte dynamics in the land surface model. Key Words: Bryophytes, Arctic coastal tundra, Vegetation composition, Net Ecosystem Exchange, Permafrost, Land Surface Model, Terrestrial Ecosystem Model

  4. Organic matter quality of deep permafrost carbon - a study from Arctic Siberia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strauss, J.; Schirrmeister, L.; Mangelsdorf, K.; Eichhorn, L.; Wetterich, S.; Herzschuh, U.

    2014-11-01

    The organic carbon (OC) pool accumulated in Arctic permafrost (perennially frozen ground) equals the carbon stored in the recent atmosphere. To give an idea of how Yedoma region permafrost could respond under future climatic warming, we conducted a study to quantify the organic matter quality for future decomposition of late Pleistocene (Yedoma) and Holocene (thermokarst) deposits on the Buor Khaya Peninsula, northeast Siberia. The objective of this study was to develop a stratigraphic classified organic matter quality characterization. For this purpose the degree of organic matter decomposition was estimated by using a multiproxy approach. We applied sedimentological (grain-size analyses, bulk density, ice content) and geochemical parameters (total OC, stable carbon isotopes (δ13C), carbon : nitrogen (C / N) ratios) as well as lipid biomarkers (n-alkanes, n-fatty acids, hopanes, triterpenoids, and biomarker proxies/indices: average chain length, carbon preference index (CPI), and higher plant fatty acid index (HPFA)). Our results show that the Yedoma and thermokarst organic matter qualities exhibit no obvious degradation - depth trend. The C / N, δ13C, and hop-17(21)-ene values and the HPFA index show a better quality of the organic matter stored in thermokarst deposits compared to Yedoma deposits, but the CPI points in the other direction. As the ranges of the proxies mostly overlap, we interpret this as to indicate similar quality for both kind of deposits with perhaps slightly better thermokarst organic matter quality. Supported by principal component analyses, the sediment parameters and quality proxies of Yedoma and thermokarst deposits could not be clearly separated from each other. This lack of clear quality differences revealed that the organic matter vulnerability is heterogeneous, independent from radiocarbon age and depends on different decomposition trajectories and the previous decomposition and preservation history. Elucidating this was one of the

  5. Arctic cities and climate change: climate-induced changes in stability of Russian urban infrastructure built on permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shiklomanov, Nikolay; Streletskiy, Dmitry; Swales, Timothy

    2014-05-01

    Planned socio-economic development during the Soviet period promoted migration into the Arctic and work force consolidation in urbanized settlements to support mineral resources extraction and transportation industries. These policies have resulted in very high level of urbanization in the Soviet Arctic. Despite the mass migration from the northern regions during the 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the diminishing government support, the Russian Arctic population remains predominantly urban. In five Russian Administrative regions underlined by permafrost and bordering the Arctic Ocean 66 to 82% (depending on region) of the total population is living in Soviet-era urban communities. The political, economic and demographic changes in the Russian Arctic over the last 20 years are further complicated by climate change which is greatly amplified in the Arctic region. One of the most significant impacts of climate change on arctic urban landscapes is the warming and degradation of permafrost which negatively affects the structural integrity of infrastructure. The majority of structures in the Russian Arctic are built according to the passive principle, which promotes equilibrium between the permafrost thermal regime and infrastructure foundations. This presentation is focused on quantitative assessment of potential changes in stability of Russian urban infrastructure built on permafrost in response to ongoing and future climatic changes using permafrost - geotechnical model forced by GCM-projected climate. To address the uncertainties in GCM projections we have utilized results from 6 models participated in most recent IPCC model inter-comparison project. The analysis was conducted for entire extent of Russian permafrost-affected area and on several representative urban communities. Our results demonstrate that significant observed reduction in urban infrastructure stability throughout the Russian Arctic can be attributed to climatic changes and that

  6. The Arctic CH4 sink and its implications for the permafrost carbon feedbacks to the global climate system

    Science.gov (United States)

    Juncher Jørgensen, Christian; Christiansen, Jesper; Mariager, Tue; Hugelius, Gustaf

    2016-04-01

    Using atmospheric methane (CH4), certain soil microbes are able to sustain their metabolism, and in turn remove this powerful greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. While the process of CH4 oxidation is a common feature in most natural and unmanaged ecosystems in temperate and boreal ecosystems, the interactions between soil physical properties and abiotic process drivers, net landscape exchange and spatial patterns across Arctic drylands remains highly uncertain. Recent works show consistent CH4 comsumption in upland dry tundra soils in Arctic and High Arctic environments (Christiansen et al., 2014, Biogeochemistry 122; Jørgensen et al., 2015, Nature Geoscience 8; Lau et al., 2015, The ISME Journal 9). In these dominantly dry or barren soil ecosystems, CH4 consumption has been observed to significantly exceed the amounts of CH4 emitted from adjacent wetlands. These observations point to a potentially important but largely overlooked component of the global soil-climate system interaction and a counterperspective to the conceptual understanding of the Arctic being a only a source of CH4. However, due to our limited knowledge of spatiotemporal occurrence of CH4 consumption across a wider range of the Arctic landscape we are left with substantial uncertainites and an overall unconstrained range estimate of this terrestrial CH4 sink and its potential effects on permafrost carbon feedback to the atmospheric CH4 concentration. To address this important knowledge gap and identify the most relevant spatial scaling parameters, we studied in situ CH4 net exchange across a large landscape transect on West Greenland. The transect representated soils formed from the dominant geological parent materials of dry upland tundra soils found in the ice-free land areas of Western Greenland, i.e. 1) granitic/gneissic parent material, 2) basaltic parent material and 3) sedimentary deposits. Results show that the dynamic variations in soil physical properties and soil hydrology exerts an

  7. Adaptation, spatial variability, and phylogenetic characterization of methanotrophic communities in permafrost soils of the Lena Delta, Siberia

    OpenAIRE

    Liebner, Susanne

    2008-01-01

    The Lena Delta, located in north-east Siberia in the zone of continuous permafrost, is the largest delta within the circum-arctic. The natural capacity of arctic wetlands underlain by permafrost to emit methane is currently of major concern in the context of global change, because arctic permafrost is particularly susceptible to degradation. Permafrost degradation is suggested to impose huge amounts of yet stored carbon to the atmosphere and with this to cause a positive feedback on the natur...

  8. Modeling Block Failure in Vertical Cliffs of Arctic Coasts Underlain by Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pollard, W. H.

    2004-12-01

    Arctic coasts lie at the interface between terrestrial systems dominated by permafrost, and marine systems that are characterized by long periods of ice cover and short periods of open water when wave action and storm activity are important. Permafrost, sea ice and wind-wave conditions are driven by regional and local climate forcing and interact in such a way that a change in one produces feedbacks affecting the other two. However, under predicted climate change scenarios of warming, increased storm activity and sea level rise will profoundly affect all three leading to potentially devastating rates of coastal erosion and permafrost degradation. Permafrost coasts are subject to complex erosional processes, however one of the most poorly understood but probably most important is block failure. Thermo-abrasional falls or block collapses provide the most spectacular form of coastal recession in permafrost areas. This study provides computational models for block failure mechanisms and investigates the relative contribution of horizontal thermo-erosional niches and ice wedges to block failure of permafrost cliffs fronted by a beach.

  9. Changing Arctic ecosystems: sea ice decline, permafrost thaw, and benefits for geese

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flint, Paul; Whalen, Mary; Pearce, John M.

    2014-01-01

    Through the Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) strives to inform resource management decisions for Arctic Alaska by providing scientific information on current and future ecosystem response to a warming climate. A key area for the USGS CAE initiative has been the Arctic Coastal Plain of northern Alaska. This region has experienced a warming trend over the past 30 years, leading to reductions in sea ice and thawing of permafrost. Loss of sea ice has increased ocean wave action, leading to erosion and salt water inundation of coastal habitats. Saltwater tolerant plants are now thriving in these areas and this appears to be a positive outcome for geese in the Arctic. This finding is contrary to the deleterious effects that declining sea ice is having on habitats of ice-dependent animals, such as polar bear and walrus.

  10. Effects of permafrost aggradation on peat properties as determined from a pan-Arctic synthesis of plant macrofossils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Treat, C. C.; Jones, M. C.; Camill, P.; Gallego-Sala, A.; Garneau, M.; Harden, J. W.; Hugelius, G.; Klein, E. S.; Kokfelt, U.; Kuhry, P.; Loisel, J.; Mathijssen, P. J. H.; O'Donnell, J. A.; Oksanen, P. O.; Ronkainen, T. M.; Sannel, A. B. K.; Talbot, J.; Tarnocai, C.; Väliranta, M.

    2016-01-01

    Permafrost dynamics play an important role in high-latitude peatland carbon balance and are key to understanding the future response of soil carbon stocks. Permafrost aggradation can control the magnitude of the carbon feedback in peatlands through effects on peat properties. We compiled peatland plant macrofossil records for the northern permafrost zone (515 cores from 280 sites) and classified samples by vegetation type and environmental class (fen, bog, tundra and boreal permafrost, and thawed permafrost). We examined differences in peat properties (bulk density, carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and organic matter content, and C/N ratio) and C accumulation rates among vegetation types and environmental classes. Consequences of permafrost aggradation differed between boreal and tundra biomes, including differences in vegetation composition, C/N ratios, and N content. The vegetation composition of tundra permafrost peatlands was similar to permafrost-free fens, while boreal permafrost peatlands more closely resembled permafrost-free bogs. Nitrogen content in boreal permafrost and thawed permafrost peatlands was significantly lower than in permafrost-free bogs despite similar vegetation types (0.9% versus 1.5% N). Median long-term C accumulation rates were higher in fens (23 g C m-2 yr-1) than in permafrost-free bogs (18 g C m-2 yr-1) and were lowest in boreal permafrost peatlands (14 g C m-2 yr-1). The plant macrofossil record demonstrated transitions from fens to bogs to permafrost peatlands, bogs to fens, permafrost aggradation within fens, and permafrost thaw and reaggradation. Using data synthesis, we have identified predominant peatland successional pathways, changes in vegetation type, peat properties, and C accumulation rates associated with permafrost aggradation.

  11. Effects of permafrost aggradation on peat properties as determined from a pan-Arctic synthesis of plant macrofossils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Treat, C.C.; Jones, Miriam C.; Camill, P.; Gallego-Sala, A.; Garneau, M.; Harden, Jennifer W.; Hugelius, G.; Klein, E.S.; Kokfelt, U.; Kuhry, P.; Loisel, J.; Mathijssen, J.H.; O'Donnell, J.A.; Oksanen, P.O.; Ronkainen, T.M.; Sannel, A.B.K.; Talbot, J. J.; Tarnocal, C.M.; Valiranta, M.

    2016-01-01

    Permafrost dynamics play an important role in high-latitude peatland carbon balance and are key to understanding the future response of soil carbon stocks. Permafrost aggradation can control the magnitude of the carbon feedback in peatlands through effects on peat properties. We compiled peatland plant macrofossil records for the northern permafrost zone (515 cores from 280 sites) and classified samples by vegetation type and environmental class (fen, bog, tundra and boreal permafrost, and thawed permafrost). We examined differences in peat properties (bulk density, carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and organic matter content, and C/N ratio) and C accumulation rates among vegetation types and environmental classes. Consequences of permafrost aggradation differed between boreal and tundra biomes, including differences in vegetation composition, C/N ratios, and N content. The vegetation composition of tundra permafrost peatlands was similar to permafrost-free fens, while boreal permafrost peatlands more closely resembled permafrost-free bogs. Nitrogen content in boreal permafrost and thawed permafrost peatlands was significantly lower than in permafrost-free bogs despite similar vegetation types (0.9% versus 1.5% N). Median long-term C accumulation rates were higher in fens (23 g C m−2 yr−1) than in permafrost-free bogs (18 g C m−2 yr−1) and were lowest in boreal permafrost peatlands (14 g C m−2 yr−1). The plant macrofossil record demonstrated transitions from fens to bogs to permafrost peatlands, bogs to fens, permafrost aggradation within fens, and permafrost thaw and reaggradation. Using data synthesis, we have identified predominant peatland successional pathways, changes in vegetation type, peat properties, and C accumulation rates associated with permafrost aggradation.

  12. Distribution and biophysical processes of beaded streams in Arctic permafrost landscapes

    OpenAIRE

    Arp, C. D.; Whitman, M.S.; Jones, B M; G. Grosse; B. V. Gaglioti; Heim, K. C.

    2015-01-01

    Beaded streams are widespread in permafrost regions and are considered a common thermokarst landform. However, little is known about their distribution, how and under what conditions they form, and how their intriguing morphology translates to ecosystem functions and habitat. Here we report on a circum-Arctic survey of beaded streams and a watershed-scale analysis in northern Alaska using remote sensing and field studies. We mapped over 400 channel networks with beaded morph...

  13. Pan-Arctic ice-wedge degradation in warming permafrost and its influence on tundra hydrology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liljedahl, Anna K.; Boike, Julia; Daanen, Ronald P.; Fedorov, Alexander N.; Frost, Gerald V.; Grosse, Guido; Hinzman, Larry D.; Iijma, Yoshihiro; Jorgenson, Janet C.; Matveyeva, Nadya; Necsoiu, Marius; Raynolds, Martha K.; Romanovsky, Vladimir E.; Schulla, Jörg; Tape, Ken D.; Walker, Donald A.; Wilson, Cathy J.; Yabuki, Hironori; Zona, Donatella

    2016-04-01

    Ice wedges are common features of the subsurface in permafrost regions. They develop by repeated frost cracking and ice vein growth over hundreds to thousands of years. Ice-wedge formation causes the archetypal polygonal patterns seen in tundra across the Arctic landscape. Here we use field and remote sensing observations to document polygon succession due to ice-wedge degradation and trough development in ten Arctic localities over sub-decadal timescales. Initial thaw drains polygon centres and forms disconnected troughs that hold isolated ponds. Continued ice-wedge melting leads to increased trough connectivity and an overall draining of the landscape. We find that melting at the tops of ice wedges over recent decades and subsequent decimetre-scale ground subsidence is a widespread Arctic phenomenon. Although permafrost temperatures have been increasing gradually, we find that ice-wedge degradation is occurring on sub-decadal timescales. Our hydrological model simulations show that advanced ice-wedge degradation can significantly alter the water balance of lowland tundra by reducing inundation and increasing runoff, in particular due to changes in snow distribution as troughs form. We predict that ice-wedge degradation and the hydrological changes associated with the resulting differential ground subsidence will expand and amplify in rapidly warming permafrost regions.

  14. Organic-matter quality of deep permafrost carbon - a study from Arctic Siberia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strauss, J.; Schirrmeister, L.; Mangelsdorf, K.; Eichhorn, L.; Wetterich, S.; Herzschuh, U.

    2015-04-01

    The organic-carbon (OC) pool accumulated in Arctic permafrost (perennially frozen ground) equals the carbon stored in the modern atmosphere. To give an idea of how Yedoma region permafrost could respond under future climatic warming, we conducted a study to quantify the organic-matter quality (here defined as the intrinsic potential to be further transformed, decomposed, and mineralized) of late Pleistocene (Yedoma) and Holocene (thermokarst) deposits on the Buor-Khaya Peninsula, northeast Siberia. The objective of this study was to develop a stratigraphic classified organic-matter quality characterization. For this purpose the degree of organic-matter decomposition was estimated by using a multiproxy approach. We applied sedimentological (grain-size analyses, bulk density, ice content) and geochemical parameters (total OC, stable carbon isotopes (δ13C), total organic carbon : nitrogen (C / N) ratios) as well as lipid biomarkers (n-alkanes, n-fatty acids, hopanes, triterpenoids, and biomarker indices, i.e., average chain length, carbon preference index (CPI), and higher-plant fatty-acid index (HPFA)). Our results show that the Yedoma and thermokarst organic-matter qualities for further decomposition exhibit no obvious degradation-depth trend. Relatively, the C / N and δ13C values and the HPFA index show a significantly better preservation of the organic matter stored in thermokarst deposits compared to Yedoma deposits. The CPI data suggest less degradation of the organic matter from both deposits, with a higher value for Yedoma organic matter. As the interquartile ranges of the proxies mostly overlap, we interpret this as indicating comparable quality for further decomposition for both kinds of deposits with likely better thermokarst organic-matter quality. Supported by principal component analyses, the sediment parameters and quality proxies of Yedoma and thermokarst deposits could not be unambiguously separated from each other. This revealed that the organic

  15. Archaeal communities of Arctic methane-containing permafrost.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shcherbakova, Victoria; Yoshimura, Yoshitaka; Ryzhmanova, Yana; Taguchi, Yukihiro; Segawa, Takahiro; Oshurkova, Victoria; Rivkina, Elizaveta

    2016-10-01

    In the present study, we used culture-independent methods to investigate the diversity of methanogenic archaea and their distribution in five permafrost samples collected from a borehole in the Kolyma River Lowland (north-east of Russia). Total DNA was extracted from methane-containing permafrost samples of different age and amplified by PCR. The resulting DNA fragments were cloned. Phylogenetic analysis of the sequences showed the presence of archaea in all studied samples; 60%-95% of sequences belonged to the Euryarchaeota. Methanogenic archaea were novel representatives of Methanosarcinales, Methanomicrobiales, Methanobacteriales and Methanocellales orders. Bathyarchaeota (Miscellaneous Crenarchaeota Group) representatives were found among nonmethanogenic archaea in all the samples studied. The Thaumarchaeota representatives were not found in the upper sample, whereas Woesearchaeota (formerly DHVEG-6) were found in the three deepest samples. Unexpectedly, the greatest diversity of archaea was observed at a depth of 22.3 m, probably due to the availability of the labile organic carbon and/or due to the migration of the microbial cells during the freezing front towards the bottom. PMID:27312964

  16. Permafrost dynamics structure species compositions of oribatid mite (Acari: Oribatida communities in sub-Arctic palsa mires

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Inkeri Markkula

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Palsa mires are sub-Arctic peatland complexes, vulnerable ecosystems with patches of permafrost. Permafrost thawing in palsa mires occurs throughout Fennoscandia, probably due to local climatic warming. In palsa mires, permafrost thaw alters hydrological conditions, vegetation structure and microhabitat composition with unknown consequences for invertebrate fauna. This study's objectives were to examine the role of microhabitat heterogeneity and the effects of permafrost dynamics and thaw on oribatid mite communities in palsa mires. Oribatid mites were sampled in two palsa mires in Finland and Norway. Three different types of microhabitats were examined: graminoid-dominated wet sites, herb-dominated small hummocks and evergreen shrub-dominated permafrost-underlain palsa hummocks. The results indicate that permafrost dynamics are an important factor structuring oribatid mite communities in palsa mires. The community composition of oribatid mites differed remarkably among microhabitats. Six species were significantly more abundant in permafrost-underlain microhabitats in relation to non-permafrost microhabitats. None of the species identified occurred exclusively in permafrost-underlain microhabitats. Findings suggest that permafrost thaw may not have an impact on species diversity but may alter community composition of oribatid mites in palsa mire ecosystems.

  17. Spirosoma spitsbergense sp. nov. and Spirosoma luteum sp. nov., isolated from a high Arctic permafrost soil, and emended description of the genus Spirosoma

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Finster, Kai; Herbert, Rodney Andrew; Lomstein, Bente Aagaard

    2009-01-01

    Two pigmented, Gram-negative, non-motile, pleomorphic rod-shaped bacteria (strains SPM-9T and SPM-10T) were isolated from a permafrost soil collected from the Adventdalen valley, Spitsbergen, northern Norway. A third isolate (strain M5-H2) was recovered from the same soil sample after the sample...... similarity to both Spirosoma linguale LMG 10896T and Spirosoma rigui WPCB 118T. The major fatty acids present in all three isolates were summed feature 3 (comprising iso-C15:0 2-OH and/or C16 : 1 7c; 43.0-48.2 % of the total), C16 : 1 5c (19.1-21.3 %), C16 : 0 (6.7-7.3 %), iso-C17 : 0 3-OH (4.7-6.0 %) and...... iso-C15 : 0 (2.6-5.7 %). On the basis of their phenotypic and genotypic characteristics, the new strains are assigned to two novel species of the genus Spirosoma, for which the names Spirosoma spitsbergense sp. nov. and Spirosoma luteum sp. nov. are proposed. The type strain of Spirosoma spitsbergense...

  18. Collaborative Research. Quantifying Climate Feedbacks of the Terrestrial Biosphere under Thawing Permafrost Conditions in the Arctic

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Zhuang, Qianlai [Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN (United States); Schlosser, Courtney [Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States); Melillo, Jerry [Marine Biological Lab. (MBL), Woods Hole, MA (United States); Walter, Katey [Univ. of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK (United States)

    2015-09-15

    Our overall goal is to quantify the potential for threshold changes in natural emission rates of trace gases, particularly methane and carbon dioxide, from pan-arctic terrestrial systems under the spectrum of anthropogenically-forced climate warming, and the conditions under which these emissions provide a strong feedback mechanism to global climate warming. This goal is motivated under the premise that polar amplification of global climate warming will induce widespread thaw and degradation of the permafrost, and would thus cause substantial changes to the landscape of wetlands and lakes, especially thermokarst (thaw) lakes, across the Arctic. Through a suite of numerical experiments that encapsulate the fundamental processes governing methane emissions and carbon exchanges – as well as their coupling to the global climate system - we intend to test the following hypothesis in the proposed research: There exists a climate warming threshold beyond which permafrost degradation becomes widespread and stimulates large increases in methane emissions (via thermokarst lakes and poorly-drained wetland areas upon thawing permafrost along with microbial metabolic responses to higher temperatures) and increases in carbon dioxide emissions from well-drained areas. Besides changes in biogeochemistry, this threshold will also influence global energy dynamics through effects on surface albedo, evapotranspiration and water vapor. These changes would outweigh any increased uptake of carbon (e.g. from peatlands and higher plant photosynthesis) and would result in a strong, positive feedback to global climate warming.

  19. Threshold sensitivity of shallow Arctic lakes and sublake permafrost to changing winter climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arp, Christopher D.; Jones, Benjamin M.; Grosse, Guido; Bondurant, Allen C.; Romanovksy, Vladimir E.; Hinkel, Kenneth M.; Parsekian, Andrew D.

    2016-01-01

    Interactions and feedbacks between abundant surface waters and permafrost fundamentally shape lowland Arctic landscapes. Sublake permafrost is maintained when the maximum ice thickness (MIT) exceeds lake depth and mean annual bed temperatures (MABTs) remain below freezing. However, declining MIT since the 1970s is likely causing talik development below shallow lakes. Here we show high-temperature sensitivity to winter ice growth at the water-sediment interface of shallow lakes based on year-round lake sensor data. Empirical model experiments suggest that shallow (1 m depth) lakes have warmed substantially over the last 30 years (2.4°C), with MABT above freezing 5 of the last 7 years. This is in comparison to slower rates of warming in deeper (3 m) lakes (0.9°C), with already well-developed taliks. Our findings indicate that permafrost below shallow lakes has already begun crossing a critical thawing threshold approximately 70 years prior to predicted terrestrial permafrost thaw in northern Alaska.

  20. Threshold sensitivity of shallow Arctic lakes and sublake permafrost to changing winter climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arp, Christopher D.; Jones, Benjamin M.; Grosse, Guido; Bondurant, Allen C.; Romanovsky, Vladimir E.; Hinkel, Kenneth M.; Parsekian, Andrew D.

    2016-06-01

    Interactions and feedbacks between abundant surface waters and permafrost fundamentally shape lowland Arctic landscapes. Sublake permafrost is maintained when the maximum ice thickness (MIT) exceeds lake depth and mean annual bed temperatures (MABTs) remain below freezing. However, declining MIT since the 1970s is likely causing talik development below shallow lakes. Here we show high-temperature sensitivity to winter ice growth at the water-sediment interface of shallow lakes based on year-round lake sensor data. Empirical model experiments suggest that shallow (1 m depth) lakes have warmed substantially over the last 30 years (2.4°C), with MABT above freezing 5 of the last 7 years. This is in comparison to slower rates of warming in deeper (3 m) lakes (0.9°C), with already well-developed taliks. Our findings indicate that permafrost below shallow lakes has already begun crossing a critical thawing threshold approximately 70 years prior to predicted terrestrial permafrost thaw in northern Alaska.

  1. The effect of a permafrost disturbance on growing-season carbon-dioxide fluxes in a high Arctic tundra ecosystem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cassidy, Alison E.; Christen, Andreas; Henry, Gregory H. R.

    2016-04-01

    Soil carbon stored in high-latitude permafrost landscapes is threatened by warming and could contribute significant amounts of carbon to the atmosphere and hydrosphere as permafrost thaws. Thermokarst and permafrost disturbances, especially active layer detachments and retrogressive thaw slumps, are present across the Fosheim Peninsula, Ellesmere Island, Canada. To determine the effects of retrogressive thaw slumps on net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of CO2 in high Arctic tundra, we used two eddy covariance (EC) tower systems to simultaneously and continuously measure CO2 fluxes from a disturbed site and the surrounding undisturbed tundra. During the 32-day measurement period in the 2014 growing season, the undisturbed tundra was a small net sink (NEE = -0.1 g C m-2 d-1); however, the disturbed terrain of the retrogressive thaw slump was a net source (NEE = +0.4 g C m-2 d-1). Over the measurement period, the undisturbed tundra sequestered 3.8 g C m-2, while the disturbed tundra released 12.5 g C m-2. Before full leaf-out in early July, the undisturbed tundra was a small source of CO2 but shifted to a sink for the remainder of the sampling season (July), whereas the disturbed tundra remained a source of CO2 throughout the season. A static chamber system was also used to measure daytime fluxes in the footprints of the two towers, in both disturbed and undisturbed tundra, and fluxes were partitioned into ecosystem respiration (Re) and gross primary production (GPP). Average GPP and Re found in disturbed tundra were smaller (+0.40 µmol m-2 s-1 and +0.55 µmol m-2 s-1, respectively) than those found in undisturbed tundra (+1.19 µmol m-2 s-1 and +1.04 µmol m-2 s-1, respectively). Our measurements indicated clearly that the permafrost disturbance changed the high Arctic tundra system from a sink to a source for CO2 during the majority of the growing season (late June and July).

  2. Geothermal inversion of Canadian Arctic ground temperatures and effect of permafrost aggradation at emergent shorelines

    Science.gov (United States)

    Taylor, Alan E.; Wang, Kelin

    2008-07-01

    We apply traditional geothermal spectrum inversion to precision temperature logs and thermal conductivity from 10 wells in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (75° to 81°N). Sites lie beyond the Holocene marine limit, and no effect of deep permafrost dynamics is expected. Ground surface temperature (GST) changes correlate with the Little Ice Age and Little Climatic Optimum with average amplitudes relative to 1980 of -2.7 K and +1.6 K, respectively. Results correlate broadly with similar reconstructions for this area and Greenland ice cap holes GRIP and Dye-3 to the southeast. An offshore site in 244 m water yields a Little Ice Age seabed temperature amplitude of -0.7 K, suggesting a moderated climate impact on regional ocean temperatures. Nearshore boreholes where permafrost is aggrading owing to glacioisostatic emergence are excluded; we demonstrate that traditional inversion codes without latent heat of phase change predict the magnitude of the emergence signal but a timing far too recent.

  3. Slope Edge Deformation and Permafrost Dynamics Along the Arctic Shelf Edge, Beaufort Sea, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paull, C. K.; Dallimore, S.; Caress, D. W.; Gwiazda, R.; Lundsten, E. M.; Anderson, K.; Riedel, M.; Melling, H.

    2015-12-01

    The shelf of the Canadian Beaufort Sea is underlain by relict offshore permafrost that formed in the long intervals of terrestrial exposure during glacial periods. At the shelf edge the permafrost thins rapidly and also warms. This area has a very distinct morphology that we attribute to both the formation and degradation of ice bearing permafrost. Positive relief features include circular to oval shaped topographic mounds, up to 10 m high and ~50 m in diameter which occur at a density of ~6 per km2. Intermixed are circular topographic depressions up to 20 m deep. This topography was investigated using an autonomous underwater vehicle that provides 1 m horizontal resolution bathymetry and chirp profiles, a remotely operated vehicle to document seafloor textures, and sediment cores to sample pore waters. A consistent down-core freshening at rates of 14 to 96 mM Cl- per meter was found in these pore waters near the shelf edge. Downward extrapolation of these trends indicates water with ≤335 mM Cl- should occur at 2.3 to 22.4 m sub-seafloor depths within this shelf edge deformation band. Pore water with 335 mM Cl- or less freezes at -1.4°C. As bottom water temperatures in this area are persistently (<-1.4°C) cold and ground ice was observed in some core samples, we interpret the volume changes associated with mound formation are in part due to pore water freezing. Thermal models (Taylor et al., 2014) predict brackish water along the shelf edge may be sourced in relict permafrost melting under the adjacent continental shelf. Buoyant brackish water is hypothesized to migrate along the base of the relict permafrost, to emerge at the shelf edge and then refreeze when it encounters the colder seafloor. Expansion generated by the formation of ice-bearing permafrost generates the positive relief mounds and ridges. The associated negative relief features may be related to permafrost dynamics also. Permafrost dynamics may have geohazard implications that are unique to the

  4. Vertical movements of frost mounds in sub-Arctic permafrost regions analyzed using geodetic survey and satellite interferometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beck, I.; Ludwig, R.; Bernier, M.; Strozzi, T.; Boike, J.

    2015-04-01

    Permafrost-affected soils cover about 45% of Canada. The environment in such areas, especially those located within the discontinuous permafrost zone, has been impacted more than any other by recorded climatic changes. A number of changes, such as surface subsidence and the degradation of frost mounds due to permafrost thawing have already been observed at many locations. We surveyed three frost mounds (lithalsas) close to Umiujaq, northern Quebec, sub-Arctic, using a high-precision differential Global Positioning System (d-GPS) during field visits in 2009, 2010 and 2011, thus obtaining detailed information on their responses to the freezing and thawing that occurs during the course of the annual temperature cycle. Seasonal pulsations were detected in the frost mounds and these responses were shown to vary with the state of degradation and the land cover. The most degraded lithalsa showed a maximum amplitude of vertical movement (either up or down) between winter and summer (thawing) of 0.19 ± 0.09 m over the study period, while for the least degraded lithalsa this figure was far greater (1.24 ± 0.47 m). Records from patches with little or no vegetation showed far less average vertical movement over the study period (0.17 ± 0.03 m) than those with prostrate shrubs (0.56 ± 0.02 m), suggesting an influence from the land-cover. A differential Interferometric Synthetic Aperature Radar (D-InSAR) analysis was also completed over the lithalsas using selected TerraSAR-X images acquired from April to October 2009 and from March to October 2010, with a repeat cycle of 11 days. Interferograms with baselines shorter than 200 m were computed revealing a generally very low interferometric coherence, restricting the quantification of vertical movements of the lithalsas. Vertical surface movements in the centimeter range were recorded in the near vicinity of Umiujaq.

  5. Microbial decomposer communities in Alaskan permafrost soils and their response to thaw

    Science.gov (United States)

    Waldrop, M. P.; Wickland, K.; Harden, J.; Striegl, R.; Aiken, G.

    2007-12-01

    Permafrost protected soil carbon in boreal forest ecosystems represents a significant portion of the approximately 500 Gt C in the soil organic matter of boreal regions. The magnitude of this thermally-protected carbon pool makes it a particularly important to the global C cycle within the context of global climatic change. Permafrost has acted as a C sink for thousands of years yet currently has been warming at a rate of 1°C per decade, making the C contained within it potentially available for decomposition. Thawing permafrost opens a latch into a globally important C reservoir that could be released to the atmosphere (as CO2) and rivers (as dissolved organic carbon, DOC), affecting greenhouse warming and aquatic chemistry. A gap in our current knowledge is the extent to which permafrost-protected C is available for microbial metabolism once soils thaw. Current indications are that organic matter contained within permafrost is relatively labile since it is not protected from decomposition by physical protection or humification mechanisms. However, we have little understanding of the microbiology of permafrost soils, which could significantly affect the rate of decomposition of permafrost C after thaw. Our aim was to use quantitative molecular techniques to examine the abundance of microbial decomposer functional groups in permafrost soils, the enzymes they encode, and their rates of respiration under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions in a simulated summer thaw at 5°C. We compared microbial and chemical characteristics of active layer and permafrost soils from black spruce stands in three distinct geographic regions: Coldfoot, Hess Creek, and Smith Lake, AK. We chose these regions because they span a range of permafrost conditions from shallow active layers and mineral-associated permafrost layers to thick active layers and deep organic permafrost soils. Soil carbon and nitrogen concentrations did not differ between active layer and permafrost soils within

  6. Distribution and biophysical processes of beaded streams in Arctic permafrost landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arp, Christopher D.; Whitman, Matthew S.; Jones, Benjamin M.; Grosse, Guido; Gaglioti, Benjamin V.; Heim, Kurt C.

    2015-01-01

    Beaded streams are widespread in permafrost regions and are considered a common thermokarst landform. However, little is known about their distribution, how and under what conditions they form, and how their intriguing morphology translates to ecosystem functions and habitat. Here we report on a Circum-Arctic survey of beaded streams and a watershed-scale analysis in northern Alaska using remote sensing and field studies. We mapped over 400 channel networks with beaded morphology throughout the continuous permafrost zone of northern Alaska, Canada, and Russia and found the highest abundance associated with medium- to high- ground ice content permafrost in moderately sloping terrain. In the Fish Creek watershed, beaded streams accounted for half of the drainage density, occurring primarily as low-order channels initiating from lakes and drained lake basins. Beaded streams predictably transition to alluvial channels with increasing drainage area and decreasing channel slope, although this transition is modified by local controls on water and sediment delivery. Comparison of one beaded channel using repeat photography between 1948 and 2013 indicate a relatively stable landform and 14C dating of basal sediments suggest channel formation may be as early as the Pleistocene-Holocene transition. Contemporary processes, such as deep snow accumulation in riparian zones effectively insulates channel ice and allows for perennial liquid water below most beaded stream pools. Because of this, mean annual temperatures in pool beds are greater than 2°C, leading to the development of perennial thaw bulbs or taliks underlying these thermokarst features. In the summer, some pools thermally stratify, which reduces permafrost thaw and maintains coldwater habitats. Snowmelt generated peak-flows decrease rapidly by two or more orders of magnitude to summer low flows with slow reach-scale velocity distributions ranging from 0.1 to 0.01 m/s, yet channel runs still move water rapidly

  7. Estimated storage of amorphous silica in soils of the circum-Arctic tundra region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alfredsson, H.; Clymans, W.; Hugelius, G.; Kuhry, P.; Conley, D. J.

    2016-03-01

    We investigated the vertical distribution, storage, landscape partitioning, and spatial variability of soil amorphous silica (ASi) at four different sites underlain by continuous permafrost and representative of mountainous and lowland tundra, in the circum-Arctic region. Based on a larger set of data, we present the first estimate of the ASi soil reservoir (0-1 m depth) in circum-Arctic tundra terrain. At all sites, the vertical distribution of ASi concentrations followed the pattern of either (1) declining concentrations with depth (most common) or (2) increasing/maximum concentrations with depth. Our results suggest that a set of processes, including biological control, solifluction and other slope processes, cryoturbation, and formation of inorganic precipitates influence vertical distributions of ASi in permafrost terrain, with the capacity to retain stored ASi on millennial timescales. At the four study sites, areal ASi storage (0-1 m) is generally higher in graminoid tundra compared to wetlands. Our circum-Arctic upscaling estimates, based on both vegetation and soil classification separately, suggest a storage amounting to 219 ± 28 and 274 ± 33 Tmol Si, respectively, of which at least 30% is stored in permafrost. This estimate would account for about 3% of the global soil ASi storage while occupying an equal portion of the global land area. This result does not support the hypothesis that the circum-Arctic tundra soil ASi reservoir contains relatively higher amounts of ASi than other biomes globally as demonstrated for carbon. Nevertheless, climate warming has the potential to significantly alter ASi storage and terrestrial Si cycling in the Arctic.

  8. Alaskan Arctic Soils: Relationship between Microbial Carbon Usage and Soil Composition

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    Li, H.; Ziolkowski, L. A.

    2015-12-01

    Carbon stored in Arctic permafrost carbon is sensitive to climate change. Microbes are known to degrade Arctic soil organic carbon (OC) and potentially release vast quantitates of CO2 and CH4. Previously, it has been shown that warming of Arctic soils leads to microbes respiring older carbon. To examine this process, we studied the microbial carbon usage and its relationship to the soil OC composition in active layer soils at five locations along a latitudinal transect on the North Slope of Alaska using the compound specific radiocarbon signatures of the viable microbial community using phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA). Additional geochemical parameters (C/N, 13C, 15N and 14C) of bulk soils were measured. Overall there was a greater change with depth than location. Organic rich surface soils are rich in vegetation and have high PLFA based cell densities, while deeper in the active layer geochemical parameters indicated soil OC was degraded and cell densities decreased. As expected, PLFA indicative of Fungi and Protozoa species dominated in surface soils, methyl-branched PLFAs, indicative of bacterial origin, increased in deeper in the active layer. A group of previously unreported PLFAs, believed to correlate to anaerobic microbes, increased at the transition between the surface and deep microbial communities. Cluster analysis based on individual PLFAs of samples confirmed compositional differences as a function of depth dominated with no site to site differences. Radiocarbon data of soil OC and PLFA show the preferential consumption of younger soil OC by microbes at all sites and older OC being eaten in deep soils. However, in deeper soil, where the C/N ratio suggests lower bioavailability, less soil OC was incorporated into the microbes as indicating by greater differences between bulk and PLFA radiocarbon ages.

  9. Coupling soil Carbon Fluxes, Soil Microbes, and High-Resolution Carbon Profiling in Permafrost Transitions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, C.; Stegen, J.; Bond-Lamberty, B. P.; Tfaily, M. M.; Huang, M.; Liu, Y.

    2015-12-01

    Microbial communities play a central role in the functioning of natural ecosystems by heavily influencing biogeochemical cycles. Understanding how shifts in the environment are tied to shifts in biogeochemical rates via changes in microbial communities is particularly relevant in high latitude terrestrial systems underlain by permafrost due to vast carbon stocks currently stored within thawing permafrost. There is limited understanding, however, of the interplay among soil-atmosphere CO2 fluxes, microbial communities, and SOM chemical composition. To address this knowledge gap, we leverage the distinct spatial transitions in permafrost-affected soils at the Caribou Poker Creek Research Watershed, a 104 km2 boreal watershed ~50 km north of Fairbanks, AK. We integrate a variety of data to gain new knowledge of the factors that govern observed patterns in the rates of soil CO2 fluxes associated with permafrost to non-permafrost transition zones. We show that nonlinearities in fluxes are influenced by depth to permafrost, tree stand structure, and soil C composition. Further, using 16S sequencing methods we explore microbial community assembly processes and their connection to CO2 flux across spatial scales, and suggest a path to more mechanistically link microbes to large-scale biogeochemical cycles. Lastly, we use the Community Land Model (CLM) to compare Earth System Model predictions of soil C cycling with empirical measurements. Deviations between CLM predictions and field observations of CO2 flux and soil C stocks will provide insight for how the model may be improved through inclusion of additional biotic (e.g., microbial community composition) and abiotic (e.g., organic carbon composition) features, which will be critical to improve the predictive power of climate models in permafrost-affected regions.

  10. Soil organic carbon pools and stocks in permafrost-affected soils on the tibetan plateau.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Corina Dörfer

    Full Text Available The Tibetan Plateau reacts particularly sensitively to possible effects of climate change. Approximately two thirds of the total area is affected by permafrost. To get a better understanding of the role of permafrost on soil organic carbon pools and stocks, investigations were carried out including both discontinuous (site Huashixia, HUA and continuous permafrost (site Wudaoliang, WUD. Three organic carbon fractions were isolated using density separation combined with ultrasonic dispersion: the light fractions (1.6 g cm(-3 of mineral associated organic matter (MOM. The fractions were analyzed for C, N, and their portion of organic C. FPOM contained an average SOC content of 252 g kg(-1. Higher SOC contents (320 g kg(-1 were found in OPOM while MOM had the lowest SOC contents (29 g kg(-1. Due to their lower density the easily decomposable fractions FPOM and OPOM contribute 27% (HUA and 22% (WUD to the total SOC stocks. In HUA mean SOC stocks (0-30 cm depth account for 10.4 kg m(-2, compared to 3.4 kg m(-2 in WUD. 53% of the SOC is stored in the upper 10 cm in WUD, in HUA only 39%. Highest POM values of 36% occurred in profiles with high soil moisture content. SOC stocks, soil moisture and active layer thickness correlated strongly in discontinuous permafrost while no correlation between SOC stocks and active layer thickness and only a weak relation between soil moisture and SOC stocks could be found in continuous permafrost. Consequently, permafrost-affected soils in discontinuous permafrost environments are susceptible to soil moisture changes due to alterations in quantity and seasonal distribution of precipitation, increasing temperature and therefore evaporation.

  11. Imaging active layer and permafrost variability in the Arctic using electromagnetic induction data

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    Dafflon, B.; Hubbard, S. S.; Ulrich, C.; Peterson, J. E.; Wu, Y.; Chen, J.; Wullschleger, S. D.

    2012-12-01

    Characterizing the spatial variability of active layer and permafrost properties is critical for gaining an understanding of Arctic ecosystem functioning and for parameterizing process-rich models that simulate feedbacks to a changing climate. Due to the sensitivity of electrical conductivity measurements to moisture content, salinity and freeze state in the active layer and permafrost and the ease of collecting electromagnetic induction (EMI) data with portable tools over large regions, EMI holds great potential for characterization of permafrost systems. However, inversion of such EMI data to estimate the subsurface electrical conductivity distribution is challenging. The challenges are due to the insufficient amount of information (even when using multiple configurations that vary coil spacing, orientation and elevation and signal frequency) needed to find a unique solution. The non-uniqueness problem is typically approached by invoking prior information, such as inversion constraints and initial models. Unfortunately, such prior information can significantly influence the obtained inversion result. We describe the development and implementation of a new grid search based method for estimating electrical conductivity from EMI data that evaluates the influence of priors and the information contained in such data. The new method can be applied to investigate two or three layer 1-D models reproducing the recorded data within a specified range of uncertainty at each measurement location over a large surveyed site. Importantly, the method can quickly evaluate multiple priors and data from numerous measurement locations, since the time-consuming simulation of the EMI signals from the multi-dimension search grid needs to be performed only once. We applied the developed approach to EMI data acquired in Barrow, AK at the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE Arctic) study site on the Barrow Environmental Observatory. Our specific focus was on a 475-meter linear

  12. Permafrost Meta-Omics and Climate Change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mackelprang, Rachel; Saleska, Scott R.; Jacobsen, Carsten Suhr; Jansson, Janet K.; Taş, Neslihan

    2016-06-01

    Permanently frozen soil, or permafrost, covers a large portion of the Earth's terrestrial surface and represents a unique environment for cold-adapted microorganisms. As permafrost thaws, previously protected organic matter becomes available for microbial degradation. Microbes that decompose soil carbon produce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, contributing substantially to climate change. Next-generation sequencing and other -omics technologies offer opportunities to discover the mechanisms by which microbial communities regulate the loss of carbon and the emission of greenhouse gases from thawing permafrost regions. Analysis of nucleic acids and proteins taken directly from permafrost-associated soils has provided new insights into microbial communities and their functions in Arctic environments that are increasingly impacted by climate change. In this article we review current information from various molecular -omics studies on permafrost microbial ecology and explore the relevance of these insights to our current understanding of the dynamics of permafrost loss due to climate change.

  13. The role of snow cover and soil freeze/thaw cycles affecting boreal-arctic soil carbon dynamics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Y. Yi

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available Northern Hemisphere permafrost affected land areas contain about twice as much carbon as the global atmosphere. This vast carbon pool is vulnerable to accelerated losses through mobilization and decomposition under projected global warming. Satellite data records spanning the past 3 decades indicate widespread reductions (∼ 0.8–1.3 days decade−1 in the mean annual snow cover extent and frozen season duration across the pan-Arctic domain, coincident with regional climate warming trends. How the soil carbon pool responds to these changes will have a large impact on regional and global climate. Here, we developed a coupled terrestrial carbon and hydrology model framework with detailed 1-D soil heat transfer representation to investigate the sensitivity of soil organic carbon stocks and soil decomposition to changes in snow cover and soil freeze/thaw processes in the Pan-Arctic region over the past three decades (1982–2010. Our results indicate widespread soil active layer deepening across the pan-Arctic, with a mean decadal trend of 6.6 ± 12.0 (SD cm, corresponding with widespread warming and lengthening non-frozen season. Warming promotes vegetation growth and soil heterotrophic respiration, particularly within surface soil layers (≤ 0.2 m. The model simulations also show that seasonal snow cover has a large impact on soil temperatures, whereby increases in snow cover promote deeper (≥ 0.5 m soil layer warming and soil respiration, while inhibiting soil decomposition from surface (≤ 0.2 m soil layers, especially in colder climate zones (mean annual T ≤ −10 °C. Our results demonstrate the important control of snow cover in affecting northern soil freeze/thaw and soil carbon decomposition processes, and the necessity of considering both warming, and changing precipitation and snow cover regimes in characterizing permafrost soil carbon dynamics.

  14. Chemical indicators of cryoturbation and microbial processing throughout an alaskan permafrost soil depth profile

    Science.gov (United States)

    Although permafrost soils contain vast stores of carbon, we know relatively little about the chemical composition of their constituent organic matter. Soil organic matter chemistry is an important predictor of decomposition rates, especially in the initial stages of decomposition. Permafrost, organi...

  15. Characteristics of Heat and Water Budget of Arctic Permafrost Sites: Dominant Processes and Observed Changes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boike, Julia

    2010-05-01

    Permafrost plays a significant role in the land surface energy and moisture balance, and thus in the climate and hydrologic system. The goal of our group is to establish spatial and temporal linkages between water and energy fluxes at the plot and landscape scales at different permafrost affected ecosystems. We chose typical Arctic ecosystems spanning contrasting bioclimatic zones with different climate and landcover conditions: (i) warm, maritime conditions with low above ground biomass (Spitsbergen) and (ii) cold, continental conditions with medium biomass (Lena River Delta, Siberia) and (iii) medium to cold continental conditions with high biomass (upper Lena-Viluiy catchment). At these sites, weather stations have been operated for at least 10 years. Spitsbergen has a mild, maritime winter climate due to the influence of the Atlantic currents and is underlain by warm permafrost (mean annual ground temp. (MAGT): -2.9 °C; mean annual air temp. (MAAT): -6.3°C). Warming is observed in permafrost temperatures, due to recently warmer winter air temperature and an increase of snow depth. The island Samoylov located in the Lena River Delta is characterized by wetland polygonal tundra, thermokarst lakes and cold permafrost (MAGT: -9.2 °C, MAAT: -13.6°C). Latent heat fluxes, such as sublimation of snow during spring and evapotranspiration during the summer are important components of the energy balance. Overall, the water balance is more or less equilibrated, i.e. the precipitation (rain and snow) input equals loss through evapotranspiration. Only during years of extreme dryness, where summer evapotranspiration exceeds precipitation, the pond water level falls below the ground surface. The study site in Central Yakutia shows a 30 yr warming trend with an increase of about 0.1 °C/year. Summer and winter precipitation shows a large spatial and temporal variability, with an increase at most stations. The analysis of satellite images using Landsat and Soyus data shows

  16. Trace metal distribution in pristine permafrost-affected soils of the Lena River Delta and its Hinterland, Northern Siberia, Russia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    I. Antcibor

    2013-02-01

    Full Text Available Soils are an important compartment of ecosystems and have the ability to immobilize chemicals preventing their movement to other environment compartments. Predicted climatic changes together with other anthropogenic influences on Arctic terrestrial environments may affect biogeochemical processes enhancing leaching and migration of trace elements in permafrost-affected soils. This is especially important since the Arctic ecosystems are considered to be very sensitive to climatic changes as well as to chemical contamination. This study characterizes background levels of trace metals in permafrost-affected soils of the Lena River Delta and its hinterland in northern Siberia (73.5° N–69.5° N representing a remote region far from evident anthropogenic trace metal sources. Investigations on total element contents of iron (Fe, arsenic (As, manganese (Mn, zinc (Zn, nickel (Ni, copper (Cu, lead (Pb, cadmium (Cd, cobalt (Co and mercury (Hg in different soil types developed in different geological parent materials have been carried out. The highest concentrations of the majority of the measured elements were observed in soils belonging to ice-rich permafrost sediments formed during the Pleistocene (ice-complex in the Lena River Delta region. Correlation analyses of trace metal concentrations and soil chemical and physical properties at a Holocene estuarine terrace and two modern floodplain levels in the southern-central Lena River Delta (Samoylov Island showed that the main factors controlling the trace metal distribution in these soils are organic matter content, soil texture and contents of iron and manganese-oxides. Principal Component Analysis (PCA revealed that soil oxides play a significant role in trace metal distribution in both top and bottom horizons. Occurrence of organic matter contributes to Cd binding in top soils and Cu binding in bottom horizons. Observed ranges of the background concentrations of the majority of trace elements were

  17. Buried glacier ice in permafrost, a window to the past: examples from Bylot Island, Canadian Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fortier, D.; Coulombe, S.; Kanevskiy, M. Z.; Paquette, M.; Shur, Y.; Stephani, E.

    2011-12-01

    Bylot Island is located north of Baffin Island (73°N, 80°W) and is extensively covered by an ice cap and its outlet glaciers flowing towards the arctic lowland of the Lancaster formation. During summers of 2009 and 2011 several active-layer detachment slides exposed large massive ice bodies and other types of debris-rich ice that were interpreted as buried glacier ice. The upper part of the massive ice and debris-rich ice were usually in contact with various types of ice-contact or glacio-fluvial sediments and in some cases they were covered by mass wasting/colluvial deposits. This suggests that their preservation was likely related to burial of the ice and refreezing of the overlying sediments following permafrost aggradation. A preliminary analysis of the ice facies and ice crystals revealed the presence of four distinct types of ice: 1) clear-ice bodies with very few sediment and no organic inclusions. The ice crystals were large (cm), randomly oriented and air bubbles were observed at the junction of crystals. These characteristics could potentially indicate an englacial (snow-neve metamorphism) origin for these clear ice bodies; 2) large, meter thick, clear ice layers with no sediment, nor organics. The ice crystals were large (cm), several cm long, oriented in the same direction, and vertically aligned. These characteristics could potentially point to water that refroze in a tunnel incised in englacial ice; 3) Successive, mm to cm thick, ice layers, separated by undulating sand and gravel bands also containing cobles to boulder size rock fragments. These characteristics could potentially represent regelation ice formed at the base of glaciers and incorporated to the glacier sole; 4) mm to cm suspended aggregate of fine-grained sediments in clear ice. These micro-suspended and suspended cryostructures were sometimes deformed and aligned in the form of thin (mm) undulating layers. These micro-structures were very similar to basal ice facies, presumably

  18. Viable Species of Flamella (Amoebozoa: Variosea) Isolated from Ancient Arctic Permafrost Sediments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shmakova, Lyubov; Bondarenko, Natalya; Smirnov, Alexey

    2016-02-01

    Six viable strains of amoebae belonging to the genus Flamella (Amoebozoa, Variosea) were isolated from permafrost sediments sampled in the Russian Arctic region. Two of them are from late Pleistocene permafrost in North-East Siberia, and four--from Holocene and late Pleistocene in North-West Siberia. Light- and electron-microscopic study and molecular phylogeny show that these isolates represent two new species belonging to the genus Flamella. Both species are cyst-forming. This is a remarkable case of high resistance of protozoan cysts, allowing them to survive and recover an amoebae population after a very long, geologically significant period of rest; a "snapshot" of evolution in time. This study directly shows for the first time that amoeba cysts can be conserved not only for years and decades but for many thousand years and then recover, contributing to the formation of an active microbial community. We propose to name the new species as Flamella pleistocenica n.sp. and Flamella beringiania n.sp. Phylogenetic analysis shows that the genus Flamella is a robust and potentially species-rich group of Variosea. PMID:26735346

  19. Microbial nutrient limitation in Arctic lakes in a permafrost landscape of southwest Greenland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burpee, B.; Saros, J. E.; Northington, R. M.; Simon, K. S.

    2016-01-01

    Permafrost is degrading across regions of the Arctic, which can lead to increases in nutrient concentrations in surface freshwaters. The oligotrophic state of many Arctic lakes suggests that enhanced nutrient inputs may have important effects on these systems, but little is known about microbial nutrient limitation patterns in these lakes. We investigated microbial extracellular enzyme activities (EEAs) to infer seasonal nutrient dynamics and limitation across 24 lakes in southwest Greenland during summer (June and July). From early to late summer, enzyme activities that indicate microbial carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) demand increased in both the epilimnia and hypolimnia by 74 % on average. Microbial investment in P acquisition was generally higher than that for N. Interactions among EEAs indicated that microbes were primarily P-limited. Dissolved organic matter (DOM, measured as dissolved organic carbon) was strongly and positively correlated with microbial P demand (R2 = 0.84 in July), while there were no relationships between DOM and microbial N demand. Microbial P limitation in June epilimnia (R2 = 0.67) and July hypolimnia (R2 = 0.57) increased with DOM concentration. The consistency of microbial P limitation from June to July was related to the amount of DOM present, with some low-DOM lakes becoming N-limited in July. Our results suggest that future changes in P or DOM inputs to these lakes are likely to alter microbial nutrient limitation patterns.

  20. The role of watershed characteristics, permafrost thaw, and wildfire on dissolved organic carbon biodegradability and water chemistry in Arctic headwater streams

    Science.gov (United States)

    Larouche, J. R.; Abbott, B. W.; Bowden, W. B.; Jones, J. B.

    2015-07-01

    In the Alaskan Arctic, rapid climate change is increasing the frequency of disturbance including wildfire and permafrost collapse. These pulse disturbances may influence the delivery of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to aquatic ecosystems, however the magnitude of these effects compared to the natural background variability of DOC at the watershed scale is not well known. We measured DOC quantity, composition, and biodegradability from 14 river and stream reaches (watershed sizes ranging from 1.5-167 km2) some of which were impacted by permafrost collapse (thermokarst) and fire. We found that region had a significant impact on quantity and biodegradability of DOC, likely driven by landscape and watershed characteristics such as lithology, soil and vegetation type, elevation, and glacial age. However, contrary to our hypothesis, we found that streams disturbed by thermokarst and fire did not contain significantly altered labile DOC fractions compared to adjacent reference waters, potentially due to rapid ecosystem recovery after fire and thermokarst as well as the limited spatial extent of thermokarst. Overall, biodegradable DOC ranged from 4 to 46 % and contrary to patterns of DOC biodegradability in large Arctic rivers, seasonal variation in DOC biodegradability showed no clear pattern between sites, potentially related to stream geomorphology and position along the river network. While thermokarst and fire can alter DOC quantity and biodegradability at the scale of the feature, we conclude that tundra ecosystems are resilient to these types of disturbance.

  1. The role of watershed characteristics, permafrost thaw, and wildfire on dissolved organic carbon biodegradability and water chemistry in Arctic headwater streams

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. R. Larouche

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available In the Alaskan Arctic, rapid climate change is increasing the frequency of disturbance including wildfire and permafrost collapse. These pulse disturbances may influence the delivery of dissolved organic carbon (DOC to aquatic ecosystems, however the magnitude of these effects compared to the natural background variability of DOC at the watershed scale is not well known. We measured DOC quantity, composition, and biodegradability from 14 river and stream reaches (watershed sizes ranging from 1.5–167 km2 some of which were impacted by permafrost collapse (thermokarst and fire. We found that region had a significant impact on quantity and biodegradability of DOC, likely driven by landscape and watershed characteristics such as lithology, soil and vegetation type, elevation, and glacial age. However, contrary to our hypothesis, we found that streams disturbed by thermokarst and fire did not contain significantly altered labile DOC fractions compared to adjacent reference waters, potentially due to rapid ecosystem recovery after fire and thermokarst as well as the limited spatial extent of thermokarst. Overall, biodegradable DOC ranged from 4 to 46% and contrary to patterns of DOC biodegradability in large Arctic rivers, seasonal variation in DOC biodegradability showed no clear pattern between sites, potentially related to stream geomorphology and position along the river network. While thermokarst and fire can alter DOC quantity and biodegradability at the scale of the feature, we conclude that tundra ecosystems are resilient to these types of disturbance.

  2. Reorganization of vegetation, hydrology and soil carbon after permafrost degradation across heterogeneous boreal landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jorgenson, M. Torre; Harden, Jennifer; Kanevskiy, Mikhail; O'Donnell, Jonathan; Wickland, Kim; Ewing, Stephanie; Manies, Kristen; Zhuang, Qianlai; Shur, Yuri; Striegl, Robert; Koch, Josh

    2013-01-01

    The diversity of ecosystems across boreal landscapes, successional changes after disturbance and complicated permafrost histories, present enormous challenges for assessing how vegetation, water and soil carbon may respond to climate change in boreal regions. To address this complexity, we used a chronosequence approach to assess changes in vegetation composition, water storage and soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks along successional gradients within four landscapes: (1) rocky uplands on ice-poor hillside colluvium, (2) silty uplands on extremely ice-rich loess, (3) gravelly–sandy lowlands on ice-poor eolian sand and (4) peaty–silty lowlands on thick ice-rich peat deposits over reworked lowland loess. In rocky uplands, after fire permafrost thawed rapidly due to low ice contents, soils became well drained and SOC stocks decreased slightly. In silty uplands, after fire permafrost persisted, soils remained saturated and SOC decreased slightly. In gravelly–sandy lowlands where permafrost persisted in drier forest soils, loss of deeper permafrost around lakes has allowed recent widespread drainage of lakes that has exposed limnic material with high SOC to aerobic decomposition. In peaty–silty lowlands, 2–4 m of thaw settlement led to fragmented drainage patterns in isolated thermokarst bogs and flooding of soils, and surface soils accumulated new bog peat. We were not able to detect SOC changes in deeper soils, however, due to high variability. Complicated soil stratigraphy revealed that permafrost has repeatedly aggraded and degraded in all landscapes during the Holocene, although in silty uplands only the upper permafrost was affected. Overall, permafrost thaw has led to the reorganization of vegetation, water storage and flow paths, and patterns of SOC accumulation. However, changes have occurred over different timescales among landscapes: over decades in rocky uplands and gravelly–sandy lowlands in response to fire and lake drainage, over decades to

  3. Acidification of the Shallow Arctic Seas as Biogeochemical Consequences of Permafrost Degradation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Semiletov, I. P.; Shakhova, N. E.; Pipko, I.; Repina, I.; Pugach, S.; Dudarev, O.; Charkin, A.

    2013-12-01

    There is increasing concern about consequences of ocean acidification from the increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide driven shifts toward lower seawater pH The largest pH changes in this century are anticipated in the surface waters of the Arctic ocean (Orr et al., 2005; Steinacher et al., 2009). Concurrently, aragonite undersaturation might occur locally and become widespread as atmospheric CO2 increases to more than 450ppm (Olafsson et al., 2009). However, the ocean acidification effects induced by increasing Arctic land-shelf export of fluvial and erosional organic carbon (OC) and its oxidation are unknown. Here we show that massive net redistribution of old OC from thawing permafrost to the East-Siberian Arctic Seas (ESAS) and its consequent remineralization drives acidification over the ESAS which represents the broadest and shallowest shelf of the World Ocean. From top to the bottom the ESAS waters were observed to be undersaturated with respect to aragonite and calcite, and thus potentially corrosive to CaCO3 for the shelf sediments and benthic ecosystems. Our multiyear all-seasonal results (1999-2011) demonstrate how the net ecosystem metabolism of the Siberian shelves, which is the net balance of autotrophic (photosynthesis and net community production) and heterotrophic (respiration and remineralization) processes, is likely to function as the heterotrophic dominated ecosystem. CO2 outgassing from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) is quantified using multi-year eddy-correlation flux measurements. It is shown that the ESAS is currently a source of atmospheric CO2. A continuing warming adds more terrestrial OC to the Arctic Shelf Seas, which increases pCO2, as the same time as decreased transparency lowers primary production, which reduce consumption of CO2 (and increase acidification effects). This effect results in a positive feedback by outgassing CO2 over the Siberian Shelf , which comprises one half of the entire shelf area. This multi-year study

  4. Vulnerability of Permafrost Soil Carbon to Climate Warming: Evaluating Controls on Microbial Community Composition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abstract: Despite the fact that permafrost soils contain up to half of the carbon (C) in terrestrial pools, we have a poor understanding of the controls on decomposition in thawed permafrost. Global climate models assume that decomposition increases linearly with temperature, yet decomposition in th...

  5. Arctic environments and global change: Evidence in deep permafrost temperatures, Canadian arctic archipelago

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    In considering the role of the polar regions in future global change, one may look toward these regions for evidence of past environmental change. Deep ground temperatures provide one window on past surface temperatures, which may be interpreted in terms not only of past climate but also of past environmental conditions. Across the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, there is no consistent curvature in deep ground temperature profiles that can be modeled in terms of warming of the past century. This contrasts with the result reported by Lachenbruch et al. [1986] for the Prudhoe Bay area of Alaska and may be a consequence of the much larger region and wider well spacing considered in the Canadian case. Any curvature present varies from well to well and may be interpreted in terms of surface temperature changes of the order of 1-3 K on the scale of decades to centuries. However, there is some evidence that these surface temperature histories may arise from long-term changes in paleoenvironmental factors as well as climate. For instance, the paleoclimate derived from oxygen isotope data at the Agassiz Ice Cap has been compared with the geothermal signature at a well some 180 km to the west. For the Little Ice Age (LIA), the Agassiz paleoclimate explains only half the measured variation in ground temperatures at the geothermal site; the remaining variation may be due to other environmental effects, such as an increase in snow cover following the LIA. This is consistent with extrapolated surface temperatures 7 K higher than other Arctic sites and the unusually deep snow cover observed today

  6. Environmental controls on soil organic carbon and nitrogen stocks in the high-altitude arid western Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau permafrost region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Xiaodong; Zhao, Lin; Fang, Hongbing; Zhao, Yuguo; Smoak, Joseph M.; Pang, Qiangqiang; Ding, Yongjian

    2016-01-01

    While permafrost in the circum-Artic has great influence on soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (TN) stocks, this might not be the case in low-latitude arid permafrost regions. We test this hypothesis in the western Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) permafrost region. Fifty-nine soil profiles were analyzed to examine the SOC and TN distribution and the controlling factors in western QTP, which is a desert steppe ecoregion. Mean stocks of SOC (5.29 kg m-2) and TN (0.56 kg m-2) for the top 200 cm in this area were lower than those of the east QTP and circum-Arctic regions. The SOC and TN stocks under vegetative cover with permafrost conditions were significantly higher than those of desert conditions. The SOC and TN stocks for the layers of different depths were related to the content of clay, silt, and moisture. Although the active layer thickness (ALT) had a significant negative correlation to soil moisture, the ALT explained little or no variance in the SOC and TN stocks. The results showed that in the vast permafrost regions of the western QTP, the SOC and TN stocks are very low, and the main controlling factors for the SOC and TN are soil texture, moisture, and vegetation type. The SOC pool in this area may not be as vulnerable to degradation associated with climate warming and thus not emit greenhouse gases at the same rate as other permafrost regions. The different response of the SOC in this region should be considered in carbon cycling models.

