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Sample records for monitoring permafrost beneath

  1. Permafrost monitoring K12 outreach program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yoshikawa, K.; Saito, T.; Romanovsky, V.

    2007-12-01

    The objective of this project is to establish long-term permafrost monitoring sites adjacent to schools along the circum polar permafrost region. Permafrost will be one of the important indicators for monitoring climatic change in the future. Change in permafrost conditions also affects local ecosystems, hydrological regimes and natural disasters. The purpose of the long-term permafrost observation is fitting for future science objectives, and can also benefit students and teachers in remote village schools. Most remote villages depend on a subsistence lifestyle and will be directly affected by changing climate and permafrost condition. Monitoring the permafrost temperature in the arctic for a better understanding of the spatial distribution of permafrost and having students participate to collect the data is an ideal IPY project. Our outreach project involves drilling boreholes at village schools and installing the micro data logger with temperature sensors to measure hourly air and permafrost temperatures. Trained teachers help students download data several times a year and discuss the results in class. The data gathered from these stations is shared and can be viewed by anyone through the Internet (http://www.uaf.edu/permafrost). Using the Internet teachers can also compare their data with data form other monitoring stations. This project is becoming an useful science project for these remote villages, which tends to have limited exposure to science, despite the changing surroundings that they're daily lives depend on. NSF (EPSCoR) funded the previous seeding outreach program. Currently NSF/NASA and the International Polar Year (IPY) program support this project. In the 2006 field season, thirty-one schools participated in installing the monitoring stations. In 2007 we propose the expansion of this project to involve an additional 100 villages along the arctic. The broader impacts of this project are 1). This project will provide opportunities for field

  2. ESA Data User Element PERMAFROST: a spaceborne permafrost monitoring and information system

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bartsch, A.; Heim, B.; Boike, J.; Elger, K.; Muster, S.; Langer, M.; Westermann, S.; Sobiech, J.

    2010-12-01

    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 applications are potentially indicative for the thermal state of Permafrost, such as ‘land surface temperature’, ‘surface moisture’, ‘freeze/thaw’, ‘terrain’, ‘vegetation’ and ‘changes of surface waters’. The major task of the ESA Data User Element Permafrost project is to develop circumarctic/-boreal Earth Observation services of these parameters with extensive involvement of the permafrost research community The DUE PERMAFROST datasets will be processed in the EO-PERMAFROST Information System and provided via a WebGIS-interface. Further information is available at www.ipf.tuwien.ac.at/ permafrost. In order to set up the required validation tasks and information services, a target area approach with specified case study regions is used. Most of the foreseen DUE PERMAFROST remote sensing applications are well established and can optimally become operational. The goal of DUE PERMAFROST is to lend confidence in their scientific utility for high-latitude permafrost landscapes. Therefore, a major component is the evaluation of the DUE PERMAFROST products. Ground measurements in the high-latitude landscapes involve challenging logistics and are networked on multidisciplinary and circum-arctic level by the Permafrost community. The International Permafrost Association (IPA) has built up the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) that is a network of the Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) and the Thermal State of Permafrost (TSP) projects. A major part of the DUE PERMAFROST core User group is contributing to GTN-P. Additional members of these programs and circum-arctic networks have also been involved in the consulting process and ground data providing process. Match-up data sets of ground data and remote sensing products coincident in time and

  3. 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.

  4. Monitoring of Permafrost in the Hovsgol Mountain Region, Mongolia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sharkhuu, A.; Natsagdorj, S.; Etzelmuller, B.; Heggem, E. S.; Nelson, F. E.; Shiklomanov, N.; Goulden, C.

    2005-12-01

    The Hovsgol Mountain Region is located between the coordinates of N 49°-52° and E 98°-102 ° in territory of Hovsgol Province, Mongolia. The territory is characterized by mountain permafrost, sporadic to continuous in its distribution, and occupies the southern fringe of the Siberian continuous permafrost zone. The main goal of permafrost monitoring in the region is to study recent degradation of permafrost under the influence of climate warming and human activities. Monitoring of permafrost is conducted within the framework of the Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) and the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) programs. The main parameters being monitored are active layer depth and mean annual permafrost temperature at the level of the zero annual amplitude. Long-term CALM and GTN-P programs are based on ground temperature measurements in shallow to deep boreholes. Each borehole for monitoring is installed using instrumentation designed specifically to protect against air convection in them. Temperature measurements in the boreholes are made using identical thermo-resistors at corresponding depths, and carried out on the same dates each year. In addition, temperature dataloggers and thaw tubes are installed in most of the boreholes. At present, there are eight long-term (15-35 years) CALM and GTN-P active borehole sites. Boreholes are located in the Sharga valley (southwest), Burehkhan and Hovsgol phosphorite areas and Hatgal village (central part of the region) and in the Darhad depression. Initial results of the long term monitoring show that average rates of increase in active layer depth and mean annual permafrost temperature under influence of recent climate warming in the Hovsgol Mountain Region are 5-15 cm and 0.15-0.25°C per decade, respectively. The rate of permafrost degradation in bedrock is greater than in unconsolidated sediments, in ice-poor sediments more than ice-rich ones, and on north-facing slopes more than on south

  5. Permafrost and Active Layer Monitoring in the Maritime Antarctic: A Contribution to TSP and ANTPAS projects

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vieira, G.; Ramos, M.; Batista, V.; Caselli, A.; Correia, A.; Fragoso, M.; Gruber, S.; Hauck, C.; Kenderova, R.; Lopez-Martinez, J.; Melo, R.; Mendes-Victor, L. A.; Miranda, P.; Mora, C.; Neves, M.; Pimpirev, C.; Rocha, M.; Santos, F.; Blanco, J. J.; Serrano, E.; Trigo, I.; Tome, D.; Trindade, A.

    2008-12-01

    Permafrost and active layer monitoring in the Maritime Antarctic (PERMANTAR) is a Portuguese funded International Project that, in cooperation with the Spanish project PERMAMODEL, will assure the installation and the maintenance of a network of boreholes and active layer monitoring sites, in order to characterize the spatial distribution of the physical and thermal properties of permafrost, as well as the periglacial processes in Livingston and Deception Islands (South Shetlands). The project is part of the International Permafrost Association IPY projects Thermal State of Permafrost (TSP) and Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Permafrost, Soils and Periglacial Environments (ANTPAS). It contributes to GTN-P and CALM-S networks. The PERMANTAR-PERMAMODEL permafrost and active layer monitoring network includes several boreholes: Reina Sofia hill (since 2000, 1.1m), Incinerador (2000, 2.3m), Ohridski 1 (2008, 5m), Ohridski 2 (2008, 6m), Gulbenkian-Permamodel 1 (2008, 25m) and Gulbenkian- Permamodel 2 (2008, 15m). For active layer monitoring, several CALM-S sites have been installed: Crater Lake (2006), Collado Ramos (2007), Reina Sofia (2007) and Ohridski (2007). The monitoring activities are accompanied by detailed geomorphological mapping in order to identify and map the geomorphic processes related to permafrost or active layer dynamics. Sites will be installed in early 2009 for monitoring rates of geomorphological activity in relation to climate change (e.g. solifluction, rockglaciers, thermokarst). In order to analyse the spatial distribution of permafrost and its ice content, electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), and seismic refraction surveys have been performed and, in early 2009, continuous ERT surveying instrumentation will be installed for monitoring active layer evolution. The paper presents a synthesis of the activities, as well as the results obtained up to the present, mainly relating to ground temperature monitoring and from permafrost characteristics and

  6. 10-15 years of GST monitoring over mountain permafrost in Switzerland: Indicators for driving forces for permafrost evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Staub, Benno; Delaloye, Reynald; Hilbich, Christin; Lambiel, Christophe; Nötzli, Jeannette; Völksch, Ingo

    2013-04-01

    Ground Surface Temperatures (GST) are mainly controlled by atmospheric factors and topographical effects and represent an important standard element within the operational permafrost monitoring network PERMOS in Switzerland. Due to its shape, position and extent the Alpine arc is influenced by prevailing winds from several directions provoking a complex and highly variable pattern of precipitation in different regions of Switzerland with a general trend to a more continental climate in some inner-alpine valleys. The lower boundary for the occurrence of mountain permafrost in the Swiss Alps is located at about 2500 m asl., close to the free atmosphere where air temperatures are almost homogenous in all regions, but precipitation usually shows large regional differences regarding timing and quantity depending on the meteorological conditions. At the elevation range of mountain permafrost the ground surface remains snow-free only for about 4-5 months (between June and November) with a high temporal and spatial variability, while over the rest of the year it stays well shielded from the atmosphere (due to the high surface albedo and emissivity and low thermal conductivity of snow). Therefore, the influence of the atmosphere at this boundary layer on the ground thermal regime is well reflected by GST measurements on a very local, site-specific scale. Relative values like GST anomalies can serve as indicators describing processes of energy and heat transfer at the ground surface in a semi-quantitative way. This information is used in a signal-response analysis integrating GST with other permafrost monitoring elements that represent the permafrost response to external effects (e.g. relative changes in borehole temperatures, apparent electrical resistivities or rock glacier creep rates). To identify and quantify the dominant processes and factors controlling the response of Alpine permafrost to external forces, special consideration is devoted to the characteristics of

  7. Uav Photogrammetry for Mapping and Monitoring of Northern Permafrost Landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fraser, R. H.; Olthof, I.; Maloley, M.; Fernandes, R.; Prevost, C.; van der Sluijs, J.

    2015-08-01

    Northern environments are changing in response to recent climate warming, resource development, and natural disturbances. The Arctic climate has warmed by 2-3°C since the 1950's, causing a range of cryospheric changes including declines in sea ice extent, snow cover duration, and glacier mass, and warming permafrost. The terrestrial Arctic has also undergone significant temperature-driven changes in the form of increased thermokarst, larger tundra fires, and enhanced shrub growth. Monitoring these changes to inform land managers and decision makers is challenging due to the vast spatial extents involved and difficult access. Environmental monitoring in Canada's North is often based on local-scale measurements derived from aerial reconnaissance and photography, and ecological, hydrologic, and geologic sampling and surveying. Satellite remote sensing can provide a complementary tool for more spatially comprehensive monitoring but at coarser spatial resolutions. Satellite remote sensing has been used to map Arctic landscape changes related to vegetation productivity, lake expansion and drainage, glacier retreat, thermokarst, and wildfire activity. However, a current limitation with existing satellite-based techniques is the measurement gap between field measurements and high resolution satellite imagery. Bridging this gap is important for scaling up field measurements to landscape levels, and validating and calibrating satellite-based analyses. This gap can be filled to a certain extent using helicopter or fixed-wing aerial surveys, but at a cost that is often prohibitive. Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology has only recently progressed to the point where it can provide an inexpensive and efficient means of capturing imagery at this middle scale of measurement with detail that is adequate to interpret Arctic vegetation (i.e. 1-5 cm) and coverage that can be directly related to satellite imagery (1-10 km2). Unlike satellite measurements, UAVs permit frequent

  8. UAV PHOTOGRAMMETRY FOR MAPPING AND MONITORING OF NORTHERN PERMAFROST LANDSCAPES

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. H. Fraser

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available Northern environments are changing in response to recent climate warming, resource development, and natural disturbances. The Arctic climate has warmed by 2–3°C since the 1950’s, causing a range of cryospheric changes including declines in sea ice extent, snow cover duration, and glacier mass, and warming permafrost. The terrestrial Arctic has also undergone significant temperature-driven changes in the form of increased thermokarst, larger tundra fires, and enhanced shrub growth. Monitoring these changes to inform land managers and decision makers is challenging due to the vast spatial extents involved and difficult access. Environmental monitoring in Canada’s North is often based on local-scale measurements derived from aerial reconnaissance and photography, and ecological, hydrologic, and geologic sampling and surveying. Satellite remote sensing can provide a complementary tool for more spatially comprehensive monitoring but at coarser spatial resolutions. Satellite remote sensing has been used to map Arctic landscape changes related to vegetation productivity, lake expansion and drainage, glacier retreat, thermokarst, and wildfire activity. However, a current limitation with existing satellite-based techniques is the measurement gap between field measurements and high resolution satellite imagery. Bridging this gap is important for scaling up field measurements to landscape levels, and validating and calibrating satellite-based analyses. This gap can be filled to a certain extent using helicopter or fixed-wing aerial surveys, but at a cost that is often prohibitive. Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV technology has only recently progressed to the point where it can provide an inexpensive and efficient means of capturing imagery at this middle scale of measurement with detail that is adequate to interpret Arctic vegetation (i.e. 1–5 cm and coverage that can be directly related to satellite imagery (1–10 km2. Unlike satellite measurements

  9. 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.

  10. Thermal impact of a small alas-valley river in a continuous permafrost area - insights and issues raised from a field monitoring Site in Syrdakh (Central Yakutia)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grenier, Christophe; Nicolas, Roux; Fedorov, Alexander; Konstantinov, Pavel; Séjourné, Antoine; Costard, François; Marlin, Christelle; Khristoforov, Ivan; Saintenoy, Albane

    2017-04-01

    Lakes are probably the most prominent surface water bodies in continuous permafrost areas. As a consequence, they are also the most studied features in these regions (e.g. Fedorov et al. 2014). They are indeed of great interest, not only for local populations that use the water resource they represent both in winter and summer, but also from a climatic point of view as they can be a specific source of green-house gases due to the relatively warmer environment they create, especially associated with their taliks (thawed zone surrounded by permafrost located beneath large enough lakes). From a hydrogeological perspective, such taliks can form complex groundwater networks, thus possibly connecting sub-permafrost groundwater with surface water in the present context of climate change. On the other hand, rivers, another important feature of permafrost landscapes providing similar challenges, have drawn less attention so that only a few studies focus on river interactions with permafrost (e.g. Costard et al. 2014, Grenier et al. 2013). However, the processes of heat transfer at stake between river and permafrost strongly differ from lake systems for several reasons. The geometries differ, the river water flow and thermal regimes and interactions with the lateral slopes (valley) are specific. Of particular importance is the fact that the water, in the case of rivers, is in motion leading to specific heat exchange phenomena between water and soil. (Roux et al., accepted) addressed this issue recently by means of an experimental study in a cold room and associated numerical simulations. The present study focuses on a real river-permafrost system with its full natural complexity. A small alas-valley in the vicinity of Yakutsk (Central Yakutia, Siberia) was chosen. Monitoring was started in October 2012 to study the thermal and hydrological interactions between a river and its underground in this continuous permafrost environment. Thermal sensors were installed inside the

  11. Monitoring of small and medium embankment dams on permafrost in a changing climate

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Rudolf V.Zhang

    2014-01-01

    Global climate warming which began in the second half of the twentieth century is continuing. It is associated with in creased risks for ecological management, especially in permafrost areas comprising over 65% of Russia. Of special con cern are dams constructed on permafrost. They are subject not only to climatic impacts, but also to additional hydrothermal loads from water reservoirs. This paper presents the concept of geocryological monitoring of dams and other water re source projects and substantiates its necessity in view of climatic change. It also presents methods, scope and implemen tation of geocryological monitoring at medium and small dams, considering the specific nature of Far Northern areas, as well as the complicated geotechnical, hydrogeological and permafrost conditions.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. Organisation and analysis of temperature data measured within the Swiss Permafrost Monitoring Network (PERMOS)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Noetzli, Jeannette; Voelksch, Ingo

    2014-05-01

    The Swiss permafrost monitoring network (PERMOS) has been running since 2000 and developed from a loose network of research sites towards an operational network with long-term funding and integration into national and international monitoring structures. The monitoring strategy follows a landform based approach to capture the interaction of subsurface thermal conditions with the atmosphere in a comprehensive picture of permafrost in the Swiss Alps and includes three observation elements: (1) ground temperatures in boreholes and at the surface around the drill site, (2) changes in unfrozen water content at the drill sites, and (3) permafrost creep velocities. They are observed in different landforms (e.g., rock walls, rock glaciers, scree slopes) because topography and site characteristics are decisive for different changes in subsurface thermal regimes. Three of the ten monitoring principles formulated by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) for field measurement relate to the management and quality of data and metadata and state that data management systems are an essential element of climate monitoring systems. For these purposes a data management system is built up that (1) ensures comparability and quality of the data, (2) provides secure and long-term storage in a robust and flexible system with customised access for basic and advanced users and data exchange with data centres and (3) at the same time keeps the (time) effort needed to a minimum. To this end, a relational database was set up and processing protocols are developed for standardization relying on open source products. As of today, the PERMOS data base includes data from the three key observation elements as well as other available ancillary data from most of the Swiss permafrost research sites with time series of up to more than 20 years and more for temperature measurements. This finally builds the basis for comprehensive and joint analyses across sites and parameters within the SNF

  15. Remote Oil Spill Detection and Monitoring Beneath Sea Ice

    Science.gov (United States)

    Polak, Adam; Marshall, Stephen; Ren, Jinchang; Hwang, Byongjun (Phil); Hagan, Bernard; Stothard, David J. M.

    2016-08-01

    The spillage of oil in Polar Regions is particularly serious due to the threat to the environment and the difficulties in detecting and tracking the full extent of the oil seepage beneath the sea ice. Development of fast and reliable sensing techniques is highly desirable. In this paper hyperspectral imaging combined with signal processing and classification techniques are proposed as a potential tool to detect the presence of oil beneath the sea ice. A small sample, lab based experiment, serving as a proof of concept, resulted in the successful identification of oil presence beneath the thin ice layer as opposed to the other sample with ice only. The paper demonstrates the results of this experiment that granted a financial support to execute full feasibility study of this technology for oil spill detection beneath the sea ice.

  16. Satellite data acquisition requirements for monitoring of permafrost in polar regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bartsch, Annett

    2015-04-01

    Requirements for space based monitoring of permafrost features had been already defined within the IGOS Cryosphere Theme Report at the start of the IPY in 2007 (IGOS, 2007). In 2012 the Polar Space Task Group (PSTG, http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/sat/pstg_en.php) has been established as the coordinating body of space agencies, in particular the Space Task Group (STG), for space -based observations of Polar Regions after the International Polar Year (IPY) and under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) Executive Council Panel of Experts on Polar Observations Research and Services (EC-PORS). The PSTG identified the need to review the requirements for permafrost monitoring and to update these requirements as necessary in 2013. Relevant surveys with focus on satellite data are already available from the ESA DUE Permafrost User requirements survey (2009), the United States National Research Council (2014) and the ESA - CliC - IPA - GTN -P workshop in February 2014. These reports have been reviewed and specific needs discussed within the community. Acquisition requirements for monitoring of especially terrain changes (incl. rock glaciers and coastal erosion) and lakes (extent, ice properties etc.) with respect to current satellite missions have been specified. Of special interest for these applications are SAR missions. Current acquisition strategies for space borne SAR data only partially cover polar permafrost regions and some of the longterm in-situ measurement sites. Many stations are located in the proximity to coastal areas and glaciers which to some extent may allow joint usage by different cryosphere applications but requirements may deviate. The results of the discussion are presented in this paper.

  17. Analysis of ERT data of geoelectrical permafrost monitoring on Hoher Sonnblick (Austrian Central Alps)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pfeiler, Stefan; Schöner, Wolfgang; Reisenhofer, Stefan; Ottowitz, David; Jochum, Birgit; Kim, Jung-Ho; Hoyer, Stefan; Supper, Robert; Heinrich, Georg

    2016-04-01

    In the Alps infrastructure facilities such as roads, routes or buildings are affected by the changes of permafrost, which often cause enormous reparation costs. Investigation on degradation of Alpine Permafrost in the last decade has increased, however, the understanding of the permafrost changes inducing its atmospheric forcing processes is still insufficient. Within the project ATMOperm the application of the geoelectrical method to estimate thawing layer thickness for mountain permafrost is investigated near the highest meteorological observatory of Austria on the Hoher Sonnblick. Therefore, it is necessary to further optimize the transformation of ERT data to thermal changes in the subsurface. Based on an innovative time lapse inversion routine for ERT data (Kim J.-H. et al 2013) a newly developed data analysis software tool developed by Kim Jung-Ho (KIGAM) in cooperation with the Geophysics group of the Geological Survey of Austria allows the statistical analysis of the entire sample set of each and every data point measured by the geoelectrical monitoring instrument. This gives on the one hand of course an enhanced opportunity to separate between „good" and „bad" data points in order to assess the quality of measurements. On the other hand, the results of the statistical analysis define the impact of every single data point on the inversion routine. The interpretation of the inversion results will be supplemented by temperature logs from selected boreholes along the ERT profile as well as climatic parameters. KIM J.-H., SUPPER R., TSOURLOS P. and YI M.-J.: Four-dimensional inversion of resistivity monitoring data through Lp norm minimizations. - Geophysical Journal International, 195(3), 1640-1656, 2013. Doi: 10.1093/gji/ggt324. (No OA) Acknowledgments: The geoelectrical monitoring on Hoher Sonnblick has been installed and is operated in the frame of the project ATMOperm (Atmosphere - permafrost relationship in the Austrian Alps - atmospheric extreme

  18. The GTN-P Data Management System: A central database for permafrost monitoring parameters of the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) and beyond

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lanckman, Jean-Pierre; Elger, Kirsten; Karlsson, Ævar Karl; Johannsson, Halldór; Lantuit, Hugues

    2013-04-01

    Permafrost is a direct indicator of climate change and has been identified as Essential Climate Variable (ECV) by the global observing community. The monitoring of permafrost temperatures, active-layer thicknesses and other parameters has been performed for several decades already, but it was brought together within the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) in the 1990's only, including the development of measurement protocols to provide standardized data. GTN-P is the primary international observing network for permafrost sponsored by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS), and managed by the International Permafrost Association (IPA). All GTN-P data was outfitted with an "open data policy" with free data access via the World Wide Web. The existing data, however, is far from being homogeneous: it is not yet optimized for databases, there is no framework for data reporting or archival and data documentation is incomplete. As a result, and despite the utmost relevance of permafrost in the Earth's climate system, the data has not been used by as many researchers as intended by the initiators of the programs. While the monitoring of many other ECVs has been tackled by organized international networks (e.g. FLUXNET), there is still no central database for all permafrost-related parameters. The European Union project PAGE21 created opportunities to develop this central database for permafrost monitoring parameters of GTN-P during the duration of the project and beyond. The database aims to be the one location where the researcher can find data, metadata, and information of all relevant parameters for a specific site. Each component of the Data Management System (DMS), including parameters, data levels and metadata formats were developed in cooperation with the GTN-P and the IPA. The general framework of the GTN-P DMS is based on an object oriented model (OOM), open for as many parameters as possible, and

  19. Thermal Regime and Meteorological Parameters Monitoring in Alpine Permafrost Rockwalls: the Aiguille du Midi

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morra di Cella, U.; Cremonese, E.; Deline, P.; Gruber, S.; Pogliotti, P.; Ravanel, L.

    2009-04-01

    During the last decades the alpine region has revealed to be extremely sensitive to ongoing increasing temperatures and permafrost has been identified as one of six cryospheric indicators of global climate change. In high-mountain regions the permafrost evidences are scarse and punctual, while its occurrence is wide and its distribution is mainly controlled by complex topography and ground cover condition. In such environment, steep bedrock slopes are abundant and contain a significant proportion of permafrost whose thermal response is very fast compared to permafrost in gentle morphology because of its less amount of ice content. Due to logistical problems like accessibility, costs, weather conditions, etc..., monitoring sites in such environments are few, while an increase of measurements of rockwall temperature and system energy balance is fundamental for the calibration and validation of both physical and statistical permafrost models. Started in the framework of the French-Italian project PERMAdataROC (www.fondazionemontagnasicura.org/multimedia/permadataroc/) and presently developped within the EU co-funded project PermaNET (www.permanet-alpinespace.eu), several monitoring sites have been equipped during the last years in the Western Alps from a collaboration of Swiss, French and Italian researchers, with the aim to cover the widest range of climatic, topographic, morphological and geological conditions. In such network, the Aiguille du Midì can be considered one of the most advanced site in high-mountain permafrost research thanks to the convergence of several instrumental approaches, but also a "cooperation laboratory" among different research groups. The site has been choosen because of its elevation, aspects variability, steep slopes and accessibility all over the year. In details, ARPA Valle d'Aosta in collaboration with University of Zurich started in 2006 the monitoring of rockwall thermal regimes and of some meteorological parameters on the different

  20. Permafrost and climate in Europe: monitoring and modelling thermal, geomorphological and geotechnical responses

    OpenAIRE

    2009-01-01

    We present a review of the changing state of European permafrost within a spatial zone that includes the continuous high latitude arctic permafrost of Svalbard and the discontinuous high altitude mountain permafrost of Iceland, Fennoscandia and the Alps. The paper focuses on methodological developments and data collection over the last decade or so, including research associated with the continent-scale network of instrumented permafrost boreholes established between 1998 and 2001 under the E...

  1. Monitoring and analysis of ground temperature and deformation within Qinghai-Tibet Highway subgrade in permafrost region

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    YaHu Tian; YuPeng Shen; WenBing Yu; JianHong Fang

    2015-01-01

    In order to study the stability of the Qinghai-Tibet Highway embankment at Chumaerhe in the permafrost region of northwest China, the ground temperature and deformation at different depths were monitored under the left and right shoulders of the embankment where thermosyphons were set up only on the left shoulder. Based on the monitored data, characteristics of ground temperature and deformation of the left and right shoulders are analyzed and discussed. The results show that the start time of freezing or thawing of the seasonal active layer was about one to two months later than that of the embankment body itself. The stability of each shoulder was mainly controlled by the settlement of different soil layers, whereas frost heave of soil had scarcely any effect on the stability of the embankment. For the left shoulder, the settlement was mainly influenced by the seasonal active layer and then by the embankment body itself, due to freeze-thaw cycles which may change the soil properties; however, the permafrost layer remained fairly stable. For the right shoulder, creep of the warm permafrost layer was the main influence factor on its stability, followed by settlement of embankment body itself, and finally settlement of the seasonal active layer. Compared with the deformation of the left shoulder, the permafrost layer under the right shoulder was less stable, which indicates that the thermosyphons had a significantly positive effect on the stability of warm permafrost.

  2. Surface Deformation Monitoring in Permafrost Regions of Tibetan Plateau Based on Alos Palsar Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, L. M.; Qiao, G.; Lu, P.

    2017-09-01

    The permafrost region of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is widely distributed with the freeze/thaw processes that cause surface structural damage. The differential interferometry synthetic aperture radar (DInSAR) can detect large scale surface deformation with high precision, thus can be used to monitor the freeze/thaw processes of frozen soil area. In this paper, the surface deformation pattern of Qinghai-Tibet railway was analyzed by using the PALSAR 1.0 raw data of the ALOS satellite (L band) and 90m resolution SRTM DEM data, with the help of two-pass DInSAR method in GAMMA software, and the differential interferograms and deformation maps were obtained accordingly. Besides, the influence of temperature, topography and other factors on deformation of frozen soil were also studied. The following conclusions were obtained: there is a negative correlation between deformation and temperature, and there is a delay between the deformation change and that of temperature; deformation and elevation are positively correlated; the permafrost deformation is also affected by solar radiation that could form variable amplitude variation.

  3. Coincident aboveground and belowground autonomous monitoring to quantify covariability in permafrost, soil, and vegetation properties in Arctic tundra

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dafflon, Baptiste; Oktem, Rusen; Peterson, John; Ulrich, Craig; Tran, Anh Phuong; Romanovsky, Vladimir; Hubbard, Susan S.

    2017-06-01

    Coincident monitoring of the spatiotemporal distribution of and interactions between land, soil, and permafrost properties is important for advancing our understanding of ecosystem dynamics. In this study, a novel monitoring strategy was developed to quantify complex Arctic ecosystem responses to the seasonal freeze-thaw-growing season conditions. The strategy exploited autonomous measurements obtained through electrical resistivity tomography to monitor soil properties, pole-mounted optical cameras to monitor vegetation dynamics, point probes to measure soil temperature, and periodic manual measurements of thaw layer thickness, snow thickness, and soil dielectric permittivity. The spatially and temporally dense monitoring data sets revealed several insights about tundra system behavior at a site located near Barrow, AK. In the active layer, the soil electrical conductivity (a proxy for soil water content) indicated an increasing positive correlation with the green chromatic coordinate (a proxy for vegetation vigor) over the growing season, with the strongest correlation (R = 0.89) near the typical peak of the growing season. Soil conductivity and green chromatic coordinate also showed significant positive correlations with thaw depth, which is influenced by soil and surface properties. In the permafrost, soil electrical conductivity revealed annual variations in solute concentration and unfrozen water content, even at temperatures well below 0°C in saline permafrost. These conditions may contribute to an acceleration of long-term thaw in Coastal permafrost regions. Demonstration of this first aboveground and belowground geophysical monitoring approach within an Arctic ecosystem illustrates its significant potential to remotely "visualize" permafrost, soil, and vegetation ecosystem codynamics in high resolution over field relevant scales.

  4. A system for automated monitoring of embankment deformation along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway in permafrost regions

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    YongPeng Yang; YaoHui Qu; HanCheng Cai; Jia Cheng; CaiMei Tang

    2015-01-01

    At present, the monitoring of embankment deformation in permafrost regions along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway is mainly done manually. However, the harsh climate on the plateau affects the results greatly by lowering the observation frequency, so the manual monitoring can barely meet the observational demand. This research develops a system of automated monitoring of embankment deformation, and aims to address the problems caused by the plateau climate and the perma-frost conditions in the region. The equipment consists of a monitoring module, a data collection module, a transmission module, and a data processing module. The field experiments during this program indicate that (1) the combined auto-mated monitoring device overcame the problems associated with the complicated and tough plateau environment by means of wireless transmission and automatic analysis of the embankment settlement data;(2) the calibration of the combined settlement gauge at −20 °C was highly accurate, with an error rate always <0.5%; (3) the gauge calibration at high-temperature conditions was also highly accurate, with an error rate<0.5%even though the surface of the instrument reached more than 50 °C;and (4) compared with the data manually taken, the data automatically acquired during field monitoring experiments demonstrated that the combined settlement gauge and the automated monitoring system could meet the requirements of the monitoring mission in permafrost regions along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

  5. The Antarctic permafrost as a testbed for REMS (Rover Environmental Monitoring Station-Mars Science Laboratory)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Esteban, B.; Ramos, M.; Sebastián, E.; Armiens, C.; Gómez-Elvira, J.; Cabos, W.; de Pablo, M. A.

    2009-04-01

    The present climatic characteristics of Mars favor the presence of extense permafrost areas in this lonely planet. Therefore environmental parameters that are included in Martian Rover missions are also used for monitoring thermal soil surface evolution in order to study the permafrost active layer thickness and the energy balance in the soil-atmosphere boundary limit layer. The REMS (Rover Environmental Monitoring Station) is an environmental station designed by the Centro de Astrobiología (CAB- Spain) with the collaboration of national and international partners (CRISA/EADS, UPC and FMI), which is part of the payload of the MSL (Mars Science Laboratory) NASA mission to Mars (http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/overview/). This mission is expected to be launched in the final months of 2009, and mainly consists of a Rover, with a complete set of scientific instruments; the Rover will carry the biggest, most advanced suite of instruments for scientific studies ever sent to the Martian surface. Five sensors compose the REMS instrument: ground (GT-REMS) and air temperatures, wind speed and direction, pressure, humidity and ultraviolet radiation (UV-REMS). A simplified setup of the REMS was deployed on Antarctica in the surroundings of the Spanish Antarctic Stations on Livingston and Deception Islands (Maritime Antarctica), where the permafrost distribution is well-known. The aim of the experiment was to check REMS's sensors response against hard environmental conditions and calibrates their measures with standard Antarctic devices. The experimental apparatuses included some standard meteorological and thermopiles sensors corresponding to the REMS. All the sensors are mounted in a 1.8 m mast and include a Pt100 air temperature sensor with shield solar protection on the mast top, a Kipp and Zonnen CNR1 net radiometer for measuring infrared (5-50 μm) and short wave solar (305-2800 nm) radiation at 1.5 m high, GT-REMS sensor and its amplification box at 0.7 m high and finally

  6. Permafrost and climate in Europe: Monitoring and modelling thermal, geomorphological and geotechnical responses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harris, Charles; Arenson, Lukas U.; Christiansen, Hanne H.; Etzelmüller, Bernd; Frauenfelder, Regula; Gruber, Stephan; Haeberli, Wilfried; Hauck, Christian; Hölzle, Martin; Humlum, Ole; Isaksen, Ketil; Kääb, Andreas; Kern-Lütschg, Martina A.; Lehning, Michael; Matsuoka, Norikazu; Murton, Julian B.; Nötzli, Jeanette; Phillips, Marcia; Ross, Neil; Seppälä, Matti; Springman, Sarah M.; Vonder Mühll, Daniel

    2009-02-01

    We present a review of the changing state of European permafrost within a spatial zone that includes the continuous high latitude arctic permafrost of Svalbard and the discontinuous high altitude mountain permafrost of Iceland, Fennoscandia and the Alps. The paper focuses on methodological developments and data collection over the last decade or so, including research associated with the continent-scale network of instrumented permafrost boreholes established between 1998 and 2001 under the European Union PACE project. Data indicate recent warming trends, with greatest warming at higher latitudes. Equally important are the impacts of shorter-term extreme climatic events, most immediately reflected in changes in active layer thickness. A large number of complex variables, including altitude, topography, insolation and snow distribution, determine permafrost temperatures. The development of regionally calibrated empirical-statistical models, and physically based process-oriented models, is described, and it is shown that, though more complex and data dependent, process-oriented approaches are better suited to estimating transient effects of climate change in complex mountain topography. Mapping and characterisation of permafrost depth and distribution requires integrated multiple geophysical approaches and recent advances are discussed. We report on recent research into ground ice formation, including ice segregation within bedrock and vein ice formation within ice wedge systems. The potential impacts of climate change on rock weathering, permafrost creep, landslides, rock falls, debris flows and slow mass movements are also discussed. Recent engineering responses to the potentially damaging effects of climate warming are outlined, and risk assessment strategies to minimise geological hazards are described. We conclude that forecasting changes in hazard occurrence, magnitude and frequency is likely to depend on process-based modelling, demanding improved

  7. LiDAR for monitoring mass movements in permafrost environments at the cirque Hinteres Langtal, Austria, between 2000 and 2008

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Avian

    2009-07-01

    Full Text Available Permafrost areas receive more and more attention in terms of natural hazards in recent years due to ongoing global warming. Active rockglaciers are mixtures of debris and ice (of different origin in high-relief environments indicating permafrost conditions for a substantial period of time. Style and velocity of the downward movement of this debris-ice-mass is influenced by topoclimatic conditions. The rockglacier Hinteres Langtalkar is stage of extensive modifications in the last decade as a consequence of an extraordinary high surface movement. Terrestrial laserscanning (or LiDAR campaigns have been out once or twice per year since 2000 to monitor surface dynamics at the highly active front of the rockglacier. High resolution digital terrain models are the basis for annual and inter-annual analysis of surface elevation changes. Results show that the observed area shows predominantly positive surface elevation changes causing a consequent lifting of the surface over the entire period. Nevertheless a decreasing surface lifting of the observed area in the last three years leads to the assumption that the material transport from the upper part declines in the last years. Furthermore the rockglacier front is characterized by extensive mass wasting and partly disintegration of the rockglacier body. As indicated by the LiDAR results as well as from field evidence, this rockglacier front seems to represent a permafrost influenced landslide.

  8. Monitoring the Dynamics of Water Flow at a High-Mountain Permafrost Site Using Electrical Self-Potential Measurements

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kemna, A.; Weigand, M.; Wagner, F.; Hilbich, C.; Hauck, C.

    2016-12-01

    Flow of (liquid) water plays a crucial role in the dynamics of coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical processes in terrestrial permafrost systems. To better understand these processes in the active layer of permafrost regions, with the ultimate goal of adequately incorporating them in numerical models for improved scenario prediction, monitoring approaches offering high spatial and temporal resolution, areal coverage, and especially sensitivity to subsurface water flow, are highly desired. This particularly holds for high-mountain slopes, where strong variability in topography, precipitation, and snow cover, along with significant subsurface soil/rock heterogeneity, gives rise to complex spatio-temporal patterns of water flow during seasonal thawing and freezing periods. The electrical self-potential (SP) method is well known to, in theory, meeting the above monitoring demands by measuring the electrical streaming potential which is generated at the microscopic scale when water flows along electrically non-neutral interfaces. Despite its inherent sensitivity to subsurface water flow, the SP method has not yet been used for the monitoring of high-mountain permafrost sites. We here present first results from an SP monitoring survey conducted at the Schilthorn (2970 m asl) in the Bernese Alps, Switzerland, where SP data have been collected since September 2013 at a sampling rate of 10 min on a permanently installed array of 12 non-polarizing electrodes covering an area of 35 m by 15 m. While the SP time series exhibit systematic daily variations, with part of the signal clearly correlated with temperature, in particular in the snow-free periods, the largest temporal changes in the SP signal occur in spring, when the snow cover melts and thawing sets on in the active layer. The period of higher temporal SP variations continues until autumn, when the signal gradually returns to relatively low variations, coinciding with the freezing of the ground. Our results suggest that the

  9. Coupled thermo-geophysical inversion for high-latitude permafrost monitoring

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Tomaskovicova, Sonia; Paamand, Eskild; Ingeman-Nielsen, Thomas

    2013-01-01

    of inhabited Greenlandic coast has been predicted as a result of climate change, it is of great both technical and economical interest to assess the extent and thermal properties of such formations. Availability of methods able to determine the thermal parameters of permafrost and forecast its reaction...

  10. 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.

  11. Advancements in Micrometeorological Technique for Monitoring CH4 Release from Remote Permafrost Regions: Principles, Emerging Research, and Latest Updates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burba, George; Budishchev, Artem; Gioli, Beniamino; Haapanala, Sami; Helbig, Manuel; Losacco, Salvatore; Mammarella, Ivan; Moreaux, Virginie; Murphy, Patrick; Oechel, Walter; Peltola, Olli; Rinne, Janne; Sonnentag, Oliver; Sturtevant, Cove; Vesala, Timo; Zona, Donatella; Zulueta, Rommel

    2014-05-01

    Flux stations have been widely used to monitor release and uptake rates of CO2, CH4, H2O and other gases from various ecosystems for climate research for over 30 years. The stations provide accurate and continuous measurements of gas exchange at time scales ranging from 15 or 30 minutes to multiple years, and at spatial scales ranging from thousands m2 to multiple km2, depending on the measurement height. The stations can nearly instantaneously detect rapid changes in gas release due to weather or man-triggered events (pressure changes, ice breakage and melts, ebullition events, etc.). They can also detect slow changes related to seasonal dynamics and man-triggered processes (seasonal freeze and thaw, long-term permafrost degradation, etc.). From 1980s to mid-2000s, station configuration, data collection and processing were highly-customized, site-specific and greatly dependent on "school-of-thought" practiced by a particular researcher. In the past 3-5 years, due to significant efforts of global and regional flux networks and technological developments, the methodology became fairly standardized. Majority of current stations compute gas emission and uptake rates using eddy covariance method, as one of the most direct micrometeorological techniques. Over 600 such flux stations operate in over 120 countries, using permanent and mobile towers or moving platforms (e.g., automobiles, helicopters, airplanes, ships, etc.). With increasing atmospheric temperatures in the Arctic likely resulting in a higher rate of permafrost degradation, measurements of gas exchange dynamics become particularly important. The permafrost regions store a significant amount of organic materials under anaerobic conditions, leading to large CH4 production and accumulation in the upper layers of bedrock, soil and ice. These regions may become a significant potential source of global CH4 release under a warming climate over the following decades and centuries. Present measurements of CH4 release

  12. Establishing Permafrost Temperature Data Reanalysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Romanovsky, V. E.; Sazonova, T. S.; Tipenko, G. S.

    2003-12-01

    Permafrost has received much attention recently because surface temperatures are rising in most permafrost areas of the earth, bringing permafrost to the edge of widespread thawing and degradation. The thawing of permafrost that already occurs at the southern limits of the permafrost zone can generate dramatic changes in ecosystems and in infrastructure performance. All observed and predicted changes in permafrost stress the necessity to monitor its dynamics (particularly its temperature) for timely assessment and predictions of the possible negative impacts of permafrost degradation on ecosystems and infrastructure. The effects of human-induced disturbances will also be enhanced with climate warming. Permafrost temperature data reanalysis should be included as a very important component in the recently developing within the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) of GCOS/GTOS WMO system for comprehensive monitoring of permafrost temperatures. In this modeling method that was developed at the Permafrost Lab of the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, variations in the air temperature and snow cover thickness and properties are the driving forces of the permafrost temperature dynamics. The model is calibrated for a specific site using measured permafrost and active layer temperatures (usually several years of available data are used) and data from the closest meteorological station for the same time interval. The calibrated model can then be applied to the entire period of meteorological records at this station, producing a time series of permafrost temperature changes. The same calibrated model can be applied for predictions of the future permafrost dynamics when some future climate change scenario is used as input data. The historical permafrost data from the Barrow Permafrost Observatory provide a unique opportunity to independently test our model and modeling results. One of the best examples of such historical data set is the

  13. Permafrost and snow monitoring at Rothera Point (Adelaide Island, Maritime Antarctica): Implications for rock weathering in cryotic conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guglielmin, Mauro; Worland, M. Roger; Baio, Fabio; Convey, Peter

    2014-11-01

    In February 2009 a new permafrost borehole was installed close to the British Antarctic Survey Station at Rothera Point, Adelaide Island (67.57195°S 68.12068°W). The borehole is situated at 31 m asl on a granodiorite knob with scattered lichen cover. The spatial variability of snow cover and of ground surface temperature (GST) is characterised through the monitoring of snow depth on 5 stakes positioned around the borehole and with thermistors placed at three different rock surfaces (A, B and C). The borehole temperature is measured by 18 thermistors placed at different depths between 0.3 and 30 m. Snow persistence is very variable both spatially and temporally with snow free days per year ranging from 13 and more than 300, and maximum snow depths varying between 0.03 and 1.42 m. This variability is the main cause of high variability in GST, that ranged between - 3.7 and - 1.5 °C. The net effect of the snow cover is a cooling of the surface. Mean annual GST, mean summer GST, and the degree days of thawing and the n-factor of thawing were always much lower at sensor A where snow persistence and depth were greater than in the other sensor locations. At sensor A the potential freeze-thaw events were negligible (0-3) and the thermal stress was at least 40% less than in the other sensor locations. The zero curtain effect at the rock surface occurred only at surface A, favouring chemical weathering over mechanical action. The active layer thickness (ALT) ranged between 0.76 and 1.40 m. ALT was directly proportional to the mean air temperature in summer, and inversely proportional to the maximum snow depth in autumn. ALT temporal variability was greater than reported at other sites at similar latitude in the Northern Hemisphere, or with the similar mean annual air temperature in Maritime Antarctica, because vegetation and a soil organic horizon are absent at the study site. Zero annual amplitude in temperature was observed at about 16 m depth, where the mean annual

  14. Using TerraSAR-X and hyperspectral airborne data to monitor surface deformation and physical properties of the Barrow permafrost landscape, Alask

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haghshenas-Haghighi, M.; Motagh, M.; Heim, B.; Sachs, T.; Kohnert, K.; Streletskiy, D. A.

    2014-12-01

    In this study, we assess seasonal subsidence/heaving due to thawing/freezing of the permafrost in Barrow (71.3 N, 156.5 W) at the northernmost point of Alaska. The topographic relief in this area is low. Thick Permafrost underlies the entire area, with large ice volumes in its upper layer. With a large collection of field measurements during the past decades at the Barrow Environmental Observatory (BEO), it is an ideal site for permafrost investigation. There are long term systematic geocryological investigations within the Global Terrestrial Network (GTN-P) of the Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) programme. We use 28 TerraSAR-X images, acquired between December 2012 and December 2013 and analyze them using the Small BAseline Subset (SBAS) technique to extract time-series of ground surface deformation. We also analyze hyperspectral images acquired by the airborne AISA sensor over Barrow area, within the AIRMETH2013 programme, to assess physical characteristics such as vegetation biomass and density, surface moisture, and water bodies. Finally, we combine the information derived from both InSAR and hyperspectral analysis, with field measurements to investigate the link between physical characteristics of the permafrost and surface displacement.

  15. Multi-temporal airborne LIDAR-DEMs for glacier and permafrost mapping and monitoring

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Abermann

    2009-07-01

    Full Text Available The proposed method presents a simple and robust way to derive glacier extent by using multi-temporal high-resolution DEMs (digital elevation models as a main data source. For glaciers that are not debris covered, we perform the glacier boundary delineation by analysing roughness differences between ice and its surroundings. A promising way to distinguish dead ice, debris-covered ice or permafrost from its rocky surroundings is shown by taking elevation changes from DEMs of different dates into consideration. In case data has a high spatial and temporal resolution a good representation of the extent of debris cover and thus the overall ice covered area can be given. We use examples to show how potentially ambiguous areas can be treated decisively by the additional qualitative analysis of aerial photographs. Problems and limitations are discussed in comparison with selected other remote sensing techniques and accuracies are quantified. For glaciers larger than 1 km2 an accuracy of ±1% of the glacier area could be assessed. The errors of smaller glaciers do not exceed ±5% of the glacier area.

  16. A national strategy for a long-term monitoring of permafrost and periglacial processes and their relationship to natural hazard prevention in Austria

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kellerer-Pirklbauer, Andreas; Bartsch, Annett; Gitschthaler, Christoph; Reisenhofer, Stefan; Weyss, Gernot; Riedl, Claudia; Avian, Michael

    2016-04-01

    About 2.5% (~2000 km²) of the national territory of Austria is influenced by permafrost conditions. A slightly smaller area of Austria is additionally affected by deep seasonal frost which is, however, similarly exposed to intensive physical weathering and related geomorphic processes. Currently, 23 skiing resorts, 31 water reservoirs and 42 mountain huts are either directly or indirectly influenced by permafrost and associated processes in Austria as determined from regional permafrost models. Ground thermal changes most likely affect the ground stability and infrastructure in those areas. Therefore, changes in the distribution and characteristics of permafrost and seasonal frost are of high economic and ecological importance. A range of Austrian institutions are interested in systematic permafrost monitoring (several universities, geological surveys, the Austrian torrent and avalanche control agency or several different alpine clubs). However, to date no coordinated monitoring network has been established on a national scale and a strategy for long-term permafrost/periglacial observation did not exist so far. Such a national strategy has been developed in 2015 within the permAT project funded through the StartClim2014-program. During permAT an extensive literature review and data search as well as a workshop with 40 participants (scientists, stakeholder and policy maker) were accomplished. The workshop allowed the integration of national as well as international colleagues into the strategy development. Results of permAT clearly demonstrate that the number of present permafrost/periglacial monitoring sites is far too little in Austria. Only few alpine areas of Austria are well represented by the existing monitoring activities but large areas lack such instrumentations. Furthermore, permafrost boreholes exist at only three sites in central Austria (all contribution to the GTN-P network) and there is a lack of knowledge about thermal conditions and recent changes

  17. Permafrost: occurrence and physiochemical processes

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ahonen, L. [Geological Survey of Finland, Espoo (Finland)

    2001-10-01

    Bedrock of the Northern Hemisphere areas to the north of about the 60th latitude are nowadays dominated by permafrost conditions. Fennoscandia is a major exception being characterised by temperate climate. In studying deep geological disposal of long-living nuclear waste, long-term climatic changes have to be taken into account. One of the scenarios to be studied is the extension of the deep permafrost conditions to the disposal site. Quaternary climatic fluctuations and their possible reasons are discussed shortly. The author's conclusion is that future climatic changes cannot be undoubtedly derived from the past variations, mainly because of the current anthropogenic involvement and of the poorly known dynamics of the major climate-affecting factors like ocean currents, which cannot be treated in a deterministic way. In low-porosity crystalline rocks permafrost may propagate to the depth of about 500 metres in some thousands to ten thousands of years. On the other hand, the major effects of permafrost are related to the freezing of water in the pores. Water expands about 9 percent in freezing, and the increasing stress may lead to pressure melting of ice. Dissolved salts in water do not accommodate into the solid ice, but they form saline water or brine segregations having freezing point of even less than minus ten degrees. A front of saline water may develop beneath the frozen bedrock. Pockets of saline water may also occur in ice, and unfrozen adsorption water may occur on the grain boundaries. With respect to the radionuclide transport processes, permafrost as such is a barrier, while the unfrozen domains (taliks) beneath major lake and river systems are potential flow paths. (orig.)

  18. Assessing the Reliability of Geoelectric Imaging Results for Permafrost Investigations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marescot, L.; Loke, M.; Abbet, D.; Delaloye, R.; Hauck, C.; Hilbich, C.; Lambiel, C.; Reynard, E.

    2007-12-01

    The effects of global climate change on mountain permafrost are of increasing concern; warming thaws permafrost, thereby increasing the risk of slope instabilities. Consequently, knowledge of the extent and location of permafrost are important for construction and other geotechnical and land-management activities in mountainous areas. Geoelectric imaging is a useful tool for mapping and characterizing permafrost occurrences. To overcome the generally poor electrical contacts in the active layer, geoelectric surveys usually involve coupling the electrodes to the ground via sponges soaked in salt water. The data are processed and inverted in terms of resistivity models of the subsurface. To monitor the evolution of mountain permafrost, time-lapse geoelectric imaging may be employed. A challenging aspect in geoelectric imaging of permafrost is the very large resistivity contrast between frozen and unfrozen material. Such a contrast makes inversion and interpretation difficult. To assess whether features at depth are required by the data or are artifacts of the inversion process, the reliability of models needs to be evaluated. We use two different approaches to assess the reliability of resistivity images in permafrost investigations: (i) depth of investigation (DOI) and (ii) resolution matrix maps. To compute the DOI, two inversions of the same data set using quite different reference resistivity models are carried out. At locations where the resistivity is well constrained by the data, the inversions yield the same results. At other locations, the inversions yield different values that are controlled by the reference models. The resolution matrix, which is based on the sensitivity matrix calculated during the inversion, quantifies the degree to which each resistivity cell in the model can be resolved by the data. Application of these two approaches to field data acquired in the Swiss Alps and Jura Mountains suggests that it is very difficult to obtain dependable

  19. Impact of permafrost change on the Qinghai-Tibet Railroad engineering

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    WU; Qingbai; CHENG; Guodong

    2004-01-01

    Permafrost along the Qinghai-Tibet Railroad produces the great change under the influence of climate change, such as the decreasing of permafrost table, the rising of permafrost temperatures, etc. Climate effect on permafrost is the long-term process. Engineering action makes rapidly permafrost the large extent change. On the basis of analyzing the permafrost change under the climate change and engineering action, the thermal regime and spatial distribution of permafrost are predicted for air temperature rising 1℃ and 2℃ after 50 years in this paper. The results show that climate change results in the larger change for the thermal regime and spatial distribution of permafrost. Permafrost change will produce the great effect on the Qinghai-Tibet Railroad engineering, not only resulting in the decreasing of permafrost table beneath the roadbed, but also resulting in thawing settlement due to the thawing of ground ice near permafrost table. The idea of cooling roadbed and active protecting permafrost for the Qinghai-Tibet Railroad engineering could adjust and control the permafrost thermal state, some better methods are provided to ensure the engineering stability in the areas of warm permafrost and high ice content.

  20. Vadose Zone Characterization and Monitoring Beneath Waste Disposal Pits Using Horizontal Boreholes

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLin, S. G.; Newman, B. D.; Broxton, D. E.

    2004-12-01

    Vadose zone characterization and monitoring immediately below landfills using horizontal boreholes is an emerging technology. However, this topic has received little attention in the peer-reviewed literature. The value of this approach is that activities are conducted below the waste, providing clear and rapid verification of containment. Here we report on two studies that examined the utility of horizontal boreholes for environmental characterization and monitoring under radioactive waste disposal pits. Both studies used core sample analyses to determine the presence of various radionuclides, organics, or metals. At one borehole site, water content and pore-water chloride concentrations were also used to interpret vadose zone behavior. At another site, we examined the feasibility of using flexible membrane liners in uncased boreholes for periodic monitoring. For this demonstration, these retrievable liners were air-injected into boreholes on multiple occasions carrying different combinations of environmental surveillance equipment. Instrument packages included a neutron logging device to measure volumetric water at regular intervals, high-absorbency collectors that wicked available water from borehole walls, or vent tubes that were used to measure air permeability and collect air samples. The flexible and retrievable liner system was an effective way to monitor water content and collect air permeability data. The high-absorbency collectors were efficient at extracting liquid water for contaminant analyses even at volumetric water contents below 10 percent, and revealed vapor-phase tritium migration at one disposal pit. Both demonstration studies proved that effective characterization and periodic monitoring in horizontal boreholes is both feasible and adaptable to many waste disposal problems and locations.

  1. Permafrost Observatory Project: A Contribution to the Thermal State of Permafrost in Norway and Svalbard, TSP NORWAY

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christiansen, H.; Berthling, I.; Blikra, L.; Dehls, J.; Etzelmuller, B.; Farbrot, H.; Humlum, O.; Isaksen, K.; Juliussen, H.; Lauknes, T.; Midttomme, K.; Rønning, J.

    2007-12-01

    The Norwegian funded IPY project 'Permafrost Observatory Project: A Contribution to the Thermal State of Permafrost in Norway and Svalbard', (TSP NORWAY) is part of the TSP cluster. The main goal of TSP NORWAY is to measure and model the permafrost distribution in Norway and Svalbard, focussing on its thermal state, thickness and associated periglacial processes, including increased knowledge of the mountain permafrost distribution related to geohazard studies on rockslides. TSP NORWAY will contribute to IPY by providing a spatially distributed set of observations on the present status of permafrost temperatures and active layer thicknesses, and periglacial processes in Svalbard and Norway. Special focus is given to empirical and numerical modelling of permafrost distribution and thermal ground heat fluxes to address future climate variability on permafrost distribution and associated geomorphic activity. Permafrost distribution in the North Atlantic area is strongly climatically controlled, mainly by the North Atlantic Drift, providing much less permafrost than in any other high latitude terrestrial region on the Northern Hemisphere. Hopefully a first Nordic permafrost map will be based on Nordic permafrost collaboration during IPY. The TSP NORWAY project has established two permafrost observatories with intensive permafrost and periglacial monitoring sites in maritime and continental areas. One in Troms, northern Norway, which will be part of the north Scandinavian Permafrost Observatory extending into northernmost Sweden and Finland, and the Svalbard Nordenskiöld Land Permafrost Observatory also with both maritime and continental sites. The first Norwegian permafrost database, NORPERM, with all permafrost data from Norway and Svalbard, collected before and during IPY, has been established at the Norwegian Geological Survey. NORPERM shall contribute data as requested in the IPY data protocol and the TSP cluster to the international Global Terrestrial Network on

  2. Permafrost: It's a gas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christensen, Torben R.

    2016-09-01

    Climate change is causing widespread permafrost thaw in the Arctic. Measurements at 33 Arctic lakes show that old carbon from thawing permafrost is being emitted as methane, though emission rates have not changed during the past 60 years.

  3. Access to Permafrost Data: A Continuing Challenge

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, J.; Nelson, F. E.; Smith, S.; Parsons, M.; Romanovsky, V. E.; Zhang, T.

    2006-12-01

    The formation, preservation, and degradation of permafrost terrains are significant indicators of the historical, present and future changes in the Earth's cryosphere. Historically, permafrost investigations date back to the 19th century starting in Russia. During the 20th century, permafrost was investigated for both scientific and engineering purposes throughout the Northern Hemisphere and to a more limited extent in the Southern Hemisphere. Not unlike other disciplines, these investigations were conducted by individuals, and private and governmental organizations, and with an increasing intensity during and following World War II. In many cases, data were classified or considered proprietary or simply ended up in personal files, and therefore not available to the public. The magnitude and diversity of these data resources became more obvious as the permafrost communities began to meet at the international permafrost conferences, the first of which was in 1963 at Purdue University. During the 1988 Fifth International Conference on Permafrost in Trondheim, Norway, a workshop was convened to assess the magnitude of permafrost data and information and related access issues. The International Permafrost Association 's working groups took the lead in organizing a series of meetings that culminated in a workshop on data access and rescue in Olso, Norway in November 1994. The outgrowth of these deliberations was the development of the Global Geocryological Database (GGD) with major activities based at the National Snow and Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado. A number of databases and products emerged during the 1990s as research funding for international projects increased. Metadata for data sets and bibliographies of literature were compiled. Several web-based projects sites were developed and include the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) and the Circumpolar Active layer monitoring (CALM) network. Several CDs were prepared for the Seventh and

  4. Large-scale InSAR monitoring of permafrost freeze-thaw cycles on the Tibetan Plateau

    Science.gov (United States)

    Daout, Simon; Doin, Marie-Pierre; Peltzer, Gilles; Socquet, Anne; Lasserre, Cécile

    2017-01-01

    Multitemporal interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) observations are used to characterize spatial variations of the permafrost active layer and its temporal evolution in Northwestern Tibet. We develop a method to enhance InSAR performances for such difficult terrain conditions and construct an 8 year timeline of the surface deformation over a 60,000 km2 area. The ground movement induced by the active layer's response to climate forcing is limited to Cenozoic sedimentary basins and is spatially variable in both its seasonal amplitude (2.5-12 mm) and multiannual trend (-2 to 3 mm/yr). A degree-day integrated model adjusted to the data indicates that subsidence occurs when the surface temperature exceeds zero (May to October) over areas where seasonal movements are large (>8 mm). The period of subsidence is delayed by 1-2 months over areas where smaller seasonal movements are observed, suggesting an unsaturated soil where water occurs in the deeper part of the active layer.

  5. Permafrost and the International Polar Year

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, J.; Boelhouwers, J.; Rachold, V.; Christiansen, H. H.

    2005-12-01

    Three permafrost projects are in the planning stages for 2007-2008 IPY. (1) The Permafrost Observatory Project: A Contribution to the Thermal State of Permafrost (TSP) will obtain a "snapshot" of permafrost temperatures in existing and new boreholes throughout both hemispheres. The project is a field campaign of the existing Global Terrestrial Network on Permafrost (GTN-P) that also includes the Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) project. (2) The Antarctic and sub-Antarctic Permafrost, Periglacial and Soil Environments project (ANTPAS) is aimed at integrating existing and new data on the distribution, thickness, age, history and physical and geochemical properties of permafrost, soils and the active-layer on the Antarctic continent and sub-Antarctic islands. A monitoring network, a regional subset of GTN-P and consisting of borehole temperatures, active-layer thickness, and periglacial and soil observations, will be established along selected environmental gradients. (3) The Arctic Circum-Polar Coastal Observatory Network (ACCO-Net) proposes to investigate approximately 20 key coastal sites including deltas and estuaries of major Siberian and North American rivers at which physical, ecological, biochemical and socio-economic changes will be observed. Both educational outreach and data management activities are key elements in the three projects and will contribute to the overall IPY goals and its legacy. Our Permafrost Legacy is to create the basis for a new generation of researcher and the "snapshot" of existing conditions as a baseline for future change assessment. The Joint Committee of the IPY has approved the three projects that include approximately 150 individuals from the 25- member International Permafrost Association (IPA). The IPA is coordinating these projects in cooperation with the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR), the Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone (LOICZ

  6. The Immatsiak network of groundwater wells in a small catchment basin in the discontinuous permafrost zone of Northern Quebec, Canada: A unique opportunity for monitoring the impacts of climate change on groundwater (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fortier, R.; Lemieux, J.; Molson, J. W.; Therrien, R.; Ouellet, M.; Bart, J.