  7. Storage and turnover of organic matter fractions along a Siberian Arctic soil transect

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gentsch, Norman; Mikutta, Robert; Shibistova, Olga; Guggenberger, Georg

    2013-04-01

    Recent observation and climate models demonstrate that arctic ecosystems are already affected by climate warming, as revealed by continuous permafrost degradation and increase of active layer depths. Variations of organic matter (OM) storage in different soil horizons and the OM quality are likely the major drivers of trace gas emissions to the atmosphere. A better understanding of the biogeochemical cycling of OM in permafrost environments is the key to predict future climate changes and the role of terrestrial arctic regions. This study investigates the storage and turnover patterns of OM in functionally different pools, i.e., in particulate plant debris, extractable-water-soluble OM, and mineral-associated OM in permafrost soils along a West-East Siberian transect in the Russian Arctic. We quantified the stocks of total soil organic C (OC) and the respective OM fractions for the first soil meter. Furthermore, we estimated their apparent 14C ages by accelerator mass spectrometry, and determined the mineralization rates and bioavailability of particulate, mineral-bound, and bulk OM in a 90-day incubation experiment. Particulate OM was separated from the mineral-associated OM fraction by density fractionation with sodium polytungstate (density cut-off 1.6 g cm-3) and the OM liberated by this treatment was quantified. Considerable differences in OM storage existed from the West- to the East Siberian Arctic. Cryosols of the Central- and East Siberian sampling sites stored on average 56% more OC than those in West Siberia (25 ± 7 kg m-2versus 11 ± 4 kg m-2 to 1 m soil depth). However, the proportion of the three OM fractions to total OM was similar among the sites. In mineral soil horizons, on average, 17 ± 5% of the total OM was particulate OM, 61 ± 10% was associated with minerals, and 21 ± 3% could be mobilized in dissolved forms during density fractionation. Except for West Siberian soils, ~30% of the OM of the first soil meter was stored in permafrost while

  8. On the effect of global warming on the snowmelt in an arctic permafrost area

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Seasonal snow cover is an important factor for the global heat balance and determines the overall albedo of the earth. Snow has a high albedo of 0.8-0.9, while bare ground has an albedo of about 0.2-0.3. The shift of the date of melting of the seasonal snow cover by global warming would drastically change the global heat balance. In other words, the date of disappearance of the snow is one of the major potential feedbacks in global climatic change. In this paper, the details of the energy balance over the snow in the arctic tundra is studied and, assuming a simple global warming, the expected change in the heat balance is discussed. The energy balance observations were made at Imnavait Creek on the North Slope of Alaska. This watershed lies over the continuous permafrost. The net radiation is obtained by a net radiometer. The sensible heat flux, latent heat flux and heat flux in snow are calculated from meteorological and glaciological data. The result of energy balance calculations showed that the most important component for snowmelt is net radiation. Since the global radiation over cloud and fog and the melting snow surface temperature are almost constant, the net radiation is mainly dependent on cloudiness, albedo of snow and atmospheric radiation. An increase of cloudiness due to global warming would suppress snowmelt, while a decrease in snow albedo and an increase in atmospheric radiation due to global warming would enhance snowmelt

  9. Effects of Conversion from Boreal Forest to Arctic Steppe on Soil Communities and Ecosystem Carbon Pools

    Science.gov (United States)

    Han, P. D.; Natali, S.; Schade, J. D.; Zimov, N.; Zimov, S. A.

    2014-12-01

    The end of the Pleistocene marked the extinction of a great variety of arctic megafauna, which, in part, led to the conversion of arctic grasslands to modern Siberian larch forest. This shift may have increased the vulnerability of permafrost to thawing because of changes driven by the vegetation shift; the higher albedo of grassland and low insulation of snow trampled by animals may have decreased soil temperatures and reduced ground thaw in the grassland ecosystem, resulting in protection of organic carbon in thawed soil and permafrost. To test these hypothesized impacts of arctic megafauna, we examined an experimental reintroduction of large mammals in northeast Siberia, initiated in 1988. Pleistocene Park now contains 23 horses, three musk ox, one bison, and several moose in addition to the native fauna. The park is 16 square km with a smaller enclosure (animals spend most of their time and our study was focused. We measured carbon-pools in forested sites (where scat surveys showed low animal use), and grassy sites (which showed higher use), within the park boundaries. We also measured thaw depth and documented the soil invertebrate communities in each ecosystem. There was a substantial difference in number of invertebrates per kg of organic soil between the forest (600 ± 250) and grassland (300 ± 250), though these differences were not statistically significant they suggest faster nutrient turnover in the forest or a greater proportion of decomposition by invertebrates than other decomposers. While thaw depth was deeper in the grassland (60 ± 4 cm) than in the forest (40 ± 6 cm), we did not detect differences in organic layer depth or percent organic matter between grassland and forest. However, soil in the grassland had higher bulk density, and higher carbon stocks in the organic and mineral soil layers. Although deeper thaw depth in the grassland suggests that more carbon is available to microbial decomposers, ongoing temperature monitoring will help

  10. Methane and Root Dynamics in Arctic Soil

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    D'Imperio, Ludovica

    the global climate. We investigated two aspects of arctic ecosystem dynamics which are not well represented in climatic models: i) soil methane (CH4) oxidation in dry heath tundra and barren soils and ii) root dynamics in wetlands. Field measurements were carried out during the growing season in Disko...... Island, West Greenland, and CH4 and root dynamics were assessed in response to experimentally increased winter snow precipitation, summer warming and their interaction to better understand their contribution to the C balance of the Arctic. Our results indicate that both the dry heath and barren soils...... CH4 emissions from wetlands in a future warmer climate. At the wet fen increased winter snow precipitation delayed the onset of the growing season of about a week and reduced the relative fine root production. The use of minirhizotrons improved our understanding of root growth and phenology. Total...

  11. DOE Final Report on Collaborative Research. Quantifying Climate Feedbacks of the Terrestrial Biosphere under Thawing Permafrost Conditions in the Arctic

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Zhuang, Qianlai [Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN (United States); Schlosser, C. Adam [Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States); Melillo, Jerry M. [Marine Biological Lab. (MBL), Woods Hole, MA (United States); Anthony, Katey Walter [Univ. of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK (United States); Kicklighter, David [Marine Biological Lab. (MBL), Woods Hole, MA (United States); Gao, Xiang [Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)

    2015-11-03

    Our overall goal is to quantify the potential for threshold changes in natural emission rates of trace gases, particularly methane and carbon dioxide, from pan-arctic terrestrial systems under the spectrum of anthropogenically-forced climate warming, and the conditions under which these emissions provide a strong feedback mechanism to global climate warming. This goal is motivated under the premise that polar amplification of global climate warming will induce widespread thaw and degradation of the permafrost, and would thus cause substantial changes to the landscape of wetlands and lakes, especially thermokarst (thaw) lakes, across the Arctic. Through a suite of numerical experiments that encapsulate the fundamental processes governing methane emissions and carbon exchanges – as well as their coupling to the global climate system - we intend to test the following hypothesis in the proposed research: There exists a climate warming threshold beyond which permafrost degradation becomes widespread and stimulates large increases in methane emissions (via thermokarst lakes and poorly-drained wetland areas upon thawing permafrost along with microbial metabolic responses to higher temperatures) and increases in carbon dioxide emissions from well-drained areas. Besides changes in biogeochemistry, this threshold will also influence global energy dynamics through effects on surface albedo, evapotranspiration and water vapor. These changes would outweigh any increased uptake of carbon (e.g. from peatlands and higher plant photosynthesis) and would result in a strong, positive feedback to global climate warming.

  12. Comparison of algorithms and parameterisations for infiltration into organic-covered permafrost soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Infiltration into frozen and unfrozen soils is critical in hydrology, controlling active layer soil water dynamics and influencing runoff. Few Land Surface Models (LSMs) and Hydrological Models (HMs) have been developed, adapted or tested for frozen conditions and permafrost soils. Considering the v...

  13. Soil temperature-threshold based runoff generation processes in a permafrost catchment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, G.; Mao, T.; Chang, J.; Liu, G.

    2015-11-01

    The contributing-area concept was the universal approach in rainfall-runoff processes modelling. However, it is unclear of the role of permafrost in controlling runoff generation processes. The areas that contribute to runoff generation are complex, variable and difficult to determine in permafrost catchments, and thus, there is no suitable quantitative approach for the simulation of runoff generating dynamics. To understand how thaw-freezing cycle in permafrost catchment effect the runoff generation processes, a typical catchment of continuous permafrost on the Tibetan Plateau was measured, and the spring and autumn season when runoff generation obviously differs from non-permafrost regions were focused on in this study. By introducing soil temperature threshold functions for surface saturation excess runoff generation and subsurface groundwater discharge, two dominant runoff generation types for permafrost catchments in different seasons are analysed, and corresponding simple quantitative approach related to the thawing and freezing periods are presented. The results show that the new approach can exactly identify the runoff generation dynamics of spring thawing and autumn freezing processes. In the permafrost headwater catchments of alpine meadows, the surface soil temperature or thawed depth threshold for variable runoff generation area depend on the zero thawing isotherms, which reach a depth of 40 cm. The subsurface groundwater discharge, which is controlled by soil temperature, contributes more than 85 % of the total river discharge in the autumn freezing period. The crucial variable for the spatial-temporal variation of runoff contributing area in the permafrost catchment is the soil temperature rather than soil moisture.

  14. Vertical electric sounding of selected Arctic and Antarctic soils: advances in express field investigation of the Cryosols

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abakumov, Evgeny

    2016-04-01

    Physical properties of the soils of the cold environments are underestimated. Soil and permafrost border and active layer thickness are the key classification indicators for the polar soils. That is why electrophysical research has been conducted with aim to determine the soil-permafrost layer heterogeneity and the depth of the uppermost permafrost layer on examples of selected plots in Antarctic region and Russian Arctic. The electric resistivity (ER) was measured directly in the soil profiles using the vertical electrical sounding (VERS) method, which provides data on the changes in the electrical resistivity throughout the profile from the soil surface without digging pits or drilling. This method allows dividing the soil layer vertically into genetic layers, which are different on main key properties and characteristics Different soil layers have different ER values, that is why the sharp changes in ER values in soil profile can be interpreted as results of transition of one horizon to another. In our study, the resistivity measurements were performed using four-electrode (AB + MN) arrays of the AMNB configuration with use of the Schlumberger geometry. A Landmapper ERM-03 instrument (Landviser, USA) was used for the VES measurements in this study. Electrodes were situated on the soil surface, distance between M and N was fixes, while distance from A to B were changed during the sounding. Vertical Electrical Resistivity Soundings (VERS) using Schlumberger array were carried out at stations, situated on the different plots of terrestrial ecosystems of Arctic and Antarctic. The resistance readings at every VERS point were automatically displayed on the digital readout screen and then written down on the field note book. The soils had been 'sounded' thoroughly and found to vary between 5 cm and 3-5 m in A-B distances. It was shown that use of VES methodology in soil survey is quite useful for identification of the permafrost depth without digging of soil pit. This

  15. Improved quantification of microbial CH4 oxidation efficiency in Arctic wetland soils using carbon isotope fractionation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E.-M. Pfeiffer

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available Permafrost-affected tundra soils are significant sources of the climate-relevant trace gas methane (CH4. The observed accelerated warming of the Arctic will cause a deeper permafrost thawing followed by increased carbon mineralization and CH4 formation in water saturated tundra soils which might cause a positive feedback to climate change. Aerobic CH4 oxidation is regarded as the key process reducing CH4 emissions from wetlands, but quantification of turnover rates has remained difficult so far. The application of carbon stable isotope fractionation enables the in situ quantification of CH4 oxidation efficiency in arctic wetland soils. The aim of the current study is to quantify CH4 oxidation efficiency in permafrost-affected tundra soils in Russia's Lena River Delta based on stable isotope signatures of CH4. Therefore, depth profiles of CH4 concentrations and δ13CH4-signatures were measured and the fractionation factors for the processes of oxidation (αox and diffusion (αdiff were determined. Most previous studies employing stable isotope fractionation for the quantification of CH4 oxidation in soils of other habitats (e.g. landfill cover soils have assumed a gas transport dominated by advection (αtrans = 1. In tundra soils, however, diffusion is the main gas transport mechanism, aside from ebullition. Hence, diffusive stable isotope fractionation has to be considered. For the first time, the stable isotope fractionation of CH4 diffusion through water-saturated soils was determined with an αdiff = 1.001 ± 0.000 (n = 3. CH4 stable isotope fractionation during diffusion through air-filled pores of the investigated polygonal tundra soils was αdiff = 1.013 ± 0.003 (n = 18. Furthermore, it was found that αox differs widely between sites and horizons (mean αox, = 1.017 ± 0.009 and needs to be determined individually. The impact of both fractionation factors on the quantification of CH4 oxidation was analyzed by considering both the

  16. Improved quantification of microbial CH4 oxidation efficiency in arctic wetland soils using carbon isotope fractionation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    I. Preuss

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Permafrost-affected tundra soils are significant sources of the climate-relevant trace gas methane (CH4. The observed accelerated warming of the arctic will cause deeper permafrost thawing, followed by increased carbon mineralization and CH4 formation in water-saturated tundra soils, thus creating a positive feedback to climate change. Aerobic CH4 oxidation is regarded as the key process reducing CH4 emissions from wetlands, but quantification of turnover rates has remained difficult so far. The application of carbon stable isotope fractionation enables the in situ quantification of CH4 oxidation efficiency in arctic wetland soils. The aim of the current study is to quantify CH4 oxidation efficiency in permafrost-affected tundra soils in Russia's Lena River delta based on stable isotope signatures of CH4. Therefore, depth profiles of CH4 concentrations and δ13CH4 signatures were measured and the fractionation factors for the processes of oxidation (αox and diffusion (αdiff were determined. Most previous studies employing stable isotope fractionation for the quantification of CH4 oxidation in soils of other habitats (such as landfill cover soils have assumed a gas transport dominated by advection (αtrans = 1. In tundra soils, however, diffusion is the main gas transport mechanism and diffusive stable isotope fractionation should be considered alongside oxidative fractionation. For the first time, the stable isotope fractionation of CH4 diffusion through water-saturated soils was determined with an αdiff = 1.001 ± 0.000 (n = 3. CH4 stable isotope fractionation during diffusion through air-filled pores of the investigated polygonal tundra soils was αdiff = 1.013 ± 0.003 (n = 18. Furthermore, it was found that αox differs widely between sites and horizons (mean αox = 1.017 ± 0.009 and needs to be determined on a case by case basis. The impact of both fractionation factors on the quantification of CH4 oxidation was analyzed by

  17. Distribution of glacial deposits, soils, and permafrost in Taylor Valley, Antarctica

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bockheim, J.G.; Prentice, M.L.; McLeod, M.

    2008-01-01

    We provide a map of lower and central Taylor Valley, Antarctica, that shows deposits from Taylor Glacier, local alpine glaciers, and grounded ice in the Ross Embayment. From our electronic database, which includes 153 sites from the coast 50 km upvalley to Pearse Valley, we show the distribution of permafrost type and soil subgroups according to Soil Taxonomy. Soils in eastern Taylor Valley are of late Pleistocene age, cryoturbated due to the presence of ground ice or ice-cemented permafrost within 70 cm of the surface, and classified as Glacic and Typic Haploturbels. In central Taylor Valley, soils are dominantly Typic Anhyorthels of mid-Pleistocene age that have dry-frozen permafrost within the upper 70 cm. Salt-enriched soils (Salic Anhyorthels and Petrosalic Anhyorthels) are of limited extent in Taylor Valley and occur primarily on drifts of early Pleistocene and Pliocene age. Soils are less developed in Taylor Valley than in nearby Wright Valley, because of lesser salt input from atmospheric deposition and salt weathering. Ice-cemented permafrost is ubiquitous on Ross Sea, pre-Ross Sea, and Bonney drifts that occur within 28 km of the McMurdo coast. In contrast, dry-frozen permafrost is prevalent on older (???115 ky) surfaces to the west. ?? 2008 Regents of the University of Colorado.

  18. The transcriptional response of microbial communities in thawing Alaskan permafrost soils

    OpenAIRE

    Coolen, Marco J. L.; Orsi, William D.

    2015-01-01

    Thawing of permafrost soils is expected to stimulate microbial decomposition and respiration of sequestered carbon. This could, in turn, increase atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gasses, such as carbon dioxide and methane, and create a positive feedback to climate warming. Recent metagenomic studies suggest that permafrost has a large metabolic potential for carbon processing, including pathways for fermentation and methanogenesis. Here, we performed a pilot study using ultrahigh thro...

  19. Reorganization of vegetation, hydrology and soil carbon after permafrost degradation across heterogeneous boreal landscapes

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The diversity of ecosystems across boreal landscapes, successional changes after disturbance and complicated permafrost histories, present enormous challenges for assessing how vegetation, water and soil carbon may respond to climate change in boreal regions. To address this complexity, we used a chronosequence approach to assess changes in vegetation composition, water storage and soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks along successional gradients within four landscapes: (1) rocky uplands on ice-poor hillside colluvium, (2) silty uplands on extremely ice-rich loess, (3) gravelly–sandy lowlands on ice-poor eolian sand and (4) peaty–silty lowlands on thick ice-rich peat deposits over reworked lowland loess. In rocky uplands, after fire permafrost thawed rapidly due to low ice contents, soils became well drained and SOC stocks decreased slightly. In silty uplands, after fire permafrost persisted, soils remained saturated and SOC decreased slightly. In gravelly–sandy lowlands where permafrost persisted in drier forest soils, loss of deeper permafrost around lakes has allowed recent widespread drainage of lakes that has exposed limnic material with high SOC to aerobic decomposition. In peaty–silty lowlands, 2–4 m of thaw settlement led to fragmented drainage patterns in isolated thermokarst bogs and flooding of soils, and surface soils accumulated new bog peat. We were not able to detect SOC changes in deeper soils, however, due to high variability. Complicated soil stratigraphy revealed that permafrost has repeatedly aggraded and degraded in all landscapes during the Holocene, although in silty uplands only the upper permafrost was affected. Overall, permafrost thaw has led to the reorganization of vegetation, water storage and flow paths, and patterns of SOC accumulation. However, changes have occurred over different timescales among landscapes: over decades in rocky uplands and gravelly–sandy lowlands in response to fire and lake drainage, over decades to

  20. Climate change and the permafrost carbon feedback

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schuur, E.A.G.; McGuire, Anthony; Schädel, C.; Grosse, G.; Harden, J.W.; Hayes, D.J.; Hugelius, G.; Koven, C.D.; Kuhry, P.; Lawrence, D.M.; Natali, S.M.; Olefeldt, David; Romanovsky, V.E.; Schaefer, K.; Turetsky, M.R.; Treat, C.C.; Vonk, J.E.

    2015-01-01

    Large quantities of organic carbon are stored in frozen soils (permafrost) within Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. A warming climate can induce environmental changes that accelerate the microbial breakdown of organic carbon and the release of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane. This feedback can accelerate climate change, but the magnitude and timing of greenhouse gas emission from these regions and their impact on climate change remain uncertain. Here we find that current evidence suggests a gradual and prolonged release of greenhouse gas emissions in a warming climate and present a research strategy with which to target poorly understood aspects of permafrost carbon dynamics.

  1. Contrasting denitrifier communities relate to contrasting N2O emission patterns from acidic peat soils in arctic tundra

    OpenAIRE

    Palmer, Katharina; Biasi, Christina; Horn, Marcus A.

    2011-01-01

    Cryoturbated peat circles (that is, bare surface soil mixed by frost action; pH 3–4) in the Russian discontinuous permafrost tundra are nitrate-rich ‘hotspots' of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions in arctic ecosystems, whereas adjacent unturbated peat areas are not. N2O was produced and subsequently consumed at pH 4 in unsupplemented anoxic microcosms with cryoturbated but not in those with unturbated peat soil. Nitrate, nitrite and acetylene stimulated net N2O production of both soils in anoxic ...

  2. Soil surface organic layers in Arctic Alaska: Spatial distribution, rates of formation, and microclimatic effects

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baughman, Carson A.; Mann, Daniel H.; Verbyla, David L.; Kunz, Michael L.

    2015-06-01

    Organic layers of living and dead vegetation cover the ground surface in many permafrost landscapes and play important roles in ecosystem processes. These soil surface organic layers (SSOLs) store large amounts of carbon and buffer the underlying permafrost and its contained carbon from changes in aboveground climate. Understanding the dynamics of SSOLs is a prerequisite for predicting how permafrost and carbon stocks will respond to warming climate. Here we ask three questions about SSOLs in a representative area of the Arctic Foothills region of northern Alaska: (1) What environmental factors control the thickness of SSOLs and the carbon they store? (2) How long do SSOLs take to develop on newly stabilized point bars? (3) How do SSOLs affect temperature in the underlying ground? Results show that SSOL thickness and distribution correlate with elevation, drainage area, vegetation productivity, and incoming solar radiation. A multiple regression model based on these correlations can simulate spatial distribution of SSOLs and estimate the organic carbon stored there. SSOLs develop within a few decades after a new, sandy, geomorphic surface stabilizes but require 500-700 years to reach steady state thickness. Mature SSOLs lower the growing season temperature and mean annual temperature of the underlying mineral soil by 8 and 3°C, respectively. We suggest that the proximate effects of warming climate on permafrost landscapes now covered by SSOLs will occur indirectly via climate's effects on the frequency, extent, and severity of disturbances like fires and landslides that disrupt the SSOLs and interfere with their protection of the underlying permafrost.

  3. Thermokarst dynamics and soil organic matter characteristics controlling initial carbon release from permafrost soils in the Siberian Yedoma region

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Weiss, Niels; Blok, Daan; Elberling, Bo; Hugelius, Gustaf; Jørgensen, Christian Juncher; Siewert, Matthias; Kuhry, Peter

    2016-01-01

    This study relates soil organic matter (SOM) characteristics to initial soil incubation carbon release from upper permafrost samples in Yedoma region soils of northeastern Siberia, Russia. Carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) content, carbon to nitrogen ratios (C:N), δ13C and δ15N values show clear trends...... assumed to be more reactive upon thawing. Large stocks of SOM and their potential decomposability, in combination with complex landscape dynamics that include one or more events of Holocene thaw in most of the landscape, are of consequence for potential greenhouse gas release from permafrost soils in the...

  4. Characterizing Soil Organic Matter Degradation Levels in Permafrost-affected Soils using Infrared Spectroscopy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matamala, R.; Jastrow, J. D.; Calderon, F.; Liang, C.; Miller, R. M.; Ping, C. L.; Michaelson, G. J.; Hofmann, S.

    2014-12-01

    Diffuse-reflectance Fourier-transform mid-infrared spectroscopy (MidIR) was used to (1) investigate soil quality along a latitudinal gradient of Alaskan soils, and in combination with soil incubations, (2) to assess the relative lability of soil organic matter in the active layer and upper permafrost for some of those soils. Twenty nine sites were sampled along a latitudinal gradient (78.79 N to 55.35 N deg). The sites included 8 different vegetation types (moss/lichen, non-acidic and acidic tundra, shrub areas, deciduous forests, mixed forests, coniferous forests, and grassland). At each site, soils were separated by soil horizons and analyzed for pH, cation exchange capacity (CEC), organic and inorganic C, and total N. Samples were also scanned to obtain MidIR spectra, and ratios of characteristic bands previously suggested as indicators of organic matter quality or degradation level were calculated. Principal component analysis showed that axis 1 explained 70% of the variation and was correlated with the general Organic:Mineral ratio, soil organic C, total N, and CEC, but not with vegetation type. Axis 2 explained 25% of the variation and was correlated with most of the band ratios, with negative values for the condensation index (ratio of aromatic to aliphatic organic matter) and positive values for all humification ratios (HU1: ratio of aliphatic to polysaccharides; HU2: ratio of aromatics to polysaccharides; and HU3 ratio of lignin/phenols to polysaccharides) suggesting that axis 2 variations were related to differences in level of soil organic matter degradation. Active organic, active mineral and permafrost layers from selected tundra sites were incubated for two months at -1, 1, 4, 8 and 16 ⁰C. The same band ratios were correlated with total CO2 mineralized during the incubations. Data from 4⁰C showed that the cumulative respired CO2 from the active organic layer across all sites was negatively correlated with the HU1 humification ratio, suggesting

  5. Permafrost thaw and resulting soil moisture changes regulate projected high-latitude CO2 and CH4 emissions

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The fate of currently frozen permafrost carbon as high-latitude climate warms remains highly uncertain and existing models give widely varying estimates of the permafrost carbon-climate feedback. This uncertainty is due to many factors, including the role that permafrost thaw-induced transitions in soil hydrologic conditions will have on organic matter decomposition rates and the proportion of aerobic to anaerobic respiration. Large-scale permafrost thaw, as predicted by the Community Land Model (CLM) under an unmitigated greenhouse gas emissions scenario, results in significant soil drying due to increased drainage following permafrost thaw, even though permafrost domain water inputs are projected to rise (net precipitation minus evaporation >0). CLM predicts that drier soil conditions will accelerate organic matter decomposition, with concomitant increases in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Soil drying, however, strongly suppresses growth in methane (CH4) emissions. Considering the global warming potential (GWP) of CO2 and CH4 emissions together, soil drying weakens the CLM projected GWP associated with carbon fluxes from the permafrost zone by more than 50% compared to a non-drying case. This high sensitivity to hydrologic change highlights the need for better understanding and modeling of landscape-scale changes in soil moisture conditions in response to permafrost thaw in order to more accurately assess the potential magnitude of the permafrost carbon-climate feedback. (letter)

  6. Multi-omics of Permafrost, Active Layer and Thermokarst Bog Soil Microbiomes

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hultman, Jenni; Waldrop, Mark P.; Mackelprang, Rachel; David, Maude; McFarland, Jack; Blazewicz, Steven J.; Harden, Jennifer W.; Turetsky, Merritt; McGuire, A. David; Shah, Manesh B.; VerBerkmoes, Nathan C.; Lee, Lang Ho; Mavrommatis, Konstantinos; Jansson, Janet K.

    2015-03-04

    Over 20% of Earth’s terrestrial surface is underlain by permafrost with vast stores of carbon that, if thawed may represent the largest future transfer of C from the biosphere to the atmosphere 1. This process is largely dependent on microbial responses, but we know little about microbial activity in intact, let alone in thawing permafrost. Molecular approaches have recently revealed the identities and functional gene composition of microorganisms in some permafrost soils 2-4 and a rapid shift in functional gene composition during short-term thaw experiments 3. However, the fate of permafrost C depends on climatic, hydrologic, and microbial responses to thaw at decadal scales 5, 6. Here the combination of several molecular “omics” approaches enabled us to determine the phylogenetic composition of the microbial community, including several draft genomes of novel species, their functional potential and activity in soils representing different states of thaw: intact permafrost, seasonally thawed active layer and thermokarst bog. The multi-omics strategy revealed a good correlation of process rates to omics data for dominant processes, such as methanogenesis in the bog, as well as novel survival strategies for potentially active microbes in permafrost.

  7. Submarine groundwater discharge as a possible formation mechanism for permafrost-associated gas hydrate on the circum-Arctic continental shelf

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frederick, Jennifer M.; Buffett, Bruce A.

    2016-03-01

    Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) is a large-scale, buoyancy-driven, offshore flow of terrestrial groundwater. If SGD occurs within the permafrost-bearing sediments of the circum-Arctic shelf, such fluid circulation may transport large amounts of dissolved methane to the circum-Arctic shelf, aiding the formation of permafrost-associated gas hydrate. We investigate the feasibility of this new permafrost-associated gas hydrate formation mechanism with a 2-D, multiphase fluid flow model, using the Canadian Beaufort Shelf as an example. The numerical model includes freeze/thaw permafrost processes and predicts the unsteady, 2-D methane solubility field for hydrate inventory calculations. Model results show that widespread, low-saturation hydrate deposits accumulate within and below submarine permafrost, even if offshore-flowing groundwater is undersaturated in methane gas. While intrapermafrost hydrate inventory varies widely depending on permafrost extent, subpermafrost hydrate stability remains largely intact across consecutive glacial cycles, allowing widespread subpermafrost accumulation over time. Methane gas escape to the sediment surface (atmosphere) is predicted along the seaward permafrost boundary during the early to middle years of each glacial epoch; however, if free gas is trapped within the forming permafrost layer instead, venting may be delayed until ocean transgression deepens the permafrost table during interglacial periods, and may be related to the spatial distribution of observed pingo-like features (PLFs) on the Canadian Beaufort Shelf. Shallow, gas-charged sediments are predicted above the gas hydrate stability zone at the midshelf to shelf edge and the upper slope, where a gap in hydrate stability allows free gas to accumulate and numerous PLFs have been observed.

  8. Optimization of viral resuspension methods for carbon-rich soils along a permafrost thaw gradient

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trubl, Gareth; Solonenko, Natalie; Chittick, Lauren; Solonenko, Sergei A.

    2016-01-01

    Permafrost stores approximately 50% of global soil carbon (C) in a frozen form; it is thawing rapidly under climate change, and little is known about viral communities in these soils or their roles in C cycling. In permafrost soils, microorganisms contribute significantly to C cycling, and characterizing them has recently been shown to improve prediction of ecosystem function. In other ecosystems, viruses have broad ecosystem and community impacts ranging from host cell mortality and organic matter cycling to horizontal gene transfer and reprogramming of core microbial metabolisms. Here we developed an optimized protocol to extract viruses from three types of high organic-matter peatland soils across a permafrost thaw gradient (palsa, moss-dominated bog, and sedge-dominated fen). Three separate experiments were used to evaluate the impact of chemical buffers, physical dispersion, storage conditions, and concentration and purification methods on viral yields. The most successful protocol, amended potassium citrate buffer with bead-beating or vortexing and BSA, yielded on average as much as 2-fold more virus-like particles (VLPs) g−1 of soil than other methods tested. All method combinations yielded VLPs g−1 of soil on the 108 order of magnitude across all three soil types. The different storage and concentration methods did not yield significantly more VLPs g−1 of soil among the soil types. This research provides much-needed guidelines for resuspending viruses from soils, specifically carbon-rich soils, paving the way for incorporating viruses into soil ecology studies. PMID:27231649

  9. Optimization of viral resuspension methods for carbon-rich soils along a permafrost thaw gradient.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trubl, Gareth; Solonenko, Natalie; Chittick, Lauren; Solonenko, Sergei A; Rich, Virginia I; Sullivan, Matthew B

    2016-01-01

    Permafrost stores approximately 50% of global soil carbon (C) in a frozen form; it is thawing rapidly under climate change, and little is known about viral communities in these soils or their roles in C cycling. In permafrost soils, microorganisms contribute significantly to C cycling, and characterizing them has recently been shown to improve prediction of ecosystem function. In other ecosystems, viruses have broad ecosystem and community impacts ranging from host cell mortality and organic matter cycling to horizontal gene transfer and reprogramming of core microbial metabolisms. Here we developed an optimized protocol to extract viruses from three types of high organic-matter peatland soils across a permafrost thaw gradient (palsa, moss-dominated bog, and sedge-dominated fen). Three separate experiments were used to evaluate the impact of chemical buffers, physical dispersion, storage conditions, and concentration and purification methods on viral yields. The most successful protocol, amended potassium citrate buffer with bead-beating or vortexing and BSA, yielded on average as much as 2-fold more virus-like particles (VLPs) g(-1) of soil than other methods tested. All method combinations yielded VLPs g(-1) of soil on the 10(8) order of magnitude across all three soil types. The different storage and concentration methods did not yield significantly more VLPs g(-1) of soil among the soil types. This research provides much-needed guidelines for resuspending viruses from soils, specifically carbon-rich soils, paving the way for incorporating viruses into soil ecology studies. PMID:27231649

  10. The role of iron and reactive oxygen in the degradation of dissolved organic matter draining permafrost soils (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cory, R. M.; Page, S. E.; Kling, G. W.; Sander, M.; Harrold, K. H.; McNeill, K.

    2013-12-01

    As the permafrost boundary deepens from climate warming it will create conditions for redox reactions between soil-derived dissolved organic matter (DOM) and iron where those conditions did not previously exist. These new conditions will facilitate the transformation of DOM, and the overarching question is whether the pathway to CO2 released to the atmosphere or the export of DOM to coastal oceans will be favored. Our findings suggest that in either dark soils or sunlit surface waters, the presence of iron promotes the degradation of DOM to CO2. Evidence in support of iron-mediated oxidation of DOM to CO2 includes (1) strong positive correlations between iron and formation of hydroxyl radical (●OH), a highly reactive oxygen species implicated in DOM mineralization, (2) complete oxidation of DOM in the presence of high iron concentrations, and (3) loss of permafrost-derived DOM and iron from a thermokarst-impacted lake over time. For example, iron and DOM-rich soils or surface waters had the highest dark or photochemical ●OH formation respectively, both consistent with a dark or light Fenton source of ●OH and subsequent oxidation of DOM by ●OH. Photo-oxidation of DOM to CO2 was favored over partial photo-oxidation in surface waters characterized by high DOM and dissolved iron concentrations, consistent with photochemical reactions mediated by iron. Changes in DOM quality and quantity over time in a lake receiving permafrost carbon via a landslide (thermokarst slump) were also consistent with iron-mediated photodegradation of DOM. Given differences in DOM degradation across tundra ecosystems varying in iron, along with the abundance of water-logged soils supplying reduced iron to soil water or shallow streams, preliminary calculations at the landscape scale indicate that iron-mediated mineralization of DOM in soils and surface waters may be at least as important to carbon cycling as is bacterial respiration of DOM in the water column of streams and lakes

  11. Isolation of dissolved organic matter from permafrost soil and freshwater environments of the Kolyma River basin, east Siberia, for high resolution structural analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dubinenkov, I. V.; Perminova, I. V.; Bulygina, E. B.; Holmes, R. M.; Davydov, S.; Mann, P. J.; Vonk, J.; Zimov, S. A.

    2010-12-01

    The Arctic and Subarctic ecosystems are known to be the most vulnerable with respect to climate change. Hence, research on carbon cycling in the Arctic region is very important for understanding the current climatic trends and their consequences. The Kolyma River watershed is one of the Arctic Ocean’s largest. It is dominated by continuous permafrost which is underlain with rich organic soils susceptible to increased fluvial transport. The thaw of permafrost enhanced due to global warming might provide additional large source of organic carbon to the Kolyma River and to the Arctic Ocean as a whole. For estimating the contribution of this source to the total pool of organic carbon, specific structural features of permafrost dissolved organic matter (DOM) as opposed to the waterborne DOM of the Kolyma River should be identified and monitored. The objective of this work was to isolate a representive set of the DOM samples from permafrost soil and freshwater environments of the Kolyma River basin suitable for further structural analysis using high resolution Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectroscopy (FTICR-MS) and 1H NMR spectroscopy. The isolation protocol of DOM used in this study has been developed by Dittmar et al, 2008 for sampling marine DOM for NMR studies. It is based on the solid phase extraction of DOM from seawater using PPL Varian Bond Elute cartridges Those cartridges were shown to possess the highest efficiency in DOM isolation from marine water. Prior to discharge through the cartridge, a water sample was filtered through 0.45 μm filter for separation of particulate matter and acidified to pH 2 using HCl. About 50mg of DOM could be sequestered from aqueous phase using one cartridge. Sorption extent was monitored by measurements of DOC concentration and UV-vis spectra at the inlet and outlet of the cartridge. It was determined that from 60 to 65% of the total DOC could be extracted from the tested samples of freshwater. As a result

  12. Calculating thermal insulation thickness and embedment depth of underground heat supply pipeline for permafrost soils

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M.P. Akimov

    2014-04-01

    Full Text Available In this work the authors considered a freezing-and-melting process of soils under the polyurethane-insulated polyethylene heating pipeline, which is used in the regions with permafrost soils. Temperature field dynamics of the “pipeline – soil” system is determined by heat conductivity equation in polar coordinate system. The corresponding two-dimensional Stefan problem is solved by the finite differences method. The authors propose to determine the thickness of pipeline thermal insulation and the embedment depth upon the condition of melting depth reduction to an annual thawed layer of soil identified before the heating season. There are presented results of isotherm calculations for underground heat supply pipelines interacting with frozen soil. These results show that reduction of melting depth to annual thawed layer is probable. The calculations were carried out for simulated soil and temperature conditions of Yakutsk, Republic Sakha, Russia. Nevertheless, the results obtained can be applied in other permafrost areas.

  13. Numerical investigations of the fluid flows at deep oceanic and arctic permafrost-associated gas hydrate deposits

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frederick, Jennifer Mary

    older than the host sediment. Old pore fluid age may reflect complex flow patterns, such a fluid focusing, which can cause significant lateral migration as well as regions where downward flow reverses direction and returns toward the seafloor. Longer pathlines can produce pore fluid ages much older than that expected with a one-dimensional compaction model. For steady-state models with geometry representative of Blake Ridge (USA), a well-studied hydrate province, pore fluid ages beneath regions of topography and within fractured zones can be up to 70 Ma old. Results suggest that the measurements of 129-I/127-I reflect a mixture of new and old pore fluid. However, old pore fluid need not originate at great depths. Methane within pore fluids can travel laterally several kilometers, implying an extensive source region around the deposit. Iodine age measurements support the existence of fluid focusing beneath regions of seafloor topography at Blake Ridge, and suggest that the methane source at Blake Ridge is likely shallow. The response of methane hydrate reservoirs to warming is poorly understood. The great depths may protect deep oceanic hydrates from climate change for the time being because transfer of heat by conduction is slow, but warming will eventually be felt albeit in the far future. On the other hand, unique permafrost-associated methane hydrate deposits exist at shallow depths within the sediments of the circum-Arctic continental shelves. Arctic hydrates are thought to be a relict of cold glacial periods, aggrading when sea levels are much lower and shelf sediments are exposed to freezing air temperatures. During interglacial periods, rising sea levels flood the shelf, bringing dramatic warming to the permafrost- and hydrate-bearing sediments. Permafrost-associated methane hydrate deposits have been responding to warming since the last glacial maximum ~18 kaBP as a consequence of these natural glacial cycles. This `experiment,' set into motion by nature itself

  14. Effect of soil property uncertainties on permafrost thaw projections: a calibration-constrained analysis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. R. Harp

    2015-06-01

    By comparing the ensemble statistics to the spread of projected permafrost metrics using different climate models, we show that the effect of calibration-constrained uncertainty in soil properties, although significant, is less than that produced by structural climate model uncertainty for this location.

  15. Microorganisms from Permafrost Viable and Detectable by 16SRNA Analysis: A Model for Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsapin, A. I.; McDonald, G. D.; Andrews, M.; Bhartia, R.; Douglas, S.; Gilichinsky, D.

    1999-01-01

    Preliminary studies of Arctic and Antarctic permafrost have shown that this environment harbors microorganisms which can be isolated in pure culture, and that these organisms can survive for a long period of time (up to 20 Ma) in permafrost. It is believed that the permanent subzero temperatures in permafrost and ice environments are the main parameters ensuring the longevity of microbes. In this project we studied permafrost cores from different areas of the Siberian Arctic and Antarctic, with ages from several thousand years up to several millions years (Ma). In general, Antarctic permafrost has a higher sand content, while Siberian permafrost has a texture more characteristic of clay or normal soil. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  16. Ecological aspects of underground radwaste isolation concept in permafrost rocks of far north of Russia

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Arctic geocryological regions contain permafrost rocks which contain no water and therefore exclude migration processes. Landscape and climatic conditions, and the depth of radwaste underground localization are chosen in such a way that processes of seasonal soil thawing and development of freezing-geological phenomena do not influence the center of radwaste localization. While creating engineering barriers, unique conserving properties of permafrost rocks concerning different materials are taken into consideration (these properties considerably increase the period of their operating ability). The thermal and dynamic state of permafrost rocks as a constant factor is used as a natural thermal and physical barrier against radwaste heat release. The Arctic geocryological region is characterized by entire area of permafrost rocks. The thickness can reach 500--800 m. There are areas of permafrost without thawed interlayers and waters. So, utilization of permafrost rocks as geological and technical barriers is the basis for an ecologically efficient and technically sound method of underground radwaste isolation

  17. Confocal Raman microspectroscopy reveals a convergence of the chemical composition in methanogenic archaea from a Siberian permafrost-affected soil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Serrano, Paloma; Hermelink, Antje; Lasch, Peter; de Vera, Jean-Pierre; König, Nicole; Burckhardt, Oliver; Wagner, Dirk

    2015-12-01

    Methanogenic archaea are widespread anaerobic microorganisms responsible for the production of biogenic methane. Several new species of psychrotolerant methanogenic archaea were recently isolated from a permafrost-affected soil in the Lena Delta (Siberia, Russia), showing an exceptional resistance against desiccation, osmotic stress, low temperatures, starvation, UV and ionizing radiation when compared to methanogens from non-permafrost environments. To gain a deeper insight into the differences observed in their resistance, we described the chemical composition of methanogenic strains from permafrost and non-permafrost environments using confocal Raman microspectroscopy (CRM). CRM is a powerful tool for microbial identification and provides fingerprint-like information about the chemical composition of the cells. Our results show that the chemical composition of methanogens from permafrost-affected soils presents a high homology and is remarkably different from strains inhabiting non-permafrost environments. In addition, we performed a phylogenetic reconstruction of the studied strains based on the functional gene mcrA to prove the different evolutionary relationship of the permafrost strains. We conclude that the permafrost methanogenic strains show a convergent chemical composition regardless of their genotype. This fact is likely to be the consequence of a complex adaptive process to the Siberian permafrost environment and might be the reason underlying their resistant nature. PMID:26499486

  18. Calculating thermal insulation thickness and embedment depth of underground heat supply pipeline for permafrost soils

    OpenAIRE

    M.P. Akimov; S.D. Mordovskoy; N.P. Starostin

    2014-01-01

    In this work the authors considered a freezing-and-melting process of soils under the polyurethane-insulated polyethylene heating pipeline, which is used in the regions with permafrost soils. Temperature field dynamics of the “pipeline – soil” system is determined by heat conductivity equation in polar coordinate system. The corresponding two-dimensional Stefan problem is solved by the finite differences method. The authors propose to determine the thickness of pipeline thermal insulation...

  19. The interaction between biogeophysical and biogeochemical processes and their feedback on permafrost soil carbon stocks

    Science.gov (United States)

    ElMasri, B.; Barman, R.; Jain, A. K.

    2013-12-01

    Our current understanding of the full suite of processes and their responses to recent warming in terrestrial high-latitudes are far from complete. While continued research on development of more detailed Earth system models (ESMs) is essential to understand the interactions and feedbacks between vegetation, soils and climate change in the Northern high latitudes (NHL), one of the major challenges is the treatment of the biophysical and biogeochemical processes and feedback in the ESM and their impact on soil organic carbon. We used a land surface model, the Integrated Science Assessment Model (ISAM), which coupled carbon-nitrogen biogeochemical and energy and hydrology biogeophysical processes, to investigate the effects of feedbacks between the biogeochemical and biogeophysical processes on the model estimated soil organic carbon (SOC) for the NHL permafrost region. We not only focused on recent improvement in the ISAM biogeophysical processes that are deemed important for the high latitude soils/snow; such as deep soil column, modulation of soil thermal and hydrological properties, wind compaction of snow, and depth hoar formation; on permafrost SOC, but also biogeochemical processes; such as dynamic phenology and root distribution, litter carbon decomposition rates and nitrogen amount remaining; on soil biogeochemistry. We selected multiple sites representative of different high latitude biomes to calibrate and evaluate the model. We then carried out several ISAM model simulations to study the effects of feedbacks between biogeochemical and biogeophysical processes on SOC. Our model analysis shows that including the biogeophysical processes alone could increase modeled Northern high-latitude permafrost carbon by about 30% compared to measurements. Accounting for the biogeochmical processes further improve the NHL soil carbon. This study demonstrates that improvements in biogeophysical or biogeochemical processes alone does not help to improve the modeled SOC

  20. Biomass offsets little or none of permafrost carbon release from soils, streams, and wildfire: an expert assessment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abbott, Benjamin W.; Jones, Jeremy B.; Schuur, Edward A. G.; Chapin, F. Stuart, III; Bowden, William B.; Syndonia Bret-Harte, M.; Epstein, Howard E.; Flannigan, Michael D.; Harms, Tamara K.; Hollingsworth, Teresa N.; Mack, Michelle C.; McGuire, A. David; Natali, Susan M.; Rocha, Adrian V.; Tank, Suzanne E.; Turetsky, Merritt R.; Vonk, Jorien E.; Wickland, Kimberly P.; Aiken, George R.; Alexander, Heather D.; Amon, Rainer M. W.; Benscoter, Brian W.; Bergeron, Yves; Bishop, Kevin; Blarquez, Olivier; Bond-Lamberty, Ben; Breen, Amy L.; Buffam, Ishi; Cai, Yihua; Carcaillet, Christopher; Carey, Sean K.; Chen, Jing M.; Chen, Han Y. H.; Christensen, Torben R.; Cooper, Lee W.; Cornelissen, J. Hans C.; de Groot, William J.; DeLuca, Thomas H.; Dorrepaal, Ellen; Fetcher, Ned; Finlay, Jacques C.; Forbes, Bruce C.; French, Nancy H. F.; Gauthier, Sylvie; Girardin, Martin P.; Goetz, Scott J.; Goldammer, Johann G.; Gough, Laura; Grogan, Paul; Guo, Laodong; Higuera, Philip E.; Hinzman, Larry; Hu, Feng Sheng; Hugelius, Gustaf; Jafarov, Elchin E.; Jandt, Randi; Johnstone, Jill F.; Karlsson, Jan; Kasischke, Eric S.; Kattner, Gerhard; Kelly, Ryan; Keuper, Frida; Kling, George W.; Kortelainen, Pirkko; Kouki, Jari; Kuhry, Peter; Laudon, Hjalmar; Laurion, Isabelle; Macdonald, Robie W.; Mann, Paul J.; Martikainen, Pertti J.; McClelland, James W.; Molau, Ulf; Oberbauer, Steven F.; Olefeldt, David; Paré, David; Parisien, Marc-André; Payette, Serge; Peng, Changhui; Pokrovsky, Oleg S.; Rastetter, Edward B.; Raymond, Peter A.; Raynolds, Martha K.; Rein, Guillermo; Reynolds, James F.; Robards, Martin; Rogers, Brendan M.; Schädel, Christina; Schaefer, Kevin; Schmidt, Inger K.; Shvidenko, Anatoly; Sky, Jasper; Spencer, Robert G. M.; Starr, Gregory; Striegl, Robert G.; Teisserenc, Roman; Tranvik, Lars J.; Virtanen, Tarmo; Welker, Jeffrey M.; Zimov, Sergei

    2016-03-01

    As the permafrost region warms, its large organic carbon pool will be increasingly vulnerable to decomposition, combustion, and hydrologic export. Models predict that some portion of this release will be offset by increased production of Arctic and boreal biomass; however, the lack of robust estimates of net carbon balance increases the risk of further overshooting international emissions targets. Precise empirical or model-based assessments of the critical factors driving carbon balance are unlikely in the near future, so to address this gap, we present estimates from 98 permafrost-region experts of the response of biomass, wildfire, and hydrologic carbon flux to climate change. Results suggest that contrary to model projections, total permafrost-region biomass could decrease due to water stress and disturbance, factors that are not adequately incorporated in current models. Assessments indicate that end-of-the-century organic carbon release from Arctic rivers and collapsing coastlines could increase by 75% while carbon loss via burning could increase four-fold. Experts identified water balance, shifts in vegetation community, and permafrost degradation as the key sources of uncertainty in predicting future system response. In combination with previous findings, results suggest the permafrost region will become a carbon source to the atmosphere by 2100 regardless of warming scenario but that 65%-85% of permafrost carbon release can still be avoided if human emissions are actively reduced.

  1. Biomass offsets little or none of permafrost carbon release from soils, streams, and wildfire: an expert assessment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benjamin W. Abbott; Jeremy B. Jones; Edward A.G. Schuur; F.S. Chapin, III; William B. Bowden; M. Syndonia Bret-Harte; Howard E. Epstein; Michael D. Flannigan; Tamara K. Harms; Teresa N. Hollingsworth; Michelle Mack; McGuire, Anthony; Susan M. Natali; Adrian V. Rocha; Suzanne E. Tank; Merrit R. Turetsky; Jorien E. Vonk; Wickland, Kimberly P.; Aiken, George R.

    2016-01-01

    As the permafrost region warms, its large organic carbon pool will be increasingly vulnerable to decomposition, combustion, and hydrologic export. Models predict that some portion of this release will be offset by increased production of Arctic and boreal biomass; however, the lack of robust estimates of net carbon balance increases the risk of further overshooting international emissions targets. Precise empirical or model-based assessments of the critical factors driving carbon balance are unlikely in the near future, so to address this gap, we present estimates from 98 permafrost-region experts of the response of biomass, wildfire, and hydrologic carbon flux to climate change. Results suggest that contrary to model projections, total permafrost-region biomass could decrease due to water stress and disturbance, factors that are not adequately incorporated in current models. Assessments indicate that end-of-the-century organic carbon release from Arctic rivers and collapsing coastlines could increase by 75% while carbon loss via burning could increase four-fold. Experts identified water balance, shifts in vegetation community, and permafrost degradation as the key sources of uncertainty in predicting future system response. In combination with previous findings, results suggest the permafrost region will become a carbon source to the atmosphere by 2100 regardless of warming scenario but that 65%–85% of permafrost carbon release can still be avoided if human emissions are actively reduced.

  2. Biomass offsets little or none of permafrost carbon release from soils, streams, and wildfire: an expert assessment

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Abbott, Benjamin; Jones, Jeremy B.; Schuur, Edward A.; Chapin, F. S.; Bowden, William B.; Bret-Harte, M. Syndonia; Epstein, Howard E.; Flannigan, Michael D.; Harms, Tamara K.; Hollingsworth, Teresa N.; Mack, Michelle; McGuire, A. David; Natali, Susan M.; Rocha, Adrian; Tank, Suzanne E.; Turetsky, Merritt; Vonk, Jorien E.; Wickland, Kimberly P.; Aiken, George R.; Alexander, Heather D.; Amon, Rainer M.; Benscoter, Brian W.; Bergeron, Yves; Bishop, Kevin; Blarquez, Olivier; Bond-Lamberty, Benjamin; Breen, Amy L.; Buffam, Ishi; Cai, Yihua; Carcaillet, Christopher; Carey, Sean K.; Chen, Jing Ming; Chen, Han Y.; Christensen, Torben R.; Cooper, Lee W.; Cornelissen, J Hans C.; de Groot, William J.; DeLuca, Thomas H.; Dorrepaal, Ellen; Fetcher, Ned; Finlay, Jacques C.; Forbes, Bruce C.; French, Nancy H.; Gauthier, Sylvie; Girardin, Martin P.; Goetz, Scott J.; Goldammer, Johann G.; Gough, Laura; Grogan, Paul; Guo, Laodong; Higuera, Philip E.; Hinzman, Larry; Hu, Feng S.; Hugelius, Gustaf; Jafarov, Elchin E.; Jandt, Randi; Johnstone, Jill F.; Karlsson, J.; Kasischke, Eric S.; Kattner, Gerhard; Kelly, Ryan; Keuper, Frida; Kling, George; Kortelainen, Pirkko; Kouki, Jari; Kuhry, Peter; Laudon, Hjalmar; Laurion, Isabelle; Macdonald, Robie W.; Mann, Paul J.; Martikainen, Pertti; McClelland, James W.; Molau, Ulf; Oberbauer, Steven F.; Olefeldt, David; Pare, David; Parisien, Marc-Andre; Payette, Serge; Peng, Changhui; Pokrovesky, Oleg S.; Rastetter, Edward B.; Raymond, Peter A.; Raynolds, Martha K.; Rein, Guillermo; Reynolds, James F.; Robards, Martin; Rogers, Brendan M.; Schadel, Christina; Schaefer, Kevin; Schmidt, Inger K.; Shvidenko, Anatoly; Sky, Jasper; Spencer, Robert G.; Starr, Gregory; Striegl, Robert G.; Teisserenc, Roman; Tranvik, Lars J.; Virtanen, Tarmo; Welker, Jeffrey M.; Zimov, Sergei

    2016-03-07

    As the permafrost region warms, its large organic carbon pool will be increasingly vulnerable to decomposition, combustion, and hydrologic export. Models predict that some portion of this release will be offset by increased production of Arctic and boreal biomass; however, the lack of robust estimates of net carbon balance increases the risk of further overshooting international emissions targets. Precise empirical or model-based assessments of the critical factors driving carbon balance are unlikely in the near future, so to address this gap, we present estimates from 98 permafrost-region experts of the response of biomass, wildfire, and hydrologic carbon flux to climate change. Results suggest that contrary to model projections, total permafrost-region biomass could decrease due to water stress and disturbance, factors that are not adequately incorporated in current models. Assessments indicate that end-of-the-century organic carbon release from Arctic rivers and collapsing coastlines could increase by 75% while carbon loss via burning could increase four-fold. Experts identified water balance, shifts in vegetation community, and permafrost degradation as the key sources of uncertainty in predicting future system response. In combination with previous findings, results suggest the permafrost region will become a carbon source to the atmosphere by 2100 regardless of warming scenario but that 65%–85% of permafrost carbon release can still be avoided if human emissions are actively reduced.

  3. Soil organic matter transformation in cryoturbated horizons of permafrost affected soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Capek, Petr; Diakova, Katerina; Dickopp, Jan-Erik; Barta, Jiri; Santruckova, Hana; Wild, Birgit; Schnecker, Joerg; Guggenberg, Georg; Gentsch, Norman; Hugelius, Gustaf; Kuhry, Peter; Lashchinsky, Nikolaj; Gittel, Antje; Schleper, Christa; Mikutta, Robert; Palmtag, Juri; Shibistova, Olga; Urich, Tim; Zimov, Sergey; Richter, Andreas

    2014-05-01

    Cryoturbated soil horizons are special feature of permafrost affected soils. These soils are known to store great amount of organic carbon and cryoturbation undoubtedly contribute to it to large extent. Despite this fact there is almost no information about soil organic matter (SOM) transformation in cryoturbated horizons. Therefore we carried out long term incubation experiment in which we inspect SOM transformation in cryoturbated as well as in organic and mineral soil horizons under different temperature and redox regimes as potential drivers. We found out that lower SOM transformation in cryoturbated horizons compared to organic horizons was mainly limited by the amount of microbial biomass, which is extremely low in absolute numbers or expressed to SOM concentration. The biochemical transformation ensured by extracellular enzymes is relatively high leading to high concentrations of dissolved organic carbon in cryoturbated horizons. Nevertheless the final step of SOM transformation leading to C mineralization to CO2 or CH4 seems to be restricted by low microbial biomass. Critical step of biochemical transformation of complex SOM is dominated by phenoloxidases, which break down complex organic compounds to simple ones. Their oxygen consumption greatly overwhelms oxygen consumption of the whole microbial community. However the phenoloxidase activity shows strong temperature response with optimum at 13.7° C. Therefore we suggest that apparent SOM stability in cryoturbated horizons, which is expressed in old C14 dated age, is caused by low amount of microbial biomass and restricted diffusion of oxygen to extracellular enzymes in field.

  4. Thermokarst dynamics and soil organic matter characteristics controlling initial carbon release from permafrost soils in the Siberian Yedoma region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weiss, Niels; Blok, Daan; Elberling, Bo; Hugelius, Gustaf; Jørgensen, Christian Juncher; Siewert, Matthias Benjamin; Kuhry, Peter

    2016-07-01

    This study relates soil organic matter (SOM) characteristics to initial soil incubation carbon release from upper permafrost samples in Yedoma region soils of northeastern Siberia, Russia. Carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) content, carbon to nitrogen ratios (C:N), δ13C and δ15N values show clear trends that correspond with SOM age and degree of decomposition. Incubation results indicate that older and more decomposed soil material shows higher C respiration rates per unit incubated C than younger and less decomposed samples with higher C content. This is important as undecomposed material is often assumed to be more reactive upon thawing. Large stocks of SOM and their potential decomposability, in combination with complex landscape dynamics that include one or more events of Holocene thaw in most of the landscape, are of consequence for potential greenhouse gas release from permafrost soils in the Yedoma region.

  5. Environmental factors influencing trace house gas production in permafrost-affected soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walz, Josefine; Knoblauch, Christian; Böhme, Luisa; Pfeiffer, Eva-Maria

    2016-04-01

    The permafrost-carbon feedback has been identified as a major feedback mechanism to climate change. Soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition in the active layer and thawing permafrost is an important source of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). Decomposability and potential CO2 and CH4 production are connected to the quality of SOM. SOM quality varies with vegetation composition, soil type, and soil depth. The regulating factors affecting SOM decomposition in permafrost landscapes are not well understood. Here, we incubated permafrost-affected soils from a polygonal tundra landscape in the Lena Delta, Northeast Siberia, to examine the influence of soil depth, oxygen availability, incubation temperature, and fresh organic matter addition on trace gas production. CO2 production was always highest in topsoil (0 - 10 cm). Subsoil (10 - 50 cm) and permafrost (50 - 90 cm) carbon did not differ significantly in their decomposability. Under anaerobic conditions, less SOM was decomposed than under aerobic conditions. However, in the absence of oxygen, CH4 can also be formed, which has a substantially higher warming potential than CO2. But, within the four-month incubation period (approximate period of thaw), methanogenesis played only a minor role with CH4 contributing 1-30% to the total anaerobic carbon release. Temperature and fresh organic matter addition had a positive effect on SOM decomposition. Across a temperature gradient (1, 4, 8°C) aerobic decomposition in topsoil was less sensitive to temperature than in subsoil or permafrost. The addition of labile plant organic matter (13C-labelled Carex aquatilis, a dominant species in the region) significantly increased overall CO2 production across different depths and temperatures. Partitioning the total amount of CO2 in samples amended with Carex material into SOM-derived CO2 and Carex-derived CO2, however, revealed that most of the additional CO2 could be assigned to the organic carbon from the amendment

  6. Soil Carbon Distribution along a Hill Slope in the Siberian Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ludwig, S.; Bunn, A. G.; Schade, J. D.

    2011-12-01

    Arctic ecosystems are warming at an accelerated rate relative to lower latitudes, and this warming has significant global significance. In particular, the thawing of permafrost soils has the potential to strongly influence global carbon cycling and the functioning of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Our overarching scientific goal is to study the impact of thawing permafrost on the transport and processing of carbon and other nutrients as they move with water from terrestrial ecosystems to the Arctic Ocean. Transport of materials from soil to headwater aquatic ecosystems is the first step in this movement. Processes occurring along hill slopes strongly influence the form and concentration of material available for transport. These processes include downhill accumulation of materials due to groundwater movement, or alternatively, local effects of changes in soil and vegetation characteristics. In this project, we studied a hill slope adjacent to a small first order stream in the Kolyma River in Eastern Siberia. We sampled soil at several points along three transects from the top of the hill to the riparian zone by coring and homogenizing the entire active layer at each point. We measured soil organic matter content, soil moisture, water extractable dissolved organic carbon (DOC), total dissolved nitrogen (TDN), NH4, NO3, soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP), and CDOM absorbance. We also measured soil respiration using a laboratory-based biological oxygen demand protocol conducted on soil-water slurries. Active layer depth decreased down the hillslope, while soil moisture, organic matter, and DOC all increased down the hillslope. CDOM absorbance increased downhill, which indicates a decrease in molecular weight of organic compounds at the bottom of the hill. This suggests either an input of newer carbon or processing of high molecular weight DOM down the slope. Soil respiration also increased downhill and was likely driven in part by increased OM in the shallower

  7. The Effect of Freeze-Thaw Conditions on Arctic Soil Bacterial Communities

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Virginia K. Walker

    2013-02-01

    Full Text Available Climate change is already altering the landscape at high latitudes. Permafrost is thawing, the growing season is starting earlier, and, as a result, certain regions in the Arctic may be subjected to an increased incidence of freeze-thaw events. The potential release of carbon and nutrients from soil microbial cells that have been lysed by freeze-thaw transitions could have significant impacts on the overall carbon balance of arctic ecosystems, and therefore on atmospheric CO2 concentrations. However, the impact of repeated freezing and thawing with the consequent growth and recrystallization of ice on microbial communities is still not well understood. Soil samples from three distinct sites, representing Canadian geographical low arctic, mid-arctic and high arctic soils were collected from Daring Lake, Alexandra Fjord and Cambridge Bay sampling sites, respectively. Laboratory-based experiments subjected the soils to multiple freeze-thaw cycles for 14 days based on field observations (0 °C to −10 °C for 12 h and −10 °C to 0 °C for 12 h and the impact on the communities was assessed by phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA methyl ester analysis and 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing. Both data sets indicated differences in composition and relative abundance between the three sites, as expected. However, there was also a strong variation within the two high latitude sites in the effects of the freeze-thaw treatment on individual PLFA and 16S-based phylotypes. These site-based heterogeneities suggest that the impact of climate change on soil microbial communities may not be predictable a priori; minor differential susceptibilities to freeze-thaw stress could lead to a “butterfly effect” as described by chaos theory, resulting in subsequent substantive differences in microbial assemblages. This perspectives article suggests that this is an unwelcome finding since it will make future predictions for the impact of on-going climate change on soil

  8. Stoichiometry of Carbon, Nitrogen, and Phosphorus Regeneration Interactions in the Hyporheic Zones of Arctic Streams Draining Areas of Continuous Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bowden, W. B.; Greenwald, M. J.; Gooseff, M. N.; McNamara, J. P.; Bradford, J.; Zarnetske, J. P.; Brosten, T.

    2007-12-01

    We used conservative tracer (Rhodamine WT) additions to examine flow paths in two arctic tundra streams with contrasting physical characteristics (high and low gradient, cobble and peat substrate). We installed mini- piezometers in the same streams to examine nutrient patterns longitudinally and with depth. The combination of the flow and nutrient data allowed us to estimate nutrient regeneration rates. In a separate study, we used whole- stream metabolism methods to estimate whole-system photosynthesis and respiration. Comparison to chamber-based metabolism methods showed that most of the whole-system respiration could be attributed to heterotrophic activity in the hyporheic zone. We found that regeneration of C in the hyporheic zone (respiration) was in reasonable stoichiometric agreement with the regeneration of N and P. Increasing temperature and discharge had relatively modest impacts on ecosystem respiration and photosynthesis. We concluded that a substantial portion of the N and P required to support ecosystem photosynthesis in these permafrost-dominated streams can be obtained from hyporheic regeneration. Second, a substantial portion of the excess C (supersaturated CO2) in these streams may be due to hyporheic respiration rather than terrestrial runoff of CO2-laden groundwater. Third, the expected changes in future climate in the arctic foothills may have only a limited effect on the instantaneous rates of C, N, and P processing. The larger effect is likely to be on annual processing rates, due to the longer flowing water season.

  9. Morphology and properties of the soils of permafrost peatlands in the southeast of the Bol'shezemel'skaya tundra

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaverin, D. A.; Pastukhov, A. V.; Lapteva, E. M.; Biasi, C.; Marushchak, M.; Martikainen, P.

    2016-05-01

    The morphology and properties of the soils of permafrost peatlands in the southeast of the Bol'shezemel'skaya tundra are characterized. The soils developing in the areas of barren peat circles differ from oligotrophic permafrost-affected peat soils (Cryic Histosols) of vegetated peat mounds in a number of morphological and physicochemical parameters. The soils of barren circles are characterized by the wellstructured surface horizons, relatively low exchangeable acidity, and higher rates of decomposition and humification of organic matter. It is shown that the development of barren peat circles on tops of peat mounds is favored by the activation of erosional and cryogenic processes in the topsoil. The role of winter wind erosion in the destruction of the upper peat and litter horizons is demonstrated. A comparative analysis of the temperature regime of soils of vegetated peat mounds and barren peat circles is presented. The soil-geocryological complex of peat mounds is a system consisting of three major layers: seasonally thawing layer-upper permafrost-underlying permafrost. The upper permafrost horizons of peat mounds at the depth of 50-90 cm are morphologically similar to the underlying permafrost. However, these layers differ in their physicochemical properties, especially in the composition and properties of their organic matter.

  10. Molecular and isotopic characterization of terrestrial organic carbon released to (sub-)Arctic coastal waters

    OpenAIRE

    Vonk, Jorien Elisabeth

    2010-01-01

    Arctic soils store half of the global soil organic carbon (OC) pool and twice as much C as is currently present in the atmosphere. A considerable part of these carbon pools are stored in permafrost. Amplified climate warming in the Arctic will thaw permafrost and remobilize some of these substantial carbon stocks into the active carbon cycle, potentially causing positive feedback to global warming. Despite the global importance of this mechanism, our understanding of the fate of these thawing...

  11. Contrasting radiation and soil heat fluxes in Arctic shrub and wet sedge tundra

    Science.gov (United States)

    Juszak, Inge; Eugster, Werner; Heijmans, Monique M. P. D.; Schaepman-Strub, Gabriela

    2016-07-01

    Vegetation changes, such as shrub encroachment and wetland expansion, have been observed in many Arctic tundra regions. These changes feed back to permafrost and climate. Permafrost can be protected by soil shading through vegetation as it reduces the amount of solar energy available for thawing. Regional climate can be affected by a reduction in surface albedo as more energy is available for atmospheric and soil heating. Here, we compared the shortwave radiation budget of two common Arctic tundra vegetation types dominated by dwarf shrubs (Betula nana) and wet sedges (Eriophorum angustifolium) in North-East Siberia. We measured time series of the shortwave and longwave radiation budget above the canopy and transmitted radiation below the canopy. Additionally, we quantified soil temperature and heat flux as well as active layer thickness. The mean growing season albedo of dwarf shrubs was 0.15 ± 0.01, for sedges it was higher (0.17 ± 0.02). Dwarf shrub transmittance was 0.36 ± 0.07 on average, and sedge transmittance was 0.28 ± 0.08. The standing dead leaves contributed strongly to the soil shading of wet sedges. Despite a lower albedo and less soil shading, the soil below dwarf shrubs conducted less heat resulting in a 17 cm shallower active layer as compared to sedges. This result was supported by additional, spatially distributed measurements of both vegetation types. Clouds were a major influencing factor for albedo and transmittance, particularly in sedge vegetation. Cloud cover reduced the albedo by 0.01 in dwarf shrubs and by 0.03 in sedges, while transmittance was increased by 0.08 and 0.10 in dwarf shrubs and sedges, respectively. Our results suggest that the observed deeper active layer below wet sedges is not primarily a result of the summer canopy radiation budget. Soil properties, such as soil albedo, moisture, and thermal conductivity, may be more influential, at least in our comparison between dwarf shrub vegetation on relatively dry patches and

  12. Permafrost collapse alters soil carbon stocks, respiration, CH4 , and N2O in upland tundra.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abbott, Benjamin W; Jones, Jeremy B

    2015-12-01

    Release of greenhouse gases from thawing permafrost is potentially the largest terrestrial feedback to climate change and one of the most likely to occur; however, estimates of its strength vary by a factor of thirty. Some of this uncertainty stems from abrupt thaw processes known as thermokarst (permafrost collapse due to ground ice melt), which alter controls on carbon and nitrogen cycling and expose organic matter from meters below the surface. Thermokarst may affect 20-50% of tundra uplands by the end of the century; however, little is known about the effect of different thermokarst morphologies on carbon and nitrogen release. We measured soil organic matter displacement, ecosystem respiration, and soil gas concentrations at 26 upland thermokarst features on the North Slope of Alaska. Features included the three most common upland thermokarst morphologies: active-layer detachment slides, thermo-erosion gullies, and retrogressive thaw slumps. We found that thermokarst morphology interacted with landscape parameters to determine both the initial displacement of organic matter and subsequent carbon and nitrogen cycling. The large proportion of ecosystem carbon exported off-site by slumps and slides resulted in decreased ecosystem respiration postfailure, while gullies removed a smaller portion of ecosystem carbon but strongly increased respiration and N2 O concentration. Elevated N2 O in gully soils persisted through most of the growing season, indicating sustained nitrification and denitrification in disturbed soils, representing a potential noncarbon permafrost climate feedback. While upland thermokarst formation did not substantially alter redox conditions within features, it redistributed organic matter into both oxic and anoxic environments. Across morphologies, residual organic matter cover, and predisturbance respiration explained 83% of the variation in respiration response. Consistent differences between upland thermokarst types may contribute to the

  13. High risk of permafrost thaw

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Schuur, E.A.G.; Abbott, B.; Koven, C.D,; Riley, W.J.; Subin, Z.M.; al, et

    2011-11-01

    In the Arctic, temperatures are rising fast, and permafrost is thawing. Carbon released to the atmosphere from permafrost soils could accelerate climate change, but the likely magnitude of this effect is still highly uncertain. A collective estimate made by a group of permafrost experts, including myself, is that carbon could be released more quickly than models currently suggest, and at levels that are cause for serious concern. While our models of carbon emission from permafrost thaw are lacking, experts intimately familiar with these landscapes and processes have accumulated knowledge about what they expect to happen, based on both quantitative data and qualitative understanding of these systems. We (the authors of this piece) attempted to quantify this expertise through a survey developed over several years, starting in 2009. Our survey asked experts what percentage of surface permafrost they thought was likely to thaw, how much carbon would be released, and how much of that would be methane, for three time periods and under four warming scenarios that are part of the new IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

  14. Pan-arctic land cover mapping and fire assessment for the ESA Data User Element Permafrost

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Urban, M.; Hese, S.; Herold, M.; Pöcking, S.; Schmullius, C.

    2010-01-01

    The paper presents first results of a pan-boreal scale land cover harmonization and classification. A methodology is presented that combines global and regional vegetation datasets to extract percentage cover information for different vegetation physiognomy and barren for the pan-arctic region withi

  15. The influence of vegetation and soil characteristics on active-layer thickness of permafrost soils in boreal forest.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fisher, James P; Estop-Aragonés, Cristian; Thierry, Aaron; Charman, Dan J; Wolfe, Stephen A; Hartley, Iain P; Murton, Julian B; Williams, Mathew; Phoenix, Gareth K

    2016-09-01

    Carbon release from thawing permafrost soils could significantly exacerbate global warming as the active-layer deepens, exposing more carbon to decay. Plant community and soil properties provide a major control on this by influencing the maximum depth of thaw each summer (active-layer thickness; ALT), but a quantitative understanding of the relative importance of plant and soil characteristics, and their interactions in determine ALTs, is currently lacking. To address this, we undertook an extensive survey of multiple vegetation and edaphic characteristics and ALTs across multiple plots in four field sites within boreal forest in the discontinuous permafrost zone (NWT, Canada). Our sites included mature black spruce, burned black spruce and paper birch, allowing us to determine vegetation and edaphic drivers that emerge as the most important and broadly applicable across these key vegetation and disturbance gradients, as well as providing insight into site-specific differences. Across sites, the most important vegetation characteristics limiting thaw (shallower ALTs) were tree leaf area index (LAI), moss layer thickness and understory LAI in that order. Thicker soil organic layers also reduced ALTs, though were less influential than moss thickness. Surface moisture (0-6 cm) promoted increased ALTs, whereas deeper soil moisture (11-16 cm) acted to modify the impact of the vegetation, in particular increasing the importance of understory or tree canopy shading in reducing thaw. These direct and indirect effects of moisture indicate that future changes in precipitation and evapotranspiration may have large influences on ALTs. Our work also suggests that forest fires cause greater ALTs by simultaneously decreasing multiple ecosystem characteristics which otherwise protect permafrost. Given that vegetation and edaphic characteristics have such clear and large influences on ALTs, our data provide a key benchmark against which to evaluate process models used to predict

  16. Linking water and permafrost dynamics

    OpenAIRE

    Sjöberg, Ylva

    2015-01-01

    The extent and dynamics of permafrost are tightly linked to the distribution and movement of water in arctic landscapes. As the Arctic warms more rapidly than the global average, profound changes are expected in both permafrost and hydrology; however, much is still not known about the interactions between these two systems. The aim of this thesis is to provide new knowledge on the links between permafrost and hydrology under varying environmental conditions and across different scales. The ob...

  17. Organic carbon stocks in permafrost-affected soils from Admiralty Bay, Antarctica

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simas, F.N.B.; Schaefer, C.E.G.R.; Mendonça, E.S.; Silva, I.R.; Santana, R.M.; Ribeiro, A.S.S.

    2007-01-01

    Recent works show that organic matter accumulation in some soils from coastal Antarctica is higher than previously expected. The objective of the present work was to estimate the organic C stocks for soils from maritime Antarctica. Cryosols from subpolar desert landscapes presented the lowest organic C stocks. Ornithogenic soils are the most important C reservoirs in terrestrial ecosystems in this part of Antarctica. Although these soils correspond to only 2.5 % of the ice-free areas at Admiralty Bay, they contain approximately 20 % of the estimated C stock. Most of the organic C in the studied soils is stored in the active layer but in some cases the C is also stored in the permafrost.

  18. Confocal Raman microspectroscopy reveals a convergence of the chemical composition in methanogenic archaea from a Siberian permafrost-affected soil

    OpenAIRE

    Serrano, P; Hermelink, A.; Lasch, P.; de Vera, J.-P.; König, N.; Burckhardt, O.; Wagner, D.

    2015-01-01

    Methanogenic archaea are widespread anaerobic microorganisms responsible for the 25 production of biogenic methane. Several new species of psychrotolerant methanogenic archaea were recently isolated from a permafrost-affected soil in the Lena delta (Siberia, Russia), showing an exceptional resistance against desiccation, osmotic stress, low temperatures, starvation, UV and ionizing radiation when compared to methanogens from non-permafrost environments. To gain a deeper insight into the diffe...

  19. Fungal palaeodiversity revealed using high-throughput metabarcoding of ancient DNA from arctic permafrost

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bellemain, E.; Davey, M.L.; Kauserud, H.;

    2013-01-01

    The taxonomic and ecological diversity of ancient fungal communities was assessed by combining next generation sequencing and metabarcoding of DNA preserved in permafrost. Twenty-six sediment samples dated 16000-32000 radiocarbon years old from two localities in Siberia were analysed for fungal ITS....... We detected 75 fungal OTUs from 21 orders representing three phyla, although rarefaction analyses suggested that the full diversity was not recovered despite generating an average of 6677±3811 (mean±SD) sequences per sample and that preservation bias likely has considerable effect on the recovered...... DNA. Most OTUs (75.4%) represented ascomycetes. Due to insufficient sequencing depth, DNA degradation and putative preservation biases in our samples, the recovered taxa probably do not represent the complete historic fungal community, and it is difficult to determine whether the fungal communities...

  20. Response of soil heat-water processes to vegetation cover on the typical permafrost and seasonally frozen soil in the headwaters of the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    HU HongChang; WANG GenXu; WANG YiBo; LIU GuangSheng; LI TaiBing; REN DongXing

    2009-01-01

    The response of soil temperature and moisture to vegetative cover in the active layer of permafrost and seasonally frozen soil were assessed and compared. Soil temperature and moisture, under a range of vegetation covers (92%, 65% and 30%) in the permafrost and vegetation covers (95%, 70%-80%, 40%-50% and 10%) in the seasonally frozen soil, were measured on a daily basis. A decline in vege-tation cover led to e decrease in the integral of freezing depth of active permafrost layer, but an in-crease in seasonally frozen soil. The maximum invasion depth and duration of the negative isotherm during the frozen period and of the positive isotherm during the non-frozen period clearly increased when vegetation cover declined. With a reduction of vegetation cover, the soil moisture in the active layer of the permafrost decreased for depths of 0.20-0.60 m, but increased for depths of 0.60-0.80 m, while for seasonally frozen soil, soil moisture of the entire profile (0.10-1.20 m) increased. Variation in vegetation cover alters soil heat-water processes, but the response to it is different between permafrost and seasonally frozen soil.

  1. Forest decline caused by high soil water conditions in a permafrost region

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H. Iwasaki

    2010-02-01

    Full Text Available In the permafrost region near Yakutsk, eastern Siberia, Russia, annual precipitation (June–May in 2005–2006 and 2006–2007 exceeded the 26-year (1982–2008 mean of 222±68 mm by 185 mm and 128 mm, respectively, whereas in 2007–2008 the excedent was only 48 mm, well within the range of variability. Yellowing and browning of larch (Larix cajanderi Mayr. trees occurred in an undisturbed forest near Yakutsk in the 2007 summer growing season. Soil water content at a depth of 0.20 m was measured along a roughly 400 m long line transect running through areas of yellowing and browning larch trees (YBL and of normal larch trees (NL. In the two years of supranormal precipitation, soil water content was very high compared to values recorded for the same area in previous studies. For both wet years, the mean degree of saturation (s was significantly greater in YBL than NL areas, whereas the converse was the case for the gas diffusivity in soil. This implies that rather than mitigating water stress suffered during normal precipitation years, elevated soil water conditions adversely affected the growth of larch trees. Eastern Siberia's taiga forest extends widely into the permafrost region. Was such supranormal annual precipitation to extend for more than two years, as might be expected under impending global climate changes, forest recovery may not be expected and emission of greenhouse gas might continue in future.

  2. Legacy Effects of Warming on Permafrost Carbon Release

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blok, D.; Faucherre, S.; Banyasz, I.; Michelsen, A.; Elberling, B.

    2015-12-01

    Warming in arctic tundra may thaw currently frozen upper permafrost layers, potentially releasing organic carbon (C) that was preserved by cold conditions for hundreds or thousands of years. Apart from the direct control of temperature on permafrost carbon dioxide (CO2) production, warming may alter permafrost CO2 production rates through changes in either permafrost C quality or changes in microbial communities. We incubated exogenous permafrost cores in four different warming experiments in NE-Greenland. The experiments were located in both Salix- and Cassiope-dominated sub-sites and were established in 2004 (old site) and 2007 (new site). Permafrost cores were buried as "open incubators" (free vertical water flow) at both 5-10cm depth (shallow) and 15-20cm depth (deep) in both non-manipulated (control) and warmed plots (warmed) and incubated for 2 years in the field. After retrieval from the field, permafrost cores were kept undisturbed in a lab fridge for three months, after which sub-samples were incubated at 5°C in glass vials. Permafrost CO2 production rates were subsequently measured after one week, four weeks and three months incubation in the lab. We measured the legacy effects of in situ conditions, including experimental warming in the field, on permafrost respiration under controlled laboratory conditions. We assessed the effects of plot type, vegetation type, experiment age, and incubation depth on permafrost CO2 production rates. After 3 months incubation in the lab, we measured a positive effect of warming on permafrost CO2 production rates for shallow-incubated cores, but not for deep-incubated cores. Production rates of CO2 were significantly higher for cores incubated in the old site compared to the new site. Our results suggest that warming may not only directly stimulate permafrost C release, but also indirectly through the effects of infiltrating water, nutrients and microbes from near-surface soil layers.

  3. Compositional clues to sources and sinks of terrestrial organic matter transported to the Eurasian Arctic shelf

    OpenAIRE

    Karlsson, Emma

    2015-01-01

    The amount of organic carbon (OC) present in Siberian Arctic permafrost soils is estimated at twice the amount of carbon currently in the atmosphere. The shelf seas of the Arctic Ocean receive large amounts of this terrestrial OC from Eurasian Arctic rivers and from coastal erosion. Degradation of this land-derived material in the sea would result in the production of dissolved carbon dioxide and may then add to the atmospheric carbon dioxide reservoir. Observations from the Siberian Arctic s...

  4. Response characteristics of vegetation and soil environment to permafrost degradation in the upstream regions of the Shule River Basin

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Permafrost degradation exhibits striking and profound influences on the alpine ecosystem, and response characteristics of vegetation and soil environment to such degradation inevitably differ during the entire degraded periods. However, up to now, the related research is lacking in the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau (QTP). For this reason, twenty ecological plots in the different types of permafrost zones were selected in the upstream regions of the Shule River Basin on the northeastern margin of the QTP. Vegetation characteristics (species diversity, community coverage and biomass etc) and topsoil environment (temperature (ST), water content (SW), mechanical composition (SMC), culturable microorganism (SCM), organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (TN) contents and so on), as well as active layer thickness (ALT) were investigated in late July 2009 and 2010. A spatial–temporal shifts method (the spatial pattern that is represented by different types of permafrost shifting to the temporal series that stands for different stages of permafrost degradation) has been used to discuss response characteristics of vegetation and topsoil environment throughout the entire permafrost degradation. The results showed that (1) ST of 0–40 cm depth and ALT gradually increased from highly stable and stable permafrost (H-SP) to unstable permafrost (UP). SW increased initially and then decreased, and SOC content and the quantities of SCM at a depth of 0–20 cm first decreased and then increased, whereas TN content and SMC showed obscure trends throughout the stages of permafrost degradation with a stability decline from H-SP to extremely unstable permafrost (EUP); (2) further, species diversity, community coverage and biomass first increased and then decreased in the stages from H-SP to EUP; (3) in the alpine meadow ecosystem, SOC and TN contents increased initially and then decreased, soil sandy fractions gradually increased with stages of permafrost degradation from substable (SSP

  5. The Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database: spatially distributed datasets of soil coverage and soil carbon storage in the northern permafrost regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hugelius, G.; Tarnocai, C.; Broll, G.; Canadell, J. G.; Kuhry, P.; Swanson, D. K.

    2013-01-01

    High-latitude terrestrial ecosystems are key components in the global carbon (C) cycle. Estimates of global soil organic carbon (SOC), however, do not include updated estimates of SOC storage in permafrost-affected soils or representation of the unique pedogenic processes that affect these soils. The Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database (NCSCD) was developed to quantify the SOC stocks in the circumpolar permafrost region (18.7 × 106 km2). The NCSCD is a polygon-based digital database compiled from harmonized regional soil classification maps in which data on soil order coverage have been linked to pedon data (n = 1778) from the northern permafrost regions to calculate SOC content and mass. In addition, new gridded datasets at different spatial resolutions have been generated to facilitate research applications using the NCSCD (standard raster formats for use in geographic information systems and Network Common Data Form files common for applications in numerical models). This paper describes the compilation of the NCSCD spatial framework, the soil sampling and soil analytical procedures used to derive SOC content in pedons from North America and Eurasia and the formatting of the digital files that are available online. The potential applications and limitations of the NCSCD in spatial analyses are also discussed. The database has the doi:10.5879/ecds/00000001. An open access data portal with all the described GIS-datasets is available online at: http://www.bbcc.su.se/data/ncscd/.

  6. Annual CO2 budget and seasonal CO2 exchange signals at a High Arctic permafrost site on Spitsbergen, Svalbard archipelago

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lüers, J.; Westermann, S.; Piel, K.; Boike, J.

    2014-01-01

    The annual variability of CO2 exchange in most ecosystems is primarily driven by the activities of plants and soil microorganisms. However, little is known about the carbon balance and its controlling factors outside the growing season in arctic regions dominated by soil freeze/thaw-processes, long-lasting snow cover, and several months of darkness. This study presents a complete annual cycle of the CO2 net ecosystem exchange (NEE) dynamics for a High Arctic tundra area on the west coast of Svalbard based on eddy-covariance flux measurements. The annual cumulative CO2 budget is close to zero grams carbon per square meter per year, but shows a very strong seasonal variability. Four major CO2 exchange seasons have been identified. (1) During summer (ground snow-free), the CO2 exchange occurs mainly as a result of biological activity, with a predominance of strong CO2 assimilation by the ecosystem. (2) The autumn (ground snow-free or partly snow-covered) is dominated by CO2 respiration as a result of biological activity. (3) In winter and spring (ground snow-covered), low but persistent CO2 release occur, overlain by considerable CO2 exchange events in both directions associated with changes of air masses and air and atmospheric CO2 pressure. (4) The snow melt season (pattern of snow-free and snow-covered areas), where both, meteorological and biological forcing, resulting in a visible carbon uptake by the high arctic ecosystem. Data related to this article are archived under: http://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.809507.

  7. Seasonal and spatial variation in soil chemistry and anaerobic processes in an Arctic ecosystem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lipson, D.; Mauritz, M.; Bozzolo, F.; Raab, T. K.; Santos, M. J.; Friedman, E. F.; Rosenbaum, M.; Angenent, L.

    2009-12-01

    Drained thaw lake basins (DTLB) are the dominant landform in the Arctic coastal plain near Barrow, Alaska. Our previous work in a DTLB showed that Fe(III) and humic substances are important electron acceptors in anaerobic respiration, and play a significant role in the C cycle of these organic-rich soils. In the current study, we investigated seasonal and spatial patterns of availability of electron acceptors and labile substrate, redox conditions and microbial activity. Landscapes within DTLB contain complex, fine-scale topography arising from ice wedge polygons, which produce raised and lowered areas. One goal of our study was to determine the effects of microtopographic variation on the potential for Fe(III) reduction and other anaerobic processes. Additionally, the soil in the study site has a complex vertical structure, with an organic peat layer overlying a mineral layer, overlying permafrost. We described variations in soil chemistry across depth profiles into the permafrost. Finally, we installed an integrated electrode/potentiostat system to electrochemically monitor microbial activity in the soil. Topographically low areas differed from high areas in most of the measured variables: low areas had lower oxidation-reduction potential, higher pH and electrical conductivity. Soil pore water from low areas had higher concentrations of Fe(III), Fe(II), dissolved organic C (DOC), and aromaticity (UV absorbance at 260nm, “A260”). Low areas also had higher concentrations of dissolve CO2 and CH4 in soil pore water. Laboratory incubations of soil showed a trend toward higher potentials for Fe(III) reduction in topographically low areas. Clearly, ice wedge-induced microtopography exerts a strong control on microbial processes in this DTLB landscape, with increased anaerobic activity occurring in the wetter, depressed areas. Soil water extracted from 5-15 cm depth had higher concentrations of Fe(III), Fe(II), A260, and DOC compared to soil water sampled from 0-5cm

  8. Temperature and moisture effects on ammonia oxidizer communities in cryoturbated Arctic soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aiglsdorfer, Stefanie; Alves, Ricardo J. E.; Bárta, Jiří; Kohoutová, Iva; Bošková, Hana; Diáková, Katerina; Čapek, Petr; Schnecker, Jörg; Wild, Birgit; Mooshammer, Maria; Urich, Tim; Gentsch, Norman; Gittel, Antje; Guggenberger, Georg; Mikutta, Robert; Lashchinskiy, Nikolay; Richter, Andreas; Šantrůčková, Hana; Shibistova, Olga; Schleper, Christa

    2014-05-01

    Arctic permafrost-affected soils contain large amounts of soil organic carbon (SOC) and are expected to experience drastic changes in environmental conditions, such as moisture and temperature, due to the high surface temperature increase predicted for these regions. Although the SOC decomposition processes driven by the microbiota are considered to be nitrogen (N) limited, little information about the microbial groups involved in N cycle is currently available, including their reactions to environmental changes. Here, we investigate the presence of ammonia oxidizing archaea (AOA) and bacteria (AOB) in distinct soil horizons from the Taymyr peninsula (Siberia, Russia), and investigate their activities under changing temperature and moisture regimes. These two groups of organisms perform the first step in nitrification, an important and rate limiting process in the global N cycle, which involves the oxidation of ammonia to nitrate via nitrite. The soil samples were separated into different horizons: organic topsoil (O) and subducted organic topsoil (Ajj). The samples were incubated for 18 weeks at 4, 12 and 20° C and 50, 80 and 100 % water holding capacity (WHC). AOA and AOB abundances were quantified by quantitative PCR targeting genes of the key metabolic enzyme, ammonia monooxygenase. AOA diversity was analyzed in-depth by high-throughput amplicon sequencing of the same gene. Additionally, gross and net nitrification and mineralization rates were determined in order to investigate potential relationships between AOA and AOB populations and these processes, in response to the incubation treatments. We found higher abundances of AOA than AOB in the organic topsoil, whereas AOB dominated in the subducted organic topsoil. Increased temperature resulted in higher numbers of both groups at low WHC %, with AOB showing a more pronounced response. However, these effects were not observed under anaerobic conditions (100 % WHC). Deep sequencing of AOA amoA genes revealed

  9. Northern Alaska Landscape/Permafrost GIS Data

    Data.gov (United States)

    Arctic Landscape Conservation Cooperative — This data set represents an updated Ecological Subsection Map for Northern Alaska. This update includes permafrost mapping to include the following new layers:...

  10. Changing Boreal Fire Regimes: Impacts on Permafrost Soils and Forest Succession in Siberian Larch Forests

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alexander, H. D.; Mack, M. C.; Natali, S.; Loranty, M. M.; Davydov, S. P.; Zimov, N.

    2014-12-01

    Fire activity has increased across the boreal forest biome in conjuction with climate warming and drying. Because these forests contain a large proportion of global terrestrial carbon (C) stocks, there has been great interest in understanding feedbacks between a changing fire regime and climate warming. An important mechanism by which increased fire activity may alter boreal C balance is by consuming the soil organic layer (SOL). Fire removal of the SOL may alter germination microsites and tree recruitment, thereby altering forest successional trajectories and C accumulation and storage. In permafrost soils, loss of the insulating SOL can increase soil temperature and active layer depth, impacting growth and survival conditions for both soil microbes and vegetation. To assess fire severity effects on permafrost soils and tree recruitment, we conducted plot-level experimental burns in July 2012 in a larch forest near Cherskii, Siberia. We achieved four burn severity treatments based on residual SOL depths: control, low (> 8 cm), moderate (5-8 cm), and high severity (2-5 cm). For two growing seasons post-fire, we measured thaw depth, soil moisture, and soil temperature. We sowed larch seeds in fall 2012 and 2013 and quantified seedling establishment and vegetation re-growth for two growing seasons. Immediately post-fire, thaw depth increased rapidly with increasing fire severity, and this trend has persisted for two years. In 2013 and 2014, thaw depth was ~ 40 cm deeper in high severity plots compared to controls, likely due to lower summer soil insulation, higher black char cover, and higher surface soil temperatures. We observed little to no larch recruitment in unburned and low severity plots, but new seedling density was ~5 seedlings m-2 in moderate and high severity plots, which had low cover of other vegetation types and high soil moisture. Findings suggest that increased fire severity may increase larch recruitment and provide favorable soil conditions for

  11. Soil Moisture Data for the Validation of Permafrost Models Using Direct and Indirect Measurement Approaches at Three Alpine Sites

    OpenAIRE

    Pellet, Cécile; Hilbich, Christin; Marmy, Antoine; Hauck, Christian

    2016-01-01

    In regions affected by seasonal and permanently frozen conditions soil moisture influences the thermal regime of the ground as well as its ice content, which is one of the main factors controlling the sensitivity of mountain permafrost to climate changes. In this study, several well established soil moisture monitoring techniques were combined with data from geophysical measurements to assess the spatial distribution and temporal evolution of soil moisture at three high elevation sites with d...

  12. Soil moisture data for the validation of permafrost models using direct and indirect measurement approaches at three alpine sites

    OpenAIRE

    Cécile ePellet; Christin eHilbich; Antoine eMarmy; Christian eHauck

    2016-01-01

    In regions affected by seasonal and permanently frozen conditions soil moisture influences the thermal regime of the ground as well as its ice content, which is one of the main factors controlling the sensitivity of mountain permafrost to climate changes. In this study, several well established soil moisture monitoring techniques were combined with data from geophysical measurements to assess the spatial distribution and temporal evolution of soil moisture at three high elevation sites with d...

  13. Long Term Thawing Experiment on High Arctic Polygonal Tundra: Spring Thaw Gas Flux Dynamics and Soil Properties

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stackhouse, B. T.; Mykytczuk, N. C.; Lamarche-Gagnon, G.; Layton, A. C.; Pfiffner, S. M.; Vishnivetskaya, T. A.; Saad, N.; Whyte, L.; Onstott, T. C.

    2012-12-01

    Global climate models predict that over the coming century increasing Arctic temperature will lead to increases in the release of greenhouse gases, CO2 and CH4, from thawing the permafrost, which is a major repository of soil carbon. The magnitude and rate of this positive feedback is highly uncertain due to lack of detailed field observations and long-term experimental simulations. To this end long-term core thawing experiments are being carried out to examine gas flux from the Arctic active layer and permafrost under various environmental conditions. Eighteen 1-m long cores were collected before seasonal thaw from a sparsely vegetated, ice-wedge polygon at the McGill Arctic Research Station (MARS) at Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, Canada (N79°24, W90°45). The cores contained ~5% organic carbon in the top 15 cm and decreased to ~1% for the remainder of the core, with a solid phase organic carbon δ13C of -26.5‰. The cores were progressively thawed from the top down to the permafrost table over six weeks and held at 4° C under the following conditions: maintenance of an in situ permafrost table depth at 70 cm below surface versus fully thawed permafrost layer, in situ water saturation conditions versus fully water saturated conditions using artificial rain fall, and surface light versus no surface light. Core headspaces were monitored on a weekly basis for concentration of CO2, CH4, and δ13C-CO2. Over the thawing period, the CH4 flux out of the soil decreased from the initial rate of 2.2 μmol CH4/m2/day to 0.12 μmol CH4/m2/day, indicating that CH4 trapped in the soil outgassed as temperatures rose above freezing but the flux rapidly diminished. Introduction of 2 PPMV CH4 into the headspace of under-saturated core treatments revealed net depletion of CH4 was taking place at -3.6 μmol CH4/m2/day, an observation consistent with field measurements of methanotrophy at Axel Heiberg Island during spring and summer and with laboratory microcosm experiments

  14. Testaceans (Protozoa: Testacea) in Quaternary Permafrost Sediments of Bykovsky Peninsula, Arctic Yakutia

    OpenAIRE

    Bobrov, Anatoly A.; Siegert, Christine; Andreev, Andrei A.; Schirrmeister, Lutz

    2003-01-01

    The results of the first protozoological study in terms of paleoecology of long-term sediments and buried soils formed in the cryolite zone of northeastern Siberia are discussed. The data on testaceans (Protozoa: Testacea) inhabiting various sites of Bykovsky Peninsula, Laptev Sea coast near estuary of Lena, within the last 53 000 years (Late Pleistocene and Holocene) are presented.

  15. Empirical estimates to reduce modeling uncertainties of soil organic carbon in permafrost regions: a review of recent progress and remaining challenges

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mishra, U.; Jastrow, J.D.; Matamala, R.; Hugelius, G.; Koven, C.D.; Harden, J.W.; Ping, S.L.; Michaelson, G.J.; Fan, Z.; Miller, R.M.; McGuire, A.D.; Tarnocai, C.; Kuhry, P.; Riley, W.J.; Schaefer, K.; Schuur, E.A.G.; Jorgenson, M.T.; Hinzman, L.D.

    2013-01-01

    The vast amount of organic carbon (OC) stored in soils of the northern circumpolar permafrost region is a potentially vulnerable component of the global carbon cycle. However, estimates of the quantity, decomposability, and combustibility of OC contained in permafrost-region soils remain highly uncertain, thereby limiting our ability to predict the release of greenhouse gases due to permafrost thawing. Substantial differences exist between empirical and modeling estimates of the quantity and distribution of permafrost-region soil OC, which contribute to large uncertainties in predictions of carbon–climate feedbacks under future warming. Here, we identify research challenges that constrain current assessments of the distribution and potential decomposability of soil OC stocks in the northern permafrost region and suggest priorities for future empirical and modeling studies to address these challenges.

  16. Comparison of CO2 fluxes in a larch forest on permafrost and a pine forest on non-permafrost soils in Central Siberia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zyryanov, V.; Tchebakova, N. M.; Nakai, Y.; Zyryanova, O.; Parfenova, E. I.; Matsuura, Y.; Vygodskaya, N.

    2013-12-01

    Inter-annual and seasonal variations of energy, water and carbon fluxes and associated climate variables in a middle taiga pine (Pinus sylvestris) forest on warm sandy soils and a northern taiga larch (Larix gmelini) forest on permafrost in Central Siberia were studied from eddy covariance measurements obtained during growing seasons of 1998-2000 and 2004-2008 (except 2006) respectively. Both naturally regenerated after fire forests grew in different environments and differed by their tree stand characteristics. The pure Gmelin larch stand was 105 yr old, stem density of living trees was about 5480 trees/ha, LAI was 0.6 m2/m2, biomass (dry weight) was 0.0044 kg/m2, with average diameter of the trees at breast height 7.1 cm and mean tree height 6.8 m. The pure Scots pine stand was 215 yr old, stand structure was relatively homogenous with a stem density of 468 living trees/ha, LAI was 1.5 m2/m2, biomass (dry weight) was 10.7 kg/m2, with average diameter of the trees at breast height 28 cm and mean tree height 23 m. The climatic and soil conditions of these ecosystems were very distinctive. The habitat of the larch forest was much colder and dryer than that of the pine forest: the growing season was 1 month shorter and growing-degree days 200°C less and winters were about one month longer and colder with January temperature -37°C versus -23°C; annual precipitation was 400 mm in the larch versus 650 mm in the pine forest and maximal snow pack was 40 cm vs 70 cm. The soils were Gelisols with permafrost table within the upper 1 m in the larch stand and Pergelic Cryochrept, alluvial sandy soil with no underlying permafrost. Average daily net ecosystem exchange (NEE) was significantly smaller in the larch ecosystem - (-3-6) μmol/m2s compared to that in the pine forest (-7-8) μmol/m2s, however daily maximal NEE was about the same. Seasonal NEE in the larch forest on continuous permafrost varied from -53 to -107 and in the pine forest on non-permafrost from -180 to

  17. Distinct summer and winter bacterial communities in the active layer of Svalbard permafrost revealed by DNA- and RNA-based analyses

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schostag, Morten; Stibal, Marek; Jacobsen, Carsten S.;

    2015-01-01

    The active layer of soil overlaying permafrost in the Arctic is subjected to dramatic annual changes in temperature and soil chemistry, which likely affect bacterial activity and community structure. We studied seasonal variations in the bacterial community of active layer soil from Svalbard (78º...

  18. Perturbation of an arctic soil microbial community by metal nanoparticles

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Highlights: → Silver, copper and silica nanoparticles had an impact on arctic soil → A microbial community toxicity indicator was developed → Community surveys using pyrosequencing confirmed a shift in bacterial biodiversity → Troublingly, silver nanoparticles were highly toxic to a plant beneficial bacterium - Abstract: Technological advances allowing routine nanoparticle (NP) manufacture have enabled their use in electronic equipment, foods, clothing and medical devices. Although some NPs have antibacterial activity, little is known about their environmental impact and there is no information on the influence of NPs on soil in the possibly vulnerable ecosystems of polar regions. The potential toxicity of 0.066% silver, copper or silica NPs on a high latitude (>78oN) soil was determined using community level physiological profiles (CLPP), fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) assays and DNA analysis, including sequencing and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). The results of these different investigations were amalgamated in order to develop a community toxicity indicator, which revealed that of the three NPs examined, silver NPs could be classified as highly toxic to these arctic consortia. Subsequent culture-based studies confirmed that one of the community-identified plant-associating bacteria, Bradyrhizobium canariense, appeared to have a marked sensitivity to silver NPs. Thus, NP contamination of arctic soils particularly by silver NPs is a concern and procedures for mitigation and remediation of such pollution should be a priority for investigation.

  19. Forest decline caused by high soil water conditions in a permafrost region

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H. Iwasaki

    2009-09-01

    Full Text Available In the permafrost region near Yakutsk, eastern Siberia, Russia, annual precipitation (June–May in 2005–2006 and 2006–2007 exceeded the 26-year (1982–2008 mean of 222±68 mm by 185 mm and 128 mm, respectively, whereas in 2007–2008 the excedent was only 48 mm, well within the range of variability. Yellowing and browning of larch (Larix cajanderi Mayr. trees occurred in an undisturbed forest near Yakutsk in the 2007 summer growing season. Soil water content at a depth of 0.20 m was measured along a roughly 400 m long line transect running through areas of yellowing and browning larch trees (YBL and of normal larch trees (NL. In the two years of supranormal precipitation, soil water content was very high compared to values recorded for the same area in previous studies. For both wet years, the mean degree of saturation (s was significantly greater in YBL than NL areas, whereas the converse was the case for the relative gas diffusivity (DP/D0. This implies that rather than mitigating water stress suffered during normal precipitation years, elevated soil water conditions adversely affected the growth of larch trees. Eastern Siberia's taiga forest extends widely into the permafrost region. Was such supranormal annual precipitation to extend for more than two years, as might be expected under impending global climate changes, forest decline would be expanded and a danger of accelerating greenhouse gas emissions could result.

  20. Evaluation of air-soil temperature relationships simulated by land surface models during winter across the permafrost region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Wenli; Rinke, Annette; Moore, John C.; Ji, Duoying; Cui, Xuefeng; Peng, Shushi; Lawrence, David M.; McGuire, A. David; Burke, Eleanor J.; Chen, Xiaodong; Decharme, Bertrand; Koven, Charles; MacDougall, Andrew; Saito, Kazuyuki; Zhang, Wenxin; Alkama, Ramdane; Bohn, Theodore J.; Ciais, Philippe; Delire, Christine; Gouttevin, Isabelle; Hajima, Tomohiro; Krinner, Gerhard; Lettenmaier, Dennis P.; Miller, Paul A.; Smith, Benjamin; Sueyoshi, Tetsuo; Sherstiukov, Artem B.

    2016-08-01

    A realistic simulation of snow cover and its thermal properties are important for accurate modelling of permafrost. We analyse simulated relationships between air and near-surface (20 cm) soil temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere permafrost region during winter, with a particular focus on snow insulation effects in nine land surface models, and compare them with observations from 268 Russian stations. There are large cross-model differences in the simulated differences between near-surface soil and air temperatures (ΔT; 3 to 14 °C), in the sensitivity of soil-to-air temperature (0.13 to 0.96 °C °C-1), and in the relationship between ΔT and snow depth. The observed relationship between ΔT and snow depth can be used as a metric to evaluate the effects of each model's representation of snow insulation, hence guide improvements to the model's conceptual structure and process parameterisations. Models with better performance apply multilayer snow schemes and consider complex snow processes. Some models show poor performance in representing snow insulation due to underestimation of snow depth and/or overestimation of snow conductivity. Generally, models identified as most acceptable with respect to snow insulation simulate reasonable areas of near-surface permafrost (13.19 to 15.77 million km2). However, there is not a simple relationship between the sophistication of the snow insulation in the acceptable models and the simulated area of Northern Hemisphere near-surface permafrost, because several other factors, such as soil depth used in the models, the treatment of soil organic matter content, hydrology and vegetation cover, also affect the simulated permafrost distribution.

  1. Evaluation of air-soil temperature relationships simulated by land surface models during winter across the permafrost region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Wenli; Rinke, Annette; Moore, John C.; Ji, Duoying; Cui, Xuefeng; Peng, Shushi; Lawrence, David M.; McGuire, A. David; Burke, Eleanor J.; Chen, Xiaodong; Delire, Christine; Koven, Charles; MacDougall, Andrew; Saito, Kazuyuki; Zhang, Wenxin; Alkama, Ramdane; Bohn, Theodore J.; Ciais, Philippe; Decharme, Bertrand; Gouttevin, Isabelle; Hajima, Tomohiro; Krinner, Gerhard; Lettenmaier, Dennis P.; Miller, Paul A.; Smith, Benjamin; Sueyoshi, Tetsuo

    2016-01-01

     A realistic simulation of snow cover and its thermal properties are important for accurate modelling of permafrost. We analyze simulated relationships between air and near-surface (20 cm) soil temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere permafrost region during winter, with a particular focus on snow insulation effects in nine land surface models and compare them with observations from 268 Russian stations. There are large across-model differences as expressed by simulated differences between near-surface soil and air temperatures, (ΔT), of 3 to 14 K, in the gradients between soil and air temperatures (0.13 to 0.96°C/°C), and in the relationship between ΔT and snow depth. The observed relationship between ΔT and snow depth can be used as a metric to evaluate the effects of each model's representation of snow insulation, and hence guide improvements to the model’s conceptual structure and process parameterizations. Models with better performance apply multi-layer snow schemes and consider complex snow processes. Some models show poor performance in representing snow insulation due to underestimation of snow depth and/or overestimation of snow conductivity. Generally, models identified as most acceptable with respect to snow insulation simulate reasonable areas of near-surface permafrost (12–16 million km2). However, there is not a simple relationship between the quality of the snow insulation in the acceptable models and the simulated area of Northern Hemisphere near-surface permafrost, likely because several other factors such as differences in the treatment of soil organic matter, soil hydrology, surface energy calculations, and vegetation also provide important controls on simulated permafrost distribution.

  2. Interactive effects of wildfire and permafrost on microbial communities and soil processes in an Alaskan black spruce forest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Waldrop, M.P.; Harden, J.W.

    2008-01-01

    Boreal forests contain significant quantities of soil carbon that may be oxidized to CO2 given future increases in climate warming and wildfire behavior. At the ecosystem scale, decomposition and heterotrophic respiration are strongly controlled by temperature and moisture, but we questioned whether changes in microbial biomass, activity, or community structure induced by fire might also affect these processes. We particularly wanted to understand whether postfire reductions in microbial biomass could affect rates of decomposition. Additionally, we compared the short-term effects of wildfire to the long-term effects of climate warming and permafrost decline. We compared soil microbial communities between control and recently burned soils that were located in areas with and without permafrost near Delta Junction, AK. In addition to soil physical variables, we quantified changes in microbial biomass, fungal biomass, fungal community composition, and C cycling processes (phenol oxidase enzyme activity, lignin decomposition, and microbial respiration). Five years following fire, organic surface horizons had lower microbial biomass, fungal biomass, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations compared with control soils. Reductions in soil fungi were associated with reductions in phenol oxidase activity and lignin decomposition. Effects of wildfire on microbial biomass and activity in the mineral soil were minor. Microbial community composition was affected by wildfire, but the effect was greater in nonpermafrost soils. Although the presence of permafrost increased soil moisture contents, effects on microbial biomass and activity were limited to mineral soils that showed lower fungal biomass but higher activity compared with soils without permafrost. Fungal abundance and moisture were strong predictors of phenol oxidase enzyme activity in soil. Phenol oxidase enzyme activity, in turn, was linearly related to both 13C lignin decomposition and microbial respiration

  3. In-situ studies of microbial CH4 oxidation efficiency in Arctic wetland soils. Applications of stable carbon isotopes

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Arctic wetland soils are significant sources of the climate-relevant trace gas methane (CH4). The observed accelerated warming of the Arctic is expected to cause deeper permafrost thawing followed by increased carbon mineralization and CH4 formation in water-saturated permafrost-affected tundra soils thus creating a positive feedback to climate change. Aerobic CH4 oxidation is regarded as the key process reducing CH4 emissions from wetlands, but quantification of turnover rates has remained difficult so far. This study improved the in-situ quantification of microbial CH4 oxidation efficiency in arctic wetland soils in Russia's Lena River Delta based on stable isotope signatures of CH4. In addition to the common practice of determining the stable isotope fractionation during oxidation, additionally the fractionation effect of diffusion, an important gas transport mechanism in tundra soils, was investigated for both saturated and unsaturated conditions. The isotopic fractionation factors αox and αdiff were used to calculate the CH4 oxidation efficiency from the CH4 stable isotope signatures of wet polygonal tundra soils of different hydrology. Further, the method was used to study the short-term effects of temperature increase with a climate manipulation experiment. For the first time, the stable isotope fractionation of CH4 diffusion through water-saturated soils was determined with αdiff = 1.001 ± 0.0002 (n = 3). CH4 stable isotope fractionation during diffusion through air-filled pores of the investigated polygonal tundra soils was αdiff = 1.013 ± 0.003 (n = 18). For the studied sites the fractionation factor for diffusion under saturated conditions αdiff = 1.001 seems to be of utmost importance for the quantification of the CH4 oxidation efficiency, since most of the CH4 is oxidized in the saturated part at the aerobic-anaerobic interface. Furthermore, it was found that αox differs widely between sites and horizons (mean αox = 1.018 ± 0.009) and needs

  4. Thermal regimes and degradation modes of permafrost along the Qinghai-Tibet Highway

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    JIN; Huijun; ZHAO; Lin; WANG; Shaoling

    2006-01-01

    Permafrost on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP) is widespread, thin, and thermally unstable. Under a warming climate during the past few decades, it has been degrading extensively with generally rising ground temperatures, the deepening of the maximum summer thaw, and with lessening of the winter frost penetration. The permafrost has degraded downward, upward and laterally.Permafrost has thinned or, in some areas, has totally disappeared. The modes of permafrost degradation have great significance in geocryology, in cold regions engineering and in cold regions environmental management. Permafrost in the interior of the QTP is well represented along the Qing-hal-Tibet Highway (QTH), which crosses the Plateau through north to south and traverses 560 km of permafrost-impacted ground. Horizontally, the degradation of permafrost occurs more visibly in the sporadic permafrost zone in the vicinity of the lower limit of permafrost (LLP), along the margins of taliks, and around permafrost islands. Downward degradation develops when the maximum depth of seasonal thaw exceeds the maximum depth of seasonal frost, and it generally results in the formation of a layered talik disconnecting the permafrost from the seasonal frost layer. The downward degradation is divided into four stages: 1) initial degradation, 2) accelerated degradation, 3) layered talik and 4)finally the conversion of permafrost to seasonally frozen ground (SFG). The upward degradation occurs when the geothermal gradient in permafrost drops to less than the geothermal gradients in the underlying thawed soil layers. Three types of permafrost temperature curves (stable, degrading, and phase-changing transitory permafrost) illustrate these modes. Although strong differentiations in local conditions and permafrost types exist, the various combinations of the three degradation modes will ultimately transform permafrost into SFG. Along the QTH, the downward degradation has been proceeding at annual rates of 6 to 25 cm

  5. Methylocapsa palsarum sp. nov., a methanotroph isolated from a subArctic discontinuous permafrost ecosystem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dedysh, Svetlana N; Didriksen, Alena; Danilova, Olga V; Belova, Svetlana E; Liebner, Susanne; Svenning, Mette M

    2015-10-01

    An aerobic methanotrophic bacterium was isolated from a collapsed palsa soil in northern Norway and designated strain NE2T. Cells of this strain were Gram-stain-negative, non-motile, non-pigmented, slightly curved thick rods that multiplied by normal cell division. The cells possessed a particulate methane monooxygenase enzyme (pMMO) and utilized methane and methanol. Strain NE2T grew in a wide pH range of 4.1–8.0 (optimum pH 5.2–6.5) at temperatures between 6 and 32 °C (optimum 18–25 °C), and was capable of atmospheric nitrogen fixation under reduced oxygen tension. The major cellular fatty acids were C18 : 1ω7c, C16 : 0 and C16 : 1ω7c, and the DNA G+C content was 61.7 mol%. The isolate belonged to the family Beijerinckiaceae of the class Alphaproteobacteria and was most closely related to the facultative methanotroph Methylocapsa aurea KYGT (98.3 % 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity and 84 % PmoA sequence identity). However, strain NE2T differed from Methylocapsa aurea KYGT by cell morphology, the absence of pigmentation, inability to grow on acetate, broader pH growth range, and higher tolerance to NaCl. Therefore, strain NE2T represents a novel species of the genus Methylocapsa, for which we propose the name Methylocapsa palsarum sp. nov. The type strain is NE2T ( = LMG 28715T = VKM B-2945T). PMID:26297585

  6. The Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database: spatially distributed datasets of soil coverage and soil carbon storage in the northern permafrost regions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G. Hugelius

    2012-08-01

    Full Text Available High latitude terrestrial ecosystems are key components in the global carbon (C cycle. Estimates of global soil organic carbon (SOC, however, do not include updated estimates of SOC storage in permafrost-affected soils or representation of the unique pedogenic processes that affect these soils. The Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database (NCSCD was developed to quantify the SOC stocks in the circumpolar permafrost region (18.7 × 106 km2. The NCSCD is a polygon-based digital database compiled from harmonized regional soil classification maps in which data on soil order coverage has been linked to pedon data (n = 1647 from the northern permafrost regions to calculate SOC content and mass. In addition, new gridded datasets at different spatial resolutions have been generated to facilitate research applications using the NCSCD (standard raster formats for use in Geographic Information Systems and Network Common Data Form files common for applications in numerical models. This paper describes the compilation of the NCSCD spatial framework, the soil sampling and soil analyses procedures used to derive SOC content in pedons from North America and Eurasia and the formatting of the digital files that are available online. The potential applications and limitations of the NCSCD in spatial analyses are also discussed.

    The database has the doi:10.5879/ecds/00000001. An open access data-portal with all the described GIS-datasets is available online at: http://dev1.geo.su.se/bbcc/dev/ncscd/.

  7. Soil fauna communities and microbial respiration in high Arctic tundra soils at Zackenberg, Northeast Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sørensen, Louise I.; Holmstrup, Martin; Maraldo, Kristine;

    2006-01-01

    The soil fauna communities were described for three dominant vegetation types in a high arctic site at Zackenberg, Northeast Greenland. Soil samples were extracted to quantify the densities of mites, collembolans, enchytraeids, diptera larvae, nematodes and protozoa. Rates of microbial respiration...... were also assessed. Collembolans were found in highest densities in dry heath soil, about 130,000 individuals m-2, more than twice as high as in mesic heath soils. Enchytraeids, diptera larvae and nematodes were also more abundant in the dry heath soil than in mesic heath soils, whereas protozoan...... densities (naked amoeba and heterotrophic flagellates) were equal. Respiration rate of unamended soil was similar in soil from the three plots. However, a higher respiration rate increase in carbon + nutrient amended soil and the higher densities of soil fauna (with the exception of mites and protozoa) in...

  8. Soil moisture data for the validation of permafrost models using direct and indirect measurement approaches at three alpine sites

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cécile ePellet

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available In regions affected by seasonal and permanently frozen conditions soil moisture influences the thermal regime of the ground as well as its ice content, which is one of the main factors controlling the sensitivity of mountain permafrost to climate changes. In this study, several well established soil moisture monitoring techniques were combined with data from geophysical measurements to assess the spatial distribution and temporal evolution of soil moisture at three high elevation sites with different ground properties and thermal regimes. The observed temporal evolution of measured soil moisture is characteristic for sites with seasonal freeze/thaw cycles and consistent with the respective site-specific properties, demonstrating the general applicability of continuous monitoring of soil moisture at high elevation areas. The obtained soil moisture data were then used for the calibration and validation of two different model approaches in permafrost research in order to characterize the lateral and vertical distribution of ice content in the ground. Calibration of the geophysically based four-phase model (4PM with spatially distributed soil moisture data yielded satisfactory two dimensional distributions of water-, ice- and air content. Similarly, soil moisture time series significantly improved the calibration of the one-dimensional heat and mass transfer model COUP, yielding physically consistent soil moisture and temperature data matching observations at different depths.

  9. Soil temperature response to 21st century global warming: the role of and some implications for peat carbon in thawing permafrost soils in North America

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wisser, D.; Marchenko, S.; Talbot, J.; Treat, C.; Frolking, S.

    2011-01-01

    Northern peatlands contain a large terrestrial carbon pool that plays an important role in the Earth’s carbon cycle. A considerable fraction of this carbon pool is currently in permafrost and is biogeochemically relatively inert; this will change with increasing soil temperatures as a result of clim

  10. Soil temperature-threshold based runoff generation processes in a permafrost catchment

    OpenAIRE

    G. Wang; Mao, T.; Chang, J.; G.Liu

    2015-01-01

    The contributing-area concept was the universal approach in rainfall–runoff processes modelling. However, it is unclear of the role of permafrost in controlling runoff generation processes. The areas that contribute to runoff generation are complex, variable and difficult to determine in permafrost catchments, and thus, there is no suitable quantitative approach for the simulation of runoff generating dynamics. To understand how thaw-freezing cycle in permafrost catchment ef...

  11. Comparison of effects of cold-region soil/snow processes and the uncertainties from model forcing data on permafrost physical characteristics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barman, Rahul; Jain, Atul K.

    2016-03-01

    We used a land surface model to (1) evaluate the influence of recent improvements in modeling cold-region soil/snow physics on near-surface permafrost physical characteristics (within 0-3 m soil column) in the northern high latitudes (NHL) and (2) compare them with uncertainties from climate and land-cover data sets. Specifically, four soil/snow processes are investigated: deep soil energetics, soil organic carbon (SOC) effects on soil properties, wind compaction of snow, and depth hoar formation. In the model, together they increased the contemporary NHL permafrost area by 9.2 × 106 km2 (from 2.9 to 12.3—without and with these processes, respectively) and reduced historical degradation rates. In comparison, permafrost area using different climate data sets (with annual air temperature difference of ˜0.5°C) differed by up to 2.3 × 106 km2, with minimal contribution of up to 0.7 × 106 km2 from substantial land-cover differences. Individually, the strongest role in permafrost increase was from deep soil energetics, followed by contributions from SOC and wind compaction, while depth hoar decreased permafrost. The respective contribution on 0-3 m permafrost stability also followed a similar pattern. However, soil temperature and moisture within vegetation root zone (˜0-1 m), which strongly influence soil biogeochemistry, were only affected by the latter three processes. The ecosystem energy and water fluxes were impacted the least due to these soil/snow processes. While it is evident that simulated permafrost physical characteristics benefit from detailed treatment of cold-region biogeophysical processes, we argue that these should also lead to integrated improvements in modeling of biogeochemistry.

  12. Future active layer dynamics and carbon dioxide production from thawing permafrost layers in Northeast Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hollesen, Jørgen; Elberling, Bo; Jansson, P.E.

    2011-01-01

    Thawing permafrost and the resulting mineralization of previously frozen organic carbon (C) is considered an important future feedback from terrestrial ecosystems to the atmosphere. Here, we use a dynamic process oriented permafrost model, the CoupModel, to link surface and subsurface temperatures...... from a moist permafrost soil in High-Arctic Greenland with observed heat production and carbon dioxide (CO2) release rates from decomposition of previously frozen organic matter. Observations show that the maximum thickness of the active layer at the end of the summer has increased 1 cm yr-1 since 1996...... soil respiration rates in a respiration model to predict the corresponding depth-integrated CO2 production from permafrost layers between 0.7 and 2 m below the surface. Results show an increase from present values of <40 g C m-2 yr-1 to between 120 and 213 g C m-2 yr-1 depending on the magnitude of...

  13. Permafrost, climate, and change: predictive modelling approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anisimov, O.

    2003-04-01

    Predicted by GCMs enhanced warming of the Arctic will lead to discernible impacts on permafrost and northern environment. Mathematical models of different complexity forced by scenarios of climate change may be used to predict such changes. Permafrost models that are currently in use may be divided into four groups: index-based models (e.g. frost index model, N-factor model); models of intermediate complexity based on equilibrium simplified solution of the Stephan problem ("Koudriavtcev's" model and its modifications), and full-scale comprehensive dynamical models. New approach of stochastic modelling came into existence recently and has good prospects for the future. Important task is to compare the ability of the models that are different in complexity, concept, and input data requirements to capture the major impacts of changing climate on permafrost. A progressive increase in the depth of seasonal thawing (often referred to as the active-layer thickness, ALT) could be a relatively short-term reaction to climatic warming. At regional and local scales, it may produce substantial effects on vegetation, soil hydrology and runoff, as the water storage capacity of near-surface permafrost will be changed. Growing public concerns are associated with the impacts that warming of permafrost may have on engineered infrastructure built upon it. At the global scale, increase of ALT could facilitate further climatic change if more greenhouse gases are released when the upper layer of the permafrost thaws. Since dynamic permafrost models require complete set of forcing data that is not readily available on the circumpolar scale, they could be used most effectively in regional studies, while models of intermediate complexity are currently best tools for the circumpolar assessments. Set of five transient scenarios of climate change for the period 1980 - 2100 has been constructed using outputs from GFDL, NCAR, CCC, HadCM, and ECHAM-4 models. These GCMs were selected in the course

  14. Inferred gas hydrate and permafrost stability history models linked to climate change in the Beaufort-Mackenzie Basin, Arctic Canada

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Majorowicz, J.; Šafanda, Jan; Osadetz, K.

    2012-01-01

    Roč. 8, č. 2 (2012), s. 667-682. ISSN 1814-9324 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z30120515 Institutional support: RVO:67985530 Keywords : climate change * Beaufort-Mackenzie Basin * permafrost Subject RIV: DC - Siesmology, Volcanology, Earth Structure Impact factor: 3.556, year: 2012

  15. ADAPT: building conceptual models of the physical and biological processes across permafrost landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allard, M.; Vincent, W. F.; Lemay, M.

    2012-12-01

    Fundamental and applied permafrost research is called upon in Canada in support of environmental protection, economic development and for contributing to the international efforts in understanding climatic and ecological feedbacks of permafrost thawing under a warming climate. The five year "Arctic Development and Adaptation to Permafrost in Transition" program (ADAPT) funded by NSERC brings together 14 scientists from 10 Canadian universities and involves numerous collaborators from academia, territorial and provincial governments, Inuit communities and industry. The geographical coverage of the program encompasses all of the permafrost regions of Canada. Field research at a series of sites across the country is being coordinated. A common protocol for measuring ground thermal and moisture regime, characterizing terrain conditions (vegetation, topography, surface water regime and soil organic matter contents) is being applied in order to provide inputs for designing a general model to provide an understanding of transfers of energy and matter in permafrost terrain, and the implications for biological and human systems. The ADAPT mission is to produce an 'Integrated Permafrost Systems Science' framework that will be used to help generate sustainable development and adaptation strategies for the North in the context of rapid socio-economic and climate change. ADAPT has three major objectives: to examine how changing precipitation and warming temperatures affect permafrost geosystems and ecosystems, specifically by testing hypotheses concerning the influence of the snowpack, the effects of water as a conveyor of heat, sediments, and carbon in warming permafrost terrain and the processes of permafrost decay; to interact directly with Inuit communities, the public sector and the private sector for development and adaptation to changes in permafrost environments; and to train the new generation of experts and scientists in this critical domain of research in Canada

  16. Abundance, Distribution and Potential Activity of Methane Oxidising Bacteria in Permafrost Soils from the Lena Delta, Siberia

    OpenAIRE

    Susanne Liebner; Dirk Wagner;  

    2007-01-01

    The methane oxidation potential of active layer profiles of permafrost soils from the Lena Delta, Siberia, was studied with regard to its respond to temperature, and abundance and distribution of type I and type II methanotrophs. Our results indicate vertical shifts within the optimal methane oxidation temperature and within the distribution of type I and type II methanotrophs. In the upper active layer, maximum methane oxidation potentials were detected at 21 °C. Deep active layer zones that...

  17. Changes in Hydrologic Conditions and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Circumpolar Regions due to Climate Change Induced Permafrost Retreat

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Thawing permafrost peatlands substantially influence Canadian northern ecosystems by changing the regional hydrology and mobilizing the vast carbon (C) reserves that results in increased greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions to the atmosphere. With permafrost distribution controlled largely by topography and climate, our International polar y ear (IPY) study intensively monitored the local C cycling processes and GHG fluxes associated with different hydrologic and permafrost environments at 4 sites along a climatic gradient extending from the Isolated patches permafrost Zone (northern alberta), to the continuous permafrost Zone (Inuvik, NWT). Each site encompasses a local gradient from upland forest and peat plateau to collapse scar. Our multi-year measurements of peatland profiles and flux chambers for CH4 and CO2 concentrations and stable isotope ratios indicate processes, including methanogenesis, methanotrophy, transport and emission that control the distribution of these GHGs. These relationships are modulated by fluctuating local soil water and corresponding ecosystem conditions. The gas geochemistry shows that significant surface CH4 production occurs by both hydrogenotrophic and acetoclastic methanogenesis in submerged, anaerobic peats, e.g., collapse scars, whereas methane oxidation is restricted to aerobic, drier environments, e.g., upland sites and peat-atmosphere interface. The most active methanogenesis and emissions are in areas of actively thawing permafrost contrasting with sites under continuous permafrost. This degree of methanogenesis is being amplified by the increased rate of Arctic warming and the rapid retreat of permafrost in canada's arctic (approximately. 2.5 km/a). (author)

  18. Soil Biota and Litter Decay in High Arctic Ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    González, G.; Rivera, F.; Makarova, O.; Gould, W. A.

    2006-12-01

    Frost heave action contributes to the formation of non-sorted circles in the High Arctic. Non-sorted circles tend to heave more than the surrounding tundra due to deeper thaw and the formation of ice lenses. Thus, the geomorphology, soils and vegetation on the centers of the patterned-ground feature (non-sorted circles) as compared to the surrounding soils (inter-circles) can be different. We established a decomposition experiment to look at in situ decay rates of the most dominant graminoid species on non-sorted circles and adjacent inter-circle soils along a climatic gradient in the Canadian High Arctic as a component of a larger study looking at the biocomplexity of small-featured patterned ground ecosystems. Additionally, we investigated variation in soil chemical properties and biota, including soil microarthropods and microbial composition and biomass, as they relate to climate, topographic position, and litter decay rates. Our three sites locations, from coldest to warmest, are Isachsen, Ellef Ringnes Island (ER), NU (bioclimatic subzone A); Mould Bay (MB), Prince Patrick Island, NT (bioclimatic subzone B), and Green Cabin (GC), Aulavik National Park, Thomsen River, Banks Island, NT (bioclimatic subzone C). Our sample design included the selection of 15 non-sorted circles and adjacent inter-circle areas within the zonal vegetation at each site (a total of 90 sites), and a second set of 3 non-sorted circles and adjacent inter-circle areas in dry, mesic and wet tundra at each of the sites. Soil invertebrates were sampled at each site using both pitfall traps, soil microbial biomass was determined using substrate induced respiration and bacterial populations were determined using the most probable number method. Decomposition rates were measured using litterbags and as the percent of mass remaining of Carex misandra, Luzula nivalis and Alopecuris alpinus in GC, MB and ER, respectively. Our findings indicate these graminoid species decayed significantly over

  19. Permafrost degradation in West Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Foged, Niels Nielsen; Ingeman-Nielsen, Thomas

    2012-01-01

    Important aspects of civil engineering in West Greenland relate to the presence of permafrost and mapping of the annual and future changes in the active layer due to the ongoing climatically changes in the Arctic. The Arctic Technology Centre (ARTEK) has worked more than 10 years on this topic an...

  20. The effect of fire and permafrost interactions on soil carbon accumulation in an upland black spruce ecosystem of interior Alaska: Implications for post-thaw carbon loss

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Donnell, J. A.; Harden, J.W.; McGuire, A.D.; Kanevskiy, M.Z.; Jorgenson, M.T.; Xu, X.