    2013-12-01

    During a summer drilling campaign in 2012, a network of nine groundwater monitoring wells was installed in a small catchment basin in a zone of discontinuous permafrost near the Inuit community of Umiujaq in Northern Quebec, Canada. This network, named Immatsiak, is part of a provincial network of groundwater monitoring wells to monitor the impacts of climate change on groundwater resources. It provides a unique opportunity to study cold region groundwater dynamics in permafrost environments and to assess the impacts of permafrost degradation on groundwater quality and availability as a potential source of drinking water. Using the borehole logs from the drilling campaign and other information from previous investigations, an interpretative cryo-hydrogeological cross-section of the catchment basin was produced which identified the Quaternary deposit thickness and extent, the depth to bedrock, the location of permafrost, one superficial aquifer located in a sand deposit, and another deep aquifer in fluvio-glacial sediments and till. In the summer of 2013, data were recovered from water level and barometric loggers which were installed in the wells in August 2012. Although the wells were drilled in unfrozen zones, the groundwater temperature is very low, near 0.4 °C, with an annual variability of a few tenths of a degree Celsius at a depth of 35 m. The hydraulic head in the wells varied as much as 6 m over the last year. Pumping tests performed in the wells showed a very high hydraulic conductivity of the deep aquifer. Groundwater in the wells and surface water in small thermokarst lakes and at the catchment outlet were sampled for geochemical analysis (inorganic parameters, stable isotopes of oxygen (δ18O) and hydrogen (δ2H), and radioactive isotopes of carbon (δ14C), hydrogen (tritium δ3H) and helium (δ3He)) to assess groundwater quality and origin. Preliminary results show that the signature of melt water from permafrost thawing is observed in the

  7. Dynamic response of wind turbine towers in warm permafrost

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Benjamin Still; ZhaoHui Joey Yang; Simon Evans; FuJun Niu

    2014-01-01

    Wind is a great source of renewable energy in western Alaska. Consistent winds blow across the barren tundra underlain by warm permafrost in the winter season, when the energy demand is the highest. Foundation engineering in warm permafrost has always been a challenge in wind energy development. Degrading warm permafrost poses engineering issues to design, construction, and operation of wind turbines. This paper describes the foundation design of a wind turbine built in western Alaska. It presents a sys-tem for response monitoring and load assessment, and data collected from September 2013 to March 2014. The dynamic proper-ties are assessed based on the monitoring data, and seasonal changes in the dynamic properties of the turbine tower-foundation system and likely resonance between the spinning blades and the tower structure are discussed. These analyses of a wind turbine in warm permafrost are valuable for designing or retrofitting of foundations in warm permafrost.

  8. Movement of trichloroethene in a discontinuous permafrost zone.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carlson, Andrea E; Barnes, David L

    2011-06-01

    At a site with discontinuous permafrost in Fairbanks, Alaska, releases of trichloroethene (TCE), an industrial solvent, have caused contamination of the groundwater. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between the migration pathway of the TCE groundwater plume and the distribution of the discontinuous permafrost at the site. The TCE plume configuration is substantially different than what regional hydrology trends would predict. Using GIS, we conducted a geostatistical analysis of field data collected during soil-boring installations and groundwater monitoring well sampling. With the analysis results, we constructed maps of the permafrost-table elevation (top of permafrost) and of the groundwater gradients and TCE concentrations from multiyear groundwater sampling events. The plume concentrations and groundwater gradients were overlain on the permafrost map to correlate permafrost locations with groundwater movement and the spatial distribution of TCE moving with groundwater. Correlation of the overlay maps revealed converging and diverging groundwater flow in response to the permafrost-table distribution, the absence of groundwater contamination in areas with a high permafrost-table elevation, and channeling of contaminants and water between areas of permafrost. In addition, we measured groundwater elevations in nested wells to quantify vertical gradients affecting TCE migration. At one set of nested wells down gradient from an area of permafrost we measured an upward vertical gradient indicating recharge of groundwater from the subpermafrost region of the aquifer causing dilution of the plume. The study indicates that the variable distribution of the permafrost is affecting the way groundwater and TCE move through the aquifer. Consequently, changes to the permafrost configuration due to thawing would likely affect both groundwater movement and TCE migration, and areas that were contaminant-free may become susceptible to contamination.

  9. Recent Trends in Permafrost Temperature From North American Sites Contributing to the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, S.; Burgess, M.; Romanovsky, V.; Clow, G.; Brown, J.

    2004-05-01

    The Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) was established in 1999 to provide long-term field observations of active layer and permafrost thermal state that are required to determine the present permafrost conditions and to detect changes in permafrost stability. The data supplied by this network enhances our ability to predict the consequences of permafrost degradation associated with climate warming and to develop adaptation strategies to respond to these changes. The GTN-P contributes to the World Meteorological Organization's Global Climate Observing System and Global Terrestrial Observing System. This paper focuses on the thermal monitoring component of the GTN-P. To date, over 300 thermal monitoring sites have been identified from 16 countries for inclusion in the GTN-P. Site descriptions (metadata) and summary data are disseminated through the GTN-P web site (www.gtnp.org). Plans are being developed for a GTN-P contribution to the International Polar Year which will involve a collection of data from all monitoring sites if possible in 2006 and 2007. This paper reports initial results from North American sites. The results show that although recent warming of permafrost has been observed across the North American permafrost zone, the magnitude and timing of this warming varies. For example, warming has been observed since the early to mid 1980s in the western North American Arctic. Warming however in the Canadian eastern and high Arctic occurred in the late 1990s with cooler permafrost temperature generally occurring in the 1980s and early 1990s. These trends in permafrost temperature are consistent with air temperature trends observed since the 1970s in the Canadian Arctic. Variability in snow cover especially in the high Arctic, is also an important factor influencing the spatial and temporal trends in permafrost temperature.

  10. The microbial ecology of permafrost.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jansson, Janet K; Taş, Neslihan

    2014-06-01

    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 features and between sites. Some microorganisms are even active at subzero temperatures in permafrost. An emerging concern is the impact of climate change and the possibility of subsequent permafrost thaw promoting microbial activity in permafrost, resulting in increased potential for greenhouse-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. Permafrost carbon: Catalyst for deglaciation

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacDougall, Andrew H.

    2016-09-01

    The sources contributing to the deglacial rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations are unclear. Climate model simulations suggest thawing permafrost soils were the initial source, highlighting the vulnerability of modern permafrost carbon stores.

  12. Review and synthesis: Changing permafrost in a warming world and feedbacks to the Earth System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grosse, Guido; Goetz, Scott; McGuire, Anthony; Romanovsky, Vladimir E.; Schuur, Edward A.G.

    2016-01-01

    The permafrost component of the cryosphere is changing dramatically, but the permafrost region is not well monitored and the consequences of change are not well understood. Changing permafrost interacts with ecosystems and climate on various spatial and temporal scales. The feedbacks resulting from these interactions range from local impacts on topography, hydrology, and biology to complex influences on global scale biogeochemical cycling. This review contributes to this focus issue by synthesizing its 28 multidisciplinary studies which provide field evidence, remote sensing observations, and modeling results on various scales. We synthesize study results from a diverse range of permafrost landscapes and ecosystems by reporting key observations and modeling outcomes for permafrost thaw dynamics, identifying feedbacks between permafrost and ecosystem processes, and highlighting biogeochemical feedbacks from permafrost thaw. We complete our synthesis by discussing the progress made, stressing remaining challenges and knowledge gaps, and providing an outlook on future needs and research opportunities in the study of permafrost–ecosystem–climate interactions.

  13. Permafrost distribution modelling in the semi-arid Chilean Andes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Azócar, Guillermo F.; Brenning, Alexander; Bodin, Xavier

    2017-04-01

    Mountain permafrost and rock glaciers in the dry Andes are of growing interest due to the increase in mining industry and infrastructure development in this remote area. Empirical models of mountain permafrost distribution based on rock glacier activity status and temperature data have been established as a tool for regional-scale assessments of its distribution; this kind of model approach has never been applied for a large portion of the Andes. In the present study, this methodology is applied to map permafrost favourability throughout the semi-arid Andes of central Chile (29-32° S), excluding areas of exposed bedrock. After spatially modelling of the mean annual air temperature distribution from scarce temperature records (116 station years) using a linear mixed-effects model, a generalized additive model was built to model the activity status of 3524 rock glaciers. A permafrost favourability index (PFI) was obtained by adjusting model predictions for conceptual differences between permafrost and rock glacier distribution. The results indicate that the model has an acceptable performance (median AUROC: 0.76). Conditions highly favourable to permafrost presence (PFI ≥ 0.75) are predicted for 1051 km2 of mountain terrain, or 2.7 % of the total area of the watersheds studied. Favourable conditions are expected to occur in 2636 km2, or 6.8 % of the area. Substantial portions of the Elqui and Huasco watersheds are considered to be favourable for permafrost presence (11.8 % each), while in the Limarí and Choapa watersheds permafrost is expected to be mostly limited to specific sub-watersheds. In the future, local ground-truth observations will be required to confirm permafrost presence in favourable areas and to monitor permafrost evolution under the influence of climate change.

  14. A Combination of Different Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Techniques for Bottom-Fast Ice and Permafrost Monitoring in Canadian Polar Region (Mackenzie Delta)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alasset, P.; Parsons, G.; Yue, B.; Chamberland, J.; Mulvie, J.

    2009-12-01

    The Mackenzie Delta is a unique region in the Canadian North which is rich in hydrocarbons and supports a fragile ecosystem. A need exists to define nominal remote coastal conditions prior to hydrocarbon extraction and to assist in monitoring conditions once the extraction will be underway. Near shore the formation of Bottom-Fast Ice (BFI) plays an important role in the region’s seasonal environmental changes and in the understanding of arctic coastal environmental and geophysical control processes. BFI is ice that has frozen to the seabed in shallow sea water and forms in areas where the sea water is shallow. These regions control permafrost distribution, spring overflow and potential strudel scours - holes in the frozen seafloor from flowing fresh water in rivers and streams during spring in the Beaufort Sea - and influence channel mouth constraints and early breakup season flood routing. BFI has been studied by generating D-InSAR (Differential SAR Interferometry) coherence maps during the winter of 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 using a combination of SAR image pairs from the TerraSAR-X space borne sensor. The results derived from these data were compared to results obtained from ALOS-PALSAR and RADARSAT-2 using advanced polarimetric techniques for BFI delineation. All coherence maps of the winter 2008-2009 data were assembled and compiled to demonstrate seasonal changes throughout the winter. The results of these analyses indicate that deriving coherence maps from repeat-pass data generates a product that is indicative of BFI regions; though relying on an entirely different land characteristic than polarimetric BFI delineation (e.g. ground stability vs. dielectric constants). Through the use of various polarimetric channels, a good discrimination between BFI regions and ice-covered land regions has been noted in the past. With specialised analysts, it is possible to reasonably outline BFI regions from these polarimetric datasets. Additional to these standard

  15. Permafrost: An International Approach to 21th Century Challenges

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, J.

    2003-12-01

    . Cryosol (Antarctic soil map, soil database). 4. Glacier and Permafrost Hazards in High Mountains (interaction of ice and permafrost on slopes). 5. Isotopes and Geochemistry of Permafrost (paleo-reconstruction, modern processes). 6. Mapping and Modelling of Mountain Permafrost (standardize map legends and maps, multi-dimensional models). 7. Periglacial Processes and Environments (past and present processes, field manual of measurements). 8. Permafrost and Climate (monitoring, impact assessments, inter-comparisons of models). 9. Permafrost Astrobiology (survivability of life on planets and analogous Earth environments). 10. Permafrost Engineering (case studies, climate impacts on infrastructure). The Data Committee facilitates recovery of data, web access, and CD data production. These activities will provide added insight into past, present and future occurrences and responses of permafrost to climate change. They can contribute to activities of the International Polar Year. Results will be reported at the Ninth ICOP in Fairbanks, Alaska, in summer 2008. Current information is available on the IPA web site and in annual issues of Frozen Ground.

  16. 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....

  17. DUE PERMAFROST: A Circumpolar Remote Sensing Service for Permafrost - Evaluation Case Studies and Intercomparison with Regional Climate Model Simulations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heim, B.; Bartsch, A.; Elger, K. K.; Rinke, A.; Matthes, H.; Zhou, X.; Klehmet, K.; Buchhorn, M.; Soliman, A. S.; Duguay, C. R.

    2013-12-01

    The objective of the ESA Data User Element DUE Permafrost project (https://www.ipf.tuwien.ac.at/permafrost/) was to establish a Remote Sensing Service for permafrost applications. Permafrost has been addressed as one of the Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) in the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). Permafrost is a subground phenomenon but Earth Observation can provide permafrost-related indicators and geophysical parameters used in modelling and monitoring. Climate and permafrost modelers as well as field investigators are associated users including the International Permafrost Association (IPA). http://www.page21.eu/ The ESA DUE Permafrost project (2009-2012) developed a suite of remote sensing products indicative for the subsurface phenomenon permafrost: Land Surface Temperature (LST), Surface Soil Moisture (SSM), Surface Frozen and Thawed State (Freeze/Thaw), Terrain, Land Cover, and Surface Water. Snow parameters (Snow Extent and Snow Water Equivalent) are being developed through the DUE GlobSnow project (Global Snow Monitoring for Climate Research, 2008-2011). The final DUE Permafrost remote sensing products cover the years 2007 to 2011 with a circumpolar coverage (north of 50°N). The products were released in 2012, to be used to analyze the temporal dynamics and map the spatial patterns of permafrost indicators. Further information is available at www.ipf.tuwien.ac.at/ permafrost. The remote sensing service also supports the FP7 funded project PAGE21 - Changing Permafrost in the Arctic and its Global Effects in the 21st Century, http://www.page21.eu/. The primary programme providing various ground data for the evaluation is the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) initiated by the International Permafrost Association (IPA). Ground data ranges from active layer- and snow depths, to air-, ground-, and borehole temperature data as well as soil moisture measurements and the description of landform and vegetation. The involvement of scientific

  18. Potential methane reservoirs beneath Antarctica.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wadham, J L; Arndt, S; Tulaczyk, S; Stibal, M; Tranter, M; Telling, J; Lis, G P; Lawson, E; Ridgwell, A; Dubnick, A; Sharp, M J; Anesio, A M; Butler, C E H

    2012-08-30

    Once thought to be devoid of life, the ice-covered parts of Antarctica are now known to be a reservoir of metabolically active microbial cells and organic carbon. The potential for methanogenic archaea to support the degradation of organic carbon to methane beneath the ice, however, has not yet been evaluated. Large sedimentary basins containing marine sequences up to 14 kilometres thick and an estimated 21,000 petagrams (1 Pg equals 10(15) g) of organic carbon are buried beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet. No data exist for rates of methanogenesis in sub-Antarctic marine sediments. Here we present experimental data from other subglacial environments that demonstrate the potential for overridden organic matter beneath glacial systems to produce methane. We also numerically simulate the accumulation of methane in Antarctic sedimentary basins using an established one-dimensional hydrate model and show that pressure/temperature conditions favour methane hydrate formation down to sediment depths of about 300 metres in West Antarctica and 700 metres in East Antarctica. Our results demonstrate the potential for methane hydrate accumulation in Antarctic sedimentary basins, where the total inventory depends on rates of organic carbon degradation and conditions at the ice-sheet bed. We calculate that the sub-Antarctic hydrate inventory could be of the same order of magnitude as that of recent estimates made for Arctic permafrost. Our findings suggest that the Antarctic Ice Sheet may be a neglected but important component of the global methane budget, with the potential to act as a positive feedback on climate warming during ice-sheet wastage.

  19. Permafrost-carbon complexities

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vonk, J.E.; Gustafsson, Ö.

    2013-01-01

    The thawing and decomposition of carbon stored in permafrost generates greenhouse gases that could further intensify global warming. Currently, most of the thawed carbon is assumed to be converted to greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, and carbon decomposition is thought

  20. Subsea ice-bearing permafrost on the U.S. Beaufort Margin: 2. Borehole constraints

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruppel, Carolyn; Herman, Bruce M.; Brothers, Laura L.; Hart, Patrick E.

    2016-01-01

    Borehole logging data from legacy wells directly constrain the contemporary distribution of subsea permafrost in the sedimentary section at discrete locations on the U.S. Beaufort Margin and complement recent regional analyses of exploration seismic data to delineate the permafrost's offshore extent. Most usable borehole data were acquired on a ∼500 km stretch of the margin and within 30 km of the contemporary coastline from north of Lake Teshekpuk to nearly the U.S.-Canada border. Relying primarily on deep resistivity logs that should be largely unaffected by drilling fluids and hole conditions, the analysis reveals the persistence of several hundred vertical meters of ice-bonded permafrost in nearshore wells near Prudhoe Bay and Foggy Island Bay, with less permafrost detected to the east and west. Permafrost is inferred beneath many barrier islands and in some nearshore and lagoonal (back-barrier) wells. The analysis of borehole logs confirms the offshore pattern of ice-bearing subsea permafrost distribution determined based on regional seismic analyses and reveals that ice content generally diminishes with distance from the coastline. Lacking better well distribution, it is not possible to determine the absolute seaward extent of ice-bearing permafrost, nor the distribution of permafrost beneath the present-day continental shelf at the end of the Pleistocene. However, the recovery of gas hydrate from an outer shelf well (Belcher) and previous delineation of a log signature possibly indicating gas hydrate in an inner shelf well (Hammerhead 2) imply that permafrost may once have extended across much of the shelf offshore Camden Bay.

  1. Subsea ice-bearing permafrost on the U.S. Beaufort Margin: 2. Borehole constraints

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruppel, Carolyn D.; Herman, Bruce M.; Brothers, Laura L.; Hart, Patrick E.

    2016-11-01

    Borehole logging data from legacy wells directly constrain the contemporary distribution of subsea permafrost in the sedimentary section at discrete locations on the U.S. Beaufort Margin and complement recent regional analyses of exploration seismic data to delineate the permafrost's offshore extent. Most usable borehole data were acquired on a ˜500 km stretch of the margin and within 30 km of the contemporary coastline from north of Lake Teshekpuk to nearly the U.S.-Canada border. Relying primarily on deep resistivity logs that should be largely unaffected by drilling fluids and hole conditions, the analysis reveals the persistence of several hundred vertical meters of ice-bonded permafrost in nearshore wells near Prudhoe Bay and Foggy Island Bay, with less permafrost detected to the east and west. Permafrost is inferred beneath many barrier islands and in some nearshore and lagoonal (back-barrier) wells. The analysis of borehole logs confirms the offshore pattern of ice-bearing subsea permafrost distribution determined based on regional seismic analyses and reveals that ice content generally diminishes with distance from the coastline. Lacking better well distribution, it is not possible to determine the absolute seaward extent of ice-bearing permafrost, nor the distribution of permafrost beneath the present-day continental shelf at the end of the Pleistocene. However, the recovery of gas hydrate from an outer shelf well (Belcher) and previous delineation of a log signature possibly indicating gas hydrate in an inner shelf well (Hammerhead 2) imply that permafrost may once have extended across much of the shelf offshore Camden Bay.

  2. Application of 2-D geoelectrical resistivity tomography for mountain permafrost detection in sporadic permafrost environments: Experiences from Eastern Austria

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kellerer-Pirklbauer, Andreas

    2015-04-01

    Mountain permafrost covers some 2000 km² of the Austrian Alps which is less than 2.5% of the national territory. Delineating the altitudinal lower limit of permafrost in the mountains of Austria is difficult due the complex topography, the rather sparseness of field verification data and the lack of long-term permafrost monitoring data. Such monitoring data should cover different slope aspects, different elevations, different substrates and different mountain regions of Austria. In this study it was attempted to delineate the lower limit of permafrost at two study sites in the Tauern Range, Austria, applying two-dimensional geoelectrical resistivity tomography (ERT). In addition, multi-annual ground temperature data collected by miniature temperature datalogger (MDT) were used to validate the results. At the study site Hochreichart (maximum elevation 2416 m asl), located in the Seckauer Tauern Range, 14 ERT profiles (lengths 48-196 m; electrode spacing 2, 2.5 or 4 m) were measured at elevations between 1805 and 2416 m asl. Measurements were carried out at two cirques (Reichart, Schöneben) and at the summit plateau of Hochreichart. Results at this site indicate that permafrost lenses are detectable at elevations down to c.1900 m asl at radiation-sheltered sites. Furthermore, at the summit plateau permafrost only occurs as rather small lenses. The ERT-based permafrost pattern is generally confirmed by the MTD data with negative mean annual ground temperature values at only a few monitoring sites. However, the possibility of air-filled cavities causing higher resistive zones faking permafrost existence cannot be excluded because coarse-grained sediments (i.e. relict rock glaciers and autochthonous block fields) are widespread at this study site. At the second study site Kögele Cirque (maximum elevation 3030 m asl) located in the Schober Mountains 12 ERT profiles (lengths 48 m; electrode spacing 2 m) were measured at elevations between 2631 and 2740 m asl. Spatially

  3. Monitoring of permafrost condition based on longitudinal conductivity of the transition layer%基于过渡层的纵向电导率冻土特征监测

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Vladimir N.Efremov

    2014-01-01

    实验研究结果是应用过渡层的纵向电导对多年冻土环境进行监测而获取。过渡层在地下电导率剖面位于季节融化层以下。这一层在冷冻状态下具有不同的温度值,电阻率和厚度。过渡层纵向导电的季节变化比季节融化层更重要。因此,它们可用于监测地面的建筑物和工程多年冻土地基条件,过渡层的纵向电导值可由无线电阻抗测深资料确定。%The results of experimental research of possibility to apply transition layer longitudinal con-ductivity for monitoring of permafrost condition are presented .The transition layer is a layer in subsurface conductivity section located below the seasonally thawed layer .This layer is in frozen state and has var-ying values of temperature , electrical resistivity and thickness .Seasonal variations in longitudinal con-ductivity of the transition layer are more significant than those of the seasonally thawed layer .Therefore , they can be used for monitoring the condition of permafrost foundations of buildings and engineering con -structions from the ground surface .Longitudinal conductivity values of the transition layer can be deter-mined by interpretation of radioimpedance sounding data .

  4. Influence of urbanization on permafrost: a case study from Mohe County, northernmost China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    W. B. Yu

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available Mohe County, northernmost China, is one of the densely populated areas in permafrost regions. The urban population has grown from about 25 000 residents in 1992 to more than 41 000 in 2011. Resident's life is closely related to permafrost environment. This paper adopted drilling, ground penetration radar, and ground temperature monitoring to investigate the permafrost in the urban area of Mohe County. The results show that the permafrost table is much lower in the urban area of Mohe County because of the urban heat island, surface disturbance of construction, space heating in winter etc. The permafrost table is 2.63–3.70 m on the edge of the urban area; the mean annual ground temperature is −1.0 to −1.33 °C. In the urban area, the maximum depth of permafrost has exceeded 15 m. The permafrost in the undisturbed area is 1.65–2.0 m, with much lower ground temperature −2.75 °C. Evidences outline a clear distribution rule that, from the edge to the center of the urban area of Mohe County, the permafrost table goes deeper and deeper, which states that the urbanization has significant influence on permafrost degradation. The degradation of permafrost in the urban area in turn has been affecting the residents' lives, such as water supply and stability of buildings.

  5. Monitoring of the ground surface temperature and the active layer in NorthEastern Canadian permafrost areas using remote sensing data assimilated in a climate land surface scheme.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marchand, N.; Royer, A.; Krinner, G.; Roy, A.

    2014-12-01

    Projected future warming is particularly strong in the Northern high latitudes where increases of temperatures are up to 2 to 6 °C. Permafrost is present on 25 % of the northern hemisphere lands and contain high quantities of « frozen » carbon, estimated at 1400 Gt (40 % of the global terrestrial carbon). The aim of this study is to improve our understanding of the climate evolution in arctic areas, and more specifically of land areas covered by snow. The objective is to describe the ground temperature year round including under snow cover, and to analyse the active layer thickness evolution in relation to the climate variability. We use satellite data (fusion of MODIS land surface temperature « LST » and microwave AMSR-E brightness temperature « Tb ») assimilated in the Canadian Land Surface Scheme (CLASS) of the Canadian climate model coupled with a simple radiative transfer model (HUT). This approach benefits from the advantages of each of the data type in order to complete two objectives : 1- build a solid methodology for retrieving the ground temperature, with and without snow cover, in taïga and tundra areas ; 2 - from those retrieved ground temperatures, derive the summer melt duration and the active layer depth. We describe the coupling of the models and the methodology that adjusts the meteorological input parameters of the CLASS model (mainly air temperature and precipitations derived from the NARR database) in order to minimise the simulated LST and Tb ouputs in comparison with satellite measurements. Using ground-based meteorological data as validation references in NorthEastern Canadian tundra, the results show that the proposed approach improves the soil temperatures estimates when using the MODIS LST and Tb at 10 and 19 GHz to constrain the model in comparison with the model outputs without satellite data. Error analysis is discussed for the summer period (2.5 - 4 K) and for the snow covered winter period (2 - 3.5 K). Further steps are

  6. Permafrost soils and carbon cycling

    OpenAIRE

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

  7. Thermal impacts of engineering activities and vegetation layer on permafrost in different alpine ecosystems of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Qingbai; Zhang, Zhongqiong; Gao, Siru; Ma, Wei

    2016-08-01

    Climate warming and engineering activities have various impacts on the thermal regime of permafrost in alpine ecosystems of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Using recent observations of permafrost thermal regimes along the Qinghai-Tibet highway and railway, the changes of such regimes beneath embankments constructed in alpine meadows and steppes are studied. The results show that alpine meadows on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau can have a controlling role among engineering construction effects on permafrost beneath embankments. As before railway construction, the artificial permafrost table (APT) beneath embankments is not only affected by climate change and engineering activities but is also controlled by alpine ecosystems. However, the change rate of APT is not dependent on ecosystem type, which is predominantly affected by climate change and engineering activities. Instead, the rate is mainly related to cooling effects of railway ballast and heat absorption effects of asphalt pavement. No large difference between alpine and steppe can be identified regarding the variation of soil temperature beneath embankments, but this difference is readily identified in the variation of mean annual soil temperature with depth. The vegetation layer in alpine meadows has an insulation role among engineering activity effects on permafrost beneath embankments, but this insulation gradually disappears because the layer decays and compresses over time. On the whole, this layer is advantageous for alleviating permafrost temperature rise in the short term, but its effect gradually weakens in the long term.

  8. 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...

  9. 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...

  10. Permafrost and gas hydrate related methane release in the Arctic and its impact on climate change - European cooperation for long-term monitoring: COST Action PERGAMON (www.cost-pergamon.eu)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greinert, Jens; Treude, Tina; Members, Pergamon

    2010-05-01

    The Arctic is a key area in our warming world as massive releases of terrestrial and oceanic methane could increase atmospheric methane concentrations much faster than expected. The vast Arctic shelf might become a major emitter of methane in the future. Only a few projects are engaged in research on methane seepage in this area. The exchange of information about ongoing and planned activities in the Arctic with respect to gas hydrate destabilization and permafrost thawing is low within the EU and almost non-existent at an international level. The aim of the COST Action PERGAMON is to promote networking internationally within the EU and beyond: data integration of terrestrial studies from wetlands and permafrost regions marine research on gas release from seeps due to decomposing gas hydrate and/or permafrost melting and atmospheric investigations carried out by monitoring stations and via satellite is urgently needed to achieve a better understanding of methane emission processes in high latitude areas. The "official" main objective of PERGAMON is to quantify the methane input from marine and terrestrial sources into the atmosphere in the Arctic region, and ultimately to evaluate the impact of Arctic methane seepage on the global climate. This will be achieved by studying the origin and type of occurrence (dissolved/free gas, gas hydrate) of different methane sources (both on land and in the sub-seabed) as well as methane migration mechanisms, biogeochemical turnover, release mechanisms, and finally by quantifying the flux into the atmosphere. Biannual meetings and open workshops/conferences that will be announced throughout the scientific community serve as a platform to exchange and proliferate knowledge on methane in the Arctic. At present, fourteeen European countries are partners in PERGAMON, several non-COST country institutions are currently applying to participate (e.g. the US and Russia). PERGAMON aims to be open for new members, suggestions and input at

  11. The application of refraction seismics in alpine permafrost studies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Draebing, Daniel

    2017-04-01

    Permafrost studies in alpine environments focus on landslides from permafrost-affected rockwalls, landslide deposits or periglacial sediment dynamics. Mechanical properties of soils or rocks are influenced by permafrost and changed strength properties affect these periglacial processes. To assess the effects of permafrost thaw and degradation, monitoring techniques for permafrost distribution and active-layer thaw are required. Seismic wave velocities are sensitive to freezing and, therefore, refraction seismics presents a valuable tool to investigate permafrost in alpine environments. In this study, (1) laboratory and field applications of refraction seismics in alpine environments are reviewed and (2) data are used to quantify effects of rock properties (e.g. lithology, porosity, anisotropy, saturation) on p-wave velocities. In the next step, (3) influence of environmental factors are evaluated and conclusions drawn on permafrost differentiation within alpine periglacial landforms. This study shows that p-wave velocity increase is susceptible to porosity which is pronounced in high-porosity rocks. In low-porosity rocks, p-wave velocity increase is controlled by anisotropy decrease due to ice pressure (Draebing and Krautblatter, 2012) which enables active-layer and permafrost differentiation at rockwall scale (Krautblatter and Draebing, 2014; Draebing et al., 2016). However, discontinuity distribution can result in high anisotropy effects on seismic velocities which can impede permafrost differentiation (Phillips et al., 2016). Due to production or deposition history, porosity can show large spatial differences in deposited landforms. Landforms with large boulders such as rock glaciers and moraines show highest p-wave velocity differences between active-layer and permafrost which facilitates differentiation (Draebing, 2016). Saturation with water is essential for the successful application of refraction seismics for permafrost detection and can be controlled at

  12. Sensitivity of airborne geophysical data to sublacustrine permafrost thaw

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    B. J. Minsley

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available A coupled hydrogeophysical forward and inverse modeling approach is developed to illustrate the ability of frequency-domain airborne electromagnetic (AEM data to characterize subsurface physical properties associated with sublacustrine permafrost thaw during lake talik formation. Several scenarios are evaluated that consider the response to variable hydrologic forcing from different lake depths and hydrologic gradients. The model includes a physical property relationship that connects the dynamic distribution of subsurface electrical resistivity based on lithology as well as ice-saturation and temperature outputs from the SUTRA groundwater simulator with freeze/thaw physics. Electrical resistivity models are used to simulate AEM data in order to explore the sensitivity of geophysical observations to permafrost thaw. Simulations of sublacustrine talik formation over a 1000 year period modeled after conditions found in the Yukon Flats, Alaska, are evaluated. Synthetic geophysical data are analyzed with a Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm that provides a probabilistic assessment of geophysical model uncertainty and resolution. Major lithological and permafrost features are well resolved in the examples considered. The subtle geometry of partial ice-saturation beneath lakes during talik formation cannot be resolved using AEM data, but the gross characteristics of sub-lake resistivity models reflect bulk changes in ice content and can be used to determine the presence of a talik. A final example compares AEM and ground-based electromagnetic responses for their ability to resolve shallow permafrost and thaw features in the upper 1–2 m below ground.

  13. Impacts of climate change on infrastructure in permafrost regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beloloutskaia, M.; Anisimov, O.

    2003-04-01

    There is a growing evidence of enhanced warming over the permafrost regions, and significant impacts on natural and human systems are expected. Changes in the temperature, distribution, and depth of seasonal thawing of permafrost will have direct and immediate implications for the infrastructure built upon it. The mechanical strength of permafrost decreases with warming, resulting in damage to and possible failure of buildings, pipelines, and transportation facilities. Extensive infrastructure was developed in the Arctic largely in association with the extraction and transportation industries. Several large cities in Russia with few hundred thousand population are of particular concern since many buildings there have already been affected by the changes in permafrost properties. Detrimental changes in permafrost conditions are often not abrupt. Instead, they evolve gradually and can be predicted and monitored, allowing avoidance of catastrophic events and mitigation of negative consequences. Climate-induced threats to infrastructure in permafrost regions may be evaluated using a numerical "settlement" index, Iset, which allows to classify modern permafrost with respect to its potential for thermokarst development: Iset = dZ * W, where dZ is the relative change in the depth of seasonal thawing predicted by permafrost model for the conditions of the future climate and W is the volumetric proportion of near surface soil occupied by ground ice. Permafrost model of intermediate complexity (Koudriavtcev's model) was used with selected GCM-based scenarios of climate change to construct predictive maps of "settlement" index for the mid-21st century. Circumpolar permafrost area was partitioned into zones of high, moderate, and low hazard potential. Despite discrepancies in details, all scenarios yield a zone in the high-risk category distributed discontinuously around the margins of the Arctic Ocean, indicating high potential for coastal erosion. Several population centers

  14. Electromagnetic Method for Exogenetic Geodynamic Elements Mapping in Permafrost Environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gordeev, V. F.; Malyshkov, S. Y.; Polyvach, V. I.

    2017-04-01

    Taking into account the global warming, there is a pressing need to detect thermokarsts and to monitor permafrosts during the design and construction of industry infrastructure in Northern regions. The paper suggests a permafrost probing method based on the Earth’s natural pulsed electromagnetic field parameters recording. Authors describe the architecture and algorithms for the recording hardware. Examples of thermokarst detecting in poleward region are demonstrated. Pulsed electromagnetic fields intensity over thermokarst funnels is 30 times higher than the background levels. Authors substantiate the method’s eligibility to monitor geocryologial processes.

  15. Evaluation Case Studies and Intercomparison with Regional Climate Model Simulations based on the DUE PERMAFROST Circumpolar Remote Sensing Service for Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heim, Birgit; Bartsch, Annett; Elger, Kirsten; Rinke, Annette; Matthes, Heidrun; Zhou, Xu; Klehmet, Katharina; Buchhorn, Marcel; Duguay, Claude

    2014-05-01

    Permafrost is a subsurface phenomenon. However, monitoring from Earth Observation (EO) platforms can provide spatio-temporal data sets on permafrost-related indicators and geophysical parameters used in modelling and monitoring. The ESA Data User Element (DUE) Permafrost project (2009-2012) developed a suite of EO satellite-derived products: Land Surface Temperature (LST), Surface Soil Moisture (SSM), Surface Frozen and Thawed State (Freeze/Thaw), Terrain, Land Cover, and Surface Water. The satellite-derived products are weekly and monthly averages of the bio- and geophysical terrestrial parameters and static circum-Arctic maps. The final DUE Permafrost products cover the years 2007 to 2011 with a circum-Arctic coverage (north of 50°N). The products were released in 2012, and updated in 2013. Further information is available at geo.tuwien.ac.at/permafrost/. The remote sensing service also supports the EU-FP7 funded project PAGE21 - Changing Permafrost in the Arctic and its Global Effects in the 21st Century (www.page21.eu). The Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P), initiated by the International Permafrost Association (IPA), is the prime program concerned with monitoring of permafrost. It provides an important database for the evaluation of EO-derived products and climate and permafrost models. GTN-P ground data ranges from air-, ground-, and borehole temperature data to active layer monitoring, soil moisture measurements, and the description of landform and vegetation. The involvement of scientific stakeholders and the IPA, and the ongoing evaluation of the satellite-derived products make the DUE Permafrost products relevant to the scientific community. The Helmholtz Climate Initiative REKLIM (Regionale KlimaAnderungen/Regional Climate Change) is a climate research program where regional observations and process studies are coupled with model simulations (http://www.reklim.de/en/home/). ESA DUE Permafrost User workshops initiated the use of EO

  16. ESA Data User Element DUE PERMAFROST Circumpolar Remote Sensing Service for Permafrost - Evaluation Case Studies and Intercomparison with Regional Climate Model Simulations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heim, Birgit; Bartsch, Annett; Elger, Kirsten; Rinke, Annette; Matthes, Heidrun; Zhou, Xu; Klehmet, Katharina; Rockel, Burkhardt; Lantuit, Hugues; Duguay, Claude

    2015-04-01

    Permafrost is a subsurface phenomenon. However, monitoring from Earth Observation (EO) platforms can provide spatio-temporal data sets on permafrost-related indicators and quantities used in modelling and monitoring. The ESA Data User Element (DUE) Permafrost project (2009-2012) developed a suite of EO satellite-derived products: Land Surface Temperature (LST), Surface Soil Moisture (SSM), Surface Frozen and Thawed State (Freeze/Thaw), Terrain, Land Cover, and Surface Water. The satellite-derived products are weekly and monthly averages of the bio- and geophysical terrestrial parameters and static circum-Arctic maps. The final DUE Permafrost products cover the years 2007 to 2011, some products up to 2013, with a circum-Arctic coverage (north of 50°N). The products were released in 2012, and updated in 2013 and 2014. Further information is available at geo.tuwien.ac.at/permafrost/. The remote sensing service also supports the EU-FP7 funded project PAGE21 - Changing Permafrost in the Arctic and its Global Effects in the 21st Century (www.page21.eu). The Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P), initiated by the International Permafrost Association (IPA), is the prime program concerned with monitoring of permafrost. It provides an important database for the evaluation of EO-derived products and climate and permafrost models. GTN-P ground data ranges from air-, ground-, and borehole temperature data to active layer monitoring, soil moisture measurements, and the description of landform and vegetation. The involvement of scientific stakeholders and the IPA, and the ongoing evaluation of the satellite-derived products make the DUE Permafrost products relevant to the scientific community. The Helmholtz Climate Initiative REKLIM (Regionale KlimaAnderungen/Regional Climate Change) is a climate research program where regional observations and process studies are coupled with model simulations (http://www.reklim.de/en/home/). ESA DUE Permafrost User workshops

  17. Hydrogeochemistry of groundwaters in and below the base of thick permafrost at Lupin, Nunavut, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stotler, Randy L.; Frape, Shaun K.; Ruskeeniemi, Timo; Ahonen, Lasse; Onstott, Tullis C.; Hobbs, Monique Y.

    2009-06-01

    SummaryShield fluids are commonly understood to evolve through water-rock interaction. However, fluids may also concentrate during ice formation. Very little is currently known about groundwater conditions beneath thick permafrost in crystalline environments. This paper evaluates three possible Shield fluid evolution pathways at a crystalline Shield location currently under 500+ meters of permafrost, including surfical cryogenic concentration of seawater, in situ cryogenic concentration and water-rock interaction. A primary goal of this study was to further scientific understanding of permafrost and its role in influencing deep flow system evolution, fluid movement and chemical evolution of waters in crystalline rocks. Precipitation, surface, permafrost and subpermafrost water samples were collected, as well as dissolved and free gas samples, fracture fillings and matrix fluid samples to characterize the site. Investigations of groundwater conditions beneath thick permafrost provides valuable information which can be applied to safety assessment of deep, underground nuclear waste repositories, effects of long-term mining in permafrost areas and understanding analogues to potential life-bearing zones on Mars. The study was conducted in the Lupin gold mine in Nunavut, Canada, located within the zone of continuous permafrost. Through-taliks beneath large lakes in the area provided potential hydraulic connections through the permafrost. Na-Cl and Na-Cl-SO 4 type permafrost waters were contaminated by mining activities, affecting the chloride and nitrate concentrations. High nitrate concentrations (423-2630 mg L -1) were attributed to remnants of blasting. High sulfate concentrations in the permafrost (578-5000 mg L -1) were attributed to naturally occurring and mining enhanced sulfide oxidation. Mine dewatering created an artificial hydraulic gradient, resulting in methane hydrate dissociation at depth. Less contaminated basal waters had medium sulfate concentrations

  18. Examining Environmental Gradients with Remotely Sensed Data - the ESA GlobPermafrost project

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bartsch, Annett; Grosse, Guido; Kääb, Andreas; Westermann, Sebastian; Strozzi, Tazio; Wiesmann, Andreas; Duguay, Claude; Seifert, Frank Martin; Obu, Jaroslav; Nitze, Ingmar; Heim, Birgit; Haas, Antoni; Widhalm, Barbara

    2017-04-01

    Permafrost cannot be directly detected from space, but many surface features of permafrost terrains and typical periglacial landforms are observable with a variety of EO sensors ranging from very high to medium resolution at various wavelengths. In addition, landscape dynamics associated with permafrost changes and geophysical variables relevant for characterizing the state of permafrost, such as land surface temperature or freeze-thaw state can be observed with space-based Earth Observation. Suitable regions to examine environmental gradients across the Arctic have been defined in a community white paper (Bartsch et al. 2014). These transects have been updated within the ESA DUE GlobPermafrost project. The ESA DUE GlobPermafrost project develops, validates and implements Earth Observation (EO) products to support research communities and international organisations in their work on better understanding permafrost characteristics and dynamics. Prototype product cases will cover different aspects of permafrost by integrating in situ measurements of subsurface properties and surface properties, Earth Observation, and modelling to provide a better understanding of permafrost today. The project will extend local process and permafrost monitoring to broader spatial domains, support permafrost distribution modelling, and help to implement permafrost landscape and feature mapping in a GIS framework. It will also complement active layer and thermal observing networks. Both lowland (latitudinal) and mountain (altitudinal) permafrost issues are addressed. The selected transects and first results will be presented. This includes identified needs from the user requirements survey, a review of existing land surface products available for the Arctic as well as prototypes of GlobPermafrost datasets, and the permafrost information system through which they can be accessed. Bartsch, Annett; Allard, Michel; Biskaborn, Boris Kolumban; Burba, George; Christiansen, Hanne H; Duguay

  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......, Kangerlussuaq, Sisimiut and Nuuk. They are situated in continuous, discontinuous and sporadic permafrost zones. We will show examples of detoriation of permafrost related to present local scale climate observations and large scale climate and permafrost simulations modeled numerically with the GIPL model driven...... by HIRHAM climate projections for Greenland up to 2075. The engineering modelling is based on a risk assessment methodology based on a flow diagram which classify the risk of permafrost degradation causing settlement and stability problems for buildings and infrastructures based on relatively simple...

  20. Permafrost Hazards and Linear Infrastructure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stanilovskaya, Julia; Sergeev, Dmitry

    2014-05-01

    The international experience of linear infrastructure planning, construction and exploitation in permafrost zone is being directly tied to the permafrost hazard assessment. That procedure should also consider the factors of climate impact and infrastructure protection. The current global climate change hotspots are currently polar and mountain areas. Temperature rise, precipitation and land ice conditions change, early springs occur more often. The big linear infrastructure objects cross the territories with different permafrost conditions which are sensitive to the changes in air temperature, hydrology, and snow accumulation which are connected to climatic dynamics. One of the most extensive linear structures built on permafrost worldwide are Trans Alaskan Pipeline (USA), Alaska Highway (Canada), Qinghai-Xizang Railway (China) and Eastern Siberia - Pacific Ocean Oil Pipeline (Russia). Those are currently being influenced by the regional climate change and permafrost impact which may act differently from place to place. Thermokarst is deemed to be the most dangerous process for linear engineering structures. Its formation and development depend on the linear structure type: road or pipeline, elevated or buried one. Zonal climate and geocryological conditions are also of the determining importance here. All the projects are of the different age and some of them were implemented under different climatic conditions. The effects of permafrost thawing have been recorded every year since then. The exploration and transportation companies from different countries maintain the linear infrastructure from permafrost degradation in different ways. The highways in Alaska are in a good condition due to governmental expenses on annual reconstructions. The Chara-China Railroad in Russia is under non-standard condition due to intensive permafrost response. Standards for engineering and construction should be reviewed and updated to account for permafrost hazards caused by the

  1. Using ground data of the Global Terrestrial Network of Permafrost (GTN-P) for the evaluation of ESA Data User Element (DUE) Permafrost remote sensing derived products

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elger, K.; Heim, B.; Bartsch, A.; Paulik, Ch.; Duguay, C.; Hachem, S.; Soliman, A.; Boike, J.; Langer, M.; Lantuit, H.

    2012-04-01

    Permafrost is one of the essential climate variables addressed by the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GCOS). Remote sensing data provide area-wide monitoring of e.g. surface temperatures or soil surface status (frozen or thawed state) in the Arctic and Subarctic, where ground data collection is difficult and restricted to local measurements at few monitoring sites. The task of the ESA Data User Element (DUE) Permafrost project is to build-up an Earth observation service for northern high-latitudinal permafrost applications with extensive involvement of the international permafrost research community (www.ipf.tuwien.ac.at/permafrost). The satellite-derived DUE Permafrost products are Land Surface Temperature, Surface Soil Moisture, Surface Frozen and Thawed State, Digital Elevation Model (locally as remote sensing product and circumpolar as non-remote sensing product) and Subsidence, and Land Cover. Land Surface Temperature, Surface Soil Moisture, and Surface Frozen and Thawed State will be provided for the circumpolar permafrost area north of 55° N with 25 km spatial resolution. In addition, regional products with higher spatial resolution were developed for five case study regions in different permafrost zones of the tundra and taiga (Laptev Sea [RU], Central Yakutia [RU], Western Siberia [RU], Alaska N-S transect, [US] Mackenzie River and Valley [CA]). This study shows the evaluation of two DUE Permafrost regional products, Land Surface Temperature and Surface Frozen and Thawed State, using freely available ground truth data from the Global Terrestrial Network of Permafrost (GTN-P) and monitoring data from the Russian-German Samoylov research station in the Lena River Delta (Central Siberia, RU). The GTN-P permafrost monitoring sites with their position in different permafrost zones are highly qualified for the validation of DUE Permafrost remote sensing products. Air and surface temperatures with high-temporal resolution from eleven GTN-P sites in Alaska

  2. Controls on methane released through ebullition in peatlands affected by permafrost degradation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klapstein, Sara J.; Turetsky, Merritt R.; McGuire, Anthony; Harden, Jennifer W.; Czimczik, C.I.; Xu, Xiaomei; Chanton, J.P.; Waddington, James Michael

    2014-01-01

    Permafrost thaw in peat plateaus leads to the flooding of surface soils and the formation of collapse scar bogs, which have the potential to be large emitters of methane (CH4) from surface peat as well as deeper, previously frozen, permafrost carbon (C). We used a network of bubble traps, permanently installed 20 cm and 60 cm beneath the moss surface, to examine controls on ebullition from three collapse bogs in interior Alaska. Overall, ebullition was dominated by episodic events that were associated with changes in atmospheric pressure, and ebullition was mainly a surface process regulated by both seasonal ice dynamics and plant phenology. The majority (>90%) of ebullition occurred in surface peat layers, with little bubble production in deeper peat. During periods of peak plant biomass, bubbles contained acetate-derived CH4 dominated (>90%) by modern C fixed from the atmosphere following permafrost thaw. Post-senescence, the contribution of CH4 derived from thawing permafrost C was more variable and accounted for up to 22% (on average 7%), in the most recently thawed site. Thus, the formation of thermokarst features resulting from permafrost thaw in peatlands stimulates ebullition and CH4 release both by creating flooded surface conditions conducive to CH4 production and bubbling as well as by exposing thawing permafrost C to mineralization.

  3. Characteristics of discontinuous permafrost, Southern Yukon Territory, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Etzelmueller, B.; Lewkowicz, A. G.; Smith, S.

    2009-04-01

    Two-dimensional DC resistivity profiling was used to examine the characteristics of shallow permafrost at three lowland and eight mountain sites in the southern Yukon Territory. Ground temperatures from logged thermistor cables or annual manual readings were available for most of the sites. Frost table depths along the transects also helped constrain the interpretations. Ground temperatures at or close to the depth of zero annual amplitude were all warmer than -0.5°C. Interpreted permafrost depths were generally less than 10 m but reached 25 m at one location. Sites with coarse materials showed sharp transitions in resistivity values at the base of permafrost while those in fine-grained materials showed gradational boundaries, interpreted as being due to progressively increasing unfrozen moisture contents close to 0°C. There were large differences in the relative resistivity values for frozen and unfrozen ground but the absolute values for permafrost were lower than many others reported in the literature for mountain sites. The DC resistivity technique proved to be extremely useful in characterizing the distribution and continuity of frozen ground at these shallow and sensitive permafrost sites and provided a baseline data-set for monitoring future change.

  4. Permafrost Characteristics of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Methods of Roadbed Construction of Railway

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    NIU Fujun; XU Jian; LIN Zhanju; WU Qingbai; CHENG Guodong

    2008-01-01

    Permafrost along the Qinghai.Tibet railway is featured by abundant ground ice and high ground temperature. Under the influence of climate warming and engineering activities, the permafrost is under degradation process. The main difficulty in railway roadbed construction is how to prevent thawing settlement caused by degradation of permafrost. Therefore the proactively cooling methods based on controlling solar radiation, heat conductivity and heat convection were adopted instead of the traditional passive methods, which is simply increasing thermal resistance. The cooling methods used in the Qinghai-Tibet railway construction include sunshine-shielding roadbeds,crushed rock based roadbeds, roadbeds with rock revetments, duct-ventilated roadbeds, thermosyphon installed roadbeds and land bridges. The field monitored data show that the cooling methods are effective in protecting the underlying permafrost, the permafrost table was uplifted under the embankments and therefore the roadbed stability was guaranteed.

  5. A view on global permafrost distribution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gruber, S.

    2009-12-01

    The response of permafrost to climate change has diverse effects of diverse magnitude and timing. These include feedbacks to the climate system as well as effects on landscape dynamics, ecosystems, and humans. In this context - especially near the limits of permafrost existence - permafrost maps and models are an important source of information. Here I present a global permafrost model at a resolution of 30 arc seconds (New Zealand. Based on this, questions like: How much permafrost area exists? How much of this is in mountains? Can be answered more consistently than before. Additionally, the number of people potentially affected by permafrost or its changes is investigated as a further metric of interest.

  6. International Field School on Permafrost, Polar Urals, 2012

    Science.gov (United States)

    Streletskiy, D. A.; Grebenets, V.; Ivanov, M.; Sheinkman, V.; Shiklomanov, N. I.; Shmelev, D.

    2012-12-01

    The international field school on permafrost was held in the Polar Urals region from June, 30 to July 9, 2012 right after the Tenth International Conference on Permafrost which was held in Salekhard, Russia. The travel and accommodation support generously provided by government of Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Region allowed participation of 150 permafrost young research scientists, out of which 35 students from seven countries participated in the field school. The field school was organized under umbrella of International Permafrost Association and Permafrost Young Research Network. The students represented diverse educational backgrounds including hydrologists, engineers, geologists, soil scientists, geocryologists, glaciologists and geomorphologists. The base school camp was located near the Harp settlement in the vicinity of Polar Urals foothills. This unique location presented an opportunity to study a diversity of cryogenic processes and permafrost conditions characteristic for mountain and plain regions as well as transition between glacial and periglacial environments. A series of excursions was organized according to the following topics: structural geology of the Polar Urals and West Siberian Plain (Chromite mine "Centralnaya" and Core Storage in Labitnangy city); quaternary geomorphology (investigation of moraine complexes and glacial conditions of Ronamantikov and Topographov glaciers); principles of construction and maintains of structures built on permafrost (Labitnangy city and Obskaya-Bovanenkovo Railroad); methods of temperature and active-layer monitoring in tundra and forest-tundra; cryosols and soil formation in diverse landscape condition; periglacial geomorphology; types of ground ice, etc. Every evening students and professors gave a series of presentations on climate, vegetation, hydrology, soil conditions, permafrost and cryogenic processes of the region as well as on history, economic development, endogenous population of the Siberia and the

  7. Collaboration in Education: International Field Class on Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-12-01

    from the position of technogenic impact which required knowledge of historical, political and socio-economic aspects of development. Students learned how to conduct meteorological observations; describe vegetation, soil and permafrost conditions, and cryogenic processes, such as ice-wedges, solifluction, pingoes, thermokarst etc; and use temperature logging and core drilling devices. In urbanized areas, students learned how to apply different construction methods and foundation designs in permafrost regions; use techniques of permafrost temperature monitoring under building and structures; and apply mitigation strategies to prevent permafrost from warming under different types of technogenic pressure. The experience gained by students in the field cannot be adequately replaced by any classroom demonstrations, which is why it is critically important to conduct such classes in the future. We thank administration of Igarka, Igarka Geocryological Station, Norilsk Nickel, Norilsk Geologiya, and Funamentproekt Norilsk for help in the organization of this class.

  8. Seasonal Variations of Stable Isotope Composition of River Flow in Permafrost Regions of Yenisei and Kolyma Rivers (Russia)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Streletskiy, D. A.; Davydova, A.; Davydov, S. P.; Opel, T.; Shiklomanov, A. I.; Shiklomanov, N. I.; Streletskaya, I. D.; Tananaev, N.; Tokarev, I.

    2015-12-01

    Permafrost plays an important role in the hydrology of the northern regions. To investigate the role of climate change on permafrost degradation and hydrology, extensive field work was conducted in a series of small watersheds located in the discontinuous permafrost zone of the lower Yenisei River near Igarka, and in the continuous permafrost zone of the Kolyma River near Cherskii. Climatic, hydrologic and permafrost characteristics were monitored at both locations over a three year period and extended using historical data. Stable isotope composition of rain, snow, water from lakes and rivers, and various types of ground ice was used to determine various inputs and runoff pathways to a river flow in several watersheds. The study found that water flow of smaller creeks follows precipitation closely, while flow of larger rivers is affected by evaporation effects related to water storage in thermokarst lakes. Ground ice of the epigenetic permafrost near Igarka has a similar isotopic composition as that of Holocene permafrost and contemporary late summer precipitation. Ground ice of the syngenetic Pleistocene permafrost (Ice Complex) near Cherskii has a significantly lighter isotopic composition than pore water of the active and transient layers. Increases in air temperature resulted in thickening of the active-layer and melting of ice that reach the transient layer in continuous permafrost. In areas where the transient layer severely reduced as a result of intense forest fires and other landscape disturbances, ground ice from permafrost is also involved in hydrological processes. Progressive decrease in the seasonal freezing layer thickness and a lower permafrost table promoted more groundwater storage and redistribution of summer precipitation towards winter baseflow in discontinuous permafrost region. The major contribution of permafrost at both locations is not through the melting of ground ice, but through changes in soil properties affecting the water flow.

  9. The cryosphere and glacial permafrost as its integral component

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dobiński, Wojciech

    2012-12-01

    Since Earth sciences have undertaken studies of other celestial bodies, its various fields have moved beyond the scope of study assigned to them by name. Interest in space makes it necessary to abandon research geocentrism and reverse relations when comparing the structure of the Earth with other celestial bodies. As an exceptional place in the universe, it should not be the Earth which constitutes a reference point, especially in cryospheric research, but rather the other celestial bodies of our planetary system. This approach, referred to as "Spatial Uniformitarianism," is the basis for determining the place of ice in the environment and for assigning it to the lithosphere. Ice can be penetrated by frost just as other minerals and rocks, so the occurrence of permafrost may yet be attributed to glaciers and ice-caps. In the article, the occurrence of glacial permafrost has been worked out on the basis of a thermal classification of glaciers with a thorough understanding of the phenomenon. This allows us to specify permafrost's presence beneath glaciers and ice-caps, a concept which had been needlessly vague. Further, by considering rock glaciers as a mixture of two types of rocks, and by understanding the importance of movement in their evolution, we are now closer to fruitfully determining their role in the environment, their geomorphological significance.

  10. Circumpolar Active-Layer Permafrost System (CAPS)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Circumpolar Active-Layer Permafrost System (CAPS) contains over 100 data sets pertaining to permafrost and frozen ground topics. It also contains detailed...

  11. Thermal state of permafrost in North America: A contribution to the international polar year

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, S.L.; Romanovsky, V.E.; Lewkowicz, A.G.; Burn, C.R.; Allard, M.; Clow, G.D.; Yoshikawa, K.; Throop, J.

    2010-01-01

    A snapshot of the thermal state of permafrost in northern North America during the International Polar Year (IPY) was developed using ground temperature data collected from 350 boreholes. More than half these were established during IPY to enhance the network in sparsely monitored regions. The measurement sites span a diverse range of ecoclimatic and geological conditions across the continent and are at various elevations within the Cordillera. The ground temperatures within the discontinuous permafrost zone are generally above -3°C, and range down to -15°C in the continuous zone. Ground temperature envelopes vary according to substrate, with shallow depths of zero annual amplitude for peat and mineral soils, and much greater depths for bedrock. New monitoring sites in the mountains of southern and central Yukon suggest that permafrost may be limited in extent. In concert with regional air temperatures, permafrost has generally been warming across North America for the past several decades, as indicated by measurements from the western Arctic since the 1970s and from parts of eastern Canada since the early 1990s. The rates of ground warming have been variable, but are generally greater north of the treeline. Latent heat effects in the southern discontinuous zone dominate the permafrost thermal regime close to 0°C and allow permafrost to persist under a warming climate. Consequently, the spatial diversity of permafrost thermal conditions is decreasing over time.

  12. Hydrogeology, chemical and microbial activity measurement through deep permafrost

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Stotler, R.L.; Frape, S.K.; Freifeld, B.M.; Holden, B.; Onstott, T.C.; Ruskeeniemi, T.; Chan, E.

    2010-04-01

    Little is known about hydrogeochemical conditions beneath thick permafrost, particularly in fractured crystalline rock, due to difficulty in accessing this environment. The purpose of this investigation was to develop methods to obtain physical, chemical, and microbial information about the subpermafrost environment from a surface-drilled borehole. Using a U-tube, gas and water samples were collected, along with temperature, pressure, and hydraulic conductivity measurements, 420 m below ground surface, within a 535 m long, angled borehole at High Lake, Nunavut, Canada, in an area with 460-m-thick permafrost. Piezometric head was well above the base of the permafrost, near land surface. Initial water samples were contaminated with drill fluid, with later samples <40% drill fluid. The salinity of the non-drill fluid component was <20,000 mg/L, had a Ca/Na ratio above 1, with {delta}{sup 18}O values {approx}5{per_thousand} lower than the local surface water. The fluid isotopic composition was affected by the permafrost-formation process. Nonbacteriogenic CH{sub 4} was present and the sample location was within methane hydrate stability field. Sampling lines froze before uncontaminated samples from the subpermafrost environment could be obtained, yet the available time to obtain water samples was extended compared to previous studies. Temperature measurements collected from a distributed temperature sensor indicated that this issue can be overcome easily in the future. The lack of methanogenic CH{sub 4} is consistent with the high sulfate concentrations observed in cores. The combined surface-drilled borehole/U-tube approach can provide a large amount of physical, chemical, and microbial data from the subpermafrost environment with few, controllable, sources of contamination.