    2011-01-01

    High-latitude regions store large amounts of organic carbon (OC) in active-layer soils and permafrost, accounting for nearly half of the global belowground OC pool. In the boreal region, recent warming has promoted changes in the fire regime, which may exacerbate rates of permafrost thaw and alter soil OC dynamics in both organic and mineral soil. We examined how interactions between fire and permafrost govern rates of soil OC accumulation in organic horizons, mineral soil of the active layer, and near-surface permafrost in a black spruce ecosystem of interior Alaska. To estimate OC accumulation rates, we used chronosequence, radiocarbon, and modeling approaches. We also developed a simple model to track long-term changes in soil OC stocks over past fire cycles and to evaluate the response of OC stocks to future changes in the fire regime. Our chronosequence and radiocarbon data indicate that OC turnover varies with soil depth, with fastest turnover occurring in shallow organic horizons (~60 years) and slowest turnover in near-surface permafrost (>3000 years). Modeling analysis indicates that OC accumulation in organic horizons was strongly governed by carbon losses via combustion and burial of charred remains in deep organic horizons. OC accumulation in mineral soil was influenced by active layer depth, which determined the proportion of mineral OC in a thawed or frozen state and thus, determined loss rates via decomposition. Our model results suggest that future changes in fire regime will result in substantial reductions in OC stocks, largely from the deep organic horizon. Additional OC losses will result from fire-induced thawing of near-surface permafrost. From these findings, we conclude that the vulnerability of deep OC stocks to future warming is closely linked to the sensitivity of permafrost to wildfire disturbance. ?? 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  1. Western Arctic Coastal Plain, IFSAR-derived, Digital Surface Model. University of Alaska Fairbanks, Geophysical Institute Permafrost Laboratory (2013).

    Data.gov (United States)

    Arctic Landscape Conservation Cooperative — This dataset consists of a mosaic created from an Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IfSAR) derived digital surface model (DSM) acquired over the National...

  2. Permafrost in the Fox Permafrost Tunnel

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shur, Y.; Bray, M. T.; Anderson, D. A.

    2002-12-01

    Geology, engineering geology, and paleo-geography of the Fox permafrost tunnel have been thoroughly studied (Sellmann, 1967, 1972; Hamilton and others, 1988, Huang, 1985, Johansen and others 1981, 1982,). Permafrost specific information from previous studies is very limited and controversial. We applied 3D mapping and a cryo-facial analysis to identify genesis and structure of permafrost and distinguish between original syngenetic permafrost and later alternations of soil and massive ice. By mapping the tunnel in a 3D framework, features which occur on both walls of the tunnel and at its ceiling can be connected. For example, ice wedge continuity can be seen along with the nature of their disruption patterns. Mapping is particularly useful for determining the history of syngenetic ice-wedges modification, which show most visually the timing patterns and nature of the events that transpired in modification of the original permafrost conditions. Main principals of the cryo-facial analysis (Katasonov, 1960) are based on dependence of shape and size of ice inclusions in permafrost on facial type of soil and consequently on morphological conditions in which soil was deposited and frozen such floodplain, slope, etc. Quaternary permafrost deposits have different ice content depending on its genesis and facial type. We analyzed the permafrost cryogenic structure and soil water content to distinguish between original syngetetic permafrost and soil altered later. In previous studies two layers of silt with a sub-horizontal thermal unconformity between them and two types of massive ice (ice-wedges and buried ice) have been identified. Our study contradicts to such descriptions. Ice, which was described previously as buried pond or aufeis, we identified as thermokarst-cave ice, which was formed inside permafrost in channels made by running water. Such thermokarst caves occur mainly in ice-wedges and seldom in ice-rich soil. Both situations take place in the Fox permafrost

  3. The Influence of Earth Temperature on the Dynamic Characteristics of Frozen Soil and the Parameters of Ground Motion on Sites of Permafrost

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Wang Lanmin; Zhang Dongli; Wu Zhijian; Ma Wei; Li Xiaojun

    2004-01-01

    Earth temperature is one of the most important factors influencing the mechanical properties of frozen soil. Based on the field investigation of the characteristics of ground deformation and ground failure caused by the Ms8.1 earthquake in the west of the Kuniun Mountain Pass,China, the influence of temperature on the dynamic constitutive relationship, dynamic elastic modulus, damping ratio and dynamic strength of frozen soil was quantitatively studied by means of the dynamic triaxial test. Moreover, the characteristics of ground motion on a permafrost site under different temperatures were analyzed for the four profiles of permafrost along the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet) Railway using the time histories of ground motion acceleration with 3 exceedance probabilities of the Kunlun Mountains area. The influences of temperature on the seismic displacement, velocity, acceleration and response spectrum on permafrost ground were studied quantitatively. A scientific basis was presented for earthquake disaster mitigation for engineering foundations, highways and underground engineering in permafrost areas.

  4. Zn isotope fractionation in a pristine larch forest on permafrost-dominated soils in Central Siberia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Viers, Jerome; Prokushkin, Anatoly S; Pokrovsky, Oleg S; Kirdyanov, Alexander V; Zouiten, Cyril; Chmeleff, Jerome; Meheut, Merlin; Chabaux, Francois; Oliva, Priscia; Dupré, Bernard

    2015-01-01

    Stable Zn isotopes fractionation was studied in main biogeochemical compartments of a pristine larch forest of Central Siberia developed over continuous permafrost basalt rocks. Two north- and south-oriented watershed slopes having distinctly different vegetation biomass and active layer depth were used as natural proxy for predicting possible future climate changes occurring in this region. In addition, peat bog zone exhibiting totally different vegetation, hydrology and soil temperature regime has been studied. The isotopic composition of soil profile from Central Siberia is rather constant with a δ(66)Zn value around 0.2‰ close to the value of various basalts. Zn isotopic composition in mosses (Sphagnum fuscum and Pleurozium schreberi) exhibits differences between surface layers presenting values from 0.14 to 0.2‰ and bottom layers presenting significantly higher values (0.5 - 0.7‰) than the underlain mineral surface. The humification of both dead moss and larch needles leads to retain the fraction where Zn bound most strongly thus releasing the lighter isotopes in solution and preserving the heavy isotopes in the humification products, in general accord with previous experimental and modeling works [GCA 75:7632-7643, 2011]. The larch (Larix gmelinii) from North and South-facing slopes is enriched in heavy isotopes compared to soil reservoir while larch from Sphagnum peatbog is enriched in light isotopes. This difference may result from stronger complexation of Zn by organic ligands and humification products in the peat bog compared to mineral surfaces in North- and South-facing slope. During the course of the growing period, Zn followed the behavior of macronutrients with a decrease of concentration from June to September. During this period, an enrichment of larch needles by heavier Zn isotopes is observed in the various habitats. We suggest that the increase of the depth of rooting zone, and the decrease of DOC and Zn concentration in soil solution

  5. Permafrost collapse after shrub removal shifts tundra ecosystem to a methane source

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nauta, Ake L.; Heijmans, Monique P.D.; Blok, Daan;

    2015-01-01

    Arctic tundra ecosystems are warming almost twice as fast as the global average1. Permafrost thaw and the resulting release of greenhouse gases from decomposing soil organic carbon have the potential to accelerate climate warming2,3. In recent decades, Arctic tundra ecosystems have changed rapidly4......, including expansion of woody vegetation5,6, in response to changing climate conditions. How such vegetation changes contribute to stabilization or destabilization of the permafrost is unknown. Here we present six years of field observations in a shrub removal experiment at a Siberian tundra site. Removing...... the shrub part of the vegetation initiated thawing of ice-rich permafrost, resulting in collapse of the originally elevated shrub patches into waterlogged depressions within five years. This thaw pond development shifted the plots from a methane sink into a methane source. The results of our field...

  6. ESA DUE Permafrost: An Earth observation (EO) permafrost monitoring system

    OpenAIRE

    Birgit Heim; Annett Bartsch; Kirsten Elger; Hugues Lantuit; Julia Boike; Sina Muster; Moritz Langer; Claude Duguay; Sonia Hachem; Aiman Soliman; Christoph Paulik; Tazio Strozzi; Frank-Martin Seifert

    2011-01-01

    The task of the ESA Data User Element (DUE) Permafrost project is to build up an Earth Observation service for permafrost applications with extensive involvement of the permafrost research community. The DUE Permafrost remote sensing products are ‘Land Surface Temperature’ (LST), ‘Surface Soil Moisture’ (SSM), ‘Frozen/ Thawed Surface Status’ (Freeze/Thaw), ‘Terrain’, ‘Land Cover’ (LC), and ‘Surface Waters’. A major component is the evaluation of the DUE Permafrost products to test their s...

  7. An underestimated methane sink in Arctic mineral soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oh, Y.; Medvigy, D.; Stackhouse, B. T.; Lau, M.; Onstott, T. C.; Jørgensen, C. J.; Elberling, B.; Emmerton, C. A.; St Louis, V. L.; Moch, J.

    2015-12-01

    Atmospheric methane has more than doubled since the industrial revolution, yet the sources and sinks are still poorly constrained. Though soil methane oxidation is the largest terrestrial methane sink, it is inadequately represented in current models. We have conducted laboratory analysis of mineral cryosol soils from Axel Heiberg Island in the Canadian high arctic. Microcosm experiments were carried out under varying environmental conditions and used to parameterize methane oxidation models. One-meter long intact soil cores were also obtained from Axel Heiberg Island and analyzed in the laboratory. A controlled core thawing experiment was carried out, and observed methane fluxes were compared to modeled methane fluxes. We find that accurate model simulation of methane fluxes needs to satisfy two requirements:(1) microbial biomass needs to be dynamically simulated, and (2) high-affinity methanotrophs need to be represented. With these 2 features, our model is able to reproduce observed temperature and soil moisture sensitivities of high affinity methanotrophs, which are twice as sensitive to temperature than the low affinity methanotrophs and are active under saturated moisture conditions. The model is also able to accurately reproduce the time rate of change of microbial oxidation of atmospheric methane. Finally, we discuss the remaining biases and uncertainties in the model, and the challenges of extending models from the laboratory scale to the landscape scale.

  8. The long-term fate of permafrost peatlands under rapid climate warming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Swindles, Graeme T.; Morris, Paul J.; Mullan, Donal; Watson, Elizabeth J.; Turner, T. Edward; Roland, Thomas P.; Amesbury, Matthew J.; Kokfelt, Ulla; Schoning, Kristian; Pratte, Steve; Gallego-Sala, Angela; Charman, Dan J.; Sanderson, Nicole; Garneau, Michelle; Carrivick, Jonathan L.; Woulds, Clare; Holden, Joseph; Parry, Lauren; Galloway, Jennifer M.

    2015-12-01

    Permafrost peatlands contain globally important amounts of soil organic carbon, owing to cold conditions which suppress anaerobic decomposition. However, climate warming and permafrost thaw threaten the stability of this carbon store. The ultimate fate of permafrost peatlands and their carbon stores is unclear because of complex feedbacks between peat accumulation, hydrology and vegetation. Field monitoring campaigns only span the last few decades and therefore provide an incomplete picture of permafrost peatland response to recent rapid warming. Here we use a high-resolution palaeoecological approach to understand the longer-term response of peatlands in contrasting states of permafrost degradation to recent rapid warming. At all sites we identify a drying trend until the late-twentieth century; however, two sites subsequently experienced a rapid shift to wetter conditions as permafrost thawed in response to climatic warming, culminating in collapse of the peat domes. Commonalities between study sites lead us to propose a five-phase model for permafrost peatland response to climatic warming. This model suggests a shared ecohydrological trajectory towards a common end point: inundated Arctic fen. Although carbon accumulation is rapid in such sites, saturated soil conditions are likely to cause elevated methane emissions that have implications for climate-feedback mechanisms.

  9. The long-term fate of permafrost peatlands under rapid climate warming.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Swindles, Graeme T; Morris, Paul J; Mullan, Donal; Watson, Elizabeth J; Turner, T Edward; Roland, Thomas P; Amesbury, Matthew J; Kokfelt, Ulla; Schoning, Kristian; Pratte, Steve; Gallego-Sala, Angela; Charman, Dan J; Sanderson, Nicole; Garneau, Michelle; Carrivick, Jonathan L; Woulds, Clare; Holden, Joseph; Parry, Lauren; Galloway, Jennifer M

    2015-01-01

    Permafrost peatlands contain globally important amounts of soil organic carbon, owing to cold conditions which suppress anaerobic decomposition. However, climate warming and permafrost thaw threaten the stability of this carbon store. The ultimate fate of permafrost peatlands and their carbon stores is unclear because of complex feedbacks between peat accumulation, hydrology and vegetation. Field monitoring campaigns only span the last few decades and therefore provide an incomplete picture of permafrost peatland response to recent rapid warming. Here we use a high-resolution palaeoecological approach to understand the longer-term response of peatlands in contrasting states of permafrost degradation to recent rapid warming. At all sites we identify a drying trend until the late-twentieth century; however, two sites subsequently experienced a rapid shift to wetter conditions as permafrost thawed in response to climatic warming, culminating in collapse of the peat domes. Commonalities between study sites lead us to propose a five-phase model for permafrost peatland response to climatic warming. This model suggests a shared ecohydrological trajectory towards a common end point: inundated Arctic fen. Although carbon accumulation is rapid in such sites, saturated soil conditions are likely to cause elevated methane emissions that have implications for climate-feedback mechanisms. PMID:26647837

  10. The microbial ecology of permafrost

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jansson, Janet; Tas, Neslihan

    2014-01-01

    Permafrost constitutes a major portion of the terrestrial cryosphere of the Earth and is a unique ecological niche for cold-adapted microorganisms. There is a relatively high microbial diversity in permafrost, although there is some variation in community composition across different permafrost......-gas emissions. This Review describes new data on the microbial ecology of permafrost and provides a platform for understanding microbial life strategies in frozen soil as well as the impact of climate change on permafrost microorganisms and their functional roles....

  11. Development of bearing capacity of fine grained permafrost deposits in western greenland urban areas subject to soil temperature changes

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Agergaard, Frederik Ancker; Ingeman-Nielsen, Thomas

    2012-01-01

    The bearing capacity of frozen soils is high, compared to non-frozen soils of same composition. Projected climatic warming in the Arctic will increase the soil temperature, thus affecting the bearing capacity and the deformation properties. Western Greenland temperatures are projected to increase...... excess ice free samples. Unfrozen water contents are seen to be directly inversely proportional to the undrained shear strength when both are normalized, which may reduce costs for establishing reliable soil strength parameters. It is suggested that a relation to deformation parameters are investigated...

  12. Indexing Permafrost Soil Organic Matter Degradation Using High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mann, Benjamin F.; Chen, Hong-Mei; Herndon, Elizabeth M.; Chu, Rosalie K.; Tolic, Nikola; Portier, Evan; Chowdhury, Taniya R.; Robinson, Errol W.; Callister, Stephen J.; Wullschleger, Stan D.; Graham, David E.; Liang, Liyuan; Gu, Baohua

    2015-06-12

    Microbial degradation of soil organic matter (SOM) is a key process for terrestrial carbon cycling, although the molecular details of these transformations remain unclear. This study reports the application of ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry to profile the molecular composition of SOM and its degradation during a simulated warming experiment. A soil sample, collected near Barrow, Alaska, USA, was subjected to a 40-day incubation under anoxic conditions and analyzed before and after the incubation to determine changes of SOM composition. A CHO index based on molecular C, H, and O data was utilized to codify SOM components according to their observed degradation potentials. Compounds with a CHO index score between –1 and 0 in a water-soluble fraction (WSF) demonstrated high degradation potential, with a highest shift of CHO index occurred in the N-containing group of compounds, while similar stoichiometries in a base-soluble fraction (BSF) did not. Additionally, compared with the classical H:C vs O:C van Krevelen diagram, CHO index allowed for direct visualization of the distribution of heteroatoms such as N in the identified SOM compounds. We demonstrate that CHO index is useful not only in characterizing arctic SOM at the molecular level but also enabling quantitative description of SOM degradation, thereby facilitating incorporation of the high resolution MS datasets to future mechanistic models of SOM degradation and prediction of greenhouse gas emissions.

  13. The Impact of Global Warming on the Carbon Cycle of Arctic Permafrost: An Experimental and Field Based Study

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Onstott, Tullis C [Princeton University; Pffifner, Susan M; Chourey, Karuna [Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    2014-11-07

    Our results to date indicate that CO2 and CH4 fluxes from organic poor, Arctic cryosols on Axel Heiberg Island are net CH4 sinks and CO2 emitters in contrast to organic-rich peat deposits at sub-Arctic latitudes. This is based upon field observations and a 1.5 year long thawing experiment performed upon one meter long intact cores. The results of the core thawing experiments are in good agreement with field measurements. Metagenomic, metatranscriptomic and metaproteomic analyses indicate that high affinity aerobic methanotrophs belong to the uncultivated USCalpha are present in <1% abundance in these cryosols are are active in the field during the summer and in the core thawing experiments. The methanotrophs are 100 times more abundant than the methanogens. As a result mineral cryosols, which comprise 87% of Arctic tundra, are net methane sinks. Their presence and activity may account for the discrepancies observed between the atmospheric methane concentrations observed in the Arctic predicted by climate models and the observed seasonal fluctuations and decadal trends. This has not been done yet.

  14. Remediation of oil-contaminated soil in Arctic Climate

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jensen, Pernille Erland; Fritt-Rasmussen, Janne; Rodrigo, Ana P.;

    Oil spill is a problem in towns in Greenland, where oil is used for heating and transport. The problem may increase in the future with expected oil exploitation in Greenlandic marine areas and related terrestrial activities. Oil undergoes natural microbial degradation in which nutrients......, temperature, water content, pE and pH are important factors for the degradation rate. In particular temperature and nutrient availability are challenges in the Arctic, and alternative solutions must be sought if biodegradation is to be implemented as a low-cost and lowtech solution in this region. Experiments...... have been made with excavated oil-contaminated soil from the Greenlandic town Sisimiut to study different low-tech and low-cost solutions for remediation of oil-contamination....

  15. Remediation of oil-contaminated soil in Arctic Climate

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jensen, Pernille Erland; Fritt-Rasmussen, Janne; Rodrigo, Ana;

    Oil spill is a problem in towns in Greenland, where oil is used for heating and transport. The problem may increase in the future with expected oil exploitation in Greenlandic marine areas and related terrestrial activities. Oil undergoes natural microbial degradation in which nutrients......, temperature, water content, pE and pH are important factors for the degradation rate. In particular temperature and nutrient availability are challenges in the Arctic, and alternative solutions must be sought if biodegradation is to be implemented as a low-cost and low-tech solution in this region....... Experiments have been made with excavated oil-contaminated soil from the Greenlandic town Sisimiut to study different low-tech and low-cost solutions for remediation of oil-contamination...

  16. Cyanobacterial community composition in Arctic soil crusts at different stages of development

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Pushkareva, E.; Pessi, I. S.; Wilmotte, A.; Elster, Josef

    2015-01-01

    Roč. 91, 12 fiv143 (2015), s. 1-10. ISSN 0168-6496 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : soil crust * Arctic * cyanobacteria Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 3.568, year: 2014

  17. Two years of CarboPerm: achievements and further steps of an interdisciplinary Russian-German project on the formation, turnover and release of carbon in Siberian permafrost landscape

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zubrzycki, S.

    2015-12-01

    Permafrost-affected soils of the northern hemisphere have accumulated large pools of soil organic carbon (SOC) since continuous low temperatures in the permafrost prevented organic matter (OM) decomposition. According to recent estimates these soils contain 1300 ± 200 Pg of SOC, or about twice as much the carbon within the global vegetation. Rising arctic temperatures will likely result in increased permafrost thawing with the consequence of increased mobilization and degradation of formerly frozen OM. This degradation process will presumably result in an increased formation of trace gases such as methane and carbon dioxide which can be released to the atmosphere. Rising trace gas concentrations due to permafrost thawing would thereby induce a positive feedback on climate warming. CarboPerm, is a joint German-Russian research project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. It comprises multi-disciplinary investigations on the formation, turnover and release of SOC in Siberian permafrost. It aims to gain increased understanding of how permafrost-affected landscapes will respond to global warming and how this response will influence the local, regional and global trace gas balance. CarboPerm strengthens permafrost research in underrepresented areas which are hardly accessible to international researchers. The obtained results improve our understanding of the future development of the sensitive and economically relevant arctic permafrost regions. With this contribution we want to inform the interested community about the new knowledge resulting from results of all scientific work packages: (i) the origin, properties, and dynamics of fossil carbon, (ii) the age and quality of organic matter, (iii) the recent carbon dynamics in permafrost landscapes, (iv) the microbial transformation of organic carbon in permafrost, and (v) process-driven modeling of soil carbon dynamics in permafrost areas.

  18. 2.5 years of CarboPerm: achievements and further steps of an interdisciplinary Russian-German project on the formation, turnover and release of carbon in Siberian permafrost landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zubrzycki, Sebastian

    2016-04-01

    Permafrost-affected soils of the northern hemisphere have accumulated large pools of soil organic carbon (SOC) since continuous low temperatures in the permafrost prevented organic matter (OM) decomposition. According to recent estimates these soils contain 1300 ± 200 Pg of SOC, or about twice as much the carbon within the global vegetation. Rising arctic temperatures will likely result in increased permafrost thawing with the consequence of increased mobilization and degradation of formerly frozen OM. This degradation process will presumably result in an increased formation of trace gases such as methane and carbon dioxide which can be released to the atmosphere. Rising trace gas concentrations due to permafrost thawing would thereby induce a positive feedback on climate warming. CarboPerm, is a joint German-Russian research project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. It comprises multi-disciplinary investigations on the formation, turnover and release of SOC in Siberian permafrost. It aims to gain increased understanding of how permafrost-affected landscapes will respond to global warming and how this response will influence the local, regional and global trace gas balance. CarboPerm strengthens permafrost research in underrepresented areas which are hardly accessible to international researchers. The obtained results improve our understanding of the future development of the sensitive and economically relevant arctic permafrost regions. With this contribution we want to inform the interested community about the new knowledge resulting from results of all scientific work packages: (i) the origin, properties, and dynamics of fossil carbon, (ii) the age and quality of organic matter, (iii) the recent carbon dynamics in permafrost landscapes, (iv) the microbial transformation of organic carbon in permafrost, and (v) process-driven modeling of soil carbon dynamics in permafrost areas.

  19. Inferred gas hydrate and permafrost stability history models linked to climate change in the Beaufort-Mackenzie Basin, Arctic Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Majorowicz, J.; Safanda, J.; Osadetz, K.

    2012-03-01

    Atmospheric methane from episodic gas hydrate (GH) destabilization, the "clathrate gun" hypothesis, is proposed to affect past climates, possibly since the Phanerozoic began or earlier. In the terrestrial Beaufort-Mackenzie Basin (BMB), GHs occur commonly below thick ice-bearing permafrost (IBP), but they are rare within it. Two end-member GH models, where gas is either trapped conventionally (Case 1) or where it is trapped dynamically by GH formation (Case 2), were simulated using profile (1-D) models and a 14 Myr ground surface temperature (GST) history based on marine isotopic data, adjusted to the study setting, constrained by deep heat flow, sedimentary succession conductivity, and observed IBP and Type I GH contacts in Mallik wells. Models consider latent heat effects throughout the IBP and GH intervals. Case 1 GHs formed at ~0.9 km depth only ~1 Myr ago by in situ transformation of conventionally trapped natural gas. Case 2 GHs begin to form at ~290-300 m ~6 Myr ago in the absence of lithological migration barriers. During glacial intervals Case 2 GH layers expand both downward and upward as the permafrost grows downward through and intercalated with GHs. The distinctive model results suggest that most BMB GHs resemble Case 1 models, based on the observed distinct and separate occurrences of GHs and IBP and the lack of observed GH intercalations in IBP. Case 2 GHs formed >255 m, below a persistent ice-filled permafrost layer that is as effective a seal to upward methane migration as are Case 1 lithological seals. All models respond to GST variations, but in a delayed and muted manner such that GH layers continue to grow even as the GST begins to increase. The models show that the GH stability zone history is buffered strongly by IBP during the interglacials. Thick IBP and GHs could have persisted since ~1.0 Myr ago and ~4.0 Myr ago for Cases 1 and 2, respectively. Offshore BMB IBP and GHs formed terrestrially during Pleistocene sea level low stands. Where

  20. Development of bearing capacity of fine grained permafrost deposits in western greenland urban areas subject to soil temperature changes

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Agergaard, Frederik Ancker; Ingeman-Nielsen, Thomas

    The bearing capacity of frozen soils is high, compared to non-frozen soils of same composition. Projected climatic warming in the Arctic will increase the soil temperature, thus affecting the bearing capacity and the deformation properties. Western Greenland temperatures are projected to increase...... from the Western Greenland towns of Sisimiut and Ilulissat respectively. Tests reveal undrained shear strengths ranging from 409 kPa to 940 kPa, where low temperatures and low excess ice content yield higher strengths. Normalized strengths are used for establishing a trend for the strength decrease...

  1. Variation and control of soil organic carbon and other nutrients in permafrost regions on central Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The variation and control of soil organic carbon (SOC) and other nutrients in permafrost regions are critical for studying the carbon cycle and its potential feedbacks to climate change; however, they are poorly understood. Soil nutrients samples at depths of 0–10, 10–20, 20–30, and 30–40 cm, were sampled eight times in 2009 in alpine swamp meadow, alpine meadow and alpine steppe in permafrost regions of the central Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. SOC and total nitrogen (TN) in the alpine swamp meadow and meadow decreased with soil depth, whereas the highest SOC content in the alpine steppe was found at depths of 20–30 cm. The vertical profiles of total and available phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) were relatively uniform for all the three grassland types. Correlation and linear regression analyses showed that soil moisture (SM) was the most important parameter for the vertical variation of SOC and other soil nutrients, and that belowground biomass (BGB) was the main source of SOC and TN. The spatial variations (including seasonal variation) of SOC and TN at plot scale were large. The relative deviation of SOC ranged from 7.18 to 41.50 in the alpine swamp meadow, from 2.88 to 35.91 in the alpine meadow, and from 9.33 to 68.38 in the alpine steppe. The spatial variations in the other soil nutrients varied among different grassland types. The most important factors for spatial variations (including seasonal variation) of SOC, TN, total P, available P, and both total and available K were: SM, SM and temperature, SM, air temperature, and SM and BGB, respectively. The large variation in the three grassland types implies that spatial variation at plot scale should be considered when estimating SOC storage and its dynamics. (letter)

  2. Effects of excess ground ice on projections of permafrost in a warming climate

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    In permafrost soils, ‘excess ice’, also referred to as ground ice, exists in amounts exceeding soil porosity in forms such as ice lenses and wedges. Here, we incorporate a simple representation of excess ice in the Community Land Model (CLM4.5) to investigate how excess ice affects projected permafrost thaw and associated hydrologic responses. We initialize spatially explicit excess ice obtained from the Circum-Arctic Map of Permafrost and Ground-Ice Conditions. The excess ice in the model acts to slightly reduce projected soil warming by about 0.35 °C by 2100 in a high greenhouse gas emissions scenario. The presence of excess ice slows permafrost thaw at a given location with about a 10 year delay in permafrost thaw at 3 m depth at most high excess ice locations. The soil moisture response to excess ice melt is transient and depends largely on the timing of thaw with wetter/saturated soil moisture conditions persisting slightly longer due to delayed post-thaw drainage. Based on the model projections of excess ice melt, we can estimate spatially explicit gridcell mean surface subsidence with values ranging up to 0.5 m by 2100 depending on the initial excess ice content and the extent of melt. (letter)

  3. In-situ studies of microbial CH{sub 4} oxidation efficiency in Arctic wetland soils. Applications of stable carbon isotopes

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Preuss, Inken-Marie

    2013-07-05

    Arctic wetland soils are significant sources of the climate-relevant trace gas methane (CH{sub 4}). The observed accelerated warming of the Arctic is expected to cause deeper permafrost thawing followed by increased carbon mineralization and CH{sub 4} formation in water-saturated permafrost-affected tundra soils thus creating a positive feedback to climate change. Aerobic CH{sub 4} oxidation is regarded as the key process reducing CH{sub 4} emissions from wetlands, but quantification of turnover rates has remained difficult so far. This study improved the in-situ quantification of microbial CH{sub 4} oxidation efficiency in arctic wetland soils in Russia's Lena River Delta based on stable isotope signatures of CH{sub 4}. In addition to the common practice of determining the stable isotope fractionation during oxidation, additionally the fractionation effect of diffusion, an important gas transport mechanism in tundra soils, was investigated for both saturated and unsaturated conditions. The isotopic fractionation factors α{sub ox} and α{sub diff} were used to calculate the CH{sub 4} oxidation efficiency from the CH{sub 4} stable isotope signatures of wet polygonal tundra soils of different hydrology. Further, the method was used to study the short-term effects of temperature increase with a climate manipulation experiment. For the first time, the stable isotope fractionation of CH{sub 4} diffusion through water-saturated soils was determined with α{sub diff} = 1.001 ± 0.0002 (n = 3). CH{sub 4} stable isotope fractionation during diffusion through air-filled pores of the investigated polygonal tundra soils was α{sub diff} = 1.013 ± 0.003 (n = 18). For the studied sites the fractionation factor for diffusion under saturated conditions α{sub diff} = 1.001 seems to be of utmost importance for the quantification of the CH{sub 4} oxidation efficiency, since most of the CH{sub 4} is oxidized in the saturated part at the aerobic-anaerobic interface. Furthermore

  4. Permafrost in Svalbard: a review of research history, climatic background and engineering challenges

    OpenAIRE

    Humlum, Ole; Instanes, Arne; Sollid, Johan Ludvig

    2003-01-01

    This paper reviews permafrost in High Arctic Svalbard, including past and current research, climatic background, how permafrost is affected by climatic change, typical permafrost landforms and how changes in Svalbard permafrost may impact natural and human systems. Information on active layer dynamics, permafrost and ground ice characteristics and selected periglacial features is summarized from the recent literature and from unpublished data by the authors. Permafrost thickness ranges from l...

  5. High biolability of ancient permafrost carbon upon thaw

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vonk, Jorien E.; Mann, Paul J.; Davydov, Sergey; Davydova, Anna; Spencer, Robert G. M.; Schade, John; Sobczak, William V.; Zimov, Nikita; Zimov, Sergei; Bulygina, Ekaterina; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Holmes, Robert M.

    2013-01-01

    Ongoing climate warming in the Arctic will thaw permafrost and remobilize substantial terrestrial organic carbon (OC) pools. Around a quarter of northern permafrost OC resides in Siberian Yedoma deposits, the oldest form of permafrost carbon. However, our understanding of the degradation and fate of

  6. Geotechnical characterization and finite element pipe/soil interaction modeling of a pipeline installed in an actively moving, permafrost slope

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bidwell, A. [AMEC Earth and Environmental, Calgary, AB (Canada); Sen, M.; Pederson, I. [Enbridge Pipelines Inc., Edmonton, AB (Canada); Yoosef-Ghodsi, N. [C-FER Technologies, Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    This paper discussed a pipeline integrity analysis for a buried crude-oil pipeline at a site characterized by unstable permafrost slopes. Data collected from piezometers, inclinometers, and thermistor cables installed as part of a comprehensive geotechnical monitoring program were used to determine the geotechnical character of the site and model pipe/soil interactions. A finite element pipe/soil interaction model was developed to estimate the potential strain to the pipeline capacity in a worst-case scenario involving mass soil movement. The purpose was to determine the necessity of costly mitigation measures. The model showed that the pipeline strain capacity is unlikely to be exceeded in the event of a sudden ground movement at the slope. The soil, permafrost, and slope movement conditions at the site were described along with the methodology and results of the pipe/soil interaction model. The model, in which the pipeline is considered as a continuous structural beam, was used to analyze both the estimated current slope movement and the worst case large magnitude slope movement. To assess the pipeline integrity in the event of mass slope movement, the expected strain demand was compared to the strain capacity, taking into account whether the pipe is heavy wall, line pipe, or containing girth welds. The analysis indicated that the risk of pipeline failure is low in the event of a large magnitude slope movement. The pipe strain measurements were found to be within the design limits for the pipeline. The analysis is relevant to other northern pipeline and linear infrastructure developments. 8 refs., 6 figs.

  7. A microbial functional group-based module for simulating methane production and consumption: Application to an incubated permafrost soil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Xiaofeng; Elias, Dwayne A.; Graham, David E.; Phelps, Tommy J.; Carroll, Sue L.; Wullschleger, Stan D.; Thornton, Peter E.

    2015-07-01

    Accurately estimating methane (CH4) flux in terrestrial ecosystems is critically important for investigating and predicting biogeochemistry-climate feedbacks. Improved simulations of CH4 flux require explicit representations of the microbial processes that account for CH4 dynamics. A microbial functional group-based module was developed, building on the decomposition subroutine of the Community Land Model 4.5. This module considers four key mechanisms for CH4 production and consumption: methanogenesis from acetate or from single-carbon compounds and CH4 oxidation using molecular oxygen or other inorganic electron acceptors. Four microbial functional groups perform these processes: acetoclastic methanogens, hydrogenotrophic methanogens, aerobic methanotrophs, and anaerobic methanotrophs. This module was used to simulate dynamics of carbon dioxide (CO2) and CH4 concentrations from an incubation experiment with permafrost soils. The results show that the model captures the dynamics of CO2 and CH4 concentrations in microcosms with top soils, mineral layer soils, and permafrost soils under natural and saturated moisture conditions and three temperature conditions of -2°C, 3°C, and 5°C (R2 > 0.67 P < 0.001). The biases for modeled results are less than 30% across the soil samples and moisture and temperature conditions. Sensitivity analysis confirmed the importance of acetic acid's direct contribution as substrate and indirect effects through pH feedback on CO2 and CH4 production and consumption. This study suggests that representing the microbial mechanisms is critical for modeling CH4 production and consumption; it is urgent to incorporate microbial mechanisms into Earth system models for better predicting trace gas dynamics and the behavior of the climate system.

  8. 植被和气候对阿拉斯加和加拿大北部北极苔原地区多年冻土活动层厚度的影响%Role of Vegetation and Climate in Permafrost Active Layer Depth in Arctic Tundra of Northern Alaska and Canada

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Alexia M. Kelley; Howard E. Epstein; Donald A. Walker

    2004-01-01

    The active layer is the top layer of permafrost soils that thaws during the summer season due to increased ambient temperatures and solar radiation inputs. This layer is important because almost all biological activity takes place there luring the summer. The depth of active layer thaw is influenced by climatic conditions. Vegetation has also been found to have a strong impact on active layer thaw, because it can intercept incoming radiation, thereby insulating the soil from ambient conditions. In order to look at the role of vegetation and climate on active layer thaw, we measured thaw depth and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI; a proxy for aboveground plant biomass) along a latitudinal temperature gradient in arctic Alaska and Canada. At each site several measurements of thaw and NDVI were taken in areas with high amounts of vegetation and areas with little to no vegetation. Results show that the warmest regions, which had the greatest levels of NDVI, had relatively shallow thaw depths, and the coldest regions, which had the lowest levels of NDVI, also had relatively shallow thaw depths. The intermediate regions, which had moderate levels of NDVI and air temperature, had the greatest depth of thaw. These results indicate that temperature and vegetation interact to control the depth of the active layer across a range of arctic ecosystems. By developing a relationship to explain thaw depth through NDVI and temperature or latitude, the possibility exists to extrapolate thaw depth over large scales via remote sensing applications.

  9. Observing Muostakh disappear: permafrost thaw subsidence and erosion of a ground-ice-rich island in response to arctic summer warming and sea ice reduction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Günther, F.; Overduin, P. P.; Yakshina, I. A.; Opel, T.; Baranskaya, A. V.; Grigoriev, M. N.

    2015-01-01

    Observations of coastline retreat using contemporary very high resolution satellite and historical aerial imagery were compared to measurements of open water fraction, summer air temperature, and wind. We analysed seasonal and interannual variations of thawing-induced cliff top retreat (thermo-denudation) and marine abrasion (thermo-abrasion) on Muostakh Island in the southern central Laptev Sea. Geomorphometric analysis revealed that total ground ice content on Muostakh is made up of equal amounts of intrasedimentary and macro ground ice and sums up to 87%, rendering the island particularly susceptible to erosion along the coast, resulting in land loss. Based on topographic reference measurements during field campaigns, we generated digital elevation models using stereophotogrammetry, in order to block-adjust and orthorectify aerial photographs from 1951 and GeoEye, QuickBird, WorldView-1, and WorldView-2 imagery from 2010 to 2013 for change detection. Using sea ice concentration data from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) and air temperature time series from nearby Tiksi, we calculated the seasonal duration available for thermo-abrasion, expressed as open water days, and for thermo-denudation, based on the number of days with positive mean daily temperatures. Seasonal dynamics of cliff top retreat revealed rapid thermo-denudation rates of -10.2 ± 4.5 m a-1 in mid-summer and thermo-abrasion rates along the coastline of -3.4 ± 2.7 m a-1 on average during the 2010-2013 observation period, currently almost twice as rapid as the mean rate of -1.8 ± 1.3 m a-1 since 1951. Our results showed a close relationship between mean summer air temperature and coastal thermo-erosion rates, in agreement with observations made for various permafrost coastlines different to the East Siberian Ice Complex coasts elsewhere in the Arctic. Seasonality of coastline retreat and interannual variations of environmental factors suggest that an increasing length of thermo

  10. Multi-omics of permafrost, active layer and thermokarst bog soil microbiomes

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hultman, Jenni; Waldrop, Mark P.; Mackelprang, Rachel;

    2015-01-01

    Over 20% of Earth's terrestrial surface is underlain by permafrost with vast stores of carbon that, once thawed, may represent the largest future transfer of carbon from the biosphere to the atmosphere(1). This process is largely dependent on microbial responses, but we know little about microbia...

  11. 2015 DOE Final UF Report. Effects of Warming the Deep Soil and Permafrost on Ecosystem Carbon Balance in Alaskan Tundra. A Coupled Measurement and Modeling Approach

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Schuur, Edward [Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL (United States)

    2015-06-11

    The major research goal of this project was to understand and quantify the fate of carbon stored in permafrost ecosystems using a combination of field and laboratory experiments to measure isotope ratios and C fluxes in a tundra ecosystem exposed to experimental warming. Field measurements centered on the establishment of a two-factor experimental warming using a snow fence and open top chambers to increase winter and summer temperatures alone, and in combination, at a tundra field site at the Eight Mile Lake watershed near Healy, Alaska. The objective of this experimental warming was to significantly raise air and deep soil temperatures and increase the depth of thaw beyond that of previous warming experiments. Detecting the loss and fate of the old permafrost C pool remains a major challenge. Because soil C has been accumulating in these ecosystems over the past 10,000 years, there is a strong difference between the radiocarbon isotopic composition of C deep in the soil profile and permafrost compared to that near the soil surface. This large range of isotopic variability is unique to radiocarbon and provides a valuable and sensitive fingerprint for detecting the loss of old soil C as permafrost thaws.

  12. The impacts of recent permafrost thaw on land–atmosphere greenhouse gas exchange

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Permafrost thaw and the subsequent mobilization of carbon (C) stored in previously frozen soil organic matter (SOM) have the potential to be a strong positive feedback to climate. As the northern permafrost region experiences as much as a doubling of the rate of warming as the rest of the Earth, the vast amount of C in permafrost soils is vulnerable to thaw, decomposition and release as atmospheric greenhouse gases. Diagnostic and predictive estimates of high-latitude terrestrial C fluxes vary widely among different models depending on how dynamics in permafrost, and the seasonally thawed ‘active layer’ above it, are represented. Here, we employ a process-based model simulation experiment to assess the net effect of active layer dynamics on this ‘permafrost carbon feedback’ in recent decades, from 1970 to 2006, over the circumpolar domain of continuous and discontinuous permafrost. Over this time period, the model estimates a mean increase of 6.8 cm in active layer thickness across the domain, which exposes a total of 11.6 Pg C of thawed SOM to decomposition. According to our simulation experiment, mobilization of this previously frozen C results in an estimated cumulative net source of 3.7 Pg C to the atmosphere since 1970 directly tied to active layer dynamics. Enhanced decomposition from the newly exposed SOM accounts for the release of both CO2 (4.0 Pg C) and CH4 (0.03 Pg C), but is partially compensated by CO2 uptake (0.3 Pg C) associated with enhanced net primary production of vegetation. This estimated net C transfer to the atmosphere from permafrost thaw represents a significant factor in the overall ecosystem carbon budget of the Pan-Arctic, and a non-trivial additional contribution on top of the combined fossil fuel emissions from the eight Arctic nations over this time period. (paper)

  13. Saalian to Holocene Paleoenvironmental History Documented in Permafrost Sequences of Arctic Siberia (New Siberian Archipelago, Bolshoy Lyakhovsky Island)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schirrmeister, L.; Andreev, A.; Grosse, G.; Meyer, H.

    2004-12-01

    Permafrost sequences exposed at the coast of the southernmost New Siberian Island are studied multidisciplinary by a Russian-German team using cryolithology, sedimentology, geochronology, geochemistry of ground ice, and bioindicators. The oldest horizon contains remains of a periglacial reworked Palaeogene weathering crust as proved by the occurrence of weathering products like kaolinite and montmorillonite. Separate epigenetic ice wedges and the absence of bio-indicators also characterize this horizon. Saalian climate fluctuations are documented in two sedimentological units formed c. 200-120 ky ago. The lower unit (c. 200-170 ky) is very ice-rich and contains large ice wedges. Cryolithologically it is similar to the Late Pleistocene deposits of the so-called Ice Complex. The lower part of this unit contains pollen assemblages of sparse grass-sedge vegetation and reflects stadial environment. The upper part of this ice-rich unit is characterized by pollen spectra of dense grass-dominated tundra reflecting interstadial conditions. This Saalian Ice Complex deposits were eroded and covered by a younger Saalian unit (c. 170-120 ky). Well-sorted fine-grained sand contains less ground ice and pollen spectra of sparse grass-sedge dominated vegetation assigned to a Late Saalian Stadial. The accumulation of these loess-like floodplain and lake deposits, and the formation of ice wedge polygon systems took place under extremely cold and dry conditions. The following unit, assigned to the Eemian Interglacial, contains large ice wedge casts with many paleoecological evidences of interglacial environment. Humid and warm conditions resulted in thawing of ice wedge systems and the formation of ice wedge casts and thermokarst lakes. Subsequently, the permafrost sequences were locally eroded down to the old Ice Complex deposits. Lacustrine and loess-like floodplain deposits with ice wedge polygon systems were accumulated again during the Early Weichselian stadial (c. 100-50 ky

  14. Food and soil-borne Penicillia in Arctic environments: Chemical diversity

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Frisvad, Jens Christian

    Penicillia are very common inhabitants of cold environments, including arctic soil, plants, animals, and foods. We have investigated the mycobiota of Greenland inland ice and soil, and found a very unique and pronounced diversity among the Penicillia. Nearly all species were new to science....... The species found in inland ice were both of the soil-borne type, and Penicillia that grow and sporulate well at 25°C. The latter group of Penicillia have been found earlier in refrigerated foods, including P. nordicum, and in glacier ice and melting water from Svalbard (se Sonjak et al., this conference......). This “food-borne group” of arctic fungi also contained some new species, but not as many as in arctic soil. The chemical diversity of the Penicillium species was remarkably high and in most cases even larger than the chemical diversity of Penicillia in the tropics. Several new secondary metabolites were...

  15. Terrestrial Permafrost Models of Martian Habitats and Inhabitants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilichinsky, D.

    2011-12-01

    Martian permafrost is still 100 times older. Only one terrestrial environment is close to Mars in age - volcanoes in permafrost areas. The age of volcanic deposits frozen after eruption is much younger than the age of surrounding permafrost. Culture- and culture-independent methods show the presence of viable thermophiles and their genes within pyroclastic frozen material on Deception Island, Antarctica and Kamchatka peninsula. These bacteria and archeae have not been found in permafrost outside the volcanic areas. The only way for thermophiles to get into frozen soil is through deposition during eruption, i.e. the catastrophic geological events transport microbes from the depths to the surface and they survive at subzero temperatures. The past activity of Martian volcanoes periodically burned through the frozen strata and products of eruptions rose from the depths to the surface and froze. Images taken by the Stereo Camera on board the Mars Express discovered volcanoes 2-15Myr old that date back to ages close to permafrost on Earth. Terrestrial communities might serve as a model of inhabitants for these young volcanoes. 3. The only opportunity for free water on Mars is the overcooled water brines, and halo/psychrophilc community of Arctic cryopegs, sandwiched within permafrost, represents a plausible prototype for Martian microbial life.

  16. Soil moisture control over autumn season methane flux, Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska

    OpenAIRE

    C. S. Sturtevant; Oechel, W. C.; Zona, D.; Emerson, C. E.

    2011-01-01

    Two shortfalls in estimating current and future seasonal budgets of methane efflux in Arctic regions are the paucity of non-summer measurements and an incomplete understanding of the sensitivity of methane emissions to changes in tundra moisture. A recent study in one Arctic region highlighted the former by observing a previously unknown large methane pulse during the onset of autumn soil freeze. This study addresses these research gaps by presenting an analysis of eddy covariance measurement...

  17. Quantifying the effect of lichen and bryophyte cover on permafrost soil within a global land surface model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Porada, Philipp; Ekici, Altug; Beer, Christian

    2016-04-01

    Vegetation near the surface, such as bryophytes and lichens, has an insulating effect on the soil at high latitudes and it can therefore protect permafrost conditions. Warming due to climate change, however, may change the average surface coverage of bryophytes and lichens. This can result in permafrost thawing associated with a release of soil carbon to the atmosphere, which may lead to a positive feedback on atmospheric CO2. Thus, it is important to predict how the bryophyte and lichen cover at high latitudes will react to environmental change. However, current global land surface models so far contain mostly empirical approaches to represent bryophytes and lichens, which makes it impractical to predict their future state and function. For this reason, we integrate a process-based model of bryophyte and lichen growth into the global land surface model JSBACH. We explicitly represent dynamic thermal properties of the bryophyte and lichen cover and their relation to climate. Subsequently, we compare simulations with and without bryophyte and lichen cover to quantify the insulating effect. We estimate an annual average cooling effect of the bryophyte and lichen cover of 2.7 K on topsoil temperature for the northern high latitudes under current climate. Locally, the cooling may reach up to 5.7 K. Moreover, we show that neglecting dynamic properties of the bryophyte and lichen cover by using a simple, empirical scheme only results in an average cooling of around 0.5 K. This suggests that bryophytes and lichens have a significant impact on soil temperature in high-latitude ecosystems and also that a process-based description of their thermal properties is necessary for a realistic representation of the cooling effect.

  18. Arctic Hydrology and the role of feedbacks in the climate system (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinzman, L. D.

    2009-12-01

    The effects of a warming climate on the terrestrial regions of the Arctic are already quite apparent and impacts to the hydrologic system are also quite evident. The broadest impacts to the terrestrial arctic regions will result through consequent effects of changing permafrost structure and extent. As the climate differentially warms in summer and winter, the permafrost will become warmer, the active layer (the layer of soil above the permafrost that annually experiences freeze and thaw) will become thicker, the lower boundary of permafrost will become shallower and permafrost extent will decrease in area. These simple structural changes will affect every aspect of the surface water and energy balances and local ecology. Surface moisture and surface temperature are the main driving variables in local terrestrial and atmospheric linkages. Surface temperature is the linchpin in energy fluxes since it links atmospheric thermal gradients, forcing convective heat transfer, with the subsurface thermal gradients, driving conductive heat transfer. Soil moisture exerts a strong influence upon energy fluxes through controls on evaporative heat flux, phase change in thawing of permafrost, and indirect effects on thermal conductivity. In order to understand and predict ecosystem responses to a changing climate and the resultant feedbacks, it is critical to quantify the dynamic interactions of soil moisture and temperature with changes in permafrost as a function of climatic processes, landscape type, and vegetation. In future climate scenarios, the Arctic is expected to be warmer, and experience greater precipitation. With the lengthening of the summer season, however, more of this precipitation will occur as rain. The periods of potential evaporation, and transpiration will also increase. Oddly enough, even now, the Arctic may be considered a desert. The vast wetlands that cover large portions of Alaska, Canada and Siberia exist because permafrost prevents soil moisture and

  19. Spectral estimation of soil properties in siberian tundra soils and relations with plant species composition

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bartholomeus, Harm; Schaepman-Strub, Gabriela; Blok, Daan;

    2012-01-01

    yields a good prediction model for K and a moderate model for pH. Using these models, soil properties are determined for a larger number of samples, and soil properties are related to plant species composition. This analysis shows that variation of soil properties is large within vegetation classes, but......Predicted global warming will be most pronounced in the Arctic and will severely affect permafrost environments. Due to its large spatial extent and large stocks of soil organic carbon, changes to organic matter decomposition rates and associated carbon fluxes in Arctic permafrost soils will...... significantly impact the global carbon cycle. We explore the potential of soil spectroscopy to estimate soil carbon properties and investigate the relation between soil properties and vegetation composition. Soil samples are collected in Siberia, and vegetation descriptions are made at each sample point. First...

  20. Potential enzyme activities in cryoturbated organic matter of arctic soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schnecker, J.; Wild, B.; Rusalimova, O.; Mikutta, R.; Guggenberger, G.; Richter, A.

    2012-12-01

    An estimated 581 Gt organic carbon is stored in arctic soils that are affected by cryoturbtion, more than in today's atmosphere (450 Gt). The high amount of organic carbon is, amongst other factors, due to topsoil organic matter (OM) that has been subducted by freeze-thaw processes. This cryoturbated OM is usually hundreds to thousands of years old, while the chemical composition remains largely unaltered. It has therefore been suggested, that the retarded decomposition rates cannot be explained by unfavourable abiotic conditions in deeper soil layers alone. Since decomposition of soil organic material is dependent on extracellular enzymes, we measured potential and actual extracellular enzyme activities in organic topsoil, mineral subsoil and cryoturbated material from three different tundra sites, in Zackenberg (Greenland) and Cherskii (North-East Siberia). In addition we analysed the microbial community structure by PLFAs. Hydrolytic enzyme activities, calculated on a per gram dry mass basis, were higher in organic topsoil horizons than in cryoturbated horizons, which in turn were higher than in mineral horizons. When calculated on per gram carbon basis, the activity of the carbon acquiring enzyme exoglucanase was not significantly different between cryoturbated and topsoil organic horizons in any of the three sites. Oxidative enzymes, i.e. phenoloxidase and peroxidase, responsible for degradation of complex organic substances, showed higher activities in topsoil organic and cryoturbated horizons than in mineral horizons, when calculated per gram dry mass. Specific activities (per g C) however were highest in mineral horizons. We also measured actual cellulase activities (by inhibiting microbial uptake of products and without substrate addition): calculated per g C, the activities were up to ten times as high in organic topsoil compared to cryoturbated and mineral horizons, the latter not being significantly different. The total amount of PLFAs, as a proxy for

  1. Nearing the cold-arid limits of microbial life in permafrost of an upper dry valley, Antarctica.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goordial, Jacqueline; Davila, Alfonso; Lacelle, Denis; Pollard, Wayne; Marinova, Margarita M; Greer, Charles W; DiRuggiero, Jocelyn; McKay, Christopher P; Whyte, Lyle G

    2016-07-01

    Some of the coldest and driest permafrost soils on Earth are located in the high-elevation McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDVs) of Antarctica, but little is known about the permafrost microbial communities other than that microorganisms are present in these valleys. Here, we describe the microbiology and habitable conditions of highly unique dry and ice-cemented permafrost in University Valley, one of the coldest and driest regions in the MDVs (1700 m above sea level; mean temperature -23 °C; no degree days above freezing), where the ice in permafrost originates from vapour deposition rather than liquid water. We found that culturable and total microbial biomass in University Valley was extremely low, and microbial activity under ambient conditions was undetectable. Our results contrast with reports from the lower-elevation Dry Valleys and Arctic permafrost soils where active microbial populations are found, suggesting that the combination of severe cold, aridity, oligotrophy of University Valley permafrost soils severely limit microbial activity and survival. PMID:27323892

  2. A new data set for estimating organic carbon storage to 3 m depth in soils of the northern circumpolar permafrost region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hugelius, G.; Bockheim, J.G.; Camill, P.; Elberling, B.; Grosse, G.; Harden, J.W.; Johnson, K.; Jorgenson, T.; Koven, C.D.; Kuhry, P.; Michaelson, G.; Mishra, U.; Palmtag, J.; Ping, C.-L.; O'Donnell, J.; Schirrmeister, L.; Schuur, E.A.G.; Sheng, Y.; Smith, L.C.; Strauss, J.; Yu, Z.

    2013-01-01

    High-latitude terrestrial ecosystems are key components in the global carbon cycle. The Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database (NCSCD) was developed to quantify stocks of soil organic carbon (SOC) in the northern circumpolar permafrost region (a total area of 18.7 × 106 km2). The NCSCD is a geographical information system (GIS) data set that has been constructed using harmonized regional soil classification maps together with pedon data from the northern permafrost region. Previously, the NCSCD has been used to calculate SOC storage to the reference depths 0–30 cm and 0–100 cm (based on 1778 pedons). It has been shown that soils of the northern circumpolar permafrost region also contain significant quantities of SOC in the 100–300 cm depth range, but there has been no circumpolar compilation of pedon data to quantify this deeper SOC pool and there are no spatially distributed estimates of SOC storage below 100 cm depth in this region. Here we describe the synthesis of an updated pedon data set for SOC storage (kg C m-2) in deep soils of the northern circumpolar permafrost regions, with separate data sets for the 100–200 cm (524 pedons) and 200–300 cm (356 pedons) depth ranges. These pedons have been grouped into the North American and Eurasian sectors and the mean SOC storage for different soil taxa (subdivided into Gelisols including the sub-orders Histels, Turbels, Orthels, permafrost-free Histosols, and permafrost-free mineral soil orders) has been added to the updated NCSCDv2. The updated version of the data set is freely available online in different file formats and spatial resolutions that enable spatially explicit applications in GIS mapping and terrestrial ecosystem models. While this newly compiled data set adds to our knowledge of SOC in the 100–300 cm depth range, it also reveals that large uncertainties remain. Identified data gaps include spatial coverage of deep (> 100 cm) pedons in many regions as well as the spatial extent of areas

  3. Cold loving methanotrophic communities in permafrost soils of the Lena Delta, Siberia

    OpenAIRE

    Liebner, S.; Wagner, Dirk

    2005-01-01

    Wet tundra environments of the Siberian Artic are considerable natural sources of methane, a climate relevant trace gas. The Arctic is observed to warm more rapidly and to a greater extend than the rest of the earth surface. It is suggested, that the tundra in Alaska and Russia has changed from a net sink to a net source of atmospheric carbon. The potential impact on the Arctic carbon reservoirs is highly influenced by changes in microbial processes like methanogenesis and methane oxidation.T...

  4. Microbial community composition and enzyme activities in cryoturbated arctic soils are controlled by environmental parameters rather than by soil organic matter properties

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schnecker, Jörg; Wild, Birgit; Hofhansl, Florian; Eloy Alves, Ricardo J.; Bárta, Jiří; Čapek, Petr; Fuchslueger, Lucia; Gentsch, Norman; Gittel, Antje; Guggenberger, Georg; Lashchinskiy, Nikolay; Mikutta, Robert; Šantrůčková, Hana; Shibistova, Olga; Knoltsch, Anna; Takriti, Mounir; Urich, Tim; Richter, Andreas

    2014-05-01

    Enzyme-mediated decomposition of soil organic matter (SOM) is controlled by environmental parameters (i.e. temperature, moisture, pH) and organic matter properties. The role of these factors as well as the role of microbial community composition and therefore the main drivers of enzymatic decomposition of SOM are largely unknown, since all of these factors are often intercorrelated. We investigated soils from three regions in the Siberian Arctic, where carbon rich topsoil material has been incorporated into the subsoil (cryoturbation). We took advantage of this combination of topsoil organic matter and subsoil environmental conditions, to identify controls on microbial community composition and enzyme activities. We found that microbial community composition (estimated by phospholipid fatty acids analysis), was similar in cryoturbated OM and in surrounding subsoil, although C and N content were similar in cryoturbated material and topsoils. These results suggest that physical conditions rather than SOM properties shaped microbial community composition. To identify direct and indirect drivers of extracellular enzyme activities (cellobiohydrolase, leucine-amino-peptidase and phenoloxidase) we included microbial community composition, C, N and clay content, as well as pH in structural equation models. Models for regular horizons (excluding cryoturbated material), showed that enzyme activities were mainly controlled by C or N. Microbial community composition had no effect. In contrast models for cryoturbated OM, where the microbial community was adapted to subsoil environmental conditions, showed that enzyme activities were also related to microbial community composition. This indicates enzyme activities and more general decomposition to be limited by microbial community composition in cryoturbated organic matter, rather than by the availability of the substrates. The controlling cascade of physical parameters over microbial community composition to enzyme activities

  5. The Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost Database: metadata statistics and prospective analysis on future permafrost temperature and active layer depth monitoring site distribution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Biskaborn, B. K.; Lanckman, J.-P.; Lantuit, H.; Elger, K.; Streletskiy, D. A.; Cable, W. L.; Romanovsky, V. E.

    2015-03-01

    The Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) provides the first dynamic database associated with the Thermal State of Permafrost (TSP) and the Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) programs, which extensively collect permafrost temperature and active layer thickness data from Arctic, Antarctic and Mountain permafrost regions. The purpose of the database is to establish an "early warning system" for the consequences of climate change in permafrost regions and to provide standardized thermal permafrost data to global models. In this paper we perform statistical analysis of the GTN-P metadata aiming to identify the spatial gaps in the GTN-P site distribution in relation to climate-effective environmental parameters. We describe the concept and structure of the Data Management System in regard to user operability, data transfer and data policy. We outline data sources and data processing including quality control strategies. Assessment of the metadata and data quality reveals 63% metadata completeness at active layer sites and 50% metadata completeness for boreholes. Voronoi Tessellation Analysis on the spatial sample distribution of boreholes and active layer measurement sites quantifies the distribution inhomogeneity and provides potential locations of additional permafrost research sites to improve the representativeness of thermal monitoring across areas underlain by permafrost. The depth distribution of the boreholes reveals that 73% are shallower than 25 m and 27% are deeper, reaching a maximum of 1 km depth. Comparison of the GTN-P site distribution with permafrost zones, soil organic carbon contents and vegetation types exhibits different local to regional monitoring situations on maps. Preferential slope orientation at the sites most likely causes a bias in the temperature monitoring and should be taken into account when using the data for global models. The distribution of GTN-P sites within zones of projected temperature change show a high

  6. The Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost Database: metadata statistics and prospective analysis on future permafrost temperature and active layer depth monitoring site distribution

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    B. K. Biskaborn

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available The Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P provides the first dynamic database associated with the Thermal State of Permafrost (TSP and the Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM programs, which extensively collect permafrost temperature and active layer thickness data from Arctic, Antarctic and Mountain permafrost regions. The purpose of the database is to establish an "early warning system" for the consequences of climate change in permafrost regions and to provide standardized thermal permafrost data to global models. In this paper we perform statistical analysis of the GTN-P metadata aiming to identify the spatial gaps in the GTN-P site distribution in relation to climate-effective environmental parameters. We describe the concept and structure of the Data Management System in regard to user operability, data transfer and data policy. We outline data sources and data processing including quality control strategies. Assessment of the metadata and data quality reveals 63% metadata completeness at active layer sites and 50% metadata completeness for boreholes. Voronoi Tessellation Analysis on the spatial sample distribution of boreholes and active layer measurement sites quantifies the distribution inhomogeneity and provides potential locations of additional permafrost research sites to improve the representativeness of thermal monitoring across areas underlain by permafrost. The depth distribution of the boreholes reveals that 73% are shallower than 25 m and 27% are deeper, reaching a maximum of 1 km depth. Comparison of the GTN-P site distribution with permafrost zones, soil organic carbon contents and vegetation types exhibits different local to regional monitoring situations on maps. Preferential slope orientation at the sites most likely causes a bias in the temperature monitoring and should be taken into account when using the data for global models. The distribution of GTN-P sites within zones of projected temperature change

  7. Exploring the sensitivity of soil carbon dynamics to climate change, fire disturbance and permafrost thaw in a black spruce ecosystem

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Donnell, J. A.; Harden, J.W.; McGuire, A.D.; Romanovsky, V.E.

    2011-01-01

    In the boreal region, soil organic carbon (OC) dynamics are strongly governed by the interaction between wildfire and permafrost. Using a combination of field measurements, numerical modeling of soil thermal dynamics, and mass-balance modeling of OC dynamics, we tested the sensitivity of soil OC storage to a suite of individual climate factors (air temperature, soil moisture, and snow depth) and fire severity. We also conducted sensitivity analyses to explore the combined effects of fire-soil moisture interactions and snow seasonality on OC storage. OC losses were calculated as the difference in OC stocks after three fire cycles (???500 yr) following a prescribed step-change in climate and/or fire. Across single-factor scenarios, our findings indicate that warmer air temperatures resulted in the largest relative soil OC losses (???5.3 kg C mg-2), whereas dry soil conditions alone (in the absence of wildfire) resulted in the smallest carbon losses (???0.1 kg C mg-2). Increased fire severity resulted in carbon loss of ???3.3 kg C mg-2, whereas changes in snow depth resulted in smaller OC losses (2.1-2.2 kg C mg-2). Across multiple climate factors, we observed larger OC losses than for single-factor scenarios. For instance, high fire severity regime associated with warmer and drier conditions resulted in OC losses of ???6.1 kg C mg-2, whereas a low fire severity regime associated with warmer and wetter conditions resulted in OC losses of ???5.6 kg C mg-2. A longer snow-free season associated with future warming resulted in OC losses of ???5.4 kg C mg-2. Soil climate was the dominant control on soil OC loss, governing the sensitivity of microbial decomposers to fluctuations in temperature and soil moisture; this control, in turn, is governed by interannual changes in active layer depth. Transitional responses of the active layer depth to fire regimes also contributed to OC losses, primarily by determining the proportion of OC into frozen and unfrozen soil layers

  8. Western Arctic Coastal Plain, IfSAR DSM-derived coastline and coastal features. University of Alaska Fairbanks, Geophysical Institute Permafrost Laboratory (2012).

    Data.gov (United States)

    Arctic Landscape Conservation Cooperative — This dataset consists of a polyline depicting the coast and coastal features of the western Arctic Coastal Plain as derived from a mosaic created from an...

  9. Collaboration in Education: International Field Class on Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Streletskiy, D. A.; Shiklomanov, N. I.; Grebenets, V. I.

    2011-12-01

    Field work is a dominant research component in the earth sciences. Understanding and proper use of field methods can enhance the quality of research, while lack of understanding in acquiring data can lead to misleading interpretation of results. Early involvement in field work helps students to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical applications and to be better prepared for future jobs. However, many University curriculums lack adequate, required field methods courses. Presented are results of collaboration between the George Washington and Moscow State Universities in organization of field courses on Arctic physical and social environments. The latest field course took place in summer 2011 in the Central Siberian region and is a part of the International Permafrost Association education and outreach effort initiated during International Polar Year. The 25 day course involved fifteen Russian and US students who traveled from Moscow to Krasnoyarsk, and then along Yenisey river to Norilsk. This route was chosen as having diversity of natural conditions and variety of economic, engineering, and demographic problems associated with development. The main goal of the class was to investigate permafrost conditions of Central Siberia; dynamics of upper permafrost due to changing climate and under anthropogenic influence; and to understand factors responsible for the diversity of permafrost conditions in the region. The students and instructors were required to make presentations on a variety of topics focusing on the region or research methods, such as climate, vegetation, hydrology, history of development, economics, remote sensing, etc. The emphasis in the field was made on understanding permafrost in relation to other components of the natural system. For example, landscape conditions (including microclimatic, biogeographic and pedologic conditions) were described at every site located in natural settings. Sites located in settlements were evaluated

  10. The impacts of permafrost thaw on land-atmosphere greenhouse gas exchange

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hayes, Daniel J [ORNL; Kicklighter, David W. [Ecosystem Center, The; McGuire, A. David [University of Alaska; Chen, Min [Purdue University; Zhuang, Qianlai [Purdue University; Yuan, Fengming [ORNL; Melillo, Jerry [Marine Biological Laboratory; Wullschleger, Stan [ORNL

    2014-01-01

    Permafrost thaw and the subsequent mobilization of carbon stored in previously frozen soil organic matter (SOM) would be a strong positive feedback to climate1. As the northern permafrost region experiences double the rate of warming as the rest of the Earth2, the vast amount of carbon in permafrost soils3 is vulnerable to thaw, decomposition and release as atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHG). Here, we employ a process-based model simulation experiment to assess the net effect of this so-called permafrost carbon feedback (PCF) in recent decades. Results show a wide-spread increase in the depth to permafrost between 1990 and 2006, with simulated active layer thickness (ALT) capturing the mean and spatial variability of the observational data. Analysis of the simulation experiment provides an estimate of a 2.8 mm/yr increase in permafrost depth, which translates to 281 TgC/yr thawed from previously frozen SOM. Overall, we estimate a net GHG forcing of 534 MtCO2eq/yr directly tied to ALT dynamics, while accounting for CO2 (562 MtCO2eq/yr) and CH4 (52 MtCO2eq/yr) release as well as CO2 uptake by vegetation (-80 MtCO2eq/yr). This net forcing represents a significant factor in the estimated 640 MtCO2eq/yr pan-arctic GHG source4, and an additional 6.9% contribution on top of the combined 7792 MtCO2eq/yr fossil fuel emissions from the eight Arctic nations over this time period5.

  11. Potential feedback of thawing permafrost to the global climate system through methane emission

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Large amounts of soil carbon deposited in permafrost may be released due to deeper seasonal thawing under the climatic conditions projected for the future. An increase in the volume of the available organic material together with the higher ground temperatures may lead to enhanced emission of greenhouse gasses. Particular concerns are associated with methane, which has a much stronger greenhouse effect than an equal amount of CO2. Production of methane is favored in the wetlands, which occupy up to 0.7 million km2 in Russian permafrost regions and have accumulated about 50 Gt of carbon (Gt C). We used the permafrost model and several climatic scenarios to construct projections of the soil temperature and the depth of seasonal thawing. To evaluate the effect of such changes on the volume of the seasonally thawing organic material, we overlaid the permafrost projections on the digitized geographically referenced contours of 59 846 wetlands in the Russian Arctic. Results for the mid-21st century climate indicated up to 50% increase in the volume of organic substrate in the northernmost locations along the Arctic coast and in East Siberia, where wetlands are sparse, and a relatively small increase by 10%-15% in West Siberia, where wetlands occupy 50%-80% of the land. We developed a soil carbon model and used it to estimate the changes in the methane fluxes due to higher soil temperature and increased substrate availability. According to our results, by mid-21st century the annual net flux of methane from Russian permafrost regions may increase by 6-8 Mt, depending on climatic scenario. If other sinks and sources of methane remain unchanged, this may increase the overall content of methane in the atmosphere by approximately 100 Mt, or 0.04 ppm, and lead to 0.012 deg. C global temperature rise

  12. Chloroform formation in Arctic and Subarctic soils - mechanism and emissions to the atmosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Albers, Christian N.; Johnsen, Anders R.; Jacobsen, Ole S.

    2015-04-01

    It is well established that halogenated organic compounds are formed naturally in the terrestrial environment. These compounds include volatiles such as trihalomethanes that may escape to the atmosphere. In deed most of the atmospheric chloroform (and other trihalomethane species) is regarded to have a natural origin. This origin may be both marine and terrestrial. Chloroform formation in soil has been reported in a number of studies, mostly conducted in temperate and (sub-) tropical environments. We hereby report that also colder soils emit chloroform naturally. We measured in situ the fluxes of chloroform from soil to atmosphere in 6 Subarctic and 5 Arctic areas covering different dwarf heath, wetland and forest biotopes in Greenland and Northern Sweden. Emissions were largest from the forested areas, but all areas emitted measurable amounts of chloroform. Also the brominated analog bromodichloromethane was formed in Arctic and Subarctic soils but the fluxes to the atmosphere were much lower than the corresponding chloroform emissions. No other volatile poly-halogenated organic compounds were found to be emitted from the study areas. It has previously been proposed that chloroform is formed in temperate forest soils through trichloroacetyl intermediates formed by unspecific enzymatic chlorination of soil organic matter. We found positive relationships between chloroform emissions and the concentration of trichloroacetyl groups in soil within the various biotopes. The hydrolysis of trichloroacetyl compounds is, however, very pH dependent, excluding a simple relationship between trichloroacetyl concentration and chloroform emission in any given soil. However, our results show that at low pH, turnover time of soil trichloroacetyl compounds may be counted in decades while at pH above 6, turnover time may be just a few months. We found no relationship between trichloroacetyl concentration and total organic chlorine concentration in the soils indicating that more than

  13. Spatial variance of methane oxidation rates in Siberian permafrost soils in dependence of the temperature: An indicator for microbial changes of structure and diversity?

    OpenAIRE

    Liebner, S.; Wagner, Dirk

    2005-01-01

    Wet tundra environments of the Siberian Arctic are considerable natural sources of methane, a climate relevant trace gas. The Arctic appears to warm more rapidly and to a greater extend than the rest of the earth surface and it is suggested, that the tundra in Alaska and Russia has changed from a net sink to a net source of atmospheric carbon [1]. The potential impact on the carbon reservoirs of Arctic soils is highly influenced by changes in microbial processes like methanogenesis and methan...

  14. Short communication: a new dataset for estimating organic carbon storage to 3 m depth in soils of the northern circumpolar permafrost region

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G. Hugelius

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available High latitude terrestrial ecosystems are key components in the global carbon (C cycle. The Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database (NCSCD was developed to quantify stocks of soil organic carbon (SOC in the northern circumpolar permafrost region (18.7 × 106 km2. The NCSCD is a digital Geographical Information systems (GIS database compiled from harmonized regional soil classification maps, in which data on soil coverage has been linked to pedon data from the northern permafrost regions. Previously, the NCSCD has been used to calculate SOC content (SOCC and mass (SOCM to the reference depths 0–30 cm and 0–100 cm (based on 1778 pedons. It has been shown that soils of the northern circumpolar permafrost region also contain significant quantities of SOC in the 100–300 cm depth range, but there has been no circumpolar compilation of pedon data to quantify this SOC pool and there are no spatially distributed estimates of SOC storage below 100 cm depth in this region. Here we describe the synthesis of an updated pedon dataset for SOCC in deep soils of the northern circumpolar permafrost regions, with separate datasets for the 100–200 cm (524 pedons and 200–300 cm (356 pedons depth ranges. These pedons have been grouped into the American and Eurasian sectors and the mean SOCC for different soil taxa (subdivided into Histels, Turbels, Orthels, Histosols, and permafrost-free mineral soil taxa has been added to the updated NCSCDv2. The updated version of the database is freely available online in several different file formats and spatial resolutions that enable spatially explicit usage in e.g. GIS and/or terrestrial ecosystem models. The potential applications and limitations of the NCSCDv2 in spatial analyses are briefly discussed. An open access data-portal for all the described GIS-datasets is available online at: http://dev1.geo.su.se/bbcc/dev/v3/ncscd/download.php. The NCSCDv2 database has the doi:10.5879/ECDS/00000002.

  15. Airborne electromagnetic imaging of discontinuous permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Minsley, B.J.; Abraham, J.D.; Smith, B.D.; Cannia, J.C.; Voss, C.I.; Jorgenson, M.T.; Walvoord, M.A.; Wylie, B.K.; Anderson, L.; Ball, L.B.; Deszcz-Pan, M.; Wellman, T.P.; Ager, T.A.

    2012-01-01

    The evolution of permafrost in cold regions is inextricably connected to hydrogeologic processes, climate, and ecosystems. Permafrost thawing has been linked to changes in wetland and lake areas, alteration of the groundwater contribution to streamflow, carbon release, and increased fire frequency. But detailed knowledge about the dynamic state of permafrost in relation to surface and groundwater systems remains an enigma. Here, we present the results of a pioneering ???1,800 line-kilometer airborne electromagnetic survey that shows sediments deposited over the past ???4 million years and the configuration of permafrost to depths of ???100 meters in the Yukon Flats area near Fort Yukon, Alaska. The Yukon Flats is near the boundary between continuous permafrost to the north and discontinuous permafrost to the south, making it an important location for examining permafrost dynamics. Our results not only provide a detailed snapshot of the present-day configuration of permafrost, but they also expose previously unseen details about potential surface-groundwater connections and the thermal legacy of surface water features that has been recorded in the permafrost over the past ???1,000 years. This work will be a critical baseline for future permafrost studies aimed at exploring the connections between hydrogeologic, climatic, and ecological processes, and has significant implications for the stewardship of Arctic environments. ?? 2012 by the American Geophysical Union.

  16. Pan-Arctic linkages between snow accumulation and growing season air temperature, soil moisture and vegetation

    OpenAIRE

    K. A. Luus; Gel, Y.; J. C. Lin; Kelly, R. E. J.; C. R. Duguay

    2013-01-01

    Arctic field studies have indicated that the air temperature, soil moisture and vegetation at a site influence the quantity of snow accumulated, and that snow accumulation can alter growing season soil moisture and vegetation. Climate change is predicted to bring about warmer air temperatures, greater snow accumulation and northward movements of the shrub and tree lines. Understanding the response of northern environments to changes in snow and growing season land surface characteristi...

  17. The invertebrate fauna of anthropogenic soils in the High-Arctic settlement of Barentsburg, Svalbard

    OpenAIRE

    Coulson, Steve J.; Fjellberg, Arne; Dariusz J. Gwiazdowicz; Lebedeva, Natalia V.; Elena N. Melekhina; Solhøy, Torstein; Erséus, Christer; Maraldo, Kristine; Miko, Ladislav; Schatz, Heinrich; Rüdiger M. Schmelz; Søli, Geir; Stur,Elisabeth

    2013-01-01

    The terrestrial environment of the High Arctic consists of a mosaic of habitat types. In addition to the natural habitat diversity, various human-influenced types may occur. For the resident invertebrate fauna, these anthropogenic habitats may be either unusually favourable or detrimental. In the town of Barentsburg, Svalbard, soils were imported for the greenhouses from southern Russia. These soils were subsequently discarded outside the greenhouses and have become augmented with manure from...

  18. The effect of temporal variability of soil moisture on mountain permafrost: a combined model and monitoring approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pellet, Cécile; Hauck, Christian; Stähli, Manfred

    2016-04-01

    Soil moisture is a key factor controlling the energy and mass exchange processes at the soil-atmosphere interface. In permanently frozen ground it strongly affects the thermal behaviour of the ground by influencing its physical properties such as ice content, thermal conductivity and heat capacity. It also influences other processes like evaporation, infiltration, refreezing rate and runoff and modifies the electrical and electromagnetic properties such as electrical conductivity and permittivity that are used in indirect geophysical and remote sensing methods. In a first attempt to quantify the role of water content, a soil moisture network along an altitudinal gradient in middle and high mountain areas in Switzerland has been initiated, and first results confirm the importance of different water related processes that are dominant at different elevation bands. At very high elevations, in permafrost regions, these processes have not yet been analysed in detail, and current state-of-the-art climate and climate impact simulations are neither calibrated nor validated regarding water content in the subsurface, mostly due to missing data. Using the data from the new soil moisture network in combination with measured in-situ ground temperatures and meteorological parameters (air temperature, global radiation, and wind speed), we calibrated the one dimensional heat and mass transfer model COUP (Jansson, 2012) at all locations. This model was then used to analyse the water balance and more precisely the specific repartition of precipitations into runoff, evaporation and change in moisture content. Finally, we analysed the relations between infiltrating water from the snow cover, phase changes and latent heat release and its influence on subsurface temperature in frozen terrains. REFERENCES Jansson, P.-E. 2012: Coupmodel: Model Use, Calibration and Validation, Transaction of the Asabe, 55(4), 1335-1344.

  19. Estimation of Mercury Storage in Permafrost and Potential Release to the Environment by Thaw

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schuster, P. F.; Kamark, B. L.; Striegl, R. G.; Aiken, G.

    2011-12-01

    Changing climatic conditions in northern regions are causing perennially frozen soils (permafrost) to thaw. This thawing may have major implications for the cycling of carbon and metals, particularly mercury (Hg) in arctic and subarctic ecosystems. Hg is a ubiquitous pollutant that can impact aquatic resources and pose serious threat to human health. Northern regions of the world have the potential to contribute substantially to the global Hg cycling pool due to 1) enhanced deposition as a result of arctic springtime Hg depletion events, 2) increasing atmospheric Hg sources from rapidly expanding Asian industrialization, and perhaps most significantly, 3) the release of Hg historically sequestered in permafrost due to recent and potential future thawing. Total Hg concentrations (THg) were measured in three permafrost cores collected within the Yukon River basin of Alaska. Core 1, averaging 38 percent organic matter, was collected in a low-lying region of black spruce underlain by continuous permafrost; Core 2, a mineral-rich core averaging 8 percent organic matter, was collected in an upland region on a north facing slope of white spruce underlain by discontinuous permafrost; Core 3, also an organic-rich core, was collected in a low-lying collapsed bog region of discontinuous permafrost. All three cores were subsampled for THg at 1-2 cm intervals and represent a large range of permafrost soil conditions extending back about 10,000 years. Preliminary results show THg concentrations were highly variable ranging from 67 to 207 ng per g of soil (dry weight, n=94). Core 1 exhibited elevated Hg concentrations (50% above the mean) spanning several thousand years. Core 2 contained a lens of lightly-colored material (likely volcanic ash known as the White River Tephra based on XRD analysis) coincident with the some of the highest Hg concentrations in all three cores. Studies have shown that volcanic ash may have elevated concentrations of Hg. Preliminary estimates for the

  20. Improved estimates show large circumpolar stocks of permafrost carbon while quantifying substantial uncertainty ranges and identifying remaining data gaps

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G. Hugelius

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available Soils and other unconsolidated deposits in the northern circumpolar permafrost region store large amounts of soil organic carbon (SOC. This SOC is potentially vulnerable to remobilization following soil warming and permafrost thaw, but stock estimates are poorly constrained and quantitative error estimates were lacking. This study presents revised estimates of the permafrost SOC pool, including quantitative uncertainty estimates, in the 0–3 m depth range in soils as well as for deeper sediments (>3 m in deltaic deposits of major rivers and in the Yedoma region of Siberia and Alaska. The revised estimates are based on significantly larger databases compared to previous studies. Compared to previous studies, the number of individual sites/pedons has increased by a factor ×8–11 for soils in the 1–3 m depth range,, a factor ×8 for deltaic alluvium and a factor ×5 for Yedoma region deposits. Upscaled based on regional soil maps, estimated permafrost region SOC stocks are 217 ± 15 and 472 ± 34 Pg for the 0–0.3 m and 0–1 m soil depths, respectively (±95% confidence intervals. Depending on the regional subdivision used to upscale 1–3 m soils (following physiography or continents, estimated 0–3 m SOC storage is 1034 ± 183 Pg or 1104 ± 133 Pg. Of this, 34 ± 16 Pg C is stored in thin soils of the High Arctic. Based on generalised calculations, storage of SOC in deep deltaic alluvium (>3 m to ≤60 m depth of major Arctic rivers is estimated to 91 ± 39 Pg (of which 69 ± 34 Pg is in permafrost. In the Yedoma region, estimated >3 m SOC stocks are 178 +140/−146 Pg, of which 74 +54/−57 Pg is stored in intact, frozen Yedoma (late Pleistocene ice- and organic-rich silty sediments with the remainder in refrozen thermokarst deposits (±16/84th percentiles of bootstrapped estimates. A total estimated mean storage for the permafrost region of ca. 1300–1370 Pg with an uncertainty range of 930–1690 Pg encompasses the combined revised

  1. Numerical modeling of permafrost dynamics in Alaska using a high spatial resolution dataset

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. E. Jafarov

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Climate projections for the 21st century indicate that there could be a pronounced warming and permafrost degradation in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. Climate warming is likely to cause permafrost thawing with subsequent effects on surface albedo, hydrology, soil organic matter storage and greenhouse gas emissions. To assess possible changes in the permafrost thermal state and active layer thickness, we implemented the GIPL2-MPI transient numerical model for the entire Alaska permafrost domain. Input parameters to the model are spatial datasets of mean monthly air temperature and precipitation, prescribed thermal properties of the multilayered soil column, and water content which are specific for each soil class and geographical location. As a climate forcing we used the composite of five IPCC Global Circulation Models that has been downscaled to 2 by 2 km spatial resolution by Scenarios Network for Alaska Planning (SNAP group.

    In this paper we present the preliminary modeling results based on input of five-model composite with A1B carbon emission scenario. The model has been calibrated according to the annual borehole temperature measurements for the State of Alaska. We also performed more detailed calibration for fifteen shallow borehole stations where high quality data are available on daily basis. To validate the model performance we compared simulated active layer thicknesses with observed data from CALM active layer monitoring stations. Calibrated model was used to address possible ground temperature changes for the 21st century. The model simulation results show the widespread permafrost degradation in Alaska could begin in 2040–2099 time frame within the vast area southward from the Brooks Range except for the high altitudes of the Alaska Range and Wrangell Mountains.

  2. Numerical modeling of permafrost dynamics in Alaska using a high spatial resolution dataset

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. E. Jafarov

    2012-06-01

    Full Text Available Climate projections for the 21st century indicate that there could be a pronounced warming and permafrost degradation in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. Climate warming is likely to cause permafrost thawing with subsequent effects on surface albedo, hydrology, soil organic matter storage and greenhouse gas emissions.

    To assess possible changes in the permafrost thermal state and active layer thickness, we implemented the GIPL2-MPI transient numerical model for the entire Alaska permafrost domain. The model input parameters are spatial datasets of mean monthly air temperature and precipitation, prescribed thermal properties of the multilayered soil column, and water content that are specific for each soil class and geographical location. As a climate forcing, we used the composite of five IPCC Global Circulation Models that has been downscaled to 2 by 2 km spatial resolution by Scenarios Network for Alaska Planning (SNAP group.

    In this paper, we present the modeling results based on input of a five-model composite with A1B carbon emission scenario. The model has been calibrated according to the annual borehole temperature measurements for the State of Alaska. We also performed more detailed calibration for fifteen shallow borehole stations where high quality data are available on daily basis. To validate the model performance, we compared simulated active layer thicknesses with observed data from Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM stations. The calibrated model was used to address possible ground temperature changes for the 21st century. The model simulation results show widespread permafrost degradation in Alaska could begin between 2040–2099 within the vast area southward from the Brooks Range, except for the high altitude regions of the Alaska Range and Wrangell Mountains.

  3. The invertebrate fauna of anthropogenic soils in the High-Arctic settlement of Barentsburg, Svalbard

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    Torstein Solhøy

    2013-05-01

    Full Text Available The terrestrial environment of the High Arctic consists of a mosaic of habitat types. In addition to the natural habitat diversity, various human-influenced types may occur. For the resident invertebrate fauna, these anthropogenic habitats may be either unusually favourable or detrimental. In the town of Barentsburg, Svalbard, soils were imported for the greenhouses from southern Russia. These soils were subsequently discarded outside the greenhouses and have become augmented with manure from the cowsheds. Both the greenhouse and the cowsheds are now derelict. This site represents an unusually nutrient-rich location with considerable development of organic soils, in stark contrast to the naturally forming organic soils in Svalbard, which are typically thin and nutrient poor. Few previous studies have examined the soil invertebrate communities of human-disturbed or -created habitats in the Arctic. In an often nutrient-poor terrestrial environment, it is unclear how the invertebrate fauna will react to such nutrient enhancement. In these soils, 46 species of invertebrates were determined. Eleven species have not been recorded from other habitats in Svalbard and are hence likely to have been introduced. The native species assemblage in the anthropogenic soils was not atypical for many natural sites in Svalbard. Despite the enriched organic soils and highly ameliorated winter temperature conditions, the soil invertebrate fauna biodiversity does not appear to be enhanced beyond the presence of certain probably introduced species.

  4. Temporal and spatial influences incur reconfiguration of Arctic heathland soil bacterial community structure.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hill, Richard; Saetnan, Eli R; Scullion, John; Gwynn-Jones, Dylan; Ostle, Nick; Edwards, Arwyn

    2016-06-01

    Microbial responses to Arctic climate change could radically alter the stability of major stores of soil carbon. However, the sensitivity of plot-scale experiments simulating climate change effects on Arctic heathland soils to potential confounding effects of spatial and temporal changes in soil microbial communities is unknown. Here, the variation in heathland soil bacterial communities at two survey sites in Sweden between spring and summer 2013 and at scales between 0-1 m and, 1-100 m and between sites (> 100 m) were investigated in parallel using 16S rRNA gene T-RFLP and amplicon sequencing. T-RFLP did not reveal spatial structuring of communities at scales changes were striking. Amplicon sequencing corroborated shifts from r- to K-selected taxon-dominated communities, influencing in silico predictions of functional potential. Network analyses reveal temporal keystone taxa, with a spring betaproteobacterial sub-network centred upon a Burkholderia operational taxonomic unit (OTU) and a reconfiguration to a summer sub-network centred upon an alphaproteobacterial OTU. Although spatial structuring effects may not confound comparison between plot-scale treatments, temporal change is a significant influence. Moreover, the prominence of two temporally exclusive keystone taxa suggests that the stability of Arctic heathland soil bacterial communities could be disproportionally influenced by seasonal perturbations affecting individual taxa. PMID:26259508

  5. Physical characteristics, terrain associations and soil properties of arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) dens in northern Yukon Territory, Canada: Final report

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — Physical and soil characteristics of arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) dens on Herschel Island and the Yukon Coastal Plain, Yukon Territory, Canada are described....

  6. Nitrous oxide production and emission in high arctic soils of NW Greenland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stills, A.; Lupascu, M.; Czimczik, C. I.; Sharp, E. D.; Welker, J. M.; Schaeffer, S. M.

    2010-12-01

    Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a potent ozone depleting greenhouse gas with a global warming potential 298 times larger than carbon dioxide (CO2 on a 100-year time scale. Recent studies identified arctic soils undergoing thawing and changes in drainage as potentially large sources of N2O to the atmosphere. More in situ2O production in and emission from arctic soils are needed to understand ecosystem feedbacks to climate change in high arctic tundra, and the role of high latitudes in the global N2O budget. We monitored the concentration of N2O in soils and emissions of N2O to the atmosphere from prostrate shrub tundra in NW Greenland under current and future climate conditions. Measurements were made monthly from June to August 2010 at a long-term climate change experiment started in 2003 consisting of +2oC warming (T1), +4oC warming (T2), +50% summer precipitation (W), +4oC × +50% summer precipitation (T2W), and control (C). In each treatment, N2O was monitored from vegetated and barren soils. In addition, we quantified nitrogen (N) mineralization rates. The concentration of N2O in soils was measured by sampling air from permanent wells ranging from 20 to 90 cm soil depth. N2O emissions were measured every 15 minutes for one hour using opaque, static chambers. Nitrous oxide samples were collected manually with syringes and stored in pre-evacuated glass vials with butyl rubber septa and aluminum crimp. The vials were sealed with silicon, shipped to UC Irvine, and analyzed by GC-ECD (Shimadzu GC-2014). To determine soil N mineralization rates, resin bags were installed under PVC cores from 8 to 10 cm in early spring in all treatments. Bags were removed at peak season. A second set was installed to capture end-of-season mineralization rates. Resin bags were extracted for future analysis of total accumulated ammonium and nitrate. Soil cores concurrently collected with resin bag installation and removal will be analyzed for % C and N, and were extracted for future analysis of

  7. Sphingomonas qilianensis sp. nov., Isolated from Surface Soil in the Permafrost Region of Qilian Mountains, China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Piao, Ai-Lian; Feng, Xiao-Min; Nogi, Yuichi; Han, Lu; Li, Yonghong; Lv, Jie

    2016-04-01

    A Gram-stain-negative, strictly aerobic, non-motile and rod-shaped bacterial strain, designated X1(T), was isolated from the permafrost region of Qilian Mountains in northwest of China. Phylogenetic analyses of 16S rRNA gene sequence revealed that strain X1(T) was a member of the genus Sphingomonas and shared the highest 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity with Sphingomonas oligophenolica JCM 12082(T) (96.9%), followed by Sphingomonas glacialis CGMCC 1.8957(T) (96.7%) and Sphingomonas alpina DSM 22537(T) (96.4%). Strain X1(T) was able to grow at 15-30 °C, pH 6.0-10.0 and with 0-0.3% NaCl (w/v). The DNA G+C content of the isolate was 64.8 mol%. Strain X1(T)-contained Q-10 as the dominant ubiquinone and C(18:1)ω7c, C(16:1)ω7c, C(16:0) and C(14:0) 2-OH as the dominant fatty acids. The polar lipid profile of strain XI(T)-contained sphingoglycolipid, phosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylethanolamine, one unidentified glycolipid and two unidentified phospholipid. Due to the phenotypic and genetic distinctiveness and other characteristic studied in this article, we consider X1(T) as a novel species of the genus Sphingomonas and propose to name it Sphingomonas qilianensis sp. nov. The type strain is X1(T) (=CGMCC 1.15349(T) = KCTC 42862(T)). PMID:26676296

  8. Rapid Arctic Changes due to Infrastructure and Climate (RATIC) in the Russian North

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walker, D. A.; Kofinas, G.; Raynolds, M. K.; Kanevskiy, M. Z.; Shur, Y.; Ambrosius, K.; Matyshak, G. V.; Romanovsky, V. E.; Kumpula, T.; Forbes, B. C.; Khukmotov, A.; Leibman, M. O.; Khitun, O.; Lemay, M.; Allard, M.; Lamoureux, S. F.; Bell, T.; Forbes, D. L.; Vincent, W. F.; Kuznetsova, E.; Streletskiy, D. A.; Shiklomanov, N. I.; Fondahl, G.; Petrov, A.; Roy, L. P.; Schweitzer, P.; Buchhorn, M.

    2015-12-01

    The Rapid Arctic Transitions due to Infrastructure and Climate (RATIC) initiative is a forum developed by the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) Terrestrial, Cryosphere, and Social & Human working groups for developing and sharing new ideas and methods to facilitate the best practices for assessing, responding to, and adaptively managing the cumulative effects of Arctic infrastructure and climate change. An IASC white paper summarizes the activities of two RATIC workshops at the Arctic Change 2014 Conference in Ottawa, Canada and the 2015 Third International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP III) meeting in Toyama, Japan (Walker & Pierce, ed. 2015). Here we present an overview of the recommendations from several key papers and posters presented at these conferences with a focus on oil and gas infrastructure in the Russian north and comparison with oil development infrastructure in Alaska. These analyses include: (1) the effects of gas- and oilfield activities on the landscapes and the Nenets indigenous reindeer herders of the Yamal Peninsula, Russia; (2) a study of urban infrastructure in the vicinity of Norilsk, Russia, (3) an analysis of the effects of pipeline-related soil warming on trace-gas fluxes in the vicinity of Nadym, Russia, (4) two Canadian initiatives that address multiple aspects of Arctic infrastructure called Arctic Development and Adaptation to Permafrost in Transition (ADAPT) and the ArcticNet Integrated Regional Impact Studies (IRIS), and (5) the effects of oilfield infrastructure on landscapes and permafrost in the Prudhoe Bay region, Alaska.

  9. Permafrost and Climate Change: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow. A Coupled Climate Model Projection for the 20th and 21st Centuries.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lawrence, D. M.; Slater, A. G.

    2005-12-01

    The representation of permafrost is examined in a fully coupled climate model, the Community Climate System Model version 3 (CCSM3). Permafrost and frozen ground is explicitly modeled in CCSM3, including interactive hydrology. We examine five member ensembles of CCSM3 integrations of 20th century climate as well as a number of IPCC SRES emission scenarios, including the A2 and commitment scenarios, that were conducted at NCAR in support of the fourth IPCC assessment report (AR4). Permafrost during the late 20th century is reasonably simulated in CCSM3, particularly in terms of the spatial extent which agrees well with observational estimates. Under the A2 emission scenario, permafrost, excluding the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, nearly completely disappears by the end of the 21st century. The impact of the dramatic loss of permafrost on surface fluxes of moisture and energy and on runoff to the Arctic Ocean is assessed. Among other impacts, total column soil water decreases, despite significantly stronger precipitation, due to enhanced drainage through the ice-free soil column. However, despite the fact that column soil water is reduced, there is more liquid soil water available for plants. The potentially positive climate feedback related to the likely increase in methane emissions from the newly active soil carbon pools will also be discussed.

  10. Thawing of permafrost may disturb historic cattle burial grounds in East Siberia

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    Boris A. Revich

    2011-11-01

    Full Text Available Climate warming in the Arctic may increase the risk of zoonoses due to expansion of vector habitats, improved chances of vector survival during winter, and permafrost degradation. Monitoring of soil temperatures at Siberian cryology control stations since 1970 showed correlations between air temperatures and the depth of permafrost layer that thawed during summer season. Between 1900s and 1980s, the temperature of surface layer of permafrost increased by 2–4°C; and a further increase of 3°C is expected. Frequent outbreaks of anthrax caused death of 1.5 million deer in Russian North between 1897 and 1925. Anthrax among people or cattle has been reported in 29,000 settlements of the Russian North, including more than 200 Yakutia settlements, which are located near the burial grounds of cattle that died from anthrax. Statistically significant positive trends in annual average temperatures were established in 8 out of 17 administrative districts of Yakutia for which sufficient meteorological data were available. At present, it is not known whether further warming of the permafrost will lead to the release of viable anthrax organisms. Nevertheless, we suggest that it would be prudent to undertake careful monitoring of permafrost conditions in all areas where an anthrax outbreak had occurred in the past.

  11. Soil Temperature Station Data from Permafrost Regions of Russia (Selection of Five Stations), 1880s - 2000

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This data set includes soil temperature data from boreholes located at five stations in Russia: Yakutsk, Verkhoyansk, Pokrovsk, Isit', and Churapcha. The data have...

  12. Stable Isotope Probing Analysis of the Diversity and Activity of Methanotrophic Bacteria in Soils from the Canadian High Arctic

    OpenAIRE

    Martineau, Christine; Whyte, Lyle G.; Greer, Charles W.

    2010-01-01

    The melting of permafrost and its potential impact on CH4 emissions are major concerns in the context of global warming. Methanotrophic bacteria have the capacity to mitigate CH4 emissions from melting permafrost. Here, we used quantitative PCR (qPCR), stable isotope probing (SIP) of DNA, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) fingerprinting, and sequencing of the 16S rRNA and pmoA genes to study the activity and diversity of methanotrophic bacteria in active-layer soils from Ellesmer...

  13. Variability of methane fluxes over high latitude permafrost wetlands

    OpenAIRE

    Andrei Serafimovich; Hartmann, J.; Eric Larmanou; Torsten Sachs

    2013-01-01

    Atmospheric methane plays an important role in the global climate system. Due to significant amounts of organic material stored in the upper layers of high latitude permafrost wetlands and a strong Arctic warming trend, there is concern about potentially large methane emissions from Arctic and sub-Arctic areas. The quantification of methane fluxes and their variability from these regions therefore plays an important role in understanding the Arctic carbon cycle and changes in atmo...

  14. The new database of the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Biskaborn, B. K.; Lanckman, J.-P.; Lantuit, H.; Elger, K.; Streletskiy, D. A.; Cable, W. L.; Romanovsky, V. E.

    2015-09-01

    The Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) provides the first dynamic database associated with the Thermal State of Permafrost (TSP) and the Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) programs, which extensively collect permafrost temperature and active layer thickness (ALT) data from Arctic, Antarctic and mountain permafrost regions. The purpose of GTN-P is to establish an early warning system for the consequences of climate change in permafrost regions and to provide standardized thermal permafrost data to global models. In this paper we introduce the GTN-P database and perform statistical analysis of the GTN-P metadata to identify and quantify the spatial gaps in the site distribution in relation to climate-effective environmental parameters. We describe the concept and structure of the data management system in regard to user operability, data transfer and data policy. We outline data sources and data processing including quality control strategies based on national correspondents. Assessment of the metadata and data quality reveals 63 % metadata completeness at active layer sites and 50 % metadata completeness for boreholes. Voronoi tessellation analysis on the spatial sample distribution of boreholes and active layer measurement sites quantifies the distribution inhomogeneity and provides a potential method to locate additional permafrost research sites by improving the representativeness of thermal monitoring across areas underlain by permafrost. The depth distribution of the boreholes reveals that 73 % are shallower than 25 m and 27 % are deeper, reaching a maximum of 1 km depth. Comparison of the GTN-P site distribution with permafrost zones, soil organic carbon contents and vegetation types exhibits different local to regional monitoring situations, which are illustrated with maps. Preferential slope orientation at the sites most likely causes a bias in the temperature monitoring and should be taken into account when using the data for global

  15. Velocity models and images using full waveform inversion and reverse time migration for the offshore permafrost in the Canadian shelf of Beaufort Sea, Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kang, S. G.; Hong, J. K.; Jin, Y. K.; Kim, S.; Kim, Y. G.; Dallimore, S.; Riedel, M.; Shin, C.

    2015-12-01

    During Expedition ARA05C (from Aug 26 to Sep 19, 2014) on the Korean icebreaker RV ARAON, the multi-channel seismic (MCS) data were acquired on the outer shelf and slope of the Canadian Beaufort Sea to investigate distribution and internal geological structures of the offshore ice-bonded permafrost and gas hydrates, totaling 998 km L-km with 19,962 shots. The MCS data were recorded using a 1500 m long solid-type streamer with 120 channels. Shot and group spacing were 50 m and 12.5 m, respectively. Most MCS survey lines were designed perpendicular and parallel to the strike of the shelf break. Ice-bonded permafrost or ice-bearing sediments are widely distributed under the Beaufort Sea shelf, which have formed during periods of lower sea level when portions of the shelf less than ~100m water depth were an emergent coastal plain exposed to very cold surface. The seismic P-wave velocity is an important geophysical parameter for identifying the distribution of ice-bonded permafrost with high velocity in this area. Recently, full waveform inversion (FWI) and reverse time migration (RTM) are commonly used to delineate detailed seismic velocity information and seismic image of geological structures. FWI is a data fitting procedure based on wave field modeling and numerical analysis to extract quantitative geophysical parameters such as P-, S-wave velocities and density from seismic data. RTM based on 2-way wave equation is a useful technique to construct accurate seismic image with amplitude preserving of field data. In this study, we suggest two-dimensional P-wave velocity model (Figure.1) using the FWI algorithm to delineate the top and bottom boundaries of ice-bonded permafrost in the Canadian shelf of Beaufort Sea. In addition, we construct amplitude preserving migrated seismic image using RTM to interpret the geological history involved with the evolution of permafrost.

  16. Nitrification rates in Arctic soils are associated with functionally distinct populations of ammonia-oxidizing archaea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alves, Ricardo J. E.; Wanek, Wolfgang; Zappe, Anna; Richter, Andreas; Svenning, Mette M.; Schleper, Christa; Urich, Tim

    2014-05-01

    The functioning of Arctic soil ecosystems is crucially important for global climate, although basic knowledge regarding their biogeochemical processes is lacking. Nitrogen (N) is the major limiting nutrient in these environments, and therefore it is particularly important to gain a better understanding of the microbial populations catalyzing transformations that influence N bioavailability. However, microbial communities driving this process remain largely uncharacterized in Arctic soils, namely those catalyzing the rate-limiting step of ammonia (NH3) oxidation. Eleven Arctic soils from Svalbard were analyzed through a polyphasic approach, including determination of gross nitrification rates through a 15N pool dilution method, qualitative and quantitative analyses of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and bacteria (AOB) populations based on the functional marker gene amoA (encoding the ammonia monooxygenase subunit A), and enrichment of AOA in laboratory cultures. AOA were the only NH3 oxidizers detected in five out of 11 soils, and outnumbered AOB by 1 to 3 orders of magnitude in most others. AOA showed a great overall phylogenetic diversity that was differentially distributed across soil ecosystems, and exhibited an uneven population composition that reflected the dominance of a single AOA phylotype in each population. Moreover, AOA populations showed a multifactorial association with the soil properties, which reflected an overall distribution associated with tundra type and with several physico-chemical parameters combined, namely pH and soil moisture and N contents (i.e., NO3- and dissolved organic N). Remarkably, the different gross in situ and potential nitrification rates between soils were associated with distinct AOA phylogenetic clades, suggesting differences in their nitrifying potential, both under the native NH3 conditions and as a response to higher NH3 availability. This was further supported by the selective enrichment of two AOA clades that exhibited

  17. Metagenomic Analysis of the Bioremediation of Diesel-Contaminated Canadian High Arctic Soils

    OpenAIRE

    Yergeau, Etienne; Sanschagrin, Sylvie; Beaumier, Danielle; Greer, Charles W.

    2012-01-01

    As human activity in the Arctic increases, so does the risk of hydrocarbon pollution events. On site bioremediation of contaminated soil is the only feasible clean up solution in these remote areas, but degradation rates vary widely between bioremediation treatments. Most previous studies have focused on the feasibility of on site clean-up and very little attention has been given to the microbial and functional communities involved and their ecology. Here, we ask the question: which microorga...

  18. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in insular and coastal soils of the Russian Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abakumov, E. V.; Tomashunas, V. M.; Lodygin, E. D.; Gabov, D. N.; Sokolov, V. T.; Krylenkov, V. A.; Kirtsideli, I. Yu.

    2015-12-01

    The content and individual component compositions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in polar soils of the Russian Arctic sector have been studied. The contamination of soils near research stations is identified from the expansion of the range of individual polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, the abrupt increase in the content of heavy fractions, and the accumulation of benzo[ a]pyrene. Along with heavy hydrocarbons, light hydrocarbons (which are not only natural compounds, but also components of organic pollutants) are also accumulated in the contaminated soils. Heavy polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are usually of technogenic origin and can serve as markers of anthropogenic impact in such areas as Cape Sterligov, Cape Chelyuskin, and the Izvestii TsIK Islands. The content of benzo[ a]pyrene, the most hazardous organic toxicant, appreciably increases in soils around the stations, especially compared to the control; however, the level of MPC is exceeded only for the soils of Cape Chelyuskin.

  19. Crude oil treatment leads to shift of bacterial communities in soils from the deep active layer and upper permafrost along the China-Russia Crude Oil Pipeline route.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sizhong Yang

    Full Text Available The buried China-Russia Crude Oil Pipeline (CRCOP across the permafrost-associated cold ecosystem in northeastern China carries a risk of contamination to the deep active layers and upper permafrost in case of accidental rupture of the embedded pipeline or migration of oil spills. As many soil microbes are capable of degrading petroleum, knowledge about the intrinsic degraders and the microbial dynamics in the deep subsurface could extend our understanding of the application of in-situ bioremediation. In this study, an experiment was conducted to investigate the bacterial communities in response to simulated contamination to deep soil samples by using 454 pyrosequencing amplicons. The result showed that bacterial diversity was reduced after 8-weeks contamination. A shift in bacterial community composition was apparent in crude oil-amended soils with Proteobacteria (esp. α-subdivision being the dominant phylum, together with Actinobacteria and Firmicutes. The contamination led to enrichment of indigenous bacterial taxa like Novosphingobium, Sphingobium, Caulobacter, Phenylobacterium, Alicylobacillus and Arthrobacter, which are generally capable of degrading polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs. The community shift highlighted the resilience of PAH degraders and their potential for in-situ degradation of crude oil under favorable conditions in the deep soils.

  20. Diversity and Composition of Bacterial Community in Soils and Lake Sediments from an Arctic Lake Area

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Neng Fei; Zhang, Tao; Yang, Xiao; Wang, Shuang; Yu, Yong; Dong, Long Long; Guo, Yu Dong; Ma, Yong Xing; Zang, Jia Ye

    2016-01-01

    This study assessed the diversity and composition of bacterial communities within soils and lake sediments from an Arctic lake area (London Island, Svalbard). A total of 2,987 operational taxonomic units were identified by high-throughput sequencing, targeting bacterial 16S rRNA gene. The samples from four sites (three samples in each site) were significantly different in geochemical properties and bacterial community composition. Proteobacteria and Acidobacteria were abundant phyla in the nine soil samples, whereas Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes were abundant phyla in the three sediment samples. Furthermore, Actinobacteria, Chlorobi, Chloroflexi, Elusimicrobia, Firmicutes, Gemmatimonadetes, Nitrospirae, Planctomycetes, Proteobacteria significantly varied in their abundance among the four sampling sites. Additionally, members of the dominant genera, such as Clostridium, Luteolibacter, Methylibium, Rhodococcus, and Rhodoplanes, were significantly different in their abundance among the four sampling sites. Besides, distance-based redundancy analysis revealed that pH (p soils and sediments from a lake area in the Arctic harbor a high diversity of bacterial communities, which are influenced by many geochemical factors of Arctic environments.

  1. Carbon cycling and carbon metabolism by soil fungi in a boreal forest: impacts of wildfire and permafrost on functional genes, isotope signatures, and ectomycorrhizae

    Science.gov (United States)

    Waldrop, M. P.; Harden, J. W.

    2006-12-01

    Understanding the mechanisms that control the stabilization and destabilization of soil carbon within boreal forest ecosystems is of great importance to the global carbon budget. Much is currently known about boreal soil carbon dynamics in relation to biophysical and landscape variables such as temperature, moisture, wildfire intensity, and stand age. We have less information regarding the controls on decomposition at the molecular scale, where interactions between microbial communities, their genetic `potential' for decomposition, functional genes, enzyme synthesis, and organic matter transformations occur. We have entered an age in which these connections can be made at the molecular scale, but what form do they take, and can they scale up to affect carbon dynamics at the level of the ecosystem? We examined these molecular scale processes in mature boreal forest soils and soils that had been impacted by wildfire near Delta Junction, Alaska. We also examined the interactive effect of permafrost presence, which reduces soil drainage, with wildfire. We focused on three themes: linking microbial communities and laccase functional genes to soil laccase enzyme activity and lignin decomposition, assessing substrate availability using the natural abundance δ13C isotope ratios of microbial biomass, and the influence of ectomycorrhizal mats on decomposition. Wildfire reduced fungal biomass, laccase functional gene abundance, laccase activity, and δ13C-lignin decomposition. Relationships between gene abundance and microbial activity were significant and logarithmic in form. Soil drainage, which is mediated by the presence of permafrost, had little effect on the abundance of fungi, functional genes, or potential process rates. Microbial biomass δ13C was always enriched relative to soil organic matter, and this difference was greater in control soils compared to wildfire-affected soils, indicating that ÄΔδ13C MB-SOIL may indicate the level of bioavailability of soil

  2. Vegetation-Soil-Active Layer Relationships Along a Low-Arctic Bioclimate Gradient, Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walker, D. A.; Jia, G. J.; Epstein, H. E.; Shiklomanov, N.; Nelson, F.; Hinzman, L. D.; Romanovsky, V. E.

    2002-12-01

    Northern Alaska has three of five Arctic bioclimate subzones, which are representative of the circumpolar Low Arctic. This portion of the Arctic has more or less continuous tundra plant cover and well-developed moss canopies. We examined the biomass and remotely sensed spectral properties of the vegetation canopy, active-layer thickness, and the soil properties at 21 sites on the Arctic Slope and Seward Peninsula of Alaska. The sites were grouped into three bioclimate subzones according the summer warmth at the sites. The summer warmth index (SWI) is the sum of the mean monthly temperatures greater than 0 degrees C. Subzone C, the coldest subzone, occurs in a narrow strip along the northern coast of the Alaska. Subzone D covers most of the Arctic Coastal Plain and the northwest portion of the Seward Peninsula, and Subzone E covers most of the Foothills and most of the unforested portion of the Seward Peninsula. The SWIs in Subzones C, D, and E are generally less than 10-15 degrees C, 15-25 degrees C, and 25-35 degrees C respectively. The average active layer depths were 44, 55, and 47 cm respectively The shallow active layer in Subzone E is to a large degree a response to the denser vegetation canopies in Subzone E. Total plant biomass in Subzone C, D, and E averaged 421 g m-2, 503 g m-2, and 1178 g m-2 respectively. The much higher biomass in Subzone E was due primarily to woody shrubs (40 g m-2 in Subzone C, 51 g m-2 in Subzone D, and 730 g m-2 in Subzone E). The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) is one measure of greenness. Highest NDVI values were obtained from acidic tundra regions in Subzone E, and the lowest NDVI values were obtained in the nonacidic areas of Subzone C. In summary, the insulative properties of the vegetation play a very important role controlling the thickness of the active layer, and the amount of vegetation biomass differs according to summer warmth and soil properties. Acidic soils in the warmest parts of the Arctic (Subzone E

  3. A Two-dimensional Heat Transfer Model for Atmosphere-land System in the Lake-dominated Alaskan Arctic

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    LING Feng; ZHANG Ting-jun

    2002-01-01

    Understanding lake ice growth and its sensitivity to climate change is vital to understand the thermal regime of thaw lake systems and predict their response to climate change. In this paper, a physically-based, two-dimensional, non-steady mathematical model is developed for studying the role of shallow tundra lakes in the Alaskan Arctic. Both the radiation absorption in lake water and the phasechange in permafrost are considerd in the model. The materials the model includes are snow, ice, water, unfrozen and frozen soil (peat, silt,sand and gravel). The basic inputs to the model observed mean daily air temperature and snow depth. The ability of this model to simulate lake ice growth and thickness variation, lake water temperature distribution, the thermal regime of permafrost and talik dynamics beneath lakes, and thawing rate of permafrost below and adjacent to shallow thaw lakes offers the potential to describe the effects of climate change in the Alaskan Arctic.

  4. Permafrost and organic layer interactions over a climate gradient in a discontinuous permafrost zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Kristofer D.; Harden, Jennifer W.; McGuire, A. David; Clark, Mark; Yuan, Fengming; Finley, Andrew O.

    2013-01-01

    Permafrost is tightly coupled to the organic soil layer, an interaction that mediates permafrost degradation in response to regional warming. We analyzed changes in permafrost occurrence and organic layer thickness (OLT) using more than 3000 soil pedons across a mean annual temperature (MAT) gradient. Cause and effect relationships between permafrost probability (PF), OLT, and other topographic factors were investigated using structural equation modeling in a multi-group analysis. Groups were defined by slope, soil texture type, and shallow (permafrost sharply increased by 0.32 for every 10-cm OLT increase in shallow OLT soils (OLTs) due to an insulation effect, but PF decreased in deep OLT soils (OLTd) by 0.06 for every 10-cm increase. Across the MAT gradient, PF in sandy soils varied little, but PF in loamy and silty soils decreased substantially from cooler to warmer temperatures. The change in OLT was more heterogeneous across soil texture types—in some there was no change while in others OLTs soils thinned and/or OLTd soils thickened at warmer locations. Furthermore, when soil organic carbon was estimated using a relationship with thickness, the average increase in carbon in OLTd soils was almost four times greater compared to the average decrease in carbon in OLTs soils across all soil types. If soils follow a trajectory of warming that mimics the spatial gradients found today, then heterogeneities of permafrost degradation and organic layer thinning and thickening should be considered in the regional carbon balance.

  5. An eddy covariance derived annual carbon budget for an arctic terrestrial ecosystem (Disko, Greenland)

    Science.gov (United States)

    McConnell, Alistair; Lund, Magnus; Friborg, Thomas

    2016-04-01

    Ecosystems with underlying permafrost cover nearly 25% of the ice-free land area in the northern hemisphere and store almost half of the global soil carbon. Future climate changes are predicted to have the most pronounced effect in northern latitudes. These Arctic ecosystems are therefore subject to dramatic changes following thawing of permafrost, glacial retreat, and coastal erosion. The most dramatic effect of permafrost thawing is the accelerated decomposition and potential mobilization of organic matter stored in the permafrost. This will impact global climate through the mobilization of carbon and nitrogen accompanied by release of greenhouses gases, including carbon dioxide. This study presents the initial findings and first full annual carbon (CO2) budget, derived from eddy covariance measurements, for an Arctic landscape in West Greenland. The study site, a terrestrial Arctic maritime climate, is located at Østerlien, near Qeqertarsuaq, on the southern coast of Disko Island in central West Greenland (69° 15' N, 53° 34' W) within the transition zone from continuous to discontinuous permafrost. The mean annual air temperature is -5 C and the annual precipitation as rain is 150-200 mm. Arctic ecosystem feedback mechanisms and processes interact on micro, local and regional scales. This is further complicated by several potential feedback mechanisms likely to occur in permafrost-affected ecosystems, involving the interactions of microorganisms, vegetation and soil. The eddy covariance method allows us to interrogate the processes and drivers of land-atmosphere carbon exchange at extremely high temporary frequency (10 Hz), providing landscape-scale measurements of CO2, H2O and heat fluxes for the site, which are processed to derive daily, monthly and now, annual carbon fluxes. We discuss the scientific methodology, challenges, and analysis, as well as the practical and logistic challenges of working in the Arctic, and present an annual carbon budget

  6. The effect of abrupt permafrost thaw on the water table, vegetation and carbon feedback: results from a sub-arctic peatland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Malhotra, A.; Roulet, N. T.

    2015-12-01

    Uncertainty in estimating the carbon loss from thawing ice-rich permafrost is attributed, in part, to the abrupt changes in ecosystem structure and function after thaw. In a thawing peat plateau in the discontinuous permafrost zone (Stordalen, Mire, Sweden; ST), we tested for the occurrence of abrupt changes in hydrology and the effects of these changes on the water table and vegetation feedback. Using a chronosequence approach along three transects that capture several transitional thaw stages, we found abrupt hydrological changes following thaw, wherein adjacent areas (1 m apart) had unrelated water table depth (WTD) fluctuations. Despite these abrupt changes, surprisingly, the same Gaussian model of plant abundance explained by WTD could be applied to data from both ST and an undisturbed ombrotrophic peatland (Mer Bleue Bog, Canada; MB). However, the Gaussian model fit was better at MB than at ST. Furthermore, explanatory power of the model at ST decreased with increasing permafrost thaw. While water table and vegetation feedback in a thawing landscape is similar to that of a peatland without transitional land cover types, the vegetation and carbon feedback is complicated by non-linear shifts in the partitioning of gaseous effluxes between CO2 and CH4. These results will be presented along with key implications for modeling carbon loss from thawing landscapes.

  7. Brief Communication: Future avenues for permafrost science from the perspective of early career researchers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fritz, M.; Deshpande, B. N.; Bouchard, F.; Högström, E.; Malenfant-Lepage, J.; Morgenstern, A.; Nieuwendam, A.; Oliva, M.; Paquette, M.; Rudy, A. C. A.; Siewert, M. B.; Sjöberg, Y.; Weege, S.

    2015-08-01

    Accelerating climate change and increased economic and environmental interests in permafrost-affected regions have resulted in an acute need for more directed permafrost research. In June 2014, 88 early career researchers convened to identify future priorities for permafrost research. This multidisciplinary forum concluded that five research topics deserve greatest attention: permafrost landscape dynamics, permafrost thermal modeling, integration of traditional knowledge, spatial distribution of ground ice, and engineering issues. These topics underline the need for integrated research across a spectrum of permafrost-related domains and constitute a contribution to the Third International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP III).

  8. Soil remediation of a former tank farm site in western Arctic Canada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Pouliot, Y.; Moreau, N.; Thomassin-Lacroix, E.; Faucher, C. [Biogenie Inc., Quebec City, PQ (Canada); Pokiak, C. [Inuvialuit Land Administration, Tuktoyaktuk, NT (Canada)

    2003-07-01

    This paper describes a successful bioremediation project on hydrocarbon-impacted soil at Saviktok Point in the Northwest Territories. The site is a former tank farm which supplied diesel fuel to radar stations of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line in northern Canada. Site characterization revealed that hydrocarbon contamination had migrated into the permafrost, reaching a depth of 2 metres. A remediation strategy was designed to minimize soil handling and use a wind-powered soil aeration system. The design of the biological treatment was uniquely adapted to the site characteristics. The remediation strategy also made maximum use of local resources and required the active participation of Tuktoyaktuk's Inuvialuit community. In the spring of 2000, 17,000 cubic metres of hydrocarbon contaminated soil was excavated and taken to a treatment area for ventilation. After one year, nearly 45 per cent of the soil had reached the remedial criterion, followed by 85 per cent in the second year and 100 per cent in the third year. 3 refs., 2 tabs., 1 fig.

  9. Role of mineralogy and particle-size distribution on patterned ground genesis in no-permafrost soils. Majella massif (Italy) and English Lake District (United Kingdom)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cioci, C.; Basili, M.; Cocco, S.; Agnelli, A.; Warburton, J.; Corti, G.

    2009-04-01

    Patterned ground soils form by self-organization thanks to soil heaving caused by seasonal variation of ice table, but also in no-permafrost affected soils thanks to diurnal or seasonal freeze/thaw cycles. The genesis of the superficial soil pattern is thought to be due to cryo-selection of the skeletal particles, which is induced by freezing/thawing cycles of the water present in the saturated active soil layer. Other conditions required for the formation of a patterned ground are: moderate to null slope, scarce vegetation and the presence of a sufficient amount of fine materials (fines). If all this attains, the stones are easily pushed out the freezing area, so producing sorted features where skeleton and fines are rather segregated. Patterned ground soils were described in a wide range of no-permafrost affected environments. Here, we report on the role of soil mineralogy and particle-size distribution in the genesis of patterned ground in two sites where permafrost is some meters deep (Majella massif, Central Italy) or absent (English Lake District, North West England). Majella massif (Monte Amaro, 2793 m a.s.l.) is at 42° North of latitude and is mainly composed by limestone, while English Lake District (Scafell Pike, 978 m a.s.l.) is at 54° North of latitude and is mainly composed by laminated mudstone and siltstone. Patterned ground soils described on the Majella massif are smaller than those at English Lake: the sorted circles of Majella massif have a diameter of about 5-7 cm while those of the English Lake have a diameter of about 15-20 cm. In each site several soil profiles were dug till about 1 m of depth, described and sampled according to the recognized horizons. All the soils are well drained thanks to high skeleton content (60 to 80%), which is also responsible of preventing soil saturation. The results of mineralogical and particles-size analysis show that the formation of a saturated active layer is possible thanks to the formation of an

  10. Remediation of hydrocarbon contaminated soils in the Canadian Arctic with landfarms

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Poland, J.S.; Page, J.A.; Paudyn, K.; Rutter, A.; Rowe, R.K. [Queen' s Univ., Kingston, ON (Canada)

    2007-07-01

    Landfarming is starting to gain acceptance as a bioremediation method in the Arctic despite scientific concerns that the kinetics associated with aeration and bioremediation are adversely impacted by cold temperatures. This paper provided details of a pilot study in which trial landfarm plots were assembled in order to compare 3 different landfarming techniques, notably (1) daily aeration; (2) aeration every 4 days; and (3) the addition of fertilizer with aeration every 4 days. The pilot study demonstrated that bioremediation was enhanced when fertilizer was added, and that aeration alone was a feasible option for the Arctic site. It was concluded that site selection is an important factor in the successful implementation of a landfarm. Factors affecting soil temperatures were also investigated. 8 refs., 7 figs.

  11. Spatially Distributed Model of Permafrost Dynamics in Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tipenko, G.; Marchenko, S.; Romanovsky, V.; Groshev, V.; Sazonova, T.

    2004-12-01

    Given the possibility of climate warming in the near future, an evaluation of the magnitude of changes in the ground thermal regime becomes desirable for assessments of possible ecosystem responses and impacts on infrastructure in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. In the past, a soil model GIPL 1.0 developed at the Geophysical Institute Permafrost Lab was used to simulate the dynamics of the active layer thickness and mean annual ground temperature, both retrospectively and prognostically, using climate forcing from Global Climate Models. The GIPL 1.0 model is a quasi-transitional, spatially distributed, analytical model for the active layer thickness and mean annual ground temperature. This model is incorporated into GIS, which contains the information on geology, soils properties, vegetation, and snow distribution. GIS allows visualization of input and output parameters and their representation in the form of digital maps. As a further significant step in the GIPL model development, we replaced the analytical solution with a numerical model based on a finite difference method for the non-linear Heat Conduction Equation. In this model the process of soil freezing/thawing is occurring in accordance with the unfrozen water content curve, which is specific for each soil layer and for each geographical location. For each grid point on the map we used a one-dimensional multi-layer model of soil down to the depth of a constant geothermal heat flux (typically 500 to 1000 m). At the upper boundary, there are insulating layers of snow and vegetation that can change their properties with time. Special Enthalpy formulation of the energy conservation law makes it possible to use a coarse vertical resolution without loss of latent heat effects in phase transition zone even in case of fast temporally and spatially varying temperature fields. The new version of GIPL (GIPL 2.0) calculates soil temperature and liquid water content fields for the entire spatial domain with daily

  12. ESA DUE PERMAFROST: Evaluation of geophysical remote sensing products for permafrost

    OpenAIRE

    Heim, Birgit; Bartsch, Annett; Boike, Julia; Duguay, Claude; Elger, Kirsten; Langer, Moritz; Lantuit, Hugues; Muster, Sina

    2011-01-01

    Permafrost is a subsurface phenomenon whose ground thermal regime is mainly influenced by air temperature, land cover, soil and rock properties and snow parameters. Many spaceborne-derived parameters are potentially indicative of the thermal state of Permafrost, such as land surface temperature, surface moisture, surface frozen/thawed state, terrain displacement, vegetation cover, and changes in surface waters. The major task of the ESA DUE PERMAFROST project is to develop high-la...

  13. Mapping permafrost with airborne electromagnetics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Minsley, B. J.; Ball, L. B.; Bloss, B. R.; Kass, A.; Pastick, N.; Smith, B. D.; Voss, C. I.; Walsh, D. O.; Walvoord, M. A.; Wylie, B. K.

    2014-12-01

    Permafrost is a key characteristic of cold region landscapes, yet detailed assessments of how the subsurface distribution of permafrost impacts the environment, hydrologic systems, and infrastructure are lacking. Data acquired from several airborne electromagnetic (AEM) surveys in Alaska provide significant new insight into the spatial extent of permafrost over larger areas (hundreds to thousands of square kilometers) than can be mapped using ground-based geophysical methods or through drilling. We compare several AEM datasets from different areas of interior Alaska, and explore the capacity of these data to infer geologic structure, permafrost extent, and related hydrologic processes. We also assess the impact of fires on permafrost by comparing data from different burn years within similar geological environments. Ultimately, interpretations rely on understanding the relationship between electrical resistivity measured by AEM surveys and the physical properties of interest such as geology, permafrost, and unfrozen water content in the subsurface. These relationships are often ambiguous and non-unique, so additional information is useful for reducing uncertainty. Shallow (upper ~1m) permafrost and soil characteristics identified from remotely sensed imagery and field observations help to constrain and aerially extend near-surface AEM interpretations, where correlations between the AEM and remote sensing data are identified using empirical multivariate analyses. Surface nuclear magnetic resonance (sNMR) measurements quantify the contribution of unfrozen water at depth to the AEM-derived electrical resistivity models at several locations within one survey area. AEM surveys fill a critical data gap in the subsurface characterization of permafrost environments and will be valuable in future mapping and monitoring programs in cold regions.

  14. An improved model for soil surface temperature from air temperature in permafrost regions of Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet) Plateau of China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hu, Guojie; Wu, Xiaodong; Zhao, Lin; Li, Ren; Wu, Tonghua; Xie, Changwei; Pang, Qiangqiang; Cheng, Guodong

    2016-06-01

    Soil temperature plays a key role in hydro-thermal processes in environments and is a critical variable linking surface structure to soil processes. There is a need for more accurate temperature simulation models, particularly in Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet) Plateau (QXP). In this study, a model was developed for the simulation of hourly soil surface temperatures with air temperatures. The model incorporated the thermal properties of the soil, vegetation cover, solar radiation, and water flux density and utilized field data collected from Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet) Plateau (QXP). The model was used to simulate the thermal regime at soil depths of 5 cm, 10 cm and 20 cm and results were compared with those from previous models and with experimental measurements of ground temperature at two different locations. The analysis showed that the newly developed model provided better estimates of observed field temperatures, with an average mean absolute error (MAE), root mean square error (RMSE), and the normalized standard error (NSEE) of 1.17 °C, 1.30 °C and 13.84 %, 0.41 °C, 0.49 °C and 5.45 %, 0.13 °C, 0.18 °C and 2.23 % at 5 cm, 10 cm and 20 cm depths, respectively. These findings provide a useful reference for simulating soil temperature and may be incorporated into other ecosystem models requiring soil temperature as an input variable for modeling permafrost changes under global warming.

  15. Deeper snow alters soil nutrient availability and leaf nutrient status in high Arctic tundra

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Semenchuk, Philipp R.; Elberling, Bo; Amtorp, Cecilie;

    2015-01-01

    Svalbard in two vegetation types spanning three moisture regimes. We measured growing-season availability of ammonium (NH4 (+)), nitrate (NO3 (-)), total dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and nitrogen (TON) in soil; C, N, delta N-15 and chlorophyll content in Salix polaris leaves; and leaf sizes of Salix...... season. Changing nutrient availability may be reflected in plant N and chlorophyll content and lead to increased photosynthetic capacity, plant growth, and ultimately carbon (C) assimilation by plants. In this study, we increased snow depth and thereby cold-season soil temperatures in high Arctic...... some species. Responses to cold-season soil warming are vegetation type- and species-specific, with potentially stronger responses in moister vegetation types. This study therefore highlights the contrasting effect of snow in a tundra landscape and has important implications for projections of whole...

  16. Biogeochemical modeling of tundra recovery following thermal erosion of permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pearce, A. R.; Rastetter, E. B.; Bowden, W. B.

    2011-12-01

    We simulate the biogeochemical recovery of tundra from a thermal erosion disturbance using the Multiple Element Limitation model (MEL) and compare model results with soil organic matter and nutrient chemistry measurements collected across a chronosequence of thermal erosion features. Thermal erosion of permafrost initially depletes the tundra of much of its vegetation and shallow soil organic matter. However, several decades later, there is often little distinguishing these scars from the surrounding undisturbed tundra. As thermal erosion features become more abundant on the arctic landscape, we desire to understand how the pools of carbon and nutrients rebuild after these disturbances. MEL is a plot-scale, process-based model that optimizes the acquisition of eight resources (light, water, CO2, PO4, NH4, NO3, DON and N-fixation) by vegetation based on how much of each is required and the effort needed to acquire it. Model output includes pool sizes of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in vegetation, litter, young soil organic matter and old soil organic matter and the fluxes among these pools over time. This calibration of MEL, operating on a daily timestep, was created with published data collected at or near the Toolik Field Station (Toolik Lake, AK, USA) from moist acidic tussock tundra sites. We corroborate our calibration with data from plot manipulations (N and P fertilization, greenhouse, and shade house) performed as part of the NSF Arctic LTER project. The initial conditions for the recovery simulations reflect post-failure observations of some of the variation in soil organic matter, and soil and water nutrient chemistry. With sufficient nutrients from residual soil or supplied in soil water from upslope, the model indicates that vegetation can recover within several decades, but recovery of C and nutrients lost from soils may take hundreds of years.