  13. Effect of Submarine Groundwater Discharge on Relict Arctic Submarine Permafrost and Gas Hydrate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frederick, J. M.; Buffett, B. A.

    2014-12-01

    Permafrost-associated gas hydrate deposits exist at shallow depths within the sediments of the circum-Arctic continental shelves. Degradation of this shallow water reservoir has the potential to release large quantities of methane gas directly to the atmosphere. Gas hydrate stability and the permeability of the shelf sediments to gas migration is closely linked with submarine permafrost. Submarine permafrost extent depends on several factors, such as the lithology, sea level variations, mean annual air temperature, ocean bottom water temperature, geothermal heat flux, and the salinity of the pore water. The salinity of the pore water is especially relevant because it partially controls the freezing point for both ice and gas hydrate. Measurements of deep pore water salinity are few and far between, but show that deep off-shore sediments are fresh. Deep freshening has been attributed to large-scale topographically-driven submarine groundwater discharge, which introduces fresh terrestrial groundwater into deep marine sediments. We investigate the role of submarine ground water discharge on the salinity field and its effects on the seaward extent of relict submarine permafrost and gas hydrate stability on the Arctic shelf with a 2D shelf-scale model based on the finite volume method. The model tracks the evolution of the temperature, salinity, and pressure fields given imposed boundary conditions, with latent heat of water ice and hydrate formation included. The permeability structure of the sediments is coupled to changes in permafrost. Results show that pore fluid is strongly influenced by the permeability variations imposed by the overlying permafrost layer. Groundwater discharge tends to travel horizontally off-shore beneath the permafrost layer and the freshwater-saltwater interface location displays long timescale transient behavior that is dependent on the groundwater discharge strength. The seaward permafrost extent is in turn strongly influenced by the

  14. ESA DUE Permafrost: Evaluation of remote sensing derived products using ground data from the Global Terrestrial Network of Permafrost (GTN-P)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elger, K. K.; Heim, B.; Lantuit, H.; Boike, J.; Bartsch, A.; Paulik, C.; Duguay, C. R.; Hachem, S.; Soliman, A. S.

    2011-12-01

    The task of the ESA DUE Permafrost project is to build up an Earth observation service for high-latitudinal permafrost applications with extensive involvement of the permafrost research community. The DUE Permafrost products derived from remote sensing are land surface temperature (LST), surface soil moisture (SSM), surface frozen and thawed state (freeze/ thaw), terrain, land cover, and surface waters. Weekly and monthly averages for most of the DUE Permafrost products will be made available for the years 2007-2010. The DUE Permafrost products are provided for the circumpolar permafrost area (north of 55°N) with 25 km spatial resolution. In addition, regional products with higher spatial resolution (300-1000 m/ pixel) were developed for five case study regions. These regions are: (1) the Laptev Sea and Eastern Siberian Sea Region (RU, continuous very cold permafrost/ tundra), (2) the Yakutsk Region (RU, continuous cold permafrost/ taiga), (3) the Western Siberian transect including Yamal Peninsula and Ob Region (RU, continuous to discontinuous/ taiga-tundra), (4) the Alaska Highway Transect (US, continuous to discontinuous/ taiga-tundra), and (5) the Mackenzie Delta and Valley Transect (CA, continuous to discontinuous/ taiga-tundra). The challenge of the programme is to adapt remote sensing products that are well established and tested in agricultural low and mid-latitudinal areas for highly heterogeneous taiga/ tundra permafrost landscapes in arctic regions. Ground data is essential for the evaluation of DUE Permafrost products and is provided by user groups and global networks. A major part of the DUE Permafrost core user group is contributing to GTN-P, the Global Terrestrial Network of Permafrost. Its main programmes, the Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) and the Thermal State of Permafrost (TSP) have been thoroughly overhauled during the last International Polar Year (2007-2008). Their spatial coverage has been extended to provide a true circumpolar

  15. Regional permafrost distribution based on remote sensing data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prantl, Hannah; Sailer, Rudolf; Stötter, Johann; Nagler, Thomas

    2017-04-01

    The detection of permafrost phenomena and its distribution in mountain environments as well as the monitoring of changes of permafrost with respect to climatic changes is important for alpine risk, infrastructure, natural hazards and climate change studies. It is assumed that in Iceland less than ten percent of the land surface is underlain by permafrost and that most of it may disappear under global warming in the 21st century. In particular regions these changes will cause sincere problems for the society in mountainous regions. But because of the complexity of permafrost detection, the knowledge about its distribution in Iceland is currently not very well evaluated and only based on small-scale observations. As permafrost is at most not directly observable, different indicators, e.g. rock glaciers and perennial snow patches, can be mapped to identify the distribution of permafrost. The study site is situated on the Tröllaskagi peninsula, in Northern Iceland. The peninsula is situated between Skagafjörður and Eyjafjörður and the highest summits reach an altitude of about 1400. For large-scale identification of perennial snow patches (PSP) over the Tröllaskagi peninsula remote sensing techniques are a practicable technique. In our study, we use optical satellite (Landsat-5/7/8 and Sentinel-2B) data in combination with aerial images to map and monitor the spatial distribution of perennial snow patches, indicating a low or negative ground temperature underneath. After an atmospheric correction of the satellite data, pan sharpening of the Landsat data and resampling the Sentinel-2B data, and Normalized Difference Snow Index (NDSI) calculations, the perennial snow patches are classified in i) mainly permafrost, ii) mainly wind and iii) mainly avalanche induced origin. For that purpose, topographic information such as slope angle, aspect and curvature are determined from a DEM of Tröllaskagi peninsula. In a first step a digital elevation model with a grid size

  16. Permafrost Active Layer Seismic Interferometry Experiment (PALSIE).

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Abbott, Robert [Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States); Knox, Hunter Anne [Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States); James, Stephanie [Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States); Lee, Rebekah [Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States); Cole, Chris [Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)

    2016-01-01

    We present findings from a novel field experiment conducted at Poker Flat Research Range in Fairbanks, Alaska that was designed to monitor changes in active layer thickness in real time. Results are derived primarily from seismic data streaming from seven Nanometric Trillium Posthole seismometers directly buried in the upper section of the permafrost. The data were evaluated using two analysis methods: Horizontal to Vertical Spectral Ratio (HVSR) and ambient noise seismic interferometry. Results from the HVSR conclusively illustrated the method's effectiveness at determining the active layer's thickness with a single station. Investigations with the multi-station method (ambient noise seismic interferometry) are continuing at the University of Florida and have not yet conclusively determined active layer thickness changes. Further work continues with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to determine if the ground based measurements can constrain satellite imagery, which provide measurements on a much larger spatial scale.

  17. Collapsing permafrost coasts in the Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fritz, Michael; Lantuit, Hugues

    2017-04-01

    Arctic warming is exposing permafrost coastlines, which account for 34% of the Earth's coasts, to rapid thaw and erosion. Coastal erosion rates as high as 25 m yr-1 together with the large amount of organic matter frozen in permafrost are resulting in an annual release of 14.0 Tg (1012 gram) particulate organic carbon into the nearshore zone. The nearshore zone is the primary recipient of higher fluxes of carbon and nutrients from thawing permafrost. We highlight the crucial role the nearshore zone plays in Arctic biogeochemical cycling, as here the fate of the released material is determined to: (1) degrade into greenhouse gases, (2) fuel marine primary production, (3) be buried in nearshore sediments or (4) be transported offshore. With Arctic warming, coastal erosion fluxes have the potential to increase by an order of magnitude until 2100. Such increases would result in drastic impacts on global carbon fluxes and their climate feedbacks, on nearshore food webs and on local communities, whose survival still relies on marine biological resources. Quantifying the potential impacts of increasing erosion on coastal ecosystems is crucial for food security of northern residents living in Arctic coastal communities. We need to know how the traditional hunting and fishing grounds might be impacted by high loads of sediment and nutrients released from eroding coasts, and to what extent coastal retreat will lead to a loss of natural habitat. Quantifying fluxes of organic carbon and nutrients is required, both in nearshore deposits and in the water column by sediment coring and systematic oceanographic monitoring. Ultimately, this will allow us to assess the transport and degradation pathways of sediment and organic matter derived from erosion. We need to follow the complete pathway, which is multi-directional including atmospheric release, lateral transport, transitional retention in the food web, and ultimate burial in seafloor sediments. We present numbers of multi

  18. Airborne electromagnetic imaging of discontinuous permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Minsley, Burke J.; Abraham, Jared D.; Smith, Bruce D.; Cannia, James C.; Voss, Clifford I.; Jorgenson, M. Torre; Walvoord, Michelle A.; Wylie, Bruce K.; Anderson, Lesleigh; Ball, Lyndsay B.; Deszcz-Pan, Maryla; Wellman, Tristan P.; Ager, Thomas 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.

  19. Near-shore talik development beneath shallow water in expanding thermokarst lakes, Old Crow Flats, Yukon

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roy-Leveillee, Pascale; Burn, Christopher R.

    2017-05-01

    It is generally assumed that permafrost is preserved beneath shallow lakes and ponds in the Western North American Arctic where water depth is less than about two thirds of the late-winter lake ice thickness. Here we present field observations of talik development beneath water as shallow as 0.2 m despite a lake ice thickness of 1.5 m, in Old Crow Flats (OCF), YT. Conditions leading to the initiation and development of taliks beneath shallow water were investigated with field measurements of shore erosion rates, bathymetry, ice thickness, snow accumulation, and lake bottom temperature near the shores of two expanding lakes in OCF. The sensitivity of talik development to variations in lake bottom thermal regime was then investigated numerically. Where ice reached the lake bottom, talik development was controlled by the ratio of freezing degree days to thawing degree days at the lake bottom (FDDlb/TDDlb). In some cases, spatial variations in on-ice snow depth had a minimal effect on annual mean lake bottom temperature (Tlb) but caused sufficient variations in FDDlb/TDDlb to influence talik development. Where Tlb was close to but greater than 0°C simulations indicated that the thermal offset allowed permafrost aggradation to occur under certain conditions, resulting in irregular near-shore talik geometries. The results highlight the sensitivity of permafrost to small changes in lake bottom thermal conditions where the water column freezes through in early winter and indicate the occurrence of permafrost degradation beneath very shallow water in the near-shore zone of Arctic ponds and lakes.

  20. Geophysical Investigations of Saline Permafrost at Ilulissat, Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ingeman-Nielsen, Thomas; Foged, Niels Nielsen; Butzbach, Rune

    2008-01-01

    The technical properties and general state of permafrost in Greenland is not well documented. A new coordinated investigation has been initiated, for ground temperature measurements and permafrost mapping in Greenlandic towns in sporadic, discontinuous and continuous permafrost zones. We present ...

  1. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whiticar, M. J.; Bhatti, J.; Startsev, N.

    2012-12-01

    Thawing permafrost peatlands influence 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 IPY study intensively monitored the local C cycling processes and GHG fluxes associated with different hydrologic and permafrost environments at 4 sites along a latitudinal climatic gradient of Boreal, Subarctic and Arctic ecoclimatic regions that extend south-north from the Isolated Patches Permafrost Zone (northern Alberta), to the Continuous Permafrost Zone (Inuvik, NWT). Each site encompasses a local hydrologic 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 methyl-fermentative 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 (ca. 2.5 km/yr).

  3. METHANE HYDRATE PRODUCTION FROM ALASKAN PERMAFROST

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Richard Sigal; Kent Newsham; Thomas Williams; Barry Freifeld; Timothy Kneafsey; Carl Sondergeld; Shandra Rai; Jonathan Kwan; Stephen Kirby; Robert Kleinberg; Doug Griffin

    2005-02-01

    Natural-gas hydrates have been encountered beneath the permafrost and considered a nuisance by the oil and gas industry for years. 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 hydrate potential 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. The work scope drilled and cored a well The Hot Ice No. 1 on Anadarko leases beginning in FY 2003 and completed in 2004. An on-site core analysis laboratory was built and utilized for determining the physical characteristics of the hydrates and surrounding rock. The well was drilled from a new Anadarko Arctic Platform that has a minimal footprint and environmental impact. The final efforts of the project are to correlate geology, geophysics, logs, and drilling and production data and provide this information to scientists developing reservoir models. No gas hydrates were encountered in this well; however, a wealth of information was generated and is contained in this report. The Hot Ice No. 1 well was drilled from the surface to a measured depth of 2300 ft. There was almost 100% core recovery from the bottom of surface casing at 107 ft to total depth. Based on the best estimate of the bottom of the methane hydrate stability zone (which used new data obtained from Hot Ice No. 1 and new analysis of data from adjacent wells), core was recovered over its complete range. Approximately 580 ft of porous, mostly frozen, sandstone and 155 of conglomerate were recovered in the Ugnu Formation and approximately 215 ft of porous sandstone were recovered in the West Sak Formation. There were gas shows in the bottom

  4. Data analysis and mapping of the mountain permafrost distribution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deluigi, Nicola; Lambiel, Christophe; Kanevski, Mikhail

    2017-04-01

    In Alpine environments mountain permafrost is defined as a thermal state of the ground and corresponds to any lithosphere material that is at or below 0°C for, at least, two years. Its degradation is potentially leading to an increasing rock fall activity, rock glacier accelerations and an increase in the sediment transfer rates. During the last 15 years, knowledge on this phenomenon has significantly increased thanks to many studies and monitoring projects. They revealed a spatial distribution extremely heterogeneous and complex. As a consequence, modelling the potential extent of the mountain permafrost recently became a very important task. Although existing statistical models generally offer a good overview at a regional scale, they are not always able to reproduce its strong spatial discontinuity at the micro scale. To overcome this lack, the objective of this study is to propose an alternative modelling approach using three classification algorithms belonging to statistics and machine learning: Logistic regression (LR), Support Vector Machines (SVM) and Random forests (RF). The former is a linear parametric classifier that commonly used as a benchmark classification algorithm to be employed before using more complex classifiers. Non-linear SVM is a non-parametric learning algorithm and it is a member of the so-called kernel methods. RF are an ensemble learning method based on bootstrap aggregating and offer an embedded measure of the variable importance. Permafrost evidences were selected in a 588 km2 area of the Western Swiss Alps and serve as training examples. They were mapped from field data (thermal and geoelectrical data) and ortho-image interpretation (rock glacier inventorying). The dataset was completed with environmental predictors such as altitude, mean annual air temperature, aspect, slope, potential incoming solar radiation, normalized difference vegetation index and planar, profile and combined terrain curvature indices. Aiming at predicting

  5. Development of a Permafrost Modeling Cyberinfrastructure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Overeem, I.; Jafarov, E. E.; Piper, M.; Schaefer, K. M.

    2016-12-01

    Permafrost is seen as an essential Arctic climate indicator, and feedback of thawing permafrost to the global climate system through the impacts on the global carbon cycle remain an important research topic. Observations can assess the current state of permafrost, but models are eventually essential to make predictions of future permafrost extent. The purpose of our project, which we call PermaModel, is to develop an easy-to-access and comprehensive cyberinfrastructure aimed at promoting and improving permafrost modeling. The PermaModel Integrated Modeling Toolbox (IMT) includes three permafrost models of increasing complexity. The IMT will be housed within the existing cyberinfrastructure of the Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System (CSDMS), and made publically accessible through the CSDMS Web Modeling Tool (WMT). The WMT will provide easy online access to students, scientists, and stakeholders who want to use permafrost models, but lack the expertise. We plan to include multiple sets of sample inputs, representing a variety of conditions and locations, to enable immediate use of the IMT. We present here the first permafrost model, which is envisioned to be the most suitable for teaching purposes. The model promotes understanding of a 1D heat equation and permafrost active layer dynamics under monthly temperature/climate drivers in an online environment. Modeling labs are presented through the CSDMS Educational Repository and we solicit feedback from faculty for further design of these resources.

  6. 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:...

  7. 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

  8. METHANE HYDRATE PRODUCTION FROM ALASKAN PERMAFROST

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Thomas E. Williams; Keith Millheim; Buddy King

    2004-07-01

    Natural-gas hydrates have been encountered beneath the permafrost and considered a nuisance by the oil and gas industry for years. 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 hydrate potential 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 in the final stages of a cost shared partnership between Maurer Technology, Noble Corporation, Anadarko Petroleum, 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 identify, quantify and predict production potential for hydrates located on the North Slope of Alaska. The work scope drilled and cored a well The HOT ICE No.1 on Anadarko leases beginning in FY 2003 and completed in 2004. An on-site core analysis laboratory was built and utilized for determining the physical characteristics of the hydrates and surrounding rock. The well was drilled from a new Anadarko Arctic Platform that has a minimal footprint and environmental impact. The final efforts of the project are to correlate geology, geophysics, logs, and drilling and production data and provide this information to scientists developing reservoir models. No gas hydrates were encountered in this well; however, a wealth of information was generated and is contained in this report.

  9. METHANE HYDRATE PRODUCTION FROM ALASKAN PERMAFROST

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Thomas E. Williams; Keith Millheim; Buddy King

    2004-06-01

    Natural-gas hydrates have been encountered beneath the permafrost and considered a nuisance by the oil and gas industry for years. 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 hydrate potential 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 in the final stages of a cost shared partnership between Maurer Technology, Noble Corporation, Anadarko Petroleum, 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 identify, quantify and predict production potential for hydrates located on the North Slope of Alaska. The work scope drilled and cored a well The HOT ICE No.1 on Anadarko leases beginning in FY 2003 and completed in 2004. An on-site core analysis laboratory was built and utilized for determining the physical characteristics of the hydrates and surrounding rock. The well was drilled from a new Anadarko Arctic Platform that has a minimal footprint and environmental impact. The final efforts of the project are to correlate geology, geophysics, logs, and drilling and production data and provide this information to scientists developing reservoir models. No gas hydrates were encountered in this well; however, a wealth of information was generated and is contained in this report.

  10. METHANE HYDRATE PRODUCTION FROM ALASKAN PERMAFROST

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Thomas E. Williams; Keith Millheim; Buddy King

    2004-03-01

    Natural-gas hydrates have been encountered beneath the permafrost and considered a nuisance by the oil and gas industry for years. 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 hydrate potential 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 in the second year of a three-year endeavor being sponsored by Maurer Technology, Noble, and Anadarko Petroleum, in partnership with the DOE. The purpose of the project is to build on previous and ongoing R&D in the area of onshore hydrate deposition. We plan to identify, quantify and predict production potential for hydrates located on the North Slope of Alaska. We also plan to design and implement a program to safely and economically drill, core and produce gas from arctic hydrates. The current work scope is to drill and core a well on Anadarko leases in FY 2003 and 2004. We are also using an on-site core analysis laboratory to determine some of the physical characteristics of the hydrates and surrounding rock. The well is being drilled from a new Anadarko Arctic Platform that will have minimal footprint and environmental impact. We hope to correlate geology, geophysics, logs, and drilling and production data to allow reservoir models to be calibrated. Ultimately, our goal is to form an objective technical and economic evaluation of reservoir potential in Alaska.

  11. Scaling-up permafrost thermal measurements in western Alaska using an ecotype approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cable, William L.; Romanovsky, Vladimir E.; Torre Jorgenson, M.

    2016-10-01

    Permafrost temperatures are increasing in Alaska due to climate change and in some cases permafrost is thawing and degrading. In areas where degradation has already occurred the effects can be dramatic, resulting in changing ecosystems, carbon release, and damage to infrastructure. However, in many areas we lack baseline data, such as subsurface temperatures, needed to assess future changes and potential risk areas. Besides climate, the physical properties of the vegetation cover and subsurface material have a major influence on the thermal state of permafrost. These properties are often directly related to the type of ecosystem overlaying permafrost. In this paper we demonstrate that classifying the landscape into general ecotypes is an effective way to scale up permafrost thermal data collected from field monitoring sites. Additionally, we find that within some ecotypes the absence of a moss layer is indicative of the absence of near-surface permafrost. As a proof of concept, we used the ground temperature data collected from the field sites to recode an ecotype land cover map into a map of mean annual ground temperature ranges at 1 m depth based on analysis and clustering of observed thermal regimes. The map should be useful for decision making with respect to land use and understanding how the landscape might change under future climate scenarios.

  12. NORPERM, the Norwegian Permafrost Database – a TSP NORWAY IPY legacy

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H. Juliussen

    2010-02-01

    Full Text Available NORPERM – The Norwegian Permafrost Database was developed at the Geological Survey of Norway during the International Polar Year (IPY 2007–2009 as the main data legacy of the IPY research project Permafrost Observatory Project: A Contribution to the Thermal State of Permafrost in Norway and Svalbard (TSP NORWAY. This paper describes the structural and technical design of NORPERM. NORPERM follows the IPY data policy of open, free, full and timely release of IPY data, and the borehole metadata description follows the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P standard. The ground temperature data infrastructure in Norway and Svalbard is also presented, focussing on the TSP NORWAY permafrost observatory installations in the North Scandinavian Permafrost Observatory and Nordenskiöld Land Permafrost Observatory, as the data providers for NORPERM. Further developments of the database, possibly towards a regional database for the Nordic area, are also discussed.

    The purpose of NORPERM is to store ground temperature data safely and in a standard format for use in future research. NORPERM stores temperature time series from various depths in boreholes and from the air, snow cover, ground-surface or upper ground layer recorded by miniature temperature data-loggers, and temperature profiles with depth in boreholes obtained by occasional manual logging. It contains all the temperature data from the TSP NORWAY research project, totalling 32 boreholes and 98 sites with miniature temperature data-loggers for continuous monitoring of micrometeorological conditions, and 6 temperature depth profiles obtained by manual borehole logging. The amount of data in the database will gradually increase as data from older, previous projects are added. NORPERM also provides links to near real-time permafrost temperatures obtained by GSM data transfer.

  13. Geomorphological and geochemistry changes in permafrost after the 2002 tundra wildfire in Kougarok, Seward Peninsula, Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iwahana, Go; Harada, Koichiro; Uchida, Masao; Tsuyuzaki, Shiro; Saito, Kazuyuki; Narita, Kenji; Kushida, Keiji; Hinzman, Larry D.

    2016-09-01

    Geomorphological and thermohydrological changes to tundra, caused by a wildfire in 2002 on the central Seward Peninsula of Alaska, were investigated as a case study for understanding the response from ice-rich permafrost terrain to surface disturbance. Frozen and unfrozen soil samples were collected at burned and unburned areas, and then water isotope geochemistry and cryostratigraphy of the active layer and near-surface permafrost were analyzed to investigate past hydrological and freeze/thaw conditions and how this information could be recorded within the permafrost. The development of thermokarst subsidence due to ice wedge melting after the fire was clear from analyses of historical submeter-resolution remote sensing imagery, long-term monitoring of thermohydrological conditions within the active layer, in situ surveys of microrelief, and geochemical signals recorded in the near-surface permafrost. The resulting polygonal relief coincided with depression lines along an underground ice wedge network, and cumulative subsidence to 2013 was estimated as at least 10.1 to 12.1 cm (0.9-1.1 cm/year 11 year average). Profiles of water geochemistry in the ground indicated mixing or replenishment of older permafrost water with newer meteoric water, as a consequence of the increase in active layer thickness due to wildfire or past thaw event. Our geocryological analysis of cores suggests that permafrost could be used to reconstruct the permafrost degradation history for the study site. Distinct hydrogen and oxygen isotopic compositions above the Global Meteoric Water Line were found for water from these sites where permafrost degradation with geomorphological change and prolonged surface inundation were suggested.

  14. 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.

  15. Innovative designs of permafrost roadbed for the Qinghai-Tibet Railway

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    CHENG GuoDong; WU QingBai; MA Wei

    2009-01-01

    Under global warming scenarios, the passive method of simply increasing the thermal resistance by raising the embankment height and using insulating materials has been proven ineffective in warm and ice-rich permafrost areas and therefore could not be used in the Qinghai-Tibet Railway engineering. Instead, a proactive "cooled-roadbed" approach was developed and used to lower the ground tem-perature in order to maintain a perennially frozen subgrade. The concept that local and site-specific factors play an important role in the occurrence and disappearance of permafrost has helped us to devise a number of measures to cool down the roadbed. For example, we adjust and control heat transfer by using different embankment configurations and fill materials. The Qinghai-Tibet Railway project demonstrates that a series of proactive roadbed-cooling methods can be used to lower the temperature of permafrost beneath the embankment and to stabilize the roadbed. These methods in-clude solar radiation control using shading boards, heat convection control using ventilation ducts, thermosyphons, air-cooled embankments, and heat conduction control using "thermal semi-conduc-tor" materials, as well as combinations of above mentioned three control measures. This road-bed-cooling approach provides not only a solution for engineering construction in sensitive permafrost areas but also a countermeasure against possible global warming.

  16. Innovative designs of permafrost roadbed for the Qinghai-Tibet Railway

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2009-01-01

    Under global warming scenarios, the passive method of simply increasing the thermal resistance by raising the embankment height and using insulating materials has been proven ineffective in warm and ice-rich permafrost areas and therefore could not be used in the Qinghai-Tibet Railway engineering. Instead, a proactive "cooled-roadbed" approach was developed and used to lower the ground temperature in order to maintain a perennially frozen subgrade. The concept that local and site-specific factors play an important role in the occurrence and disappearance of permafrost has helped us to devise a number of measures to cool down the roadbed. For example, we adjust and control heat transfer by using different embankment configurations and fill materials. The Qinghai-Tibet Railway project demonstrates that a series of proactive roadbed-cooling methods can be used to lower the temperature of permafrost beneath the embankment and to stabilize the roadbed. These methods include solar radiation control using shading boards, heat convection control using ventilation ducts, thermosyphons, air-cooled embankments, and heat conduction control using "thermal semi-conductor" materials, as well as combinations of above mentioned three control measures. This road-bed-cooling approach provides not only a solution for engineering construction in sensitive permafrost areas but also a countermeasure against possible global warming.

  17. Does mountain permafrost in Mongolia control water availability?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Menzel, Lucas; Kopp, Benjamin; Munkhjargal, Munkhdavaa

    2016-04-01

    In semi-arid Mongolia, continuous and discontinuous permafrost covers wide parts of the mountains, especially in the northwest of the country. Long-term analysis of annual discharge from rivers draining the mountainous parts shows high temporal variability, with some evidence of decreasing trends, accompanied by decreased intra-annual variability. Investigations show that annual precipitation features small changes while annual air temperature significantly increased over the last decades, with warming rates clearly outranging the global average. Widespread and drastic changes in land cover through forest fires in northern Mongolia might have an additional impact on water retention and the stability of permafrost. Hence, there is concern about an increased degradation of mountain permafrost and a possible impact on river discharge and water availability. Decreased water availability from the mountains would have strong socio-economic implications for the population living in the steppe belt downstream the mountains. Therefore, a monitoring program has been conducted in northern Mongolia that aims to improve the understanding of how climate change and forest fires are influencing mountain permafrost and water resources. The study region, Sugnugur valley, is located about 100 km north of Ulaanbaatar and includes the transition belt between the steppe, the boreal zone and the alpine tundra of the Khentii Mountains. Extensive measurements of soil temperatures, soil moisture, discharge and climatic parameters have been carried out along transects which stretch across the Sugnugur river valley and include steppe, boreal forest as well as burnt forest. First results indicate that the environmental conditions show drastic changes after forest fire, with reduced water retention in the headwaters. After forest fires, changing runoff processes above the permafrost table have been observed, where water drains rapidly along preferential flow paths. This eventually leads to

  18. 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

  19. Integrated geophysical surveys on railroads in permafrost areas

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    A Ivanov; S Klepikova; M Shirobokov; A Urusova; A Savin

    2013-01-01

    The zones of thawed ground in the permafrost area are most dangerous from engineer-geologist effect point of view. Detection of such zones, as making forecast of their movement is the main task of engineer-geologist survey been held in railway industry. This paper presents general issues concerning railway construction and operation in permafrost areas. Comprehensive geophysical methods to monitor the development of thawed soils are considered in detail. The main physical parameters which help define permafrost and thawed soil patches are described. Author of current paper pointed out main factors, allowing predicting potential areas of development of thawed grounds. They offered set non-destructive methods:GPR investigations, seismic survey and elec-tric exploration. Whole sets of geophysical data:electric resistivity, velocity of S-wave and P-wave (and their correlation), allow us with high confidence specify characteristics and state of soil either under the line of road, or near it. At the same time the meth-od allows to predict direction of further development of thawed ground area.

  20. Determinism beneath Quantum Mechanics

    CERN Document Server

    Hooft, G

    2002-01-01

    Contrary to common belief, it is not difficult to construct deterministic models where stochastic behavior is correctly described by quantum mechanical amplitudes, in precise accordance with the Copenhagen-Bohr-Bohm doctrine. What is difficult however is to obtain a Hamiltonian that is bounded from below, and whose ground state is a vacuum that exhibits complicated vacuum fluctuations, as in the real world. Beneath Quantum Mechanics, there may be a deterministic theory with (local) information loss. This may lead to a sufficiently complex vacuum state, and to an apparent non-locality in the relation between the deterministic ("ontological") states and the quantum states, of the kind needed to explain away the Bell inequalities. Theories of this kind would not only be appealing from a philosophical point of view, but may also be essential for understanding causality at Planckian distance scales.

  1. Modeled response of talik development under thermokarst lakes to permafrost thickness on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Feng Ling; QingBai Wu; FuJun Niu; TingJun Zhang

    2014-01-01

    Permafrost thickness under identical climates in cold regions can vary significantly because it is severely affected by climate change, topography, soil physical and thermal properties, and geothermal conditions. This study numerically in-vestigates the response of ground thermal regime and talik development processes to permafrost with different thicknesses under a thermokarst lake on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. On the basis of observed data and information from a representative monitored lake in the Beiluhe Basin, we used a heat transfer model with phase change under a cylindrical coordinate system to conduct three simulation cases with permafrost thicknesses of 45 m, 60 m, and 75 m, respectively. The simulated results indicate that increases in permafrost thickness not only strongly retarded the open talik formation time, but also delayed the permafrost lateral thaw process after the formation of open talik. Increasing the permafrost thickness by 33.3%and 66.7%led to open talik formation time increases of 83.66%and 207.43%, respectively, and resulted in increases in the lateral thaw duration of permafrost under the modeled thermokarst lake by 28.86%and 46.54%, respectively, after the formation of the open taliks.

  2. The Frozen Ground Data Center: New Data for the International Permafrost Community

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parsons, M. A.; Zhang, T.

    2002-12-01

    a variety of grids and data formats especially geared to aid the permafrost modeling community. The FGDC is working closely with the IPA's Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) and its Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring program to expand and update our data holdings as part of the GGD. We have also continued to update our online permafrost bibliography. We plan to continue acquiring data for the GGD and to produce value-added products such as gridded fields for model validation and analysis. Identification of additional data and information from all participating countries, organizations, and individuals are requested. The IPA Standing Committee on Data, Information and Communication will continue to coordinate the GGD and CAPS activities. Suggestions on data acquisition, management and distribution are always welcome and encouraged.

  3. Permafrost controls on soil C storage and turnover in upland black spruce ecosystems of interior Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Donnell, J. A.; Harden, J. W.; Romanovsky, V. E.; Kanevskiy, M. Z.; Jorgenson, T.; Xu, X.; Ewing, S. A.; McGuire, D.; Shur, Y.

    2009-12-01

    Permafrost soils in northern latitudes have functioned as important reservoirs for organic carbon (OC) since the last glacial maximum. In particular, the formation of permafrost through syngenetic processes (e.g. aeolian loess deposition) allows for high rates of OC burial and stabilization. Recent warming at northern latitudes has resulted in warming and thawing of permafrost in many regions, which may mobilize OC stocks from deep soil reservoirs via decomposition, leaching or erosion. Furthermore, in the boreal region, increased wildfire frequency and severity may promote rapid permafrost thaw and soil OC loss from forested ecosystems. Release of OC stocks from permafrost as carbon dioxide or methane may function as a strong positive feedback to atmospheric warming. Here, we examine patterns of OC storage in active layer and permafrost soils across a fire chronosequence of upland black spruce stands near Hess Creek, interior Alaska. Our research objective was to evaluate how post-fire changes in organic horizon thickness and consequently, changes in active layer thickness, influence rates of OC turnover in deep mineral soil. We used a finite-difference numerical model (GIPL2) to simulate permafrost dynamics and a steady-state radiocarbon model to estimate carbon turnover. To calibrate the permafrost model, we monitored soil temperature, soil moisture, snow depth, and active layer thickness at four sites across the fire chronosequence. To evaluate soil carbon dynamics, we measured OC stocks and radiocarbon inventories from zero to two meters below the ground surface across the chronosequence. Preliminary results from field observations and model runs indicate that active layer thickness was closely linked to fire severity, as reflected by organic horizon thickness. Total carbon storage to two meters averaged 35 ± 6 kg m-2 across the chronosequence, with between 42 and 67 % of these stocks below the permafrost table. Radiocarbon ages of soil OC at two meters

  4. 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 fluvial...... deposits overlying fine-grained marine melt-water sediments and bedrock. A ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey was performed to study the frozen surface beneath the airfield. The measurements were carried out in late July 2005 on the southern parking area in Kangerlussuaq Airport. Five years earlier...

  5. Review article: Inferring permafrost and permafrost thaw in the mountains of the Hindu Kush Himalaya region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gruber, Stephan; Fleiner, Renate; Guegan, Emilie; Panday, Prajjwal; Schmid, Marc-Olivier; Stumm, Dorothea; Wester, Philippus; Zhang, Yinsheng; Zhao, Lin

    2017-01-01

    The cryosphere reacts sensitively to climate change, as evidenced by the widespread retreat of mountain glaciers. Subsurface ice contained in permafrost is similarly affected by climate change, causing persistent impacts on natural and human systems. In contrast to glaciers, permafrost is not observable spatially and therefore its presence and possible changes are frequently overlooked. Correspondingly, little is known about permafrost in the mountains of the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region, despite permafrost area exceeding that of glaciers in nearly all countries. Based on evidence and insight gained mostly in other permafrost areas globally, this review provides a synopsis on what is known or can be inferred about permafrost in the mountains of the HKH region. Given the extreme nature of the environment concerned, it is to be expected that the diversity of conditions and phenomena encountered in permafrost exceed what has previously been described and investigated. We further argue that climate change in concert with increasing development will bring about diverse permafrost-related impacts on vegetation, water quality, geohazards, and livelihoods. To better anticipate and mitigate these effects, a deepened understanding of high-elevation permafrost in subtropical latitudes as well as the pathways interconnecting environmental changes and human livelihoods are needed.

  6. METHANE HYDRATE PRODUCTION FROM ALASKAN PERMAFROST

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ali Kadaster; Bill Liddell; Tommy Thompson; Thomas Williams; Michael Niedermayr

    2005-02-01

    Natural-gas hydrates have been encountered beneath the permafrost and considered a nuisance by the oil and gas industry for years. 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 hydrate potential 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 was a cost-shared partnership between Maurer Technology, Noble Corporation, Anadarko Petroleum, 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 identify, quantify and predict production potential for hydrates located on the North Slope of Alaska. The work scope included drilling and coring a well (Hot Ice No. 1) on Anadarko leases beginning in FY 2003 and completed in 2004. During the first drilling season, operations were conducted at the site between January 28, 2003 to April 30, 2003. The well was spudded and drilled to a depth of 1403 ft. Due to the onset of warmer weather, work was then suspended for the season. Operations at the site were continued after the tundra was re-opened the following season. Between January 12, 2004 and March 19, 2004, the well was drilled and cored to a final depth of 2300 ft. An on-site core analysis laboratory was built and implemented for determining physical characteristics of the hydrates and surrounding rock. The well was drilled from a new Anadarko Arctic Platform that has a minimal footprint and environmental impact. Final efforts of the project are to correlate geology, geophysics, logs, and drilling and

  7. METHANE HYDRATE PRODUCTION FROM ALASKAN PERMAFROST

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Thomas E. Williams; Keith Millheim; Bill Liddell

    2004-11-01

    Natural-gas hydrates have been encountered beneath the permafrost and considered a nuisance by the oil and gas industry for years. 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 hydrate potential 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 a well (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 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. No gas hydrates were encountered in this well; however, a wealth of information was generated and is contained

  8. METHANE HYDRATE PRODUCTION FROM ALASKAN PERMAFROST

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Thomas E. Williams; Keith Millheim; Bill Liddell

    2005-02-01

    Natural-gas hydrates have been encountered beneath the permafrost and considered a nuisance by the oil and gas industry for years. 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 hydrate potential 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 a well (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 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. No gas hydrates were encountered in this well; however, a wealth of information was generated and is contained

  9. METHANE HYDRATE PRODUCTION FROM ALASKAN PERMAFROST

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Donn McGuire; Steve Runyon; Richard Sigal; Bill Liddell; Thomas Williams; George Moridis

    2005-02-01

    Natural-gas hydrates have been encountered beneath the permafrost and considered a nuisance by the oil and gas industry for years. 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 hydrate potential 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 in the final stages of a cost-shared partnership between Maurer Technology, Noble Corporation, Anadarko Petroleum, 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 identify, quantify and predict production potential for hydrates located on the North Slope of Alaska. Hot Ice No. 1 was planned to test the Ugnu and West Sak sequences for gas hydrates and a concomitant free gas accumulation on Anadarko's 100% working interest acreage in section 30 of Township 9N, Range 8E of the Harrison Bay quadrangle of the North Slope of Alaska. The Ugnu and West Sak intervals are favorably positioned in the hydrate-stability zone over an area extending from Anadarko's acreage westward to the vicinity of the aforementioned gas-hydrate occurrences. This suggests that a large, north-to-south trending gas-hydrate accumulation may exist in that area. The presence of gas shows in the Ugnu and West Sak reservoirs in wells situated eastward and down dip of the Hot Ice location indicate that a free-gas accumulation may be trapped by gas hydrates. The Hot Ice No. 1 well was designed to core from the surface to the base of the West Sak interval using the

  10. Soil Physical and Environmental Conditions Controlling Patterned-Ground Variability at a Continuous Permafrost Site, Svalbard

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Watanabe, Tatsuya; Matsuoka, Norikazu; Christiansen, Hanne Hvidtfeldt

    2017-01-01

    This study examines soil physical and environmental conditions controlling patterned-ground variability on an alluvial fan in a continuous permafrost landscape, at Adventdalen, Svalbard. On-site monitoring of ground temperature, soil moisture and snow depth, laboratory analyses of soil physical...

  11. Biodiversity of cryopegs in permafrost.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilichinsky, David; Rivkina, Elizaveta; Bakermans, Corien; Shcherbakova, Viktoria; Petrovskaya, Lada; Ozerskaya, Svetlana; Ivanushkina, Natalia; Kochkina, Galina; Laurinavichuis, Kyastus; Pecheritsina, Svetlana; Fattakhova, Rushania; Tiedje, James M

    2005-06-01

    This study describes the biodiversity of the indigenous microbial community in the sodium-chloride water brines (cryopegs) derived from ancient marine sediments and sandwiched within permafrost 100-120,000 years ago after the Arctic Ocean regression. Cryopegs remain liquid at the in situ temperature of -9 to -11 degrees C and make up the only habitat on the Earth that is characterized by permanently subzero temperatures, high salinity, and the absence of external influence during geological time. From these cryopegs, anaerobic and aerobic, spore-less and spore-forming, halotolerant and halophilic, psychrophilic and psychrotrophic bacteria, mycelial fungi and yeast were isolated and their activity was detected below 0 degrees C.

  12. Permafrost Meta-Omics and Climate Change

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2016-06-29

    Permafrost (i.e., soil that has been frozen for at least 2 consecutive years) represents a habitat for microbial life at subzero temperatures (Gilichinsky et al. 2008). Approximately one quarter of the Earth’s surface is underlain by permafrost, which contains 25-50% of the total global soil carbon pool (Schuur et al. 2008, Tarnocai et al. 2009). This carbon is largely protected from microbial decomposition by reduced microbial activity in frozen conditions, but climate change is threatening to induce large-scale permafrost thaw thus exposing it to degradation. The resulting emissions of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) can produce a positive feedback loop and significantly amplify the effects of global warming. Increasing temperatures at high latitudes, changes in precipitation patterns, and frequent fire events have already initiated a widespread degradation of permafrost (Schuur et al. 2015).

  13. 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...

  14. Permafrost Meta-Omics and Climate Change

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Mackelprang, Rachel; Saleska, Scott R.; Jacobsen, Carsten Suhr

    2016-01-01

    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...... 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...... 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....

  15. Thermal stability analysis under embankment with asphalt pavement and cement pavement in permafrost regions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Junwei, Zhang; Jinping, Li; Xiaojuan, Quan

    2013-01-01

    The permafrost degradation is the fundamental cause generating embankment diseases and pavement diseases in permafrost region while the permafrost degradation is related with temperature. Based on the field monitoring results of ground temperature along G214 Highway in high temperature permafrost regions, both the ground temperatures in superficial layer and the annual average temperatures under the embankment were discussed, respectively, for concrete pavements and asphalt pavements. The maximum depth of temperature field under the embankment for concrete pavements and asphalt pavements was also studied by using the finite element method. The results of numerical analysis indicate that there were remarkable seasonal differences of the ground temperatures in superficial layer between asphalt pavement and concrete pavement. The maximum influencing depth of temperature field under the permafrost embankment for every pavement was under the depth of 8 m. The thawed cores under both embankments have close relation with the maximum thawed depth, the embankment height, and the service time. The effective measurements will be proposed to keep the thermal stabilities of highway embankment by the results.

  16. Interaction study of permafrost and highway along Qinghai-Xizang Highway

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    WU; Qingbai; (吴青柏); SHI; Bin; (施; 斌); LIU; Yongzhi; (刘永智)

    2003-01-01

    Eight monitoring sites are set along the Qinghai-Xizang Highway (QXH) to investigate the characteristics and process of interaction between permafrost and highway, including the upper and down boundaries of active layer under natural surface, seasonally freezing-thawing depth under asphalt pavement, permafrost table temperature and roadbed stability. The investigation results show that the changes of active layer thickness and permafrost table temperature under asphalt pavement are greater than these under natural surface due to the absorbing heat action and less evaporation of asphalt pavement, as a result, the engineering geological problems such as thaw settlement and frost heave present frequently along QXH line and produce the adverse impact on roadbed stability.

  17. Thermal erosion of ice-wedge polygon terrains changes fluxes of energy and matter of permafrost geosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fortier, D.; Godin, E.; Lévesque, E.; Veillette, A.; Lamarque, L.

    2015-12-01

    Subsurface thermal erosion is triggered by convective heat transfers between flowing water and permafrost. Heat advection due to infiltration of run-off in the massive ice wedges and the ice-rich upper portion of permafrost creates sink holes and networks of interconnected tunnels in the permafrost. Mass movements such as collapse of tunnel's roof, retrogressive thaw-slumping and active layer detachment slides lead to the development of extensive gully networks in the landscape. These gullies drastically change the hydrology of ice-wedge polygon terrains and the fluxes of heat, water, sediment, nutrients and carbon within the geosystem. Exportation of sediments out of gullies are positive mechanical feed-back that keep channels active for decades. Along gully margins, drainage of disturbed polygons and ponds, slope drainage, soil consolidation, gully walls colonization by vegetation and wet to mesic plant succession change the thermal properties of the active layer and create negative feedback effects that stabilize active erosion processes and promote permafrost recovery in gully slopes and adjacent disturbed polygons. On Bylot Island (Nunavut), over 40 gullies were monitored to characterize gully geomorphology, thermal and mechanical processes of gully erosion, rates of gully erosion over time within different sedimentary deposits, total volume of eroded permafrost at the landscape scale and gully hydrology. We conducted field and laboratory experiments to quantify heat convection processes and speed of ice wedge ablation in order to derive empirical equations to develop model of permafrost thermal erosion. We used data, collected over 10 years, of geomorphological gully monitoring and regional climate scenarios to evaluate the potential response of ice-wedge polygon terrains to changes in snow, permafrost thermal regime and hydrological conditions over the coming decades and its implication for the short and long term dynamics of arctic permafrost geosystems.

  18. 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.

  19. Geotechnical problems of construction on permafrost in Mongolia

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    D. Dashjamts; Z. Binderya; J. Altantsetseg

    2013-01-01

    Permafrost is found on 63%of the territory of Mongolia. This paper provides evidence that the main influences on per-mafrost formation are meso and micro factors of climate and geographical location. Regional classifications of permafrost areas in order to select the optimal principle of foundation design on permafrost are suggested based on many years’ ex-perience and lessons learned from past construction works in Mongolian geotechnical and climatic conditions. Finally, optimal alternatives for designing foundations for construction on permafrost are presented based on the specific charac-teristics of permafrost in the classification areas and certain building dimensions.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Swindles, Graeme T.; Morris, Paul J.

    2016-04-01

    High-latitude permafrost peatlands contain globally important amounts of soil organic carbon, owing to cold conditions which suppress anaerobic decomposition. However, there is much concern that climate warming and subsequent 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. Unfortunately, field monitoring campaigns only span the last few decades and therefore provide an incomplete picture of permafrost peatland response to rapid warming in the twentieth century. Here we use a high-resolution palaeoecological approach to understand the longer-term response of peatlands in Subarctic Sweden 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, and thus peatland ecosystem services are resumed, saturated soil conditions are likely to cause elevated methane emissions that have implications for climate-feedback mechanisms. We outline our plans to test the model published in Swindles et al. (2015) using the same methodological approach in other high-latitude locations, including zones of continuous and discontinuous permafrost. Reference: Swindles, G.T., Morris, P.J., Mullan, D., Watson, E.J., Turner, T.E., Roland, T., Amesbury, M.J., Kokfelt, U., Schoning, K., Pratte, S., Gallego-Sala, A., Charman, D.J., Sanderson, N., Garneau, M., Carrivick, J.L., Woulds, C

  1. Mapping permafrost change hot-spots with Landsat time-series

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grosse, G.; Nitze, I.

    2016-12-01

    Recent and projected future climate warming strongly affects permafrost stability over large parts of the terrestrial Arctic with local, regional and global scale consequences. The monitoring and quantification of permafrost and associated land surface changes in these areas is crucial for the analysis of hydrological and biogeochemical cycles as well as vegetation and ecosystem dynamics. However, detailed knowledge of the spatial distribution and the temporal dynamics of these processes is scarce and likely key locations of permafrost landscape dynamics may remain unnoticed. As part of the ERC funded PETA-CARB and ESA GlobPermafrost projects, we developed an automated processing chain based on data from the entire Landsat archive (excluding MSS) for the detection of permafrost change related processes and hotspots. The automated method enables us to analyze thousands of Landsat scenes, which allows for a multi-scaled spatio-temporal analysis at 30 meter spatial resolution. All necessary processing steps are carried out automatically with minimal user interaction, including data extraction, masking, reprojection, subsetting, data stacking, and calculation of multi-spectral indices. These indices, e.g. Landsat Tasseled Cap and NDVI among others, are used as proxies for land surface conditions, such as vegetation status, moisture or albedo. Finally, a robust trend analysis is applied to each multi-spectral index and each pixel over the entire observation period of up to 30 years from 1985 to 2015, depending on data availability. Large transects of around 2 million km² across different permafrost types in Siberia and North America have been processed. Permafrost related or influencing landscape dynamics were detected within the trend analysis, including thermokarst lake dynamics, fires, thaw slumps, and coastal dynamics. The produced datasets will be distributed to the community as part of the ERC PETA-CARB and ESA GlobPermafrost projects. Users are encouraged to

  2. Due Permafrost: a Circumpolar Remote Sensing Service for Permafrost - Evaluation and Application Case Studies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heim, B.; Bartsch, A.; Elger, K. K.; Rinke, A.; Gellhorn, C.; Matthes, H.; Buchhorn, M.; Klehmet, K.; Soliman, A. S.; Duguay, C.; Hachem, S.; Schwamborn, G.; Muster, S.; Langer, M.; Boike, J.; Lantuit, H.; Herzschuh, U.; Seifert, F.

    2012-12-01

    The task of the ESA Data User Element DUE Permafrost project is to build up a Remote Sensing Service for permafrost applications. The DUE Permafrost remote sensing products are land temperature, soil moisture, frozen/thawed surface status, terrain parameters, land cover, and surface waters. The DUE Permafrost products are freely available for download under http://www.ipf.tuwien.ac.at/permafrost/. The products are also published at the world data centre PANGAEA (doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.780111, 2012: ESA Data User Element Permafrost), Snow parameters (snow extent and snow water equivalent) can be derived from the ESA DUE project GlobSnow. A major component is the evaluation of the DUE Permafrost products to test their scientific validity for high-latitudinal permafrost landscapes. The primary programme providing ground data is the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) initiated by the International Permafrost Association (IPA). The involvement of scientific stakeholders and the IPA, and the ongoing evaluation of the remote sensing derived products make the DUE Permafrost products accepted by the scientific community. We show evaluation case studies of DUE Permafrost remote sensing products using GTN-P in-situ data in Alaska and Siberia. The Helmholtz Climate Initiative REKLIM (Regionale Klimaänderungen/Regional climate change) is a climate research program where regional observations and process studies are innovatively coupled with model simulations (http://www.reklim.de/en/home/). Within the REKLIM framework we spatio-temporally compare the geophysical surface parameters derived from regional climate modelling with the DUE Permafrost and DUE GlobSnow remote sensing products. The case studies are: i) spatio-temporal comparison of the ESA GlobSnow satellite-derived snow-water equivalent data with the output from the regional climate model COSMO-CLM for Central Siberia for 1987-2010. ii) circum-arctic spatio-temporal comparison of the ESA DUE Permafrost

  3. Thermal preconditioning of mountain permafrost towards instability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hauck, Christian; Etzelmüller, Bernd; Hilbich, Christin; Isaksen, Ketil; Mollaret, Coline; Pellet, Cécile; Westermann, Sebastian

    2017-04-01

    Warming permafrost has been detected worldwide in recent years and is projected to continue during the next century as shown in many modelling studies from the polar and mountain regions. In mountain regions, this can lead to potentially hazardous impacts on short time-scales by an increased tendency for slope instabilities. However, the time scale of permafrost thaw and the role of the ice content for determining the strength and rate of permafrost warming and degradation (= development of talik) are still unclear, especially in highly heterogeneous terrain. Observations of permafrost temperatures near the freezing point show complex inter-annual responses to climate forcing due to latent heat effects during thawing and the influence of the snow-cover, which is formed and modulated by highly non-linear processes itself. These effects are complicated by 3-dimensional hydrological processes and interactions between snow melt, infiltration and drainage which may also play an important role in the triggering of mass movements in steep permafrost slopes. In this contribution we demonstrate for the first time a preconditioning effect within near-surface layers in mountain permafrost that causes non-linear degradation and accelerates permafrost thaw. We hypothesise that an extreme regional or global temperature anomaly, such as the Central European summers 2003 and 2015 or the Northern European summers 2006 and 2014, will enhance permafrost degradation if the active layer and the top of the permafrost layer are already preconditioned, i.e. have reduced latent heat content. This preconditioning can already be effectuated by a singular warm year, leading to exceptionally strong melting of the ground ice in the near-surface layers. On sloping terrain and in a context of quasi-continuous atmospheric warming, this ice-loss can be considered as irreversible, as a large part of the melted water will drain/evaporate during the process, and the build-up of an equivalent amount of

  4. 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

  5. The development of permafrost bacterial communities under submarine conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mitzscherling, Julia; Winkel, Matthias; Winterfeld, Maria; Horn, Fabian; Yang, Sizhong; Grigoriev, Mikhail N.; Wagner, Dirk; Overduin, Pier P.; Liebner, Susanne

    2017-07-01

    Submarine permafrost is more vulnerable to thawing than permafrost on land. Besides increased heat transfer from the ocean water, the penetration of salt lowers the freezing temperature and accelerates permafrost degradation. Microbial communities in thawing permafrost are expected to be stimulated by warming, but how they develop under submarine conditions is completely unknown. We used the unique records of two submarine permafrost cores from the Laptev Sea on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, inundated about 540 and 2500 years ago, to trace how bacterial communities develop depending on duration of the marine influence and pore water chemistry. Combined with geochemical analysis, we quantified total cell numbers and bacterial gene copies and determined the community structure of bacteria using deep sequencing of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene. We show that submarine permafrost is an extreme habitat for microbial life deep below the seafloor with changing thermal and chemical conditions. Pore water chemistry revealed different pore water units reflecting the degree of marine influence and stages of permafrost thaw. Millennia after inundation by seawater, bacteria stratify into communities in permafrost, marine-affected permafrost, and seabed sediments. In contrast to pore water chemistry, the development of bacterial community structure, diversity, and abundance in submarine permafrost appears site specific, showing that both sedimentation and permafrost thaw histories strongly affect bacteria. Finally, highest microbial abundance was observed in the ice-bonded seawater unaffected but warmed permafrost of the longer inundated core, suggesting that permafrost bacterial communities exposed to submarine conditions start to proliferate millennia after warming.

  6. The effects of water flow and temperature on thermal regime around a culvert built on permafrost

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Loriane Prier; Guy Dor; CR Burn

    2014-01-01

    Temperature and water flow through a culvert beneath the Alaska Highway near Beaver Creek, Yukon, were measured at hourly intervals between June and October 2013. These data were used to simulate the effect of the culvert on the thermal regime of the road embankment and subjacent permafrost. A 2-D thermal model of the embankment and permafrost was developed with TEMP/W and calibrated using field observations. Empirical relations were obtained between water tem-peratures at the entrance to the culvert, flow into the culvert, and water temperatures inside the structure. Water temper-atures at the entrance and inside the culvert had a linear relation, while water temperatures inside the culvert and water flow were associated by a logarithmic relation. A multiple linear regression was used to summarize these relations. From this relationship, changes in the flow rate and water temperatures at the entrance of the culvert were simulated to obtain pre-dicted water temperatures in the culvert. The temperatures in the culvert were used in the thermal model to determine their effects on the ground thermal regime near the culvert. Variation of ±10%in water flow rate had no impact on the thermal regime underneath the culvert. Variation of water temperature at the entrance of the culvert had a noticeable influence on the thermal regime. A final simulation was conducted without insulation beneath the culvert. The thaw depth was 30 cm with insulation, and 120 cm without insulation, illustrating the importance of insulation to the ground thermal regime.

  7. Deep groundwater and potential subsurface habitats beneath an Antarctic dry valley

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Mikucki, J. A.; Auken, E.; Tulaczyk, S.

    2015-01-01

    The occurrence of groundwater in Antarctica, particularly in the ice-free regions and along the coastal margins is poorly understood. Here we use an airborne transient electromagnetic (AEM) sensor to produce extensive imagery of resistivity beneath Taylor Valley. Regional-scale zones of low...... suitable for microbial life. These inferred brines are widespread within permafrost and extend below glaciers and lakes. One system emanates from below Taylor Glacier into Lake Bonney and a second system connects the ocean with the eastern 18km of the valley. A connection between these two basins...

  8. Spatial distribution and characteristics of permafrost in Hurd Peninsula, Livingston Island, Maritime Antarctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vieira, G.; Ramos, M.; Trindade, A.; Gruber, S.; Hauck, C.; Mora, C.; Batista, V.; Neves, M.; Pimpirev, C.; Kenderova, R.

    2009-04-01

    The Antarctic Peninsula is one of Earth's regions experiencing a faster increase on temperatures, with Mean Annual Air Temperatures (MAAT) rising ca. 2.5 °C in the last 50 years. The northerly location of the Antarctic Peninsula in respect to the Antarctic and its oceanic setting originate a milder and moister climate than in the Antarctic continent. The Northern Antarctic Peninsula is roughly located between the isotherms of MAAT of -1 °C to -8 °C at sea-level and therefore the northern tip and especially the South Shetlands are close to the limits of permafrost occurrence. If the observed warming trend is to continue in the near future, the region might suffer widespread permafrost degradation. Research on the permafrost environment of Hurd Peninsula has been taking place with systematical measurements by our group since January 2000 and currently we are able to provide a good overview of the spatial distribution and characteristics of permafrost terrain in Hurd Peninsula. Our research is based on shallow boreholes (Collado Ramos (115m). In 2006 Electrical Tomography Resistivity and refraction seismic profiles have been performed, providing us with a good overview of the general conditions of the permafrost terrain in the area. Air temperatures are measured at different sites accounting for altitude since a few years and during 3 summer campaigns the radiation balance was monitored continuously at two sites. Detailed geomorphological mapping of periglacial features has been conducted at a scale 1:5,000 providing important information about the geomorphological dynamics. Using the data gathered since 2000 it is now possible to present the general characteristics of the permafrost distribution in Hurd Peninsula as a first step towards a more comprehensive approach that is now starting that involves empirico-statistical modeling, remote sensing, as well as downscaling of mesoscale climate data.

  9. A central database for the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elger, Kirsten; Lanckman, Jean-Pierre; Lantuit, Hugues; Karlsson, Ævar Karl; Johannsson, Halldór

    2013-04-01

    The Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) is the primary international observing network for permafrost sponsored by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS), and managed by the International Permafrost Association (IPA). It monitors the Essential Climate Variable (ECV) permafrost that consists of permafrost temperature and active-layer thickness, with the long-term goal of obtaining a comprehensive view of the spatial structure, trends, and variability of changes in the active layer and permafrost. The network's two international monitoring components are (1) CALM (Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring) and the (2) Thermal State of Permafrost (TSP), which is made of an extensive borehole-network covering all permafrost regions. Both programs have been thoroughly overhauled during the International Polar Year 2007-2008 and extended their coverage to provide a true circumpolar network stretching over both Hemispheres. GTN-P has gained considerable visibility in the science community in providing the baseline against which models are globally validated and incorporated in climate assessments. Yet it was until now operated on a voluntary basis, and is now being redesigned to meet the increasing expectations from the science community. To update the network's objectives and deliver the best possible products to the community, the IPA organized a workshop to define the user's needs and requirements for the production, archival, storage and dissemination of the permafrost data products it manages. From the beginning on, GNT-P data was "outfitted" with an open data policy with free data access via the World Wide Web. The existing data, however, is far from being homogeneous: is not yet optimized for databases, there is no framework for data reporting or archival and data documentation is incomplete. As a result, and despite the utmost relevance of permafrost in the Earth's climate system, the data has not been

  10. Vulnerability and feedbacks of permafrost to climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guido Grosse; Vladimir Romanovsky; Torre Jorgenson; Katey Walter Anthony; Jerry Brown; Pier Paul Overduin; Alfred. Wegener

    2011-01-01

    The effects of permafrost degradation on terrestrial and offshore environments in polar regions and on the Earth's atmosphere are significant. Field-based observations, remote sensing, and modeling document regional warming and thawing of permafrost. However, major research questions regarding vulnerability of permafrost to thawing, the projected decline in...