  17. Response of arctic snow and permafrost algae to high light and nitrogen stress by changes in pigment composition and applied aspects for biotechnology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leya, Thomas; Rahn, Andreas; Lütz, Cornelius; Remias, Daniel

    2009-03-01

    Ten algal strains from snow and permafrost substrates were tested for their ability to produce secondary carotenoids and alpha-tocopherol in response to high light and decreased nitrogen levels. The Culture Collection of Cryophilic Algae at Fraunhofer IBMT in Potsdam served as the bioresource for this study. Eight of the strains belong to the Chlorophyceae and two strains are affiliated to the Trebouxiophyceae. While under low light, all 10 strains produced the normal spectrum of primary pigments known to be present in Chlorophyta, only the eight chlorophyceaen strains were able to synthesize secondary carotenoids under stress conditions, namely canthaxanthin, echinenone and astaxanthin; seven of them were also able to synthesize minor amounts of adonixanthin and an unidentified hydroxyechinenone. The two trebouxiophyceaen species of Raphidonema exhibited an unusually high pool of primary xanthophyll cycle pigments, possibly serving as a buffering reservoir against excessive irradiation. They also proved to be good alpha-tocopherol producers, which might also support the deactivation of reactive oxygen species. This study showed that some strains might be interesting novel candidates for biotechnological applications. Cold-adapted, snow and permafrost algae might serve as valuable production strains still exhibiting acceptable growth rates during the cold season in temperate regions. PMID:19159422

  18. Metagenomic analysis of the bioremediation of diesel-contaminated Canadian high arctic soils.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Etienne Yergeau

    Full Text Available As human activity in the Arctic increases, so does the risk of hydrocarbon pollution events. On site bioremediation of contaminated soil is the only feasible clean up solution in these remote areas, but degradation rates vary widely between bioremediation treatments. Most previous studies have focused on the feasibility of on site clean-up and very little attention has been given to the microbial and functional communities involved and their ecology. Here, we ask the question: which microorganisms and functional genes are abundant and active during hydrocarbon degradation at cold temperature? To answer this question, we sequenced the soil metagenome of an ongoing bioremediation project in Alert, Canada through a time course. We also used reverse-transcriptase real-time PCR (RT-qPCR to quantify the expression of several hydrocarbon-degrading genes. Pseudomonas species appeared as the most abundant organisms in Alert soils right after contamination with diesel and excavation (t = 0 and one month after the start of the bioremediation treatment (t = 1m, when degradation rates were at their highest, but decreased after one year (t = 1y, when residual soil hydrocarbons were almost depleted. This trend was also reflected in hydrocarbon degrading genes, which were mainly affiliated with Gammaproteobacteria at t = 0 and t = 1m and with Alphaproteobacteria and Actinobacteria at t = 1y. RT-qPCR assays confirmed that Pseudomonas and Rhodococcus species actively expressed hydrocarbon degradation genes in Arctic biopile soils. Taken together, these results indicated that biopile treatment leads to major shifts in soil microbial communities, favoring aerobic bacteria that can degrade hydrocarbons.

  19. Reducing uncertainty in methane emission estimates from permafrost peatlands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christensen, Torben R.

    2016-04-01

    Reducing uncertainty in methane emission estimates from permafrost peatlands Torben R. Christensen1,2 and coworkers 1) Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Lund University, Sweden 2) Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University, Denmark Depending on factors including temperature, snow duration and soil moisture conditions, emissions of the greenhouse gas methane from permafrost peatlands can vary by factors of 2-4 between years. This variability is clear in atmospheric measurements of the gas, but a lack of ground-based data is making it hard to locate the methane sources responsible. Methane monitoring in the Arctic is expensive, requiring sophisticated analysis equipment such as power requiring laser spectrometer analysis made in remote places. This also puts demands on the logistics where infrastructures and field stations that offer line-power in the field are in high demand but very rarely found. Research projects therefore typically focus on one site, and run for a year or two. Longer term monitoring programs, which document climate, hydrology, phenology and population dynamics of birds and mammals, rarely include carbon fluxes since it is technically challenging to measure. One that does is the Greenland Ecosystem Monitoring program that started at the Zackenberg research station, which has recorded substantial methane flux variations for almost a decade in North-east Greenland. Such multi-year studies show that, while there is some connection between the amounts of methane released from one year to the next, accurate forecasting is difficult. They also highlight the importance of extending monitoring beyond the growing period into the frozen season, both in spring and autumn. A spatially distributed network of long-term monitoring stations in the Arctic, with consistency between measurements, is badly needed to improve this situation. Productive methane 'hot spots', many sporadic, have also been identified in recent studies. By ventilating

  20. Scaling Issues Between Plot and Satellite Radiobrightness Observations of Arctic Tundra

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Edward J.; England, Anthony W.; Judge, Jasmeet; Zukor, Dorothy J. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    Data from generation of satellite microwave radiometer will allow the detection of seasonal to decadal changes in the arctic hydrology cycle as expressed in temporal and spatial patterns of moisture stored in soil and snow This nw capability will require calibrated Land Surface Process/Radiobrightness (LSP/R) model for the principal terrains found in the circumpolar Arctic. These LSP/R models can than be used in weak constraint. Dimensional Data Assimilation (DDA)of the daily satellite observation to estimate temperature and moisture profiles within the permafrost in active layer.

  1. Spatio-temporal sensitivity of MODIS land surface temperature anomalies indicates high potential for large-scale land cover change detection in Arctic permafrost landscapes

    OpenAIRE

    S. Muster; Langer, M.; Abnizova, A.; Young, K.L.; Boike, J

    2015-01-01

    The accelerated warming of the Arctic climate may alter the local and regional surface energy balances, for which changing land surface temperatures (LSTs) are a key indicator. Modeling current and anticipated changes in the surface energy balance requires an understanding of the spatio-temporal interactions between LSTs and land cover, both of which can be monitored globally by measurements from space. This paper investigates the accuracy of the MODIS LST/Emissivity Daily L3 Global 1 km V005...

  2. Evaluation of a Thermodynamically Based Soil Microbial Decomposition Model Based on a 13c Tracer Study in Arctic Tundra Soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhu, X.; Tang, J.; Riley, W. J.; Wallenstein, M. D.; Cotrufo, M. F.; Machmuller, M. B.; Lynch, L.

    2014-12-01

    The incorporation of explicit representation of biological complexity in soil carbon decomposition models may improve our ability to accurately predict terrestrial carbon-climate feedbacks. A new generation of microbe-explicit soil decomposition models (MEMs) are being developed that represent soil biological complexity, but only a few take into account detailed biotic and abiotic components and competitive interactions in the complex soil system. In view of this, we have developed a thermodynamically based MEM with a detailed component network (polymeric organic carbon, dissolved organic carbon, microbes, extracellular enzymes, and mineral surfaces), in which competitive interactions and microbial metabolism are modeled using Equilibrium Chemistry Approximation kinetics and Dynamic Energy Budget theory, respectively. The model behavior has been tested and is qualitatively consistent with many empirical studies, but further evaluation of the model with field or lab experimental data in specific ecosystems is needed. Stable carbon isotope (13C) tracer experiments provide a means to directly evaluate soil carbon dynamics simulated by MEMs. In this study, we further develop the model to explicitly account for different carbon isotopes, including 13C and 14C. Isotopic fractionations in soil decomposition processes, including soil organic matter transformations and microbial metabolism, are considered. The 13C signals of different soil components derived from a 13C tracer experiment in Arctic tundra soils are used to test the model behavior and identify needed parametric and structural improvements. Our modeling and data comparison identify several key mechanisms that need to be included in MEMs. Finally, we present an analysis of the relative benefits and costs of additional complexity in MEMs compared to traditional pool-based modeling structures.

  3. 表生风化作用下多年冻土土壤的理论粒径分布%Theoretical Grain Size Distribution of Permafrost Soils as a Generalized Consequence of Hypergene Processes

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Igor E. Guryanov

    2004-01-01

    The paper discusses the distinctive features of grain size distribution of permafrost soils formed under conditions of continental lithogenesis and cryogenic weathering of rocks. As a functional consequence of surface erosion of mineral particles, the log-normal distribution of the density function of grain size is derived confirmed for any conditions and sediment types.

  4. Psychrotrophic lipase producers from Arctic soil and sediment samples.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rasol, R; Rashidah, A R; Nazuha, R Siti Nur; Smykla, J; Maznah, W O Wan; Alias, S A

    2014-01-01

    Culturable microorganisms were successfully isolated from soil and sediment samples collected in 2011 on the northern coast of Hornsund, West Spitsbergen. A total of 63 single colony isolates from three sampling sites obtained were subjected to temperature dependence study to assess whether they are obligate psychrophilic or psychrotrophic strains. From initial temperature screening, only 53 psychrotrophic isolates were selected that are capable of growing between 4-28 degrees C. The rest that were capable of tolerating higher temperatures up to 37 degrees C were not included in this study. These isolates were chosen for lipase enzyme screening confirmation with the standard plate assay of olive oil and fluorescent dye Rhodamine B. Six lipase positive isolates were also subjected for subsequent lipase enzyme plate screening on tributyrin, triolein, olive oil and palm oil agar. Lipase production by these six isolates was further assayed by using colorimetric method with palm oil and olive oil as the substrate. These isolates with promising lipase activity ranging from 20 U/ml up to 160 U/ml on palm oil and olive oil substrate were successfully identified. Molecular identification by using 16S rRNA revealed that five out of six isolates were Gram-negative Proteobacteria and the other one was a Gram-positive Actinobacteria. PMID:25033666

  5. Arctic soil development on a series of marine terraces on central Spitsbergen, Svalbard: a combined geochronology, fieldwork and modelling approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    van der Meij, W. Marijn; Temme, Arnaud J. A. M.; de Kleijn, Christian M. F. J. J.; Reimann, Tony; Heuvelink, Gerard B. M.; Zwoliński, Zbigniew; Rachlewicz, Grzegorz; Rymer, Krzysztof; Sommer, Michael

    2016-06-01

    Soils in Arctic regions currently enjoy attention because of their sensitivity to climate change. It is therefore important to understand the natural processes and rates of development of these soils. Specifically, there is a need to quantify the rates and interactions between various landscape- and soil-forming processes. Soil chronosequences are ideal natural experiments for this purpose. In this contribution, we combine field observations, luminescence dating and soil-landscape modelling to improve and test our understanding of Arctic soil formation. The field site is a Holocene chronosequence of gravelly raised marine terraces in central Spitsbergen. Field observations show that soil-landscape development is mainly driven by weathering, silt translocation, aeolian deposition and rill erosion. Spatial soil variation is mainly caused by soil age, morphological position within a terrace and depth under the surface. Luminescence dating confirmed existing radiocarbon dating of the terraces, which are between ˜ 1.5 and ˜ 13.3 ka old. The soil-landscape evolution model LORICA was used to test our hypothesis that the field-observed processes indeed dominate soil-landscape development. Model results additionally indicated the importance of aeolian deposition as a source of fine material in the subsoil for both sheltered and vegetated trough positions and barren ridge positions. Simulated overland erosion was negligible. Consequently, an un-simulated process must be responsible for creating the observed erosion rills. Dissolution and physical weathering both play a major role. However, using present-day soil observations, the relative contribution of physical and chemical weathering could not be disentangled. Discrepancies between field and model results indicate that soil formation is non-linear and driven by spatially and temporally varying boundary conditions which were not included in the model. To conclude, Arctic soil and landscape development appears to be more

  6. Terrimonas arctica sp. nov., isolated from Arctic tundra soil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jiang, Fan; Qiu, Xia; Chang, Xulu; Qu, Zhihao; Ren, Lvzhi; Kan, Wenjing; Guo, Youhao; Fang, Chengxiang; Peng, Fang

    2014-11-01

    A novel, Gram-stain-negative, aerobic, non-motile and rod-shaped bacterium, designated R9-86(T), was isolated from tundra soil collected near Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard Archipelago, Norway (78° N). Growth occurred at 4-28 °C (optimum, 22-25 °C) and at pH 6.0-9.0 (optimum, pH 7.0). Flexirubin-type pigments were absent. Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequences indicated that strain R9-86(T) belonged to the genus Terrimonas in the family Chitinophagaceae. 16S rRNA gene sequence similarities between strain R9-86(T) and the type strains of species of the genus Terrimonas with validly published names ranged from 93.7 to 95.0%. Strain R9-86(T) contained iso-C(15:1)-G (25.7%), iso-C(15:0) (24.5%), iso-C(17:0)-3OH (18.3%) and summed feature 3 (C(16:1)ω7c and/or C(16:1)ω6c, 8.7%) as its major cellular fatty acids; phosphatidylethanolamine and an unknown polar lipid as its main polar lipids, and MK-7 as its predominant respiratory quinone. The DNA G+C content was 48.4 mol%. On the basis of phenotypic, chemotaxonomic and phylogenetic data, strain R9-86(T) is considered to represent a novel species of the genus Terrimonas, for which the name Terrimonas arctica sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is R9-86(T) ( =CCTCC AB 2011004(T) =NRRL B-59114(T)). PMID:25142212

  7. Survival of rapidly fluctuating natural low winter temperatures by High Arctic soil invertebrates

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Convey, Peter; Abbandonato, Holly; Bergan, Frode; Beumer, Larissa Teresa; Biersma, Elisabeth Machteld; Bråthen, Vegard Sandøy; D'Imperio, Ludovica; Jensen, Christina Kjellerup; Nilsen, Solveig; Paquin, Karolina; Stenkewitz, Ute; Svoen, Mildrid Elvik; Winkler, Judith; Müller, Eike; Coulson, Stephen James

    2015-01-01

    The extreme polar environment creates challenges for its resident invertebrate communities and the stress tolerance of some of these animals has been examined over many years. However, although it is well appreciated that standard air temperature records often fail to describe accurately conditions...... experienced at microhabitat level, few studies have explicitly set out to link field conditions experienced by natural multispecies communities with the more detailed laboratory ecophysiological studies of a small number of 'representative' species. This is particularly the case during winter, when snow cover...... microhabitats. To assess survival of natural High Arctic soil invertebrate communities contained in soil and vegetation cores to natural winter temperature variations, the overwintering temperatures they experienced were manipulated by deploying cores in locations with varying snow accumulation: No Snow...

  8. Predicting/Extrapolating Active Layer Thickness Using Statistical Learning from Remotely-Sensed High-resolution Data in Arctic Permafrost Landscapes: Improved parameterization of Ice-wedge polygons from LiDAR/WorldView-2 derived metrics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gangodagamage, C.; Rowland, J. C.; Hubbard, S. S.; Brumby, S. P.; Liljedahl, A.; Wainwright, H. M.; Sloan, V. L.; Altmann, G.; Skurikhin, A. N.; Shelef, E.; Wilson, C. J.; Dafflon, B.; Peterson, J.; Ulrich, C.; Gibbs, A.; Tweedie, C. E.; Painter, S. L.; Wullschleger, S. D.

    2014-12-01

    Landscape attributes that vary with micro-topography, such as active layer thickness (ALT) in ice-wedge polygon ground, are labor-intensive to document in the field at large spatial extents, necessitating remotely sensed methods. Robust techniques to estimate ALT over large areas would improve understanding of coupled dynamics between permafrost, hydrology and landsurface processes, and improve simulations of the rate and timing of release of soil carbon from permafrost settings. In particular, it would provide critically needed data to parameterize and initialize soil property information in permafrost models and evaluate model predictions for large, complex domains. In this work, we demonstrate a new data fusion approach using high-resolution remotely sensed data for estimating cm scale ALT in a 5 km2 area of ice-wedge polygon terrain in Barrow, Alaska. We used topographic (directed distance, slope, wavelet-curvature) and spectral (NDVI) metrics derived from multisensor data obtained from LiDAR and WorldView-2 platforms to develop a simple data fusion algorithm using statistical machine learning. This algorithm was used to estimate ALT (2 m spatial resolution) across the study area. A comparison of the estimates with ground-based measurements documented the accuracy (±4.4 cm, r2=0.76) of the approach. Our findings suggest that the broad climatic variability associated with warming air temperature will govern the regional averages of ALT, but the smaller-scale variability could be controlled by local eco-hydro-geomorphic variables. This work demonstrates a path forward for mapping subsurface properties over large areas from readily available remote sensing data. Methodology of Mapping and Characterization Polygons:We convolve LiDAR elevations with multiscale wavelets and objectively chose appropriate scales to map interconnected troughs of high- and low-centered polygons. For the ice wedges where LiDAR surface expressions (troughs) are not well developed, we used

  9. Application of a Bayesian belief network for assessing the vulnerability of permafrost to thaw and implications for greenhouse gas production and climate feedback

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Highlights: • Permafrost areas are subject to accelerated rates of climate change leading to thaw. • Thaw will increase decomposition rates, exacerbating climate feedback. • We present a Bayesian belief network as a tool to examine interacting factors. • Organic soil (Hudson Plain region) and mineral soil (Arctic region) are contrasted. • Hudson Plain has contributed more to climate feedback than Arctic, but gap closing. - Abstract: Permafrost affected soils are an important component of the Boreal, Subarctic, and Arctic ecosystems of Canada. These areas are undergoing accelerated rates of climate change and have been identified as being at high risk for thaw. Thaw will expose soil to warmer conditions that support increased decomposition rates, which in turn will affect short- and long-term carbon storage capacity and result in feedback to global climate. We present a tool in the form of a Bayesian belief network influence diagram that will allow policymakers and managers to understand how interacting factors contribute to permafrost thaw and resulting effects on greenhouse gas (GHG) production and climate feedback. A theoretical example of expected responses from an organic soil typical of the Hudson Plain region and a mineral soil typical in the Arctic region demonstrate variability in responses across different combinations of climate and soil conditions within Canada. Based on the network results, the Arctic has historically had higher probability of thaw, but the Hudson Plain has had higher probability of producing carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). Under past and current climate conditions, the Hudson Plain has, on a per unit area basis, contributed more to climate feedback than the Arctic. However, the gap in contribution between the two regions is likely to decrease as thaw progresses more rapidly in the Arctic than Hudson Plain region, resulting in strong positive feedback to climate warming from both regions. The flexible framework

  10. Europeanization of sub-Arctic environments: soils based evidence from Norse Greenland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simpson, Ian; Collinge, Kirsty; Adderley, Paul; Wilson, Clare

    2014-05-01

    Europeanization of sub-Arctic environments by Norse communities in Greenland from the early 11th to mid 15th centuries AD varied spatially and temporally, with pastoral agriculture and associated homefield management at the heart of this transformation. This process is poorly understood and so from inner, middle and outer fjord areas of the Norse Eastern settlement in Greenland we contribute a chronologically constrained homefield soils and sediments-based historical ecodynamic analysis. Our findings demonstrate a range of homefield management activities in contrasting environmental and social settings including a) 'recipe effects' - the partitioning of turf, domestic animal manure and domestic waste resources used to manage soil fertility and the effects of eroded material deposition in the homefield; b) field irrigation management to overcome seasonal water limitations; and c) 'non-management' where homefield productivities relied on natural soil fertilities. These management practices created an anthrosols soil environment overlying and distinct from the podsolic environment at settlement. In doing so Norse settlers increased soil nutrient status relative to pre-settlement levels in some homefields, whilst nutrient levels in other areas of the homefield were allowed to decline, resulting in a situation of 'partial sustainability'. We demonstrate that in historical contexts, local 'partial sustainability' can lead to resilience amongst agricultural communities in the face of climatic deterioration, but that ultimately this may only be as effective as the broader social framework in which it is found.

  11. Assessing effects of permafrost thaw on C fluxes based on multiyear modeling across a permafrost thaw gradient at Stordalen, Sweden

    OpenAIRE

    Deng, J.; C Li; Frolking, S; Zhang, Y.; Bäckstrand, K.; Crill, P.

    2014-01-01

    Northern peatlands in permafrost regions contain a large amount of organic carbon (C) in the soil. Climate warming and associated permafrost degradation are expected to have significant impacts on the C balance of these ecosystems, but the magnitude is uncertain. We incorporated a permafrost model, Northern Ecosystem Soil Temperature (NEST), into a biogeochemical model, DeNitrification-DeComposition (DNDC), to model C dynamics in high-latitude peatland ecosystems. The enhanc...

  12. Recent ecohydrological change in relation to permafrost degradation in eastern Siberia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iijima, Y.; Fedorov, A. N.; Maximov, T. C.

    2010-12-01

    Recently, our continuous observations during the last decade revealed considerable evidence of abrupt land surface moistening and synchronized rapid soil warming within active layer and upper part of permafrost in the central Lena River basin in eastern Siberia. The present study focuses firstly on the linkage between atmospheric and land surface variations in eastern Siberia in terms of the hydrothermal variations within the surface layer of the permafrost and influence of storm track activity in Arctic during pre-winter and snow start season and moreover on the linkage between the permafrost degradation and ecohydrological change in this region. We utilized soil temperature, moisture and active layer thickness data from the observational network in the left and right banks of the Lena River in the Yakutsk area. Daily data of precipitation and snow depth and reanalysis dataset were used to analyze the large-scale atmospheric fields and determine storm-track activity. The peculiar feature of the warming is that the soil moisture correspondingly increases within the active layer observed at many sites in the Yakutsk area. This hydro-thermal change is primarily due to wetting climate conditions rather than atmospheric warming with abnormally large amounts of winter snow accumulation and summer precipitation in the central and southern part of the Lena River basin. The wetting conditions in eastern Siberia are likely due to enhancement of cyclonic anomaly over the Arctic Ocean and eastward propagation of storm activities in summer and early winter. Water vapor flux from Pacific side (Okhotsk sea) was enhanced in conjunction with the manifested precipitation over the eastern Siberia. As results, consecutive positive anomalies of winter snow accumulation and next summer precipitation which had seldom occurred in the second half of the last century in eastern Siberia effectively humidified land surface on the permafrost region after 2005 resulting abrupt soil warming in

  13. Why Permafrost Is Thawing, Not Melting

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grosse, Guido; Romanovsky, Vladimir; Nelson, Frederick E.; Brown, Jerry; Lewkowicz, Antoni G.

    2010-03-01

    As global climate change is becoming an increasingly important political and social issue, it is essential for the cryospheric and global change research communities to speak with a single voice when using basic terminology to communicate research results and describe underlying physical processes. Experienced science communicators have highlighted the importance of using the correct terms to communicate research results to the media and general public [e.g., Akasofu, 2008; Hassol, 2008]. The consequences of scientists using improper terminology are at best oversimplification, but they more likely involve misunderstandings of the facts by the public. A glaring example of scientifically incorrect terminology appearing frequently in scientific and public communication relates to reports on the degradation of permafrost. Numerous research papers have appeared in recent years, broadly echoed in the news media, describing the “melting of permafrost,” its effects in the Arctic, and its feedbacks on climate through the carbon cycle. Although permafrost researchers have attempted to distinguish between the appropriate term “permafrost thawing” and the erroneous “permafrost melting” [e.g., van Everdingen, 2005; French, 2002], the latter is still used widely. A Web-based search using the phrase “permafrost melting” reveals hundreds of occurrences, many from highly regarded news and scientific organizations, including Reuters, New Scientist, ABC, The Guardian, Discovery News, Smithsonian magazine, the National Science Foundation, and others.

  14. Pan-Arctic linkages between snow accumulation and growing-season air temperature, soil moisture and vegetation

    OpenAIRE

    K. A. Luus; Gel, Y.; J. C. Lin; Kelly, R. E. J.; C. R. Duguay

    2013-01-01

    Arctic field studies have indicated that the air temperature, soil moisture and vegetation at a site influence the quantity of snow accumulated, and that snow accumulation can alter growing-season soil moisture and vegetation. Climate change is predicted to bring about warmer air temperatures, greater snow accumulation and northward movements of the shrub and tree lines. Understanding the responses of northern environments to changes in s...

  15. Apparent Contradiction: Psychrotolerant Bacteria from Hydrocarbon-Contaminated Arctic Tundra Soils That Degrade Diterpenoids Synthesized by Trees

    OpenAIRE

    Yu, Zhongtang; Stewart, Gordon R.; Mohn, William W.

    2000-01-01

    Resin acids are tricyclic terpenoids occurring naturally in trees. We investigated the occurrence of resin acid-degrading bacteria on the Arctic tundra near the northern coast of Ellesmere Island (82°N, 62°W). According to most-probable-number assays, resin acid degraders were abundant (103 to 104 propagules/g of soil) in hydrocarbon-contaminated soils, but they were undetectable (

  16. Uncertainty assessment of a polygon database of soil organic carbon for greenhouse gas reporting in Canada’s Arctic and sub-arctic

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M.F. Hossain

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available Canada’s Arctic and sub-arctic consist 46% of Canada’s landmass and contain 45% of the total soil organic carbon (SOC. Pronounced climate warming and increasing human disturbances could induce the release of this SOC to the atmosphere as greenhouse gases. Canada is committed to estimating and reporting the greenhouse gases emissions and removals induced by land use change in the Arctic and sub-arctic. To assess the uncertainty of the estimate, we compiled a site-measured SOC database for Canada’s north, and used it to compare with a polygon database, that will be used for estimating SOC for the UNFCCC reporting. In 10 polygons where 3 or more measured sites were well located in each polygon, the site-averaged SOC content agreed with the polygon data within ±33% for the top 30 cm and within ±50% for the top 1 m soil. If we directly compared the SOC of the 382 measured sites with the polygon mean SOC, there was poor agreement: The relative error was less than 50% at 40% of the sites, and less than 100% at 68% of the sites. The relative errors were more than 400% at 10% of the sites. These comparisons indicate that the polygon database is too coarse to represent the SOC conditions for individual sites. The difference is close to the uncertainty range for reporting. The spatial database could be improved by relating site and polygon SOC data with more easily observable surface features that can be identified and derived from remote sensing imagery.

  17. Archaeal ammonia oxidizers respond to soil factors at smaller spatial scales than the overall archaeal community does in a high Arctic polar oasis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Banerjee, Samiran; Kennedy, Nabla; Richardson, Alan E; Egger, Keith N; Siciliano, Steven D

    2016-06-01

    Archaea are ubiquitous and highly abundant in Arctic soils. Because of their oligotrophic nature, archaea play an important role in biogeochemical processes in nutrient-limited Arctic soils. With the existing knowledge of high archaeal abundance and functional potential in Arctic soils, this study employed terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (t-RFLP) profiling and geostatistical analysis to explore spatial dependency and edaphic determinants of the overall archaeal (ARC) and ammonia-oxidizing archaeal (AOA) communities in a high Arctic polar oasis soil. ARC communities were spatially dependent at the 2-5 m scale (P diversity indices of both ARC and AOA communities showed high spatial dependency along the landscape and resembled scaling of edaphic factors. The spatial link between archaeal community structure and soil resources found in this study has implications for predictive understanding of archaea-driven processes in polar oases. PMID:27045904

  18. Suggested best practice for geotechnical characterisation of permafrost in the Nordic countries

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Agergaard, Frederik Ancker; Ingeman-Nielsen, Thomas; Foged, Niels Nielsen

    2012-01-01

    Even though permafrost is a specialty within Nordic geotechnical engineering, engineers and researcher will be faced with managing the consequences of projected climatic influences to construction design in permafrost areas. This requires the determination of the frozen soil engineering properties...

  19. Permafrost and organic layer interactions over a climate gradient in a discontinuous permafrost zone

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Permafrost is tightly coupled to the organic soil layer, an interaction that mediates permafrost degradation in response to regional warming. We analyzed changes in permafrost occurrence and organic layer thickness (OLT) using more than 3000 soil pedons across a mean annual temperature (MAT) gradient. Cause and effect relationships between permafrost probability (PF), OLT, and other topographic factors were investigated using structural equation modeling in a multi-group analysis. Groups were defined by slope, soil texture type, and shallow (<28 cm) versus deep organic (≥28 cm) layers. The probability of observing permafrost sharply increased by 0.32 for every 10-cm OLT increase in shallow OLT soils (OLTs) due to an insulation effect, but PF decreased in deep OLT soils (OLTd) by 0.06 for every 10-cm increase. Across the MAT gradient, PF in sandy soils varied little, but PF in loamy and silty soils decreased substantially from cooler to warmer temperatures. The change in OLT was more heterogeneous across soil texture types—in some there was no change while in others OLTs soils thinned and/or OLTd soils thickened at warmer locations. Furthermore, when soil organic carbon was estimated using a relationship with thickness, the average increase in carbon in OLTd soils was almost four times greater compared to the average decrease in carbon in OLTs soils across all soil types. If soils follow a trajectory of warming that mimics the spatial gradients found today, then heterogeneities of permafrost degradation and organic layer thinning and thickening should be considered in the regional carbon balance. (letter)

  20. Diversity of soil organisms in alpine and arctic soils in Europe. Review an research needs

    OpenAIRE

    Broll, Gabrielle

    1998-01-01

    The diversity of soil organisms and soil ecological processes in different mountain regions of Europe are reviewed. Detailed taxonomic studies on soil organisms have been made in the Alps and in Northern Europe since the end of the last century, however, there is a paucity of data from Southern Europe. Future studies could include the re-sampling of historic study sites to assess if there has been a change in the soil fauna and microorganisms. The role of key abiotic processes such as cryotur...

  1. Simulating the effects of soil organic nitrogen and grazing on arctic tundra vegetation dynamics on the Yamal Peninsula, Russia

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sustainability of tundra vegetation under changing climate on the Yamal Peninsula, northwestern Siberia, home to the world's largest area of reindeer husbandry, is of crucial importance to the local native community. An integrated investigation is needed for better understanding of the effects of soils, climate change and grazing on tundra vegetation in the Yamal region. In this study we applied a nutrient-based plant community model-ArcVeg-to evaluate how two factors (soil organic nitrogen (SON) levels and grazing) interact to affect tundra responses to climate warming across a latitudinal climatic gradient on the Yamal Peninsula. Model simulations were driven by field-collected soil data and expected grazing patterns along the Yamal Arctic Transect (YAT), within bioclimate subzones C (high arctic), D (northern low arctic) and E (southern low arctic). Plant biomass and NPP (net primary productivity) were significantly increased with warmer bioclimate subzones, greater soil nutrient levels and temporal climate warming, while they declined with higher grazing frequency. Temporal climate warming of 2 deg. C caused an increase of 665 g m-2 in total biomass at the high SON site in subzone E, but only 298 g m-2 at the low SON site. When grazing frequency was also increased, total biomass increased by only 369 g m-2 at the high SON site in contrast to 184 g m-2 at the low SON site in subzone E. Our results suggest that high SON can support greater plant biomass and plant responses to climate warming, while low SON and grazing may limit plant response to climate change. In addition to the first order factors (SON, bioclimate subzones, grazing and temporal climate warming), interactions among these significantly affect plant biomass and productivity in the arctic tundra and should not be ignored in regional scale studies.

  2. Integrated metagenomics and field measurements of polygon features at the NGEE-Arctic Barrow site

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tas, N.; Wu, Y.; Smith, L. J.; Ulrich, C.; Kneafsey, T. J.; Torn, M. S.; Hubbard, S. S.; Wullschleger, S. D.; Jansson, J.

    2013-12-01

    Arctic soils contain an estimated 12-42% of terrestrial carbon, most of which is sequestered in permafrost. High latitudes have experienced the greatest regional warming in recent decades and observations suggest that permafrost degradation is now commonly observed in the region. With increasing global temperatures, permafrost soils are becoming a potential source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Because of widespread permafrost thaw much of the soil organic matter may be available for rapid mineralization by microorganisms in the soil. Yet little is known about the vulnerability of permafrost and the potential response of soil microorganisms to availability of new carbon sources. On the Alaskan North Slope the collapse and rise of soil due to formation of ice wedges and permafrost thaw create distinct features called polygons. As part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment (NGEE) in the Arctic, we aimed to determine the distribution of microbial populations across a range of polygon features and to correlate the microbial data to GHG flux data. To determine the microbial community distribution and metabolic potential, we collected seasonally thawed active layer soil samples along two polygon transects (Site 0 and AB), including high-centered, transitional and low-centered polygons. Illumina HiSeq technology was used to sequence 16SrRNA genes and metagenomes from these active layer soils. The sequence data was correlated to GHG flux measurements and to environmental data from the site, including geophysical and geochemical soil characteristics. Both the microbial communities and the flux measurements varied along the polygon transect. Each polygon had a distinct microbial community structure; however, these microbial communities shared many metabolic capabilities. For example, many genes involved in degradation of chitin could be found all three polygons. Functional genes involved in methanogenesis and CH4-flux measurements

  3. Effect of permafrost thawing on the organic carbon and metal speciation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pokrovsky, Oleg; Shirokova, Liudmila; Kirpotin, Sergey; Dupre, Bernard

    2010-05-01

    Ongoing processes of the permafrost thawing in Western Siberia are likely to increase the surface of water reservoirs via forming so-called thermokarst (thaw) lakes, mobilizing the organic carbon from the soil pool to the rivers and, finally, to the ocean, and also modifying the fluxes of methane and CO2 to the atmosphere. In order to better understand the mechanisms of carbon mobilization and organic matter biodegradation during permafrost thawing and to establish the link between the organic carbon, microbial activity and geochemistry of major and trace elements in forming thermokarstic lakes, we performed a comparative multidisciplinary study on the biogeochemistry of organic carbon and bacterioplankton in lakes located in the northern part of Western Siberia. Towards this goal, fifteen lakes and three surface streams draining neogenic deposits on continuous permafrost ground of the Urengoy region. There is a sequence of ecosystem stages during evolution from peat thawing in depressions and palsa degradation due to permafrost subsidence in small ponds to large, km - size lakes subject to drainage and, finally, the khasyrei formation (remaining central parts of drained lakes). In the chronosequence of lake formation, there is a clear decrease of the relative proportion of bacterioplankton is the main process controlling the chemical composition of thaw lakes. We also show that, regardless of the stage of the thaw lake evolution, from small forming pond to large lake subjected to draining, there is always significant degradation of dissolved organic matter accompanied by permanent CO2 flux to the atmosphere. Since all lakes on the permafrost ground have thermokarst origin and thus similar to those studied in this work, one calculate the minimal flux of the CO2 to the atmosphere from 792,000 km² of all permafrost lake area, given that 65.5% of lakes to the north of the Arctic Circle occur in Russia. The annual input of CO2 from the earth surface to the atmosphere

  4. Evaluating the use of testate amoebae for palaeohydrological reconstruction in permafrost peatlands

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Swindles, Graeme T.; Amesbury, Matthew J.; Turner, T. Edward;

    2015-01-01

    The melting of high-latitude permafrost peatlands is a major concern due to a potential positive feedback on global climate change. We examine the ecology of testate amoebae in permafrost peatlands, based on sites in Sweden (similar to 200 km north of the Arctic Circle). Multivariate statistical ...

  5. Thermokarst and thermal erosion : degradation of Siberian ice-rich permafrost

    OpenAIRE

    Morgenstern, Anne

    2012-01-01

    Current climate warming is affecting arctic regions at a faster rate than the rest of the world. This has profound effects on permafrost that underlies most of the arctic land area. Permafrost thawing can lead to the liberation of considerable amounts of greenhouse gases as well as to significant changes in the geomorphology, hydrology, and ecology of the corresponding landscapes, which may in turn act as a positive feedback to the climate system. Vast areas of the east Siberian lowlands, whi...

  6. Characterisation of the Permafrost Carbon Pool

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuhry, P.; Grosse, G.; Harden, J.W.; Hugelius, G.; Koven, C.D.; Ping, C.-L.; Schirrmeister, L.; Tarnocai, C.

    2013-01-01

    The current estimate of the soil organic carbon (SOC) pool in the northern permafrost region of 1672 Petagrams (Pg) C is much larger than previously reported and needs to be incorporated in global soil carbon (C) inventories. The Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database (NCSCD), extended to include the range 0–300 cm, is now available online for wider use by the scientific community. An important future aim is to provide quantitative uncertainty ranges for C pool estimates. Recent studies have greatly improved understanding of the regional patterns, landscape distribution and vertical (soil horizon) partitioning of the permafrost C pool in the upper 3 m of soils. However, the deeper C pools in unconsolidated Quaternary deposits need to be better constrained. A general lability classification of the permafrost C pool should be developed to address potential C release upon thaw. The permafrost C pool and its dynamics are beginning to be incorporated into Earth System models, although key periglacial processes such as thermokarst still need to be properly represented to obtain a better quantification of the full permafrost C feedback on global climate change.

  7. Content and distribution of trace metals in pristine permafrost environments of Northeastern Siberia, Russia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Antcibor, I.; Eschenbach, A.; Kutzbach, L.; Bolshiyanov, D.; Pfeiffer, E.-M.

    2012-04-01

    Arctic regions are one of the most sensitive areas with respect to climatic changes and human impacts. Research is required to discover how the function of permafrost soils as a buffering system for metal pollutants could change in response to the predicted changes. The goal of this work is to determine the background levels of trace metals in the pristine arctic ecosystems of the Lena River Delta in Northeastern Siberia and to evaluate the possible effect of human impacts on this arctic region. The Lena River Delta represents areas with different dominating geomorphologic processes that can generally be divided between accumulation and erosion sites. Frequent changes of the river water level create different periods of sedimentation and result in the formation of stratified soils and sediment layers which are dominated either by mineral substrates with allochthonous organic matter or pure autochthonous peat. The deposited sediments that have formed the delta islands are mostly composed of sand fractions; therefore the buffering effects of clay materials can be neglected. Samoylov Island is representative of the south-central and eastern modern delta surfaces of the Lena River Delta and is selected as a pilot study site. We determined total element contents of Fe, Mn, Zn, Cd, Ni, Cu, As, Pb, Co and Hg in soil horizons from different polygonal elevated rims, polygonal depressed centers and the middle floodplain. High gravimetric concentrations (related to dry mass of soil material) of Mn and Fe are found within all soil profiles and vary from 0.14 to 1.39 g kg-1 and from 10.7 to 41.2 g kg-1, respectively. While the trace element concentrations do not exceed typical crustal abundances, the maximum values of most of the metals are observed within the soil profile situated at the middle floodplain. This finding suggests that apart from the parent material the second potential source of trace metals is due to allochthonous substance input during annual flooding of the

  8. Arctic soil development on a series of marine terraces on Central Spitsbergen, Svalbard: a combined geochronology, fieldwork and modelling approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    van der Meij, W. M.; Temme, A. J. A. M.; de Kleijn, C. M. F. J. J.; Reimann, T.; Heuvelink, G. B. M.; Zwoliński, Z.; Rachlewicz, G.; Rymer, K.; Sommer, M.

    2015-12-01

    Soils in Arctic regions currently enjoy significant attention because of their potentially substantial changes under climate change. It is important to quantify the natural processes and rates of development of these soils, to better define and determine current and future changes. Specifically, there is a need to quantify the interactions between various landscape and soil forming processes that together have resulted in current soil properties. Soil chronosequences are ideal natural experiments for this purpose. In this contribution, we combine field observations, luminescence dating and soil-landscape modelling to test and improve our understanding about Arctic soil formation. Our field site is a Holocene chronosequence of gravelly raised marine terraces in central Spitsbergen. Field observations suggest that soil-landscape development is mainly driven by weathering, silt translocation, aeolian deposition and rill erosion. Spatial soil heterogeneity is mainly caused by soil age, morphological position and depth under the surface. Substantial organic matter accumulation only occurs in few, badly drained positions. Luminescence dating confirmed existing radiocarbon dating of the terraces, which are between ~ 3.6 and ~ 14.4 ka old. Observations and ages were used to parameterize soil landscape evolution model LORICA, which was subsequently used to test the hypothesis that our field-observed processes indeed dominate soil-landscape development. Model results indicate the importance of aeolian deposition as a source of fine material in the subsoil for both sheltered beach trough positions and barren beach ridge positions. Simulated overland erosion was negligible. Therefore, an un-simulated process must be responsible for creating the observed erosion rills. Dissolution and physical weathering both play a major role. However, by using present day soil observations, relative physical and chemical weathering could not be disentangled. Discrepancies between field and

  9. Coupled Northern Hemisphere permafrost-ice sheet evolution over the last glacial cycle

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Willeit

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available Permafrost influences a number of processes which are relevant for local and global climate. For example, it is well known that permafrost plays an important role in global carbon and methane cycles. Less is known about the interaction between permafrost and ice sheets. In this study a permafrost module is included in the Earth system model CLIMBER-2 and the coupled Northern Hemisphere (NH permafrost-ice sheet evolution over the last glacial cycle is explored. The model performs generally well at reproducing present-day permafrost extent and thickness. Modelled permafrost thickness is sensitive to the values of ground porosity, thermal conductivity and geothermal heat flux. Permafrost extent at the last glacial maximum (LGM agrees well with reconstructions and previous modelling estimates. Present-day permafrost thickness is far from equilibrium over deep permafrost regions. Over Central Siberia and the Arctic Archipelago permafrost is presently up to 200–500 m thicker than it would be at equilibrium. In these areas, present-day permafrost depth strongly depends on the past climate history and simulations indicate that deep permafrost has a memory of surface temperature variations going back to at least 800 kya. Over the last glacial cycle permafrost has a relatively modest impact on simulated NH ice sheet volume except at LGM, when including permafrost increases ice volume by about 15 m sea level equivalent. This is explained by a delayed melting of the ice base from below by the geothermal heat flux when the ice sheet sits on a porous sediment layer and permafrost has to be melted first. Permafrost affects ice sheet dynamics only when ice extends over areas covered by thick sediments, which is the case at LGM.

  10. Permafrost as palaeo-environmental archive - potentials and limitations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schirrmeister, L.; Wetterich, S.; Meyer, H.; Grosse, G.; Schwamborn, G.; Siegert, C.

    2009-04-01

    temperatures, mean winter temperatures, mean Juli temperatures, precipitation, humidity, soil climate and chemistry, hydrology and hydrochemistry of waters). The general potential of permafrost archives includes spatial (circumarctic, high arctic to boreal zones) and temporal (Mid Pleistocene to modern) environmental gradients. Lateral cross sections contain information about permafrost degradation during interglacial periods, the aggradation of ice-rich sequences during stadial and interstadial periods, and extreme changes in periglacial hydrology during the late Quaternary. The spatial reconstruction of ancient landscapes is possible by detailed study of kilometer-long coastal exposures. Temporally relative high resolution (about 50 years) isotope data from ice wedges reflect the Late Pleistocene to Holocene climate transition. Using transfer functions for pollen, plant macro remains or chironomids, the numerical estimation of palaeo-climate data (temperature and precipitation) is possible. The limitations of permafrost archives are the frequent lack of continuous sequences due to thermokarst or thermo-erosion events. Local stratigraphies are sometimes difficult to correlate on a regional scale because of permafrost degradation and neotectonic influence on the accumulative/erosive environment in some regions. Until now there are still uncertainties for comparing different geochronological methods, some of them related to unknown influences of permafrost processes on chemical and physical parameters important to the age determination technique. Due to strong cryoturbation patterns and sometimes challenging sampling situations on near-vertical frozen exposures the geochronological resolution in permafrost sequences is usually lower than in lacustrine sequences or glacial ice cores. Eventually, as for any other archive, we need to consider the effect of local versus regional signals derived from the palaeo-ecological interpretation of fossil records.

  11. Using ground data from the Global Terrestrial Network of Permafrost (GTN-P) for the Evaluation of the ESA DUE Permafrost remote sensing derived Products Land Surface Temperature and ASCAT Surface State Flag

    OpenAIRE

    Kirsten Elger; Birgit Heim; Annett Bartsch; Christoph Paulik; Claude Duguay; Sonia Hachem; Aiman Soliman; Hugues Lantuit; Julia Boike; Frank Martin Seifert

    2012-01-01

    The ESA Data User Element (DUE) Permafrost project provides a mid-to-long-term Earth observation service for permafrost remote sensing derived applications for Northern high-latitudinal permafrost areas. The DUE Permafrost remote sensing products are land surface temperature, surface soil moisture, frozen/thawed surface status, elevation, land cover and surface waters. A major component is the evaluation of the DUE Permafrost products to test their scientific validity for high-latitude per...

  12. Changes in microbial communities along redox gradients in polygonized Arctic wet tundra soils

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lipson, David A.; Raab, Theodore K.; Parker , Melanie; Kelley , Scott T.; Brislawn, Colin J.; Jansson, Janet K.

    2015-07-21

    This study investigated how microbial community structure and diversity varied with depth and topography in ice wedge polygons of wet tundra of the Arctic Coastal Plain in northern Alaska, and what soil variables explain these patterns. We observed strong changes in community structure and diversity with depth, and more subtle changes between areas of high and low topography, with the largest differences apparent near the soil surface. These patterns are most strongly correlated with redox gradients (measured using the ratio of reduced Fe to total Fe in acid extracts as a proxy): conditions grew more reducing with depth and were most oxidized in shallow regions of polygon rims. Organic matter and pH also changed with depth and topography, but were less effective predictors of the microbial community structure and relative abundance of specific taxa. Of all other measured variables, lactic acid concentration was the best, in combination with redox, for describing the microbial community. We conclude that redox conditions are the dominant force in shaping microbial communities in this landscape. Oxygen and other electron acceptors allowed for the greatest diversity of microbes: at depth the community was reduced to a simpler core of anaerobes, dominated by fermenters (Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes).

  13. Changes in microbial communities along redox gradients in polygonized Arctic wet tundra soils

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lipson, David A.; Raab, Theodore K.; Parker , Melanie; Kelley , Scott T.; Brislawn, Colin J.; Jansson, Janet K.

    2015-08-01

    Summary This study investigated how microbial community structure and diversity varied with depth and topography in ice wedge polygons of wet tundra of the Arctic Coastal Plain in northern Alaska and what soil variables explain these patterns. We observed strong changes in community structure and diversity with depth, and more subtle changes between areas of high and low topography, with the largest differences apparent near the soil surface. These patterns are most strongly correlated with redox gradients (measured using the ratio of reduced Fe to total Fe in acid extracts as a proxy): conditions grew more reducing with depth and were most oxidized in shallow regions of polygon rims. Organic matter and pH also changed with depth and topography but were less effective predictors of the microbial community structure and relative abundance of specific taxa. Of all other measured variables, lactic acid concentration was the best, in combination with redox, for describing the microbial community. We conclude that redox conditions are the dominant force in shaping microbial communities in this landscape. Oxygen and other electron acceptors allowed for the greatest diversity of microbes: at depth the community was reduced to a simpler core of anaerobes,

  14. Characterizing thermo-erosional landforms in Siberian ice-rich permafrost. Morphometric investigations in the Lena Delta using high-resolution satellite imagery and digital elevation models

    OpenAIRE

    Stettner, Samuel / SS

    2015-01-01

    Rapid warming of the Arctic promotes widespread degradation of permafrost and affects the stability of arctic ecosystems. Thermokarst and thermal erosion are two major processes of permafrost degradation. The spatial extent of thermo-erosional processes and related landforms (e.g. gullies and valleys) and their impact on the widespread degradation of permafrost remains not well quantified. Addressing this research gap, this study is using a combination of field data, high-resolution satellite...

  15. Natural Radioactivity Accumulated in the Arctic from Long-range Atmospheric Transport - Observations in Canadian Monitoring Stations

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Chen, Jing; Zhang, Weihua [Radiation Protection Bureau, Health Canada, 775 Brookfield Road, Ottawa K1A 1C1 (Canada)

    2014-07-01

    In the environment, the main sources of naturally occurring radionuclides come from radionuclides in the uranium decay series. Activity concentrations of uranium decay series radionuclides may vary considerably from place to place depending on the geological characteristics at the location. Their releases to the atmosphere are mainly through radon ({sup 222}Rn), a radioactive noble gas occurring naturally as an indirect decay product of uranium in soils and rocks. Due to the abundance of uranium, radon continuously emanates from continental land masses. With radon as the main source of naturally occurring radioactivity in the environment, one would think that the Arctic should be an area of low background radiation, because a considerable area of the Arctic is covered by glaciers and permafrost, and radon emanation rate has been reported to be negligible from those glacier and permafrost areas. However, available data have shown the opposite. The elevated level of naturally occurring radioactivity in the Arctic is due to natural sources outside of the Arctic, mainly through long-range atmospheric transport of radon and radon progeny. In some cases, natural radioactivity can accumulate to relatively high levels and become a health concern or a limiting factor of country food consumption. By definition, contaminants are undesirable substances which can cause harm to the environment, the biota, and humans. We can call these naturally accumulating radiological burdens to the Arctic 'natural contaminants' to distinguish them from the traditional meaning of contamination, the 'artificial contaminants' which are attributable to industrial or man-made sources. This paper reviews information available in the literature, analyses long-term atmospheric monitoring data in the Canadian high Arctic, sub-Arctic and mid-latitude sites, and provides discussion on research needed to address questions, such as how heavily the Arctic has been impacted by the

  16. Natural Radioactivity Accumulated in the Arctic from Long-range Atmospheric Transport - Observations in Canadian Monitoring Stations

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    In the environment, the main sources of naturally occurring radionuclides come from radionuclides in the uranium decay series. Activity concentrations of uranium decay series radionuclides may vary considerably from place to place depending on the geological characteristics at the location. Their releases to the atmosphere are mainly through radon (222Rn), a radioactive noble gas occurring naturally as an indirect decay product of uranium in soils and rocks. Due to the abundance of uranium, radon continuously emanates from continental land masses. With radon as the main source of naturally occurring radioactivity in the environment, one would think that the Arctic should be an area of low background radiation, because a considerable area of the Arctic is covered by glaciers and permafrost, and radon emanation rate has been reported to be negligible from those glacier and permafrost areas. However, available data have shown the opposite. The elevated level of naturally occurring radioactivity in the Arctic is due to natural sources outside of the Arctic, mainly through long-range atmospheric transport of radon and radon progeny. In some cases, natural radioactivity can accumulate to relatively high levels and become a health concern or a limiting factor of country food consumption. By definition, contaminants are undesirable substances which can cause harm to the environment, the biota, and humans. We can call these naturally accumulating radiological burdens to the Arctic 'natural contaminants' to distinguish them from the traditional meaning of contamination, the 'artificial contaminants' which are attributable to industrial or man-made sources. This paper reviews information available in the literature, analyses long-term atmospheric monitoring data in the Canadian high Arctic, sub-Arctic and mid-latitude sites, and provides discussion on research needed to address questions, such as how heavily the Arctic has been impacted by the accumulation of naturally

  17. Determining the Diversity and Species Abundance Patterns in Arctic Soils using Rational Methods for Exploring Microbial Diversity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ovreas, L.; Quince, C.; Sloan, W.; Lanzen, A.; Davenport, R.; Green, J.; Coulson, S.; Curtis, T.

    2012-12-01

    Arctic microbial soil communities are intrinsically interesting and poorly characterised. We have inferred the diversity and species abundance distribution of 6 Arctic soils: new and mature soil at the foot of a receding glacier, Arctic Semi Desert, the foot of bird cliffs and soil underlying Arctic Tundra Heath: all near Ny-Ålesund, Spitsbergen. Diversity, distribution and sample sizes were estimated using the rational method of Quince et al., (Isme Journal 2 2008:997-1006) to determine the most plausible underlying species abundance distribution. A log-normal species abundance curve was found to give a slightly better fit than an inverse Gaussian curve if, and only if, sequencing error was removed. The median estimates of diversity of operational taxonomic units (at the 3% level) were 3600-5600 (lognormal assumed) and 2825-4100 (inverse Gaussian assumed). The nature and origins of species abundance distributions are poorly understood but may yet be grasped by observing and analysing such distributions in the microbial world. The sample size required to observe the distribution (by sequencing 90% of the taxa) varied between ~ 106 and ~105 for the lognormal and inverse Gaussian respectively. We infer that between 5 and 50 GB of sequencing would be required to capture 90% or the metagenome. Though a principle components analysis clearly divided the sites into three groups there was a high (20-45%) degree of overlap in between locations irrespective of geographical proximity. Interestingly, the nearest relatives of the most abundant taxa at a number of most sites were of alpine or polar origin. Samples plotted on first two principal components together with arbitrary discriminatory OTUs

  18. Ancient bacteria in permafrost soils fact or artefact? Considerations in recovering microbial DNA from geological ancient settings

    Science.gov (United States)

    Willerslev, E.

    2003-04-01

    Several recent reports claim that prokaryotic genetic sequences or viable cultures can survive for millions of years in geological settings. If substantiated, these findings could fundamentally alter views about bacterial physiology, ecology and evolution. However, both the culturing of microbes and the amplification of ancient DNA molecules from fossil remains are beset with difficulties. First, theoretical and empirical studies have shown that small DNA fragments (100 200 bp) do not survive in the geosphere for more than 104 years in temperate environments and 105 years in colder ones due to hydrolytic and oxidative damage. Therefore, the revivals of dormant bacteria with no active DNA repair from remains hundreds of thousands to millions of years old is, from a theoretical point, expected to be difficult, if not impossible. Second, the no specificity of the media used to culture micro organisms, as well as the great sensitivity of PCR, makes the risk of contamination with contemporary ubiquitous microbial cells and exogenous DNA molecules extremely high. Contamination poses risks at all stages of sample processing (e.g.) within the samples themselves, in the chemical reagents, on laboratory disposables or through the air. The high risk of contamination strongly suggests the need for standardized procedures within the field such as independent replication of results. This criterion of authenticity has not yet been full field in any of the studies claiming million year old microbial cultures or DNA. In order to tests the long-term survival of ancient bacteria DNA a study on permafrost was conducted using ancient DNA precautions, controls and criteria. Permafrost must be considered among the most promising environments for long term DNA survival due to its constant low temperatures (-10C to 12C Siberian or 20C Antarctica) and high cell numbers (107). We found that bacteria DNA could reproducibly be obtained from samples dated up to 300-400,000 years B.P. but not

  19. Modelling unfrozen water content in a silty clay permafrost deposit

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Agergaard, Frederik Ancker; Ingeman-Nielsen, Thomas

    2011-01-01

    permafrost core of material properties similar to the test soil. The calibration for 5°C is seen to make a good fit to the permafrost core data. Further experiments should be performed in order to extend the range of water contents tested and hence the range of validity of the calibration equation.......The mechanical properties of both unfrozen soils and permafrost soils are influenced by the amount of unfrozen water in the pore space. When dealing with foundation engineering in permafrost areas it is essential to estimate the unfrozen water content (wu). This paper deals with the establishing of...... a calibration equation for determining the unfrozen water content of a Greenlandic silty clay permafrost deposit. Calibration experiments have been conducted for water contents in the interval 0 – 10 % at both 5 °C and 22 °C. Calibration equations are verified against permittivity data from a...

  20. Carbon Mineralization and Nitrogen Transformation During a Long Term Permafrost Incubation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salmon, V. G.; Mack, M. C.; Schuur, E. A. G.

    2014-12-01

    As the limiting nutrient in warming high latitude ecosystems, nitrogen (N) is expected to play a key role in determining the future balance between permafrost carbon (C) losses and increased C sequestration by plants. During decomposition, nitrogen previously locked in soil organic matter is released into the soil solution in the form of dissolved organic molecules following depolymerization by extracellular enzymes. These dissolved organic forms of N can be consumed by the soil microbial community and incorporated in their biomass or mineralized if they are in excess of microbial demand. Once mineralized and released into the soil solutions, N can be lost from the soil system via denitrification. In well drained, low N tussock tundra, however, this pathway is unlikely. Dissolved inorganic N (DIN) and dissolved organic N (DON) are both biologically available to arctic plants. Understanding how the size of these pools changes with depth and continuing decomposition is therefore crucial to projecting the C balance of high latitude systems in a warmer future. N transformations associated with decomposition may differ greatly in surface soils, where a large labile C pool is present and soil has a high C:N ratio, versus deep soils that have a relatively small labile C pool and a lower C:N ratio. In this experiment, the relationship between N availability and C release from permafrost soils was addressed with a 225 day soil incubation performed at 15°C. Seven soil cores were collected from undisturbed, well drained tussock tundra and were partitioned into ten centimeter depth intervals to a depth of 80 cm. Carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes were measured throughout the incubation period and were used to assess cumulative carbon losses and determine the size of the labile C pool. Destructive harvests at days 16,34,55,83, 143 and 225 were performed and pools of plant available DON and DIN were measured using 2M KCl extractions. At day 225 the microbial biomass N pool was also

  1. Archaeal Ammonia Oxidizers and Total Production of N2O and CH4 in Arctic Polar Desert Soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brummell, Martin; Robert, Stan; Bodrossy, Levente; Abell, Guy; Siciliano, Steven

    2014-05-01

    Ammonia-oxidizing Archaea are abundant in Arctic desert soils and appear to be responsible for the majority of ammonia oxidation activity in these cold and dry ecosystems. We used DNA microarrays to characterize the microbial community consisting of ammonia-oxidizing Archaea and methane-oxidizing Bacteria in three polar deserts from Ellesmere Island, Canada. Patterns of net greenhouse gas production, including production and consumption of CO2, CH4, and N2O were compared with community relative richness and abundance in a structural equation model that tested causal hypotheses relating edaphic factors to the biological community and net gas production. We extracted and amplified DNA sequences from soils collected at three polar deserts on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian high Arctic, and characterized the community structure using DNA microarrays. The functional genes Archaeal AmoA and pMMO were used to compare patterns of biological community structure to the observed patterns of net greenhouse gas production from those soils, as measured in situ. Edaphic factors including water content, bulk density, pH, and nutrient levels such as nitrate, ammonia, and extractable organic carbon were also measured for each soil sample, resulting in a highly multivariate dataset. Both concentration and net production of the three greenhouse gases were correlated, suggesting underlying causal factors. Edaphic factors such as soil moisture and pH had important, direct effects on the community composition of both functional groups of microorganisms, and pH further had a direct effect on N2O production. The structural relationship between the examined microbial communities and net production of both N2O and CH4 was strong and consistent between varying model structures and matrices, providing high confidence that this model relationship accurately reflects processes occurring in Arctic desert soils.

  2. Crossing the Threshold - Reviewed Evidence for Regime Shifts in Arctic Terrestrial Ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mård Karlsson, J.; Destouni, G.; Peterson, G.; Gordon, L.

    2009-12-01

    The Arctic is rapidly changing, and the Arctic terrestrial ecosystems may respond to changing conditions in different ways. We review the evidence of regime shifts (ecosystem change from one set of mutually reinforcing feedbacks to another) in Arctic terrestrial ecosystems in relation to the hydrological cycle, as part of a larger interdisciplinary research project on Pan-Arctic ice-water-biogeochemical system responses and social-ecological resilience effects in a warming climate, which has in turn been part of the International Polar Year project Arctic-HYDRA. Such regime shifts may have implications for the Earth system as a whole, through changes in water flows and energy balance that yield feedbacks to hydrology and the local and global climate. Because the presence or absence of permafrost is a main control on local hydrological processes in the Arctic, we use the ecological response to permafrost warming to define three types of regime shifts: 1) Conversion of aquatic to terrestrial ecosystems due to draining of lakes and wetlands caused by permafrost degradation and thermokarst processes, which may have a large impact on local people and animals that depend on these ecosystems for food, domestic needs, and habitat, and on climate as the water conditions influence the direction of CO2 exchange. 2) Conversion of terrestrial to aquatic ecosystems as forests are being replaced by wet sedge meadows, bogs, and thermokarst ponds that favor aquatic birds and mammals, as thawing permafrost atop continuous permafrost undermines and destroys the root zone, leading to collapse and death of the trees. 3) Shifts in terrestrial ecosystems due to transition from tundra to shrubland and/or forest, caused by warming of air and soil, resulting in increased surface energy exchanges and albedo, which may in turn feed back to enhanced warming at the local-regional scale. We compare the impact, scale and key processes for each of these regime shifts, and assess the degree to

  3. Arctic terrestrial hydrology: A synthesis of processes, regional effects, and research challenges

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bring, A.; Fedorova, I.; Dibike, Y.; Hinzman, L.; Mârd, J.; Mernild, S. H.; Prowse, T.; Semenova, O.; Stuefer, S. L.; Woo, M.-K.

    2016-03-01

    Terrestrial hydrology is central to the Arctic system and its freshwater circulation. Water transport and water constituents vary, however, across a very diverse geography. In this paper, which is a component of the Arctic Freshwater Synthesis, we review the central freshwater processes in the terrestrial Arctic drainage and how they function and change across seven hydrophysiographical regions (Arctic tundra, boreal plains, shield, mountains, grasslands, glaciers/ice caps, and wetlands). We also highlight links between terrestrial hydrology and other components of the Arctic freshwater system. In terms of key processes, snow cover extent and duration is generally decreasing on a pan-Arctic scale, but snow depth is likely to increase in the Arctic tundra. Evapotranspiration will likely increase overall, but as it is coupled to shifts in landscape characteristics, regional changes are uncertain and may vary over time. Streamflow will generally increase with increasing precipitation, but high and low flows may decrease in some regions. Continued permafrost thaw will trigger hydrological change in multiple ways, particularly through increasing connectivity between groundwater and surface water and changing water storage in lakes and soils, which will influence exchange of moisture with the atmosphere. Other effects of hydrological change include increased risks to infrastructure and water resource planning, ecosystem shifts, and growing flows of water, nutrients, sediment, and carbon to the ocean. Coordinated efforts in monitoring, modeling, and processing studies at various scales are required to improve the understanding of change, in particular at the interfaces between hydrology, atmosphere, ecology, resources, and oceans.

  4. Diagnostic and model dependent uncertainty of simulated Tibetan permafrost area

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    W. Wang

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available We perform a land surface model intercomparison to investigate how the simulation of permafrost area on the Tibetan Plateau (TP varies between 6 modern stand-alone land surface models (CLM4.5, CoLM, ISBA, JULES, LPJ-GUESS, UVic. We also examine the variability in simulated permafrost area and distribution introduced by 5 different methods of diagnosing permafrost (from modeled monthly ground temperature, mean annual ground and air temperatures, air and surface frost indexes. There is good agreement (99–135 x 104 km2 between the two diagnostic methods based on air temperature which are also consistent with the best current observation-based estimate of actual permafrost area (101 x 104 km2. However the uncertainty (1–128 x 104 km2 using the three methods that require simulation of ground temperature is much greater. Moreover simulated permafrost distribution on TP is generally only fair to poor for these three methods (diagnosis of permafrost from monthly, and mean annual ground temperature, and surface frost index, while permafrost distribution using air temperature based methods is generally good. Model evaluation at field sites highlights specific problems in process simulations likely related to soil texture specification and snow cover. Models are particularly poor at simulating permafrost distribution using definition that soil temperature remains at or below 0°C for 24 consecutive months, which requires reliable simulation of both mean annual ground temperatures and seasonal cycle, and hence is relatively demanding. Although models can produce better permafrost maps using mean annual ground temperature and surface frost index, analysis of simulated soil temperature profiles reveals substantial biases. The current generation of land surface models need to reduce biases in simulated soil temperature profiles before reliable contemporary permafrost maps and predictions of changes in permafrost distribution can be made for the Tibetan

  5. Diversity of soil organisms in alpine and arctic soils in Europe. Review an research needs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Broll, Gabrielle

    1998-12-01

    Full Text Available The diversity of soil organisms and soil ecological processes in different mountain regions of Europe are reviewed. Detailed taxonomic studies on soil organisms have been made in the Alps and in Northern Europe since the end of the last century, however, there is a paucity of data from Southern Europe. Future studies could include the re-sampling of historic study sites to assess if there has been a change in the soil fauna and microorganisms. The role of key abiotic processes such as cryoturbation should be quantified and further research should focus on identifying indicator organisms, keystone species and functional groups. In addition, studies on soil organic matter and particularly on humus forms, the products of soil ecological processes should be encouraged. Ecotones, where the influence of spatial heterogeneity on soil biodiversity is likely to be particularly pronounced, appear to be the most rewarding for such studies.

    [fr] La diversité des organismes du sol et les différents processus écologiques ayant lié dans les diverses régions de montagne en Europe sont détaillés. Des études approfondies sur la taxonomie des organismes du sol ont été développées dans les Alpes et en Europe du Nord depuis la fin du siècle dernier, mais par contre il y a peu de données sur l'Europe du Sud. Dans l'avenir on pourrait re-étudier les sites bien connus de façon à savoir s'il y a eu de changements dans la faune et les microorganismes du sol. Il faudrait quantifier le rôle des processus abiotiques comme la cryoturbation, identifier les organismes indicateurs, les espèces-clé et les groupes fonctionnels. Il est aussi indispensable de développer les études sur la matière organique et en particulier les types d'humus, en tant que résultat des processus écologiques du sol. Les ecotones, dans lesquels l'influence de l’heterogeneité spatiale sur la biodiversité du sol est particulièrement prononcée, semblent les plus

  6. International Field School on Permafrost: Yenisei, Russian Federation - 2013

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nyland, K. E.; Streletskiy, D. A.; Grebenets, V. I.

    2013-12-01

    The International Field School on Permafrost was established in Russia as part of International Polar Year activities. The first course was offered in 2007 in Northwestern Siberia and attracted students from Russia, Germany, and the United States. Over the past seven years undergraduate and graduate students representing eight different countries in North America, Europe, and Asia have participated in the field school. This annual summer field course visits different regions of the Russian Arctic each year, but the three course foci remain consistent, which are to make in depth examinations of, 1) natural permafrost characteristics and conditions, 2) field techniques and applications, and 3) engineering practices and construction on permafrost. During these field courses students participate in excursions to local museums and exhibitions, meet with representatives from local administrations, mining and construction industries, and learn field techniques for complex permafrost investigations, including landscape and soil descriptions, temperature monitoring, active-layer measurements, cryostratigraphy, and more. During these courses students attend an evening lecture series by their professors and also give presentations on various regionally oriented topics of interest, such as the local geology, climate, or historical development of the region. This presentation will relate this summer's (July 2013) field course which took place in the Yenisei River region of central Siberia. The course took place along a bioclimatic transect from south to north along the Yenisei River and featured extended stays in the cities of Igarka and Noril'sk. This year's students (undergraduate, masters, and one PhD student) represented universities in the United States, Canada, and the Russian Federation. The organization of this course was accomplished through the cooperation of The George Washington University's Department of Geography and the Lomonosov Moscow State University

  7. Shaping a Sustainability Strategy for the Arctic

    OpenAIRE

    Azcarate, Juan; Balfors, Berit; Destouni, Georgia; Bring, Arvid

    2011-01-01

    The development of the Arctic is shaped by the opportunities and constraints brought by climate change and technological advances. In the Arctic, warmer climate is expected to affect ecosystems, local communities and infrastructure due to a combination of effects like reduced sea ice and glaciers, thawing permafrost and increased frequency of floods. Less ice and new technologies mean openings to exploit natural resources in the Arctic. Fishing, mining, hydrocarbon extraction and vessel trans...

  8. Artificial Warming and Rain Addition Increase Phenol Oxidase Activity in Arctic Soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kang, H.; Seo, J.; Jang, I.; Lee, Y. K.

    2014-12-01

    Artic tundra is one of the largest carbon stocks, of which amount is estimated up to 1,600 Pg. Global climate change models predict surface temperature rise and higher precipitation during summer in Arctic regions, raising concerns about faster decomposition of organic carbon and consequent releases of CO2, CH4 and DOC. Microorganisms are directly involved in decomposition process by releasing various extracellular enzymes. In particular, phenol oxidase was noted to play a key role because it is related to dynamics of highly recalcitrant carbon, which often represents a rate-limiting step of overall decomposition. In this study, we monitored phenol oxidase activity, hydrolases (β-glucosidase, cellobiohydrolase, N-acetylglucosaminidase and aminopeptidase), microbial abundance (qPCR) and chemical properties (δ13C and δ15N signatures) of tundra soils exposed to artificial warming and rain addition, by employing a passive chamber method in Cambridge Bay, Canada. Warming and rain addition combinedly increased phenol oxidase activity while no such changes were discernible for other hydrolases. Stable isotope signature indicates that warming induced water stress to the ecosystem and that nitrogen availability may be enhanced, which is partially responsible for the changes in enzyme activities. A short-term warming (2 years) may not accelerate mineralization of easily decomposable carbon, but may affect phenol oxidase which has the longer-term influence on recalcitrant carbon.

  9. Evidence for nonuniform permafrost degradation after fire in boreal landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Minsley, Burke J.; Pastick, Neal J.; Wylie, Bruce K.; Brown, Dana R. N.; Andy Kass, M.

    2016-02-01

    Fire can be a significant driver of permafrost change in boreal landscapes, altering the availability of soil carbon and nutrients that have important implications for future climate and ecological succession. However, not all landscapes are equally susceptible to fire-induced change. As fire frequency is expected to increase in the high latitudes, methods to understand the vulnerability and resilience of different landscapes to permafrost degradation are needed. We present a combination of multiscale remote sensing, geophysical, and field observations that reveal details of both near-surface (1 m) impacts of fire on permafrost. Along 11 transects that span burned-unburned boundaries in different landscape settings within interior Alaska, subsurface electrical resistivity and nuclear magnetic resonance data indicate locations where permafrost appears to be resilient to disturbance from fire, areas where warm permafrost conditions exist that may be most vulnerable to future change, and also areas where permafrost has thawed. High-resolution geophysical data corroborate remote sensing interpretations of near-surface permafrost and also add new high-fidelity details of spatial heterogeneity that extend from the shallow subsurface to depths of about 10 m. Results show that postfire impacts on permafrost can be variable and depend on multiple factors such as fire severity, soil texture, soil moisture, and time since fire.

  10. Assessing effects of permafrost thaw on C fluxes based on a multi-year modeling across a permafrost thaw gradient at Stordalen, Sweden

    OpenAIRE

    Deng, J.; C Li; Frolking, S; Zhang, Y.; Bäckstrand, K.; Crill, P.

    2014-01-01

    Northern peatlands in permafrost regions contain large amount of organic carbon (C) in the soil. Climate warming and associated permafrost degradation are expected to have significant impacts on the C balance of these ecosystems, but the magnitude is uncertain. We incorporated a permafrost model, Northern Ecosystem Soil Temperature (NEST), into a biogeochemical model, DeNitrification-DeComposition (DNDC), to model C dynamics in high-latitude peatland ecosyst...

  11. Reducing Uncertainty in Methane Emission Estimates from Permafrost Environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christensen, T. R.; Mastepanov, M.; Lund, M.; Tamstorf, M. P.; Parmentier, F. J. W.; Rysgård, S.; Lilienthal, A. J.

    2014-12-01

    Depending on factors including temperature, snow duration and soil moisture conditions, emissions of the greenhouse gas methane from permafrost wetlands can vary by factors of 2-4 between years. This variability is clear in atmospheric measurements of the gas, but a lack of ground-based data is making it hard to locate the methane sources responsible. Methane monitoring in the Arctic is expensive, requiring sophisticated analysis equipment such as power requiring laser spectrometer analysis made in remote places. This also puts demands on the logistics where infrastructures and field stations that offer line-power in the field are in high demand but very rarely found. Research projects therefore typically focus on one site, and run for a year or two. Longer term monitoring programs, which document climate, hydrology, phenology and population dynamics of birds and mammals, rarely include carbon fluxes since it is technically challenging to measure. One that does is the Greenland Ecosystem Monitoring program that started at the Zackenberg research station, which has recorded substantial methane flux variations for almost a decade in North-east Greenland. Such multi-year studies show that, while there is some connection between the amounts of methane released from one year to the next, accurate forecasting is difficult. They also highlight the importance of extending monitoring beyond the growing period into the frozen season, both in spring and autumn. A spatially distributed network of long-term monitoring stations in the Arctic, with consistency between measurements, is badly needed to improve this situation. Productive methane 'hot spots', many sporadic, have also been identified in recent studies. By ventilating surface waters, storms trigger emissions in the East Siberian Sea Shelf. Shallow lakes formed when permafrost thaws can belch methane from decomposing old organic deposits, of which there are huge amounts in the Arctic. All of these potentially important

  12. Thermal State Of Permafrost In Urban Environment Under Changing Climatic Conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Streletskiy, D. A.; Grebenets, V. I.; Kerimov, A. G.; Kurchatova, A.; Andruschenko, F.; Gubanov, A.

    2015-12-01

    Risks and damage, caused by deformation of building and constructions in cryolithozone, are growing for decades. Worsening of cryo-ecological situation and loss of engineering-geocryological safety are induced by both technogenic influences on frozen basement and climate change. In such towns on permafrost as Vorkuta, Dixon more than 60% of objects are deformed, in Yakutsk, Igarka- nearly 40%, in Norilsk, Talnakh, Mirnij 35%, in old indigenous villages - approximately 100%; more than 80% ground dams with frozen cores are in poor condition. This situation is accompanied by activation of dangerous cryogenic processes. For example in growing seasonally-thaw layer is strengthening frost heave of pipeline foundation: only on Yamburg gas condensate field (Taz Peninsula) are damaged by frost heave and cut or completely replaced 3000 - 5000 foundations of gas pipelines. Intensity of negative effects strongly depends on regional geocryology, technogenic loads and climatic trends, and in Arctic we see a temperature rise - warming, which cause permafrost temperature rise and thaw). In built areas heat loads are more diverse: cold foundations (under the buildings with ventilated cellars or near termosyphons) are close to warm areas with technogenic beddings (mainly sandy), that accumulate heat, close to underground collectors for communications, growing thaw zones around, close to storages of snows, etc. Note that towns create specific microclimate with higher air temperature. So towns are powerful technogenic (basically, thermal) presses, placed on permafrost; in cooperation with climate changes (air temperature rise, increase of precipitation) they cause permafrost degradation. The analysis of dozens of urban thermal fields, formed in variable cryological and soil conditions, showed, that nearly 70% have warming trend, 20% - cooling and in 10% of cases the situation after construction is stable. Triggered by warming of climate changes of vegetation, depth and temperature of

  13. Microarray and Real-Time PCR Analyses of the Responses of High-Arctic Soil Bacteria to Hydrocarbon Pollution and Bioremediation Treatments▿

    OpenAIRE

    Yergeau, Etienne; Arbour, Mélanie; Brousseau, Roland; Juck, David; Lawrence, John R.; Masson, Luke; Whyte, Lyle G; Greer, Charles W.

    2009-01-01

    High-Arctic soils have low nutrient availability, low moisture content, and very low temperatures and, as such, they pose a particular problem in terms of hydrocarbon bioremediation. An in-depth knowledge of the microbiology involved in this process is likely to be crucial to understand and optimize the factors most influencing bioremediation. Here, we compared two distinct large-scale field bioremediation experiments, located at the Canadian high-Arctic stations of Alert (ex situ approach) a...

  14. Biomarker and carbon isotope constraints (δ{sup 13}C, Δ{sup 14}C) on sources and cycling of particulate organic matter discharged by large Siberian rivers draining permafrost areas

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Winterfeld, Maria

    2014-08-15

    Circumpolar permafrost soils store about half of the global soil organic carbon pool. These huge amounts of organic matter (OM) could accumulate due to low temperatures and water saturated soil conditions over the course of millennia. Currently most of this OM remains frozen and therefore does not take part in the active carbon cycle, making permafrost soils a globally important carbon sink. Over the last decades mean annual air temperatures in the Arctic increased stronger than the global mean and this trend is projected to continue. As a result the permafrost carbon pool is under climate pressure possibly creating a positive climate feedback due to the thaw-induced release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Arctic warming will lead to increased annual permafrost thaw depths and Arctic river runoff likely resulting in enhanced mobilization and export of old, previously frozen soil-derived OM. Consequently, the great arctic rivers play an important role in global biogeochemical cycles by connecting the large permafrost carbon pool of their hinterlands with the arctic shelf seas and the Arctic Ocean. The first part of this thesis deals with particulate organic matter (POM) from the Lena Delta and adjacent Buor Khaya Bay. The Lena River in central Siberia is one of the major pathways translocating terrestrial OM from its southernmost reaches near Lake Baikal to the coastal zone of the Laptev Sea. The permafrost soils from the Lena catchment area store huge amounts of pre-aged OM, which is expected to be remobilized due to climate warming. To characterize the composition and vegetation sources of OM discharged by the Lena River, the lignin phenol and carbon isotopic composition (δ{sup 13}C and Δ{sup 14}C) in total suspended matter (TSM) from surface waters, surface sediments from the Buor Khaya Bay along with soils from the Lena Delta's first (Holocene) and third terraces (Pleistocene ice complex) were analyzed. The lignin compositions of these samples are

  15. Impact of permafrost degradation on embankment deformation of Qinghai-Tibet Highway in permafrost regions

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    彭惠; 马巍; 穆彦虎; 金龙

    2015-01-01

    Based on long-term monitoring data, the relationships between permafrost degradation and embankment deformation are analyzed along the Qinghai−Tibet Highway (QTH). Due to heat absorbing effect of asphalt pavement and climate warming, permafrost beneath asphalt pavement experienced significant warming and degradation. During the monitoring period, warming amplitude of the soil at depth of 5 m under asphalt ranged from 0.21 °C at the XD1 site to 0.5 °C at the KL1 site. And at depth of 10 m, the increase amplitude of ground temperature ranged from 0.47 °C at the NA1 site to 0.07 °C at the XD1 site. Along with ground temperature increase, permafrost table beneath asphalt pavement decline considerably. Amplitude of permafrost table decline varied from 0.53 m at the KL1 site to 3.51 m at the NA1 site, with mean amplitude of 1.65 m for 8 monitoring sites during the monitoring period. Due to permafrost warming and degradation, the embankment deformation all performed as settlement at these sites. At present, those settlements still develop quickly and are expected to continue to increase in the future. The embankment deformations can be divided into homogeneous deformation and inhomogeneous deformation. Embankment longitudinal inhomogeneous deformation causes the wave deformations and has adverse effects on driving comfort and safety, while lateral inhomogeneous deformation causes longitudinal cracks and has an adverse effect on stability. Corresponding with permafrost degradation processes, embankment settlement can be divided into four stages. For QTH, embankment settlement is mainly comprised of thawing consolidation of ice-rich permafrost and creep of warming permafrost beneath permafrost table.

  16. Assessment of permafrost distribution maps in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region using rock glaciers mapped in Google Earth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmid, M.-O.; Baral, P.; Gruber, S.; Shahi, S.; Shrestha, T.; Stumm, D.; Wester, P.

    2015-11-01

    The extent and distribution of permafrost in the mountainous parts of the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region are largely unknown. A long tradition of permafrost research, predominantly on rather gentle relief, exists only on the Tibetan Plateau. Two permafrost maps are available digitally that cover the HKH and provide estimates of permafrost extent, i.e., the areal proportion of permafrost: the manually delineated Circum-Arctic Map of Permafrost and Ground Ice Conditions (Brown et al., 1998) and the Global Permafrost Zonation Index, based on a computer model (Gruber, 2012). This article provides a first-order assessment of these permafrost maps in the HKH region based on the mapping of rock glaciers. Rock glaciers were used as a proxy, because they are visual indicators of permafrost, can occur near the lowermost regional occurrence of permafrost in mountains, and can be delineated based on high-resolution remote sensing imagery freely available on Google Earth. For the mapping, 4000 square samples (~ 30 km2) were randomly distributed over the HKH region. Every sample was investigated and rock glaciers were mapped by two independent researchers following precise mapping instructions. Samples with insufficient image quality were recorded but not mapped. We use the mapping of rock glaciers in Google Earth as first-order evidence for permafrost in mountain areas with severely limited ground truth. The minimum elevation of rock glaciers varies between 3500 and 5500 m a.s.l. within the region. The Circum-Arctic Map of Permafrost and Ground Ice Conditions does not reproduce mapped conditions in the HKH region adequately, whereas the Global Permafrost Zonation Index does so with more success. Based on this study, the Permafrost Zonation Index is inferred to be a reasonable first-order prediction of permafrost in the HKH. In the central part of the region a considerable deviation exists that needs further investigations.

  17. Site-level model intercomparison of high latitude and high altitude soil thermal dynamics in tundra and barren landscapes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Ekici

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Modelling soil thermal dynamics at high latitudes and altitudes requires representations of specific physical processes such as snow insulation, soil freezing/thawing, as well as subsurface conditions like soil water/ice content and soil texture type. We have compared six different land models (JSBACH, ORCHIDEE, JULES, COUP, HYBRID8, LPJ-GUESS at four different sites with distinct cold region landscape types (i.e. Schilthorn-Alpine, Bayelva-high Arctic, Samoylov-wet polygonal tundra, Nuuk-non permafrost Arctic to quantify the importance of physical processes in capturing observed temperature dynamics in soils. This work shows how a range of models can represent distinct soil temperature regimes in permafrost and non-permafrost soils. Snow insulation is of major importance for estimating topsoil conditions and must be combined with accurate subsoil temperature dynamics to correctly estimate active layer thicknesses. Analyses show that land models need more realistic surface processes (such as detailed snow dynamics and moss cover with changing thickness/wetness as well as better representations of subsoil thermal dynamics (i.e. soil heat transfer mechanism and correct parameterization of heat conductivity/capacities.

  18. Permafrost-associated gas hydrate: is it really approximately 1% of the global system?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruppel, Carolyn

    2015-01-01

    Permafrost-associated gas hydrates are often assumed to contain ∼1 % of the global gas-in-place in gas hydrates based on a study26 published over three decades ago. As knowledge of permafrost-associated gas hydrates has grown, it has become clear that many permafrost-associated gas hydrates are inextricably linked to an associated conventional petroleum system, and that their formation history (trapping of migrated gas in situ during Pleistocene cooling) is consistent with having been sourced at least partially in nearby thermogenic gas deposits. Using modern data sets that constrain the distribution of continuous permafrost onshore5 and subsea permafrost on circum-Arctic Ocean continental shelves offshore and that estimate undiscovered conventional gas within arctic assessment units,16 the done here reveals where permafrost-associated gas hydrates are most likely to occur, concluding that Arctic Alaska and the West Siberian Basin are the best prospects. A conservative estimate is that 20 Gt C (2.7·1013 kg CH4) may be sequestered in permafrost-associated gas hydrates if methane were the only hydrate-former. This value is slightly more than 1 % of modern estimates (corresponding to 1600 Gt C to 1800 Gt C2,22) for global gas-in-place in methane hydrates and about double the absolute estimate (11.2 Gt C) made in 1981.26

  19. Site- and horizon-specific patterns of microbial community structure and enzyme activities in permafrost-affected soils of Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Gittel, Antje; Barta, Jiri; Kohoutova, Iva;

    2014-01-01

    its impact on the carbon budget are thus still highly uncertain. However, the fate of OC is not only determined by abiotic factors, but closely tied to microbial activity. We investigated eight soil profiles in northeast Greenland comprising two sites with typical tundra vegetation and one wet fen...... site. We assessed microbial community structure and diversity (SSU rRNA gene tag sequencing, quantification of bacteria, archaea and fungi), and measured hydrolytic and oxidative enzyme activities. Sampling site and thus abiotic factors had a significant impact on microbial community structure...

  20. CMIP5 permafrost degradation projection:A comparison among different regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guo, Donglin; Wang, Huijun

    2016-05-01

    concentration pathway (RCP)4.5, permafrost retreats toward the Arctic, and the thaw in every region mainly occurs at the southern edge of the permafrost area. Under RCP8.5, almost no permafrost is expected to remain in China, the United States, and the Tibetan Plateau. Permafrost in Russia will remain mainly in the western part of the east Siberian Mountains, and permafrost in Canada will retreat to the north of 65°N. Possible uncertainties in this study are primarily attributed to the climate model's coarse horizontal resolution. The results of the present study will be useful for understanding future permafrost degradation from the regional perspective.

  1. Simulations of permafrost evolution at Olkiluoto

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hartikainen, J. [Aalto Univ., Espoo (Finland)

    2013-07-15

    This report provides numerical estimations of the evolution of permafrost and perennially frozen ground at Olkiluoto on time-scales of 60,000 and 125,000 years using Olkiluoto's site-specific information on time histories of ground level temperatures, ice sheet thickness, basal conditions, shoreline migration, soil and vegetation cover as well as heat generation from the spent fuel at a depth of 420 metres. When considering environmental conditions akin to the last glacial cycle for a 125,000 years long period, the maximum permafrost depth over the repository area can exceed the depth of 300 m and the maximum depth of perennially frozen ground the depth of 270 m. If Olkiluoto, after a 50,000 years long temperate phase of boreal climate, was subjected to a 10,000 years long periglacial period with air temperature decreased between -5 deg C and -10 deg C, the maximum permafrost depth would range between 60 and 240 m and the maximum depth of perennially frozen ground between 50 and 220 m. Furthermore, permafrost would reach the repository depth in 10,000 years, if the air temperature was lowered down to -15 deg C and the ground surface had a very thin vegetation and snow cover. Alternatively, if Olkiluoto experienced a 125,000 years long glacial cycle with a very long periglacial periods of low air temperatures and thin vegetation and snow cover and without any ice sheet development, permafrost would reach the depth of 400 m in 98,000 years and perennially frozen ground in 101,000 years. The areal distribution of permafrost and perennially frozen ground are broadly affected by the snow cover, lakes and the peat areas, especially when an extensive peat growth occurs. The lack of snow cover can enhance the evolution of the maximum depth of permafrost and perennially frozen ground by over 50 %. In addition, ground thermal conditions and the heat generation from the spent fuel modify the spatial and temporal development of permafrost and perennially frozen ground. A

  2. Simulations of permafrost evolution at Olkiluoto

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This report provides numerical estimations of the evolution of permafrost and perennially frozen ground at Olkiluoto on time-scales of 60,000 and 125,000 years using Olkiluoto's site-specific information on time histories of ground level temperatures, ice sheet thickness, basal conditions, shoreline migration, soil and vegetation cover as well as heat generation from the spent fuel at a depth of 420 metres. When considering environmental conditions akin to the last glacial cycle for a 125,000 years long period, the maximum permafrost depth over the repository area can exceed the depth of 300 m and the maximum depth of perennially frozen ground the depth of 270 m. If Olkiluoto, after a 50,000 years long temperate phase of boreal climate, was subjected to a 10,000 years long periglacial period with air temperature decreased between -5 deg C and -10 deg C, the maximum permafrost depth would range between 60 and 240 m and the maximum depth of perennially frozen ground between 50 and 220 m. Furthermore, permafrost would reach the repository depth in 10,000 years, if the air temperature was lowered down to -15 deg C and the ground surface had a very thin vegetation and snow cover. Alternatively, if Olkiluoto experienced a 125,000 years long glacial cycle with a very long periglacial periods of low air temperatures and thin vegetation and snow cover and without any ice sheet development, permafrost would reach the depth of 400 m in 98,000 years and perennially frozen ground in 101,000 years. The areal distribution of permafrost and perennially frozen ground are broadly affected by the snow cover, lakes and the peat areas, especially when an extensive peat growth occurs. The lack of snow cover can enhance the evolution of the maximum depth of permafrost and perennially frozen ground by over 50 %. In addition, ground thermal conditions and the heat generation from the spent fuel modify the spatial and temporal development of permafrost and perennially frozen ground. A

  3. Characterizing the Drivers of Intermittent Flow in Arctic Alaska Streams

    Science.gov (United States)

    Betts, E.; Kane, D. L.; Stephan, N.

    2012-12-01

    Fish and wildlife species in the Arctic have developed life history strategies to deal with the extreme climate of the North. In the case of Arctic grayling, these strategies include long life, yearly spawning and migration.. In order to understand how such a species will be affected by a changing climate, we must first determine how these adaptive strategies may be at odds with the changing Arctic landscape. Arctic grayling migrate to spawning grounds just after spring break-up; then they migrate to feeding sites in early summer and finally in the fall migrate back to their overwintering sites. Low precipitation and high evapotranspiration rates during the summer can lead to low water levels and a fragmentation of the hydrologic landscape. This fragmentation creates a barrier to fish migration. The Kuparuk River is a perennial stream originating in the foothills of the Brooks Range on the North Slope of Alaska. The basin is underlain by continuous permafrost which essentially blocks the surface system from interacting with the subpermafrost groundwater system. Shallow subsurface flow occurs in the active layer, that area above permafrost which undergoes seasonal thawing in the summer. Sections of the Kuparuk are intermittent in that during low flows in the system these reaches appear dry (no flow in channel). Water reappears in the channel, downstream of these dry reaches, and it is believed that water continues to flow below the surface through the unfrozen thaw bulb beneath these reaches. These dry reaches act as summer barriers to fish migration within the Kuparuk River system. Previous research of this phenomenon sought to understand the location and timing of these dry events. The current research to be presented here attempts to determine the drivers of these dry channel events. Dye tracers and discharge measurements are used to determine the amount of hyporheic flow along these dry reaches and a statistical model incorporating soil moisture, precipitation

  4. Cultivation of a novel cold-adapted nitrite oxidizing betaproteobacterium from the Siberian Arctic

    OpenAIRE

    Alawi, Mashal; Lipski, André; Sanders, Tina; Pfeiffer, Eva-Maria; Spieck, Eva

    2007-01-01

    Permafrost-affected soils of the Siberian Arctic were investigated with regard to identification of nitrite oxidizing bacteria active at low temperature. Analysis of the fatty acid profiles of enrichment cultures grown at 4°C, 10°C and 17°C revealed a pattern that was different from that of known nitrite oxidizers but was similar to fatty acid profiles of Betaproteobacteria. Electron microscopy of two enrichment cultures grown at 10°C showed prevalent cells with a conspicuous ultrastructure. ...

  5. The International Permafrost Association: current initiatives for cryospheric research

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schollaen, Karina; Lewkowicz, Antoni G.; Christiansen, Hanne H.; Romanovsky, Vladimir E.; Lantuit, Hugues; Schrott, Lothar; Sergeev, Dimitry; Wei, Ma

    2015-04-01

    landscapes, and defining permafrost research priorities - a roadmap for the future. The latter project is a joint effort with the Climate and Cryosphere initiative (CliC) and a contribution to the upcoming International Conference on Arctic Research Planning III (ICARP III). The product stemming from the effort will consist of a journal publication listing permafrost research priorities and putting them into context. In all of these activities, the IPA emphasizes the involvement of young researchers (especially through the Permafrost Young Researchers Network and APECS) as well as its collaboration with international partner organizations such as IASC, SCAR, CliC, IACS, IUGS and WMO.

  6. Multimolecular tracers of terrestrial carbon transfer across the pan-Arctic: 14C characteristics of sedimentary carbon components and their environmental controls

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feng, Xiaojuan; Gustafsson, Örjan; Holmes, R. Max; Vonk, Jorien E.; Dongen, Bart E.; Semiletov, Igor P.; Dudarev, Oleg V.; Yunker, Mark B.; Macdonald, Robie W.; Wacker, Lukas; Montluçon, Daniel B.; Eglinton, Timothy I.

    2015-11-01

    Distinguishing the sources, ages, and fate of various terrestrial organic carbon (OC) pools mobilized from heterogeneous Arctic landscapes is key to assessing climatic impacts on the fluvial release of carbon from permafrost. Through molecular 14C measurements, including novel analyses of suberin- and/or cutin-derived diacids (DAs) and hydroxy fatty acids (FAs), we compared the radiocarbon characteristics of a comprehensive suite of terrestrial markers (including plant wax lipids, cutin, suberin, lignin, and hydroxy phenols) in the sedimentary particles from nine major arctic and subarctic rivers in order to establish a benchmark assessment of the mobilization patterns of terrestrial OC pools across the pan-Arctic. Terrestrial lipids, including suberin-derived longer-chain DAs (C24,26,28), plant wax FAs (C24,26,28), and n-alkanes (C27,29,31), incorporated significant inputs of aged carbon, presumably from deeper soil horizons. Mobilization and translocation of these "old" terrestrial carbon components was dependent on nonlinear processes associated with permafrost distributions. By contrast, shorter-chain (C16,18) DAs and lignin phenols (as well as hydroxy phenols in rivers outside eastern Eurasian Arctic) were much more enriched in 14C, suggesting incorporation of relatively young carbon supplied by runoff processes from recent vegetation debris and surface layers. Furthermore, the radiocarbon content of terrestrial markers is heavily influenced by specific OC sources and degradation status. Overall, multitracer molecular 14C analysis sheds new light on the mobilization of terrestrial OC from arctic watersheds. Our findings of distinct ages for various terrestrial carbon components may aid in elucidating fate of different terrestrial OC pools in the face of increasing arctic permafrost thaw.

  7. Impacts of permafrost change on landscape stability and water quality

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lamoureux, S. F.; Lafreniere, M. J.

    2015-12-01

    Communities and northern development depend on knowledge to support safe infrastructure design and to define appropriate environmental targets. Projected climate change is expected to have substantial impacts on permafrost through increased seasonal thaw. These changes will likely result in changing hydrological processes that will alter surface and subsurface water flow and quality. Similarly, in settings with ice-rich surficial materials, changing active layer depth and hydrological conditions can contribute to permafrost degradation and land instability. Predicting these impacts is an important need for sustainable development in permafrost regions. We have investigated these processes through a long term integrated watershed program at the Cape Bounty Arctic Watershed Observatory (CBAWO) in the Canadian Arctic. Surface water discharge and quality has been assessed since 2005 and in particular, through a period of record summer temperatures that resulted in substantial active layer perturbation and resulted in widespread localized disturbance. Research has documented the impact and recovery from these permafrost changes and demonstrate several key linkages between changing hydrological conditions, quality, and landscape sensitivity to disturbance. Deeper active layer thaw appears to alter subsurface flow paths, resulting sustained changes to water quality through increased solute fluxes and changes to nutrients. These effects are widespread across the landscape, while physical disturbance due to permafrost slope failures are dispersed and generate impacts ranging from minimal to locally-significant increases in downstream sediment and solute transport. We note that this strong spatial contrast between "thermal" and "physical" perturbation of the shallow permafrost system represents a key impact in these settings. Further, subsurface water pressurization appears to be localized but linked to physical disturbance. Hence, results indicate the benefit of an

  8. Microbial community development on deglaciated soils in high arctic (Svalbard) in comparison to sub-arctic continental regions (Scandinavia)

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Chroňáková, Alica; Bryndová, Michala; Kaštovská, E.; Devetter, Miloslav; Lukešová, Alena

    České Budějovice : Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, 2015. s. 31. ISBN 978-80-7394-528-2. [International Conference on Polar and Alpine Microbiology /6./. 06.09.2015-10.09.2015, České Budějovice] R&D Projects: GA MŠk(CZ) LD13046 Grant ostatní: GA MŠk(CZ) LM2010009 Institutional support: RVO:60077344 Keywords : soil development * next generation sequencing * bacterial communities * nutrients * chronosequences Subject RIV: EH - Ecology , Behaviour

  9. Arctic adaptation and climate change

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The amplification of climatic warming in the Arctic and the sensitivity of physical, biological, and human systems to changes in climate make the Arctic particularly vulnerable to climate changes. Large areas of the Arctic permafrost and sea ice are expected to disappear under climate warming and these changes will have considerable impacts on the natural and built environment of the north. A review is presented of some recent studies on what these impacts could be for the permafrost and sea ice environment and to identify linkages with socioeconomic activities. Terrestrial adaptation to climate change will include increases in ground temperature; melting of permafrost with consequences such as frost heave, mudslides, and substantial settlement; rotting of peat contained in permafrost areas, with subsequent emission of CO2; increased risk of forest fire; and flooding of low-lying areas. With regard to the manmade environment, structures that will be affected include buildings, pipelines, highways, airports, mines, and railways. In marine areas, climate change will increase the ice-free period for marine transport operations and thus provide some benefit to the offshore petroleum industry. This benefit will be offset by increased wave height and period, and increased coastal erosion. The offshore industry needs to be particularly concerned with these impacts since the expected design life of industry facilities (30-60 y) is of the same order as the time frame for possible climatic changes. 18 refs., 5 figs

  10. Unmanned Platforms Monitor the Arctic Atmosphere

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    de Boer, Gijs; Ivey, Mark D.; Schmid, Beat; McFarlane, Sally A.; Petty, Rickey C.

    2016-02-22

    In the Arctic, drones and tethered balloons can make crucial atmospheric measurement to provide a unique perspective on an environment particularly vulnerable to climate change. Climate is rapidly changing all over the globe, but nowhere is that change faster than in the Arctic. The evidence from recent years is clear: Reductions in sea ice (Kwok and Unstersteiner, 2011) and permafrost (Romanovsky et al., 2002), in addition to modification of the terriestrial ecosystem through melting permafrost and shifting vegetation zones (burek et al., 2008; Sturm, et al., 2001), all point to a rapidly evolving.

  11. Permafrost, heat flow, and the geothermal regime at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lachenbruch, A.H.; Sass, J.H.; Marshall, B.V.; Moses, T.H., Jr.

    1982-01-01

    Temperature measurements through permafrost in the oil field at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, combined with laboratory measurements of the thermal conductivity of drill cutting permit an evaluation of in situ thermal properties and an understanding of the general factors that control the geothermal regime. A sharp contrast in temperatire gradient at c600m represents a contrast in thermal conductivity caused by the downward change from interstitial ice to interstitial water at the base of permafrost under near steady state conditions. These results yield a heat flow of c1.3HFU, which is similar to other values on the Alaskan Arctic Coast: the anomalously deep permafrost is a result of the anomalously high conductivity of the siliceous ice-rich sediments. With confirmation of the permafrost configuration by offshore drilling, heat conduction models can yield reliable new information on the chronology of arctic shoreline. -from Authors

  12. Great challenges of and innovative solutions to the unstable permafrost in Central and High Asia under a warming climate-the first Asian Conference on Permafrost

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Huijun Jin; Jerry Brown

    2007-01-01

    @@ The first Asian Conference on Permafrost (ACOP) was co-sponsored by the State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soils Engineering(SKLFSE) of the Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (CAREERI), the Geographical Society of China (GSA), and the Intema-tional Permafrost Association (IPA), and cochaired by Academician Guodong Cheng,President of the Chinese Academy of Sci-ences Lanzhou Branch, and Professor Jerry Brown, President, International Permafrost Association.

  13. The effect of misleading surface temperature estimations on the sensible heat fluxes at a high Arctic site – the Arctic Turbulence Experiment 2006 on Svalbard (ARCTEX-2006

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Lüers

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available The observed rapid climate warming in the Arctic requires improvements in permafrost and carbon cycle monitoring, accomplished by setting up long-term observation sites with high-quality in-situ measurements of turbulent heat, water and carbon fluxes as well as soil physical parameters in Arctic landscapes. But accurate quantification and well adapted parameterizations of turbulent fluxes in polar environments presents fundamental problems in soil-snow-ice-vegetation-atmosphere interaction studies. One of these problems is the accurate estimation of the surface or aerodynamic temperature T(0 required to force most of the bulk aerodynamic formulae currently used. Results from the Arctic-Turbulence-Experiment (ARCTEX-2006 performed on Svalbard during the winter/spring transition 2006 helped to better understand the physical exchange and transport processes of energy. The existence of an atypical temperature profile close to the surface in the Arctic spring at Svalbard could be proven to be one of the major issues hindering estimation of the appropriate surface temperature. Thus, it is essential to adjust the set-up of measurement systems carefully when applying flux-gradient methods that are commonly used to force atmosphere-ocean/land-ice models. The results of a comparison of different sensible heat-flux parameterizations with direct measurements indicate that the use of a hydrodynamic three-layer temperature-profile model achieves the best fit and reproduces the temporal variability of the surface temperature better than other approaches.

  14. Transient thermal modeling of permafrost conditions in Southern Norway

    OpenAIRE

    Westermann, S.; T. V. Schuler; K. Gisnås; B. Etzelmüller

    2013-01-01

    Thermal modeling is a powerful tool to infer the temperature regime of the ground in permafrost areas. We present a transient permafrost model, CryoGrid 2, that calculates ground temperatures according to conductive heat transfer in the soil and in the snowpack. CryoGrid 2 is forced by operational air temperature and snow-depth products for potential permafrost areas in Southern Norway for the period 1958 to 2009 at 1 km2 spatial resolution. In total, an area of about 80 000 km2 is covered. T...

  15. Live from the Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Warnick, W. K.; Haines-Stiles, G.; Warburton, J.; Sunwood, K.

    2003-12-01

    For reasons of geography and geophysics, the poles of our planet, the Arctic and Antarctica, are places where climate change appears first: they are global canaries in the mine shaft. But while Antarctica (its penguins and ozone hole, for example) has been relatively well-documented in recent books, TV programs and journalism, the far North has received somewhat less attention. This project builds on and advances what has been done to date to share the people, places, and stories of the North with all Americans through multiple media, over several years. In a collaborative project between the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS) and PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE, Live from the Arctic will bring the Arctic environment to the public through a series of primetime broadcasts, live and taped programming, interactive virtual field trips, and webcasts. The five-year project will culminate during the 2007-2008 International Polar Year (IPY). Live from the Arctic will: A. Promote global understanding about the value and world -wide significance of the Arctic, B. Bring cutting-edge research to both non-formal and formal education communities, C. Provide opportunities for collaboration between arctic scientists, arctic communities, and the general public. Content will focus on the following four themes. 1. Pan-Arctic Changes and Impacts on Land (i.e. snow cover; permafrost; glaciers; hydrology; species composition, distribution, and abundance; subsistence harvesting) 2. Pan-Arctic Changes and Impacts in the Sea (i.e. salinity, temperature, currents, nutrients, sea ice, marine ecosystems (including people, marine mammals and fisheries) 3. Pan-Arctic Changes and Impacts in the Atmosphere (i.e. precipitation and evaporation; effects on humans and their communities) 4. Global Perspectives (i.e. effects on humans and communities, impacts to rest of the world) In The Earth is Faster Now, a recent collection of comments by members of indigenous arctic peoples, arctic

  16. Temporal Behavior of Lake Size-Distribution in a Thawing Permafrost Landscape in Northwestern Siberia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Johanna Mård Karlsson

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Arctic warming alters regional hydrological systems, as permafrost thaw increases active layer thickness and in turn alters the pathways of water flow through the landscape. Further, permafrost thaw may change the connectivity between deeper and shallower groundwater and surface water altering the terrestrial water balance and distribution. Thermokarst lakes and wetlands in the Arctic offer a window into such changes as these landscape elements depend on permafrost and are some of the most dynamic and widespread features in Arctic lowland regions. In this study we used Landsat remotely sensed imagery to investigate potential shifts in thermokarst lake size-distributions, which may be brought about by permafrost thaw, over three distinct time periods (1973, 1987–1988, and 2007–2009 in three hydrological basins in northwestern Siberia. Results revealed fluctuations in total area and number of lakes over time, with both appearing and disappearing lakes alongside stable lakes. On the whole basin scales, there is no indication of any sustained long-term change in thermokarst lake area or lake size abundance over time. This statistical temporal consistency indicates that spatially variable change effects on local permafrost conditions have driven the individual lake changes that have indeed occurred over time. The results highlight the importance of using multi-temporal remote sensing data that can reveal complex spatiotemporal variations distinguishing fluctuations from sustained change trends, for accurate interpretation of thermokarst lake changes and their possible drivers in periods of climate and permafrost change.

  17. Mapping ice-bonded permafrost with electrical methods in Sisimiut, West Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ingeman-Nielsen, Thomas

    2006-01-01

    Permafrost delineation and thickness determination is of great importance in engineering related projects in arctic areas. In this paper, 2D geoelectrical measurements are applied and evaluated for permafrost mapping in an area in West Greenland. Multi-electrode resistivity profiles (MEP) have been...... collected and are compared with borehole information. It is shown that the permafrost thickness in this case is grossly overestimated by a factor of two to three. The difference between the inverted 2D resistivity sections and the borehole information is explained by macro-anisotropy due to the presence of...... horizontal ice-lenses in the frozen clay deposits. It is concluded that where the resistivity method perform well for lateral permafrost mapping, great care should be taken in evaluating permafrost thickness based on 2D resistivity profiles alone. Additional information from boreholes or other geophysical...

  18. GIPL1.3 simulated mean annual ground temperature (MAGT) in Celsius averaged for particular decade for the entire Alaskan permafrost domain. NAD83, Alaska Albers projection

    Data.gov (United States)

    Arctic Landscape Conservation Cooperative — This raster, created in 2010, is output from the Geophysical Institute Permafrost Lab (GIPL) model and represents simulated mean annual ground temperature (MAGT) in...

  19. GIPL1.3 simulated maximum active layer thickness (ALT) in meters averaged for particular decade for the entire Alaskan permafrost domain. NAD83, Alaska Albers projection

    Data.gov (United States)

    Arctic Landscape Conservation Cooperative — This raster, created in 2010, is output from the Geophysical Institute Permafrost Lab (GIPL) model and represents simulated active layer thickness (ALT) in meters...

  20. Biomarker and carbon isotope constraints (δ13C, Δ14C) on sources and cycling of particulate organic matter discharged by large Siberian rivers draining permafrost areas

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Circumpolar permafrost soils store about half of the global soil organic carbon pool. These huge amounts of organic matter (OM) could accumulate due to low temperatures and water saturated soil conditions over the course of millennia. Currently most of this OM remains frozen and therefore does not take part in the active carbon cycle, making permafrost soils a globally important carbon sink. Over the last decades mean annual air temperatures in the Arctic increased stronger than the global mean and this trend is projected to continue. As a result the permafrost carbon pool is under climate pressure possibly creating a positive climate feedback due to the thaw-induced release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Arctic warming will lead to increased annual permafrost thaw depths and Arctic river runoff likely resulting in enhanced mobilization and export of old, previously frozen soil-derived OM. Consequently, the great arctic rivers play an important role in global biogeochemical cycles by connecting the large permafrost carbon pool of their hinterlands with the arctic shelf seas and the Arctic Ocean. The first part of this thesis deals with particulate organic matter (POM) from the Lena Delta and adjacent Buor Khaya Bay. The Lena River in central Siberia is one of the major pathways translocating terrestrial OM from its southernmost reaches near Lake Baikal to the coastal zone of the Laptev Sea. The permafrost soils from the Lena catchment area store huge amounts of pre-aged OM, which is expected to be remobilized due to climate warming. To characterize the composition and vegetation sources of OM discharged by the Lena River, the lignin phenol and carbon isotopic composition (δ13C and Δ14C) in total suspended matter (TSM) from surface waters, surface sediments from the Buor Khaya Bay along with soils from the Lena Delta's first (Holocene) and third terraces (Pleistocene ice complex) were analyzed. The lignin compositions of these samples are consistent

  1. Transient thermal modeling of permafrost conditions in Southern Norway

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Westermann

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Thermal modeling is a powerful tool to infer the temperature regime of the ground in permafrost areas. We present a transient permafrost model, CryoGrid 2, that calculates ground temperatures according to conductive heat transfer in the soil and in the snowpack. CryoGrid 2 is forced by operational air temperature and snow-depth products for potential permafrost areas in Southern Norway for the period 1958 to 2009 at 1 km2 spatial resolution. In total, an area of about 80 000 km2 is covered. The model results are validated against borehole temperatures, permafrost probability maps from "bottom temperature of snow" measurements and inventories of landforms indicative of permafrost occurrence. The validation demonstrates that CryoGrid 2 can reproduce the observed lower permafrost limit to within 100 m at all validation sites, while the agreement between simulated and measured borehole temperatures is within 1 K for most sites. The number of grid cells with simulated permafrost does not change significantly between the 1960s and 1990s. In the 2000s, a significant reduction of about 40% of the area with average 2 m ground temperatures below 0 °C is found, which mostly corresponds to degrading permafrost with still negative temperatures in deeper ground layers. The thermal conductivity of the snow is the largest source of uncertainty in CryoGrid 2, strongly affecting the simulated permafrost area. Finally, the prospects of employing CryoGrid 2 as an operational soil-temperature product for Norway are discussed.

  2. Distinct summer and winter bacterial communities in the active layer of Svalbard permafrost revealed by DNA- and RNA-based analyses

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schostag, Morten; Stibal, Marek; Jacobsen, Carsten S.; Bælum, Jacob; Tas, Neslihan; Elberling, Bo; Jansson, Janet K.; Semenchuk, Philipp; Prieme, Anders

    2015-01-01

    The active layer of soil overlaying permafrost in the Arctic is subjected to dramatic annual changes in temperature and soil chemistry, which likely affect bacterial activity and community structure. We studied seasonal variations in the bacterial community of active layer soil from Svalbard (78º...... phototrophic organisms (up to 48% in June) illustrating the potential importance of nitrogen fixation in otherwise nitrogen poor Arctic ecosystems and of phototrophic bacterial activity on the soil surface.......N) by co-extracting DNA and RNA from 12 soil cores collected monthly over a year. PCR amplicons of 16S rRNA genes (DNA) and reverse transcribed transcripts (cDNA) were quantified and sequenced to test for the effect of low winter temperature and seasonal variation in concentration of easily degradable...... significantly correlated with pH and dissolved organic carbon, while the potentially active (RNA-based) community structure was not significantly correlated with any of the measured soil parameters. A large fraction of the 16S rRNA transcripts was assigned to nitrogen-fixing bacteria (up to 24% in June) and...

  3. Seeing the risks of multiple Arctic amplifying feedbacks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carter, P.

    2014-12-01

    There are several potentially very large sources of Arctic amplifying feedbacks that have been identified. They present a great risk to the future as they could become self and inter-reinforcing with uncontrollable knock-on, or cascading risks. This has been called a domino effect risk by Carlos Duarte. Because of already committed global warming and the millennial duration of global warming, these are highly policy relevant. These Arctic feedback processes are now all operant with emissions of carbon dioxide methane and nitrous oxide detected. The extent of the risks from these feedback sources are not obvious or easy to understand by policy makers and the public. They are recorded in the IPCC AR5 as potential tipping points, as is the irreversibility of permafrost thaw. Some of them are not accounted for in the IPCC AR5 global warming projections because of quantitative uncertainty. UNEP issued a 2012 report (Policy Implications of Thawing Permafrost) advising that by omitting carbon feedback emissions from permafrost, carbon budget calculations by err on the low side. There is the other unassessed issue of a global warming safety limit for preventing uncontrollable increasing Arctic feedback emissions. Along with our paper, we provide illustrations of the Arctic feedback sources and processes from satellite imagery and flow charts that allows for their qualitative consideration. We rely on the IPCC assessments, the 2012 paper Possible role of wetlands permafrost can methane hydrates in the methane cycle under future climate change; a review, by Fiona M. O'Connor et al., and build on the WWF 2009 Arctic Climate Feedbacks: Global Implications. The potential sources of Arctic feedback processes identified include: Arctic and Far North snow albedo decline, Arctic summer sea ice albedo decline, Greenland summer ice surface melting albedo loss, albedo decline by replacement of Arctic tundra with forest, tundra fires, Boreal forest fires, Boreal forest die

  4. National Atlas of Arctic: structure and creation approaches

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N. S. Kasimov

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available On the instructions of President and Government of the Russian Federation, works for development of National Atlas of Arctic are started in the country. In this article the authors present their ideas from viewpoint of geographers who are well experienced in the field of cartographic works. A structure of future Atlas and lines of approaches to its development are proposed. The totality of experiences of preparation of other geographical atlases in both, the USSR and Russia, as well as the latest achievements of cartography, aerospace sources and GIS-technologies are recommended to be used. The National Atlas of Arctic is understood as a collection of knowledge of spatial-temporal information about geographical, ecological, economic, historical-ethnographic, cultural and social features of the Arctic. This cartographic model of the territory is designed for using in a wide range of scientific, managing, economic, defensive and social activities. A hard copy of the atlas is intended to be used as scientific-reference publication while its electronic version will make it possible to renovate its content and to improve it by means of actualization according to various directions of its practical use 16 sections proposed in a draft of the Atlas content are as follows: introductory, geological structure, relief, mineral resources, environment evolution, climate, land waters, seas, seashores, snow cover, glaciers, permafrost, soils, flora and fauna, state of the environment and the Nature protection, population, economics, and prospects for future. The popular-scientific edition of the Atlas is intended for use by wide circle of readers and also as a textbook for all levels of education. Presentation of material in the Atlas should combine a high scientific level and accessible language. In a popular form it will clarify traditions of careful treatment to the Nature and the nature-protective ethics of religious confessions of local people

  5. Terrain influence on soil organic carbon and total nitrogen sorage in soils of Herschel Island

    OpenAIRE

    Obu, Jaroslav; Lantuit, Hugues; Fritz, Michael; Myers-Smith, Isla; Heim, Birgit; Wolter, Juliane

    2015-01-01

    The Arctic-wide increase of permafrost temperatures and subsequent thaw is mobilising large amounts of organic matter that is stored in permafrost environments. Organic matter decomposition results in the release of carbon dioxide and methane, which will amplify the warming and will cause so called permafrost carbon feedback. Increasing air temperatures due to greenhouse gas emissions from permafrost is not yet incorporated into Earth System Models. The lack of high-resolution carbon storage ...

  6. Not poles apart: Antarctic soil fungal communities show similarities to those of the distant Arctic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cox, Filipa; Newsham, Kevin K; Bol, Roland; Dungait, Jennifer A J; Robinson, Clare H

    2016-05-01

    Antarctica's extreme environment and geographical isolation offers a useful platform for testing the relative roles of environmental selection and dispersal barriers influencing fungal communities. The former process should lead to convergence in community composition with other cold environments, such as those in the Arctic. Alternatively, dispersal limitations should minimise similarity between Antarctica and distant northern landmasses. Using high-throughput sequencing, we show that Antarctica shares significantly more fungi with the Arctic, and more fungi display a bipolar distribution, than would be expected in the absence of environmental filtering. In contrast to temperate and tropical regions, there is relatively little endemism, and a strongly bimodal distribution of range sizes. Increasing southerly latitude is associated with lower endemism and communities increasingly dominated by fungi with widespread ranges. These results suggest that micro-organisms with well-developed dispersal capabilities can inhabit opposite poles of the Earth, and dominate extreme environments over specialised local species. PMID:26932261

  7. Diagnostic and model dependent uncertainty of simulated Tibetan permafrost area

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, A.; Moore, J.C.; Cui, Xingquan; Ji, D.; Li, Q.; Zhang, N.; Wang, C.; Zhang, S.; Lawrence, D.M.; McGuire, A.D.; Zhang, W.; Delire, C.; Koven, C.; Saito, K.; MacDougall, A.; Burke, E.; Decharme, B.

    2016-01-01

     We perform a land-surface model intercomparison to investigate how the simulation of permafrost area on the Tibetan Plateau (TP) varies among six modern stand-alone land-surface models (CLM4.5, CoLM, ISBA, JULES, LPJ-GUESS, UVic). We also examine the variability in simulated permafrost area and distribution introduced by five different methods of diagnosing permafrost (from modeled monthly ground temperature, mean annual ground and air temperatures, air and surface frost indexes). There is good agreement (99 to 135  ×  104 km2) between the two diagnostic methods based on air temperature which are also consistent with the observation-based estimate of actual permafrost area (101  × 104 km2). However the uncertainty (1 to 128  ×  104 km2) using the three methods that require simulation of ground temperature is much greater. Moreover simulated permafrost distribution on the TP is generally only fair to poor for these three methods (diagnosis of permafrost from monthly, and mean annual ground temperature, and surface frost index), while permafrost distribution using air-temperature-based methods is generally good. Model evaluation at field sites highlights specific problems in process simulations likely related to soil texture specification, vegetation types and snow cover. Models are particularly poor at simulating permafrost distribution using the definition that soil temperature remains at or below 0 °C for 24 consecutive months, which requires reliable simulation of both mean annual ground temperatures and seasonal cycle, and hence is relatively demanding. Although models can produce better permafrost maps using mean annual ground temperature and surface frost index, analysis of simulated soil temperature profiles reveals substantial biases. The current generation of land-surface models need to reduce biases in simulated soil temperature profiles before reliable contemporary permafrost maps and predictions of changes in future

  8. Methane turnover and methanotrophic communities in arctic aquatic ecosystems of the Lena Delta, Northeast Siberia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Osudar, Roman; Liebner, Susanne; Alawi, Mashal; Yang, Sizhong; Bussmann, Ingeborg; Wagner, Dirk

    2016-08-01

    Large amounts of organic carbon are stored in Arctic permafrost environments, and microbial activity can potentially mineralize this carbon into methane, a potent greenhouse gas. In this study, we assessed the methane budget, the bacterial methane oxidation (MOX) and the underlying environmental controls of arctic lake systems, which represent substantial sources of methane. Five lake systems located on Samoylov Island (Lena Delta, Siberia) and the connected river sites were analyzed using radiotracers to estimate the MOX rates, and molecular biology methods to characterize the abundance and the community composition of methane-oxidizing bacteria (MOB). In contrast to the river, the lake systems had high variation in the methane concentrations, the abundance and composition of the MOB communities, and consequently, the MOX rates. The highest methane concentrations and the highest MOX rates were detected in the lake outlets and in a lake complex in a flood plain area. Though, in all aquatic systems, we detected both, Type I and II MOB, in lake systems, we observed a higher diversity including MOB, typical of the soil environments. The inoculation of soil MOB into the aquatic systems, resulting from permafrost thawing, might be an additional factor controlling the MOB community composition and potentially methanotrophic capacity. PMID:27230921

  9. Technological monitoring of subgrade construction on high-temperature permafrost

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Svyatoslav Ya. Lutskiy; Taisia V. Shepitko; Alexander M. Cherkasov

    2015-01-01

    Three stages of complex technological monitoring for the increase of high-temperature-permafrost soil bearing capacity are described. The feasibility of process monitoring to improve the targeted strength properties of subgrade bases on frozen soils is demonstrated. The rationale for the necessity of predictive modeling of freeze-thaw actions during the subgrade construction period is provided.

  10. Effects of winter seismic exploration on vegetation and soil of the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — When winter seismic exploration was conducted on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Arctic NWR, little data were available on the longterm...

  11. Environmental and physical controls on northern terrestrial methane emissions across permafrost zones

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olefeldt, David; Turetsky, Merritt R.; Crill, Patrick M.; McGuire, A. David

    2013-01-01

    Methane (CH4) emissions from the northern high-latitude region represent potentially significant biogeochemical feedbacks to the climate system. We compiled a database of growing-season CH4 emissions from terrestrial ecosystems located across permafrost zones, including 303 sites described in 65 studies. Data on environmental and physical variables, including permafrost conditions, were used to assess controls on CH4 emissions. Water table position, soil temperature, and vegetation composition strongly influenced emissions and had interacting effects. Sites with a dense sedge cover had higher emissions than other sites at comparable water table positions, and this was an effect that was more pronounced at low soil temperatures. Sensitivity analysis suggested that CH4 emissions from ecosystems where the water table on average is at or above the soil surface (wet tundra, fen underlain by permafrost, and littoral ecosystems) are more sensitive to variability in soil temperature than drier ecosystems (palsa dry tundra, bog, and fen), whereas the latter ecosystems conversely are relatively more sensitive to changes of the water table position. Sites with near-surface permafrost had lower CH4 fluxes than sites without permafrost at comparable water table positions, a difference that was explained by lower soil temperatures. Neither the active layer depth nor the organic soil layer depth was related to CH4 emissions. Permafrost thaw in lowland regions is often associated with increased soil moisture, higher soil temperatures, and increased sedge cover. In our database, lowland thermokarst sites generally had higher emissions than adjacent sites with intact permafrost, but emissions from thermokarst sites were not statistically higher than emissions from permafrost-free sites with comparable environmental conditions. Overall, these results suggest that future changes to terrestrial high-latitude CH4 emissions will be more proximately related to changes in moisture, soil

  12. Mapping permafrost in the boreal forest with Thematic Mapper satellite data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morrissey, L. A.; Strong, L. L.; Card, D. H.

    1986-01-01

    A geographic data base incorporating Landsat TM data was used to develop and evaluate logistic discriminant functions for predicting the distribution of permafrost in a boreal forest watershed. The data base included both satellite-derived information and ancillary map data. Five permafrost classifications were developed from a stratified random sample of the data base and evaluated by comparison with a photo-interpreted permafrost map using contingency table analysis and soil temperatures recorded at sites within the watershed. A classification using a TM thermal band and a TM-derived vegetation map as independent variables yielded the highest mapping accuracy for all permafrost categories.

  13. Characteristics of ground motion at permafrost sites along the Qinghai-Tibet railway

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, L.; Wu, Z.; Sun, Jielun; Liu, Xiuying; Wang, Z.

    2009-01-01

    Based on 14 typical drilling holes distributed in the permafrost areas along the Qinghai-Tibet railway, the distribution of wave velocities of soils in the permafrost regions were determined. Using results of dynamic triaxial tests, the results of dynamic triaxiality test and time histories of ground motion acceleration in this area, characteristics of ground motion response were analyzed for these permafrost sites for time histories of ground accelerations with three exceedance probabilities (63%, 10% and 2%). The influence of ground temperature on the seismic displacement, velocity, acceleration and response spectrum on the surface of permafrost were also studied. ?? 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Changes in the 1963-2013 shallow ground thermal regime in Russian permafrost regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Streletskiy, Dmitry A.; Sherstiukov, Artem B.; Frauenfeld, Oliver W.; Nelson, Frederick E.

    2015-12-01

    Spatial variability and temporal trends of the shallow ground thermal regime and permafrost active-layer thickness (ALT) were estimated over 1963-2013 using daily soil temperature data available from stations of the Russian Hydrometeorological Service. Correlation analysis was used to evaluate the role of changing climatic conditions on the ground thermal regime. ALT data collected by the Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring program in Russia were used to expand the geography of ALT observations over 1999-2013, and to identify ‘hot spots’ of soil temperature and ALT change. Results indicate that a substantially higher rate of change in the thermal regime of permafrost-affected soils prevailed during 1999-2013, relative to the last fifty years. Results indicate that the thermal regime of the upper permafrost in western Russia is strongly associated with air temperature, with much weaker relationships in central and eastern Russia. The thermal regime of permafrost-affected soils shows stronger dependence on climatic conditions over the last fifteen years relative to the historical 50-year period. Geostatistical analysis revealed that the cities of Norilsk and Susuman are hot spots of permafrost degradation. Of six settlements selected for detailed analysis in various parts of the permafrost regions, all but one (Chukotka), show substantial changes in the shallow ground thermal regime. Northern locations in the continuous permafrost region show thickening of the active layer, while those farther south experienced development of residual thaw layers above the permafrost and decreases in the duration of the freezing period.

  15. The dominant detritus-feeding invertebrate in Arctic peat soils derives its essential amino acids from gut symbionts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Larsen, Thomas; Ventura, Marc; Maraldo, Kristine; Triadó-Margarit, Xavier; Casamayor, Emilio O; Wang, Yiming V; Andersen, Nils; O'Brien, Diane M

    2016-09-01

    Supplementation of nutrients by symbionts enables consumers to thrive on resources that might otherwise be insufficient to meet nutritional demands. Such nutritional subsidies by intracellular symbionts have been well studied; however, supplementation of de novo synthesized nutrients to hosts by extracellular gut symbionts is poorly documented, especially for generalists with relatively undifferentiated intestinal tracts. Although gut symbionts facilitate degradation of resources that would otherwise remain inaccessible to the host, such digestive actions alone cannot make up for dietary insufficiencies of macronutrients such as essential amino acids (EAA). Documenting whether gut symbionts also function as partners for symbiotic EAA supplementation is important because the question of how some detritivores are able to subsist on nutritionally insufficient diets has remained unresolved. To answer this poorly understood nutritional aspect of symbiont-host interactions, we studied the enchytraeid worm, a bulk soil feeder that thrives in Arctic peatlands. In a combined field and laboratory study, we employed stable isotope fingerprinting of amino acids to identify the biosynthetic origins of amino acids to bacteria, fungi and plants in enchytraeids. Enchytraeids collected from Arctic peatlands derived more than 80% of their EAA from bacteria. In a controlled feeding study with the enchytraeid Enchytraeus crypticus, EAA derived almost exclusively from gut bacteria when the worms fed on higher fibre diets, whereas most of the enchytraeids' EAA derived from dietary sources when fed on lower fibre diets. Our gene sequencing results of gut microbiota showed that the worms harbour several taxa in their gut lumen absent from their diets and substrates. Almost all gut taxa are candidates for EAA supplementation because almost all belong to clades capable of biosynthesizing EAA. Our study provides the first evidence of extensive symbiotic supplementation of EAA by microbial

  16. The long-term fate of permafrost peatlands under rapid climate warming

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Swindles, Graeme T.; Morris, Paul J.; Mullan, Donal;

    2015-01-01

    Permafrost peatlands contain globally important amounts of soil organic carbon, owing to cold conditions which suppress anaerobic decomposition. However, climate warming and permafrost thaw threaten the stability of this carbon store. The ultimate fate of permafrost peatlands and their carbon...... stores is unclear because of complex feedbacks between peat accumulation, hydrology and vegetation. Field monitoring campaigns only span the last few decades and therefore provide an incomplete picture of permafrost peatland response to recent rapid warming. Here we use a high-resolution palaeoecological...... approach to understand the longer-term response of peatlands in contrasting states of permafrost degradation to recent rapid warming. At all sites we identify a drying trend until the late-twentieth century; however, two sites subsequently experienced a rapid shift to wetter conditions as permafrost thawed...

  17. Circumpolar assessment of permafrost C quality and its vulnerability over time using long-term incubation data

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schädel, Christina; Schuur, Edward A.G.; Bracho, Rosvel;

    2014-01-01

    High-latitude ecosystems store approximately 1700 Pg of soil carbon (C), which is twice as much C as is currently contained in the atmosphere. Permafrost thaw and subsequent microbial decomposition of permafrost organic matter could add large amounts of C to the atmosphere, thereby influencing the...... global C cycle. The rates at which C is being released from the permafrost zone at different soil depths and across different physiographic regions are poorly understood but crucial in understanding future changes in permafrost C storage with climate change. We assessed the inherent decomposability of C...... from the permafrost zone by assembling a database of long-term (>1 year) aerobic soil incubations from 121 individual samples from 23 high-latitude ecosystems located across the northern circumpolar permafrost zone. Using a three-pool (i.e., fast, slow and passive) decomposition model, we estimated...

  18. Stability and biodegradability of humic substances from Arctic soils of Western Siberia: insights from 13C-NMR spectroscopy and elemental analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ejarque, E.; Abakumov, E.

    2015-11-01

    Arctic soils contain large amounts of organic matter which, globally, exceed the amount of carbon stored in vegetation biomass and in the atmosphere. Recent studies emphasize the potential sensitivity for this soil organic matter (SOM) to be mineralised when faced with increasing ambient temperatures. In order to better refine the predictions about the response of SOM to climate warming, there is a need to increase the spatial coverage of empirical data on SOM quantity and quality in the Arctic area. This study provides, for the first time, a characterisation of SOM from the Gydan Peninsula in the Yamal Region, Western Siberia, Russia. On the one hand, soil humic acids and their humification state were characterised by measuring the elemental composition and diversity of functional groups using solid-state 13C-NMR spectroscopy. Also, the total mineralisable carbon was measured. Our results show that there is a uniformity of SOM characteristics throughout the studied region, as well as within soil profiles. Such in-depth homogeneity, together with a predominance of aliphatic carbon structures, suggests the accumulation in soil of raw and slightly decomposed organic matter. Moreover, results on total mineralisable carbon suggest a high lability of these compounds. The mineralisation rate was found to be independent of SOM quality, and to be mainly explained solely by the total carbon content. Overall, our results provide further evidence on the fundamental role that the soils of Western Siberia may have on regulating the global carbon balance when faced with increasing ambient temperatures.