  11. Potential remobilization of belowground permafrost carbon under future global warming

    Science.gov (United States)

    P. Kuhry; E. Dorrepaal; G. Hugelius; E.A.G. Schuur; C. Tarnocai

    2010-01-01

    Research on permafrost carbon has dramatically increased in the past few years. A new estimate of 1672 Pg C of belowground organic carbon in the northern circumpolar permafrost region more than doubles the previous value and highlights the potential role of permafrost carbon in the Earth System. Uncertainties in this new estimate remain due to relatively few available...

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. The growth of permafrost-free bogs at the southern margin of permafrost, 1947-2010

    Science.gov (United States)

    Quinton, W. L.; Sonnentag, O.; Connon, R.; Chasmer, L.

    2013-12-01

    In the high-Boreal region of NW Canada, permafrost occurs predominantly in the form of tree-covered peat plateaus within a permafrost-free and treeless terrain dominated by flat bogs. This region is experiencing unprecedented rates of thaw. Over the last several decades, such thaw has significantly expanded the permafrost-free, treeless terrain at the expense of the plateaus. This rapid change in land-cover has raised concerns over its impact on northern water resources, since remotely sensed data and ground observations indicate that the two major land-covers in this region have very different hydrological functions. Peat plateaus have a limited capacity to store water, a relatively large snowmelt water supply and hydraulic gradients that direct excess water into adjacent permafrost-free wetlands. As such, the plateaus function primarily as runoff generators. Plateaus also obstruct and redirect water movement in adjacent wetlands since the open water surfaces of the latter occupy an elevation below the permafrost table. By contrast, bogs are primarily water storage features since they are surrounded by raised permafrost and therefore less able to exchange surface and near-surface flows with the basin drainage network. Accurate estimate of the permafrost and permafrost-free areas is needed for accurate predictions of basin runoff and storage. This study examines the perimeter-area characteristics of bogs and permafrost plateaus, using fractal geometry as a basis for quantifying these properties. Image analyses are applied to aerial photographs and satellite imagery of Scotty Creek, NWT over the period 1947-2010. Preliminary analyses suggest that the expanding bogs and shrinking permafrost plateaus behave as fractals, meaning that their perimeter-area characteristics can be described by simple power equations. The area-frequency characteristics of bogs and plateaus have a hyperbolic distribution with relatively few large bogs and plateaus and numerous small ones

  15. Frozen Stiff: Cartographic Design and Permafrost Mapping

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nelson, F. E.; Li, J.; Nyland, K. E.

    2016-12-01

    Maps are the primary vehicle used to communicate geographical relationships. Ironically, interest in the formal practice of cartography, the art and science of geographic visualization, has fallen significantly during a period when the sophistication and availability of GIS software has increased dramatically. Although the number of geographically oriented permafrost studies has increased significantly in recent years, little discussion about competing visualization strategies, map accuracy, and the psychophysical impact of cartographic design is evident in geocryological literature. Failure to use the full potential of the tools and techniques that contemporary cartographic and spatial-analytic theory makes possible affects our ability to effectively and accurately communicate the impacts and hazards associated with thawing permafrost, particularly in the context of global climate change. This presentation examines recent permafrost studies involving primarily small-scale (large area) mapping, and suggests cartographic strategies for rectifying existing problems.

  16. 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

  17. New insights in permafrost modelling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tubini, Niccolò; Serafin, Francesco; Gruber, Stephan; Casulli, Vincenzo; Rigon, Riccardo

    2017-04-01

    Simulating freezing soil has ignored for long time in mainstream surface hydrology. However, it has indubitably a large influence on soil infiltrability and an even larger influence on the soil energy budget, and, over large spatial scales, a considerable feedback on climate. The topic is difficult because it involves concepts of disequilibrium Thermodynamics and also because, once solved the theoretical problem, integration of the resulting partial differential equations in a robust manner, is not trivial at all. In this abstract, we are presenting a new algorithm to estimate the water and energy budget in freezing soils. The first step is a derivation of a new equation for freezing soil mass budget (called generalized Richards equation) based on the freezing equals drying hypothesis (Miller 1965). The second step is the re-derivation of the energy budget. Finally there is the application of new techniques based on the double nested Newton algorithm (Casulli and Zanolli, 2010) to integrate the coupled equations. Some examples of the freezing dynamics and comparison with the Dall'Amico et al. (2011) algorithm are also shown. References Casulli, V., & Zanolli,P. (2010). A nested newton-type algorithm for finite colume methods solving Richards' equation in mixed form. SIAM J. SCI. Comput., 32(4), 2225-2273. Dall'Amico, M., Endrizzi, S., Gruber, S., & Rigon, R. (2011). A robust and energy-conserving model of freezing variably-saturated soil. The Cryosphere, 5(2), 469-484. http://doi.org/10.5194/tc-5-469-2011 Miller, R.: Phase equilibria and soil freezing, in: Permafrost: Proceedings of the Second International Conference. Washington DC: National Academy of Science-National Research Council, 287, 193-197, 1965.

  18. METHANE HYDRATE PRODUCTION FROM ALASKAN PERMAFROST

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Donn McGuire; Thomas Williams; Bjorn Paulsson; Alexander Goertz

    2005-02-01

    Natural-gas hydrates have been encountered beneath the permafrost and considered a drilling hazard by the oil and gas industry for years. Drilling engineers working in Russia, Canada and the USA have documented numerous problems, including drilling 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 as a potential energy source agree that the resource potential is great--on the North Slope of Alaska alone, it has been estimated at 590 TCF. However, little information has been obtained from physical samples taken from actual hydrate-bearing rocks. 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 identify, quantify and predict production potential for hydrates located on the North Slope of Alaska. The project team drilled and continuously cored the Hot Ice No. 1 well on Anadarko-leased acreage beginning in FY 2003 and completed in 2004. An on-site core analysis laboratory was built and used for determining physical characteristics of hydrates and surrounding rock. After the well was logged, a 3D vertical seismic profile (VSP) was recorded to calibrate the shallow geologic section with seismic data and to investigate techniques to better resolve lateral subsurface variations of potential hydrate-bearing strata. Paulsson Geophysical Services, Inc. deployed their 80 level 3C clamped borehole seismic receiver array in the wellbore to record samples every 25 ft. Seismic vibrators were successively positioned at 1185 different surface positions in a circular pattern around the wellbore. This technique generated a 3D image of the subsurface. Correlations were

  19. 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, Susan 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.

  20. Evolution of permafrost landscapes under technogenic impacts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kerimov, A. G.; Grebenets, V. I.; Streletskiy, D. A.; Shiklomanov, N. I.; Nyland, K. E.

    2014-12-01

    Economic development of Russian Northern Regions on permafrost resulted in a new pattern of geocryological conditions, different from natural environment. This pattern is characterized by drastic landscape transformations; changes of heat and mass transfer in the permafrost/atmosphere system; and by engineering and technical pressure upon the permafrost, leading to alteration of its physical, thermal and mechanical properties. In the northern cities this causes increase of ground temperature and intensification of hazardous cryogenic processes in areas under engineering development, reducing stability of geotechnical environment. For example, facility deformations in Norilsk in the last 15 years, became much more abundant than these revealed throughout the previous 50 years. Increase in accident risk for facilities (pipelines, industrial enterprises, etc.) enhances the technogenic pressure on permafrost of the territories under development, leading to the new milestone of changes in permafrost, i.e. to creation of a new set of geocryological conditions. Cryogenic processes within the urban cryolithozone are seldom similar with these under the natural conditions: they either occur more intensively or, vice versa, attenuate under technogenic impacts, new cryogenic processes and phenomena occur, which have not been typical for a given region hitherto. A geographical distribution, evolution and other features of cryogenic processes differ considerably from natural conditions or are unprecedented at all. Peculiar natural-technogenic geocryological complices (NTGC) are formed in the urban centers, which are remarkable by the vector of permafrost evolution, by the set of cryogenic processes, by temperature trends and the other characteristics. NTGC types depend on initial natural settings and on kinds, intensity and duration of technogenic pressure. Our field surveys of permafrost and geological conditions resulted in mapping of 17 NTGC types in Norilsk, 11 types in

  1. Habitability of Mars: hyperthermophiles in permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilichinsky, David; Rivkina, Elizaveta; Vishnivetskaya, Tatiana; Felipe, Gomez; Mironov, Vasilii; Blamey, Jenny; Ramos, Miguel; Ángel de Pablo, Miguel; Castro, Miguel; Boehmwald, Freddy

    This is a first microbiological study of volcanic permafrost carried out on Kluchevskaya volcano group (Kamchatka Peninsula) and Deception Island (Antarctica). By culture-and culture-independent methods we showed the presence of viable hyper(thermophilic) microorganisms and their genes within volcanic permafrost. The optimal temperature for sulfide producing bacteria was 65, whereas acetogens and methanogens were able to produce acetate and methane at temperatures up to 75o C, while sulphur-reducers showed optimal growth at 85-92o C. Hy-per(thermophiles) were never found in permafrost outside the volcanic areas before. The only way they are to appear within a frozen material is a concurrent deposition during the eruption, together with products associated with volcano heated subsurface geothermal oases. The elo-quent evidence to the hypothesis is the presence among clones of the sequences affiliated with (hyper)thermophilic bacteria, both, aerobic and anaerobic, in the environmental DNA derived from ashes freshly deposited on snow in close proximity to volcano Shiveluch (Kamchatka) and aerobic bacteria incubated at 80o C from ashes freshly deposited on the top of Llaima Vol-cano glacier (Andes). Thus, in the areas of active volcanism the catastrophic geological events transports the life from the depths to the surface and this life from high-temperature ecological niches might survive in permafrost over a long period of time. The results obtained give insights for habitability of Mars. Terrestrial permafrost represents a possible ecosystem for Mars as an Earth-like cryogenic planet. But permafrost on Earth and Mars vary in age, from a few million years on Earth to a few billion years on Mars. Because such difference in age, the longevity of life forms preserved within terrestrial permafrost may only serve as an approximate model for Mars. On the other hand, numerous ancient extinct volcanoes are known on Mars. Their past eruptions periodically burn-through the

  2. Technical-Environmental Permafrost Observatories (TEPO) of northern West Siberia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kurchatova, A. N.; Griva, G. I.; Osokin, A. B.; Smolov, G. K.

    2005-12-01

    During the last decade one of the most developed topics in environmental studies was the effect of global climate change. This has been shown to be especially pronounced in northern regions, having an important influence on the subsequent transformation of frozen soil distribution and potential permafrost degradation. In West Siberia such studies are especially important with the prospect of plans for development of oil-gas fields (Yamal, Gydan and Kara Sea shelf). Presently the enterprises independently determine the necessary research for ecological control of the territory. Therefore, the Tyumen State Oil and Gas University (TSOGU) together with one of the leading gas enterprises "Nadymgasprom" started to create an observational network along the meridian transect of northern West Siberia (Yamal-Nenets administrative district). Observational network consists from a number of monitoring sites - Technical-Environmental permafrost Observatories (TEPO). The research complex includes temperature observations in boreholes (depths of 30) equipped with automatic systems for registration and data collection; seasonal field investigations on spatial distribution and temporal variability of the snow cover and vegetation and soil distribution. TSOGU and "Nadymgasprom" plan for the realization of long-term monitoring to obtain representative results on permafrost-climate interaction. At present there are three monitoring observatories located in the main landscape types and gas fields in use since 1972 (Medvezhye), 1992 (Yubileynoe) and in development (Harasavey). The next contribution to International Polar Year (2007-2008) will be renewal of one of the former monitoring sites (established in 1972) with a long-term period of observation and creation of a new site at the Yamal peninsula (Arctic tundra zone). At the last site the installation of an automatic Climate-Soil Station is being planned in the framework of the INTAS Infrastructure Action project with cooperation of

  3. GlobPermafrost- How Space-BasedEarth Observation Supports Understanding of Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bartsch, Annett; Grosse, Guido; Kaab, Andreas; Westermann, Sebastian; Strozzi, Tazio; Wiesmann, Andreas; Duguay, Claude; Seifert, Frank Martin; Obu, Jaroslav; Goler, Robert

    2016-08-01

    The GlobPermafrost project develops, validates and implements Earth Observation (EO) products to support research communities and international organisations in their work on better understanding permafrost characteristics and dynamics. To facilitate usability of these products by the target audience, user requirements with respect to the planned products have been requested and collected through an online community survey as well as by interview. This paper provides an overview on the planned thematic EO products as well as results of the user requirement survey.

  4. Permafrost distribution map of San Juan Dry Andes (Argentina) based on rock glacier sites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Esper Angillieri, María Yanina

    2017-01-01

    Rock glaciers are frozen water reservoirs in mountainous areas. Water resources are important for the local populations and economies. The presence of rock glaciers is commonly used as a direct indicator of mountain permafrost conditions. Over 500 active rock glaciers have been identified, showing that elevations between 3500 and 4500 m asl., a south-facing or east-facing aspect, areas with relatively low solar radiation and low mean annual air temperature (-4 to 0 °C) favour the existence of rock glaciers in this region. The permafrost probability model, for Dry Andes of San Juan Province between latitudes 28º30‧S and 32°30‧S, have been analyzed by logistic regression models based on the active rock glaciers occurrence in relation to some topoclimatic variables such as altitude, aspect, mean annual temperature, mean annual precipitation and solar radiation, using optical remote sensing techniques in a GIS environment. The predictive performances of the model have been estimated by known rock glaciers locations and by the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC). This regional permafrost map can be applied by the Argentinean Government for their recent initiatives which include creating inventories, monitoring and studying ice masses along the Argentinean Andes. Further, this generated map provides valuable input data for permafrost scenarios and contributes to a better understanding of our geosystem.

  5. A permafrost glacial hypothesis – Permafrost carbon might help explaining the Pleistocene ice ages

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roland Zech

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available Over the past several ~100 ka glacial-interglacial cycles, the concentration of atmospheric CO2 was closely coupled to global temperature, which indicates the importance of CO2 as a greenhouse gas. The reasons for changes in atmospheric CO2 have mainly been sought in the ocean, but remain elusive. Moreover, the mid-Pleistocene transition from the ‘41 ka world’ during the early Pleistocene before ~0.7 Ma to the ~100 ka ice age cycles is poorly understood. The classical Milankovitch theory of summer insolation forcing at high northern latitudes can not fully explain the Pleistocene ice age rhythm. Based on the recent findings that the amount of soil organic carbon stored in high-latitude permafrost regions has been greatly underestimated and the simple logic that permafrost regions and respective carbon pools were likely much larger during glacials than during interglacials, a ‘permafrost glacial hypothesis’ is proposed: (i Gradual sequestration of CO2 in permafrost soils during coolings and rapid release of CO2 and methane during terminations, respectively, provide important positive feedbacks for the climate. (ii Integrated annual insolation at the southern and thus most sensitive permafrost boundary may act as a trigger for global climate changes. (iii The mid-Pleistocene transition might be readily explained with permafrost extents reaching ~45°N during the long-term Pleistocene cooling, resulting in a transition from high-latitude obliquity (~41 ka to mid-latitude eccentricity (~100 ka forcing.

  6. Identification of thermo- and ice-mechanical stresses and their occurrence conditions in a steep permafrost rockwall

    Science.gov (United States)

    Draebing, Daniel; Krautblatter, Michael; Hoffmann, Thomas

    2015-04-01

    Thermo- and ice-mechanical stresses can initiate and expand fractures in high alpine rockwalls, cause instabilities and, thus, natural hazards. In permafrost rockwalls, research focus traditionally on ice-mechanical stresses by frost weathering processes while thermo-mechanical stresses are paid little attention. We use Seismic Refraction Tomography (SRT) to quantify permafrost distribution as well as crackmeters and piezometer to monitor fracture expansions in a permafrost-affected rockwall between August 2012 and August 2014. The calculation of thermal expansion coefficients enables the differentiation of expansion into (i) thermal expansion and contraction, (ii) ice segregation as well as (iii) volumetric expansion and ice erosion during phase transitions. In the Steintaelli at 3100 m a.s.l., mean annual rock surface temperature (MARST) ranges from -0.52°C to -4.47°C in 2012/13 and from -0.74°C to -4.42°C in 2013/14 indicating possible permafrost conditions on the crestline and probable permafrost conditons in the north face. Active-layer thawing and permafrost distribution is quantified by SRT (Krautblatter & Draebing, 2014). Permafrost is present in the north face and the crestline below 5 m depth and preserved by an up to 3 m high snow cornice in 2013 (Draebing et al., 2014) and 2014 while the south-face is permafrost-free. Water availability and fracture permeability are significantly altered by permafrost. Snow covers the rock surface between 119 and 312 days in 2012/13 and 0 to 365 days in 2013/14 with longer snow cover duration on the less-insolated north face and crestline. Snow cover controls the occurrence of thermo- and ice-mechanical stresses (i) During snow-free conditions high-frequent rock surface temperature (RST) changes result in thermal expansion and contraction of the rockwall and, thus, in thermo-mechanical-induced fracture opening and closing up to 0.7 cm. (ii) RSTs within the frost cracking window of -3 to -6°C are preserved by

  7. Climate change and the permafrost carbon feedback

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schuur, E. A G; McGuire, A. D.; Schädel, C.; Grosse, G.; Harden, J. W.; Hayes, D. J.; Hugelius, G.; Koven, C. D.; Kuhry, P.; Lawrence, D. M.; Natali, S. M.; Olefeldt, D.; Romanovsky, V. E.; Schaefer, K.; Turetsky, M. R.; Treat, C. C.; Vonk, J. E.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/370832833

    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

  8. Global Policy Implications of Thawing Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaefer, K. M.; Zhang, T.; Bruhwiler, L.; Barrett, A. P.; Li, Z.

    2011-12-01

    Global treaties to reduce fossil fuel emissions should include a 15% allocation for permafrost carbon emissions or we will overshoot our target CO2 concentration and end up with a warmer climate than planned. Arctic permafrost currently contains 1466 Gt of carbon frozen since the last ice age, roughly double the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. We estimate 190±64 Gt of this carbon will thaw out, decay, and end up in the atmosphere by 2300, potentially increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations by 87±29 ppm. A carbon release of this magnitude is equal to 15% of the total allowed emissions to hit a target CO2 concentration of 700 ppm. Global targets for fossil fuel emissions must be reduced an additional 15% to account for the release of carbon from thawing permafrost. Current treaty negotiations do not include a 15% allocation for permafrost carbon emissions. We present the scientific basis for our results and summarize our successes and failures in trying to influence international treaty negotiations to reduce fossil fuel emissions.

  9. Vulnerability of permafrost carbon research coordination network

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schädel, C.; Schuur, E. A. G.; McGuire, A. D.; Canadell, J. G.; Harden, J.; Kuhry, P.; Romanovsky, V. E.; Turetsky, M. R.

    2012-04-01

    Approximately 1700 Pg of soil carbon are stored in the northern circumpolar permafrost zone, more than twice as much carbon than currently contained in the atmosphere. Permafrost thaw, and the microbial decomposition of previously frozen organic carbon, is considered one of the most likely positive feedbacks from terrestrial ecosystems to the atmosphere in a warmer world. Yet, the rate and form of release is highly uncertain but crucial for predicting the strength and timing of this carbon cycle feedback this century and beyond. Here we report on the first products of a new research coordination network (RCN) whose objective is to link biological C cycle research with well-developed networks in the physical sciences focused on the thermal state of permafrost. We found that published literature in the Science Citation Index identified with the search terms 'permafrost' and 'carbon' have increased dramatically in the last decade. Of total publications including those keywords, 86% were published since 2000, 65% since 2005, and 36% since 2008. The first RCN activity consisted of an expert elicitation that revealed the total effect of carbon release from permafrost zone soils in climate is expected to be up to 30-46 Pg C over the next three decades, reaching 242-324 Pg C by 2100 and potentially up to 551-710 Pg C over the next several centuries under the strongest warming scenario presented to the group. These values, expressed in billions of tons of C in CO2 equivalents, combine the effect of C released both as CO2 and as CH4 by accounting for the greater heat-trapping capacity of CH4. However, the higher global warming potential of CH4 means that almost half of the effect of future permafrost zone carbon emissions on climate forcing was expected by this group to be a result of CH4 emissions from wetlands, lakes, and other oxygen-limited environments where organic matter will be decomposing. These results demonstrate the vulnerability of organic C stored in near

  10. Urban Landscapes on Permafrost: Oganer Case Study

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

    Norilsk with a population of 205,000 is by far the biggest city ever built on permafrost. Oganer, located near Norilsk is the latest administrative unit of the city with a population of about 7,000 people. It was originally designed as a satellite city for about 50-80 thousand workers and their families. Idea of a satellite city became apparent in mid-80th, when Norilsk was unable to grow to extent needed to accommodate large workforce. Located in a valley, the city was already surrounded by two metallurgy plants and steep mountains slopes. The only direction of city limit extension was east, but the area was previously occupied by garages and barracks resulting in deterioration of cold permafrost and decrease in high bearing capacity of the ground required for construction of large residential houses. Oganer was built 8 km east from the Norilsk, where initial geologic survey shown close location of bedrock to the surface making possible construction of large structures on permafrost. First houses were built in 1986 according to the passive principle of construction on permafrost. Additional geologic surveys in Oganer revealed that original bedrock extent is quite small and subsequent construction had to deal with ice-reach (40-60%) permafrost in fine-grained sediments (silt and clay). The change in economic direction in the beginning of 1990s resulted in population outmigration from Norilsk, so Oganer originally planned as a large 5-district city was never complete. Presently, it is represented by only one district, with several 9-storey tall buildings which were never complete. Despite that mean annual temperature is -9.7 C, permafrost temperature is relatively warm -1..-3 C. High permafrost temperature, presence of ground ice and large bodies of tabular ground ice in the area made construction quite challenging. In the paper we demonstrate how climateand various construction practices and designs used in the city modified natural landscapes, and how periglacial

  11. Permafrost in the Himalayas: specific characteristics, evolution vs. climate change and impacts on potential natural hazards

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fort, Monique

    2015-04-01

    mass-wasting and debris-flow events and may directly threat the infrastructures recently built to unlock these remote areas. Secondly, acceleration of permafrost degradation might also affect the steepest rock walls (as in Khumbu, Manang and Mustang Himals) and cause rock avalanches that could impact nearby settlements, as suggested by relicts of past events. Lastly, ground ice is a hidden source of water in areas without permanent glacial ice. In a context of global warming this non-renewable resource would be depleted and no longer available for the population living in these areas, all the more as growing tourism activities are increasing the demand for water consumption that may conflicts with irrigated agricultural uses down valley. More in-situ observations and long-term monitoring studies should certainly be useful to understand climate trends hence permafrost evolution and their consequences in order to help mountain populations of the cold, arid Himalayas to adjust to progressive changes in their environmental conditions and resources.

  12. Surface and subsurface conditions in permafrost areas - a literature review

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Vidstrand, Patrik [Bergab, Goeteborg (Sweden)

    2003-02-01

    This report contains a summary of some of the information within existing technical and scientific literature on permafrost. Permafrost is viewed as one of the future climate driven process domains that may exist in Scandinavia, and that may give rise to significantly different surface and subsurface conditions than the present. Except for changes in the biosphere, permafrost may impact hydraulic, mechanical, and chemical subsurface processes and conditions. Permafrost and its influences on the subsurface conditions are thus of interest for the performance and safety assessments of deep geological waste repositories. The definition of permafrost is 'ground that stays at or below 0 deg C for at least two consecutive years'. Permafrost will effect the geological subsurface to some depth. How deep the permafrost may grow is a function of the heat balance, thermal conditions at the surface and within the ground, and the geothermal heat flux from the Earth's inner parts. The main chapters of the report summaries the knowledge on permafrost evolution, occurrence and distribution, and extracts information concerning hydrology and mechanical and chemical impacts due to permafrost related conditions. The results of a literature review are always dependent on the available literature. Concerning permafrost there is some literature available from investigations in the field of long-term repositories and some from mining industries. However, reports of these investigations are few and the bulk of permafrost literature comes from the science departments concerned with surficial processes (e.g. geomorphology, hydrology, agriculture, etc) and from engineering concerns, such as foundation of constructions and pipeline design. This focus within the permafrost research inevitably yields a biased but also an abundant amount of information on localised surficial processes and a limited amount on regional and deep permafrost characteristics. Possible conclusions are that

  13. Can We Avoid the Permafrost Carbon Tipping Point?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaefer, K. M.; Zhang, T.; Bruhwiler, L.; Barrett, A. P.; Li, Z.

    2011-12-01

    If we reduce fossil fuel emissions and slow the Arctic warming rate, can we delay or even avoid the permafrost carbon tipping point? Permafrost currently contains about 1466 Gt of carbon frozen during or since the last ice age. The permafrost carbon tipping point occurs when the release of carbon from thawing permafrost overpowers enhanced uptake due to warmer temperatures. The tipping point indicates when the Arctic irreversibly changes from a carbon sink to a source relative to the atmosphere and marks the start of the Permafrost Carbon Feedback. The tipping point is irreversible because once the carbon thaws and decays into the atmosphere, there is no way to put the carbon back into the permafrost. Projections based on the A1B IPCC scenario indicate that the PCF tipping point will occur between 2020 and 2030, with a total of 190±64 Gt of carbon released into the atmosphere by 2300. We ran a series of model projections out to 2300 based on the A1B scenario, but capped emissions at various levels, each representing a different overall Arctic warming. We present the area of permafrost lost, the permafrost carbon tipping point, and total permafrost carbon flux as a function of Arctic temperature increase. We show the maximum allowed Arctic temperature increase before initiating the permafrost carbon feedback.

  14. Web-GIS visualisation of permafrost-related Remote Sensing products for ESA GlobPermafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haas, A.; Heim, B.; Schaefer-Neth, C.; Laboor, S.; Nitze, I.; Grosse, G.; Bartsch, A.; Kaab, A.; Strozzi, T.; Wiesmann, A.; Seifert, F. M.

    2016-12-01

    The ESA GlobPermafrost (www.globpermafrost.info) provides a remote sensing service for permafrost research and applications. The service comprises of data product generation for various sites and regions as well as specific infrastructure allowing overview and access to datasets. Based on an online user survey conducted within the project, the user community extensively applies GIS software to handle remote sensing-derived datasets and requires preview functionalities before accessing them. In response, we develop the Permafrost Information System PerSys which is conceptualized as an open access geospatial data dissemination and visualization portal. PerSys will allow visualisation of GlobPermafrost raster and vector products such as land cover classifications, Landsat multispectral index trend datasets, lake and wetland extents, InSAR-based land surface deformation maps, rock glacier velocity fields, spatially distributed permafrost model outputs, and land surface temperature datasets. The datasets will be published as WebGIS services relying on OGC-standardized Web Mapping Service (WMS) and Web Feature Service (WFS) technologies for data display and visualization. The WebGIS environment will be hosted at the AWI computing centre where a geodata infrastructure has been implemented comprising of ArcGIS for Server 10.4, PostgreSQL 9.2 and a browser-driven data viewer based on Leaflet (http://leafletjs.com). Independently, we will provide an `Access - Restricted Data Dissemination Service', which will be available to registered users for testing frequently updated versions of project datasets. PerSys will become a core project of the Arctic Permafrost Geospatial Centre (APGC) within the ERC-funded PETA-CARB project (www.awi.de/petacarb). The APGC Data Catalogue will contain all final products of GlobPermafrost, allow in-depth dataset search via keywords, spatial and temporal coverage, data type, etc., and will provide DOI-based links to the datasets archived in the

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Landsat-based trend analysis of lake dynamics across northern permafrost regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nitze, Ingmar; Grosse, Guido; Jones, Benjamin M.; Arp, Christopher D.; Ulrich, Mathias; Federov, Alexander; Veremeeva, Alexandra

    2017-01-01

    Lakes are a ubiquitous landscape feature in northern permafrost regions. They have a strong impact on carbon, energy and water fluxes and can be quite responsive to climate change. The monitoring of lake change in northern high latitudes, at a sufficiently accurate spatial and temporal resolution, is crucial for understanding the underlying processes driving lake change. To date, lake change studies in permafrost regions were based on a variety of different sources, image acquisition periods and single snapshots, and localized analysis, which hinders the comparison of different regions. Here we present, a methodology based on machine-learning based classification of robust trends of multi-spectral indices of Landsat data (TM,ETM+, OLI) and object-based lake detection, to analyze and compare the individual, local and regional lake dynamics of four different study sites (Alaska North Slope, Western Alaska, Central Yakutia, Kolyma Lowland) in the northern permafrost zone from 1999 to 2014. Regional patterns of lake area change on the Alaska North Slope (-0.69%), Western Alaska (-2.82%), and Kolyma Lowland (-0.51%) largely include increases due to thermokarst lake expansion, but more dominant lake area losses due to catastrophic lake drainage events. In contrast, Central Yakutia showed a remarkable increase in lake area of 48.48%, likely resulting from warmer and wetter climate conditions over the latter half of the study period. Within all study regions, variability in lake dynamics was associated with differences in permafrost characteristics, landscape position (i.e. upland vs. lowland), and surface geology. With the global availability of Landsat data and a consistent methodology for processing the input data derived from robust trends of multi-spectral indices, we demonstrate a transferability, scalability and consistency of lake change analysis within the northern permafrost region.

  18. The Frozen Ground Data Center: A Continuing Task for the International Permafrost Community

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parsons, M. A.; Zhang, T.; Barry, R. G.; Brown, J.

    2001-12-01

    Permafrost and seasonally frozen ground underlie about 24% and 60% of the surface of the Northern Hemisphere respectively. Data and information on frozen ground collected over many decades and in the future are critical for fundamental process understanding, environmental change detection, impact assessment, model validation, and engineering applications. However, many of these data sets and information remain widely dispersed and relatively unavailable to the science and engineering community, and some are in danger of being lost permanently. The International Permafrost Association (IPA) has long recognized the inherent and lasting value of data and information, and has developed a strategy for data and information management to meet the requirements of the cold regions science, engineering, and modeling community. NSIDC has played an active role in implementing this strategy by developing and distributing the first Circumpolar Active-Layer Permafrost System (CAPS) CD-ROM including the Global Geocryological Database (GGD). Now, NSIDC, in collaboration with the International Arctic Research Center (IARC), seeks to expand the CAPS data holdings, update the GGD, and improve frozen ground data access and utility through a new web-based "Frozen Ground Data Center." NSIDC plans to reformat several existing data sets and create value-added products such as gridded fields for model validation and analysis. We also plan to acquire and distribute certain key data sets, including data from: (1) the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) and its Borehole and updated Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) components (Burgess et al 2000), (2) the Arctic Coastal Dynamics project, (3) the Cryosol database and maps, and (4) various permafrost maps and soil temperature time series for Russia and China. NSIDC seeks the help of the frozen ground research community through data contributions and suggestions on data acquisition, management and distribution. The IPA

  19. Thermal state of the active layer and permafrost along the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet Railway from 2006 to 2010

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Q. Wu

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available In this study, we investigated changes in active layer thickness (ALT and permafrost temperatures at different depths using data from the permafrost monitoring network along the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet Railway (QXR since 2005. Among these sites, mean ALT is ~3.1 m, with a range of ~1.1 to 5.9 m. From 2006 through 2010, ALT has increased at a rate of ~6.3 cm a−1. The mean rate of permafrost temperature rise at the depth of 6.0 m is ~0.02 °C a−1, estimated by linear regression using 5 yr of data, and the mean rate of mean annual ground temperature (MAGT rise at a depth of zero amplitude is ~0.012 °C a−1. Changes for colder permafrost (MAGT <−1.0 °C are greater than changes for relatively warmer permafrost (MAGT >−1.0 °C. This is consistent with results observed in the Arctic and subarctic.

  20. Characteristics of Ground Surface Temperatures as in situ Observed in Elevational Permafrost on the Northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luo, D.; Jin, H.; Marchenko, S. S.; Romanovsky, V. E.

    2016-12-01

    Elevational permafrost is primarily distributed on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP) at mid-latitudes, where the average elevation is higher than 4,000 m a.s.l. The topography, including the elevation and aspect, obviously is the decisive controlling factor of thermal regimes of elevational permafrost, which is warm and extremely sensitive to anthropogenic activities and climate changes. Due to the harsh weather conditions and unfavorable logistics accommodations, however, the elevational permafrost on the QTP, especially in the rugged topography, is hard to be plotted through ground-based field investigations. The exact distribution of elevational permafrost could be simulated through GST. In this study, we set up three monitoring sites of GST at the beginning of 2015. One located in the rugged mountain of the source area of the Yellow River, one located in the sunny slope of the Bayan Har Mountain Pass, and one another located in a degrading alpine meadow of the source area of the Yangtze River. Based on these GST records, the daily, monthly, seasonal and year-average values of GST, freezing and thawing indices calculated from GST, and empirical Stefan Equation to calculate the ALT, as well as the GIPL-2.0 model to simulate the freezing and thawing processes of the active layer were integrative executed for these three sites. Results demonstrate that GST could be a much more reliable driving parameter to simulate the active layer and permafrost than the air temperature and land surface temperature.

  1. Permafrost aggradation in recently deglaciated alpine environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leopold, Matthias; Dusik, Jana; Stocker-Waldhuber, Martin; Völkel, Jörg; Becht, Michael

    2015-04-01

    Permafrost degradation is of major interest in the present discussion about alpine climate change and natural hazard prevention. Glacial retreat since the Little Ice Age (LIA) is followed by destabilisation of the surrounding mountains due to melting permafrost in bedrock and sediments. Glacial retreat also exposes huge areas of lateral and ground moraines. Areas of formerly temperate glaciers experience colder temperatures only since their ice cover has melted and basal meltwater no longer heats the ground. With a huge pore volume in the sediment body, water supply during the melt season and large daily temperature variations in high mountains, distinct freeze and thaw processes start and generate periglacial forms like patterned ground in the direct glacier forefield. Those geomorphic features are precursors for possible permafrost aggradation in proglacial areas. The work presented is part of the joint project PROSA (High-resolution measurements of morphodynamics in rapidly changing PROglacial Systems of the Alps) that aims in the quantification of a sediment budget for the upper Kaunertal valley, Austrian Central Alps. In this sense and to find out about erosion causing prerequisites and processes, permafrost and ground ice occurrence, as well as sediment thickness is measured by i.a. application of geophysical measurements, multitemporal airborne and terrestrial LiDAR, as well as aerial photographs. In this case study we examine the spatial and temporal settings for permafrost aggradation in a recently deglaciated cirque, belonging to the catchment area of the Gepatschferner glacier using electric resistivity tomography (ERT) and basal temperature of the winterly snowcover (BTS) measurements to detect the state of the permafrost, multitemporal aerial photographs dating back to 1953 to reproduce recent deglaciation of the cirque and multitemporal airborne LiDAR data to gain information about surface elevation changes. The northeast facing cirque is situated in

  2. Permafrost Changes along the Alaska Highway Corridor, Southern Yukon, from Ground Temperature Measurements and DC Electrical Resistivity Tomography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Duguay, M. A.; Lewkowicz, A. G.; Smith, S.

    2011-12-01

    A natural gas pipeline running across permafrost terrain from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, through Canada to US markets was first proposed more than 30 years ago. In the intervening period, mean annual air temperatures in the region have risen by 0.5-1.0°C and it is probable that the ground has also warmed. Renewed interest in the pipeline has meant that information on permafrost and geotechnical conditions within the Alaska Highway Corridor of the southern Yukon must be updated for engineering design and the assessment of environmental impacts. To accomplish this goal, results from 1977-1981 drilling and ground temperature monitoring programs within the proposed pipeline corridor were used in combination with air photo analysis to select sites potentially sensitive to climate change. The sites are distributed across the extensive and sporadic discontinuous permafrost zones over a distance of 475 km between Beaver Creek and Whitehorse. To date, 11 targeted boreholes with permafrost have been found and cased to permit renewed ground temperature monitoring. By the end of summer 2011, it is expected that another 7 will have been instrumented. Measurable temperature increases relative to the 1970s are expected, except where values were previously just below 0°C. In the latter case, if the sites are still in permafrost, latent heat effects may have substantially moderated the temperature increase. Electrical resistivity tomography surveys are also being conducted to characterize the local permafrost distribution and geotechnical conditions. These 2D resistivity profiles will be used with the ground temperatures to examine current conditions and response to climate change and vegetation disturbance.

  3. Semiautomatic mapping of permafrost in the Yukon Flats, Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gulbrandsen, Mats Lundh; Minsley, Burke J.; Ball, Lyndsay B.; Hansen, Thomas Mejer

    2016-12-01

    Thawing of permafrost due to global warming can have major impacts on hydrogeological processes, climate feedback, arctic ecology, and local environments. To understand these effects and processes, it is crucial to know the distribution of permafrost. In this study we exploit the fact that airborne electromagnetic (AEM) data are sensitive to the distribution of permafrost and demonstrate how the distribution of permafrost in the Yukon Flats, Alaska, is mapped in an efficient (semiautomatic) way, using a combination of supervised and unsupervised (machine) learning algorithms, i.e., Smart Interpretation and K-means clustering. Clustering is used to sort unfrozen and frozen regions, and Smart Interpretation is used to predict the depth of permafrost based on expert interpretations. This workflow allows, for the first time, a quantitative and objective approach to efficiently map permafrost based on large amounts of AEM data.

  4. Surface towed electromagnetic system for mapping of subsea Arctic permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sherman, Dallas; Kannberg, Peter; Constable, Steven

    2017-02-01

    Sea level has risen globally since the late Pleistocene, resulting in permafrost-bearing coastal zones in the Arctic being submerged and subjected to temperature induced degradation. Knowing the extent of permafrost and how it changes over time is important for climate change predictions and for planning engineering activities in the Arctic environment. We developed a controlled source electromagnetic (CSEM) method to obtain information on the depth, thickness, and lateral extent of marine permafrost. To operate in shallow water we used a surface towed electric dipole-dipole CSEM system suitable for deployment from small boats. This system was used to map permafrost on the Arctic shelf offshore Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Our results show significant lateral variability in the presence of permafrost, with the thickest layers associated with a large river outflow where freshwater influx seems to have a preserving effect on relict subsea permafrost.

  5. Collaborative efforts to solve problems in permafrost science and engineering

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinzman, Larry D.; Hinkel, Kenneth M.; Romanovsky, Vladimir E.

    2012-10-01

    Tenth International Conference on Permafrost; Salekhard, Russia, 25-29 June 2012 To recognize permafrost's growing significance in the Earth climate system, to stimulate interaction among the scientific communities, and to share results of the increasing numbers of permafrost investigations and discoveries currently taking place, the Tenth International Conference on Permafrost (TICOP) was held in late June in Salekhard, a town in the Yamal-Nenets autonomous district of Russia that is situated precisely on the Arctic Circle and underlain by discontinuous permafrost. TICOP marked the tenth iteration of the long-running conference series, which started in 1963, and is the conference's first return to Russia since the Second International Conference on Permafrost in 1973.

  6. Permafrost Degradation Risk Zone Assessment using Simulation Models

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Daanen, R.P.; Ingeman-Nielsen, Thomas; Marchenko, S.;

    2011-01-01

    In this proof-of-concept study we focus on linking large scale climate and permafrost simulations to small scale engineering projects by bridging the gap between climate and permafrost sciences on the one hand and on the other technical recommendation for adaptation of planned infrastructures...... to climate change in a region generally underlain by permafrost. We present the current and future state of permafrost in Greenland as modelled numerically with the GIPL model driven by HIRHAM climate projections up to 2080. We develop a concept called Permafrost Thaw Potential (PTP), defined...... as the potential active layer increase due to climate warming and surface alterations. PTP is then used in a simple risk assessment procedure useful for engineering applications. The modelling shows that climate warming will result in continuing wide-spread permafrost warming and degradation in Greenland...

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Johnson, Kristopher D [University of Alaska, Fairbanks; Harden, Jennifer [United States Geological Service (USGS), Menlo Park; McGuire, A. David [University of Alaska; Clark, Mark [United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service; Yuan, Fengming [ORNL; Finley, Andrew [Michigan State University, East Lansing

    2013-01-01

    Permafrost is tightly coupled to the organic layer, an interaction that mediates permafrost degradation in response to regional warming. We analyzed changes in permafrost occurrence (PF) and organic layer thickness (OLT) in more than 3000 soil pedons across a mean annual temperature (MAT) gradient. Cause and effect relationships between 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 v. deep organic layers. Permafrost probability 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. As temperature warmed, sandy soils varied little in PF or OLT, but PF in loamy and sandy soils decreased substantially. The change in OLT was more heterogeneous across soil types in some there was no change while in others OLTs soils thinned and/or OLTd soils thickened as temperature warmed. Furthermore, the rate of thickening with warming for OLTd soils was on average almost 4 times greater than the rate of thinning for 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.

  8. Imaging magma plumbing beneath Askja volcano, Iceland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greenfield, Tim; White, Robert S.

    2015-04-01

    Volcanoes during repose periods are not commonly monitored by dense instrumentation networks and so activity during periods of unrest is difficult to put in context. We have operated a dense seismic network of 3-component, broadband instruments around Askja, a large central volcano in the Northern Volcanic Zone, Iceland, since 2006. Askja last erupted in 1961, with a relatively small basaltic lava flow. Since 1975 the central caldera has been subsiding and there has been no indication of volcanic activity. Despite this, Askja has been one of the more seismically active volcanoes in Iceland. The majority of these events are due to an extensive geothermal area within the caldera and tectonically induced earthquakes to the northeast which are not related to the magma plumbing system. More intriguing are the less numerous deeper earthquakes at 12-24km depth, situated in three distinct areas within the volcanic system. These earthquakes often show a frequency content which is lower than the shallower activity, but they still show strong P and S wave arrivals indicative of brittle failure, despite their location being well below the brittle-ductile boundary, which, in Askja is ~7km bsl. These earthquakes indicate the presence of melt moving or degassing at depth while the volcano is not inflating, as only high strain rates or increased pore fluid pressures would cause brittle fracture in what is normally an aseismic region in the ductile zone. The lower frequency content must be the result of a slower source time function as earthquakes which are both high frequency and low frequency come from the same cluster, thereby discounting a highly attenuating lower crust. To image the plumbing system beneath Askja, local and regional earthquakes have been used as sources to solve for the velocity structure beneath the volcano. Travel-time tables were created using a finite difference technique and the residuals were used to solve simultaneously for both the earthquake locations

  9. Methane release from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf: The role of subsea permafrost and other controlling factors as inferred from decadal observational and modeling efforts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shakhova, N. E.

    2015-12-01

    Sustained methane (CH4) release from thawing Arctic permafrost to atmosphere may be a positive, major feedback to climate warming. East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) atmospheric CH4 venting was reported as on par with flux from Arctic tundra. Unlike release when ancient carbon in thawed on-land permafrost is mobilized, ESAS CH4 release is not determined by modern methanogenesis. Pre-formed CH4 largely stems from seabed deposits. Our investigation, including observational studies using hydrological, biogeochemical, geophysical, geo-electrical, microbiological, and isotopic methods, and modeling efforts to assess current subsea permafrost state and the ESAS' contribution to the regional CH4 budget, have clarified processes driving ESAS CH4 emissions. Subsea permafrost state is a major emission determinant; rates vary by 3-5 orders of magnitude. Outer ESAS CH4 emission rates, where subsea permafrost is predicted to be degraded due to long submergence by seawater, in places are similar to near-shore rates, where deep/open taliks can form due to combined heating effects of seawater, river runoff, geothermal flux, and pre-existing thermokarst. Progressive subsea permafrost thawing and decreasing ice extent could significantly increase ESAS CH4 emissions. Subsea permafrost drilling results reveal modern recently submerged subsea permafrost degradation rates, contradicting previous hypotheses that thousands of years required to form escape paths for permafrost-preserved gas. We used a decadal observational ESAS water column and atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) data set to define the minimum source strength required to explain observed seasonally-increased ABL CH4 concentration. Modeling results agree with estimates from in-situ sonar data. In <10 m shallow water ≤72% of CH4 remains in surfacing bubbles. Dissolved CH4 fate largely depends on 3 factors: dissolved CH4 water column turnover time, water column stability against vertical mixing, and turbulent diffusion and

  10. Permafrost Distribution Modeling in the Semi-Arid Chilean Andes

    OpenAIRE

    Azócar, Guillermo F.; Brenning, Alexander; Bodin, Xavier

    2016-01-01

    Mountain permafrost and rock glaciers in the dry Andes are of growing interest due to the increase in human activities in this remote area. Empirical models of mountain permafrost distribution based on the spatial analysis of intact and relict rock glaciers and mean annual air temperature (MAAT) have been established as a tool for regional-scale assessments of permafrost favorability across entire mountain ranges; however, this kind of model approach has never been applied for a large portion...

  11. Impact of model developments on present and future simulations of permafrost in a global land-surface model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chadburn, S. E.; Burke, E. J.; Essery, R. L. H.; Boike, J.; Langer, M.; Heikenfeld, M.; Cox, P. M.; Friedlingstein, P.

    2015-08-01

    There is a large amount of organic carbon stored in permafrost in the northern high latitudes, which may become vulnerable to microbial decomposition under future climate warming. In order to estimate this potential carbon-climate feedback it is necessary to correctly simulate the physical dynamics of permafrost within global Earth system models (ESMs) and to determine the rate at which it will thaw. Additional new processes within JULES, the land-surface scheme of the UK ESM (UKESM), include a representation of organic soils, moss and bedrock and a modification to the snow scheme; the sensitivity of permafrost to these new developments is investigated in this study. The impact of a higher vertical soil resolution and deeper soil column is also considered. Evaluation against a large group of sites shows the annual cycle of soil temperatures is approximately 25 % too large in the standard JULES version, but this error is corrected by the model improvements, in particular by deeper soil, organic soils, moss and the modified snow scheme. A comparison with active layer monitoring sites shows that the active layer is on average just over 1 m too deep in the standard model version, and this bias is reduced by 70 cm in the improved version. Increasing the soil vertical resolution allows the full range of active layer depths to be simulated; by contrast, with a poorly resolved soil at least 50 % of the permafrost area has a maximum thaw depth at the centre of the bottom soil layer. Thus all the model modifications are seen to improve the permafrost simulations. Historical permafrost area corresponds fairly well to observations in all simulations, covering an area between 14 and 19 million km2. Simulations under two future climate scenarios show a reduced sensitivity of permafrost degradation to temperature, with the near-surface permafrost loss per degree of warming reduced from 1.5 million km2 °C-1 in the standard version of JULES to between 1.1 and 1.2 million km2 °C-1

  12. The presence of rapidly degrading permafrost plateaus in southcentral Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, Benjamin M.; Baughman, Carson; Romanovsky, V.adimir E; Parsekian, Andrew D.; Babcock, Esther; Jones, Miriam C.; Grosse, Guido; Berg, Edward E

    2016-01-01

    Permafrost presence is determined by a complex interaction of climatic, topographic, and ecological conditions operating over long time scales. In particular, vegetation and organic layer characteristics may act to protect permafrost in regions with a mean annual air temperature (MAAT) above 0°C. In this study, we document the presence of residual permafrost plateaus on the western Kenai Peninsula lowlands of southcentral Alaska, a region with a MAAT of 1.5 ± 1°C (1981 to 2010). Continuous ground temperature measurements between 16 September 2012 and 15 September 2015, using calibrated thermistor strings, documented the presence of warm permafrost (−0.04 to −0.08°C). Field measurements (probing) on several plateau features during the fall of 2015 showed that the depth to the permafrost table averaged 1.48 m but was as shallow as 0.53 m. Late winter surveys (drilling, coring, and GPR) in 2016 showed that the average seasonally frozen ground thickness was 0.45 m, overlying a talik above the permafrost table. Measured permafrost thickness ranged from 0.33 to >6.90 m. Manual interpretation of historic aerial photography acquired in 1950 indicates that residual permafrost plateaus covered 920 ha as mapped across portions of four wetland complexes encompassing 4810 ha. However, between 1950 and ca. 2010, permafrost plateau extent decreased by 60%, with lateral feature degradation accounting for 85% of the reduction in area. Permafrost loss on the Kenai Peninsula is likely associated with a warming climate, wildfires that remove the protective forest and organic layer cover, groundwater flow at depth, and lateral heat transfer from wetland surface waters in the summer. Better understanding the resilience and vulnerability of ecosystem-protected permafrost is critical for mapping and predicting future permafrost extent and degradation across all permafrost regions that are currently warming. Further work should focus on reconstructing permafrost history in

  13. Permafrost thaw in a nested groundwater-flow system

    Science.gov (United States)

    McKenzie, Jeffery M.; Voss, Clifford I.

    2013-01-01

    Groundwater flow in cold regions containing permafrost accelerates climate-warming-driven thaw and changes thaw patterns. Simulation analyses of groundwater flow and heat transport with freeze/thaw in typical cold-regions terrain with nested flow indicate that early thaw rate is particularly enhanced by flow, the time when adverse environmental impacts of climate-warming-induced permafrost loss may be severest. For the slowest climate-warming rate predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), once significant groundwater flow begins, thick permafrost layers can vanish in several hundred years, but survive over 1,000 years where flow is minimal. Large-scale thaw depends mostly on the balance of heat advection and conduction in the supra-permafrost zone. Surface-water bodies underlain by open taliks allow slow sub-permafrost flow, with lesser influence on regional thaw. Advection dominance over conduction depends on permeability and topography. Groundwater flow around permafrost and flow through permafrost impact thaw differently; the latter enhances early thaw rate. Air-temperature seasonality also increases early thaw. Hydrogeologic heterogeneity and topography strongly affect thaw rates/patterns. Permafrost controls the groundwater/surface-water-geomorphology system; hence, prediction and mitigation of impacts of thaw on ecology, chemical exports and infrastructure require improved hydrogeology/permafrost characterization and understanding

  14. Microbial diversity in European alpine permafrost and active layers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frey, Beat; Rime, Thomas; Phillips, Marcia; Stierli, Beat; Hajdas, Irka; Widmer, Franco; Hartmann, Martin

    2016-03-01

    Permafrost represents a largely understudied genetic resource. Thawing of permafrost with global warming will not only promote microbial carbon turnover with direct feedback on greenhouse gases, but also unlock an unknown microbial diversity. Pioneering metagenomic efforts have shed light on the permafrost microbiome in polar regions, but temperate mountain permafrost is largely understudied. We applied a unique experimental design coupled to high-throughput sequencing of ribosomal markers to characterize the microbiota at the long-term alpine permafrost study site 'Muot-da-Barba-Peider' in eastern Switzerland with an approximate radiocarbon age of 12 000 years. Compared to the active layers, the permafrost community was more diverse and enriched with members of the superphylum Patescibacteria (OD1, TM7, GN02 and OP11). These understudied phyla with no cultured representatives proposedly feature small streamlined genomes with reduced metabolic capabilities, adaptations to anaerobic fermentative metabolisms and potential ectosymbiotic lifestyles. The permafrost microbiota was also enriched with yeasts and lichenized fungi known to harbour various structural and functional adaptation mechanisms to survive under extreme sub-zero conditions. These data yield an unprecedented view on microbial life in temperate mountain permafrost, which is increasingly important for understanding the biological dynamics of permafrost in order to anticipate potential ecological trajectories in a warming world.

  15. Gas hydrates and permafrost in continental northern West Siberia; Gashydrate und Permafrost im kontinentalen noerdlichen Westsibirien

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Cramer, B. [Bundesanstalt fuer Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe, Hannover (Germany); Braun, A.; Poelchau, H.S. [Forschungszentrum Juelich (Germany). Inst. fuer Erdoel und Organische Geochemie; Littke, R. [RWTH Aachen (Germany). Lehrstuhl fuer Geologie, Geochemie und Lagerstaetten des Erdoels und der Kohle

    1997-12-31

    The largest natural gas pool in the world is located in northern part of the West Siberian Basin. During the Quaternary this reservoir became overlaid with several hundreds of metres of permafrost. The pressure and temperature conditions prevailing under this permafrost zone have led to the development of gas hydrates. As far as is known today there is no genetic relationship between the formation of the gas pool and the development of gas hydrates. The present contribution deals with these questions in detail. (MSK) [Deutsch] Im Nordteil des westsibirischen Beckens liegt die groesste Erdgaslagerstaette der Erde. Darueber hat sich im Quartaer ein mehrere hundert Meter maechtiger Permafrost gebildet. Die unter der Premafrostzone herrschenden Druck-und Temperaturbedingungen ermoeglichten die Bildung von Gashydraten. Nach heutigen Erkenntnisse besteht kein genetischer Zusammenhang zwischen Lagerstaettenbildung und Gashydraten. Im Folgenden werden Einzelheiten geschildert.

  16. 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

  17. Crustal structure beneath Eastern Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Reiche, Sönke; Thybo, H.; Kaip, G.

    2011-01-01

    is recorded by 350 Reftek Texan receivers for 10 equidistant shot points along the profile. We use forward ray tracing modelling to construct a two-dimensional velocity model from the observed travel times. These results show the first images of the subsurface velocity structure beneath the Greenland ice...... these mountain belts is needed for assessing the isostatic balance of the crust and to gain insight into possible links between crustal composition, rifting history and present-day topography of the North Atlantic Region. However, the acquisition of geophysical data onshore Greenland is logistically complicated...

  18. Seasonal frost conditions and permafrost regime distribution in the high lands of Sierra Nevada (Spain)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oliva, Marc; Gómez-Ortiz, Antonio; Salvador-Franch, Ferran; Salvà-Catarineu, Montserrat; Palacios, David; Tanarro, Luis Miguel; Ramos, Miguel

    2016-04-01

    Sierra Nevada, Southern Spain (37°S, 3°W), is the massif including the southernmost permafrost remnants in Europe. Over the last decades the distribution of permafrost in this massif has been examined through a combined approach including geomorphological, geophysical and monitoring studies. The purpose of this communication is to summarize all the studies relating to soil thermal regime in the high lands of Sierra Nevada. A 114.5 m deep borehole was drilled in 2000 in the Veleta summit (3380 m) in order to monitor soil temperatures in the summits of the massif. No permafrost regime was detected, with average temperatures stabilizing at 20 m depth at 2 °C. Seasonal frost conditions were also detected in periglacial landforms such as solifluction lobes and sorted-circles. In the Rio Seco cirque the mean annual temperatures in a solifluction lobe located in a southern glacial cirque of the massif (3005 m) were 3.9 °C at 1 m depth between 2006 and 2012; in the north-exposed San Juan valley, soil temperatures in another solifluction landform (2864 m) were 3.9 °C at 1 m depth between 2003 and 2012. In a sorted-circle located in the high plateau of Cerro de los Machos (3297 m) soil temperatures recorded an average of 1.7 °C at 50 cm depth between 2003 and 2011. The only place where temperatures were permanently negative was inside of the only active rock glacier distributed in the Veleta cirque, on the northern slope of the Veleta peak. Here, the remnants of a small glacier that existed during the Little Ice Age (LIA) are still present in the form of buried ice and permafrost buried under the boulders of this rock glacier. Temperatures averaged 0.2 °C at 1 m depth between 2006 and 2013, with permanently negative temperatures below this level until, at least, 10 m depth. Consequently, seasonal frost is widespread nowadays in most of the Sierra Nevada, with permafrost conditions strongly conditioned by the geomorphological setting and the recent environmental

  19. 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 (<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.

  20. Climate hazards caused by thawing permafrost? Background information of the Federal Environmental Agency; Klimagefahr durch tauenden Permafrost? UBA-Hintergrundpapier

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    2006-08-15

    The thawing of permafrost regions is supposed to increase climatic change processes due to the released methane. During the last decades the temperature of permafrost soils has increased by several tenths of degree up to 2 deg C. It is supposed that 10 to 20% of the permafrost regions will thaw during the next 100 years. The southern boundary of the permafrost region will move several hundred kilometers toward the north. Besides the increased risk for the climate system there will also be disadvantageous consequences for the ecosystems. Negative economic consequences are already observed and will be enhanced in the futures with significant cost for the public.

  1. 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

  2. Degrading Sub-Sea Permafrost and Sedimentary Methane Release in the Southern Laptev Sea, Arctic Ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Semiletov, I. P.; Shakhova, N. E.; Dudarev, O.; Tumskoy, V.; Kosmach, D.; Samarkin, V.; Joye, S. B.; Charkin, A.; Bukhanov, B.; Chuvilin, E.; Romanovskii, N.

    2012-12-01

    the salt content in pore water equals 12-15 psu. That temperature distribution indicates the existence of an open talik at this site that is impacted by the Lena River heating effect and anomalous geothermal flux in the axis of the Ust'-Lena Rift. High concentrations of CH4 and non-CH4 hydrocarbons and free hydrogen were found along the sediment cores. An important feature of the vertical CH4 profile is a maximum at ~4.5-5 m depth associated with a sharp acoustical reflector which is spatially correlated with the existence of the ancient dried soil layer rather than with the permafrost table, as was stated previously. Seismoprofiles made during our 2008 and 2011 cruises covering the entire shallow ESAS area showed the sharp acoustical reflector (and blanking zone beneath) in the upper sediment layer which we associate with the existence of a gas front (GF). For the first time this hypothesis has been validated by drilling and CH4 measurements. An electromagnetic survey accomplished at 15 fast ice stations and analyzed jointly with the seismo-profiling data demonstrated the existence of deep "talik-like" roots at sites with wide GF zones accompanied by an anomalously high concentration of dissolved CH4 (and air CH4 in summer). It was shown that the sediment CH4 production plays a negligible role in the observed dynamics of dissolved CH4 in the study area.

  3. Resilience and vulnerability of permafrost to climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    M.Torre Jorgenson; Vladimir Romanovsky; Jennifer Harden; Yuri Shur; Jonathan O' Donnell; Edward A.G. Schuur; Mikhail Kanevskiy; Sergei. Marchenko

    2010-01-01

    The resilience and vulnerability of permafrost to climate change depends on complex interactions among topography, water, soil, vegetation, and snow, which allow permafrost to persist at mean annual air temperatures (MAATs) as high as +2 °C and degrade at MAATs as low as -20°C. To assess these interactions, we compiled existing data and tested effects of varying...

  4. Soil organic carbon pools in the northern circumpolar permafrost region

    Science.gov (United States)

    C. Tarnocai; J.G. Canadell; E.A.G. Schuur; P. Kuhry; G. Mazhitova; S. Zimov

    2009-01-01

    The Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database was developed to determine carbon pools in soils of the northern circumpolar permafrost region. Here we report a new estimate of the carbon pools in soils of the northern permafrost region, including deeper layers and pools not accounted for in previous analyses.

  5. Different shapes of constructions and their effects on permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vaganova, Nataliia; Filimonov, M. Yu.

    2016-12-01

    A heat transfer model of thermal fields in permafrost soil as a result of operation of different constructions is considered. Some positions(shapes) of engineering objects are compared in view to estimate its reliability and decrease the thermal influence on permafrost.

  6. Future permafrost conditions along environmental gradients in Zackenberg, Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Westermann, S.; Elberling, Bo; Pedersen, S. Højlund;

    2015-01-01

    The future development of ground temperatures in permafrost areas is determined by a number of factors varying on different spatial and temporal scales. For sound projections of impacts of permafrost thaw, scaling procedures are of paramount importance. We present numerical simulations of present...

  7. Report from the International Permafrost Association: carbon pools in permafrost regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peter Kuhry; Chien-Lu Ping; Edward A.G. Schuur; Charles Tarnocai; Sergey. Zimov

    2009-01-01

    The IPA Carbon Pools in Permafrost Regions (CAPP) Project started in 2005, with endorsement of the Earth System Science Partnership (EESP) Global Carbon Project and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Climate and Cryosphere Project. CAPP is also a project of the IPY. The project was launched because there is considerable concern and increased awareness both...

  8. Martian and Ionian Analogs of Permafrost-Volcano Interactions in Alaskan Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kargel, J. S.; Beget, J. E.; Skinner, J. A.; Wessels, R.

    2005-12-01

    Volcanic landforms in Alaskan lowland permafrost exhibit several unique morphological attributes, as described in a companion AGU abstract (Beget et al.). These features include (1) giant maar sizes (in Bering Land Bridge National Preserve) an order of magnitude larger than common in non-permafrost terrains, (2) composite volcanic forms produced by repeated maar-forming explosions (the novel Ingakslugwat-type volcano in Yukon Delta), and (3) super-inflated lava flows with marginal thermokarst pits (Lost Jim flow, Imuruk Lake Volcanic Field, Bering Land Bridge area). We have identified on Mars, in areas not indicating glaciation, several landforms and on Io an active volcanic process that might be analogs of these in Alaska. On Mars, within and near Elysium (Galaxias Fossae and Hrad Vallis region) multiple crater-like depressions occur with other volcanic features. Their characteristics suggest that the depressions are maars. The composite structures suggest similarities to Ingakslugwat volcanoes. Possible analogs of giant oversize maars also have been identified on Mars. In addition to surface gravitational differences between Earth and Mars, it seems likely that volatile composition is a key aspect controlling the explosivity and sizes of maars on both planets. In Alaska, we suspect that volcanic interactions with methane clathrate hydrate-rich permafrost tends to yield larger maar sizes than with ice-rich permafrost or ground water. This working hypothesis fits well with observations that the giant maars formed during the climatically coldest periods (Beget et al., 2005, this conference). During those periods, permafrost was thick, strong, and unpunctured by lakes and rivers, and so it could have trapped clathrate-forming gases. During interglacials, thinner permafrost and the widespread occurrence of thaw lakes and surface streams may cause the permafrost to be ineffective in confining ascending gases, and so clathrates were absent or not abundant, and volcanic

  9. Permafrost and periglacial research in Antarctica: New results and perspectives

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guglielmin, Mauro; Vieira, Gonçalo

    2014-11-01

    In the last two years the research within the Antarctic Permafrost, Periglacial Environments and Soils (ANTPAS) Expert Group of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and Working Group of the International Permafrost Association (IPA) provided new results on the dynamics of periglacial environments both in Maritime and Continental Antarctica. In continental Antarctica despite the absence of air warming, in the last 15 years an active layer thickening and acceleration of permafrost degradation erosional phenomena were reported, these being mainly related to the increase of solar radiation. On the other hand, in Maritime Antarctica, with a dramatic air warming, permafrost degradation has been observed, but the role of snow cover on the ground energy balance and consequently on permafrost and active layer has been underlined. Moreover, many contributions on the knowledge on the characteristics of the Antarctic soils were carried out in several areas along a wide latitudinal range.

  10. Modelling unfrozen water content in a silty clay permafrost deposit

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Agergaard, Frederik Ancker; Ingeman-Nielsen, Thomas

    2011-01-01

    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 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....

  11. Transient thermal effects in Alpine permafrost

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Noetzli

    2009-04-01

    Full Text Available In high mountain areas, permafrost is important because it influences the occurrence of natural hazards, because it has to be considered in construction practices, and because it is sensitive to climate change. The assessment of its distribution and evolution is challenging because of highly variable conditions at and below the surface, steep topography and varying climatic conditions. This paper presents a systematic investigation of effects of topography and climate variability that are important for subsurface temperatures in Alpine bedrock permafrost. We studied the effects of both, past and projected future ground surface temperature variations on the basis of numerical experimentation with simplified mountain topography in order to demonstrate the principal effects. The modeling approach applied combines a distributed surface energy balance model and a three-dimensional subsurface heat conduction scheme. Results show that the past climate variations that essentially influence present-day permafrost temperatures at depth of the idealized mountains are the last glacial period and the major fluctuations in the past millennium. Transient effects from projected future warming, however, are likely larger than those from past climate conditions because larger temperature changes at the surface occur in shorter time periods. We further demonstrate the accelerating influence of multi-lateral warming in steep and complex topography for a temperature signal entering the subsurface as compared to the situation in flat areas. The effects of varying and uncertain material properties (i.e., thermal properties, porosity, and freezing characteristics on the subsurface temperature field were examined in sensitivity studies. A considerable influence of latent heat due to water in low-porosity bedrock was only shown for simulations over time periods of decades to centuries. At the end, the model was applied to the topographic setting of the Matterhorn

  12. Methane release from the East-Siberian Arctic Shelf and its connection with permafrost and hydrate destabilization: First results and potential future developments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shakhova, N.; Semiletov, I.

    2012-04-01

    The East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) is home to the world's largest hydrocarbon stocks, which consist of natural gas, coal bed methane (CH4), and shallow Arctic hydrates. Until recently, the ESAS was not considered a CH4 source due to the supposed impermeability of sub-sea permafrost, which was thought to completely isolate the CH4 beneath from modern biogeochemical cycles. However, the ESAS represents an enormous potential CH4 source that could be responsive to ongoing global warming. Such response could occur in substantially shorter time than that of terrestrial Arctic ecosystems, because sub-sea permafrost has experienced long-lasting destabilization initiated by its inundation during the Holocene ocean transgression. ESAS permafrost stability and integrity is key to whether sequestered ancient carbon escapes as the potent greenhouse gas CH4. Recent data suggest the sub-sea permafrost is currently experiencing significant changes in its thermal regime. For example, our recent data obtained in the ESAS during the drilling expedition of 2011 showed no frozen sediments at all within the 53 m long drilling core at water temperatures varying from -0.6°C to -1.3°C. Unfrozen sediments provide multiple potential CH4 migration pathways. We suggest that open taliks have formed beneath the areas underlain or influenced by the nearby occurrence of fault zones, under paleo-valleys, and beneath thaw lakes submerged several thousand years ago during the ocean transgression. Temporary gas migration pathways might occur subsequent to seismic and tectonic activity in an area, due to sediment settlement and subsidence; hydrates could destabilize due to development of thermokarst-related features or ice-scouring. Recently obtained geophysical data identified numerous gas seeps, mostly above prominent reflectors, and the ubiquitous occurrence of shallow gas-charged sediments containing numerous gas chimneys, underscoring the likelihood that the ability of sub-sea permafrost to

  13. Discussion on possibilities of taking ground ice in permafrost as water sources on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau during climate warming

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2009-01-01

    Large amounts of ground ice are born with permafrost on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.Degradation of permafrost resulted from the climate warming will inevitably lead to melting of ground ice.The water released from the melting ground ice enters hydrologic cycles at various levels,and changes regional hydrologic regimes to various degrees.Due to difficulties in monitoring the perma-frost-degradation-release-water process,direct and reliable evidence is few.The accumulative effect of releasing water,however,is remarkable in the macro-scale hydrologic process.On the basis of the monitoring results of water-levels changes in some lakes on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau,and combined with the previous results of the hydrologic changing trends at the regional scale,the authors preliminarily discussed the possibilities of the degrading permafrost on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau as a potential water source during climate warming.

  14. Diminishing friction of joint surfaces as initiating factor for destabilising permafrost rocks?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Funk, Daniel; Krautblatter, Michael

    2010-05-01

    Degrading alpine permafrost due to changing climate conditions causes instabilities in steep rock slopes. Due to a lack in process understanding, the hazard is still difficult to asses in terms of its timing, location, magnitude and frequency. Current research is focused on ice within joints which is considered to be the key-factor. Monitoring of permafrost-induced rock failure comprises monitoring of temperature and moisture in rock-joints. The effect of low temperatures on the strength of intact rock and its mechanical relevance for shear strength has not been considered yet. But this effect is signifcant since compressive and tensile strength is reduced by up to 50% and more when rock thaws (Mellor, 1973). We hypotheisze, that the thawing of permafrost in rocks reduces the shear strength of joints by facilitating the shearing/damaging of asperities due to the drop of the compressive/tensile strength of rock. We think, that decreasing surface friction, a neglected factor in stability analysis, is crucial for the onset of destabilisation of permafrost rocks. A potential rock slide within the permafrost zone in the Wetterstein Mountains (Zugspitze, Germany) is the basis for the data we use for the empirical joint model of Barton (1973) to estimate the peak shear strength of the shear plane. Parameters are the JRC (joint roughness coefficient), the JCS (joint compressive strength) and the residual friction angle (φr). The surface roughness is measured in the field with a profile gauge to create 2D-profiles of joint surfaces. Samples of rock were taken to the laboratory to measure compressive strength using a high-impact Schmidt-Hammer under air-dry, saturated and frozen conditions on weathered and unweathered surfaces. Plugs where cut out of the rock and sand blasted for shear tests under frozen and unfrozen conditions. Peak shear strength of frozen and unfrozen rocks will be calculated using Barton's model. First results show a mean decrease of compressive

  15. The Lena River Delta Observatory, Arctic Siberia: a Contribution to the ESA DUE Permafrost Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heim, Birgit; Boike, Julia; Moritz, Langer; Annett, Bartsch; Sina, Muster; Jennifer, Sobiech; Konstanze, Piel; Günter, Stoof; Anne, Morgenstern; Mathias, Ulrich

    2010-05-01

    The major task of the ESA Data User Element DUE PERMAFROST is to develop and use Earth Observation services specifically for monitoring and modelling of permafrost. In order to setup the required information services, a target area approach with specified case study regions is used. Long-term ground data series and multidisciplinary ongoing projects make the Lena River delta (Arctic Siberia) a prime study region for evaluation and validation of the DUE PERMAFROST remote sensing products. The Lena River Delta located in the zone of continuous permafrost is a key region for Arctic system science. Since 1998, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research AWI in collaboration with the Lena Delta Reserve in Tiksi has operated the German-Russian research station Samoylov. Relevant ground-based data (air temperature, radiation, snow, albedo, soil temperature and moisture) are collected continuously. The high landscape heterogeneity (wet polygonal centres, dry polygonal rims, ponds and lakes) challenges all ground data observations. Match-up data sets of ground data and remote sensing products coincident in time and location are being built up. Exclusion and selection criteria will be based on experience, especially the knowledge on parameter variability in time and space. The main focus are the remote sensing products ‘surface temperature', ‘surface moisture', ‘albedo', ‘vegetation' and ‘water'. Statistical and contextural methods will be used for the upscaling from the plot to the meso-scale. Problems will have to be identified such as process-dependent scales and the water body ratio within the pixel.

  16. 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

    The International Permafrost Association (IPA), founded in 1983, has as its objectives to foster the dissemination of knowledge concerning permafrost and to promote cooperation among persons and national or international organizations engaged in scientific investigation and engineering work on permafrost. The IPA's primary responsibilities are convening International Permafrost Conferences, undertaking special projects such as preparing databases, maps, bibliographies, and glossaries, and coordinating international field programs and networks. Membership is through adhering national or multinational organizations or as individuals in countries where no Adhering Body exists. The IPA is governed by its Executive Committee and a Council consisting of representatives from 26 Adhering Bodies having interests in some aspect of theoretical, basic and applied frozen ground research, including permafrost, seasonal frost, artificial freezing and periglacial phenomena. This presentation details the IPA core products, achievements and activities as well as current projects in cryospheric research. One of the most important core products is the circumpolar permafrost map. The IPA also fosters and supports the activities of the Global Terrestrial Network on Permafrost (GTN-P) sponsored by the Global Terrestrial Observing System, GTOS, and the Global Climate Observing System, GCOS, whose long-term goal is to obtain a comprehensive view of the spatial structure, trends, and variability of changes in the active layer thickness and permafrost temperature. A further important initiative of the IPA are the biannually competitively-funded Action Groups which work towards the production of well-defined products over a period of two years. Current IPA Action Groups are working on highly topical and interdisciplinary issues, such as the development of a regional Palaeo-map of Permafrost in Eurasia, the integration of multidisciplinary knowledge about the use of thermokarst and permafrost

  17. Electrical and seismic mixing rules for detecting changes in ground ice content in permafrost studies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hauck, Christian; Hilbich, Christin

    2017-04-01

    Geophysical methods are now widely used in permafrost research to detect and monitor frozen ground and potentially quantify the ground ice content in the soil. Hereby, often a combination of different methods is used to reduce the ambiguities inherent with the indirect nature of geophysical surveys. Geophysical mixing rules and petrophysical relationships originally developed by exploration industry may help to quantitatively relate geophysical variables such as the electrical resistivity or the seismic P-wave velocity to the physical properties of the subsurface. Two of these mixing rules were combined by Hauck et al. (2011) in a so-called 4-phase model to attempt to quantify the ground ice, air- and water content and their changes with time in permafrost environments (e.g. Pellet et al. 2016). However, these mixing rules are often either empirically derived (making use of a large number of borehole samples) or based on a simplified mixing model, i.e. an equal weighting of each phase component (ice, water, soil/rock, air) depending on the actual fractional content of each phase. There is thus no obvious 'best choice' model from the available geophysical approaches. Stimulated by recent theoretical work by Glover (2010), who analysed the relationships between the empirical and theory-derived mixing models, this contribution aims to analyse the applicability of various mixing models for electrical and seismic data sets in the context of detecting and monitoring permafrost degradation. Input data stem from various geophysical surveys around the world and ground truth data for validation is available from corresponding permafrost boreholes from the PERMOS and GTN-P data bases. Glover, P. W. (2010). A generalized Archie's law for n phases. Geophysics, 75(6), E247-E265. Hauck, C., Böttcher, M. and Maurer, H. (2011): A new model for estimating subsurface ice content based on combined electrical and seismic data sets. The Cryosphere, 5, 453-468. Pellet C., Hilbich C

  18. Large Permafrost Warming in Northern Alaska During the 1990's Determined from GTN-P Borehole Temperature Measurements

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clow, G. D.; Urban, F. E.

    2002-12-01

    The U.S. Department of the Interior currently maintains 9 automated active-layer monitoring stations and an array of 21 deep boreholes in northern Alaska as part of the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P). The GTN-P network is used both for climate change detection and for documenting the sensitivity of permafrost to climate change; GTN-P is one component of the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS), which in turn is part of the long-term Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). During August 2002, temperatures were re-measured in the majority of the DOI/GTN-P boreholes to determine the present thermal state of deep permafrost in northern Alaska. A preliminary comparison with earlier temperature logs from the borehole array shows that permafrost on the Alaskan Arctic Coastal Plain and Alaskan Arctic Foothills has warmed ~ 3 K since the late 1980's. This warming of the Arctic cryosphere coincides with the shift in atmospheric dynamics described by the Northern Hemisphere Annular Mode (NAM) that also began in the late 1980's.

  19. 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.

  20. Subsea Permafrost Climate Modeling - Challenges and First Results

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodehacke, C. B.; Stendel, M.; Marchenko, S. S.; Christensen, J. H.; Romanovsky, V. E.; Nicolsky, D.

    2015-12-01

    Recent observations indicate that the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) releases methane, which stems from shallow hydrate seabed reservoirs. The total amount of carbon within the ESAS is so large that release of only a small fraction, for example via taliks, which are columns of unfrozen sediment within the permafrost, could impact distinctly the global climate. Therefore it is crucial to simulate the future fate of ESAS' subsea permafrost with regard to changing atmospheric and oceanic conditions. However only very few attempts to address the vulnerability of subsea permafrost have been made, instead most studies have focused on the evolution of permafrost since the Late Pleistocene ocean transgression, approximately 14000 years ago.In contrast to land permafrost modeling, any attempt to model the future fate of subsea permafrost needs to consider several additional factors, in particular the dependence of freezing temperature on water depth and salt content and the differences in ground heat flux depending on the seabed properties. Also the amount of unfrozen water in the sediment needs to be taken into account. Using a system of coupled ocean, atmosphere and permafrost models will allow us to capture the complexity of the different parts of the system and evaluate the relative importance of different processes. Here we present the first results of a novel approach by means of dedicated permafrost model simulations. These have been driven by conditions of the Laptev Sea region in East Siberia. By exploiting the ensemble approach, we will show how uncertainties in boundary conditions and applied forcing scenarios control the future fate of the sub sea permafrost.

  1. The impact of the permafrost carbon feedback on global climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaefer, Kevin; Lantuit, Hugues; Romanovsky, Vladimir E.; Schuur, Edward A. G.; Witt, Ronald

    2014-08-01

    Degrading permafrost can alter ecosystems, damage infrastructure, and release enough carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) to influence global climate. The permafrost carbon feedback (PCF) is the amplification of surface warming due to CO2 and CH4 emissions from thawing permafrost. An analysis of available estimates PCF strength and timing indicate 120 ± 85 Gt of carbon emissions from thawing permafrost by 2100. This is equivalent to 5.7 ± 4.0% of total anthropogenic emissions for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) representative concentration pathway (RCP) 8.5 scenario and would increase global temperatures by 0.29 ± 0.21 °C or 7.8 ± 5.7%. For RCP4.5, the scenario closest to the 2 °C warming target for the climate change treaty, the range of cumulative emissions in 2100 from thawing permafrost decreases to between 27 and 100 Gt C with temperature increases between 0.05 and 0.15 °C, but the relative fraction of permafrost to total emissions increases to between 3% and 11%. Any substantial warming results in a committed, long-term carbon release from thawing permafrost with 60% of emissions occurring after 2100, indicating that not accounting for permafrost emissions risks overshooting the 2 °C warming target. Climate projections in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), and any emissions targets based on those projections, do not adequately account for emissions from thawing permafrost and the effects of the PCF on global climate. We recommend the IPCC commission a special assessment focusing on the PCF and its impact on global climate to supplement the AR5 in support of treaty negotiation.

  2. Assessment of three mitigation techniques for permafrost protection

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jørgensen, Anders Stuhr

    The presence of permafrost is an important aspect in civil engineering in arctic regions. The construction of engineering structures, such as road and airfield embankments, will change the thermal regime of the ground, and may lead to permafrost degradation under or adjacent to such structures. T......). The results showed that the use of a reflective surface (white paint) will reduce the thickness of the active layer and avoid permafrost degradation underneath the embankment. This should promote the interest in the development and use of light-colored asphalt pavement materials....

  3. Cryopegs as destabilization factor of intra-permafrost gas hydrates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chuvilin, Evgeny; Bukhanov, Boris; Istomin, Vladimir

    2016-04-01

    A characteristic feature of permafrost soils in the Arctic is widespread intra-permafrost unfrozen brine lenses - cryopegs. They are often found in permafrost horizons in the north part of Western Siberia, in particular, on the Yamal Peninsula. Cryopegs depths in permafrost zone can be tens and hundreds of meters from the top of frozen strata. The chemical composition of natural cryopegs is close to sea waters, but is characterized by high mineralization. They have a sodium-chloride primary composition with a minor amount of sulphate. Mineralization of cryopegs brine is often hundreds of grams per liter, and the temperature is around -6…-8 °C. The formation of cryopegs in permafrost is associated with processes of long-term freezing of sediments and cryogenic concentration of salts and salt solutions in local areas. The cryopegs' formation can take place in the course of permafrost evolution at the sea transgressions and regressions during freezing of saline sea sediments. Very important feature of cryopegs in permafrost is their transformation in the process of changing temperature and pressure conditions. As a result, the salinity and chemical composition are changed and in addition the cryopegs' location can be changed during their migration. The cryopegs migration violates the thermodynamic conditions of existence intra-permafrost gas hydrate formations, especially the relic gas hydrates deposits, which are situated in the shallow permafrost up to 100 meters depth in a metastable state [1]. The interaction cryopegs with gas hydrates accumulations can cause decomposition of intra-permafrost hydrates. Moreover, the increasing of salt and unfrozen water content in sedimentary rocks sharply reduce the efficiency of gas hydrates self-preservation in frozen soils. It is confirmed by experimental investigations of interaction of frozen gas hydrate bearing sediments with salt solutions [2]. So, horizons with elevated pressure can appear, as a result of gas hydrate

  4. Improving permafrost distribution modelling using feature selection algorithms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deluigi, Nicola; Lambiel, Christophe; Kanevski, Mikhail

    2016-04-01

    The availability of an increasing number of spatial data on the occurrence of mountain permafrost allows the employment of machine learning (ML) classification algorithms for modelling the distribution of the phenomenon. One of the major problems when dealing with high-dimensional dataset is the number of input features (variables) involved. Application of ML classification algorithms to this large number of variables leads to the risk of overfitting, with the consequence of a poor generalization/prediction. For this reason, applying feature selection (FS) techniques helps simplifying the amount of factors required and improves the knowledge on adopted features and their relation with the studied phenomenon. Moreover, taking away irrelevant or redundant variables from the dataset effectively improves the quality of the ML prediction. This research deals with a comparative analysis of permafrost distribution models supported by FS variable importance assessment. The input dataset (dimension = 20-25, 10 m spatial resolution) was constructed using landcover maps, climate data and DEM derived variables (altitude, aspect, slope, terrain curvature, solar radiation, etc.). It was completed with permafrost evidences (geophysical and thermal data and rock glacier inventories) that serve as training permafrost data. Used FS algorithms informed about variables that appeared less statistically important for permafrost presence/absence. Three different algorithms were compared: Information Gain (IG), Correlation-based Feature Selection (CFS) and Random Forest (RF). IG is a filter technique that evaluates the worth of a predictor by measuring the information gain with respect to the permafrost presence/absence. Conversely, CFS is a wrapper technique that evaluates the worth of a subset of predictors by considering the individual predictive ability of each variable along with the degree of redundancy between them. Finally, RF is a ML algorithm that performs FS as part of its

  5. GAPHAZ: improving knowledge management of glacier and permafrost hazards and risks in mountains

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huggel, Christian; Burn, Chris; Clague, John J.; Hewitt, Ken; Kääb, Andreas; Krautblatter, Michael; Kargel, Jeffrey S.; Reynolds, John; Sokratov, Sergey

    2014-05-01

    -researched and monitored regions to the more extensive and diverse regions needs to be addressed.. Standards are required to ensure an adequate level of quality and to avoid incorrect assessments with potentially adverse consequences, as experiences in the past have shown. Concepts and terminologies related to hazard and risk assessments must follow recently issued consensus statements, such as those of UN-ISDR and IPCC. Hazard assessments must be undertaken routinely and regularly, combined with appropriate ground-based and remote sensing monitoring. Assessments need to adequately consider the physical processes and their interactions. Integrative risk assessments should be achieved by interdisciplinary cooperation. There is still a lack of integration of physical/engineering and social aspects of glacier and permafrost hazards; therefore communication and exchange between natural and social science experts must be strengthened. In the design and implementation of risk reduction and adaptation measures, a close collaboration among scientists, policy makers, and local populations is necessary. Recognizing different perceptions of risks among actors are particularly important if risk reduction efforts are to be successful. Measures should generally be adapted to the local social, cultural, economic, political, and institutional context. Early warning systems are becoming increasingly important, and a growing number of experiences are available also for high-mountain environments. A systematic analysis and exchange of experiences using dedicated expert networks will be fostered by GAPHAZ in collaboration with other initiatives and actors.

  6. Discovery of a novel methanogen prevalent in thawing permafrost.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mondav, Rhiannon; Woodcroft, Ben J; Kim, Eun-Hae; McCalley, Carmody K; Hodgkins, Suzanne B; Crill, Patrick M; Chanton, Jeffrey; Hurst, Gregory B; VerBerkmoes, Nathan C; Saleska, Scott R; Hugenholtz, Philip; Rich, Virginia I; Tyson, Gene W

    2014-01-01

    Thawing permafrost promotes microbial degradation of cryo-sequestered and new carbon leading to the biogenic production of methane, creating a positive feedback to climate change. Here we determine microbial community composition along a permafrost thaw gradient in northern Sweden. Partially thawed sites were frequently dominated by a single archaeal phylotype, Candidatus 'Methanoflorens stordalenmirensis' gen. nov. sp. nov., belonging to the uncultivated lineage 'Rice Cluster II' (Candidatus 'Methanoflorentaceae' fam. nov.). Metagenomic sequencing led to the recovery of its near-complete genome, revealing the genes necessary for hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis. These genes are highly expressed and methane carbon isotope data are consistent with hydrogenotrophic production of methane in the partially thawed site. In addition to permafrost wetlands, 'Methanoflorentaceae' are widespread in high methane-flux habitats suggesting that this lineage is both prevalent and a major contributor to global methane production. In thawing permafrost, Candidatus 'M. stordalenmirensis' appears to be a key mediator of methane-based positive feedback to climate warming.

  7. Biogeochemistry: Long-term effects of permafrost thaw

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zona, Donatella

    2016-09-01

    Carbon emissions from the Arctic tundra could increase drastically as global warming thaws permafrost. Clues now obtained about the long-term effects of such thawing on carbon dioxide emissions highlight the need for more data.

  8. Changing Permafrost in the Arctic and its Global Effects in the 21st Century (PAGE21): A very large international and integrated project to measure the impact of permafrost degradation on the climate system

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lantuit, Hugues; Boike, Julia; Dahms, Melanie; Hubberten, Hans-Wolfgang

    2013-04-01

    The northern permafrost region contains approximately 50% of the estimated global below-ground organic carbon pool and more than twice as much as is contained in the current atmos-pheric carbon pool. The sheer size of this carbon pool, together with the large amplitude of predicted arctic climate change im-plies that there is a high potential for global-scale feedbacks from arctic climate change if these carbon reservoirs are desta-bilized. Nonetheless, significant gaps exist in our current state of knowledge that prevent us from producing accurate assess-ments of the vulnerability of the arctic permafrost to climate change, or of the implications of future climate change for global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Specifically: • Our understanding of the physical and biogeochemical processes at play in permafrost areas is still insuffi-cient in some key aspects • Size estimates for the high latitude continental carbon and nitrogen stocks vary widely between regions and research groups. • The representation of permafrost-related processes in global climate models still tends to be rudimentary, and is one reason for the frequently poor perform-ances of climate models at high latitudes. The key objectives of PAGE21 are: • to improve our understanding of the processes affect-ing the size of the arctic permafrost carbon and nitro-gen pools through detailed field studies and monitor-ing, in order to quantify their size and their vulnerability to climate change, • to produce, assemble and assess high-quality datasets in order to develop and evaluate representations of permafrost and related processes in global models, • to improve these models accordingly, • to use these models to reduce the uncertainties in feed-backs from arctic permafrost to global change, thereby providing the means to assess the feasibility of stabili-zation scenarios, and • to ensure widespread dissemination of our results in order to provide direct input into the ongoing debate on

  9. Can Plant Community Turnover Mitigate Permafrost Thaw Feedbacks to the Climate System?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hough, M.; Garnello, A.; Finnell, D.; Palace, M. W.; Rich, V. I.; Saleska, S. R.

    2014-12-01

    In many parts of the Arctic, permafrost thaw due to rising temperatures results in the conversion of dry tundra to wetland bog and fen ecosystems. Such increases in anaerobic environments may have substantial feedbacks to the rate of climate change through the increased production of CH4, a greenhouse gas an order of magnitude more potent than the CO2 respired from aerobic soils. However, the total emission rates of CH4 and CO2 alone cannot predict the magnitude of feedback to the climate system since this will also depend on the ecosystem's overall carbon balance and the source of carbon (new vs old) producing the emissions. Thus, building detailed carbon budgets is essential to understanding the potential climate feedbacks of habitat changes due to permafrost thaw. We studied above-ground plant biomass and its carbon content in order to calculate the inputs of new carbon to the soil along a permafrost thaw gradient with previously well-quantified CO2 and CH4 fluxes in northern Sweden. In order to account for within-season plant community turnover, we monitored plant percent cover over the course of a growing season in three communities: areas underlain by permafrost dominated by E. vaginatum, and E. nigrum, recently thawed sphagnum dominated areas, and more established E. angustifolium dominated fen communities. Additionally, we calculated end of season biomass and percent carbon for each species and compared our findings to previously published community composition assessments from 1972/1973 and 2000. We tied our ground-based measurements to aerial remote sensing images to extrapolate biomass and percent carbon across the mire based on community type. These results allow us to calculate total carbon inputs to the mire from new above-ground biomass. By coupling these measurements with flux rates from each habitat we will be able to assess the degree to which increased biomass production might offset the increase in CH4 released from soils as a result of plant

  10. Assessing Silicate Weathering in Permafrost-Dominated Catchments Using Lithium Isotopes: The Lena River, Siberia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Murphy, M. J.; Pogge von Strandmann, P.; Porcelli, D.; Katchinoff, J. A.; Moreras Martí, A.; Hirst, C. A.; Andersson, P. S.; Maximov, T. C.

    2015-12-01

    Rising global temperatures have the potential to influence the Earth's climate feedback cycles due to permafrost thawing, altering the freshwater input and trace metal and carbon fluxes into the ocean and atmosphere. Riverine lithium isotope ratios (d7Li) are a tracer of silicate weathering processes, which are key in the removal of atmospheric CO2 over geological timescales. Despite this, little is known about the effects of permafrost thawing on d7Li variations. Strong seasonal changes in the thawed active layer thickness dictate surficial water flow paths, which may influence intra-annual riverine d7Li signatures. We present a study of the dissolved d7Li from the large permafrost-dominated watersheds of the Lena River (Siberia), which drain into the Arctic Ocean. This work comprises a temporal study during the May 2015 spring flood, from ice breakup through peak flooding, thus monitoring changes in water-rock and water-soil interaction, both processes that control weathering and hence Li isotopes. Before riverine ice started to break up, high [Li] are observed as the river signature is governed by winter base flow conditions. As the river ice breaks up, surface runoff flows over the impermeable permafrost, interacting with leaf litter, diluting the [Li]. We compare d7Li over the spring flood period with a greater spatial study conducted over two summer field seasons (2012/2013) of the main Lena River channel and its tributaries, which drain a variety of lithologies/topographies. During the summer, the thawed active layer promotes deeper water flow paths, greater water-rock interaction and enhanced secondary minerals formation which preferentially take up 6Li. Summer riverine d7Li typically fall between +14.5 ‰ to +28.5 ‰, with rivers draining the Central Siberian Plateau typically exhibiting high [Li], but similar δ7Li to rivers draining the Verkhoyansk Mountain Range. Overall, this study demonstrates how Li isotopes respond to weathering in a permafrost

  11. The VULCAN Project: Toward a better understanding of the vulnerability of soil organic matter to climate change in permafrost ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Plaza, C.; Schuur, E.; Maestre, F. T.

    2015-12-01

    Despite much recent research, high uncertainty persists concerning the extent to which global warming influences the rate of permafrost soil organic matter loss and how this affects the functioning of permafrost ecosystems and the net transfer of C to the atmosphere. This uncertainty continues, at least in part, because the processes that protect soil organic matter from decomposition and stabilize fresh plant-derived organic materials entering the soil are largely unknown. The objective of the VULCAN (VULnerability of soil organic CArboN to climate change in permafrost and dryland ecosystems) project is to gain a deeper insight into these processes, especially at the molecular level, and to explore potential implications in terms of permafrost ecosystem functioning and feedback to climate change. We will capitalize on a globally unique ecosystem warming experiment in Alaska, the C in Permafrost Experimental Heating Research (CiPEHR) project, which is monitoring soil temperature and moisture, thaw depth, water table depth, plant productivity, phenology, and nutrient status, and soil CO2 and CH4 fluxes. Soil samples have been collected from the CiPEHR experiment from strategic depths, depending on thaw depth, and allow us to examine effects related to freeze/thaw, waterlogging, and organic matter relocation along the soil profile. We will use physical fractionation methods to separate soil organic matter pools characterized by different preservation mechanisms of aggregation and mineral interaction. We will determine organic C and total N content, transformation rates, turnovers, ages, and structural composition of soil organic matter fractions by elemental analysis, stable and radioactive isotope techniques, and nuclear magnetic resonance tools. Acknowledgements: This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 654132. Web site: http://vulcan.comule.com

  12. Response of middle-taiga permafrost landscapes of Central Siberia to global warming in the late 20th and early 21st centuries

    Science.gov (United States)

    Medvedkov, Alexey A.

    2016-11-01

    In this paper, regional features of a climatogenic response of the middle-taiga permafrost landscapes of Central Siberia, as well as corresponding transformations of the exodynamic processes, are considered. Lithological-geomorphologic and landscape- geocryological data are analyzed with large amounts of actual data and results of monitoring surveys. Specific features of an ecotone localization of middle-taiga permafrost landscapes and their typical physiognomic characteristics are described. A comprehensive investigation of representative key sites makes it possible to discover the response of different types of permafrost landscapes to regional climate warming. A rapid increase in the active layer depth, slower creep, transformations of the moving kurums, intensive solifluction, and a local replacement of solifluction by landslides-earthflows are revealed within ecotone landscapes of the cryolithozone.

  13. NORPERM, the Norwegian Permafrost Database - a TSP NORWAY IPY legacy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Juliussen, H.; Christiansen, H. H.; Strand, G. S.; Iversen, S.; Midttømme, K.; Rønning, J. S.

    2010-10-01

    NORPERM, the Norwegian Permafrost Database, was developed at the Geological Survey of Norway during the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2009 as the main data legacy of the IPY research project Permafrost Observatory Project: A Contribution to the Thermal State of Permafrost in Norway and Svalbard (TSP NORWAY). Its structural and technical design is described in this paper along with the ground temperature data infrastructure in Norway and Svalbard, focussing on the TSP NORWAY permafrost observatory installations in the North Scandinavian Permafrost Observatory and Nordenskiöld Land Permafrost Observatory, being the primary data providers of NORPERM. Further developments of the database, possibly towards a regional database for the Nordic area, are also discussed. The purpose of NORPERM is to store ground temperature data safely and in a standard format for use in future research. The IPY data policy of open, free, full and timely release of IPY data is followed, and the borehole metadata description follows the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) standard. NORPERM is purely a temperature database, and the data is stored in a relation database management system and made publically available online through a map-based graphical user interface. The datasets include temperature time series from various depths in boreholes and from the air, snow cover, ground-surface or upper ground layer recorded by miniature temperature data-loggers, and temperature profiles with depth in boreholes obtained by occasional manual logging. All the temperature data from the TSP NORWAY research project is included in the database, totalling 32 temperature time series from boreholes, 98 time series of micrometeorological temperature conditions, and 6 temperature depth profiles obtained by manual logging in boreholes. The database content will gradually increase as data from previous and future projects are added. Links to near real-time permafrost temperatures, obtained

  14. Permafrost degradation risk zone assessment using simulation models

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. P. Daanen

    2011-11-01

    Full Text Available In this proof-of-concept study we focus on linking large scale climate and permafrost simulations to small scale engineering projects by bridging the gap between climate and permafrost sciences on the one hand and on the other technical recommendation for adaptation of planned infrastructures to climate change in a region generally underlain by permafrost. We present the current and future state of permafrost in Greenland as modelled numerically with the GIPL model driven by HIRHAM climate projections up to 2080. We develop a concept called Permafrost Thaw Potential (PTP, defined as the potential active layer increase due to climate warming and surface alterations. PTP is then used in a simple risk assessment procedure useful for engineering applications. The modelling shows that climate warming will result in continuing wide-spread permafrost warming and degradation in Greenland, in agreement with present observations. We provide examples of application of the risk zone assessment approach for the two towns of Sisimiut and Ilulissat, both classified with high PTP.

  15. Climatic change and permafrost. Record from surficial deposits

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carter, L. David

    1990-01-01

    The physical and chemical characteristics of surficial deposits and the floral and faunal remains they contain provide information that is useful for interpreting both paleoclimatic and past permafrost conditions. Surficial deposits thus provide a record of climatic change and permafrost history. This record suggests that initiation of permafrost in lowland areas of the Southern Arctic Archipelago and continents of the northern hemisphere may have occurred about 2,400,000 years ago during the pronounced cooling that led to the first major glaciation of late Cenozoic time. Since then, climate has been relatively cold but cyclically variable, characterized by the growth and shrinkage of large, continental ice sheets. Permafrost has expanded and contracted in response to these climatic changes, and we can expect the present permafrost conditions to change in response to future climatic changes. To predict the response of permafrost and the landscape to future climatic change we should: (1) Define relations between climate and the modern landscape; (2) establish long-term records of past climatic change and landscape response; and (3) determine the paleoenvironments of past warm periods as possible analogs for future global warming.

  16. The state of permafrost surrounding "Gabriel de Castilla" Spanish Antarctic Station (Deception Island, Antarctica): Studying the possible degradation due to the infrastructures heating effect.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Recio, Cayetana; Ángel de Pablo, MIguel; Ramos, MIguel; Molina, Antonio

    2015-04-01

    Permafrost degradation is one of the effects of the global warming. Many studies reveal the increase of active layer and reduction on permafrost table thickness, also in Antarctica. However, these trends on permafrost can be accelerated by the human activities, as the heating produced by the Antarctic stations infrastructures when they are not properly isolated from the ground. In Deception island, South Shetland Archipelago, we started 3 years ago a monitoring program at the 26 years old "Gabriel de Castilla" Spanish Antarctic Station (SAS), It is focused on charactering the state of permafrost, since in the coastal scarps at tens of meters from the station an increase on erosion had been detected. Although the main cause of the erosion of this coastal volcanoclastic materials is the 2 meters thick icefield which forms during the winter in the inner sea of this volcanic island, we want to detect any possible contribution to the coastal erosion caused by the permafrost degradation related to the SAS presence. We present our preliminary analysis based on three years of continuous ground temperature data, monitored at a shallow borehole (70 cm deep) in the SAS edge, together with the active layer thickness measured around the station and their vicinities in two thawing seasons. We complete this study with the analysis of the continuous temperature data taken inside the SAS and the air and ground temperatures below the station, acquired during the last Antarctic Campaign (December 2014-February 2015). These preliminary results are fundamental 1) to discard any contribution from the SAS presence, and to help to improve its thermal isolation, 2) to help improve our knowledge about the thermal state of permafrost in the area, and 3) to help to understand the causes of the coastal erosion in the volcanic Deception Island.

  17. The research station "Vaskiny Dachi", Central Yamal, West Siberia, Russia – a review of 25 years of permafrost studies

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marina O. Leibman

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available The research station "Vaskiny Dachi" on the Yamal Peninsula was established in 1988. Activities aimed at monitoring of permafrost and related environmental features under a relatively low level of nature disturbances caused by gas field development. Cryogenic processes that may affect the environment and their structures have been of primary interest. Landslides are the most common cryogenic processes in Central Yamal in general and also in the proximity of the station. Field surveys of numerous landslides, analysis of their dependence on climatic parameters and their fluctuations resulted in novel classification of cryogenic landslides based on mechanisms of their development. Dating by radiocarbon and dendrochronology allows the separation of cycles of landslide activation. Cryogenic landslides control the development of other processes, such as thermal erosion, river channel erosion and thermokarst. It also affects topography, vegetation pattern, geochemistry of vegetation, ground water and soils. As a result, permafrost parameters, specifically active layer depth and ground temperature, moisture and ice content in the active layer, depend indirectly on landsliding. Monitoring within the framework of the main programs of the International Permafrost Association, such as Circumarctic Active Layer Monitoring (CALM, since 1993 and Thermal State of Permafrost (TSP, since 2011, play an important role among the research activities. From the collected data one can conclude that ground temperature increased on average by about 1 °C since the 1990s. At the same time, active layer fluctuations do not exactly follow the air temperature changes. Spatial changes in ground temperature are controlled by the redistribution of snow which is resulting from strong winds characteristic for tundra environments and the highly dissected relief of Central Yamal. Temporal variations rather depend on air temperature fluctuations but the rate differs in various

  18. Permafrost in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska: a case for a holistic and integrated view of permafrost degradation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herman-Mercer, N. M.; Schuster, P. F.; Laituri, M.; Elder, K.; Mutter, E. A.; Massey, M.; Matkin, E.; Toohey, R.

    2016-12-01

    The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (YKD) region of Alaska is a vast, marshy, lowland plain, underlain by discontinuous permafrost vulnerable to degradation. This region has been home to the Yup'ik and Cup'ik people, subsisting on local resources for centuries. Permafrost thaw in northern latitudes has become the focus of extensive scientific research in recent decades. However, the indigenous residents that live in these areas of degrading permafrost have been largely left out of scientific discussion and studies. More than fifty semi-structured interviews were conducted in four YKD communities. Interview questions were focused on the broad themes of seasonality of subsistence systems and observations of weather and landscape change. Responses revealed the myriad ways people interact with and observe permafrost in their day to day lives. For instance, permafrost is still utilized for food storage, people encounter permafrost when digging graves, and observe permafrost thaw in damage to their homes and other infrastructure in their communities. Yup'ik and Cup'ik residents have an intimate knowledge of the landscape owing to their subsistence based lifestyle and have reported observations of slumping ground, eroding river banks and coast lines as well as land that seems to be rising. Indigenous knowledge and observations complement broader scientific studies and should be used to inform permafrost research and assist in reconstructing historical baselines of permafrost distribution and active layer depth. Further, results of scientific research must be communicated to the people that may be impacted by present and future changes to permafrost that will likely result in changes to hydrologic flowpaths and ultimately ecosystem dynamics that may impact subsistence. Over millennia, northern indigenous communities have developed flexibility in resource harvesting and have exhibited adaptability to a variable and harsh environment. However, changes are being experienced at an

  19. A model of the methane cycle, permafrost, and hydrology of the Siberian continental margin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Archer, D.

    2015-05-01

    A two-dimensional model of a sediment column, with Darcy fluid flow, biological and thermal methane production, and permafrost and methane hydrate formation, is subjected to glacial-interglacial cycles in sea level, alternately exposing the continental shelf to the cold atmosphere during glacial times and immersing it in the ocean in interglacial times. The glacial cycles are followed by a "long-tail" 100 kyr warming due to fossil fuel combustion. The salinity of the sediment column in the interior of the shelf can be decreased by hydrological forcing to depths well below sea level when the sediment is exposed to the atmosphere. There is no analogous advective seawater-injecting mechanism upon resubmergence, only slower diffusive mechanisms. This hydrological ratchet is consistent with the existence of freshwater beneath the sea floor on continental shelves around the world, left over from the last glacial period. The salt content of the sediment column affects the relative proportions of the solid and fluid H2O-containing phases, but in the permafrost zone the salinity in the pore fluid brine is a function of temperature only, controlled by equilibrium with ice. Ice can tolerate a higher salinity in the pore fluid than methane hydrate can at low pressure and temperature, excluding methane hydrate from thermodynamic stability in the permafrost zone. The implication is that any methane hydrate existing today will be insulated from anthropogenic climate change by hundreds of meters of sediment, resulting in a response time of thousands of years. The strongest impact of the glacial-interglacial cycles on the atmospheric methane flux is due to bubbles dissolving in the ocean when sea level is high. When sea level is low and the sediment surface is exposed to the atmosphere, the atmospheric flux is sensitive to whether permafrost inhibits bubble migration in the model. If it does, the atmospheric flux is highest during the glaciating, sea level regression (soil

  20. Assessment of the thermal and dynamic reaction scenarios of different permafrost typologies in the European Alps: A PermaNET initiative

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kellerer-Pirklbauer, A.

    2009-04-01

    High altitude and high latitude regions are generally recognized as being particularly sensitive to the effects of the ongoing climate change. A large part of permafrost in the European Alps for instance is at or close to melting conditions and is therefore very sensitive to degradation caused by atmospheric warming. Knowledge regarding permafrost distribution and its climatologically driven dynamics in the entire European Alps is still far from being complete. The new European Union co-funded project "PermaNET - Permafrost long-term monitoring network" (launched in July 2008) attempts to close some of these major gaps in permafrost knowledge (www.permanet-alpinespace.eu). One work package of PermaNET focuses on the assessment of the relationship between permafrost and climate change. In it, one action is concerned with the assessment of the thermal and dynamic reaction scenarios of different permafrost typologies in the European Alps. Research in this action is focussing on the relationship between measured climate data and observed permafrost reaction using available datasets collected during the last decades in the European Alps. Such datasets include ground temperature measurements (at the surface and in boreholes), rock glacier displacements or observations on mass movement events that were initiated in permafrost environments (e.g. rock falls). These established relationships in combination with calculated data from climate scenario modelling will form the basis for model simulations and estimations regarding changes in permafrost distribution (vertically and horizontally), in the active layer thickness, in the rates of rock glacier displacement, etc. Study sites for this action are located in Austria (Mt. Sonnblick, Central Schober Mountains, Dösen Valley, Mt. Hochreichart, Schrank Cirque), in Italy (Cime Bianche Pass, Matterhorn SW ridge, Valtournenche, Aosta Valley Region, Val di Genova and Val d'Amola in the Adamello-Presanella Group), in Switzerland

  1. Past climate changes and permafrost depth at the Lake El'gygytgyn site: implications from data and thermal modelling

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. Mottaghy

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available We present results of numerical simulations of the temperature field of the subsurface around and beneath the crater Lake El'gygytgyn in NE Russia, which is subject of an interdisciplinary drilling campaign within the International Continental Drilling Program (ICDP. This study focuses on determining the permafrost depth and the transition between talik and permafrost regimes, both, under steady-state and transient conditions of past climate changes. Thermal properties of the subsurface are deduced from measurements on three representative core samples taken from the quaternary sediments and the underlying impact rock. Further information is derived from the available geophysical logs and literature data. The temperature data from the lake borehole ICDP site 5011-1 down to 400 m depth below lake bottom are dominated by thermal perturbations related to the drilling process, and thus only give reliable values for the lowermost value in the borehole. Undisturbed temperature data recorded over more than two years in the 140 m deep land-based borehole ICDP site 5011-3 allow to determine the mean annual ground surface temperature (GST, as well as its history (GSTH to a certain extent. Although the borehole's depth is by far not sufficient for a complete reconstruction of past temperatures back to the last glacial maximum (LGM, the temperature data and our modelling results show that there is still an influence of the LGM on the thermal regime, and thus on the permafrost depth. Whereas the latter result is obtained from the deeper part of the temperature profile, the rather strong curvature of the temperature data in shallower depths around 30 m can be explained by a comparatively large amplitude of the Little Ice Age (LIA, with a subsequently persistent cool period. Other mechanisms like varying porosity may also have an influence on the temperature profile, however, our modelling studies imply a major contribution from recent climate changes.

  2. The Nitrogen Inventory of the Yedoma Permafrost Domain

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strauss, J.; Abbott, B. W.; Biasi, C.; Grosse, G.; Horn, M. A.; Liebner, S.; Sanders, T.; Schirrmeister, L.; Schneider von Deimling, T.; Wetterich, S.; Winkel, M.; Zubrzycki, S.

    2016-12-01

    Fossil organic matter (OM) stored in permafrost is an important subject in climate research. Such OM represents a huge reservoir of carbon (C). Multiple studies suggest its source potential for C release into the active C cycle through permafrost thaw and subsequent microbial turnover in a warming Arctic. However, net ecosystem OM balance in the permafrost region depends on more than just carbon. The abundance and availability of nitrogen (N) following permafrost thaw will influence plant growth, nutrient delivery to aquatic and estuarine ecosystems, and N oxide (N2O) emissions. Despite its central importance to predicting permafrost impacts and feedbacks to climate change, relatively little is known about permafrost N stocks and composition. In this study, we present the most extensive dataset to date of permafrost N in the Siberian and Alaskan Yedoma domain. The Yedoma domain comprises decameter thick ice-rich silts intersected by syngenetic ice wedges, which formed in late Pleistocene tundra-steppe environments, as well as other deposits resulting from permafrost degradation during the Holocene. Together, the deposits in this region constitute a large C inventory storing several hundred Gt C, but are also known to be nutrient-rich due to rapid burial and freezing of plant remains. Hitherto, the total organic C pool of the Yedoma region was quantified, while the total N inventory is lacking so far. Based on the most comprehensive data set of N content in permafrost to date, our study aims to estimate the present pool of N stored in the different stratigraphic units of the Yedoma domain: 1) late Pleistocene Yedoma deposits, 2) in-situ thawed and diagenetically altered Yedoma deposits (taberite), 3) Holocene thermokarst deposits, 4) Holocene cover deposits on top of Yedoma, and 5) the modern active layer of soils. To quantify measurement uncertainty, we estimated nitrogen stocks with bootstrapping techniques. We show that the deposits of the Yedoma region store a

  3. Quantifying uncertainties of permafrost carbon–climate feedbacks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. J. Burke

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available The land surface models JULES (Joint UK Land Environment Simulator, two versions and ORCHIDEE-MICT (Organizing Carbon and Hydrology in Dynamic Ecosystems, each with a revised representation of permafrost carbon, were coupled to the Integrated Model Of Global Effects of climatic aNomalies (IMOGEN intermediate-complexity climate and ocean carbon uptake model. IMOGEN calculates atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2 and local monthly surface climate for a given emission scenario with the land–atmosphere CO2 flux exchange from either JULES or ORCHIDEE-MICT. These simulations include feedbacks associated with permafrost carbon changes in a warming world. Both IMOGEN–JULES and IMOGEN–ORCHIDEE-MICT were forced by historical and three alternative future-CO2-emission scenarios. Those simulations were performed for different climate sensitivities and regional climate change patterns based on 22 different Earth system models (ESMs used for CMIP3 (phase 3 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, allowing us to explore climate uncertainties in the context of permafrost carbon–climate feedbacks. Three future emission scenarios consistent with three representative concentration pathways were used: RCP2.6, RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. Paired simulations with and without frozen carbon processes were required to quantify the impact of the permafrost carbon feedback on climate change. The additional warming from the permafrost carbon feedback is between 0.2 and 12 % of the change in the global mean temperature (ΔT by the year 2100 and 0.5 and 17 % of ΔT by 2300, with these ranges reflecting differences in land surface models, climate models and emissions pathway. As a percentage of ΔT, the permafrost carbon feedback has a greater impact on the low-emissions scenario (RCP2.6 than on the higher-emissions scenarios, suggesting that permafrost carbon should be taken into account when evaluating scenarios of heavy mitigation and stabilization

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Terrestrial Permafrost Models of Martian Habitats and Inhabitants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilichinsky, D.

    2011-12-01

    The terrestrial permafrost is the only rich depository of viable ancient microorganisms on Earth, and can be used as a bridge to possible Martian life forms and shallow subsurface habitats where the probability of finding life is highest. Since there is a place for water, the requisite condition for life, the analogous models are more or less realistic. If life ever existed on Mars, traces might have been preserved and could be found at depth within permafrost. The age of the terrestrial isolates corresponds to the longevity of the frozen state of the embedding strata, with the oldest known dating back to the late Pliocene in Arctic and late Miocene in Antarctica. Permafrost on Earth and Mars vary in age, from a few million years on Earth to a few billion years on Mars. Such a difference in time scale would have a significant impact on the possibility of preserving life on Mars, which is why the longevity of life forms preserved within terrestrial permafrost can only be an approximate model for Mars. 1. A number of studies indicate that the Antarctic cryosphere began to develop on the Eocene-Oligocene boundary, after the isolation of the continent. Permafrost degradation is only possible if mean annual ground temperature, -28°C now, rise above freezing, i.e., a significant warming to above 25°C is required. There is no evidence of such sharp temperature increase, which indicates that the climate and geological history was favorable to persistence of pre-Pliocene permafrost. These oldest relics (~30Myr) are possibly to be found at high hypsometric levels of ice-free areas (Dry Valleys and nearby mountains). It is desirable to test the layers for the presence of viable cells. The limiting age, if one exists, within this ancient permafrost, where the viable organisms were no longer present, could be established as the limit for life preservation below 0oC. Positive results will extend the known temporal limits of life in permafrost. 2. Even in this case, the age of

  7. Seismic Spatial Autocorrelation as a Technique to Track Changes in the Permafrost Active Layer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abbott, R. E.

    2013-12-01

    We present preliminary results from an effort to continuously track freezing and thawing of the permafrost active layer using a small-aperture seismic array. The 7-element array of three-component posthole seismometers is installed on permafrost at Poker Flat Research Range, near Fairbanks, Alaska. The array is configured in two three-station circles with 75 and 25 meter radii that share a common center station. This configuration is designed to resolve omnidirectional, high-frequency seismic microtremor (i.e. ambient noise). Microtremor is continuously monitored and the data are processed using the spatial autocorrelation (SPAC) method. The resulting SPAC coefficients are then inverted for shear-wave velocity structure versus depth. Thawed active-layer soils have a much slower seismic velocity than frozen soils, allowing us to track the depth and intensity of thawing. Persistent monitoring on a permanent array would allow for a way to investigate year-to-year changes without costly site visits. Results from the seismic array will compared to, and correlated with, other measurement techniques, such as physical probing and remote sensing methods. Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory managed and operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000.

  8. Methane dynamics regulated by microbial community response to permafrost thaw.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCalley, Carmody K; Woodcroft, Ben J; Hodgkins, Suzanne B; Wehr, Richard A; Kim, Eun-Hae; Mondav, Rhiannon; Crill, Patrick M; Chanton, Jeffrey P; Rich, Virginia I; Tyson, Gene W; Saleska, Scott R

    2014-10-23

    Permafrost contains about 50% of the global soil carbon. It is thought that the thawing of permafrost can lead to a loss of soil carbon in the form of methane and carbon dioxide emissions. The magnitude of the resulting positive climate feedback of such greenhouse gas emissions is still unknown and may to a large extent depend on the poorly understood role of microbial community composition in regulating the metabolic processes that drive such ecosystem-scale greenhouse gas fluxes. Here we show that changes in vegetation and increasing methane emissions with permafrost thaw are associated with a switch from hydrogenotrophic to partly acetoclastic methanogenesis, resulting in a large shift in the δ(13)C signature (10-15‰) of emitted methane. We used a natural landscape gradient of permafrost thaw in northern Sweden as a model to investigate the role of microbial communities in regulating methane cycling, and to test whether a knowledge of community dynamics could improve predictions of carbon emissions under loss of permafrost. Abundance of the methanogen Candidatus 'Methanoflorens stordalenmirensis' is a key predictor of the shifts in methane isotopes, which in turn predicts the proportions of carbon emitted as methane and as carbon dioxide, an important factor for simulating the climate feedback associated with permafrost thaw in global models. By showing that the abundance of key microbial lineages can be used to predict atmospherically relevant patterns in methane isotopes and the proportion of carbon metabolized to methane during permafrost thaw, we establish a basis for scaling changing microbial communities to ecosystem isotope dynamics. Our findings indicate that microbial ecology may be important in ecosystem-scale responses to global change.

  9. Exploring Viral Mediated Carbon Cycling in Thawing Permafrost Microbial Communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trubl, G. G.; Solonenko, N.; Moreno, M.; Sullivan, M. B.; Rich, V. I.

    2014-12-01

    Viruses are the most abundant biological entities on Earth and their impact on carbon cycling in permafrost habitats is poorly understood. Arctic C cycling is particularly important to interpret due to the rapid climate change occurring and the large amount of C stockpiled there (~1/3 of global soil C is stored in permafrost). Viruses of microbes (i.e. phages) play central roles in C cycling in the oceans, through cellular lysis (phage drive the largest ocean C flux about 150 Gt yr-1, dwarfing all others by >5-fold), production of associated DOC, as well as transport and expression during infection (1029 transduction events day-1). C cycling in thawing permafrost systems is critical in understanding the climate trajectory and phages may be as important for C cycling here as they are in the ocean. The thawed C may become a food source for microbes, producing CO2 and potentially CH4, both potent greenhouse gases. To address the potential role of phage in C cycling in these dynamic systems, we are examining phage from an arctic permafrost thaw gradient in northern Sweden. We have developed a protocol for successfully extracting phage from peat soils and are quantifying phage in 15 peat and 2 lake sediment cores, with the goal of sequencing viromes. Preliminary data suggest that phage are present at 109 g-1 across the permafrost thaw gradient (compared to the typical marine count ~105 ml-1), implying a potentially robust phage-host interaction web in these changing environments. We are examining phage from 11 depth intervals (covering the active and permafrost layer) in the cores to assess phage-host community dynamics. Phage morphology and abundance for each layer and environment are being determined using qTEM and EFM. Understanding the phage that infect bacteria and archaea in these rapidly changing habitats will provide insight into the controls on current and future CH4 and CO2 emissions in permafrost habitats.

  10. Long-term active-layer dynamics: results of 22 years of field observations in Northern Hemisphere permafrost regions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shiklomanov, N. I.; Nelson, F. E.; Streletskiy, D. A.; Klene, A. E.; Biskaborn, B. K.

    2016-12-01

    The uppermost layer of seasonal thawing above permafrost (the active layer) is an important regulator of energy and mass fluxes between the surface and the atmosphere in the polar regions. Active layer monitoring is an important component of efforts to assess the effects of global change in permafrost environments. The Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) program, established in the early 1990s, is designed to observe temporal and spatial variability of the active layer and its response to changes and variations in climatic conditions. The CALM network is an integral part of the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P), operating under the auspices of the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) /Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). Standardized thaw depth observations in the Northern Hemisphere are available for more than 200 GTN-P/CALM sites in the Northern Hemisphere. At each of the sites spatially distributed ALT measurements have been conducted annually by mechanical probing. The locations of sites represent generalized surface and subsurface conditions characteristic of broader regions. The data are assimilated and distributed though the CALM (www.gwu.edu/ calm) and GTN-P (gtnpdatabase.org) online databases. In this presentation we use data from approximately 20 years of continuous observations to examine temporal trends in active-layer thickness for several representative Arctic regions. Results indicate substantial interannual fluctuations in active-layer thickness, primarily in response to variations in air temperature. Decadal trends in ALT vary by region. A progressive increase in ALT has been observed in the Nordic countries, the Russian European North, West Siberia, East Siberia, the Russian Far East, and the Interior of Alaska. North American Arctic sites show no apparent thaw depth trend over 22-years of record. However, combined active layer, ground temperature and heave/subsidence observations conducted in northern Alaska

  11. Extraction of Water from Lunar Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ethridge, Edwin C.; Kaukler, William

    2009-01-01

    Remote sensing indicates the presence of hydrogen rich regions associated with the lunar poles. The logical hypothesis is that there is cryogenically trapped water ice located in craters at the lunar poles. Some of the craters have been in permanent darkness for a billion years. The presence of water at the poles as well as other scientific advantages of a polar base, have influenced NASA plans for the lunar outpost. The lunar outpost has water and oxygen requirements on the order of 1 ton per year scaling up to as much as 5 tons per year. Microwave heating of the frozen permafrost has unique advantages for water extraction. Proof of principle experiments have successfully demonstrated that microwaves will couple to the cryogenic soil in a vacuum and the sublimed water vapor can be successfully captured on a cold trap. Dielectric property measurements of lunar soil simulant have been measured. Microwave absorption and attenuation in lunar soil simulant has been correlated with measured dielectric properties. Future work will be discussed.