  19. Temperature data acquired from the DOI/GTN-P Deep Borehole Array on the Arctic Slope of Alaska, 1973–2013

    OpenAIRE

    G. D. Clow

    2014-01-01

    A homogeneous set of temperature measurements obtained from the DOI/GTN-P Deep Borehole Array between 1973 and 2013 is presented; DOI/GTN-P is the US Department of the Interior contribution to the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P). The 23-element array is located on the Arctic Slope of Alaska, a region of cold continuous permafrost. Most of the monitoring wells are situated on the Arctic coastal plain between the Brooks Range and the Arctic ...

  20. Communicating Arctic Change (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Serreze, M.

    2009-12-01

    Nowhere on the planet are emerging signals of climate change more visible than in the Arctic. Rapid warming, a quickly shrinking summer sea ice cover, and thawing permafrost, will have impacts that extend beyond the Arctic and may reverberate around the globe. The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) of the University of Colorado has taken a leading role in trying to effectively communicate the science and importance of Arctic change. Our popular “Sea Ice News and Analysis” web site tracks the Arctic’s shrinking ice cover and provides scientific analysis with language that is accurate yet accessible to a wide audience. Our Education Center provides accessible information on all components of the Earth’s cryosphere, the changes being seen, and how scientists conduct research. A challenge faced by NSIDC is countering the increasing level of confusion and misinformation regarding Arctic and global change, a complex problem that reflects the low level of scientific literacy by much of the public, the difficulties many scientists face in communicating their findings in accurate but understandable terms, and efforts by some groups to deliberately misrepresent and distort climate change science. This talk will outline through examples ways in which NSIDC has been successful in science communication and education, as well as lessons learned from failures.

  1. Optimization in the use of Air Convection Embankments for Protection of Underlying Permafrost

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jørgensen, Anders Stuhr; Ingeman-Nielsen, Thomas

    2012-01-01

    Since the beginning of the 1990s a significant increase in the mean annual air temperatures has been recorded all over the arctic regions. This has lead to a degrading of permafrost, which is now threatening the stability of airport and road embankments. To minimize the damages caused by thaw...

  2. Mapping of permafrost surface using ground-penetrating radar at Kangerlussuaq Airport, western Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jørgensen, Anders Stuhr; Andreasen, Frank

    2007-01-01

    Kangerlussuaq Airport is located at 67°N and 51°W in the zone of continuous permafrost in western Greenland. Its proximity to the Greenlandic ice sheet results in a dry sub-arctic climate with a mean annual temperature of −5.7 °C. The airport is built on a river terrace mostly consisting of fluvi...

  3. The importance of a surface organic layer in simulating permafrost thermal and carbon dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jafarov, Elchin; Schaefer, Kevin

    2016-03-01

    Permafrost-affected soils contain twice as much carbon as currently exists in the atmosphere. Studies show that warming of the perennially frozen ground could initiate significant release of the frozen soil carbon into the atmosphere. Initializing the frozen permafrost carbon with the observed soil carbon distribution from the Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database reduces the uncertainty associated with the modeling of the permafrost carbon feedback. To improve permafrost thermal and carbon dynamics we implemented a dynamic surface organic layer with vertical carbon redistribution, and introduced dynamic root growth controlled by active layer thickness, which improved soil carbon exchange between frozen and thawed pools. These changes increased the initial amount of simulated frozen carbon from 313 to 560 Gt C, consistent with observed frozen carbon stocks, and increased the spatial correlation of the simulated and observed distribution of frozen carbon from 0.12 to 0.63.

  4. Processes and modes of permafrost degradation on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2010-01-01

    Climate warming must lead the mainly air temperature controlled permafrost to degrade.Based on the numerical simulation,the process of permafrost degradation can be divided into five stages,i.e.,starting stage,temperature rising stage,zero geothermal gradient stage,talic layers stage,and disappearing stage,according to the shape of ground temperature profile.Permafrost on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP) is generally considered a relic from late Pleistocene,and has been degenerating as a whole during Holocene.According to spatial-temporal compensation,the present thermal state discrepancy of permafrost in different areas on the QTP may correspond with their degradation stages.On the QTP,permafrost in the high and middle mountains belongs to temperature rising stage,the permafrost thermal state is transiting from late rising temperature stage to zero geothermal gradient stage that is distributed in the middle-low-mountains.Permafrost that is in a zero gradient stage mainly appears in the high plateau and valley,whereas the transition from zero gradient stage to talic layers stage of permafrost is located in the vicinity of the lower limit of permafrost,and permafrost is disappearing from margin of perennially frozen ground.There are two modes of perennially frozen ground thawing,thawing from top to bottom and thawing from bottom to top respectively.During the temperature rising stage,when the heat flux in the perennially frozen soil layer is less than that in the unfrozen soil underlying frozen soil layer,the geothermal flux is partly used to thaw the base of permafrost,and permafrost thaws from bottom to top.With the decrease of thermal gradient in the perennially frozen ground,the heat that is used to thaw permafrost base increases,and geothermal heat will be entirely consumed to thaw the base of permafrost until the temperature gradient reaches zero thermal gradient state.On the other hand,the disappearance of permafrost may be delayed by "thermal offset" and

  5. Arctic River Mobility: A Baseline Assessment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rowland, J. C.; Wilson, C. J.; Brumby, S. P.; Pope, P. A.

    2009-12-01

    In many arctic river systems, permafrost and the presence of frozen floodplain materials provides a significant source of bank cohesion. Due to this cohesion, permafrost may play an important control of arctic river mobility and meandering dynamics. Whether changes in the rates of permafrost thawing has had or will have as significant a geomorphic impact on arctic river meandering as has already been observed for arctic coastline retreat, lake size and distribution, and hillslope stability is at present an unanswered question. The potential impact of climate driven changes in arctic river meandering has important implications for river planform morphology, floodplain dynamics, river ecology, and the export of carbon and nutrients to coastal oceans. We present results of remote sensing analysis of river mobility for the Yukon River in Alaska and sections of the Siberian Rivers including the Lena, the Kolyma and the Indigirka Rivers. Comparisons of river location at successive intervals in time were conducted using Landsat imagery archives and higher resolution aerial photographs and satellite imagery. Extraction of river channel locations was accomplished using the GeniePro automated feature extraction software. Over the period of Landsat coverage (mid-1980s to present) arctic rivers show limited to no movement at the resolution of the Landsat data (30 m per pixel). On the Yukon Flats regions of the Yukon River, the most mobile sections of the river have migration rates comparable to reach-average values reported for temperate rivers; given that large portions of the Yukon display no detectable movement, reach-averaged values are far less than observed in temperate systems. Field inspection of areas of high erosion along the Yukon River indicate that erosional processes associated with the thermal degradation of permafrost play a dominant role in many of these areas. Thermal niching and large scale bank collapse due to undercutting play a large role in bank erosion

  6. Assessing climate impacts and risks of ocean albedo modification in the Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mengis, N.; Martin, T.; Keller, D. P.; Oschlies, A.

    2016-05-01

    The ice albedo feedback is one of the key factors of accelerated temperature increase in the high northern latitudes under global warming. This study assesses climate impacts and risks of idealized Arctic Ocean albedo modification (AOAM), a proposed climate engineering method, during transient climate change simulations with varying representative concentration pathway (RCP) scenarios. We find no potential for reversing trends in all assessed Arctic climate metrics under increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations. AOAM only yields an initial offset during the first years after implementation. Nevertheless, sea ice loss can be delayed by 25(60) years in the RCP8.5(RCP4.5) scenario and the delayed thawing of permafrost soils in the AOAM simulations prevents up to 40(32) Pg of carbon from being released by 2100. AOAM initially dampens the decline of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning and delays the onset of open ocean deep convection in the Nordic Seas under the RCP scenarios. Both these processes cause a subsurface warming signal in the AOAM simulations relative to the default RCP simulations with the potential to destabilize Arctic marine gas hydrates. Furthermore, in 2100, the RCP8.5 AOAM simulation diverts more from the 2005-2015 reference state in many climate metrics than the RCP4.5 simulation without AOAM. Considering the demonstrated risks, we conclude that concerning longer time scales, reductions in emissions remain the safest and most effective way to prevent severe changes in the Arctic.

  7. Structure of Syngenetic Permafrost: New Data from the CRREL Permafrost Tunnel, Fox, Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kanevskiy, M.; Fortier, D.; Cysewski, M.; Shur, Y.; Jorgenson, T.

    2006-12-01

    Syngenetic permafrost formation is a complex process related to sedimentation in cold conditions when the base of the active layer rises up step by step in phase with the accumulation of deposits of various origin (alluvial, slope, aeolian, lacustrine, etc.) at the surface. Syngenetically frozen sediments usually have high silt particles content (up to 70-80%); slightly decomposed rootlets and buried organic-rich horizons; high ice content; ice wedges with big vertical length; rhythmically organized cryogenic structure specific for syngenetic permafrost. The well-known CRREL Permafrost Tunnel near Fairbanks Alaska offers excellent exposures of syngenetic permafrost. The section of Late Pleistocene deposits in the Tunnel is comprised mostly of syngenetically frozen aeolian and fluvial silts with sand lenses, partly reworked by thermal erosion which proceeded mainly along the large ice wedges. Gullies and underground channels cut in the Late Pleistocene permafrost were filled with ice and soils of different origins and cryogenic structures. The Permafrost Tunnel consists of a main shaft and an inclined winze. The former has been extensively studied during the last 40 years. However the permafrost in the winze has not been studied thoroughly even though the Late Wisconsinian syngenetic permafrost is better preserved there than in the main shaft. The main objective of our work was to map the cryostratigraphy (scale 1:20) of the winze. The results show the prevalence of syngenetic permafrost with a micro-lenticular cryostructure. The gravimetric moisture content of such sediments is very high and varies from 100 to 240%. The sediments which were formed in the tunnels cut in the permafrost and in the filled gullies are mostly stratified silts with lenses of sands and (sometimes) gravel. The gravimetric moisture content of these sediments varies from 70 to100% which is smaller than the water content of the Late Wisconsinian syngenetic permafrost. In the upper part of the

  8. Hydrology modifies ecosystem responses to warming through interactions between soil, leaf and canopy processes in a high Arctic ecosystem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maseyk, K. S.; Welker, J. M.; Lett, C.; Czimczik, C. I.; Lupascu, M.; Seibt, U. H.

    2013-12-01

    Arctic ecosystems are experiencing temperature increases more strongly than the global average, and increases in precipitation are also expected amongst the climate impacts on this region in the future. These changes are expected to strongly influence both plant physiology and soil biogeochemistry, and therefore ecosystem carbon balance, hydrology and nutrient cycling. We have investigated the effects of a long-term (10 years) increase in temperature (T2), soil water (W) and the combination of both (T2W) on leaf-level structure and function and ecosystem CO2 and water fluxes in a tundra ecosystem at a field manipulation experiment in NW Greenland. Leaf-level gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence, carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and morphology were measured on Salix arctica plants in treatment and control plots in June-July 2011, and continuous measurements of net ecosystem fluxes of carbon and water were made using automatic chambers coupled to a trace gas analyzer. Contrasting responses to the treatments were observed between leaf-level and net ecosystem fluxes. Plants in the elevated temperature treatment had the highest leaf-level photosynthetic capacity in terms of net CO2 assimilation rates and photosystem II efficiencies, and lowest rates of non-photochemical energy dissipation during photosynthesis. The plants in the plots with both elevated temperatures and additional water had the lowest photosystem II efficiencies and the highest rates of non-photochemical energy dissipation. However, net photosynthetic rates remained similar to control plants with additional water, due in part to higher stomatal conductance (W) and lower dark respiration rates (T2W). In contrast, net ecosystem CO2 and water fluxes were highest in the T2W plots, due largely to a 35% increase in leaf area. Total growing season C accumulation was 3-5 times greater, water fluxes were 1.5-2 times higher, and water use efficiency was about 3 times higher in the combined treatment than the control

  9. Minimum distribution of subsea ice-bearing permafrost on the US Beaufort Sea continental shelf

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brothers, Laura L.; Hart, Patrick E.; Ruppel, Carolyn D.

    2012-01-01

    Starting in Late Pleistocene time (~19 ka), sea level rise inundated coastal zones worldwide. On some parts of the present-day circum-Arctic continental shelf, this led to flooding and thawing of formerly subaerial permafrost and probable dissociation of associated gas hydrates. Relict permafrost has never been systematically mapped along the 700-km-long U.S. Beaufort Sea continental shelf and is often assumed to extend to ~120 m water depth, the approximate amount of sea level rise since the Late Pleistocene. Here, 5,000 km of multichannel seismic (MCS) data acquired between 1977 and 1992 were examined for high-velocity (>2.3 km s−1) refractions consistent with ice-bearing, coarse-grained sediments. Permafrost refractions were identified along permafrost, which does not extend seaward of 30 km offshore or beyond the 20 m isobath.

  10. Phytomass, LAI, and NDVI in northern Alaska: Relationships to summer warmth, soil pH, plant functional types, and extrapolation to the circumpolar Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walker, D. A.; Epstein, H. E.; Jia, G. J.; Balser, A.; Copass, C.; Edwards, E. J.; Gould, W. A.; Hollingsworth, J.; Knudson, J.; Maier, H. A.; Moody, A.; Raynolds, M. K.

    2003-01-01

    We examined the effects of summer warmth on leaf area index (LAI), total aboveground phytomass (TAP), and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) across the Arctic bioclimate zone in Alaska and extrapolated our results to the circumpolar Arctic. Phytomass, LAI, and within homogeneous areas of vegetation on acidic and nonacidic soils were regressed against the total summer warmth index (SWI) at 12 climate stations in northern Alaska (SWI = sum of mean monthly temperatures greater than 0°C). SWI varies from 9°C at Barrow to 37°C at Happy Valley. A 5°C increase in the SWI is correlated with about a 120 g m-2 increase in the aboveground phytomass for zonal vegetation on acidic sites and about 60 g m-2 on nonacidic sites. Shrubs account for most of the increase on acidic substrates, whereas mosses account for most of the increase on nonacidic soils. LAI is positively correlated with SWI on acidic sites but not on nonacidic sites. The NDVI is positively correlated with SWI on both acidic and nonacidic soils, but the NDVI on nonacidic parent material is consistently lower than the NDVI on acidic substrates. Extrapolation to the whole Arctic using a five-subzone zonation approach to stratify the circumpolar NDVI and phytomass data showed that 60% of the aboveground phytomass is concentrated in the low-shrub tundra (subzone 5), whereas the high Arctic (subzones 1-3) has only 9% of the total. Estimated phytomass densities in subzones 1-5 are 47, 256, 102, 454, and 791 g m-2, respectively. Climate warming will likely result in increased phytomass, LAI, and NDVI on zonal sites. These changes will be most noticeable in acidic areas with abundant shrub phytomass.

  11. Predictive modelling of terrestrial and sub-aquatic permafrost in Northern Eurasia: implications for the global carbon cycle and climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anisimov, O.; Reneva, S.; Kokorev, V.

    2012-04-01

    Permafrost contains about 1670 Gt of carbon, which is nearly one half of the global soil carbon pool. The concept of "methane bomb" associated with the rapid release of significant amounts of methane from thawing permafrost and amplification of the global climate change has been widely discussed in the scientific literature. Particular concerns are associated with thawing Siberian wetlands, and with the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS). Recent observations indicate high concentrations of methane over ESAS, up to 7-8 ppm at selected locations over the Laptev sea, while the latitude-mean atmospheric methane concentration equals 1.85 ppm. Some researchers attribute it to the increased gas permeability of thawing sub-sea permafrost, destabilization of hydrates and enhanced venting of methane to the atmosphere trough taliks. In this study we use mathematical modelling to calculate the past, present and future state of the Northern Eurasian terrestrial and sub-aquatic permafrost, to quantify the contribution to the global methane balance, and to evaluate the climate feedback. GIS analysis of small-scale digital topographic maps indicated that the total area of Siberian wetlands is approximately 0.7 million km2, of which ca 0.35 mln km2 are located in permafrost regions. Estimated net flux of methane from the frozen wetlands under the current climatic conditions is about 28.5 Mt/y. According to our model results, projected by the mid-21st century changes in the volume of the seasonally thawing organic-rich soils and higher soil temperatures may increase the methane flux from Siberian frozen wetlands by 6-10 Mt/y, which is likely to increase the atmospheric concentration by 100 Mt and lead to ca. 0.01 °C global temperature rise. We used a comprehensive model forced with the transient regional climatic scenario to simulate the dynamics of permafrost and the depth to the boundaries of hydrate stability zone (HSZ) at ESAS over the period from the last glacial maximum 18

  12. Potentiostatically Poised Electrodes Mimic Iron Oxide and Interact with Soil Microbial Communities to Alter the Biogeochemistry of Arctic Peat Soils

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Largus T. Angenent

    2013-09-01

    Full Text Available Dissimilatory metal-reducing bacteria are ubiquitous in soils worldwide, possess the ability to transfer electrons outside of their cell membranes, and are capable of respiring with various metal oxides. Reduction of iron oxides is one of the more energetically favorable forms of anaerobic respiration, with a higher energy yield than both sulfate reduction and methanogenesis. As such, this process has significant implications for soil carbon balances, especially in the saturated, carbon-rich soils of the northern latitudes. However, the dynamics of these microbial processes within the context of the greater soil microbiome remain largely unstudied. Previously, we have demonstrated the capability of potentiostatically poised electrodes to mimic the redox potential of iron(III- and humic acid-compounds and obtain a measure of metal-reducing respiration. Here, we extend this work by utilizing poised electrodes to provide an inexaustable electron acceptor for iron- and humic acid-reducing microbes, and by measuring the effects on both microbial community structure and greenhouse gas emissions. The application of both nonpoised and poised graphite electrodes in peat soils stimulated methane emissions by 15%–43% compared to soils without electrodes. Poised electrodes resulted in higher (13%–24% methane emissions than the nonpoised electrodes. The stimulation of methane emissions for both nonpoised and poised electrodes correlated with the enrichment of proteobacteria, verrucomicrobia, and bacteroidetes. Here, we demonstrate a tool for precisely manipulating localized redox conditions in situ (via poised electrodes and for connecting microbial community dynamics with larger ecosystem processes. This work provides a foundation for further studies examining the role of dissimilatory metal-reducing bacteria in global biogeochemical cycles.

  13. Decadal dynamics of Arctic continental water cycle in the framework of MONARCH-A .

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dhomps, A.-L.; Zakharova, E. A.; Kouraev, A. V.; Biancamaria, S.; Mognard, N. M.

    2012-04-01

    The main objective of MONARCH-A FP7 European program is to generate a dedicated information package tailored to a subset of multidisciplinary essential climate variables and their mutual forcing and feedback mechanisms associated with changes in terrestrial carbon and water fluxes, sea level and ocean circulation and the marine carbon cycle in the high latitude and Arctic regions. High latitude regions are predicted to suffer much greater warming than lower latitudes as a result of climate change. This will cause drastic changes in the carbon and water balance of the region, with associated large effects on snow cover, soil freeze-thaw periods, soil moisture, permafrost, growing season, land cover, greenhouse gas fluxes and albedo. Of crucial concern are the feedbacks between these land surface processes and climate warming; this is recognized as one of the greatest sources of uncertainty in climate prediction (IPCC 2007). Decadal change in snow properties and dynamics of high latitude water bodies are analyzed over the last 20 years. Snow cover, depth and duration are good indicators of climate change and have strong effects on fresh water discharge into the Arctic Ocean, albedo, plant growth and vegetation growing periods. While the large numbers of lakes at high latitudes are important for evapo-transpiration, runoff, groundwater and methane emissions. We analyze various satellite-derived (SSM/I and radar altimeters) environmental parameters (snow extent, depth and duration, fraction of water surface and wet zones extent) in the context of climatic changes (from reanalysis and in situ data) and their role in the Arctic water cycle with specific attention to Western Siberia. We gratefully acknowledge the ESA DUE Permafrost for the data used for the inter-comparison. This research has been done in the framework of the FP7 MONARCH-A project, Russian-French cooperation GDRI "CAR-WET-SIB", French ANR "CLASSIQUE" project.

  14. Dominant hydrological processes at three contrasting small permafrost watersheds in changing climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lebedeva, Liudmila; Semenova, Olga

    2016-04-01

    The most pronounced climatic changes are observed and projected in the Arctic. Large part of the Arctic is influenced by permanently or seasonally frozen ground that controls river runoff generation. The research aims at assessment of observed and projected changes of hydrological regime and identification of dominant hydrological processes at three small watersheds in different landscape and permafrost conditions of Siberia for the last sixty years by data analysis and process-based modelling. Three studied watersheds are located within the Yenisei, Lena and Kolyma river basins. The Graviyka river basin (323 km2) is situated in discontinuous permafrost in transition zone between tundra and taiga ecotones in the lower Yenisei region. Mean annual precipitation is 510 mm/year and air temperature is -8°C (1936-2014). Both air temperature and precipitation have shown significant increase for the last forty years. The Shestakovka river basin (170 km2), a tributary of the Lena river near Yakutsk, is characterized by extremely dry (240 mm/year) and cold (-9.5°C) climate of Central Yakutiya. Larch and pine forests grow on sandy deposits covered by continuous permafrost. Air temperature and river flow have increased for the last thirty years but precipitation have shown no significant changes. The Kontaktovy creek watershed (22 km2) is located in mountains of upper Kolyma river basin. The permafrost is continuous. Main land cover types are bare rocks, mountain tundra and sparse larch forest. Only insignificant changes of air temperature, precipitation and river flow were detected for the last decades. To assess dominant hydrological processes and to project their future changes in each studied watershed the process-based Hydrograph model was applied to historical and future time periods using temperate and extreme climate scenarios. The Hydrograph model does not rely on calibration and the parameters were estimated using all available a-priori information - thematic maps

  15. Nitrogen availability increases in a tundra ecosystem during five years of experimental permafrost thaw.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salmon, Verity G; Soucy, Patrick; Mauritz, Marguerite; Celis, Gerardo; Natali, Susan M; Mack, Michelle C; Schuur, Edward A G

    2016-05-01

    Perennially frozen soil in high latitude ecosystems (permafrost) currently stores 1330-1580 Pg of carbon (C). As these ecosystems warm, the thaw and decomposition of permafrost is expected to release large amounts of C to the atmosphere. Fortunately, losses from the permafrost C pool will be partially offset by increased plant productivity. The degree to which plants are able to sequester C, however, will be determined by changing nitrogen (N) availability in these thawing soil profiles. N availability currently limits plant productivity in tundra ecosystems but plant access to N is expected improve as decomposition increases in speed and extends to deeper soil horizons. To evaluate the relationship between permafrost thaw and N availability, we monitored N cycling during 5 years of experimentally induced permafrost thaw at the Carbon in Permafrost Experimental Heating Research (CiPEHR) project. Inorganic N availability increased significantly in response to deeper thaw and greater soil moisture induced by Soil warming. This treatment also prompted a 23% increase in aboveground biomass and a 49% increase in foliar N pools. The sedge Eriophorum vaginatum responded most strongly to warming: this species explained 91% of the change in aboveground biomass during the 5 year period. Air warming had little impact when applied alone, but when applied in combination with Soil warming, growing season soil inorganic N availability was significantly reduced. These results demonstrate that there is a strong positive relationship between the depth of permafrost thaw and N availability in tundra ecosystems but that this relationship can be diminished by interactions between increased thaw, warmer air temperatures, and higher levels of soil moisture. Within 5 years of permafrost thaw, plants actively incorporate newly available N into biomass but C storage in live vascular plant biomass is unlikely to be greater than losses from deep soil C pools. PMID:26718892

  16. Cold season soil respiration in response to grazing and warming in the High Arctic Svalbard

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Strebel, Ditte; Elberling, Bo; Morgner, Elke;

    2010-01-01

    The influence of goose grazing intensity and open-topped chambers (OTCs) on near-surface quantities and qualities of soil organic carbon (SOC) was evaluated in wet and mesic ecosystems in Svalbard. This study followed up a field experiment carried out in 2003-05 (part of the project Fragility of......) and solid-state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Results reveal variations in soil carbon cycling, with significant seasonal trends controlled by temperature, water content and snow. Experimental warming (OTCs) increased near-surface temperatures in the growing season, resulting in...

  17. Dissolved organic matter photolysis in Canadian arctic thaw ponds

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The abundant thaw lakes and ponds in the circumarctic receive a new pool of organic carbon as permafrost peat soils degrade, which can be exposed to significant irradiance that potentially increases as climate warms and ice cover shortens. Exposure to sunlight is known to accelerate the transformation of dissolved organic matter (DOM) into molecules that can be more readily used by microbes. We sampled the water from two common classes of ponds found in the ice-wedge system of continuous permafrost regions of Canada, polygonal and runnel ponds, and followed the transformation of DOM over 12 days by looking at dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration and DOM absorption and fluorescence properties. The results indicate a relatively fast decay of color (3.4 and 1.6% loss d−1 of absorption at 320 nm for the polygonal and runnel pond, respectively) and fluorescence (6.1 and 8.3% loss d−1 of total fluorescent components, respectively) at the pond surface, faster in the case of humic-like components, but insignificant losses of DOC over the observed period. This result indicates that direct DOM mineralization (photochemical production of CO2) is apparently minor in thaw ponds compared to the photochemical transformation of DOM into less chromophoric and likely more labile molecules with a greater potential for microbial mineralization. Therefore, DOM photolysis in arctic thaw ponds can be considered as a catalytic mechanism, accelerating the microbial turnover of mobilized organic matter from thawing permafrost and the production of greenhouse gases, especially in the most shallow ponds. Under a warming climate, this mechanism will intensify as summers lengthen. (letter)

  18. Symbiosis of Marshes and Permafrost in Da and Xiao Hinggan Mountains in Northeastern China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    JIN Huijun; SUN Guangyou; YU Shaopeng; JIN Rui; HE Ruixia

    2008-01-01

    Recently, the degradation of permafrost and marsh environments in the Da and Xiao Hinggan Mountainshas become a great concern as more human activities and pronounced climate warming were observed during the past30 years and projected for the near future. The distribution patterns and development mechanisms of the permafrostand marshes have been examined both in theories and in field observations, in order to better understand the symbiosisof permafrost and marshes. The permafrost and marshes in the Da and Xiao Hinggan Mountains display discerniblezonations in latitude and elevation. The marsh vegetation canopy, litter and peat soil have good thermal insulationproperties for the underlying permafrost, resulting in a thermal offset of 3℃ to 4℃ and subsequently suppressing soiltemperature, In addition, the much higher thermal conductivity of frozen and ice-rich peat in the active layer is condu-cive to the development or in favor of the protection of permafrost due to the semi-conductor properties of the soilsoverlying the permafrost. On the other hand, because permafrost is almost impervious, the osmosis of water in marshsoils can be effectively reduced, timely providing water supplies for helophytes growth or germination in spring. In theDa and Xiao Hinggan Mountains, the permafrost degradation has been accelerating due to the marked climate warming,ever increasing human activities, and the resultant eco-environmental changes. Since the permafrost and marsh envi-ronments are symbiotic and interdependent, they need to be managed or protected in a well-coordinated and integratedway.

  19. Effects of large herbivores on biodiversity of vegetation and soil microarthropods in low Arctic Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Aastrup, Peter; Raundrup, Katrine; Feilberg, Jon;

    This report summarizes the results of a project that aims at documenting long term effects of grazing by comparing baseline data inside and outside exclosures. We collected data on vascular plants, mosses, lichens, microarthropod abundance and food-web structure, soil nutrients, decomposition, an...

  20.  Winter time burst of CO2 from the High Arctic soils of Svalbard

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Friborg, Thomas; Hansen, Birger; Elberling, Bo; Jensen, Louise Askær; Søndergaard, Jens Ernst; Mastepanov, Mikhail

    relatively few measurements which appear to give small and constant emission rates. Further, most studies of the processes behind winter time emission of CO2 conclude that the flux during this time of year can be linked to the respiratory release of CO2 from soil micro organisms, which is temperature...

  1. Modelling regulation of decomposition and related root/mycorrhizal processes in arctic tundra soils

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Linkins, A.E.

    1992-01-01

    Since this was the final year of this project principal activities were directed towards either collecting data needed to complete existing incomplete data sets or writing manuscripts. Data sets on Imnaviat Creek watershed basin are functionally complete and data finialized on the cellulose mineralizaiton and dust impact on soil organic carbon and phsophorus decomposition. Seven manuscripts were prepared, and are briefly outlined.

  2. Modelling regulation of decomposition and related root/mycorrhizal processes in arctic tundra soils. Final report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Linkins, A.E.

    1992-09-01

    Since this was the final year of this project principal activities were directed towards either collecting data needed to complete existing incomplete data sets or writing manuscripts. Data sets on Imnaviat Creek watershed basin are functionally complete and data finialized on the cellulose mineralizaiton and dust impact on soil organic carbon and phsophorus decomposition. Seven manuscripts were prepared, and are briefly outlined.

  3. Permafrost hydrology in changing climatic conditions: seasonal variability of stable isotope composition in rivers in discontinuous permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Streletskiy, Dmitry A.; Tananaev, Nikita I.; Opel, Thomas; Shiklomanov, Nikolay I.; Nyland, Kelsey E.; Streletskaya, Irina D.; Tokarev, Igor'; Shiklomanov, Alexandr I.

    2015-09-01

    Role of changing climatic conditions on permafrost degradation and hydrology was investigated in the transition zone between the tundra and forest ecotones at the boundary of continuous and discontinuous permafrost of the lower Yenisei River. Three watersheds of various sizes were chosen to represent the characteristics of the regional landscape conditions. Samples of river flow, precipitation, snow cover, and permafrost ground ice were collected over the watersheds to determine isotopic composition of potential sources of water in a river flow over a two year period. Increases in air temperature over the last forty years have resulted in permafrost degradation and a decrease in the seasonal frost which is evident from soil temperature measurements, permafrost and active-layer monitoring, and analysis of satellite imagery. The lowering of the permafrost table has led to an increased storage capacity of permafrost affected soils and a higher contribution of ground water to river discharge during winter months. A progressive decrease in the thickness of the layer of seasonal freezing allows more water storage and pathways for water during the winter low period making winter discharge dependent on the timing and amount of late summer precipitation. There is a substantial seasonal variability of stable isotopic composition of river flow. Spring flooding corresponds to the isotopic composition of snow cover prior to the snowmelt. Isotopic composition of river flow during the summer period follows the variability of precipitation in smaller creeks, while the water flow of larger watersheds is influenced by the secondary evaporation of water temporarily stored in thermokarst lakes and bogs. Late summer precipitation determines the isotopic composition of texture ice within the active layer in tundra landscapes and the seasonal freezing layer in forested landscapes as well as the composition of the water flow during winter months.

  4. Permafrost hydrology in changing climatic conditions: seasonal variability of stable isotope composition in rivers in discontinuous permafrost

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Role of changing climatic conditions on permafrost degradation and hydrology was investigated in the transition zone between the tundra and forest ecotones at the boundary of continuous and discontinuous permafrost of the lower Yenisei River. Three watersheds of various sizes were chosen to represent the characteristics of the regional landscape conditions. Samples of river flow, precipitation, snow cover, and permafrost ground ice were collected over the watersheds to determine isotopic composition of potential sources of water in a river flow over a two year period. Increases in air temperature over the last forty years have resulted in permafrost degradation and a decrease in the seasonal frost which is evident from soil temperature measurements, permafrost and active-layer monitoring, and analysis of satellite imagery. The lowering of the permafrost table has led to an increased storage capacity of permafrost affected soils and a higher contribution of ground water to river discharge during winter months. A progressive decrease in the thickness of the layer of seasonal freezing allows more water storage and pathways for water during the winter low period making winter discharge dependent on the timing and amount of late summer precipitation. There is a substantial seasonal variability of stable isotopic composition of river flow. Spring flooding corresponds to the isotopic composition of snow cover prior to the snowmelt. Isotopic composition of river flow during the summer period follows the variability of precipitation in smaller creeks, while the water flow of larger watersheds is influenced by the secondary evaporation of water temporarily stored in thermokarst lakes and bogs. Late summer precipitation determines the isotopic composition of texture ice within the active layer in tundra landscapes and the seasonal freezing layer in forested landscapes as well as the composition of the water flow during winter months. (letter)

  5. Application of fungistatics in soil reduces N uptake by an arctic ericoid shrub (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Walker, J.F.; Johnson, L.; Simpson, N.B.; Bill, M.; Jumpponen, A.

    2009-11-01

    In arctic tundra soil N is highly limiting, N mineralization is slow and organic N greatly exceeds inorganic N. We studied the effects of fungistatics (azoxystrobin [Quadris{reg_sign}] or propiconazole [Tilt{reg_sign}]) on the fungi isolated from ericaceous plant roots in vitro. In addition to testing the phytotoxicity of the two fungistatics we also tested their effects on growth and nitrogen uptake of an ericaceous plant (Vaccinium uliginosum) in a closed Petri plate system without root-associated fungi. Finally, to evaluate the fungistatic effects in an in vivo experiment we applied fungistatics and nitrogen isotopes to intact tundra soil cores from Toolik Lake, Alaska, and examined the ammonium-N and glycine-N use by Vaccinium vitis-idaea with and without fungistatics. The experiments on fungal pure cultures showed that Tilt{reg_sign} was more effective in reducing fungal colony growth in vitro than Quadris{reg_sign}, which was highly variable among the fungal strains. Laboratory experiments aiming to test the fungistatic effects on plant performance in vitro showed that neither Quadris{reg_sign} nor Tilt{reg_sign} affected V. uliginosum growth or N uptake. In this experiment V. uliginosum assimilated more than an order of magnitude more ammonium-N than glycine-N. The intact tundra core experiment provided contrasting results. After 10 wk of fungistatic application in the growth chamber V. vitis-idaea leaf %N was 10% lower and the amount of leaf {sup 15}N acquired was reduced from labeled ammonium (33%) and glycine (40%) during the 4 d isotope treatment. In contrast to the in vitro experiment leaf {sup 15}N assimilation from glycine was three times higher than from {sup 15}NH{sub 4} in the treatments that received no-fungistatics. We conclude that the function of the fungal communities is essential to the acquisition of N from organic sources and speculate that N acquisition from inorganic sources is mainly inhibited by competition with complex soil microbial

  6. Correlating Permafrost Organic Matter Composition and Characteristics with Methane Production Potentials in a First Generation Thermokarst Lake and Its Underlying Permafrost Near Fairbanks, Alaska, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heslop, J.; Walter Anthony, K. M.; Sepulveda-Jauregui, A.; Martinez-Cruz, K. C.

    2014-12-01

    Thermokarst lakes, formed in permafrost-thaw depressions, are known sources of atmospheric methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2). The organic carbon (OC) utilized in the production of these greenhouse gases originates from microbial decomposition of aquatic and terrestrial organic matter (OM) sources, including soils of the lakes' watersheds and permafrost thaw beneath the lakes. OM derived from permafrost thaw is particularly important given the thickness of permafrost soils underlying some lakes (typically 10-30 m in yedoma permafrost); however, OM heterogeneity remains a significant uncertainty in estimating how microbial decomposition responds to permafrost thaw. This study correlates OM and water-extractable OC (WEOC) composition with CH4 production potentials determined from anaerobic laboratory incubations. Samples were collected from 21 depths along a 5.9-m deep thermokarst-lake sediment core and 17 depths along an adjacent 40-m deep undisturbed yedoma permafrost profile near Vault Creek, Alaska. The Vault Lake core, collected in the center of a 3230 m2 first generation thermokarst lake, includes surface lake sediments, the talik (thaw bulb), and permafrost actively thawing beneath the lake. Soil OM composition was characterized using pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (py-GC/MS) and the most prevalent compounds were grouped into six indices based on their likely origin. WEOC was characterized using fluorescence spectrometry. Using stepwise multiple linear regression analyses, we found that CH4 production was negatively correlated with WEOC aromaticity (p = 0.018) and fulvic acids (p = 0.027). CH4 production was positively correlated with lipids and carboxylic acids (p < 0.001), polysaccharides (p = 0.036) and the degree of WEOC humification (p = 0.013). Results suggest OM and WEOC composition can be correlated with CH4 production, indicating potential for model building to better predict greenhouse gas release from permafrost thaw.

  7. Differential mobilization of terrestrial carbon pools in Eurasian Arctic river basins

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Feng, X.; Vonk, J.E.; van Dongen, B.E.; Gustafsson, Ö.; Semiletov, I.P.; Dudarev, O.V.; Wang, Z.; Montluçon, D.B.; Wacker, L.; Eglinton, T.I.

    2013-01-01

    Mobilization of Arctic permafrost carbon is expected to increase with warming-induced thawing. However, this effect is challenging to assess due to the diverse processes controlling the release of various organic carbon (OC) pools from heterogeneous Arctic landscapes. Here, by radiocarbon dating var

  8. Major element concentrations in six Alaskan arctic rivers from melt to freeze-up

    Science.gov (United States)

    Douglas, T. A.; Barker, A.; Jacobson, A. D.; McClelland, J. W.; Khosh, M. S.; Lehn, G. O.

    2010-12-01

    It is increasingly evident that permafrost in the Arctic is responding to climate warming. An expected response to this warming is permafrost degradation and the downward migration of the seasonally thawed (active) layer into previously frozen material. This could allow weathering of previously frozen soils and influence surface water biogeochemistry in Arctic rivers. The weathering signal would most likely be evident in surface waters during summer and early fall base flow when the active layer is at its deepest extent. Studies collecting water samples from spring through late fall could capture these flows. Fieldwork in remote regions often requires long storage times for samples prior to analysis. One aspect of our study was to investigate whether waters collected for major element analyses should be preserved by acidification. We collected up to 60 surface water samples from each of six rivers between April and October, 2009. Two rivers were underlain by organic rich permafrost, two of the rivers drained mountainous bedrock, and two rivers were underlain by a combination of both bedrock and organic rich permafrost. We collected duplicate samples from each river. Samples were filtered in the field to less than 0.45 microns and collected into high density polyethylene bottles. Waters were stored for six months prior to analysis. One set of samples was analyzed without acidification while the second set was acidified with nitric acid to a pH of 2 after 6 months of storage. Concentrations of sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, ammonium, fluoride, chloride, nitrate, sulfate and phosphate were measured from all samples by ion chromatography. Sulfate, calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium concentrations increase steadily through the summer from the end of spring melt into early fall. In all six rivers the potassium concentrations are unaffected by acidification. In the two streams underlain by organic rich permafrost and in one of the bedrock streams the calcium

  9. Bridging arctic pathways: Integrating hydrology, geomorphology and remote sensing in the north

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trochim, Erin D.

    This work presents improved approaches for integrating patterns and processes within hydrology, geomorphology, ecology and permafrost on Arctic landscapes. Emphasis was placed on addressing fundamental interdisciplinary questions using robust, repeatable methods. Water tracks were examined in the foothills of the Brooks Range to ascertain their role within the range of features that transport water in Arctic regions. Classes of water tracks were developed using multiple factor analysis based on their geomorphic, soil and vegetation characteristics. These classes were validated to verify that they were repeatable. Water tracks represented a broad spectrum of patterns and processes primarily driven by surficial geology. This research demonstrated a new approach to better understanding regional hydrological patterns. The locations of the water track classes were mapped using a combination method where intermediate processing of spectral classifications, texture and topography were fed into random forests to identify the water track classes. Overall, the water track classes were best visualized where they were the most discrete from the background landscape in terms of both shape and content. Issues with overlapping and imbalances between water track classes were the biggest challenges. Resolving the spatial locations of different water tracks represents a significant step forward for understanding periglacial landscape dynamics. Leaf area index (LAI) calculations using the gap-method were optimized using normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) as input for both WorldView-2 and Landsat-7 imagery. The study design used groups to separate the effects of surficial drainage networks and the relative magnitude of change in NDVI over time. LAI values were higher for the WorldView-2 data and for each sensor and group combination the distribution of LAI values was unique. This study indicated that there are tradeoffs between increased spatial resolution and the ability

  10. Calculation of thawing of the soil foundations with the surface basements of a low-rise buildings in permafrost%多年冻土区低层建筑地下室土基的解冻计算

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Terenty A.Kornilov; Igor I.Rozhin; Ekaterina A.Kononova; Dmitry A.Grigoriev; Ayyna N.Danilova

    2014-01-01

    Thawing of permafrost soil foundations of low-rise buildings with surface basements has been studied by the methods of mathematical modeling .The model takes into account air temperature changes , total solar radiation , surface albedo , thickness of snow cover and changes of coefficient of heat transfer between atmosphere and the Earth surface during a year .The influence of building dimensions , thermal resistance of plinth panel and thermal conditions of soil on dynamics of thawed bowl have been investiga -ted in the computational experiment .Comparative assessment of the results of calculation of the depth of thawing revealed that the depth of thaw calculated by existing standards , is considerably underestimated and does not depend on the thermal resistance of plinth panel .Moreover the standards do not take into account initial thermal conditions of soil and annual changes of atmospheric temperature .%对多年冻土区低层建筑地下室的解冻可通过数学建模的方法研究。该模型考虑了空气温度的变化、太阳总辐射、地表反照率以及一年中大气和地球表面之间的热传递系数的变化。建筑尺寸影响的研究,是基于基座面板的热阻和热条件土壤解冻动力学计算实验进行的。比较评估的计算融化深度结果显示,现有的解冻深度的标准,大大低估了和不依赖于基座面板的热阻。此外,该标准不考虑初始土壤热状况和大气温度的年际变化。

  11. Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment: Quantification and prediction of coupled processes in the terrestrial Arctic system

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hubbard, S. S.; Hinzman, L. D.; Graham, D. E.; Liang, L.; Norby, R.; Riley, W. J.; Rogers, A.; Rowland, J. C.; Thornton, P. E.; Torn, M. S.; Wilson, C. J.; Wullschleger, S. D.; NGEE Scientific Team

    2011-12-01

    Predicting the evolution of Arctic ecosystems to a changing climate is complicated by the many interactions and feedbacks that occur within and between components of the system. A new DOE Biological and Environmental Research project, called the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE) is being initiated to address "how does permafrost degradation in a warming Arctic, and the associated changes in landscape evolution, hydrology, soil biogeochemical processes, and plant community succession, affect feedbacks to the climate system?". A multi-disciplinary team will use observations, experiments, and simulations carried out from the pore to the landscape scales to address these questions. We will combine field research (performed around thermokarst features in Alaska on the North Slope and Seward Peninsula), laboratory research using a variety of approaches and techniques, and remote sensing observations to improve modeling capabilities for high-latitude systems. Our research is organized into four interrelated 'Challenges' to quantify: (1) environmental controls on permafrost degradation and its influence on hydrological state, stocks, fluxes and pathways; (2) mechanisms that drive structural and functional responses of the tundra plant community to changing resource availability; (3) controls, mechanisms and rates driving biodegradation of soil organic matter; and (4) the impact of permafrost degradation on ecosystem albedo, energy partitioning and total climate forcing. Coordinated data acquisition will be performed using a variety of commonly-used terrestrial ecosystem characterization approaches as well as novel molecular microbiological, geophysical, isotopic and synchrotron techniques. These datasets will be used in parallel with models to identify the key controls on coupled geomechanical, hydrological, soil biogeochemical, vegetation and land-surface processes, as well as the manifestation of these coupled processes over a broad range of space and time

  12. Impact of physical permafrost processes on hydrological change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hagemann, Stefan; Blome, Tanja; Beer, Christian; Ekici, Altug

    2015-04-01

    Permafrost or perennially frozen ground is an important part of the terrestrial cryosphere; roughly one quarter of Earth's land surface is underlain by permafrost. As it is a thermal phenomenon, its characteristics are highly dependent on climatic factors. The impact of the currently observed warming, which is projected to persist during the coming decades due to anthropogenic CO2 input, certainly has effects for the vast permafrost areas of the high northern latitudes. The quantification of these effects, however, is scientifically still an open question. This is partly due to the complexity of the system, where several feedbacks are interacting between land and atmosphere, sometimes counterbalancing each other. Moreover, until recently, many global circulation models (GCMs) and Earth system models (ESMs) lacked the sufficient representation of permafrost physics in their land surface schemes. Within the European Union FP7 project PAGE21, the land surface scheme JSBACH of the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology ESM (MPI-ESM) has been equipped with the representation of relevant physical processes for permafrost studies. These processes include the effects of freezing and thawing of soil water for both energy and water cycles, thermal properties depending on soil water and ice contents, and soil moisture movement being influenced by the presence of soil ice. In the present study, it will be analysed how these permafrost relevant processes impact projected hydrological changes over northern hemisphere high latitude land areas. For this analysis, the atmosphere-land part of MPI-ESM, ECHAM6-JSBACH, is driven by prescribed SST and sea ice in an AMIP2-type setup with and without the newly implemented permafrost processes. Observed SST and sea ice for 1979-1999 are used to consider induced changes in the simulated hydrological cycle. In addition, simulated SST and sea ice are taken from a MPI-ESM simulation conducted for CMIP5 following the RCP8.5 scenario. The

  13. Edaphic and microclimatic controls over permafrost response to fire in interior Alaska

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Discontinuous permafrost in the North American boreal forest is strongly influenced by the effects of ecological succession on the accumulation of surface organic matter, making permafrost vulnerable to degradation resulting from fire disturbance. To assess factors affecting permafrost degradation after wildfire, we compared vegetation composition and soil properties between recently burned and unburned sites across three soil landscapes (rocky uplands, silty uplands, and sandy lowlands) situated within the Yukon Flats and Yukon-Tanana Uplands in interior Alaska. Mean annual air temperatures at our study sites from 2011 to 2012 were relatively cold (−5.5 ° C) and favorable to permafrost formation. Burning of mature evergreen forests with thick moss covers caused replacement by colonizing species in severely burned areas and recovery of pre-fire understory vegetation in moderately burned areas. Surface organic layer thickness strongly affected thermal regimes and thaw depths. On average, fire caused a five-fold decrease in mean surface organic layer thickness, a doubling of water storage in the active layer, a doubling of thaw depth, an increase in soil temperature at the surface (−0.6 to +2.1 ° C) and at 1 m depth (−1.7 to +0.4 ° C), and a two-fold increase in net soil heat input. Degradation of the upper permafrost occurred at all burned sites, but differences in soil texture and moisture among soil landscapes allowed permafrost to persist beneath the active layer in the silty uplands, whereas a talik of unknown depth developed in the rocky uplands and a thin talik developed in the sandy lowlands. A changing climate and fire regime would undoubtedly influence permafrost in the boreal forest, but the patterns of degradation or stabilization would vary considerably across the discontinuous permafrost zone due to differences in microclimate, successional patterns, and soil characteristics. (letter)

  14. Coupled thermo-geophysical inversion for high-latitude permafrost monitoring - assessment of the method and practical considerations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tomaskovicova, Sonia; Paamand, Eskild; Ingeman-Nielsen, Thomas; Bauer-Gottwein, Peter

    2013-04-01

    difference between the synthetic and the measured apparent resistivities is minimized in a least-squares inversion procedure by adjusting the thermal parameters of the heat model. A site-specific calibration is required since the relation between unfrozen water content and temperature is strongly dependent on the grain size of the soil. We present details of an automated permanent field measurement setup that has been established to collect the calibration data in Ilulissat, West Greenland. Considering the station location in high latitude environment, this setup is unique of its kind since the installation of automated geophysical stations in the Arctic conditions is a challenging task. The main issues are related to availability of adapted equipment, high demand on robustness of the equipment and method due to the harsh environment, remoteness of the field sites and related powering issues of such systems. By showing the results from the new-established geoelectrical station over the freezing period in autumn 2012, we prove the 2D time lapse resistivity tomography to be an effective method for permafrost monitoring in high latitudes. We demonstrate the effectivity of time lapse geoelectrical signal for petrophysical relationship calibration, which is enhanced comparing to sparse measurements.

  15. Stability and biodegradability of organic matter from Arctic soils of Western Siberia: insights from 13C-NMR spectroscopy and elemental analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ejarque, E.; Abakumov, E.

    2016-01-01

    Arctic soils contain large amounts of organic matter which, globally, exceed the amount of carbon stored in vegetation biomass and in the atmosphere. Recent studies emphasise the potential sensitivity for this soil organic matter (SOM) to be mineralised when faced with increasing ambient temperatures. In order to better refine the predictions about the response of SOM to climate warming, there is a need to increase the spatial coverage of empirical data on SOM quantity and quality in the Arctic area. This study provides, for the first time, a characterisation of SOM from the Gydan Peninsula in the Yamal Region, Western Siberia, Russia. On the one hand, soil humic acids and their humification state were characterised by measuring the elemental composition and diversity of functional groups using solid-state 13C-nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Also, the total mineralisable carbon was measured. Our results indicate that there is a predominance of aliphatic carbon structures, with a minimal variation of their functional-group composition both regionally and within soil depth. This vertical homogeneity and low level of aromaticity reflects the accumulation in soil of lowly decomposed organic matter due to cold temperatures. Mineralisation rates were found to be independent of SOM quality, and to be mainly explained solely by the total carbon content. Overall, our results provide further evidence on the sensitivity that the soils of Western Siberia may have to increasing ambient temperatures and highlight the important role that this region can play in the global carbon balance under the effects of climate warming.

  16. METHANE HYDRATE PRODUCTION FROM ALASKAN PERMAFROST

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Thomas E. Williams; Keith Millheim; Bill Liddell

    2005-03-01

    Natural-gas hydrates have been encountered beneath the permafrost and considered a nuisance by the oil and gas industry for years. Oil-field engineers working in Russia, Canada and the USA have documented numerous drilling problems, including kicks and uncontrolled gas releases, in Arctic regions. Information has been generated in laboratory studies pertaining to the extent, volume, chemistry and phase behavior of gas hydrates. Scientists studying hydrates agree that the potential is great--on the North Slope of Alaska alone, it has been estimated at 590 TCF. However, little information has been obtained on physical samples taken from actual rock containing hydrates. This gas-hydrate project is a cost-shared partnership between Maurer Technology, Anadarko Petroleum, Noble Corporation, and the U.S. Department of Energy's Methane Hydrate R&D program. The purpose of the project is to build on previous and ongoing R&D in the area of onshore hydrate deposition to help identify, quantify and predict production potential for hydrates located on the North Slope of Alaska. As part of the project work scope, team members drilled and cored the HOT ICE No. 1 on Anadarko leases beginning in January 2003 and completed in March 2004. Due to scheduling constraints imposed by the Arctic drilling season, operations at the site were suspended between April 21, 2003 and January 30, 2004. An on-site core analysis laboratory was designed, constructed and used for determining physical characteristics of frozen core immediately after it was retrieved from the well. The well was drilled from a new and innovative Anadarko Arctic Platform that has a greatly reduced footprint and environmental impact. Final efforts of the project were to correlate geology, geophysics, logs, and drilling and production data and provide this information to scientists for future hydrate operations. Unfortunately, no gas hydrates were encountered in this well; however, a wealth of information was generated

  17. Estimation of the residence time of permafrost groundwater in the middle of the Lena River basin, eastern Siberia

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Detection of changes in the hydrological cycles of permafrost regions is a critical issue in hydrology. Better understanding of groundwater dynamics in permafrost regions is needed to assess the vulnerability of the cryolithic water environment to changing climate. However, little is known about the age of groundwater in the Siberian Arctic region. In order to determine the residence time of permafrost groundwater in eastern Siberia, transient tracers including tritium (3H), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) were used to analyze a mixture of supra-permafrost and intra-permafrost groundwater in the middle of the Lena River basin. Tritium analyses showed that the concentration ranges from 1.0 to 16.8 TU, and the apparent age of groundwater ranged from around 1 to 55 years. One of the spring waters appeared to contain more than 90% water recharged by precipitation before the 1960s nuclear testing era, and the water could be partly sourced from thawing permafrost. Comparisons of apparent groundwater ages estimated from different tracers imply that 3H and CFC-12 are the most applicable to groundwater vulnerability assessments in this region. Because the apparent age is a mixture of those from supra-permafrost and intra-permafrost groundwater, further analysis would be required to assess the contribution ratio of the two types of groundwater. (letter)

  18. Distinct summer and winter bacterial communities in the active layer of Svalbard permafrost revealed by DNA- and RNA-based analyses

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Schostag, Morten; Stibal, Marek; Jacobsen, Carsten S.; Baelum, Jacob; Tas, Neslihan; Elberling, Bo; Jansson, Janet K.; Semenchuk, Phillip; Prieme, Anders

    2015-04-30

    The active layer of soil overlaying permafrost in the Arctic is subjected to dramatic annual changes in temperature and soil chemistry, which likely affect bacterial activity and community structure. We studied seasonal variations in the bacterial community of active layer soil from Svalbard (78°N) by co-extracting DNA and RNA from 12 soil cores collected monthly over a year. PCR amplicons of 16S rRNA genes (DNA) and reverse transcribed transcripts (cDNA) were quantified and sequenced to test for the effect of low winter temperature and seasonal variation in concentration of easily degradable organic matter on the bacterial communities. The copy number of 16S rRNA genes and transcripts revealed no distinct seasonal changes indicating potential bacterial activity during winter despite soil temperatures well below -10°C. Multivariate statistical analysis of the bacterial diversity data (DNA and cDNA libraries) revealed a season-based clustering of the samples, and, e.g., the relative abundance of potentially active Cyanobacteria peaked in June and Alphaproteobacteria increased over the summer and then declined from October to November. The structure of the bulk (DNA-based) community was significantly correlated with pH and dissolved organic carbon, while the potentially active (RNA-based) community structure was not significantly correlated with any of the measured soil parameters. A large fraction of the 16S rRNA transcripts was assigned to nitrogen-fixing bacteria (up to 24% in June) and phototrophic organisms (up to 48% in June) illustrating the potential importance of nitrogen fixation in otherwise nitrogen poor Arctic ecosystems and of phototrophic bacterial activity on the soil surface.

  19. Changes in forcing factors affecting coastal and shallow water erosion in the future Arctic climate change projections.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dobrynin, Mikhail; Razumov, Sergey; Brovkin, Victor; Ilyina, Tatiana; Grigoriev, Mikhail

    2016-04-01

    Driving factors of seabed and coastal erosion in the Arctic can be classified as thermal and mechanical. Thermal factors such as air and ocean temperatures affect the seabed and coastal ground temperatures. Mechanical factors such as ocean currents and surface gravity waves contribute to the seabed and costal erosion due to shear stress. Due to polar amplification, the Arctic experiences strong increase in air and water temperature, sea-ice loss and changes in the ocean and atmospheric circulation, temperature and wind distribution. These climatic changes lead to changes in factors driving seabed and coastal erosion, which is expected to accelerate in the shallow Arctic regions such as the Laptev sea and East Siberian sea. In these regions, the coastal line to a large extent consists of frozen rocks, sediments and organic soils including ground ice. The increase of erosion rate of the coastal line will increase the release of organic and inorganic matter from thawed permafrost. Dynamics of thermal and mechanical drivers of seabed and coastal erosion in the present and future climate change (RCP8.5 scenario) simulated by the CMIP5 version of the MPI Earth system model and wave model WAM will be presented. Special attention will be given to changes in the air temperature, wind dynamics and development of new waves system in the ``ice-free'' Arctic and its role in the seabed and coastal erosion.

  20. Expert assessment of vulnerability of permafrost carbon to climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schuur, E.A.G.; Abbott, B.W.; Bowden, W.B.; Brovkin, V.; Camill, P.; Canadell, J.G.; Chanton, J.P.; Chapin, F. S., III; Christensen, T.R.; Ciais, P.; Crosby, B.T.; Czimczik, C.I.; Grosse, G.; Harden, J.; Hayes, D.J.; Hugelius, G.; Jastrow, J.D.; Jones, J.B.; Kleinen, T.; Koven, C.D.; Krinner, G.; Kuhry, P.; Lawrence, D.M.; McGuire, A.D.; Natali, S.M.; O'Donnell, J. A.; Ping, C.-L.; Riley, W.J.; Rinke, A.; Romanovsky, V.E.; Sannel, A.B.K.; Schädel, C.; Schaefer, K.; Sky, J.; Subin, Z.M.; Tarnocai, C.; Turetsky, M.R.; Waldrop, M.P.; Anthony, K.M. Walter; Wickland, K.P.; Wilson, C.J.; Zimov, S.A.

    2013-01-01

    Approximately 1700 Pg of soil carbon (C) are stored in the northern circumpolar permafrost zone, more than twice as much C than in the atmosphere. The overall amount, rate, and form of C released to the atmosphere in a warmer world will influence the strength of the permafrost C feedback to climate change. We used a survey to quantify variability in the perception of the vulnerability of permafrost C to climate change. Experts were asked to provide quantitative estimates of permafrost change in response to four scenarios of warming. For the highest warming scenario (RCP 8.5), experts hypothesized that C release from permafrost zone soils could be 19–45 Pg C by 2040, 162–288 Pg C by 2100, and 381–616 Pg C by 2300 in CO2 equivalent using 100-year CH4 global warming potential (GWP). These values become 50 % larger using 20-year CH4 GWP, with a third to a half of expected climate forcing coming from CH4 even though CH4 was only 2.3 % of the expected C release. Experts projected that two-thirds of this release could be avoided under the lowest warming scenario (RCP 2.6). These results highlight the potential risk from permafrost thaw and serve to frame a hypothesis about the magnitude of this feedback to climate change. However, the level of emissions proposed here are unlikely to overshadow the impact of fossil fuel burning, which will continue to be the main source of C emissions and climate forcing.

  1. Soil-frost-enabled soil-moisture-precipitation feedback over northern high latitudes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hagemann, Stefan; Blome, Tanja; Ekici, Altug; Beer, Christian

    2016-07-01

    Permafrost or perennially frozen ground is an important part of the terrestrial cryosphere; roughly one quarter of Earth's land surface is underlain by permafrost. The currently observed global warming is most pronounced in the Arctic region and is projected to persist during the coming decades due to anthropogenic CO2 input. This warming will certainly have effects on the ecosystems of the vast permafrost areas of the high northern latitudes. The quantification of such effects, however, is still an open question. This is partly due to the complexity of the system, including several feedback mechanisms between land and atmosphere. In this study we contribute to increasing our understanding of such land-atmosphere interactions using an Earth system model (ESM) which includes a representation of cold-region physical soil processes, especially the effects of freezing and thawing of soil water on thermal and hydrological states and processes. The coupled atmosphere-land models of the ESM of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, MPI-ESM, have been driven by prescribed observed SST and sea ice in an AMIP2-type setup with and without newly implemented cold-region soil processes. Results show a large improvement in the simulated discharge. On the one hand this is related to an improved snowmelt peak of runoff due to frozen soil in spring. On the other hand a subsequent reduction in soil moisture enables a positive feedback to precipitation over the high latitudes, which reduces the model's wet biases in precipitation and evapotranspiration during the summer. This is noteworthy as soil-moisture-atmosphere feedbacks have previously not been the focus of research on the high latitudes. These results point out the importance of high-latitude physical processes at the land surface for regional climate.

  2. A Geo Information System (GIS) for circum-arctic coastal dynamics

    OpenAIRE

    Rachold, Volker; Lack, M.; Mikhail N Grigoriev

    2003-01-01

    Coastal erosion forms a major source of the sediment, organic carbon and nutrient flux into the arctic basin. Recent studies indicate that sediment input resulting from the erosion of ice-rich, permafrost-dominated coasts might be equal to or greater than river input. The program Arctic Coastal Dynamics (ACD) has been developed to improve our understanding of circum-arctic coastal dynamics as a function of environmental forcing, coastal geology, geocryology and morphodynamic behavior. Under t...

  3. Merging Field Measurements and High Resolution Modeling to Predict Possible Societal Impacts of Permafrost Degradation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Romanovsky, V. E.; Nicolsky, D.; Marchenko, S. S.; Cable, W.; Panda, S. K.

    2015-12-01

    A general warming trend in permafrost temperatures has triggered permafrost degradation in Alaska, especially at locations influenced by human activities. Various phenomena related to permafrost degradation are already commonly observed, including increased rates of coastal and riverbank erosion, increased occurrences of retrogressive thaw slumps and active layer detachment slides, and the disappearance of tundra lakes. The combination of thawing permafrost and erosion is damaging local community infrastructure such as buildings, roads, airports, pipelines, water and sanitation facilities, and communication systems. The potential scale of direct ecological and economical damage due to degrading permafrost has just begun to be recognized. While the projected changes in permafrost are generally available on global and regional scales, these projections cannot be effectively employed to estimate the societal impacts because of their coarse resolution. Intrinsic problems with the classical "spatial grid" approach in spatially distributed modeling applications preclude the use of this modeling approach to solve the above stated problem. Two types of models can be used to study permafrost dynamics in this case. One approach is a site-specific application of the GIPL2.0 permafrost model and another is a very high (tens to hundred meter) resolution spatially distributed version of the same model. The results of properly organized field measurements are also needed to calibrate and validate these models for specific locations and areas of interest. We are currently developing a "landscape unit" approach that allows practically unlimited spatial resolution of the modeling products. Classification of the study area into particular "landscape units" should be performed in accordance with the main factors controlling the expression of climate on permafrost in the study area, typically things such as vegetation, hydrology, soil properties, topography, etc. In areas with little

  4. Holocene Carbon Accumulation and Soil Properties in Northern Peatlands: A Circum-Arctic Synthesis (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loisel, J.; Beilman, D.; Yu, Z.; Camill, P.

    2013-12-01

    Of all terrestrial ecosystems, peatlands are arguably the most efficient at sequestering carbon (C) over long time scales. However, ongoing and projected climate change could shift the balance between peat production and organic matter decomposition, potentially impacting the peatland C-sink capacity and modifying peat-C fluxes to the atmosphere. Yet, the sign and magnitude of the peatland carbon-climate feedback remain uncertain and difficult to assess because of (1) limited understanding of peatland responses to climate change, (2) data gaps and large uncertainties in regional peatland C stocks, and (3) non-linear peatland responses to external forcing. Here we present results from a comprehensive compilation of peat soil properties and Holocene C data for northern peatlands. Our compiled database consists of >250 peat cores from > 200 sites located north of 45N. This synthesis is novel in that our C accumulation estimates are based on directly measured bulk density and C content values. It also encompasses regions within which peat-C data have only recently become available, such as the West Siberia Lowlands, Hudson Bay Lowlands and Kamchatka. Our averaged bulk density value of 0.13 g cm-3 (n = 17,319) is about 16% higher than Gorham's (1991, Ecol. Appl.) widely used estimate of 0.112 g cm-3 for northern peatlands, and 30% larger than the generic value of 0.10 g cm-3 used in recent synthesis (Yu et al. 2009, AGU Monograph 184). When combined with our mean C content value of 48% (n = 2431), these differences in bulk density have important implications for estimating the total C stocks in northern peatlands. Soil organic carbon density (SOC) ranged from 12 to 334 kg C m-2, with a mean value of 102 kg C m-2. A regression model revealed a significant, positive correlation between peat depths and SOC (R2 = 0.675, p stocks by 86% and 65%, respectively. Holocene peat-C accumulation rate averaged 24.2 g C m-2 yr-1, higher than the previous estimate of 18.6 g C m-2 yr-1

  5. Marine heat flow measurements across subsea permafrost limit in the eastern Mackenzie Trough, Canadian Beaufort Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Y. G.; Hong, J. K.; Jin, Y. K.; Riedel, M.; Melling, H.; Kang, S. G.; Dallimore, S.

    2015-12-01

    Marine heat flow measurements using a 5 m-long Ewing-type heat probe were made during Korean icebreaker R/V Araon's Arctic expeditions (ARA04C in 2013 and ARA05B in 2014) to better know the shallow subsurface thermal structure in the eastern slope of Mackenzie Trough, th