  12. Permafrost in Qinghai Province:Characterization and impact on transportation construction

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    JianHong Fang; AnHua Xu

    2013-01-01

    Through a long-term summary of highway construction in the permafrost regions of Qinghai Province, the formation conditions and distribution characteristics of permafrost and their impact on transportation construction are analyzed. Research achievements on the stability of highways and urgent technical problems in the transportation construction in permafrost regions are discussed, and new development directions of highway construction in permafrost regions of Qinghai Province are introduced to provide cold regions engineering researchers with valuable references.

  13. Warming permafrost and active layer variability at Cime Bianche, Western Alps

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    P. Pogliotti

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available The objective of this paper is to provide a first synthesis on the state and recent evolution of permafrost at the monitoring site of Cime Bianche (3100 m a.s.l.. The analysis is based on seven years of ground temperatures observations in two boreholes and seven surface points. The analysis aims to quantify the spatial and temporal variability of ground surface temperatures in relation to snow cover, the small scale spatial variability of the active layer thickness and the warming trends on deep permafrost temperatures. Results show that the heterogeneity of snow cover thickness, both in space and time, is the main factor controlling ground surface temperatures and leads to a mean range of spatial variability (2.5±0.15°C which far exceeds the mean range of observed inter-annual variability (1.6±0.12°C. The active layer thickness measured in two boreholes 30 m apart, shows a mean difference of 2.03±0.15 m with the active layer of one borehole consistently lower. As revealed by temperature analysis and geophysical soundings, such a difference is mainly driven by the ice/water content in the sub-surface and not by the snow cover regimes. The analysis of deep temperature time series reveals that permafrost is warming. The detected linear trends are statistically significant starting from depth below 8 m, span the range 0.1–0.01°C year−1 and decrease exponentially with depth. Our findings are discussed in the context of the existing literature.

  14. Microbial Carbon Cycling in Permafrost-Affected Soils

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Vishnivetskaya, T. [University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK); Liebner, Susanne [University of Tromso, Norway; Wilhelm, Ronald [McGill University, Montreal, Quebec; Wagner, Dirk [Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Potsdam, Germany

    2011-01-01

    The Arctic plays a key role in Earth s climate system as global warming is predicted to be most pronounced at high latitudes and because one third of the global carbon pool is stored in ecosystems of the northern latitudes. In order to improve our understanding of the present and future carbon dynamics in climate sensitive permafrost ecosystems, present studies concentrate on investigations of microbial controls of greenhouse gas fluxes, on the activity and structure of the involved microbial communities, and on their response to changing environmental conditions. Permafrost-affected soils can function as both a source and a sink for carbon dioxide and methane. Under anaerobic conditions, caused by flooding of the active layer and the effect of backwater above the permafrost table, the mineralization of organic matter can only be realized stepwise by specialized microorganisms. Important intermediates of the organic matter decomposition are hydrogen, carbon dioxide and acetate, which can be further reduced to methane by methanogenic archaea. Evolution of methane fluxes across the subsurface/atmosphere boundary will thereby strongly depend on the activity of anaerobic methanogenic archaea and obligately aerobic methane oxidizing proteobacteria, which are known to be abundant and to significantly reduce methane emissions in permafrost-affected soils. Therefore current studies on methane-cycling microorganisms are the object of particular attention in permafrost studies, because of their key role in the Arctic methane cycle and consequently of their significance for the global methane budget.

  15. Organic and organo-mineral colloids in discontinuous permafrost zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pokrovsky, Oleg S.; Manasypov, Rinat M.; Loiko, Sergey V.; Shirokova, Liudmila S.

    2016-09-01

    On-going permafrost thaw in discontinuous permafrost regions produces significant amounts of small permafrost subsidence and depressions, while large lakes are likely to drain into streams and rivers. The intensification of permafrost thaw may alter the size distribution and chemical composition of organo-Fe-Al colloids in lakes and rivers. We used a continuum of surface water bodies, from permafrost subsidence, small depressions and thaw ponds to large lakes and rivers that drain the Western Siberia Lowland (WSL), to assess OC, major and the trace element size distribution between the 20-μm, 5-μm, 1.2-μm, 0.45-μm, 0.22-μm, 0.025-μm and 1-kDa (∼1.4 nm) size fractions. This approach allowed us to distinguish the organic and organo-ferric colloids that were responsible for the transport of trace elements in surface waters and address their evolution during possible physico-chemical and biological processes. Both conventionally dissolved (alkaline earth elements and several micronutrients (Zn, Ba, Mn, and Ni), decreased the degree of their binding to DOM along the landscape continuum, whereas the majority of insoluble TEs (Al, Fe, Co, Cd, Cu, Pb, REEs, Th, and U) remained complexed with DOM in the LMWsoil to rivers will increase.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    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.

    2015-01-01

    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 multidisc

  17. Permafrost and infrastructure in the Usa Basin (Northeast European Russia) : Possible impacts of global warming

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mazhitova, G.; Karstkarel, N.; Oberman, N.; Romanovsky, V.; Kuhry, P.

    2004-01-01

    The relationship between permafrost conditions and the distribution of infrastructure in the Usa Basin, Northeast European Russia, is analyzed. About 75% of the Basin is underlain by permafrost terrain with various degrees of continuity (isolated patches to continuous permafrost). The region has a h

  18. Muon Tomography of Ice-filled Cleft Systems in Steep Bedrock Permafrost: A Proposal

    CERN Document Server

    Ihl, Matthias

    2010-01-01

    In this note, we propose a novel application of geoparticle physics, namely using a muon tomograph to study ice-filled cleft systems in steep bedrock permafrost. This research could significantly improve our understanding of high alpine permafrost in general and climate-permafrost induced rockfall in particular.

  19. Automatic testing system design and data analysis of permafrost temperature in Qinghai-Tibet Railway

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    尚迎春; 齐红元

    2008-01-01

    Aimed at the characteristics of permafrost temperature influencing the safety of Qinghai-Tibet Railway and its on-line testing system, comparing the achievement of permafrost study nationwide with those worldwide, an automatic testing system of permafrost temperature, containing a master computer and some slave computers, was designed. By choosing high-precise thermistors as temperature sensor, designing and positioning the depth and interval of testing sections, testing, keeping and sending permafrost temperature data at time over slave computers, and receiving, processing and analyzing the data of collecting permafrost temperature over master computer, the change of the permafrost temperature can be described and analyzed, which can provide information for permafrost railway engineering design. Moreover, by taking permafrost temperature testing in a certain section of Qinghai-Tibet Railway as an instance, the collected data of permafrost temperature were analyzed, and the effect of permafrost behavior was depicted under the railway, as well as, a BP model was set up to predict the permafrost characteristics. This testing system will provide information timely about the change of the permafrost to support the safety operation in Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

  20. Mapping of permafrost surface and active layer properties using GPR: a comparison of frequency dependencies

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Gacitua, Guisella; Uribe, José Andrés; Tamstorf, Mikkel Peter

    2011-01-01

    Ground penetrating radar (GPR) was used to detect internal features and conditions in the active layer of Zackenberg valley in North-East Greenland. For about 16 years there has been a monitoring programme that registers the physical and biological processes in the ecosystem.We aim to improve...... the monitoring accuracy of the active layer development and estimated soil water content. We used two different GPR frequencies to study their performance in High-Arctic cryoturbated soils. Here we present the analysis of the signal received by quantifying the power of the signal that is reflected from the top...... are suitable to measure thickness and to detect features in the active layer, the 400 MHz gives a better impression of the influence of the dielectric contrast effect from top of the permafrost zone which can be used to quantify the soil water content....

  1. Variability in the sensitivity among model simulations of permafrost and carbon dynamics in the permafrost region between 1960 and 2009

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGuire, A. David; Koven, Charles; Lawrence, David M.; Clein, Joy S.; Xia, Jiangyang; Beer, Christian; Burke, Eleanor; Chen, Guangsheng; Chen, Xiaodong; Delire, Christine; Jafarov, Elchin; MacDougall, Andrew H.; Marchenko, Sergey; Nicolsky, Dmitry; Peng, Shushi; Rinke, Annette; Saito, Kazuyuki; Zhang, Wenxin; Alkama, Ramdane; Bohn, Theodore J.; Ciais, Philippe; Decharme, Bertrand; Ekici, Altug; Gouttevin, Isabelle; Hajima, Tomohiro; Hayes, Daniel J.; Ji, Duoying; Krinner, Gerhard; Lettenmaier, Dennis P.; Luo, Yiqi; Miller, Paul A.; Moore, John C.; Romanovsky, Vladimir; Schädel, Christina; Schaefer, Kevin; Schuur, Edward A. G.; Smith, Benjamin; Sueyoshi, Tetsuo; Zhuang, Qianlai

    2016-07-01

    A significant portion of the large amount of carbon (C) currently stored in soils of the permafrost region in the Northern Hemisphere has the potential to be emitted as the greenhouse gases CO2 and CH4 under a warmer climate. In this study we evaluated the variability in the sensitivity of permafrost and C in recent decades among land surface model simulations over the permafrost region between 1960 and 2009. The 15 model simulations all predict a loss of near-surface permafrost (within 3 m) area over the region, but there are large differences in the magnitude of the simulated rates of loss among the models (0.2 to 58.8 × 103 km2 yr-1). Sensitivity simulations indicated that changes in air temperature largely explained changes in permafrost area, although interactions among changes in other environmental variables also played a role. All of the models indicate that both vegetation and soil C storage together have increased by 156 to 954 Tg C yr-1 between 1960 and 2009 over the permafrost region even though model analyses indicate that warming alone would decrease soil C storage. Increases in gross primary production (GPP) largely explain the simulated increases in vegetation and soil C. The sensitivity of GPP to increases in atmospheric CO2 was the dominant cause of increases in GPP across the models, but comparison of simulated GPP trends across the 1982-2009 period with that of a global GPP data set indicates that all of the models overestimate the trend in GPP. Disturbance also appears to be an important factor affecting C storage, as models that consider disturbance had lower increases in C storage than models that did not consider disturbance. To improve the modeling of C in the permafrost region, there is the need for the modeling community to standardize structural representation of permafrost and carbon dynamics among models that are used to evaluate the permafrost C feedback and for the modeling and observational communities to jointly develop data sets

  2. Imaging of subducted lithosphere beneath South America

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Engdahl, E.R.; Hilst, R.D. van der; Berrocal, J.

    1995-01-01

    Tomographic images are produced for the deep structure of the Andean subduction zone beneath western South America. The data used in the imaging are the delay times of P, pP and pwP phases from relocated teleseismic earthquakes in the region. Regionally, structural features larger than about 150 km

  3. Permafrost and geotechnical investigations in Nalaikh Depression of Mongolia

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Dashjamts Dalai; Batsaikhan Anand; Dugersuren Enkhbaatar

    2015-01-01

    Mongolia is a land-locked country in Central Asia, located between Russia and China. The country's high altitude results in cold, dry, and harsh climatic conditions with permafrost being widespread through the territory. Although the capital city Ulaanbaatar is situated in an area with discontinuous permafrost, the downtown section has recently seen a disappearance of permafrost due to an underground central heating system. During the last decade, expansion of the suburbs toward the Nalaikh Depression has resulted in construction of a new residential complex (Urgakh Naran), construction materials trading center, cement factory and agricultural products market. In the next 10 years, projects such as a university campus, logistics center, residential complex, railway and highway extensions connecting Russia and China have been planned. Engineer-ing-geological and geotechnical investigations have been conducted for these construction projects. This paper presents some of the results determining the engineering geocryological conditions of Nalaikh district and offers foundation design options.

  4. Transpiration response of boreal forest plants to permafrost thaw

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cable, J.; Ogle, K.; Welker, J. M.

    2011-12-01

    Shifts in the rate and patterns of evapotranspiration with permafrost thaw, vegetation change, and altered climatic conditions are unknown in boreal systems. Specifically, the response of transpiration is not well understood but critical to quantify given its non-linear response to climate. We asked: what is the effect of permafrost thaw on the transpiration dynamics of sub-Arctic boreal plants? We utilized a Bayesian analysis approach to quantify the responses of plants located in areas with and without stable permafrost to current and antecedent vapor pressure deficit, soil moisture, soil temperature, and the prior year's soil temperature. We measured stomatal conductance (gs) on six species of plants over two summers. For the analysis, the plants were grouped into three functional types: deciduous shrubs, evergreen sub-shrubs, and black spruce trees. The model we constructed includes a VPD (current and antecedent) sensitivity term modeled as a function of soil moisture (current and antecedent), and a "base" gs term modeled as a function of current soil temperature (at different depths), thaw depth, and the prior growing season's soil temperature (for each month, May - September). Current VPD was more important early in the growing season, but antecedent VPD was more important later in the growing season. The memory of gs for antecedent VPD was ~ three weeks in the past. The daily trends were less resolved for the site with degrading permafrost. Deeper thaw resulted in higher sensitivity to VPD and higher gs, particularly at the site with stable permafrost. Deciduous shrubs showed the strongest effect. At the site with thawing permafrost, soil water positively affected the sensitivity of gs to VPD for the deciduous shrubs but had a negative effect on black spruce. Current soil moisture was important early in the growing season but antecedent moisture was important at the end. The site with thawing permafrost had a longer memory (two weeks) for antecedent moisture

  5. Permafrost thawing from different technical systems in Arctic regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Filimonov, M.; Vaganova, N.

    2017-06-01

    A new three-dimensional model of thermal interaction in a “heat source-and-soil” system is proposed to study the process of permafrost degradation from various engineering facilities operating in the Arctic regions, taking into account a number of physical and climatic factors that affect the heat distribution. On the base of the proposed model, a software complex was developed to predict long-term dynamics of permafrost thawing in the upper layer of soil, and this approach was used in the design of 11 northern Russian oil and gas fields and is in a good agreement with numerical rezults and experimental data. Numerical calculations are presented for illustration the possibility of carrying out long-term forecasts for the determination of permafrost zone defrosting during operation of production wells in northern oil and gas field.

  6. The convection cooling system of the Yakutsk permafrost seed repository

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Vladimir N.Panin; Georgii P.Kuzmin

    2014-01-01

    Temperature is critical to maintaining seed viability under long term storage conditions. It has been common practice to use refrigeration systems to maintain required storage temperatures. A seed repository constructed in permafrost in Ya kutsk, Russia is the first seed storage facility that relies solely on natural cold. This paper describes the design and per formance of the cooling system of the repository. An innovative aspect of the cooling system is that it utilizes the patterns of temperature wave propagation in permafrost. Predicted and measured ground temperatures for the first year of operation are presented and analyzed. Results indicate that convection air cooling systems can be used to control the temperature regime in underground facilities in permafrost.

  7. 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.

  8. Towards a Global Permafrost Electrical Resistivity Survey (GPERS) database

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lewkowicz, Antoni G.; Douglas, Thomas; Hauck, Christian

    2017-04-01

    Hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) surveys have been undertaken over the past two decades in permafrost areas in North America, Europe, and Asia. Two main types of ERT configurations have been conducted: galvanic surveys using metallic rods as conductors and capacitive-coupled surveys using towed cable arrays. ERT surveys have been carried out in regions with mountain permafrost, lowland permafrost, and coastal saline permafrost, and in undisturbed, naturally-disturbed (e.g. fire-affected), and anthropogenically-affected sites (e.g. around buildings and infrastructure). Some surveys are associated with local validation of frozen ground conditions, through borehole temperatures, frost probing or creep phenomena. Others are in locations without boreholes or with clast-rich or bedrock active layers which preclude this direct confirmation. Most surveys have been carried out individually on particular dates but there are increasing numbers of repeated ERT measurements being made to detect change, either at intervals using a fixed array of electrodes, or at high frequency with a fixed and automated measurement apparatus. Taken as a group, ERT profiles represent an untapped knowledge base relating to permafrost presence, absence, or partial presence (i.e. discontinuous permafrost), and in some cases to the thickness of permafrost and ice content. When combined with borehole information, ERT measurements can identify massive ice features and provides information on soil stratigraphy. The Global Permafrost Electrical Resistivity Survey (GPERS) database is planned as a freely available on-line repository of data from two-dimensional electrical resistivity surveys undertaken in permafrost regions. Its development is supported by the Permafrost Carbon Network and an application for an International Permafrost Association (IPA) Action Group is also underway. When the future GPERS records are compared with the GTN-P database it will be

  9. New observations indicate the possible presence of permafrost in North Africa (Djebel Toubkal, High Atlas, Morocco)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vieira, Gonçalo; Mora, Carla; Faleh, Ali

    2017-07-01

    Relict and present-day periglacial features have been reported in the literature for the upper reaches of the High Atlas mountains, which is the highest range in North Africa (Djebel Toubkal - 4167 m a.s.l.). A lobate feature in the Irhzer Ikhibi south at 3800 m a.s.l. has been previously interpreted as an active rock glacier, but no measurements of ground or air temperatures are known to exist for the area. In order to assess the possible presence of permafrost, we analyse data from June 2015 to June 2016 from two air temperature measurement sites at 2370 and 3210 m a.s.l. and from four ground surface temperature (GST) sites at 3220, 3815, 3980 and 4160 m a.s.l. to characterize conditions along an altitudinal gradient along the Oued Ihghyghaye valley to the summit of the Djebel Toubkal. GSTs were collected at 1 h intervals, and the presence of snow cover at the monitoring sites was validated using Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2 imagery. Two field visits allowed for logger installation and collection and for assessing the geomorphological features in the area. The results show that snow plays a major role on the thermal regime of the shallow ground, inducing important spatial variability. The lowest site at 3220 m had a thermal regime characterized by frequent freeze-thaw cycles during the cold season but with few days of snow. When snow settled, the ground surface remained isothermal at 0 °C , indicating the absence of permafrost. The highest sites at 3980 and 4160 m a.s.l. showed very frequent freeze-thaw cycles and a small influence of the snow cover on GST, reflecting the lack of snow accumulation due to the wind-exposed settings on a ridge and on the summit plateau. The site located at 3815 m in the Irhzer Ikhibi south valley had a cold, stable thermal regime with GST varying from -4.5 to -6 °C from December to March, under a continuous snow cover. The site's location in a concave setting favours wind-driven snow accumulation and lower incoming solar radiation due

  10. 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.; 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, Susan 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.

  11. Permafrost in Space: first results of experiment "EXOBIOFROST"

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spirina, Elena; Rivkina, Elizaveta; Shmakova, Lubov; Mironov, Vasiliy; Shatilovich, Anastasiya

    Experiment "EXOBIOFROST" was conducted as part of BION-M project of Russian Space Agency. We investigated a response of microbial complexes, including the pure cultures of microorganisms isolated from permafrost and the initial permafrost samples of different origin and age on space conditions. Duration of experiment was 1 month, from April, 19 to May, 19, 2013. All samples were investigated before and after the space flight. For the experiment we selected five samples of permafrost soil from Kolyma-Indigirka Lowland and Antarctica, and also the cultures of microorganisms: Exiguobacterium sibiricum - gram negative bacteria; Colpoda Steinii and Exocolpoda augustini — ciliates, and two strains of Acanthamoeba castelliane. Studies have revealed differences in structure and composition of microbial communities in control and in post-flight samples. All Arctic samples were characterized by a significant, 3-5 orders of magnitude, increase in the number of microorganisms compared to the control samples. However, there is a marked reduction in the amount of extracted DNA in post-flight permafrost samples. Post-flight analysis of ciliates, Colpoda Steinii and Exocolpoda augustini, revealed that 70-97% of cysts are damaged. In general, the primary post-flight analysis and a comparison with the control samples showed that the modern tundra colpoda more resistant to space conditions than they from the ancient permafrost sediments and strain of Colpoda steinii more resistant than the strain Exocolpoda augustini. Post-flight analysis of Acanthamoeba castelliane showed presence of viable cysts capable of excystation. Thus, we can conclude that the experiment "EXOBIOFROST" conducted in open space on the apparatus BION-M №1 does not prove fatal to permafrost microorganisms.

  12. Soil organic matter mineralization of permafrost peat lands and sensitivity to temperature and lack of oxygen

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lamprecht, Richard E.; Diáková, Kateřina; Voigt, Carolina; Šantrůčková, Hana; Martikainen, Pertti; Biasi, Christina

    2017-04-01

    Globally, a significant pool of soil organic carbon (SOC) (Tarnocai et al. 2009) is stored in arctic peatlands where extensive permafrost prevents the decomposition of old soil organic matter (SOM). Vulnerability of ancient organic depositions in changing environment becomes a considerable issue in future climate models. Palsa mires, a typical cryogenic peatland type in subarctic tundra, are not only an important SOC pool but also have been reported as a source of nitrous oxide (N2O) (Marushchak et al. 2011). Microbial SOM mineralization and its sensitivity to changing environmental conditions are crucial to understand future C losses and greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes in this abundant landform of subarctic region. The purpose of this experiment was to determine potential SOM mineralization in different layers of deep soil cores from an Arctic peatland. First, we aimed to define a response of C losses and GHG exchange rates to temperature and aerobic/anaerobic conditions in different peat layers down to the permafrost and beyond. Secondly, we sought for relations among SOM mineralization, nutrient availability and parameters of indigenous microbial community. Finally, we attempted to link the potential SOM mineralization of the different peat layers with surface GHG fluxes from a proceeding study conducted with the same, intact soil cores. Five deep peat soil cores were separated into five layers (0 20, 20 40, 40 60 cm, permafrost interface and permafrost layer). Homogenized peat was incubated in a factorial set-up of three temperatures (4, 10, and 16 °C) under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. At the beginning and the end of the total 5.5-months incubation period, we determined C and N availability, microbial biomass and potential activities of extracellular enzymes. Heterotrophic respiration (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions were monitored weekly at the initial phase and biweekly later during the incubation. First results show that C-loss from

  13. Relationship between Methane Content in Siberian Permafrost and Soil Properties

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brouchkov, A.; Fukuda, M.

    2004-05-01

    Methane is one of the greenhouse gases among other gases, and it is important to identify sources of methane. Permafrost deposits in Siberia contain large amounts of methane in air bubbles, and there is a high possibility of permafrost thawing due to climatic warming. However, distribution of methane in frozen deposits is still poorly known. It should be related to soil content and properties. Therefore, present knowledge of permafrost soils collected by a number of studies can be a key to understanding of methane distribution; the subject was never discussed before. Air bubbles from frozen soil and ice were sampled at the uppermost layers of permafrost from the depth up to 5 and more m in Eastern Siberia. The major study site was located in valley of Lena River. The permafrost samples were obtained by shallow borehole drilling. Soil composition, density and water content were also measured as well as the concentration of gases in the air bubbles. Total number of air samples was about 200. Air from soils was analyzed by gas chromatograph. No certain relationship between methane concentration and depth was found. Highly concentrated methane occurs in permafrost at different depths. Ice wedges contain less methane than frozen soils in general. There no obvious tendencies between water contents and values of concentrations of both methane and carbon dioxide were found. Methane content increases in general with water content increase, and carbon dioxide content becomes lower; however, in some cases the tendency is opposite, if the concentration is high (up to 70 ppt). Data collected on ion (salt) content is limited, but methane content rises with salinization increase. Low methane content and low salinization in the same time could be connected to possible thawing of permafrost when soil could be washed. Frozen soils containing large amounts of methane and being thawed have average pH about 7-9. The more density and age of frozen soil the more methane content; it could

  14. Climate variability effects on urban recharge beneath low impact development

    Science.gov (United States)

    Newcomer, M. E.; Gurdak, J. J.

    2012-12-01

    Groundwater resources in urban and coastal environments are highly vulnerable to human pressures and climate variability and change, and many communities face water shortages and need to find alternative water supplies. Therefore, understanding how low impact development (LID) site planning and integrated/best management practices (BMPs) affect recharge rates and volumes is important because of the increasing use of LID and BMP to reduce stormwater runoff and improve surface-water quality. Often considered a secondary management benefit, many BMPs may also enhance recharge to local aquifers; however these hypothesized benefits have not been thoroughly tested or quantified. In this study, we quantify stormwater capture and recharge enhancement beneath a BMP infiltration trench of the LID research network at San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California. Stormwater capture and retention was analyzed using the SCS TR-55 curve number method and in-situ infiltration rates to assess LID storage. Recharge was quantified using vadose zone monitoring equipment, a detailed water budget analysis, and a Hydrus-2D model. Additionally, the effects of historical and predicted future precipitation on recharge rates were examined using precipitation from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamic Laboratory (GFDL) A1F1 climate scenario. Observed recharge rates beneath the infiltration trench range from 1,600 to 3,700 mm/year and are an order of magnitude greater than recharge beneath an irrigated grass lawn and a natural setting. The Hydrus-2D model results indicate increased recharge under the GFDL A1F1 scenario compared with historical and GFDL modeled 20th century rates because of the higher frequency of large precipitation events that induce runoff into the infiltration trench. However, under a simulated A1F1 El Niño year, recharge calculated by a water budget does not increase compared with current El Niño recharge rates. In comparison, simulated recharge rates were

  15. CMIP5 permafrost degradation projection:A comparison among different regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guo, Donglin; Wang, Huijun

    2016-05-01

    The considerable impact of permafrost degradation on hydrology and water resources, ecosystems, human engineering facilities, and climate change requires us to carry out more in-depth studies, at finer spatial scales, to investigate the issue. In this study, regional differences of the future permafrost changes are explored with respect to the regions (high altitude and high latitude, and in four countries) based on the surface frost index (SFI) model and multimodel and multiscenario data from the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). Results show the following: (1) Compared with seven other sets of driving data, Climatic Research Unit air temperature combined with Climate Forecast System Reanalysis snow data (CRU_CFSR) yield a permafrost extent with the least absolute area bias and was thus used in the simulation. The SFI model, driven by CRU_CFSR data climatology plus multimodel mean anomalies, produces a present-day (1986-2005) permafrost area of 15.45 × 106 km2 decade-1, which compares reasonably with observations of 15.24 × 106 km2 decade-1. (2) The high-altitude (Tibetan Plateau) permafrost area shows a larger decreasing percentage trend than the high-latitude permafrost area. This indicates that, in terms of speed, high-altitude permafrost thaw is faster than high-latitude permafrost, mainly due to the larger percentage sensitivity to rising air temperature of the high-altitude permafrost compared to the high-latitude permafrost, which is likely related to their thermal conditions. (3) Permafrost in China shows the fastest thaw, which is reflected by the percentage trend in permafrost area, followed by the United States, Russia, and Canada. These discrepancies are mainly linked to different percentage sensitivities of permafrost areas in these four countries to air temperature change. (4) In terms of the ensemble mean, permafrost areas in all regions are projected to decrease by the period 2080-2099. Under representative

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. The chemistry of river-lake systems in the context of permafrost occurrence (Mongolia, Valley of the Lakes) Part II. Spatial trends and possible sources of organic composition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Szopińska, Małgorzata; Dymerski, Tomasz; Polkowska, Żaneta; Szumińska, Danuta; Wolska, Lidia

    2016-07-01

    The chemistry of river-lake systems located in Central Mongolia near the southern border of permafrost occurrence has not been well studied. The main aim of this paper is to summarize patterns in water chemistry in supply springs, rivers and lakes in relation to permafrost occurrence, as well as other natural and anthropogenic impacts. The analyses involved water samples taken from two river-lake systems: the Baydrag River-Böön Tsagaan Lake system and the Shargalyuut/Tuyn Rivers-Orog Lake system. Total organic carbon (TOC) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were detected and quantified. Other organic compounds, such as organic halogen compounds, phthalates, and higher alkanes were also noted. The main factors which influence differences in TOC concentrations in the water bodies involve permafrost occurrence, mainly because compounds are released during active layer degradation (in the upper reach of the Tuyn river), and by intensive livestock farming in river valleys and in the vicinity of lakes. In relation to the concentrations of PAHs, high variability between samples (> 300 ng L- 1), indicates the influence of thermal water and local geology structures (e.g., volcanic and sedimentary deposits), as well as accumulation of suspended matter in lakes transported during rapid surface runoff events. The monitoring of TOC as well as individual PAHs is particularly important to future environmental studies, as they may potentially reflect the degradation of the environment. Therefore, monitoring in the Valley of the Lakes should be continued, particularly in the light of the anticipated permafrost degradation in the 21st century, in order to collect more data and be able to anticipate the response of river-lake water chemistry to changes in permafrost occurrence.

  19. 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.

  20. PYRN-Bib: The Permafrost Young Researchers Network Bibliography of Permafrost-Related Degree-Earning Theses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grosse, Guido; Lantuit, Hugues; Gärtner-Roer, Isabelle

    2010-05-01

    PYRN-Bib is an international bibliographical database aiming at collecting and distributing information on all theses submitted for earning a scientific degree in permafrost-related research. PYRN-Bib is hosted by the Permafrost Young Researchers Network (PYRN, http://pyrn.ways.org), an international network of early career students and young scientists in permafrost related research with currently more than 750 members. The fully educational, non-profit project PYRN-Bib is published under the patronage of the International Permafrost Association (IPA). The bibliography covers all theses as long as they clearly treat aspects of permafrost research from such diverse fields as: Geophysics, Geology, Cryolithology, Biology, Biogeochemistry, Microbiology, Astrobiology, Chemistry, Engineering, Geomorphology, Remote Sensing, Modeling, Mineral and Hydrocarbon Exploration, and Science History and Education. The specific goals of PYRN-Bib are (1) to generate a comprehensive database that includes all degree-earning theses (e.g. Diploma, Ph.D., Master, etc.), coming from any country and any scientific field, under the single condition that the thesis is strongly related to research on permafrost and/or periglacial processes; (2) to reference unique but buried sources of information including theses published in languages other than English; (3) to make the database widely available to the scientific community and the general public; (4) to solicit PYRN membership; and (5) to provide a mean to map the evolution of permafrost research over the last decades, including regional trends, shifts in research direction, and/or the place of permafrost research in society. PYRN-Bib is available online and maintained by PYRN. The complete bibliography can be downloaded at no cost and is offered in different file formats: tagged Endnote library, XML, BibTex, and PDF. New entries are continuously provided by PYRN members and the scientific community. PYRN-Bib currently contains more than

  1. The HOLOANTAR project: Holocene environmental change in the Maritime Antarctic. Interactions between permafrost and the lacustrine environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oliva, Marc; Vieira, Gonçalo; Mora, Carla; Trindade, Alexandre; Agrela, Joao; Batista, Vanessa; Correia, António; Schaefer, Carlos; Simas, Felipe; Ramos, Miguel; De Pablo, Miguel Angel; Toro, Manuel; Antoniades, Dermot; Galan, Luis; Giralt, Santiago; Granados, Ignacio; Pla, Sergi; Serrano, Enrique

    2013-04-01

    The objective of this abstract is to present the HOLOANTAR project, a multidisciplinary research funded by the Portuguese Government. The project integrates 16 researchers from different international institutions (Portugal, Spain, Brazil and Uruguay).. The main purpose of HOLOANTAR is to infer the palaeoenvironmental evolution and associated climate variability occurred over the last millennia in ice-free areas of the Maritime Antarctica based on the study of lake sediments. The South Shetland Islands (SSI) are located in the northwestern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, one of the Earth's regions that have experienced a stronger warming signal during the second half of the 20th century. In the ice-free areas of this archipelago the terrestrial ecosystem is supported by permafrost, though its reaction to climate change is still poorly known. However, in the recent years a very important effort took place to monitor the thermal state and characteristics of permafrost in order to study its response to the recent warming trend. Many international teams are involved on several of these long-term monitoring projects, but HOLOANTAR, in addition, pretends to offer a new integrated approach aiming to bridge the gap between contemporary and past changes in permafrost environments. HOLOANTAR project is based on two main hypotheses: a) A multi-proxy analysis of lake sediments will allow reconstructing the palaeoecological evolution in the Maritime Antarctic and the role played in it by permafrost and active layer dynamics, b) The detection of activity rates, spatial patterns and geographical controls of contemporary key-geomorphic processes and permafrost distribution, will allow defining their limiting climatic conditions that will be used to interpret the sedimentary record. This approach is innovative since it will focus on both present and past geomorphodynamics as keys for understanding the landscape evolution. In Byers Peninsula (Livingston), the largest ice-free area

  2. Searching for eukaryotic life preserved in Antarctic permafrost

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Zucconi, L.; Selbmann, L.; Buzzini, P.

    2012-01-01

    Fungi and yeasts isolated in pure culture from Antarctic permafrost collected at different depths in the McMurdo Dry Valleys were identified with cultural, physiological and molecular methods. Fungi belonged to the genera Penicillium, Eurotium, Cladosporium, Alternaria, Engyodonthium, Aureobasidi...... ancestral strains have been found on the base of metabolic profiles....

  3. Permafrost in Marine Deposits at Ilulissat Airport in Greenland, Revisited

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Foged, Niels Nielsen; Ingeman-Nielsen, Thomas

    2008-01-01

    residual salt content in the porewater. However, in the less saline top zone massive ice layers was found constituting up to 30 volume%. These formations representing a type example of saline permafrost caused the planned position of the runway to be shifted towards northwest and a removal of the layers...

  4. The Ocean Boundary Layer beneath Hurricane Frances

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dasaro, E. A.; Sanford, T. B.; Terrill, E.; Price, J.

    2006-12-01

    The upper ocean beneath the peak winds of Hurricane Frances (57 m/s) was measured using several varieties of air-deployed floats as part of CBLAST. A multilayer structure was observed as the boundary layer deepened from 20m to 120m in about 12 hours. Bubbles generated by breaking waves create a 10m thick surface layer with a density anomaly, due to the bubbles, of about 1 kg/m3. This acts to lubricate the near surface layer. A turbulent boundary layer extends beneath this to about 40 m depth. This is characterized by large turbulent eddies spanning the boundary layer. A stratified boundary layer grows beneath this reaching 120m depth. This is characterized by a gradient Richardson number of 1/4, which is maintained by strong inertial currents generated by the hurricane, and smaller turbulent eddies driven by the shear instead of the wind and waves. There is little evidence of mixing beneath this layer. Heat budgets reveal the boundary layer to be nearly one dimensional through much of the deepening, with horizontal and vertical heat advection becoming important only after the storm had passed. Turbulent kinetic energy measurements support the idea of reduced surface drag at high wind speeds. The PWP model correctly predicts the degree of mixed layer deepening if the surface drag is reduced at high wind speed. Overall, the greatest uncertainty in understanding the ocean boundary layer at these extreme wind speeds is a characterization of the near- surface processes which govern the air-sea fluxes and surface wave properties.

  5. Towards a mechanical failure model for degrading permafrost rock slopes representing changes in rock toughness and infill

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mamot, Philipp; Krautblatter, Michael; Scandroglio, Riccardo

    2016-04-01

    The climate-induced degradation of permafrost in mountain areas can reduce the stability of rock slopes. An increasing number of rockfalls and rockslides originate from permafrost-affected rock faces. Discontinuity patterns and their geometrical and mechanical properties play a decisive role in controlling rock slope stability. Under thawing conditions the shear resistance of rock reduces due to lower friction along rock-rock contacts, decreasing fracture toughness of rock-ice contacts, diminishing fracture toughness of cohesive rock bridges and altered creep or fracture of the ice itself. Compressive strength is reduced by 20 to 50 % and tensile strength decreases by 15 to 70 % when intact saturated rock thaws (KRAUTBLATTER ET AL. 2013). Elevated water pressures in fractures can lead to reduced effective normal stresses and thus to lower shear strengths of fractures. However, the impact of degrading permafrost on the mechanical properties of intact or fractured rock still remains poorly understood. In this study, we develop a new approach for modeling the influence of degrading permafrost on the stability of high mountain rock slopes. Hereby, we focus on the effect of rock- and ice-mechanical changes along striking discontinuities onto the whole rock slope. We aim at contributing to a better rock-ice mechanical process understanding of degrading permafrost rocks. For parametrisation and subsequent calibration of our model, we chose a test site (2885 m a.s.l.) close by the Zugspitze summit in Germany. It reveals i) a potential rockslide at the south face involving 10E4m³ of rock and ii) permafrost occurrence due to ice-filled caves and fractures. Here we combine kinematic, geotechnical and thermal monitoring in the field with rock-mechanical laboratory tests and a 2D numerical failure modeling. Up to date, the following results underline the potential effects of thawing rock and fracture infill on the stability of steep rock slopes in theory and praxis: i. ERT and

  6. Carbon and Nitrogen cycling in a permafrost soil profile

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salmon, V. G.; Schaedel, C.; Mack, M. C.; Schuur, E.

    2015-12-01

    In high latitude ecosystems, active layer soils thaw during the growing season and are situated on top of perennially frozen soils (permafrost). Permafrost affected soil profiles currently store a globally important pool of carbon (1330-1580 PgC) due to cold temperatures constraining the decomposition of soil organic matter. With global warming, however, seasonal thaw is expected to increase in speed and extend to deeper portions of the soil profile. As permafrost soils become part of the active layer, carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) previously stored in soil organic matter will be released via decomposition. In this experiment, the dynamic relationship between N mineralization, C mineralization, and C quality was investigated in moist acidic tundra soils. Soils from the active layer surface down through the permafrost (80cm) were incubated aerobically at 15°C for 225 days. Carbon dioxide fluxes were fit with a two pool exponential decay model so that the size and turnover of both the quickly decomposing C pool (Cfast) and the slowly decomposing C pool (Cslow) could be assessed. Soil extractions with 2M KCl were performed at six time points throughout the incubation so that dissolve inorganic N (DIN) and dissolved organic C (DOC) could be measured. DIN was readily extractable from deep permafrost soils throughout the incubation (0.05 mgN/g dry soil) but in active layer soils DIN was only produced after Cfast had been depleted. In contrast, active layer soils had high levels of DOC (0.65 mgC/g dry soil) throughout the incubation but in permafrost soils, DOC became depleted as Cfast reduced in size. The strong contrasts between the C and N cycling in active layer soils versus permafrost soils suggest that the deeper thaw will dramatically increase N availability in these soil profiles. Plants and soil microbes in the tundra are currently N limited so our findings imply that deepening thaw will 1) provide N necessary for increased plant growth and 2) stimulate losses of

  7. Growth of trees on permafrost: habitat driven response to climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bryukhanova, Marina; Fonti, Patrick; Kirdyanov, Alexander; Saurer, Matthias; Siegwolf, Rolf; Pochebit, Natalia; Sidorova, Olga; Prokushkin, Anatoly

    2013-04-01

    Global change is expected to alter boreal forest conditions with far reaching consequences for tree growth in these ecosystems. Within this study we aimed at determining which limiting factors control tree-growth on permafrost under different site conditions. A tree-ring multi-proxy characterisation of mature Larix gmelinii (Rupr.) Rupr. from a continuous permafrost zone of Siberia (Russia, 64°18' N, 100°11' E) was used to identify the physiological principle of responses related to the plant-soil system. Tree-ring width (1975-2009), carbon and oxygen stable isotopes, and xylem structural characteristics (2000-2009) indicated that an increased depth of the soil active layer favors a better exploitation of the available resources. Our study used a mechanistic description of expected soil thermo-hydrological changes associated with a detailed comparison of tree growth responses, and supplied possible scenarios of northern larch stands development under projected climate change and permafrost degradation. By using a "space for time" approach along a 100 m long transect characterized by distinct permafrost regimes combined with measurements of physiological and structural tree responses, it become possible to propose a mechanism responsible for the differing climatic-growth responses. The results obtained indicate global warming to promote large increases in tree productivity of permafrost larch stands with a shift from a cold to a water limited environment. This work was supported by the SNSF (VG IZ76Z0_141967/1, SCOPES IZ73Z0_128035) and grant form the President of the Russian Federation for young scientists 5498.2012.4.

  8. 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.

  9. Biogeochemical and suspended sediment responses to permafrost degradation in stream banks in Taylor Valley, Antarctica

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. N. Gooseff

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Stream channels in the McMurdo Dry Valleys are typically wide, incised, and stable. At typical flows, streams occupy a fraction of the oversized channels, providing habitat for algal mats. In January 2012, we discovered substantial channel erosion and subsurface thermomechanical erosion undercutting banks of Crescent Stream. We sampled stream water along the impacted reach and compared concentrations of solutes to the long-term data from this stream (~20 years of monitoring. Thermokarst-impacted stream water demonstrated higher electrical conductivity, and concentrations of chloride, sulfate, sodium, suspended sediments, and nitrate than the long-term medians. These results suggest that this mode of lateral permafrost degradation may substantially impact stream solute loads and potentially fertilize stream and lake ecosystems. The potential for sediment to scour or bury stream algal mats is yet to be determined, though it may offset impacts of associated increased nutrient loads to streams.

  10. Stabilization Techniques for Road Lower Structure and Roadbed Constructed on Permafrost Soil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vorontsov Vyacheslav

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available The perspective development of Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District, which is rich in mineral resources is impossible without creation of the road network for communication between settlements, oil and gas fields and transport hubs. Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District is characterized by complex engineering-geological conditions where different geological and geocryological phenomena and processes are being developed causing specific approaches to design and construction of engineering structures to be used. In this regard, an urgent task is to develop constructional solutions making it possible to stabilize the road lower structure and the roadbed, prolong periods between repairs on individual sections and improve operational reliability of roads in general. The paper describes the proposed and implemented constructional and technological solutions to stabilize the road lower structure and the roadbed constructed on permafrost soils. The results of two-year geotechnical monitoring of the road sections with implemented solutions are given.

  11. Active and passive seismic investigations in Alpine Permafrost at Hoher Sonnblick (Austria)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steiner, Matthias; Maierhofer, Theresa; Pfeiler, Stefan; Chwatal, Werner; Behm, Michael; Reisenhofer, Stefan; Schöner, Wolfgang; Straka, Wolfgang; Flores Orozco, Adrian

    2017-04-01

    activity from the nearby cable cars station. Results obtained from the 3D-hammer seismics and interferometry are compared and benchmarked against each other. Changes in the seismic velocities in the subsurface permitted the delineation of the active layer and improved permafrost investigation when combined with ERT monitoring. Seismic results were then interpreted together with those obtained with ERT monitoring, electromagnetic induction (EMI) and ground-penetrating radar (GPR).

  12. An observation-based constraint on permafrost loss as a function of global warming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chadburn, S. E.; Burke, E. J.; Cox, P. M.; Friedlingstein, P.; Hugelius, G.; Westermann, S.

    2017-04-01

    Permafrost, which covers 15 million km2 of the land surface, is one of the components of the Earth system that is most sensitive to warming. Loss of permafrost would radically change high-latitude hydrology and biogeochemical cycling, and could therefore provide very significant feedbacks on climate change. The latest climate models all predict warming of high-latitude soils and thus thawing of permafrost under future climate change, but with widely varying magnitudes of permafrost thaw. Here we show that in each of the models, their present-day spatial distribution of permafrost and air temperature can be used to infer the sensitivity of permafrost to future global warming. Using the same approach for the observed permafrost distribution and air temperature, we estimate a sensitivity of permafrost area loss to global mean warming at stabilization of million km2 °C-1 (1σ confidence), which is around 20% higher than previous studies. Our method facilitates an assessment for COP21 climate change targets: if the climate is stabilized at 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, we estimate that the permafrost area would eventually be reduced by over 40%. Stabilizing at 1.5 °C rather than 2 °C would save approximately 2 million km2 of permafrost.

  13. Improved Understanding of Permafrost Controls on Hydrology in Interior Alaska by Integration of Ground-Based Geophysical Permafrost Characterization and Numerical Modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-05-01

    FINAL REPORT Improved Understanding of Permafrost Controls on Hydrology in Interior Alaska by Integration of Ground-Based Geophysical...From - To) 03-2010 to 04-2015 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE Improved Understanding of Permafrost Controls on Hydrology in Interior Alaska by...interior Alaska; hence frozen ground affects water resources, ecosystem state, landscape evolution, and soil stability. Despite its hydrologic

  14. Using Sealed Wells to Measure Water Levels Beneath Streams and Floodplains.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Noorduijn, Saskia L; Cook, Peter G; Wood, Cameron; White, Nick

    2015-01-01

    The design of wells beneath streams and floodplains has often employed with tall standpipes to prevent incursion of surface water into the well during flood events. Here, an approach has been presented to minimise the infrastructure demands in these environments by sealing the well top (e.g., prevent water entering the well) and monitor the total pressure in the water column using an absolute (non-vented) pressure transducer. The sealed well design was tested using a laboratory experiment where the total pressure responses were monitored in both an unsealed and sealed well, while the water level was varied. It is observed that, whether the well is sealed or not, the total pressure at a given depth in the aquifer will be equal to that within the well. This indicates that the sealed well design is a viable alternative to tall standpipes and also facilitates installation of wells beneath streams and floodplains.

  15. The Aiguille du Midi (Mont Blanc massif): a unique high-Alpine site to study bedrock permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deline, P.; Coviello, V.; Cremonese, E.; Gruber, S.; Krautblatter, M.; Malet, S. Jaillet (1), E.; Morra di Cella, U.; Noetzli, J.; Pogliotti, P.; Verleysdonk, S.

    2009-04-01

    Permafrost and its change in steep high-Alpine rock walls remain insufficiently understood because of the difficulties of in situ measurements. A large proportion of permafrost studies is mainly based on modelling, with a few existing instrumented sites and a resulting lack of process understanding. Yet, a number of rockfalls that occurred in the last decade in the Alps are likely related to climatically-driven permafrost degradation, as indicated by ice in starting zones, increased air temperature, and modelling studies. Starting off in the framework of the French-Italian PERMAdataROC project and presently under development within the EU co-funded project PermaNET (Permafrost long-term monitoring network: www.permanet-alpinespace.eu), our investigations at the Aiguille du Midi begin in 2005. The summit (3842 m a.s.l) is accessible from Chamonix by a cable car which was built at the end of the 1950s. Half a million tourists visit the site each year. Because of its elevation, geometry, and year-round accessibility to rock slopes of diverse aspects and to galleries, the site was chosen for: - Monitoring of the thermal regime in steep rock walls. Thermistors were installed at depths of 2, 10, 30 and 55 cm, at all aspects and with slope angles in the range 60-90° (determining e.g. the presence and influence of snow). - Measurements of high altitude climatic data (air temperature and humidity, incoming and outgoing solar radiation, wind speed and direction) perpendicular to the rockwall surface, by movable automatic weather stations. Together with the rock temperature measurements, these data (see Morra et al., poster in session CR4.1) can be used for physically-based model validation (see Pogliotti et al., oral presentation in session CR4.1) or statistical models construction of rock temperature distribution and variability in the rock walls. - Making a 3D-high-resolution DEM by long-range (rock walls) and short-range (galleries) terrestrial laser scanning

  16. European Mountain Permafrost: Geothermal Change and Associated Geomorphological Impacts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harris, C.; Haeberli, W.; Gruber, S.; Kohl, T.

    2002-12-01

    Geothermal measurements are reported from six recently drilled permafrost boreholes that form a transect extending from the European Alps, through the Scandinavian mountains to Svalbard. Boreholes were drilled in frozen bedrock to depths of at least 100 m by the EU PACE Project (Permafrost and Climate in Europe). In each borehole, 30 thermistors were installed at standard increasing down-hole depth intervals. All boreholes show non-linear thermal profiles with near-surface warm-side temperature deviations from the deeper thermal gradient. A first estimate of ground temperature change is made by assuming constant bedrock properties and comparing the observed thermal profile with linear extrapolation of the deeper geothermal gradient. At 20m depth the largest permafrost temperature deviation from the extrapolated thermal gradient is +0.51°C at the most northerly location (Janssonhaugen, Svalbard). In mainland Scandinavia the deviation decreases southwards, being +0.35°C at Tarfalaryggen, Sweden and +0.29°C at Juvasshöe, Norway. In the European Alps, the steeper topography and greater influence of aspect is reflected in greater variation in thermal profiles, with 20 m warm-side deviations ranging from +0.10°C to +0.40°C. Inversion modeling offers the potential for estimating the evolution of former surface temperatures. However, a realistic parameterization of the complex three-dimensional topography at each of the drill sites is a critical component of such inversion modeling. We are presently developing this analysis by (a) numerical simulation of summits with assumed surface temperatures and (b) measuring surface temperatures around specific summits in order to calibrate our rock-wall temperature models. Permafrost is sensitive to thermal change and warming will likely lead to increased slope instability in mountain terrain. Field studies of thaw-related slope instability are hampered by the natural variability of geomorphic processes, both in space and time

  17. 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

  18. Analysis of groundwater flow beneath ice sheets

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Boulton, G. S.; Zatsepin, S.; Maillot, B. [Univ. of Edinburgh (United Kingdom). Dept. of Geology and Geophysics

    2001-03-01

    The large-scale pattern of subglacial groundwater flow beneath European ice sheets was analysed in a previous report. It was based on a two-dimensional flowline model. In this report, the analysis is extended to three dimensions by exploring the interactions between groundwater and tunnel flow. A theory is developed which suggests that the large-scale geometry of the hydraulic system beneath an ice sheet is a coupled, self-organising system. In this system the pressure distribution along tunnels is a function of discharge derived from basal meltwater delivered to tunnels by groundwater flow, and the pressure along tunnels itself sets the base pressure which determines the geometry of catchments and flow towards the tunnel. The large-scale geometry of tunnel distribution is a product of the pattern of basal meltwater production and the transmissive properties of the bed. The tunnel discharge from the ice margin of the glacier, its seasonal fluctuation and the sedimentary characteristics of eskers are largely determined by the discharge of surface meltwater which penetrates to the bed in the terminal zone. The theory explains many of the characteristics of esker systems and can account for tunnel valleys. It is concluded that the large-scale hydraulic regime beneath ice sheets is largely a consequence of groundwater/tunnel flow interactions and that it is essential similar to non-glacial hydraulic regimes. Experimental data from an Icelandic glacier, which demonstrates measured relationships between subglacial tunnel flow and groundwater flow during the transition from summer to winter seasons for a modern glacier, and which support the general conclusions of the theory is summarised in an appendix.

  19. Are assemblages of the fireworm Hermodice carunculata enhanced in sediments beneath offshore fish cages?

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Rodrigo Riera; Oscar Prez; Myriam Rodrguez; Eva Ramos; scar Monterroso

    2014-01-01

    Abundances of the fireworm Hermodice carunculata were counted through a monitoring assessment study of fish cages in Barranco Hondo (NE Tenerife). Seven campaigns were conducted from November 2007 to June 2010 and temporal variations were found, as well as differences among sampling stations. The poly-chaete H. carunculata obtained its highest abundance in sediments beneath fish cages throughout the study period. Thus, the assemblages of this omnivorous species were favoured by the presence of fish cages.

  20. Reservoir microfacies and their logging response of gas hydrate in the Qilian Mountain permafrost in Northwest China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, H.; Lu, Z.; Zhang, Y.; Sun, Z.

    2012-12-01

    The Qilian Mountain permafrost is located in the north margin of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in northwest China. The permafrost area is about 10×104 Km2, and dominated by mountain permafrost. The mean annual ground temperature is 1.5 to 2.4 centigrade and the thickness of permafrost is generally 50 to 139 m. The gas hydrate was sampled successfully in the 133-396m interval from holes DK-1, DK-2 and DK-3 and tested by microRaman spectroscopy in the hydrate laboratory of the Qingdao Institute of Marine Geology during June to September in 2009. The exploratory drilling indicated that gas hydrate and its abnormal occurrence are mainly developed 130-400 m beneath permafrost. The strata belong to the Jiangcang Formation of middle Jurassic. Based on lithology, sedimentary structure and sequence and other facies markers, reservoir microfacies of gas hydrate are identified as underwater distributary channel and interdistributary bay in delta front of delta and deep lake mudstone facies in lacustrine. The underwater distributary channel in delta front of delta is dominated by fine sandstone. It has little mudstone. The grain size generally becomes finer, and scour-filling structure, parallel bedding, cross bedding and wavy bedding develop successively from bottom to top in one phase of channel. In vertical multi-period distributary channels superimpose, forming thick sandstone, and sometimes a thin mudstone develop between two channels. The interdistributaty bay is characterized by mudstone with little siltstone and fine sandstone. The lithology column shows mudstone interbedded with thin sandstone. Horizon bedding and lenticular bedding are the main structure. The gas hydrate usually presents visible white (smoky gray when mixing with mud) ice-like lamina in fissures or invisible micro disseminated occurrence in pores of sandstone. Honeycomb pores formed by the decomposition of gas hydrate are usually found in sandstone. The deep lake is dominated by thick dark grey mudstone

  1. Gas-emission crater in Central Yamal, West Siberia, Russia, a new permafrost feature

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leibman, Marina; Kizyakov, Alexandr; Khomutov, Artem; Dvornikov, Yury; Streletskaya, Irina; Gubarkov, Anatoly

    2016-04-01

    the air temperature warming trend along with the extreme of 2012. The increased ground temperature and amount of unfrozen water in the permafrost, expanding of cryopegs, formation of a pingo-like mound and its outburst due to high pressure produced by gas hydrate decomposition within permafrost are the main controls. Similar temperature anomalies may increase in number in the future decades, presenting risks for human activities in the region. This conclusion is supported by recent studies of gas-hydrate behavior in the upper permafrost as well as by subsea processes in gas-bearing provinces where analogue mechanism is known to produce pockmarks - subsea depressions. As the crater is surrounded by the parapet, thus is resulting from expulsion of ice and rocks from beneath to the surface and should not be treated as a "sinkhole", "thermokarst" or "collapse".

  2. Searching for eukaryotic life preserved in Antarctic permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Onofri, Silvano; Zucconi, Laura; Selbmann, Laura; Ripa, Caterina; Frisvad, Jens Christian; Guglielmin, Mauro; Turchetti, Benedetta; Buzzini, Pietro

    Permafrost is defined as a soil remaining at 0 C or below throughout two or more consecutive years. Mainly present in polar areas, it occurs in all ice-free areas of Continental Antarc-tica. With the evidences of the possible presence of water ice below the surface of Mars and Moon, permafrost is now considered a possible reservoir of prokaryotic and eukaryotic spores outside the Earth. Cultivable fungi and yeasts have been isolated from Antarctic permafrost collected at different depths (233, 316 and 335 cm) in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, the largest ice-free area in Antarctica, and identified with cultural, physiological and molecular methods. Filamentous fungi belonged to the genera Penicillium, Eurotium, Cladosporium, Alternaria, Engyodonthium, Cordiceps, Rhizopus, Aureobasidium, whereas yeasts belonged to the genera Cryptococcus and Sporidiobolus. Penicillia were the most represented, and the most frequently recorded species were Penicillium palitans and P. chrysogenum. Most of the species found have been already recorded in Antarctic ecosystems as well as in other cold habitats (Onofri et al., 2007); for Eurotium amstelodami and Cryptococcus stepposus these are the first isolations in Antarctica. All the filamentous fungal isolates can be defined as mesophilic having optimal growth temperatures at 20-25 C and poor growth at 0 C after prolonged incubation. All the yeast isolates grew within a wide range of temperature (from 4 to 25 C). The molecular anal-yses based on the ITS rDNA sequences, for filamentous fungi, and on D1/D2 domain of LSU rRNA gene and ITS sequences for yeasts, revealed that these genotypes do not deviate from the global gene pool of microorganisms commonly spreading worldwide at present. Annual mean permafrost temperature (MAPT) in the sampling area was -18.8 C in 2008, with daily fluctuations lower than 1 C/day at 1 m of depth, but less 0.5 C/year at the depth of 17 m (Guglielmin pers. com.), and maximum thaw depth not exceeding 1 m

  3. Vejbygning i områder med permafrost

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jørgensen, Anders Stuhr

    2009-01-01

    Siden begyndelsen af 1990’erne er der registreret en markant stigning i den årlige middeltemperatur i Nunavik, Québec Canada. Dette har ført til en reduktion i udbredelsen af permafrost, hvilket truer stabiliteten af lufthavne og veje i området. I sommeren 2007 blev en teststrækning opført i...... Tasiujaq Lufthavn for at studere effekten af tre forskellige metoder, som skal være med til at reducere optøningen af permafrost under landingsbanen. De tre metoder, som er blevet undersøgt, er konvektionskøling (air convection embankment), varmeudtrækning (heat drain) samt et forsøg med ændring af...

  4. Microbial life beneath a high arctic glacier.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Skidmore, M L; Foght, J M; Sharp, M J

    2000-08-01

    The debris-rich basal ice layers of a high Arctic glacier were shown to contain metabolically diverse microbes that could be cultured oligotrophically at low temperatures (0.3 to 4 degrees C). These organisms included aerobic chemoheterotrophs and anaerobic nitrate reducers, sulfate reducers, and methanogens. Colonies purified from subglacial samples at 4 degrees C appeared to be predominantly psychrophilic. Aerobic chemoheterotrophs were metabolically active in unfrozen basal sediments when they were cultured at 0.3 degrees C in the dark (to simulate nearly in situ conditions), producing (14)CO(2) from radiolabeled sodium acetate with minimal organic amendment (> or =38 microM C). In contrast, no activity was observed when samples were cultured at subfreezing temperatures (glacier provides a viable habitat for life and that microbes may be widespread where the basal ice is temperate and water is present at the base of the glacier and where organic carbon from glacially overridden soils is present. Our observations raise the possibility that in situ microbial production of CO(2) and CH(4) beneath ice masses (e.g., the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets) is an important factor in carbon cycling during glacial periods. Moreover, this terrestrial environment may provide a model for viable habitats for life on Mars, since similar conditions may exist or may have existed in the basal sediments beneath the Martian north polar ice cap.

  5. A statistical permafrost distribution model for the European Alps

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. Boeckli

    2011-05-01

    Full Text Available Permafrost distribution modeling in densely populated mountain regions is an important task to support the construction of infrastructure and for the assessment of climate change effects on permafrost and related natural systems. In order to analyze permafrost distribution and evolution on an Alpine-wide scale, one consistent model for the entire domain is needed.

    We present a statistical permafrost model for the entire Alps based on rock glacier inventories and rock surface temperatures. Starting from an integrated model framework, two different sub-models were developed, one for debris covered areas (debris model and one for steep rock faces (rock model. For the debris model a generalized linear mixed-effect model (GLMM was used to predict the probability of a rock glacier being intact as opposed to relict. The model is based on the explanatory variables mean annual air temperature (MAAT, potential incoming solar radiation (PISR and the mean annual sum of precipitation (PRECIP, and achieves an excellent discrimination (area under the receiver-operating characteristic, AUROC = 0.91. Surprisingly, the probability of a rock glacier being intact is positively associated with increasing PRECIP for given MAAT and PISR conditions. The rock model was calibrated with mean annual rock surface temperatures (MARST and is based on MAAT and PISR. The linear regression achieves a root mean square error (RMSE of 1.6 °C. The final model combines the two sub-models and accounts for the different scales used for model calibration. Further steps to transfer this model into a map-based product are outlined.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Effect of permafrost properties on gas hydrate petroleum system in the Qilian Mountains, Qinghai, Northwest China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Pingkang; Zhang, Xuhui; Zhu, Youhai; Li, Bing; Huang, Xia; Pang, Shouji; Zhang, Shuai; Lu, Cheng; Xiao, Rui

    2014-12-01

    The gas hydrate petroleum system in the permafrost of the Qilian Mountains, which exists as an epigenetic hydrocarbon reservoir above a deep-seated hydrocarbon reservoir, has been dynamic since the end of the Late Pleistocene because of climate change. The permafrost limits the occurrence of gas hydrate reservoirs by changing the pressure-temperature (P-T) conditions, and it affects the migration of the underlying hydrocarbon gas because of its strong sealing ability. In this study, we reconstructed the permafrost structure of the Qilian Mountains using a combination of methods and measured methane permeability in ice-bearing sediment permafrost. A relationship between the ice saturation of permafrost and methane permeability was established, which permitted the quantitative evaluation of the sealing ability of permafrost with regard to methane migration. The test results showed that when ice saturation is >80%, methane gas can be completely sealed within the permafrost. Based on the permafrost properties and genesis of shallow gas, we suggest that a shallow "gas pool" occurred in the gas hydrate petroleum system in the Qilian Mountains. Its formation was related to a metastable gas hydrate reservoir controlled by the P-T conditions, sealing ability of the permafrost, fault system, and climatic warming. From an energy perspective, the increasing volume of the gas pool means that it will likely become a shallow gas resource available for exploitation; however, for the environment, the gas pool is an underground "time bomb" that is a potential source of greenhouse gas.

  11. Presence of rapidly degrading permafrost plateaus in south-central Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, Benjamin M.; Baughman, Carson A.; Romanovsky, Vladimir E.; Parsekian, Andrew D.; Babcock, Esther L.; Stephani, Eva; Jones, Miriam C.; Grosse, Guido; Berg, Edward E.

    2016-11-01

    Permafrost presence is determined by a complex interaction of climatic, topographic, and ecological conditions operating over long time scales. In particular, vegetation and organic layer characteristics may act to protect permafrost in regions with a mean annual air temperature (MAAT) above 0 °C. In this study, we document the presence of residual permafrost plateaus in the western Kenai Peninsula lowlands of south-central Alaska, a region with a MAAT of 1.5 ± 1 °C (1981-2010). Continuous ground temperature measurements between 16 September 2012 and 15 September 2015, using calibrated thermistor strings, documented the presence of warm permafrost (-0.04 to -0.08 °C). Field measurements (probing) on several plateau features during the fall of 2015 showed that the depth to the permafrost table averaged 1.48 m but at some locations was as shallow as 0.53 m. Late winter surveys (augering, coring, and GPR) in 2016 showed that the average seasonally frozen ground thickness was 0.45 m, overlying a talik above the permafrost table. Measured permafrost thickness ranged from 0.33 to > 6.90 m. Manual interpretation of historic aerial photography acquired in 1950 indicates that residual permafrost plateaus covered 920 ha as mapped across portions of four wetland complexes encompassing 4810 ha. However, between 1950 and ca. 2010, permafrost plateau extent decreased by 60.0 %, with lateral feature degradation accounting for 85.0 % of the reduction in area. Permafrost loss on the Kenai Peninsula is likely associated with a warming climate, wildfires that remove the protective forest and organic layer cover, groundwater flow at depth, and lateral heat transfer from wetland surface waters in the summer. Better understanding the resilience and vulnerability of ecosystem-protected permafrost is critical for mapping and predicting future permafrost extent and degradation across all permafrost regions that are currently warming. Further work should focus on reconstructing

  12. Spatial variability and landscape controls of near-surface permafrost within the Alaskan Yukon River Basin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pastick, Neal J.; Jorgenson, M. Torre; Wylie, Bruce K.; Rose, Joshua R.; Rigge, Matthew; Walvoord, Michelle A.

    2014-01-01

    The distribution of permafrost is important to understand because of permafrost's influence on high-latitude ecosystem structure and functions. Moreover, near-surface (defined here as within 1 m of the Earth's surface) permafrost is particularly susceptible to a warming climate and is generally poorly mapped at regional scales. Subsequently, our objectives were to (1) develop the first-known binary and probabilistic maps of near-surface permafrost distributions at a 30 m resolution in the Alaskan Yukon River Basin by employing decision tree models, field measurements, and remotely sensed and mapped biophysical data; (2) evaluate the relative contribution of 39 biophysical variables used in the models; and (3) assess the landscape-scale factors controlling spatial variations in permafrost extent. Areas estimated to be present and absent of near-surface permafrost occupy approximately 46% and 45% of the Alaskan Yukon River Basin, respectively; masked areas (e.g., water and developed) account for the remaining 9% of the landscape. Strong predictors of near-surface permafrost include climatic indices, land cover, topography, and Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus spectral information. Our quantitative modeling approach enabled us to generate regional near-surface permafrost maps and provide essential information for resource managers and modelers to better understand near-surface permafrost distribution and how it relates to environmental factors and conditions.

  13. Environmental selection of planktonic methanogens in permafrost thaw ponds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crevecoeur, Sophie; Vincent, Warwick F.; Lovejoy, Connie

    2016-08-01

    The warming and thermal erosion of ice-containing permafrost results in thaw ponds that are strong emitters of methane to the atmosphere. Here we examined methanogens and other Archaea, in two types of thaw ponds that are formed by the collapse of either permafrost peat mounds (palsas) or mineral soil mounds (lithalsas) in subarctic Quebec, Canada. Using high-throughput sequencing of a hypervariable region of 16S rRNA, we determined the taxonomic structure and diversity of archaeal communities in near-bottom water samples, and analyzed the mcrA gene transcripts from two sites. The ponds at all sites were well stratified, with hypoxic or anoxic bottom waters. Their archaeal communities were dominated by Euryarchaeota, specifically taxa in the methanogenic orders Methanomicrobiales and Methanosarcinales, indicating a potentially active community of planktonic methanogens. The order Methanomicrobiales accounted for most of the mcrA transcripts in the two ponds. The Archaeal communities differed significantly between the lithalsa and palsa ponds, with higher alpha diversity in the organic-rich palsa ponds, and pronounced differences in community structure. These results indicate the widespread occurrence of planktonic, methane-producing Archaea in thaw ponds, with environmental selection of taxa according to permafrost landscape type.

  14. Metagenomic analysis of permafrost microbial community response to thaw

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mackelprang, R.; Waldrop, M.P.; DeAngelis, K.M.; David, M.M.; Chavarria, K.L.; Blazewicz, S.J.; Rubin, E.M.; Jansson, J.K.

    2011-07-01

    We employed deep metagenomic sequencing to determine the impact of thaw on microbial phylogenetic and functional genes and related this data to measurements of methane emissions. Metagenomics, the direct sequencing of DNA from the environment, allows for the examination of whole biochemical pathways and associated processes, as opposed to individual pieces of the metabolic puzzle. Our metagenome analyses revealed that during transition from a frozen to a thawed state there were rapid shifts in many microbial, phylogenetic and functional gene abundances and pathways. After one week of incubation at 5°C, permafrost metagenomes converged to be more similar to each other than while they were frozen. We found that multiple genes involved in cycling of C and nitrogen shifted rapidly during thaw. We also constructed the first draft genome from a complex soil metagenome, which corresponded to a novel methanogen. Methane previously accumulated in permafrost was released during thaw and subsequently consumed by methanotrophic bacteria. Together these data point towards the importance of rapid cycling of methane and nitrogen in thawing permafrost.

  15. 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.

  16. Ephemeral skin-flows on talus affected by permafrost degradation (Corral del Veleta, Spain)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tanarro, L. M.; Palacios, D.; Zamorano, J. J.; Gómez, A.

    2009-04-01

    (gelifraction) and hillslope dynamics (rockfall activity) which affect the headwall (Gómez et al., 2003) and is formed mainly by various talus cones which are irregular in shape and stepped as the accumulated debris covers the remains of the stepped structural shelves which were not destroyed by the glacial erosion. Although the talus debris is basically made up of blocks, it is important to point out the abundant presence of fine material, produced by the weathering of the micaschist. (Castillo and Fedeli, 2002; Gómez et al., 2003). Field work carried out over the last ten years (1998-2008) has allowed observation of the triggering and formation in some years of various skin flows in different sectors of the talus, especially in the late summer of 2002 when four skin flows occurred. Within this timeframe monitoring and analysis of this kind of skin flow has been carried out. On the one hand, the description of the morphology, morphometry and sedimentology of each flow has been completed with the production of detailed geomorphological mapping and from sedimentological analysis. The geomorphological mapping has, in turn, allowed the observation of the geomorphological evolution of the flows from the time they occurred. On the other hand, a study has been made of the variables or factors which seem a priori to control the triggering of the skin flow landslips: the snow melt and the presence of permafrost in the detrital talus. The former has been monitored through photographic control of the snow cover at the end of the summer season, so that for each date analyzed a map was obtained of the snow cover, superimposing in turn the location of the skin flows at that date. A GIS processing of the different snow covers has also allowed a map to be produced with the areas of maximum summer snow cover, which was compared with the sites of the skin flow landslips. The existence of permafrost and its presence in the detrital slope has been detected through the monitoring of the ground

  17. Observations on permafrost ground thermal regimes from Antarctica and the Italian Alps, and their relevance to global climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mauro, Guglielmin

    2004-01-01

    Active-layer monitoring and the permafrost thermal regime are key indicators of climate change. The results of 3 years (1997-1999) of active-layer monitoring at one high-mountain site (La Foppa, 46°28'42″N; 10°11'18″E, 2670 m a.s.l.) and at one Antarctic site (Boulder Clay, 74°44'45″S; 164°01'17″E, 205 m a.s.l) are presented. The initial analysis of a thermal profile in a borehole (100.3 m deep) within mountain permafrost at Stelvio (3000 m a.s.l., 46°30'59″N; 10°28'35″E) is also presented. At the alpine site, the active-layer thickness variations (between 193 and 229 cm) relate to both the snow cover and to the air temperature changes. By contrast, at the Antarctic site, there is a strong direct linkage only between air temperature fluctuations and active-layer variations. At the alpine (La Foppa) site, the relationship between climate and active-layer thickness is complicated by thermal offset that is almost negligible at both the Stelvio and Antarctic sites. The permafrost temperature profile at Stelvio site contains a climate signal suitable for paleoclimate reconstruction. The permafrost at this site has a mean annual ground surface temperature (MAGST) of -1.9 °C (during 1998/1999), an active layer of about 2.5 m thick and a total thickness of ˜200 m. Analysis of the MAGST history, obtained by applying a simple heat conduction one-dimensional model, revealed the occurrence of a cold period from 1820 to 1940 followed by a warming period until 1978. Since the beginning of the 1980s, temperature dropped (less than 2 °C) until the middle 1990s, when a new period of warming started. All these climatic changes fit well with the glacial fluctuations in the area and with other paleoclimatic information derived from different proxy data.

  18. Numerical modeling of seasonally freezing ground and permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nicolsky, Dmitry J.

    2007-12-01

    This thesis represents a collection of papers on numerical modeling of permafrost and seasonally freezing ground dynamics. An important problem in numerical modeling of temperature dynamics in permafrost and seasonally freezing ground is related to parametrization of already existing models. In this thesis, a variation data assimilation technique is presented to find soil properties by minimizing the discrepancy between in-situ measured temperatures and those computed by the models. The iterative minimization starts from an initial approximation of the soil properties that are found by solving a sequence of simple subproblems. In order to compute the discrepancy, the temperature dynamics is simulated by a new implementation of the finite element method applied to the heat equation with phase change. Despite simplifications in soil physics, the presented technique was successfully applied to recover soil properties, such as thermal conductivity, soil porosity, and the unfrozen water content, at several sites in Alaska. The recovered properties are used in discussion on soil freezing/thawing and permafrost dynamics in other parts of this thesis. Another part of this thesis concerns development of a numerical thermo-mechanical model of seasonal soil freezing on the lateral scale of several meters. The presented model explains observed differential frost heave occurring in non-sorted circle ecosystems north of the Brooks Range in the Alaskan tundra. The model takes into account conservation principles for energy, linear momentum and mass of three constituents: liquid water, ice and solid particles. The conservation principles are reduced to a computationally convenient system of coupled equations for temperature, liquid water pressure, porosity, and the velocity of soil particles in a three-dimensional domain with cylindrical symmetry. Despite a simplified rheology, the model simulates the ground surface motion, temperature, and water dynamics in soil and explains

  19. Forests on thawing permafrost: fragmentation, edge effects, and net forest loss.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baltzer, Jennifer L; Veness, Tyler; Chasmer, Laura E; Sniderhan, Anastasia E; Quinton, William L

    2014-03-01

    Much of the world's boreal forest occurs on permafrost (perennially cryotic ground). As such, changes in permafrost conditions have implications for forest function and, within the zone of discontinuous permafrost (30-80% permafrost in areal extent), distribution. Here, forested peat plateaus underlain by permafrost are elevated above the surrounding permafrost-free wetlands; as permafrost thaws, ground surface subsidence leads to waterlogging at forest margins. Within the North American subarctic, recent warming has produced rapid, widespread permafrost thaw and corresponding forest loss. Although permafrost thaw-induced forest loss provides a natural analogue to deforestation occurring in more southerly locations, we know little about how fragmentation relates to subsequent permafrost thaw and forest loss or the role of changing conditions at the edges of forested plateaus. We address these knowledge gaps by (i) examining the relationship of forest loss to the degree of fragmentation in a boreal peatland in the Northwest Territories, Canada; and (ii) quantifying associated biotic and abiotic changes occurring across forest-wetland transitions and extending into the forested plateaus (i.e., edge effects). We demonstrate that the rate of forest loss correlates positively with the degree of fragmentation as quantified by perimeter to area ratio of peat plateaus (edge : area). Changes in depth of seasonal thaw, soil moisture, and effective leaf area index (LAIe ) penetrated the plateau forests by 3-15 m. Water uptake by trees was sevenfold greater in the plateau interior than at the edges with direct implications for tree radial growth. A negative relationship existed between LAIe and soil moisture, suggesting that changes in vegetation physiological function may contribute to changing edge conditions while simultaneously being affected by these changes. Enhancing our understanding of mechanisms contributing to differential rates of permafrost thaw and associated

  20. Variations in Growing-Season NDVI and Its Response to Permafrost Degradation in Northeast China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jinting Guo

    2017-04-01

    Full Text Available Permafrost is extremely sensitive to climate change. The degradation of permafrost has strong and profound effects on vegetation. The permafrost zone of northeastern China is the second largest region of permafrost in China and lies on the south edge of the Eurasian cryolithozone. This study analyzed the spatiotemporal variations of the growing-season Normalization Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI in the permafrost zone of northeastern China and analyzed the correlation between NDVI and ground surface temperatures (GST during the years 1981–2014. Mean growing-season NDVI (MGS-NDVI experienced a marked increase of 0.003 year−1 across the entire permafrost zone. The spatial dynamics of vegetation cover had a high degree of heterogeneity on a per pixel scale. The MGS-NDVI value increased significantly (5% significance level in 80.57%, and this increase was mostly distributed in permafrost zone except for the western steppe region. Only 7.72% experienced a significant decrease in NDVI, mainly in the cultivated and steppe portions. In addition, MGS-NDVI increased significantly with increasing growing-season mean ground surface temperature (GS-MGST. Our results suggest that a warming of GS-MGST (permafrost degradation in the permafrost region of northeastern China played a positive role in increasing plant growth and activities. Although increasing ground surface temperature resulted in increased vegetation cover and growth in the short time of permafrost degradation, from the long term point of view, permafrost degradation or disappearance may weaken or even hinder vegetation activities.

  1. Active convection beneath ridges: a new spin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Katz, R. F.

    2009-12-01

    The role of buoyancy-driven, "active" upwelling beneath mid-ocean ridges has been long debated [1,2,3], with the naysayers holding sway in recent years. Recent work on tomographic imaging of the sub-ridge mantle has revealed patterns in velocity variation that seem inconsistent with what we expect of passive upwelling and melting [4]. The irregular distribution, asymmetry, and off-axis locations of slow regions in tomographic results are suggestive of time-dependent convective flow. Using 2D numerical simulations of internally consistent mantle and magmatic flow plus melting/freezing [5,6], I investigate the parametric subspace in which active convection is expected to occur. For low mantle viscosities, interesting symmetry-breaking behavior is predicted. References: [1] Rabinowicz, et al., EPSL, 1984; [2] Buck & Su, GRL, 1989; [3] Scott & Stevenson, JGR, 1989; [4] Toomey et al., Nature, 2007; [5] McKenzie, J.Pet., 1984; [6] Katz, J.Pet., 2008;

  2. Assessment of permafrost distribution maps in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region using rock glaciers mapped in Google Earth

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schmid, M.O.; Baral, P.; Gruber, S.; Shahi, S.; Shrestha, T.; Stumm, D.; Wester, P.

    2015-01-01

    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 cov

  3. Estimating permafrost distribution in the maritime Southern Alps, New Zealand, based on climatic conditions at rock glacier sites

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Katrin eSattler

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available Alpine permafrost occurrence in maritime climates has received little attention, despite suggestions that permafrost may occur at lower elevations than in continental climates. To assess the spatial and altitudinal limits of permafrost in the maritime Southern Alps, we developed and tested a catchment-scale distributed permafrost estimate. We used logistic regression to identify the relationship between permafrost presence at 280 active and relict rock glacier sites and the independent variables a mean annual air temperature and b potential incoming solar radiation in snow free months. The statistical relationships were subsequently employed to calculate the spatially-distributed probability of permafrost occurrence, using a probability of ≥ 0.6 to delineate the potential permafrost extent. Our results suggest that topoclimatic conditions are favorable for permafrost occurrence in debris-mantled slopes above ~ 2000 m in the central Southern Alps and above ~ 2150 m in the more northern Kaikoura ranges. Considering the well-recognized latitudinal influence on global permafrost occurrences, these altitudinal limits are lower than the limits observed in other mountain regions. We argue that the Southern Alps’ lower distribution limits may exemplify an oceanic influence on global permafrost distribution. Reduced ice-loss due to moderate maritime summer temperature extremes may facilitate the existence of permafrost at lower altitudes than in continental regions at similar latitude. Empirical permafrost distribution models derived in continental climates may consequently be of limited applicability in maritime settings.

  4. Subduction or delamination beneath the Apennines? Evidence from regional tomography

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Koulakov, I.; Jakovlev, A.; Zabelina, I.; Roure, F.; Cloetingh, S.; El Khrepy, S.; Al-Arifi, N.

    2015-01-01

    In this study we present a new regional tomography model of the upper mantle beneath Italy and the surrounding area derived from the inversion of travel times of P and S waves from the updated International Seismological Centre (ISC) catalogue. Beneath Italy, we identify a high-velocity anomaly whic

  5. Authigenic mineral formation in fluid permeability zones in the West Siberia Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kurchatova, A. N.; Melnikov, V. P.; Rogov, V. V.; Slagoda, E. A.

    2016-06-01

    Basic chemical and mineralogical anomalies in permafrost caused by hydrocarbon migration are considered. Direct evidence for bacterial oxidation of light hydrocarbons, primarily methane, were first obtained in fluid permeability zones in the permafrost as a stepwise formation of authigenic minerals such as iron sulfides and oxides, carbonates, silicates, and gypsum.

  6. Dissolved organic carbon loss from Yedoma permafrost amplified by ice wedge thaw

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vonk, J. E.; Mann, P. J.; Dowdy, K. L.; Davydova, A.; Davydov, S. P.; Zimov, N.; Spencer, R. G. M.; Bulygina, E. B.; Eglinton, T. I.; Holmes, R. M.

    2013-01-01

    Pleistocene Yedoma permafrost contains nearly a third of all organic matter (OM) stored in circum-arctic permafrost and is characterized by the presence of massive ice wedges. Due to its rapid formation by sediment accumulation and subsequent frozen storage, Yedoma OM is relatively well preserved an

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    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.; Walter Anthony, K. M.; Wickland, K. P.

    2015-01-01

    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 st

  8. Microbes in thawing permafrost: the unknown variable in the climate change equation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Graham, David E [ORNL; Wallenstein, Matthew D [Colorado State University, Fort Collins; Vishnivetskaya, T. [University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK); Waldrop, Mark P. [U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA; Phelps, Tommy Joe [ORNL; Pfiffner, Susan M. [University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK); Onstott, T. C. [Princeton University; Whyte, Lyle [McGill University, Montreal, Quebec; Rivkina, Elizaveta [Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science, Russian Academy of Sciences; Gilichinsky, David A [Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science, Russian Academy of Sciences; Elias, Dwayne A [ORNL; Mackelprang, Rachel [U.S. Department of Energy, Joint Genome Institute; Verberkmoes, Nathan C [ORNL; Hettich, Robert {Bob} L [ORNL; Wagner, Dirk [Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Potsdam, Germany; Wullschleger, Stan D [ORNL; Jansson, Janet [Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

    2012-01-01

    Considering that 25% of Earth s terrestrial surface is underlain by permafrost (ground that has been continuously frozen for at least 2 years), our understanding of the diversity of microbial life in this extreme habitat is surprisingly limited. Taking into account the total mass of perennially frozen sediment (up to several hundred meters deep), permafrost contains a huge amount of buried, ancient organic carbon (Tarnocai et al., 2009). In addition, permafrost is warming rapidly in response to global climate change (Romanovsky et al., 2010), potentially leading to widespread thaw and a larger, seasonally thawed soil active layer. This concern has prompted the question: will permafrost thawing lead to the release of massive amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) into the atmosphere? This question can only be answered by understanding how the microbes residing in permafrost will respond to thaw, through processes such as respiration, fermentation, methanogenesis and CH4 oxidation (Schuur et al., 2009). Predicting future carbon fluxes is complicated by the diversity of permafrost environments, ranging from high mountains, southern boreal forests, frozen peatlands and Pleistocene ice complexes (yedoma) up to several hundred meters deep, which vary widely in soil composition, soil organic matter (SOM) quality, hydrology and thermal regimes (Figure 1). Permafrost degradation can occur in many forms: thaw can progress downward from seasonally-thawed active layer soils in warming climates or laterally because of changes in surface or groundwater flow paths (Grosse et al., 2011). Permafrost degradation can sometimes lead to dramatic changes in ecosystem structure and function

  9. Evaluation of the permafrost stability degradation from 1980 to 2010 in China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    YouHua Ran; Xin Li

    2016-01-01

    The degradation of permafrost stability in China over the past 30 years is evaluated using a new, high-resolution near-surface air temperature reanalysis dataset. Results show that the permafrost extent clearly decreased by 22%from 1980 to 2010, that is, a loss of 12.68×104 km2. The degradation occurred not only in the transition regions between per-mafrost and seasonally frozen ground, but also and more importantly, in the interior of the permafrost regions. The deg-radation in the interior of permafrost regions accounted for 87%of the total degraded areas. The degradation occurred mainly during the 1980s to 1990s in the northeast permafrost area and the Qilian Mountains, and during the 1990s to 2000s in most areas of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP). This degradation will have systemic impacts on engineered infra-structures in permafrost regions, the water balance, and the global carbon budget. A more robust physical model should be used to evaluate the permafrost thermal stability at finer resolution in the future.

  10. 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...

  11. 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...

  12. Methane emissions proportional to permafrost carbon thawed in Arctic lakes since the 1950s

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walter Anthony, Katey; Daanen, Ronald; Anthony, Peter; Schneider von Deimling, Thomas; Ping, Chien-Lu; Chanton, Jeffrey P.; Grosse, Guido

    2016-09-01

    Permafrost thaw exposes previously frozen soil organic matter to microbial decomposition. This process generates methane and carbon dioxide, and thereby fuels a positive feedback process that leads to further warming and thaw. Despite widespread permafrost degradation during the past ~40 years, the degree to which permafrost thaw may be contributing to a feedback between warming and thaw in recent decades is not well understood. Radiocarbon evidence of modern emissions of ancient permafrost carbon is also sparse. Here we combine radiocarbon dating of lake bubble trace-gas methane (113 measurements) and soil organic carbon (289 measurements) for lakes in Alaska, Canada, Sweden and Siberia with numerical modelling of thaw and remote sensing of thermokarst shore expansion. Methane emissions from thermokarst areas of lakes that have expanded over the past 60 years were directly proportional to the mass of soil carbon inputs to the lakes from the erosion of thawing permafrost. Radiocarbon dating indicates that methane age from lakes is nearly identical to the age of permafrost soil carbon thawing around them. Based on this evidence of landscape-scale permafrost carbon feedback, we estimate that 0.2 to 2.5 Pg permafrost carbon was released as methane and carbon dioxide in thermokarst expansion zones of pan-Arctic lakes during the past 60 years.

  13. Present and LGM permafrost from climate simulations: contribution of statistical downscaling

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G. Levavasseur

    2011-11-01

    Full Text Available We quantify the agreement between permafrost distributions from PMIP2 (Paleoclimate Modeling Intercomparison Project climate models and permafrost data. We evaluate the ability of several climate models to represent permafrost and assess the variability between their results.

    Studying a heterogeneous variable such as permafrost implies conducting analysis at a smaller spatial scale compared with climate models resolution. Our approach consists of applying statistical downscaling methods (SDMs on large- or regional-scale atmospheric variables provided by climate models, leading to local-scale permafrost modelling. Among the SDMs, we first choose a transfer function approach based on Generalized Additive Models (GAMs to produce high-resolution climatology of air temperature at the surface. Then we define permafrost distribution over Eurasia by air temperature conditions. In a first validation step on present climate (CTRL period, this method shows some limitations with non-systematic improvements in comparison with the large-scale fields.

    So, we develop an alternative method of statistical downscaling based on a Multinomial Logistic GAM (ML-GAM, which directly predicts the occurrence probabilities of local-scale permafrost. The obtained permafrost distributions appear in a better agreement with CTRL data. In average for the nine PMIP2 models, we measure a global agreement with CTRL permafrost data that is better when using ML-GAM than when applying the GAM method with air temperature conditions. In both cases, the provided local information reduces the variability between climate models results. This also confirms that a simple relationship between permafrost and the air temperature only is not always sufficient to represent local-scale permafrost.

    Finally, we apply each method on a very different climate, the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM time period, in order to quantify the ability of climate models to represent LGM

  14. Development of highway constructing technology in the permafrost region on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2009-01-01

    The Qinghai-Tibet Highway passes through the Qinghai-Tibet plateau hinterland from north to south, from Kunlun Mountain to Tanggula Mountain. The average altitude is above 4500 m and permafrost covers more than 700 km length of area with high elevation and high temperature. The climate of the plateau is capricious and the surroundings along the road are bad, where the mean annual atmosphere temperature is -2 to -7℃ and the oxygen content is inadequate, which is less than 50% of the sea level, while the solar radiation is higher than 3600 kJ/m2. The basic characteristics of the plateau surroundings are the permafrost, coldness with litter oxygen, and fragile ecosystem. As the air temperature warms all over the world, the permafrost on the plateau responds quickly. The average temperature of permafrost is up by 0.2―0.3℃ in recent 20 years, and the island-permafrost dwindles with a high rate, and the high temperature permafrost degrades quickly, and the temperature of the low temperature permafrost increases remarkably. These gradually cause the highway engineering diseases in the permafrost region. The Qinghai-Tibet highway has experienced much maintenance and rebuilding for 50 years after it was built, and the continual observation and investigation have been made for more than 30 years. This road is the longest test engineering for permafrost research work in China. It is no doubt that it is also the greatest engineering project in plateau permafrost region. The Ministry of Communication in China initiated the research project "Research on a series of technologies for highway constructing in the permafrost regions" in 2002, which was to meet the challenges from the effect of climatic warming on the permafrost. The project systematically studied the permafrost engineering theories, methods for survey and design, engineering stabilization measures, preventing of the road disasters and maintaining, environment protection and the techniques to prolong the road

  15. Development of highway constructing technology in the permafrost region on the Qinshai-Tibet plateau

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    WANG ShuangJie; CHEN JianBing; ZHANG JinZhao; LI ZhuLong

    2009-01-01

    The Qinghai-Tibet Highway passes through the Qinghai-Tibet plateau hinterland from north to south, from Kunlun Mountain to Tanggula Mountain. The average altitude is above 4500 m and permafrost covers more than 700 km length of area with high elevation and high temperature. The climate of the plateau is capricious and the surroundings along the road are bad, where the mean annual atmosphere temperature is -2 to -7℃ and the oxygen content is inadequate, which is less than 50% of the sea level, while the solar radiation is higher than 3600 kJ/m2. The basic characteristics of the plateau surround-ings are the permafrost, coldness with litter oxygen, and fragile ecosystem. As the air temperature warms all over the world, the permafrost on the plateau responds quickly. The average temperature of permafrost is up by 0.2-0.3℃ in recent 20 years, and the island-permafrost dwindles with a high rate,and the high temperature permafrost degrades quickly, and the temperature of the low temperature permafrost increases remarkably. These gradually cause the highway engineering diseases in the permafrost region. The Qinghai-Tibet highway has experienced much maintenance and rebuilding for 50 years after it was built, and the continual observation and investigation have been made for more than 30 years. This road is the longest test engineering for permafrost research work in China. It is no doubt that it is also the greatest engineering project in plateau permafrost region. The Ministry of Communication in China initiated the research project "Research on a series of technologies for highway constructing in the permafrost regions" in 2002, which was to meet the challenges from the effect of climatic warming on the permafrost. The project systematically studied the permafrost engi- neering theories, methods for survey and design, engineering stabilization measures, preventing of the road disasters and maintaining, environment protection and the techniques to prolong the road

  16. Microbial populations in Antarctic permafrost: biodiversity, state, age, and implication for astrobiology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilichinsky, D A; Wilson, G S; Friedmann, E I; McKay, C P; Sletten, R S; Rivkina, E M; Vishnivetskaya, T A; Erokhina, L G; Ivanushkina, N E; Kochkina, G A; Shcherbakova, V A; Soina, V S; Spirina, E V; Vorobyova, E A; Fyodorov-Davydov, D G; Hallet, B; Ozerskaya, S M; Sorokovikov, V A; Laurinavichyus, K S; Shatilovich, A V; Chanton, J P; Ostroumov, V E; Tiedje, J M

    2007-04-01

    Antarctic permafrost soils have not received as much geocryological and biological study as has been devoted to the ice sheet, though the permafrost is more stable and older and inhabited by more microbes. This makes these soils potentially more informative and a more significant microbial repository than ice sheets. Due to the stability of the subsurface physicochemical regime, Antarctic permafrost is not an extreme environment but a balanced natural one. Up to 10(4) viable cells/g, whose age presumably corresponds to the longevity of the permanently frozen state of the sediments, have been isolated from Antarctic permafrost. Along with the microbes, metabolic by-products are preserved. This presumed natural cryopreservation makes it possible to observe what may be the oldest microbial communities on Earth. Here, we describe the Antarctic permafrost habitat and biodiversity and provide a model for martian ecosystems.

  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. Bacterial production in subarctic peatland lakes enriched by thawing permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deshpande, Bethany N.; Crevecoeur, Sophie; Matveev, Alex; Vincent, Warwick F.

    2016-08-01

    Peatlands extend over vast areas of the northern landscape. Within some of these areas, lakes and ponds are changing in size as a result of permafrost thawing and erosion, resulting in mobilization of the carbon-rich peatland soils. Our aims in the present study were to characterize the particle, carbon and nutrient regime of a set of thermokarst (thaw) lakes and their adjacent peatland permafrost soils in a rapidly degrading landscape in subarctic Québec, Canada, and by way of fluorescence microscopy, flow cytometry, production measurements and an in situ enrichment experiment, determine the bacterial characteristics of these waters relative to other thaw lakes and rock-basin lakes in the region. The soil active layer in a degrading palsa (peatland permafrost mound) adjacent to one of the lakes contained an elevated carbon content (51 % of dry weight), high C : N ratios (17 : 1 by mass), and large stocks of other elements including N (3 % of dry weight), Fe (0.6 %), S (0.5 %), Ca (0.5 %) and P (0.05 %). Two permafrost cores were obtained to a depth of 2.77 m in the palsa, and computerized tomography scans of the cores confirmed that they contained high concentrations (> 80 %) of ice. Upon thawing, the cores released nitrate and dissolved organic carbon (from all core depths sampled), and soluble reactive phosphorus (from bottom depths), at concentrations well above those in the adjacent lake waters. The active layer soil showed a range of particle sizes with a peak at 229 µm, and this was similar to the distribution of particles in the upper permafrost cores. The particle spectrum for the lake water overlapped with those for the soil, but extended to larger (surface water) or finer (bottom water) particles. On average, more than 50 % of the bacterial cells and bacterial production was associated with particles > 3 µm. This relatively low contribution of free-living cells (operationally defined as the < 1 µm fraction) to bacterial production was a general

  19. Subsurface fate of spilled petroleum hydrocarbons in continuous permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCarthy, K.; Walker, L.; Vigoren, L.

    2004-01-01

    Accidental releases of approximately 2000 m3 of fuel have resulted in subsurface contamination adjacent to Imikpuk Lake, a drinking-water source near Barrow, AK. This paper presents a conceptual model of the distribution and transport of subsurface free-phase hydrocarbons at this site. The mean annual temperature in Barrow is -13 ??C, and average monthly temperatures exceed 0 ??C only during the months of June, July, and August. As a result, the region is underlain by areally continuous permafrost that extends to depths of up to 300 m and constrains subsurface hydrologic processes to a shallow zone that temporarily thaws each summer. During the 1993 and 1994 thaw seasons, the measured depth of thaw varied across the site from approximately 0.5 to 2 m. However, exploratory borings in 1995 showed that free-phase hydrocarbons were present at depths greater than 3 m, indicating that permafrost at this site is not a barrier to the vertical migration of nonaqueous-phase liquids. In 1996, a subsurface containment barrier was installed to prevent lateral movement of contaminated water to Imikpuk Lake, and a recovery trench was excavated upgradient of the barrier to facilitate removal of free-phase hydrocarbons. Free-phase hydrocarbons were recovered from the trench during 1996, 1997, and 1998. Recovery rates diminished over this time, and in 1999, no further product was recovered and the recovery operation was halted. Subsequent exploratory borings in 2001 and 2002 have revealed that some product remains in the subsurface. Data indicate that this remaining product exists in small discrete pockets or very thin layers of hydrocarbon floating on brine. These small reservoirs appear to be isolated from one another by relatively impermeable permafrost. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  20. Weichselian permafrost depth in the Netherlands: a comprehensive uncertainty and sensitivity analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Govaerts, Joan; Beerten, Koen; ten Veen, Johan

    2016-11-01

    The Rupelian clay in the Netherlands is currently the subject of a feasibility study with respect to the storage of radioactive waste in the Netherlands (OPERA-project). Many features need to be considered in the assessment of the long-term evolution of the natural environment surrounding a geological waste disposal facility. One of these is permafrost development as it may have an impact on various components of the disposal system, including the natural environment (hydrogeology), the natural barrier (clay) and the engineered barrier. Determining how deep permafrost might develop in the future is desirable in order to properly address the possible impact on the various components. It is expected that periglacial conditions will reappear at some point during the next several hundred thousands of years, a typical time frame considered in geological waste disposal feasibility studies. In this study, the Weichselian glaciation is used as an analogue for future permafrost development. Permafrost depth modelling using a best estimate temperature curve of the Weichselian indicates that permafrost would reach depths between 155 and 195 m. Without imposing a climatic gradient over the country, deepest permafrost is expected in the south due to the lower geothermal heat flux and higher average sand content of the post-Rupelian overburden. Accounting for various sources of uncertainty, such as type and impact of vegetation, snow cover, surface temperature gradients across the country, possible errors in palaeoclimate reconstructions, porosity, lithology and geothermal heat flux, stochastic calculations point out that permafrost depth during the coldest stages of a glacial cycle such as the Weichselian, for any location in the Netherlands, would be 130-210 m at the 2σ level. In any case, permafrost would not reach depths greater than 270 m. The most sensitive parameters in permafrost development are the mean annual air temperatures and porosity, while the geothermal heat

  1. 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

  2. Treatment of Chlorinated Solvents in Groundwater Beneath an Occupied Building at the Young-Rainey STAR Center, Pinellas, FL

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Daniel, Joe [Navarro Research and Engineering; Surovchak, Scott [Dept. of Energy (DOE), Legacy Management; Tabor, Charles [Navarro Research and Engineering

    2016-03-01

    Groundwater contamination, consisting of two dissolved-phase plumes originating from chlorinated solvent source areas, in the southeastern portion of the Young- Rainey Star Center (also known as the Pinellas County, Florida, Site) in Largo, Florida, has migrated beyond the property boundary, beneath the roadways, and beneath adjacent properties to the south and east. Groundwater contamination will persist as long as the onsite contaminant source remains. The origin of the contamination appears to be multiple long-term point sources beneath Building 100, a 4.5 ha (11 acre) building that housed manufacturing facilities during US DOE operations at the site. The site is now owned by Pinellas County, and most of the space inside the building is leased to private companies, so DOE chose not to conduct characterization or remediation through the floor of the building, instead choosing to conduct all work from outside the building. Injection of emulsified soybean oil and a microbial culture has been used at other areas of the site to accelerate naturally occurring bacterial processes that degrade groundwater contaminants to harmless compounds, and that same approach was chosen for this task. The technical approach consisted of installing horizontal wells from outside the building footprint, extending through and around the identified subsurface treatment areas, and terminating beneath the building. Two 107 m (350 ft) long wells, two 122 m (400 ft) long wells, and four 137 m (450 ft) long wells have been installed to intersect the inferred source areas and confirmed contaminant plumes beneath the building. DOE then injected emulsified vegetable oil and a microbial culture into the horizontal wells at each of several target areas beneath the building where the highest groundwater contaminant concentrations have been detected. The target areas are the northwest corner of the building between the old drum storage pad locations and monitoring well PIN12-S35B, the vicinity of

  3. 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.

  4. Ground penetrating radar estimates of permafrost ice wedge depth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parsekian, A.; Slater, L. D.; Nolan, J. T.; Grosse, G.; Walter Anthony, K. M.

    2013-12-01

    Vertical ground ice wedges associated with polygonal patterning in permafrost environments form due to frost cracking of soils under harsh winter conditions and subsequent infilling of cracks with snow melt water. Ice wedge polygon patterns have implications for lowland geomorphology, hydrology, and vulnerability of permafrost to thaw. Ice wedge dimensions may exceed two meters width at the surface and several meters depth, however few studies have addressed the question of ice wedge depth due to challenges related to measuring the vertical dimension below the ground. Vertical exposures where ice wedges maybe observed are limited to rapidly retreating lake, river, and coastal bluffs. Coring though the ice wedges to determine vertical extent is possible, however that approach is time consuming and labor intensive. Many geophysical investigations have noted signal anomalies related to the presence of ice wedges, but no reliable method for extracting wedge dimensions from geophysical data has been yet proposed. Here we present new evidence that ground penetrating radar (GPR) may be a viable method for estimating ice wedge depth. We present three new perspectives on processing GPR data collected over ice wedges that show considerable promise for use as a fast, cost effective method for evaluating ice wedge depth. Our novel approaches include 1) a simple frequency-domain analysis, 2) an S-transform frequency domain analysis and 3) an analysis of the returned signal power as a radar cross section (RCS) treating subsurface ice wedges as dihedral corner retro-reflectors. Our methods are demonstrated and validated using finite-difference time domain FDTD) GPR forward models of synthetic idealized ice wedges and field data from permafrost sites in Alaska. Our results indicate that frequency domain and signal power data provide information that is easier to extract from raw GPR data than similar information in the time domain. We also show that we can simplify the problem by

  5. Turbulence beneath finite amplitude water waves

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Beya, J.F. [Universidad de Valparaiso, Escuela de Ingenieria Civil Oceanica, Facultad de Ingenieria, Valparaiso (Chile); The University of New South Wales, Water Research Laboratory, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Sydney, NSW (Australia); Peirson, W.L. [The University of New South Wales, Water Research Laboratory, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Sydney, NSW (Australia); Banner, M.L. [The University of New South Wales, School of Mathematics and Statistics, Sydney, NSW (Australia)

    2012-05-15

    Babanin and Haus (J Phys Oceanogr 39:2675-2679, 2009) recently presented evidence of near-surface turbulence generated below steep non-breaking deep-water waves. They proposed a threshold wave parameter a {sup 2}{omega}/{nu} = 3,000 for the spontaneous occurrence of turbulence beneath surface waves. This is in contrast to conventional understanding that irrotational wave theories provide a good approximation of non-wind-forced wave behaviour as validated by classical experiments. Many laboratory wave experiments were carried out in the early 1960s (e.g. Wiegel 1964). In those experiments, no evidence of turbulence was reported, and steep waves behaved as predicted by the high-order irrotational wave theories within the accuracy of the theories and experimental techniques at the time. This contribution describes flow visualisation experiments for steep non-breaking waves using conventional dye techniques in the wave boundary layer extending above the wave trough level. The measurements showed no evidence of turbulent mixing up to a value of a {sup 2}{omega}/{nu} = 7,000 at which breaking commenced in these experiments. These present findings are in accord with the conventional understandings of wave behaviour. (orig.)

  6. Channelization of plumes beneath ice shelves

    KAUST Repository

    Dallaston, M. C.

    2015-11-11

    © 2015 Cambridge University Press. We study a simplified model of ice-ocean interaction beneath a floating ice shelf, and investigate the possibility for channels to form in the ice shelf base due to spatial variations in conditions at the grounding line. The model combines an extensional thin-film description of viscous ice flow in the shelf, with melting at its base driven by a turbulent ocean plume. Small transverse perturbations to the one-dimensional steady state are considered, driven either by ice thickness or subglacial discharge variations across the grounding line. Either forcing leads to the growth of channels downstream, with melting driven by locally enhanced ocean velocities, and thus heat transfer. Narrow channels are smoothed out due to turbulent mixing in the ocean plume, leading to a preferred wavelength for channel growth. In the absence of perturbations at the grounding line, linear stability analysis suggests that the one-dimensional state is stable to initial perturbations, chiefly due to the background ice advection.

  7. [Guided bone regeneration beneath titanium foils].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Otto, Katharina; Schopper, Christian; Ewers, Rolf; Lambrecht, J Thomas

    2004-01-01

    The aim of this study was to examine the clinical and histological bony healing process beneath titanium foils used for guided tissue regeneration as well as of the Frios Algipore graft which was applied with autologous bone. 66 sinus floor elevations were carried out and examined over a period of three years and eight months. A success rate of 64% was recorded with foil incorporation. Complications occurred in form of primary and secondary disturbances in the healing process caused by exposure of the foil. 12 of the 66 foils had to be removed early. In all but one case, the augmented bone material was macroscopically well integrated despite the loss of the foil. Primary stability of the inserted dental implants into the ossified augmented site after operations of the sinus maxillaris was reached in all cases with absence of post-operative complications, and in 94% when there was postoperative exposure of the membrane. Histologically, a thin layer of connective tissue poor in cells but rich in collagen fibers appeared underneath the titanium foil. This was followed by newly-formed bony tissue transforming into osseous lamella parallel to the membrane underneath the new periost. In 65 out of 66 cases a sufficient amount of stable bone was built up locally suggesting good bio-compatibility and barrier function. Further, the foil also provided mechanical rest and supporting function for the space underneath. However, the occurrence of healing complications in 36% of the cases showed a need to improve on the titanium foils.

  8. Low-altitude permafrost research in an overcooled talus slope-rock glacier system in the Romanian Carpathians (Detunata Goală, Apuseni Mountains)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Popescu, Răzvan; Vespremeanu-Stroe, Alfred; Onaca, Alexandru; Vasile, Mirela; Cruceru, Nicolae; Pop, Olimpiu

    2017-10-01

    Ground and air temperature monitoring, geophysical soundings and dendrological investigations were applied to a basaltic talus slope-rock glacier system from Detunata site in the Apuseni Mountains (Western Romanian Carpathians) to verify the presence of sporadic permafrost at 1020-1110 m asl, well below the regional limit of mountain permafrost. The near 0 °C mean annual ground surface temperatures imposed by the large negative annual thermal anomalies of the ground (up to 7.4 °C), together with the high resistivity values and the occurrence of trees with severe growth anomalies, support the presence of permafrost at this location. Temperature measurements and ground air circulation experiments proved that the so-called "chimney effect" is the main process favoring the ground overcooling and allowed for the construction of a model of ground air circulation in complex morphology deposits. The texture and porosity of the debris were quantified along with the local morphology in order to evaluate their role upon the chimney circulation. The debris porosity was found to be very high promoting intense ground overcooling during the cold season, including the periods of high snow cover due to the development of snow funnels. It efficiently reduces the heat transfer during summer thus contributing essentially to permafrost preservation. In compound morphologies, the depressed and low-lying features are the cold zones subjected to winter overcooling and summer chill, while the high-positioned and convex-up landforms become warm air evacuation features with positive thermal anomalies. Tree-ring measurements showed that the growth of cold-affected trees is higher during colder intervals (years to decades) probably as a consequence of the weakened katabatic air outflow during cooler summers. The dendrological analysis of multi-centennial spruces and their growth rates also provided palaeoclimatic inferences for the last 200 years. Dendrological data describe the multi

  9. Thermal characteristics of permafrost in the steep alpine rock walls of the Aiguille du Midi (Mont Blanc Massif, 3842 m a.s.l.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    F. Magnin

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available Permafrost and related thermo-hydro-mechanical processes are regarded as crucial factors in rock wall stability in high alpine areas, but a lack of field measurements means that the characteristics of such locations and the processes to which they are subjected are poorly understood. To help remedy this situation, in 2005 work began to install a monitoring system at the Aiguille du Midi (3842 m a.s.l.. This paper presents temperature records from nine surface sensors (eight years of records and three 10 m-deep boreholes (four years of records, installed at locations with different surface and bedrock characteristics. Annual and seasonal offsets between mean surface temperatures and air temperatures suggest that snow cover and slope aspect are also important factors governing bedrock surface temperatures in steep terrain. Snow-free sensors revealed additional effects of microtopography and micrometeorology. Active layer thicknesses ranged from < 2 m to nearly 6 m, depending on sun-exposure and interannual variations in atmospheric conditions. Warm and cold permafrost (about −1.5 °C to −4.5 °C at 10 m-depth coexists within the Aiguille du Midi, resulting in high lateral heat fluxes. A temperature inflection associated with a fracture provided evidence of non-conductive processes, most notably cooling due to air ventilation and some intermittent and local warming. Our field data, the first to be obtained from an Alpine permafrost site where temperatures are below −4 °C, confirm the results of previous studies of permafrost in steep bedrock slopes and highlight the importance of factors such as snow cover and fracturing.

  10. Thermal characteristics of permafrost in the steep alpine rock walls of the Aiguille du Midi (Mont Blanc Massif, 3842 m a.s.l)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Magnin, F.; Deline, P.; Ravanel, L.; Noetzli, J.; Pogliotti, P.

    2015-01-01

    Permafrost and related thermo-hydro-mechanical processes are thought to influence high alpine rock wall stability, but a lack of field measurements means that the characteristics and processes of rock wall permafrost are poorly understood. To help remedy this situation, in 2005 work began to install a monitoring system at the Aiguille du Midi (3842 m a.s.l). This paper presents temperature records from nine surface sensors (eight years of records) and three 10 m deep boreholes (4 years of records), installed at locations with different surface and bedrock characteristics. In line with previous studies, our temperature data analyses showed that: micro-meteorology controls the surface temperature, active layer thicknesses are directly related to aspect and ranged from thermo-insulation effects as reported for gentle mountain areas. Thick snow warms shaded areas, and may reduce active layer refreezing in winter and delay its thawing in summer. However, thick snow thermo-insulation has little effect compared to the high albedo of snow which leads to cooler conditions at the rock surface in areas exposed to the sun. A consistent inflection in the thermal profiles reflected the cooling effect of an open fracture in the bedrock, which appeared to act as a thermal cutoff in the sub-surface thermal regime. Our field data are the first to be obtained from an Alpine permafrost site where borehole temperatures are below -4 °C, and represent a first step towards the development of strategies to investigate poorly known aspects in steep bedrock permafrost such as the effects of snow cover and fractures.

  11. Impacts of permafrost changes on alpine ecosystem in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    WANG; Genxu; LI; Yuanshou

    2006-01-01

    Alpine cold ecosystem with permafrost environment is quite sensitive to climatic changes and the changes in permafrost can significantly affect the alpine ecosystem. The vegetation coverage,grassland biomass and soil nutrient and texture are selected to indicate the regime of alpine cold ecosystems in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The interactions between alpine ecosystem and permafrost were investigated with the depth of active layer, permafrost thickness and mean annual ground temperature (MAGTs). Based on the statistics model of GPTR for MAGTs and annual air temperatures, an analysis method was developed to analyze the impacts of permafrost changes on the alpine ecosystems. Under the climate change and human engineering activities, the permafrost change and its impacts on alpine ecosystems in the permafrost region between the Kunlun Mountains and the Tanggula Range of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are studied in this paper. The results showed that the permafrost changes have a different influence on different alpine ecosystems. With the increase in the thickness of active layer, the vegetation cover and biomass of the alpine cold meadow exhibit a significant conic reduction, the soil organic matter content of the alpine cold meadow ecosystem shows an exponential decrease, and the surface soil materials become coarse and gravelly. The alpine cold steppe ecosystem, however, seems to have a relatively weak relation to the permafrost environment.Those relationships resulted in the fact that the distribution area of alpine cold meadow decreased by 7.98% and alpine cold swamp decreased by 28.11% under the permafrost environment degradation during recent 15 years. In the future 50 years the alpine cold meadow ecosystems in different geomorphologic units may have different responses to the changes of the permafrost under different climate warming conditions, among them the alpine cold meadow and swamp ecosystem located in the Iow mountain and plateau area will have a relatively

  12. Effects of Salinity and Sea Level Change on Permafrost-Hosted Methane Hydrate Reservoirs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elwood-Madden, M.

    2010-12-01

    Recent observations of methane release from sediments on the circum-arctic continental shelf indicate that arctic warming is likely leading to increased fluxes of methane . Thermodynamics predicts that 2-4 degree increases in global temperature will lead to massive marine hydrate decomposition; however, the rate of warming deep ocean waters and sediments is fairly slow, resulting in modest fluxes of methane over hundreds to thousands of years. In contrast, increasing arctic temperatures and rising sea level may have immediate effects on permafrost-hosted hydrate deposits. Rising sea level affects both the geothermal gradient of the region and the salinity of pore waters, leading to hydrate destabilization (Figure 1). Seawater infiltration of permafrost may be currently dissociating permafrost-hosted methane hydrate through a combination of mechanisms: shifting geothermal gradients to higher temperatures, addition of salts due to seawater encroachment, and the transition from solid state diffusion of methane through overlying ice cemented permafrost to mass transfer through seawater-saturated sediments via aqueous diffusion, advection, or ebullition. Effects of seawater erosion of permafrost have been observed in arctic coastal areas, and degradation of arctic permafrost is predicted to continue, especially in coastal areas. However, the rate at which these processes proceed and their effects on permafrost-hosted methane hydrates have been largely uninvestigated. Changes in geothermal gradient alone take hundreds to thousands of years to affect relatively deep hydrate reservoirs. However, warmer temperatures combined with freezing point depression effects of seawater may lead to rapid melting of permafrost ice, thus accelerating the transfer of heat to the hydrate reservoirs and changing the mass transfer mechanism of methane release from slow solid state diffusion through ice to more rapid aqueous diffusion, advection, or ebullition. Therefore, we hypothesize that

  13. Microbial processes in glaciers and permafrost. A literature study on microbiology affecting groundwater at ice sheet melting

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hallbeck, Lotta (Microbial Analytics Sweden AB, Moelnlycke (Sweden))

    2009-10-15

    of microorganisms, both aerobic and anaerobic. The oxygen concentration in the subsurface varies depending on whether the surface water has been transported over a long or short residence time. The pro-glacial environment including rivers and lakes, are also very microbiologically active. Recent research has demonstrated that microorganisms are more active than previously expected in permafrost environments. This research is increasing due to the effect of global warming on microbial activity in permanently frozen environments. The groundwater beneath the ice sheets and glaciers still needs to be explored. There will be increasing knowledge from the ongoing research project in Greenland (Greenland Analogue Project). The chemical composition of the groundwater and the subsurface microbiology is therefore still unknown

  14. Spatial variation in vegetation productivity trends, fire disturbance, and soil carbon across arctic-boreal permafrost ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loranty, Michael M.; Liberman-Cribbin, Wil; Berner, Logan T.; Natali, Susan M.; Goetz, Scott J.; Alexander, Heather D.; Kholodov, Alexander L.

    2016-09-01

    In arctic tundra and boreal forest ecosystems vegetation structural and functional influences on the surface energy balance can strongly influence permafrost soil temperatures. As such, vegetation changes will likely play an important role in permafrost soil carbon dynamics and associated climate feedbacks. Processes that lead to changes in vegetation, such as wildfire or ecosystem responses to rising temperatures, are of critical importance to understanding the impacts of arctic and boreal ecosystems on future climate. Yet these processes vary within and between ecosystems and this variability has not been systematically characterized across the arctic-boreal region. Here we quantify the distribution of vegetation productivity trends, wildfire, and near-surface soil carbon, by vegetation type, across the zones of continuous and discontinuous permafrost. Siberian larch forests contain more than one quarter of permafrost soil carbon in areas of continuous permafrost. We observe pervasive positive trends in vegetation productivity in areas of continuous permafrost, whereas areas underlain by discontinuous permafrost have proportionally less positive productivity trends and an increase in areas exhibiting negative productivity trends. Fire affects a much smaller proportion of the total area and thus a smaller amount of permafrost soil carbon, with the vast majority occurring in deciduous needleleaf forests. Our results indicate that vegetation productivity trends may be linked to permafrost distribution, fire affects a relatively small proportion of permafrost soil carbon, and Siberian larch forests will play a crucial role in the strength of the permafrost carbon climate feedback.

  15. Strategy of valid 14C dates choice in syngenetic permafrost

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Y. K. Vasil'chuk

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available The main problem of radiocarbon dating within permafrost is the uncertain reliability of the 14C dates. Syngenetic sediments contain allochthonous organic deposit that originated at a distance from its present position. Due to the very good preservation of organic materials in permafrost conditions and numerous re-burials of the fossils from ancient deposits into younger ones the dates could be both younger and older than the true age of dated material. The strategy for the most authentic radiocarbon date selection for dating of syncryogenic sediments is considered taking into account the fluvial origin of the syngenetic sediments. The re-deposition of organic material is discussed in terms of cyclic syncryogenic sedimentation and also the possible re-deposition of organic material in subaerial-subaqueous conditions. The advantages and the complications of dating organic micro-inclusions from ice wedges by the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS method are discussed applying to true age of dated material search. Radiocarbon dates of different organic materials from the same samples are compared. The younger age of the yedoma from cross-sections of Duvanny Yar in Kolyma River and Mamontova Khayata in the mouth of Lena River is substantiated due to the principle of the choice of the youngest 14C date from the set.

  16. Erodibility of permafrost exposures in the coasts of Eastern Chukotka

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maslakov, Alexey; Kraev, Gleb

    2016-09-01

    Coastal retreat caused by coastal erosion decreases the territory of Russia by 50 km2 annually. Erosion of the Arctic coasts composed by fine-grained permafrost turns coastlines into badlands dozens of meters wide and is harmful to the coastal infrastructure. Regional-level variations in the coastal retreat rate in the Arctic tend to follow the climate change dynamics and its consequences, mainly the shrinkage of the perennial sea ice area. This study considers the lower level local-scale variability linked to permafrost features, lithology, and morphology of the coasts in the remote region on the western shore of the Bering Sea within Lorino settlement (Chukotka, Russia). The coastal dynamics was tracked by means of geodesy and remote sensing in 2012-14, and the archival engineering survey data available since 1967. We have derived the erodibility of sediments from the conventional soil properties measured by engineers, and linked the coastal retreat rates to erodibility of the sediments, so that it could be extrapolated to other coastal areas of Eastern Chukotka with similar sediment structure.

  17. 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.

  18. Massive remobilization of permafrost carbon during post-glacial warming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tesi, T.; Muschitiello, F.; Smittenberg, R. H.; Jakobsson, M.; Vonk, J. E.; Hill, P.; Andersson, A.; Kirchner, N.; Noormets, R.; Dudarev, O.; Semiletov, I.; Gustafsson, Ö.

    2016-11-01

    Recent hypotheses, based on atmospheric records and models, suggest that permafrost carbon (PF-C) accumulated during the last glaciation may have been an important source for the atmospheric CO2 rise during post-glacial warming. However, direct physical indications for such PF-C release have so far been absent. Here we use the Laptev Sea (Arctic Ocean) as an archive to investigate PF-C destabilization during the last glacial-interglacial period. Our results show evidence for massive supply of PF-C from Siberian soils as a result of severe active layer deepening in response to the warming. Thawing of PF-C must also have brought about an enhanced organic matter respiration and, thus, these findings suggest that PF-C may indeed have been an important source of CO2 across the extensive permafrost domain. The results challenge current paradigms on the post-glacial CO2 rise and, at the same time, serve as a harbinger for possible consequences of the present-day warming of PF-C soils.

  19. Safety of small and medium dams in permafrost regions

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Rudolf V.Zhang; Sergey A.Velikin

    2014-01-01

    Safe operation and performance of dams is one of the key issues in permafrost regions. At present, the existing dams are 40 45 years old and they are reaching their design life limit. Intensive geocryological processes (thermokarst, thermal erosion, frost heaving, suffosion, concentrated seepage along the voids left by melt ice and others) begin to develop at the early stages of construction. These processes are even more intensive under severe climatic conditions of the permafrost zone due to the large thermal and moisture gradients and the resulting complex thermal stress strain state in the structures. Determining safety criteria is a critical and difficult task in dam safety management. The existing procedures need to be continuously refined and improved depending on dam importance class. Some researchers recommend introducing process development criteria (stability, destabilization, and extremality) for more objective assessment of dam safety, in addition to the existing two condition criteria. In other words, they call for a multi factor dam environment interaction system. A case study of safety declaration for an existing dam is presented.

  20. 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.

    2014-10-01

    The extent and distribution of permafrost in the mountainous parts of the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region have barely been investigated and are largely unknown. Only on the Tibetan Plateau a long tradition of permafrost research on rather gentle relief exists. Two permafrost maps are available 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 first-order assessment of permafrost maps of the HKH region based on the mapping of rock glaciers. Rock glaciers were used as a proxy, because they are visual indicators of permafrost, often occurring near the lowermost regional occurrence of permafrost in mountains, and because they can be delineated based on high-resolution remote sensing imagery freely available on Google Earth. For the mapping 4000 square samples (approx. 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. It is shown that mapping of rock glaciers in Google Earth can be used 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 appears to be a reasonable first-order prediction of permafrost in the HKH. Only in the central part of the region a considerable deviation exists that needs further investigations.

  1. 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

  2. On the connection of permafrost and debris flow activity in Austria

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huber, Thomas; Kaitna, Roland

    2016-04-01

    Debris flows represent a severe hazard in alpine regions and typically result from a critical combination of relief energy, water, and sediment. Hence, besides water-related trigger conditions, the availability of abundant sediment is a major control on debris flows activity in alpine regions. Increasing temperatures due to global warming are expected to affect periglacial regions and by that the distribution of alpine permafrost and the depth of the active layer, which in turn might lead to increased debris flow activity and increased interference with human interests. In this contribution we assess the importance of permafrost on documented debris flows in the past by connecting the modeled permafrost distribution with a large database of historic debris flows in Austria. The permafrost distribution is estimated based on a published model approach and mainly depends of altitude, relief, and exposition. The database of debris flows includes more than 4000 debris flow events in around 1900 watersheds. We find that 27 % of watersheds experiencing debris flow activity have a modeled permafrost area smaller than 5 % of total area. Around 7 % of the debris flow prone watersheds have an area larger than 5 %. Interestingly, our first results indicate that watersheds without permafrost experience significantly less, but more intense debris flow events than watersheds with modeled permafrost occurrence. Our study aims to contribute to a better understanding of geomorphic activity and the impact of climate change in alpine environments.

  3. Permafrost distribution in the European Alps: calculation and evaluation of an index map and summary statistics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. Boeckli

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available The objective of this study is the production of an Alpine Permafrost Index Map (APIM covering the entire European Alps. A unified statistical model that is based on Alpine-wide permafrost observations is used for debris and bedrock surfaces across the entire Alps. The explanatory variables of the model are mean annual air temperatures, potential incoming solar radiation and precipitation. Offset terms were applied to make model predictions for topographic and geomorphic conditions that differ from the terrain features used for model fitting. These offsets are based on literature review and involve some degree of subjective choice during model building. The assessment of the APIM is challenging because limited independent test data are available for comparison and these observations represent point information in a spatially highly variable topography. The APIM provides an index that describes the spatial distribution of permafrost and comes together with an interpretation key that helps to assess map uncertainties and to relate map contents to their actual expression in the terrain. The map can be used as a first resource to estimate permafrost conditions at any given location in the European Alps in a variety of contexts such as research and spatial planning.

    Results show that Switzerland likely is the country with the largest permafrost area in the Alps, followed by Italy, Austria, France and Germany. Slovenia and Liechtenstein may have marginal permafrost areas. In all countries the permafrost area is expected to be larger than the glacier-covered area.

  4. Warming but not thawing of the cold permafrost in northern Alaska during the past 50 years

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Max; C.; Brewer

    2009-01-01

    Climate warming has not resulted in measurable thawing of the cold (-5°C to -10°C) permafrost in northern Alaska during the last half century. The maximum depths of summer thaw at five locations near Barrow, Alaska, in 2005 were within the ranges of the depths obtained at those same locations during the early 1950s. However, there has been a net warming of about 2°C, after a cooling of 0.4°C during 1953-1960, at the upper depths of the permafrost column at two of the locations. Thawing of permafrost from above (increase in active layer thickness) is determined by the summer thawing index for the specific year; any warming, or cooling, of the upper permafrost column results from the cumulative effect of changes in the average annual air temperatures over a period of years, assuming no change in surface conditions. Theoretically, thawing from the base of permafrost should be negligible even in areas of thin (about 100-200 m) permafrost in northern Alaska. The reported shoreline erosion along the northern Alaska coast is a secondary result from changes in the adjacent ocean ice coverage during the fall stormy period, and is not directly because of any "thawing" of the permafrost.

  5. Post-thaw carbon stock variation in a permafrost peatland of the boreal zone.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pelletier, N.; Olefeldt, D.; Turetsky, M. R.; Blodau, C.; Talbot, J.

    2014-12-01

    The current acceleration of permafrost thaw in the discontinuous permafrost of the boreal zone induces large uncertainties regarding the fate of soil carbon. Peatlands are believed to contain about 277 Pg of the total 1670 Pg stored in permafrost soils. In the discontinuous permafrost zone, the thawing of permafrost causes thermokarst features, leading to a succession from forested peat plateaus to non-forested sphagnum bogs. The changes in organic matter accumulation and deep carbon decomposition rates following thaw in permafrost peatlands could have an important impact on the climate system. We measured the total carbon content of peat cores along a thaw chronosequence from forested permafrost peat plateau to collapse-scar bogs. Four transect of four cores each were collected to expose the variations in carbon content at the collapse-scar feature scale as well as at the catchment scale. Loss on ignition, bulk density, carbon content of the organic matter and radiocarbon dating data reveal variability in the response of the total carbon content with time. Contrary to previous studies of this type, preliminary results do not seem to indicate an initial raise in total carbon stock following thaw. The increase in surface peat accumulation of this peatland seems to be largely offset by an increase in deep carbon loss from anaerobic decomposition.

  6. Hydrology of the North Klondike River: carbon export, water balance and inter-annual climate influences within a sub-alpine permafrost catchment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lapp, Anthony; Clark, Ian; Macumber, Andrew; Patterson, Tim

    2017-10-01

    Arctic and sub-arctic watersheds are undergoing significant changes due to recent climate warming and degrading permafrost, engendering enhanced monitoring of arctic rivers. Smaller catchments provide understanding of discharge, solute flux and groundwater recharge at the process level that contributes to an understanding of how larger arctic watersheds are responding to climate change. The North Klondike River, located in west central Yukon, is a sub-alpine permafrost catchment, which maintains an active hydrological monitoring station with a record of >40 years. In addition to being able to monitor intra-annual variability, this data set allows for more complex analysis of streamflow records. Streamflow data, geochemistry and stable isotope data for 2014 show a groundwater-dominated system, predominantly recharged during periods of snowmelt. Radiocarbon is shown to be a valuable tracer of soil zone recharge processes and carbon sources. Winter groundwater baseflow contributes 20 % of total annual discharge, and accounts for up to 50 % of total river discharge during the spring and summer months. Although total stream discharge remains unchanged, mean annual groundwater baseflow has increased over the 40-year monitoring period. Wavelet analysis reveals a catchment that responds to El Niño and longer solar cycles, as well as climatic shifts such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Dedicated to Professor Peter Fritz on the occasion of his 80th birthday.

  7. Mantle Structure Beneath Central South America

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vandecar, J. C.; Silver, P. G.; James, D. E.; Assumpcao, M.; Schimmel, M.; Zandt, G.

    2003-12-01

    Making use of 60 digital broadband seismic stations that have operated across central South America in recent years, we have undertaken an inversion for the upper- and uppermost lower-mantle P- and S-wave velocity structures beneath the region. We have combined data from four portable PASSCAL-type experiments as well as the 3 GTSN permanent stations (LPAZ, BDFB and CPUP) and 1 Geoscope station (SPB) located in the region. The portable data were deployed at various times between 1992 and 1999 and include: 28 sites from the Brazilian Lithosphere Seismic Project (BLSP: Carnegie Institution of Washington and Universidade de Sao Paulo), 16 sites from the Broadband ANdean JOint experiment (BANJO: Carnegie Institution of Washington and University of Arizona), 8 sites from the Seismic Exploration of the Deep Altiplano project (SEDA: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) and 4 sites from the University of Brasilia. The P- and S-wave relative delay times are independently obtained via a multi-channel cross correlation of band-passed waveforms for each teleseismic event. These data are then inverted using an iterative, robust, non-linear scheme which parameterizes the 3-D velocity variations as splines under tension constrained at over 120,000 nodes across South America between latitudes of 15 and 30 degrees South. Amongst other features, we robustly image the high-velocity subducting Nazca plate penetrating into the lower mantle and the high-velocity root of the ~3.2 Gyr old Sao Francisco Craton extending to depths of 200-300 km. We will discuss the consistency between our tomographic models and predictions of dynamic mantle models based on plate tectonic reconstructions of subduction.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

    2013-02-01

    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

  10. The permafrost carbon inventory on the Tibetan Plateau: a new evaluation using deep sediment cores.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ding, Jinzhi; Li, Fei; Yang, Guibiao; Chen, Leiyi; Zhang, Beibei; Liu, Li; Fang, Kai; Qin, Shuqi; Chen, Yongliang; Peng, Yunfeng; Ji, Chengjun; He, Honglin; Smith, Pete; Yang, Yuanhe

    2016-08-01

    The permafrost organic carbon (OC) stock is of global significance because of its large pool size and the potential positive feedback to climate warming. However, due to the lack of systematic field observations and appropriate upscaling methodologies, substantial uncertainties exist in the permafrost OC budget, which limits our understanding of the fate of frozen carbon in a warming world. In particular, the lack of comprehensive estimates of OC stocks across alpine permafrost means that current knowledge on this issue remains incomplete. Here, we evaluated the pool size and spatial variations of permafrost OC stock to 3 m depth on the Tibetan Plateau by combining systematic measurements from a substantial number of pedons (i.e. 342 three-metre-deep cores and 177 50-cm-deep pits) with a machine learning technique (i.e. support vector machine, SVM). We also quantified uncertainties in permafrost carbon budget by conducting Monte Carlo simulations. Our results revealed that the combination of systematic measurements with the SVM model allowed spatially explicit estimates to be made. The OC density (OC amount per unit area, OCD) exhibited a decreasing trend from the south-eastern to the north-western plateau, with the exception that OCD in the swamp meadow was substantially higher than that in surrounding regions. Our results also demonstrated that Tibetan permafrost stored a large amount of OC in the top 3 m, with the median OC pool size being 15.31 Pg C (interquartile range: 13.03-17.77 Pg C). 44% of OC occurred in deep layers (i.e. 100-300 cm), close to the proportion observed across the northern circumpolar permafrost region. The large carbon pool size together with significant permafrost thawing suggests a risk of carbon emissions and positive climate feedback across the Tibetan alpine permafrost region.

  11. Distribution of near-surface permafrost in Alaska: estimates of present and future conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pastick, Neal J.; Jorgenson, M. Torre; Wylie, Bruce K.; Nield, Shawn J.; Johnson, Kristofer D.; Finley, Andrew O.

    2015-01-01

    High-latitude regions are experiencing rapid and extensive changes in ecosystem composition and function as the result of increases in average air temperature. Increasing air temperatures have led to widespread thawing and degradation of permafrost, which in turn has affected ecosystems, socioeconomics, and the carbon cycle of high latitudes. Here we overcome complex interactions among surface and subsurface conditions to map nearsurface permafrost through decision and regression tree approaches that statistically and spatially extend field observations using remotely sensed imagery, climatic data, and thematic maps of a wide range of surface and subsurface biophysical characteristics. The data fusion approach generated medium-resolution (30-m pixels) maps of near-surface (within 1 m) permafrost, active-layer thickness, and associated uncertainty estimates throughout mainland Alaska. Our calibrated models (overall test accuracy of ~85%) were used to quantify changes in permafrost distribution under varying future climate scenarios assuming no other changes in biophysical factors. Models indicate that near-surface permafrost underlies 38% of mainland Alaska and that near-surface permafrost will disappear on 16 to 24% of the landscape by the end of the 21st Century. Simulations suggest that near-surface permafrost degradation is more probable in central regions of Alaska than more northerly regions. Taken together, these results have obvious implications for potential remobilization of frozen soil carbon pools under warmer temperatures. Additionally, warmer and drier conditions may increase fire activity and severity, which may exacerbate rates of permafrost thaw and carbon remobilization relative to climate alone. The mapping of permafrost distribution across Alaska is important for land-use planning, environmental assessments, and a wide-array of geophysical studies.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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 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 11 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.

  13. 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

  14. Mantle structure beneath the western edge of the Colorado Plateau

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sine, C.R.; Wilson, D.; Gao, W.; Grand, S.P.; Aster, R.; Ni, J.; Baldridge, W.S.

    2008-01-01

    Teleseismic traveltime data are inverted for mantle Vp and Vs variations beneath a 1400 km long line of broadband seismometers extending from eastern New Mexico to western Utah. The model spans 600 km beneath the moho with resolution of ???50 km. Inversions show a sharp, large-magnitude velocity contrast across the Colorado Plateau-Great Basin transition extending ???200 km below the crust. Also imaged is a fast anomaly 300 to 600 km beneath the NW portion of the array. Very slow velocities beneath the Great Basin imply partial melting and/or anomalously wet mantle. We propose that the sharp contrast in mantle velocities across the western edge of the Plateau corresponds to differential lithospheric modification, during and following Farallon subduction, across a boundary defining the western extent of unmodified Proterozoic mantle lithosphere. The deep fast anomaly corresponds to thickened Farallon plate or detached continental lithosphere at transition zone depths. Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.

  15. Geometric and oceanographic controls on melting beneath Pine Island Glacier

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    De Rydt, J; Holland, P. R; Dutrieux, P; Jenkins, A

    2014-01-01

    .... As a result, a large ocean cavity has formed behind the ridge, strongly controlling the ocean circulation beneath the ice shelf and modulating the ocean water properties that cause ice melting...

  16. Potential methane production in thawing permafrost is constrained by methanogenic population size, carbon density, and substrate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liebner, S.; Lehr, C.; Wagner, D.; Obu, J.; Lantuit, H.; Fritz, M.

    2016-12-01

    The release of carbon from newly thawed permafrost is estimated to add between 0.05 and 0.39 °C to the simulated global mean surface air temperature by the year 2300. The release of the potent greenhouse gas CH4 following permafrost thaw is thereby of particular concern. Models simulated a contribution of CH4 to the radiative forcing from thawing permafrost of up to 40% for the maximum extent of thermokarst (1). Batch experiments on thawed permafrost samples, however, have rendered the contribution of anaerobically produced carbon and in particular of CH4 to be surprisingly weak (2) and CH4 production which is realized through methanogenic archaea was reported to be low and associated with long lag phases . This leads to the hypotheses that initial methanogenic population sizes and/or substrates are limiting factors in permafrost. The objective of this study is to identify constraints for CH4 production in thawing permafrost. We analyzed several low Arctic permafrost cores of up to 3 m depth of different land cover types, sediment properties, age and stratigraphy for methanogenic abundance, potential methane production and predictors of both. We found that methanogenic population size and substrate pool are constraints on methane production but unlike expected, they do not fully explain low CH4 production rates in thawing permafrost. Even when both, population size and substrate concentrations, were large, the potential production of CH4 was still comparably low. Furthermore we show that the potential production of CH4 in thawing permafrost is a function of the methanogenic population size if substrate is not the limiting factor and that the methanogenic population size in turn is a function of the carbon density. Based on our study we propose that on the long term after permafrost has thawed, growth and community shifts within the methanogenic population will occur which potentially will increase methane production by orders of magnitude. 1. Schneider von

  17. Hydrogeochemical characterisation of groundwater in a small watershed in a discontinuous permafrost zone.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cochand, Marion; Molson, John; Barth, Johannes A. C.; van Geldern, Robert; Lemieux, Jean-Michel; Fortier, Richard; Therrien, René

    2017-04-01

    Impacts of climate change can already be seen in northern regions. However, the influence of increasing temperature and permafrost degradation on groundwater dynamics is still poorly understood. This study aims to improve knowledge on hydrogeological interactions in degrading permafrost environments using hydrogeochemical characterisation of groundwater. This study is being conducted in a small 2-km2 watershed, in a discontinuous permafrost zone located close to the Inuit community of Umiujaq, on the eastern shore of Hudson Bay in northern Québec, Canada. Two aquifers are being investigated, an unconfined shallow sandy aquifer located in the upper part of the watershed, and a deeper confined aquifer in sands and gravels located below the permafrost mounds. Precipitation, stream and surface water as well as ice-rich permafrost lenses were also sampled during field investigations. Various hydrogeochemical tracers including major ions, water stable isotopes (δ18OH2O and δ2HH2O), carbon phases (DIC, DOC, POC), their stable carbon isotopes (δ13C) and dating tracers (radiocarbon, tritium-helium and CFC/SF6) were analyzed. This characterisation has contributed to further understanding groundwater origin, evolution and residence time in the watershed. Preliminary results show that groundwater has a mainly Ca-HCO3 geochemical signature, typical for young and poorly evolved water. Furthermore, sample mineralisation is low, and is likely linked to limited bedrock weathering caused by short residence times, slow reaction rates as well as low levels of dissolved CO2 due to suppressed biological activity in the catchment. Inter-annual variation of major ions in the deeper aquifer is low. All groundwater samples have significant tritium concentrations, around 8.5 TU, reflecting modern recharge. Ice-rich permafrost lenses within the top four meters of permafrost have a water stable isotope signature close to modern precipitation and groundwater. This indicates that either

  18. Recent advances in the study of limnological processes in permafrost environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oliva, Marc; Antoniades, Dermot

    2016-07-01

    Permafrost underlies approximately 22 million km2, which constitutes ca. 17% of the Earth's exposed land surface (Gruber, 2012). Permanently frozen ground is distributed in polar regions, mid-latitude high mountain environments and high plateaus. The land surface where permanently frozen conditions are observed can be subdivided into different geographical zones: continuous, discontinuous, sporadic and isolated patches of permafrost. The presence or absence of permafrost has major implications both for terrestrial and aquatic environments, since it influences physical, hydrological, biogeochemical and geomorphological processes.

  19. Derivation and analysis of a high-resolution estimate of global permafrost zonation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Gruber

    2012-02-01

    Full Text Available Permafrost underlies much of Earth's surface and interacts with climate, eco-systems and human systems. It is a complex phenomenon controlled by climate and (sub- surface properties and reacts to change with variable delay. Heterogeneity and sparse data challenge the modeling of its spatial distribution. Currently, there is no data set to adequately inform global studies of permafrost. The available data set for the Northern Hemisphere is frequently used for model evaluation, but its quality and consistency are difficult to assess. Here, a global model of permafrost extent and dataset of permafrost zonation are presented and discussed, extending earlier studies by including the Southern Hemisphere, by consistent data and methods, by attention to uncertainty and scaling. Established relationships between air temperature and the occurrence of permafrost are re-formulated into a model that is parametrized using published estimates. It is run with a high-resolution (<1 km global elevation data and air temperatures based on the NCAR-NCEP reanalysis and CRU TS 2.0. The resulting data provide more spatial detail and a consistent extrapolation to remote regions, while aggregated values resemble previous studies. The estimated uncertainties affect regional patterns and aggregate number, and provide interesting insight. The permafrost area, i.e. the actual surface area underlain by permafrost, north of 60° S is estimated to be 13–18 × 106 km2 or 9–14 % of the exposed land surface. The global permafrost area including Antarctic and sub-sea permafrost is estimated to be 16–21 × 106 km2. The global permafrost region, i.e. the exposed land surface below which some permafrost can be expected, is estimated to be 22 ± 3 × 106 km2. A large proportion of this exhibits considerable topography and spatially-discontinuous permafrost, underscoring the importance of attention to scaling issues

  20. 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

    . It is proposed that a best practice for permafrost characterisation employs sample volume determination based on the Archimedes principle and that ice contents are presented as the volume fraction of excess ice to the frozen sample volume. Furthermore, direct measurements of unfrozen water content and thermal......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...

  1. Foundering lithosphere imaged beneath the southern Sierra Nevada, California, USA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boyd, Oliver S; Jones, Craig H; Sheehan, Anne F

    2004-07-30

    Seismic tomography reveals garnet-rich crust and mantle lithosphere descending into the upper mantle beneath the southeastern Sierra Nevada. The descending lithosphere consists of two layers: an iron-rich eclogite above a magnesium-rich garnet peridotite. These results place descending eclogite above and east of high P wave speed material previously imaged beneath the southern Great Valley, suggesting a previously unsuspected coherence in the lithospheric removal process.

  2. Autotrophic and heterotrophic components of soil respiration in permafrost zone.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Udovenko, Maria; Goncharova, Olga

    2016-04-01

    Soil carbon dioxide emissions production is an important integral indicator of soil biological activity and it includes several components: the root respiration and microbial decomposition of organic matter. Separate determination of the components of soil respiration is necessary for studying the balance of carbon in the soil and to assessment its potential as a sink or source of carbon dioxide. The aim of this study was testing field methods of separate determination of root and microbial respiration in soils of north of West Siberia. The research took place near the town Nadym, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District (north of West Siberia).The study area was located in the northern taiga with sporadic permafrost. Investigations were carried out at two sites: in forest and in frozen peatland. 3 methods were tested for the separation of microbial and root respiration. 1) "Shading"; 2) "Clipping"(removing the above-ground green plant parts); 3)a modified method of roots exclusion (It is to compare the emission of soils of "peat spots", devoid of vegetation and roots, and soils located in close proximity to the spots on which there is herbaceous vegetation and moss). For the experiments on methods of "Shading" and "Clipping" in the forest and on the frozen peatland ware established 12 plots, 1 x 1 m (3 plots in the forest and at 9 plots on frozen peatland; 4 of them - control).The criterions for choosing location sites were the similarity of meso- and microrelief, the same depth of permafrost, the same vegetation. Measurement of carbon dioxide emissions (chamber method) was carried out once a day, in the evening, for a week. Separation the root and microbial respiration by "Shading" showed that in the forest the root respiration contribution is 5%, and microbial - 95%. On peatlands root respiration is 41%, 59% of the microbial. In the experiment "Clipping" in peatlands root respiration is 56%, the microbial respiration - 44%, in forest- root respiration is 17%, and

  3. The thermal regime beneath cultural blocky materials: Ground temperature measurements in and around the Scythian Kurgans of the Russian Altay Mountains.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van de Kerchove, Ruben; Goossens, Rudi

    2010-05-01

    During historical times, the Altay Mountains were repeatedly occupied by several, mainly nomadic, cultures. Among them were the Scythians who lived in the area (and far beyond), from the 8th until the 2nd century BC. This culture is widely known for their specific burial rituals, including the burying of their death in a kurgan: a burial mound consisting of a coarse debris surface layer, overlaying a burial chamber. Due to this composition, together with the continental alpine climate of the Altay Mountains, several of these graves were found frozen, thanks to the existence of ice lenses and permafrost beneath the structures. If frozen, these kurgans contained well preserved bodies, often with the tattoos on their skin intact. As nowadays a distinct temperature rising is showed in these continental mountain ranges, the hundreds of kurgans, and especially these ones located at the lower fringe of the permafrost area, are likely to defrost within decades. As a result, the valuable, frozen, organic and inorganic content will get lost, resulting in a loss of extremely valuable cultural heritage and knowledge. Therefore, extensive permafrost research regarding the thermal state of the frozen tombs and the spatial distribution of the mountain permafrost is necessary to forecast which of the tombs are endangered by thawing. In the framework of this project a first expedition was organized in the Russian Altay Mountains during the summer of 2008. During this expedition, the valleys of Dzhazator, Tarkhata, Kalanegir and Ulandryk were visited in succession and temperature installments were made in order to give an overview of the thermal regime in the area. Beside installments intended for regional modelling, special sensors were placed in order to focus on the specific thermal regime related to the Scythian kurgans. This poster gives the first results of the temperature data as recorded by sensors located in and around the burial mounds. At first attention is given to the

  4. 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.

  5. Thermal erosion of a permafrost coastline: Improving process-based models using time-lapse photography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wobus, C.; Anderson, R.; Overeem, I.; Matell, N.; Clow, G.; Urban, F.

    2011-01-01

    Coastal erosion rates locally exceeding 30 m y-1 have been documented along Alaska's Beaufort Sea coastline, and a number of studies suggest that these erosion rates have accelerated as a result of climate change. However, a lack of direct observational evidence has limited our progress in quantifying the specific processes that connect climate change to coastal erosion rates in the Arctic. In particular, while longer ice-free periods are likely to lead to both warmer surface waters and longer fetch, the relative roles of thermal and mechanical (wave) erosion in driving coastal retreat have not been comprehensively quantified. We focus on a permafrost coastline in the northern National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), where coastal erosion rates have averaged 10-15 m y-1 over two years of direct monitoring. We take advantage of these extraordinary rates of coastal erosion to observe and quantify coastal erosion directly via time-lapse photography in combination with meteorological observations. Our observations indicate that the erosion of these bluffs is largely thermally driven, but that surface winds play a crucial role in exposing the frozen bluffs to the radiatively warmed seawater that drives melting of interstitial ice. To first order, erosion in this setting can be modeled using formulations developed to describe iceberg deterioration in the open ocean. These simple models provide a conceptual framework for evaluating how climate-induced changes in thermal and wave energy might influence future erosion rates in this setting.

  6. Climate-sensitive subsea permafrost and related gas expulsions on the South Kara Sea shelf. Field studies and modeling results.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Portnov, Alexey; Mienert, Jurgen; Serov, Pavel

    2015-04-01

    Thawing subsea permafrost controls methane release bearing a considerable impact on the climate-sensitive Arctic environment. Significant expulsion of methane into shallow Russian shelf areas may continue to rise into the atmosphere on the Arctic shelves in response to intense degradation of relict subsea permafrost. The release of formerly trapped gas, essentially methane, is linked to the permafrost evolution. Modeling of the permafrost at the West Yamal shelf allowed describing its evolution from the Late Pleistocene to Holocene. During the previous work we detected extensive emissions of free gas into the water column at the boundary between today's shallow water permafrost and deeper water non-permafrost areas. These gas expulsions formed seismic and hydro-acoustic anomalies on the high-resolution seismic records. We supposed that in the water depths modeling results of relict permafrost distributions with these field data from the South Kara Sea. Modeling results suggest a highly-dynamic permafrost system that directly responds to even minor variations of lower and upper boundary conditions, e.g. heat flux from below and/or bottom water temperature changes from above. We present several scenarios of permafrost evolution and show that potentially minimal modern extent of the permafrost at the West Yamal shelf is limited by ~17 m isobaths, whereas maximal probable extent coincides with ~100 m isobaths. The model also predicts seaward tapering of relict permafrost with its maximal thickness 275-390 m near the shore line. We also present sensitivity analysis which define the wider range of modeling results depending on the changing input parameters (e.g. geothermal heat flux, bottom water temperature, porosity of the sediments). The model adapts well to corresponding field data, providing crucial information about the modern permafrost conditions, current location of the upper and lower permafrost boundaries and its possible impact on both the hydrosphere and

  7. Chemical and physical characterisation of water in an alpine permafrost area (Col d'Olen LTER site, Italian NW-Alps)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giardino, Marco; Colombo, Nicola; Fratianni, Simona; Guenzi, Diego; Acquaotta, Fiorella; Perotti, Luigi; Freppaz, Michele; Godone, Danilo; Said Pullicino, Daniel; Martin, Maria; Viglietti, Davide; Gorra, Roberta; Mania, Ilaria; Viviano, Gaetano; Salerno, Franco; Balestrini, Raffaella

    2015-04-01

    High altitude areas in the Alps are characterised by the permafrost environment, which reacts sensitively to climate change. During the last decades several studies on alpine permafrost-related hazards have been performed, but few studies have focused on the geochemical content of the water that drains permafrost areas or outflow from rock glaciers (Williams et al., 2006; Thies et al., 2007; Krainer et al., 2011). Rock glaciers have physical and chemical influences on interflowing waters and their discharge can be highly enriched in solutes. For example, unexpected high nickel and manganese concentrations exceeding the EU limits for drinking water have been recently reported in some studies investigating rock glacier discharges (Ilyashuk et al., 2014). The present study aims to evaluate rock glacier solute fluxes into a high altitude lake in the Italian NW-Alps (Col d'Olen LTER site, Aosta Valley) in order to understand the impact of climate parameters on alpine permafrost, in particular the effects of permafrost ice melt on the water quality of mountain headwaters. This objective has been achieved through an integrated-multidisciplinary research programme involving climate analysis, rock glacier ground surface temperature investigation, water physiochemical and microbiological analyses. Nine automatic and three manned weather stations located in the surrounding areas of the rock glacier (radius: 12 km) have been used to study the relationships between climatic parameters and permafrost dynamics. Moreover, meteorological data have been collected by installing portable instruments in situ, integrated in a Mini Automatic Weather Station. To investigate the correlations between physiochemical features of water and the thermal state of the rock glacier surface, the ground temperature monitoring has been conducted. Temperature dataloggers have been buried 5/10 cm into the ground, regularly distributed on the rockglacier surface and in few surrounding sites. Total

  8. A new web-based course: dealing with glaciers and permafrost hazards

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oswald, S.; Kaeaeb, A.; Haeberli, W.

    2003-04-01

    The intensive human use of high mountains intersects more and more with the hazard zones of such environments. Because of the complexity of such processes and impacts, dealing with such risks requires a broad education in many sub-domains of the earth sciences and the socio-economic field. Inter- and trans-disciplinary training and education of professionals is therefore essential. Thus the goal of the Swiss Virtual Campus project "Dealing with Natural Hazards" is to provide such a course program covering the basics of dealing with natural hazards, including technical, environmental and social aspects. In the field of natural hazards and risk management, education at the Swiss universities is mostly structured in narrow sectors. Using the advantages of the internet, the Virtual Campus provides teachers and students an interdisciplinary discussion platform on the integral approach and the handling with natural hazards. The course content is organised in 5 modules: 1 basic knowledge and tools, 2 hydrological / meteorological hazards, 3 geological hazards, 4 vulnerability of property and of socio-economic systems and 5 integral natural risk management. To ensure a national and international access the courses are designed in English and published on the internet. Within the scope of this project we are developing lessons in the subject area of natural hazards related to glaciers and permafrost. These are ice avalanches, glacier floods, glacier length variations and permafrost. The content is divided into chapters, which are consistent over the entire module: (1) processes: characterisation of the different processes, (2) triggering: initiating events, (3) data acquisition, mapping and monitoring: appropriate methods, (4) estimation models: application of the adequate model, (5) combinations and interactions: interrelation and impacts of different hazards, (6) long-term effects: global change effects, (7) integral hazard recognition and assessment: integral proceedings

  9. Beringian paleoecology inferred from permafrost-preserved fungal DNA

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Lydolph, Magnus C; Jacobsen, Jonas; Arctander, Peter

    2005-01-01

    -pigmented fungi, plant-parasitic fungi, and lichen mycobionts. DNA traces of tree-associated macrofungi in a modern tundra sample indicated that there was a shift in fungal diversity following the last ice age and supported recent results showing that there was a severe change in the plant composition...... of eukaryotic DNA sequences that were 510 bp long, including sequences of various fungi, plants, and invertebrates, could be obtained reproducibly from samples that were up to 300,000 to 400,000 years old. The sequences revealed that ancient fungal communities included a diversity of cold-adapted yeasts, dark...... in northeastern Siberia during this period. Interestingly, DNA sequences with high homology to sequences of coprophilic and keratinophilic fungi indicated that feces, hair, skin, and nails could have been sources of ancient megafauna DNA recently reported to be present in small amounts of Siberian permafrost...

  10. Past permafrost on the Mid-Atlantic coastal plain, eastern United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    French, H.; Demitroff, M.; Newell, W.L.

    2009-01-01

    Sand-wedge casts, soil wedges and other non-diastrophic, post-depositional sedimentary structures suggest that Late-Pleistocene permafrost and deep seasonal frost on the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain extended at least as far south as southern Delaware, the Eastern Shore and southern Maryland. Heterogeneous cold-climate slope deposits mantle lower valley-side slopes in central Maryland. A widespread pre-existing fragipan is congruent with the inferred palaeo-permafrost table. The high bulk density of the fragipan was probably enhanced by either thaw consolidation when icy permafrost degraded at the active layer-permafrost interface or by liquefaction and compaction when deep seasonal frost thawed. ?? 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  11. Use Of Amino Acid Racemization To Investigate The Metabolic Activity Of ?Dormant? Microorganisms In Siberian Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsapin, A.; McDonald, G.

    2002-12-01

    Permafrost occupies a significant part of North America and Eurasia, and accounts for around 20% of Earth?s land surface. Permafrost represents a temperature-stable environment that allows the prolonged survival of microbial lineages at subzero temperatures. Microorganisms from ancient permafrost have been revived and isolated in pure cultures. Permafrost is a unique environment serving as a "natural gene bank", with many species frozen in time (i.e. preserved in an unchanging evolutionary state). Permafrost presents a golden niche for future biotechnology, and is also a unique environment for studying longevity and survivability microorganisms (pro- and eukaryotes). Permafrost, alone among cold environments, offers a sedimentary column in which, in one borehole made in the thick permafrost, we can observe in the preserved genetic material the history of biological evolution during the last several hundred thousand or maybe even a few million years. A thorough study of the phylogenetic relationships of organisms at each depth, as well as comparisons between different depths of permafrost, using molecular evolution techniques, will give us a unique window into the process of evolution of microbial communities over geologic time. The longevity of (micro)organisms in cold environments is of great interest to astrobiology since cryospheres are common phenomena in the solar system, particularly on satellites, comets and asteroids, and on some of the planets. Recent data from the Mars Global Surveyor mission suggest the possibility of permafrost or perhaps even liquid water under the Martian surface. The probability of finding life on Mars, if it exists, is probably higher in such environments. In addition, the evaluation of the possibility of transfer of living organisms between planets via impact ejecta needs the information on the maximum time over which microorganisms in cold environments can remain dormant and subsequently revive and reproduce. Our strategy for the

  12. Introduction to the special issue: permafrost and periglacial research from coasts to mountains

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schrott, Lothar; Humlum, Ole

    2017-09-01

    This special issue of Geomorphology includes eleven papers dealing with permafrost and periglacial research from coasts to mountains. The compilation represents a selection from 47 presentations (oral and posters) given at the 4th European Conference on Permafrost - IPA Regional Conference (EUCOP4, June 2014) in the session "Periglacial Geomorphology". Geomorphology as a leading journal for our discipline is particularly suitable to publish advances in permafrost and periglacial research with a focus on geomorphic processes. Since 1989 Geomorphology has published 121 special issues and two special issues are explicitly dedicated to permafrost and periglacial research, however, only with a focus on research in Antarctica. In this special issue we present papers from the Canadian Beaufort Sea, Alaska, Spitzbergen, central western Poland, the European Alps, the eastern Sudetes, the southern Carpathians, Nepal, and Antarctica.

  13. Probabilistic estimates of the distribution of near-surface (within 1m) permafrost in Alaska.

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior — This medium resolution (i.e. 30-m pixels) spatial dataset provides an estimate of the occurrence of near-surface (within 1 m of the ground surface) permafrost in...

  14. Aspartic Acid Racemization and Age-Depth Relationships for Organic Carbon in Siberian Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brinton, Karen L. F.; Tsapin, Alexandre I.; Gilichinsky, David; McDonald, Gene D.

    2002-03-01

    We have analyzed the degree of racemization of aspartic acid in permafrost samples from Northern Siberia, an area from which microorganisms of apparent ages up to a few million years have previously been isolated and cultured. We find that the extent of aspartic acid racemization in permafrost cores increases very slowly up to an age of ~25,000 years (around 5 m in depth). The apparent temperature of racemization over the age range of 0-25,000 years, determined using measured aspartic acid racemization rate constants, is -19°C. This apparent racemization temperature is significantly lower than the measured environmental temperature (-11 to -13°C) and suggests active recycling of D-aspartic acid in Siberian permafrost up to an age of around 25,000 years. This indicates that permafrost organisms are capable of repairing some molecular damage incurred while in a "dormant" state over geologic time.

  15. Permafrost and indigenous land use in the northern Urals: Komi and Nenets reindeer husbandry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Istomin, Kirill V.; Habeck, Joachim Otto

    2016-09-01

    Permafrost is an integral part of the environmental conditions that frame indigenous peoples' livelihoods in many parts of the circumpolar region. On the basis of their long-term ethnographic field researches, the authors describe the various ways in which permafrost dynamics influence the lives and economic activities of two groups of reindeer-herding nomads in North-Eastern Europe and Western Siberia: Komi and Nenets. Permafrost affects the herders directly, for the herders have to take into account the probability of thermokarst while choosing the campsite and performing certain herding procedures. It also affects the herders indirectly, through its influence on landscape and vegetation and thus on reindeer behavior. More rapid permafrost degradation will have a range of adverse effects on reindeer herding.

  16. Proposed Experiment for Prospecting and Mining Water from Lunar Permafrost from Boreholes Using RF Energy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ethridge, E. C.

    2016-11-01

    The extraction of water from planetary permafrost has been demonstrated with experiments using RF heating and capture of water in a cold trap. We will describe an experiment to demonstrate the process at the lunar poles.

  17. Titan's GOO-Sphere: Glacial, Permafrost, Evaporite, and Other Familiar Processes Involving Exotic Materials

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kargel, J. S.; Furfaro, R.; Hays, C. C.; Lopes, R. M. C.; Lunine, J. I.; Mitchell, K. L.; Wall, S. D.; Cassini RADAR Team

    2007-03-01

    A new Geologic Operating Organon (GOO) for Titan is based on the cryogenic activity of many hydrocarbon and organic substances. This model derives insight from volcanic, fluvial, lacustrine, permafrost, and glacial processes on Earth and beyond.

  18. Probabilistic estimates of the distribution of near-surface (within 1m) permafrost in Alaska.

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior — This medium resolution (i.e. 30-m pixels) spatial dataset provides an estimate of the occurrence of near-surface (within 1 m of the ground surface) permafrost in...

  19. P-wave and surface wave survey for permafrost analysis in alpine regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Godio, A.; Socco, L. V.; Garofalo, F.; Arato, A.; Théodule, A.

    2012-04-01

    In various high mountain environments the estimate of mechanical properties of slope and sediments are relevant for the link of the geo-mechanical properties with the climate change effects. Two different locations were selected to perform seismic and georadar surveying, the Tsanteleina glacier (Gran Paradiso) and the Blue Lake in Val d'Ayas in the massif of Monterosa. The analysis of the seismic and GPR lines allowed to characterize the silty soil (top layer) and underlying bedrock. We applied seismic survey in time lapse mode to check the presence of "active" layer and estimate the mechanical properties of the moraines material and their sensitivity to the permafrost changes. Mechanical properties of sediments and moraines in glacial areas are related to the grain-size, the compaction of the material subjected to the past glacial activity, the presence of frozen materials and the reactivity of the permafrost to the climate changes. The test site of Tsanteleina has been equipped with sensors to monitor the temperature of soil and air and with time domain reflectometry to estimate the soil moisture and the frozen and thawing cycle of the uppermost material. Seismic reflections from the top of the permafrost layer are difficult to identify as they are embedded in the source-generated noise. Therefore we estimate seismic velocities from the analysis of traveltime refraction tomography and the analysis of surface wave. This approach provides information on compressional and shear waves using a single acquisition layout and a hammer acts as source. This reduces the acquisition time in complex logistical condition especially in winter period. The seismic survey was performed using 48 vertical geophones with 2 m spacing. The survey has been repeated in two different periods: summer 2011 and winter 2011. Common offset reflection lines with a 200 MHz GPR system (in summer) permitted to investigate the sediments and obtain information on the subsoil layering. The processing

  20. Advances in thermokarst lake research in permafrost regions

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    FuJun Niu; GuoDong Cheng; Jing Luo; ZhanJu Lin

    2014-01-01

    A-thermokarst-lake-is-defined-as-a-lake-occupying-a-closed-depression-formed-by-ground-settlement-following-thawing-of-ice-rich-permafrost-or-the-melting-of-massive-ice.-As-it-is-the-most-visible-morphologic-landscape-developed-during-the-process-of-permafrost-degradation,-we-reviewed-recent-literature-on-thermokarst-studies,-and-summarized-the-main-study-topics-as:-development-and-temporal-evolution,-carbon-release,-and-ecological-and-engineering-influence-of-thermokarst-lakes.-The-climate-warming,-forest-fires,-surface-water-pooling,-geotectonic-fault-and-anthropogenic-ac-tivity-are-the-main-influencing-factors-that-cause-an-increase-of-ground-temperatures-and-melting-of-ice-rich-permafrost,-resulting-in-thermokarst-lake-formation.-Normally-a-thermokarst-lake-develops-in-3-5-stages-from-initiation-to-perma-frost-recovery.-Geo-rectified-aerial-photographs-and-remote-sensing-images-show-that-thermokarst-lakes-have-been-mainly-experiencing-the-process-of-shrinkage-or-disappearance-in-most-regions-of-the-Arctic,-while-both-lake-numbers-and-areas-on-the-Qinghai-Tibet-Plateau-have-increased.-Field-studies-and-modeling-indicates-that-carbon-release-from-thermokarst-lakes-can-feedback-significantly-to-global-warming,-thus-enhancing-our-understanding-of-the-influences-of-thermokarst-lakes-on-the-ecological-environment,-and-on-regional-groundwater-through-drainage.-Based-on-field-mon-itoring-and-numerical-simulations,-infrastructure-stability-can-be-affected-by-thermal-erosion-of-nearby-thermokarst-lakes.-This-review-was-undertaken-to-enhance-our-understanding-of-thermokarst-lakes,-and-providing-references-for-future-comprehensive-studies-on-thermokarst-lakes.

  1. Past and future thermal characteristics of permafrost in Svalbard

    Science.gov (United States)

    Etzelmueller, B.; Isaksen, K.; Schuler, T. V.; Benestad, R.

    2009-04-01

    Within the EU-funded PACE project a 102 m deep borehole was drilled at Janssonhaugen, Svalbard, in 1998. The boreholes penetrate Cretaceous sandstone bedrock with low ice content overlain by a thin (0.2-0.5 m) weathering layer containing no organic material, the ground surface has no vegetation, and during winter snow cover is thin or completely absent due to deflation. Thus, a high correlation is observed between air temperature and ground surface temperature and the climate signal that penetrates the ground shows little disturbance by near-surface latent heat effects. The site is representative for the mountains in the area. The 10-year long series show that the permafrost has warmed considerably. Significant warming is detectable down to at least 60 m depth, and present decadal warming rate at the permafrost surface are on the order of 0.07 °C yr-1, with indications of accelerated warming during the last decade (Isaksen et al. 2007). In this study we have calibrated a surface temperature driven 1D-heat flow model with phase transitions to the temperature measurements in the borehole. This model was then forced by ground surface temperatures derived either from historical observed air temperature data for the 20th Century and an empirical statistical downscaled ensemble covering the 21st Century. The latter is based on the multi-model World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3) of the most recent Special Report Emission Scenario (SRES) A1b (in which atmospheric CO2 reaches 720 parts per million by 2100) produced for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report 4 (AR4). The presentation demonstrate the possible impact of projected higher air temperatures in the high Arctic on the ground thermal regime, and geomorphological and geotechnical consequences will be discussed.

  2. Estimating the near-surface permafrost-carbon feedback on global warming

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. Schneider von Deimling

    2012-02-01

    Full Text Available Thawing of permafrost and the associated release of carbon constitutes a positive feedback in the climate system, elevating the effect of anthropogenic GHG emissions on global-mean temperatures. Multiple factors have hindered the quantification of this feedback, which was not included in climate carbon-cycle models which participated in recent model intercomparisons (such as the Coupled Carbon Cycle Climate Model Intercomparison Project – C4MIP . There are considerable uncertainties in the rate and extent of permafrost thaw, the hydrological and vegetation response to permafrost thaw, the decomposition timescales of freshly thawed organic material, the proportion of soil carbon that might be emitted as carbon dioxide via aerobic decomposition or as methane via anaerobic decomposition, and in the magnitude of the high latitude amplification of global warming that will drive permafrost degradation. Additionally, there are extensive and poorly characterized regional heterogeneities in soil properties, carbon content, and hydrology. Here, we couple a new permafrost module to a reduced complexity carbon-cycle climate model, which allows us to perform a large ensemble of simulations. The ensemble is designed to span the uncertainties listed above and thereby the results provide an estimate of the potential strength of the feedback from newly thawed permafrost carbon. For the high CO2 concentration scenario (RCP8.5, 33–114 GtC (giga tons of Carbon are released by 2100 (68 % uncertainty range. This leads to an additional warming of 0.04–0.23 °C. Though projected 21st century permafrost carbon emissions are relatively modest, ongoing permafrost thaw and slow but steady soil carbon decomposition means that, by 2300, about half of the potentially vulnerable permafrost carbon stock in the upper 3 m of soil layer (600–1000 GtC could be released as CO2, with an extra 1–4 % being released as methane. Our results also

  3. Permafrost thawing and increased winter discharge in Northern Norway - is there a connection?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Westermann, S.; Etzelmuller, B.

    2013-12-01

    Trends of increasing winter river discharge have been observed in many areas in the Arctic. Spatially distributed modeling of the ground thermal regime in conjunction with multi-decadal time series of discharge measurements provides the opportunity to investigate the role of permafrost thaw as contributing factor to such changes. In Northern Norway, there exist a number of gauged watersheds in permafrost regions for which 30- to 100-year records of discharge measurements are available. Numerical simulations of the evolution of the ground temperature regime have been performed at 1km resolution with the transient permafrost model CryoGrid 2 (Westermann et el. 2013) for the last 50 years for an area of approximately 55,000km2. As an example, we present the Iesjohka watershed, located at 69.5°N with a size of approximately 2000 km2. It extends across the boundary between permafrost-free coastal regions and more continental plains dominated by discontinuous permafrost, and features a variety of landcover types including organic-rich palsa mires. During summer, the Iesjohka has an average discharge of 20 to 50 m3/s, while the typical winter discharge is on the order of a few m3/s. Since the beginning of measurements in 1974, the average discharge in the winter months November to February and the annual minimum discharge have more than doubled, while CryoGrid 2 simulations show that permafrost has crossed the thawing threshold in a large part of the watershed between 1980 and 2010. In 2013, degradation of palsas and collapses of peat plateaus have been observed at many places along a 50 km transect through the watershed, transforming comparatively dry areas underlain by permafrost in permafrost-free water-saturated mires. Similar increases of the winter discharge have been observed for other permafrost watersheds in Northern Norway, thus suggesting a causal relationship between permafrost thaw and increased winter discharge. To further investigate this hypothesis, we

  4. Major disruption of D'' beneath Alaska: D'' Beneath Alaska

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sun, Daoyuan [Laboratory of Seismology and Physics of Earth' s Interior, School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei Anhui China; National Geophysics Observatory at Mengcheng, Anhui China; Helmberger, Don [Seismological Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Caltech, Pasadena California USA; Miller, Meghan S. [Department of Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles California USA; Jackson, Jennifer M. [Seismological Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Caltech, Pasadena California USA

    2016-05-01

    D'' represents one of the most dramatic thermal and compositional layers within our planet. In particular, global tomographic models display relatively fast patches at the base of the mantle along the circum-Pacific which are generally attributed to slab debris. Such distinct patches interact with the bridgmanite (Br) to post-bridgmanite (PBr) phase boundary to generate particularly strong heterogeneity at their edges. Most seismic observations for the D'' come from the lower mantle S wave triplication (Scd). Here we exploit the USArray waveform data to examine one of these sharp transitions in structure beneath Alaska. From west to east beneath Alaska, we observed three different characteristics in D'': (1) the western region with a strong Scd, requiring a sharp δVs = 2.5% increase; (2) the middle region with no clear Scd phases, indicating a lack of D'' (or thin Br-PBr layer); and (3) the eastern region with strong Scd phase, requiring a gradient increase in δVs. To explain such strong lateral variation in the velocity structure, chemical variations must be involved. We suggest that the western region represents relatively normal mantle. In contrast, the eastern region is influenced by a relic slab that has subducted down to the lowermost mantle. In the middle region, we infer an upwelling structure that disrupts the Br-PBr phase boundary. Such an interpretation is based upon a distinct pattern of travel time delays, waveform distortions, and amplitude patterns that reveal a circular-shaped anomaly about 5° across which can be modeled synthetically as a plume-like structure rising about 400 km high with a shear velocity reduction of ~5%, similar to geodynamic modeling predictions of upwellings.

  5. Northern Watershed Change, Modeled Permafrost Temperatures in the Yukon River Watershed

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bryan, R.; Hinzman, L. D.

    2009-12-01

    Changes in the terrestrial hydrologic cycle in northern watersheds can be seen through permafrost warming. Furthermore, vegetation shifts occur with climate changes coupled with permafrost degradation. Permafrost warming is resultant from warming air temperatures and the collection of buffers between the atmosphere and the cryosphere: the active layer, snow, and vegetation. Our modeling methods combine a meteorological model with a permafrost temperature model in 1 km2 resolution in the 847,642 km2 Yukon River Watershed. The MicroMet model is a quasi-physically based model developed in 2006 by Liston & Elder to spatially interpolate irregularly spaced point meteorological data using known temperature-elevation, wind-topography, humidity-cloudiness, and radiation-cloud-topography relationships. We call on 1997-2007 data from 104 Integrated Surface Data meteorological stations and 100 grid points in a 5 best models ensemble A1B 2090-2100 projection. The Temperature at the Top of the Permafrost (TTOP) model is a numerical model for estimating the thermal state of permafrost. This model is attributed to Smith & Riseborough, 1996. TTOP relates more readily available near surface temperatures to temperatures at the depth of seasonal variation using user-defined landcover n-factors (to relate air temperature to soil surface temperature) and soil thermal conductivities (to simulate the propagation of heat through the active layer). TTOP simulates warm top of the permafrost temperatures for high soil thermal conductivity, land cover with high n-factor, and a high number of thawing degree-days/ year. Here we compare the present and future thermal stability of permafrost in the Yukon River Watershed.

  6. Isolation of nucleic acids and cultures from fossil ice and permafrost

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Willerslev, E.; Hansen, Anders J.; Poinar, H. N.

    2004-01-01

    Owing to their constant low temperatures, glacial ice and permafrost might contain the oldest nucleic acids and microbial cells on Earth, which could prove key to reconstructing past ecosystems and for the planning of missions to other planets. However, recent claims concerning viable cells...... and permafrost, and highlight sources of contamination that could result in false claims. Additionally, we present a set of precautions, controls and criteria to help ensure that future cultures and sequences are authentic. Udgivelsesdato: 2004 Mar...

  7. Strategizing a Comprehensive Laboratory Protocol to Determine the Decomposability of Soil Organic Matter in Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaedel, C.; Ernakovich, J. G.; Harden, J. W.; Natali, S.; Richter, A.; Schuur, E.; Treat, C. C.

    2015-12-01

    Soil organic matter decomposition depends on physical, chemical, and biological factors, such as the amount and quality of the organic matter stored, abiotic conditions (such as soil temperature and moisture), microbial community dynamics, and physical protection by soil minerals. Soils store immense amounts of carbon with 1330-1580 Pg of carbon in the permafrost region alone. Increasing temperatures in the Arctic will thaw large amounts of previously frozen organic carbon making it available for decomposition. The rate at which carbon is being released from permafrost soils is crucial for understanding future changes in permafrost carbon storage and carbon flux to the atmosphere. The potential magnitude and form of carbon release (carbon dioxide or methane) from permafrost can be investigated using soil incubation studies. Over the past 20 years, many incubation studies have been published with soils from the permafrost zone and three recent syntheses have summarized current findings from aerobic and anaerobic incubation studies. However, the breadth of the incubation synthesis projects was hampered by incomplete meta-data and the use of different methods. Here, we provide recommendations to improve and standardize future soil incubation studies (which are not limited to permafrost soils) to make individual studies useful for inclusion in syntheses and meta-analyses, which helps to broaden their impact on our understanding of organic matter cycling. Additionally, we identify gaps in the understanding of permafrost carbon decomposability, that, when coupled with emerging knowledge from field observations and experiments, can be implemented in future studies to gain a better overview of the overall decomposability of permafrost carbon.

  8. Contribution of permafrost degradation landforms to summer export of DOC from Yedoma-type Ice Complex

    OpenAIRE

    Morgenstern, Anne; Polakowski, Lydia; Chetverova, Antonina; Eulenburg, Antje; Fedorova, Irina; Skorospekhova, Tatyana; Bobrova, Olga; Heim, Birgit; Boike, Julia; Overduin, Paul

    2016-01-01

    Thermo-erosional landforms (valleys, gullies) and their associated streams are the main connecting pathways between inland permafrost areas and rivers and coasts. Surface and ground waters are routed along these streams, which transport particulate and dissolved matter from the catchments to the rivers and coastal waters. Regions of ice-rich permafrost, such as the Yedoma-type Ice Complex, are not only characterized by a high abundance of thermo-erosional landforms,...

  9. NORPERM, the Norwegian Permafrost Database – a TSP NORWAY IPY legacy

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H. Juliussen

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available NORPERM, the Norwegian Permafrost Database, was developed at the Geological Survey of Norway during the International Polar Year (IPY 2007-2009 as the main data legacy of the IPY research project Permafrost Observatory Project: A Contribution to the Thermal State of Permafrost in Norway and Svalbard (TSP NORWAY. Its structural and technical design is described in this paper along with the ground temperature data infrastructure in Norway and Svalbard, focussing on the TSP NORWAY permafrost observatory installations in the North Scandinavian Permafrost Observatory and Nordenskiöld Land Permafrost Observatory, being the primary data providers of NORPERM. Further developments of the database, possibly towards a regional database for the Nordic area, are also discussed.

    The purpose of NORPERM is to store ground temperature data safely and in a standard format for use in future research. The IPY data policy of open, free, full and timely release of IPY data is followed, and the borehole metadata description follows the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P standard. NORPERM is purely a temperature database, and the data is stored in a relation database management system and made publically available online through a map-based graphical user interface. The datasets include temperature time series from various depths in boreholes and from the air, snow cover, ground-surface or upper ground layer recorded by miniature temperature data-loggers, and temperature profiles with depth in boreholes obtained by occasional manual logging. All the temperature data from the TSP NORWAY research project is included in the database, totalling 32 temperature time series from boreholes, 98 time series of micrometeorological temperature conditions, and 6 temperature depth profiles obtained by manual logging in boreholes. The database content will gradually increase as data from previous and future projects are added. Links to

  10. Investigating talus slope geomorphology as impacted by permafrost thaw (Valais, Switzerland): stipulating a research framework

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hendrickx, Hanne; Delaloye, Reynald; Nyssen, Jan; Frankl, Amaury

    2017-04-01

    Climate change is altering temperature regimes and precipitation patterns worldwide. In the European Alps, atmospheric temperatures have risen twice as fast as the global average since 1900, while precipitation regimes are changing as well. Snow cover duration and extent has significantly decreased in the Swiss Alps, mainly due to earlier spring melt and rise in winter temperatures. Moreover, future projections predict a continuation of these trends. Spatial distribution and thermal properties of permafrost are highly influenced by ground surface conditions (snow and vegetation) and air temperature. Climate induced permafrost degradation is, therefore, expected. While alpine permafrost research has mainly focused on rock glaciers, less attention has been given to talus slopes. The latter are subjected to different kinds of slope processes such as debris flows, solifluction, permafrost creep, avalanches and rock fall. These processes are especially effective under a changing periglacial climate. Therefore, it is important to study permafrost distribution in these talus slopes, since it is believed to have large influence on slope stability. In this study, permafrost distribution will be mapped on several talus slope segments (10 - 40 ha) using geomorphological evidence, temperature data and measuring electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) profiles in addition to already existing data. The current dynamics of the study area will be studied by constructing detailed 3D models, using ground based and aerial photography (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, UAV) and the Structure-from-Motion method (SfM). The resulting Digital Elevation Models (DEM) will be used to quantify and understand the current geomorphological processes acting on these talus slopes. Historical aerial and terrestrial photographs will be used to give an idea about the magnitude and frequency of past geomorphic processes (e.g. debris flows). Historical and current dynamics can then be compared and contrasted

  11. Microbes in Thawing Permafrost: The Unknown Variable in the Climate Change Equation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Graham, David E [ORNL; Wallenstein, Matthew D [Colorado State University, Fort Collins; Vishnivetskaya, T. [University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK); Waldrop, Mark P. [U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA; Phelps, Tommy Joe [ORNL; Pfiffner, Susan M. [University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK); Onstott, T. C. [Princeton University; Whyte, Lyle [McGill University, Montreal, Quebec; Rivkina, Elizaveta [Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science, Russian Academy of Sciences; Gilichinsky, David A [Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science, Russian Academy of Sciences; Elias, Dwayne A [ORNL; Mackelprang, Rachel [U.S. Department of Energy, Joint Genome Institute; Verberkmoes, Nathan C [ORNL; Hettich, Robert {Bob} L [ORNL; Wagner, Dirk [Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Potsdam, Germany; Wullschleger, Stan D [ORNL; Jansson, Janet [Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

    2012-01-01

    Considering that 25% of Earth's terrestrial surface is underlain by permafrost (ground that has been continuously frozen for at least 2 years), our understanding of the diversity of microbial life in this extreme habitat is surprisingly limited. Taking into account the total mass of perennially frozen sediment (up to several hundred meters deep), permafrost contains a huge amount of buried, ancient organic carbon (Tarnocai et al., 2009).

  12. Strategizing a comprehensive laboratory protocol to determine the decomposability of soil organic matter in permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaedel, C.; Ernakovich, J. G.; Harden, J. W.; Natali, S.; Richter, A.; Schuur, E.; Treat, C. C.

    2016-12-01

    Soil organic matter decomposition depends on physical, chemical, and biological factors, such as the amount and quality of the organic matter stored, abiotic conditions (such as soil temperature and moisture), microbial community dynamics, and physical protection by soil minerals. Soils store immense amounts of carbon with 1330-1580 Pg of carbon in the permafrost region alone. Increasing temperatures in the Arctic will thaw large amounts of previously frozen organic carbon making it available for decomposition. The rate at which carbon is being released from permafrost soils is crucial for understanding future changes in permafrost carbon storage and carbon flux to the atmosphere. The potential magnitude and form of carbon release (carbon dioxide or methane) from permafrost can be investigated using soil incubation studies. Over the past 20 years, many incubation studies have been published with soils from the permafrost zone and multiple recent syntheses have summarized current findings from aerobic and anaerobic incubation studies. However, the breadth of the synthesis projects was hampered by incomplete meta-data and the use of different methods. Here, we provide recommendations to improve and standardize future soil incubation studies (which are not limited to permafrost soils) to make individual studies useful for inclusion in syntheses and meta-analyses, which helps to broaden their impact and our understanding of organic matter cycling. Additionally, we identify gaps in the understanding of permafrost carbon decomposability, that, when coupled with emerging knowledge from field observations and experiments, can be incorporated into future studies to gain a better overview of the overall decomposability of permafrost carbon.

  13. Climate Change, Degradation of Permafrost, and Hazards to Infrastructure in the Circumpolar Arctic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anisimov, O.

    2001-12-01

    Warming, thawing and disappearance of permafrost have accelerated in recent decades damaging engineered structures and raising public concerns. By the middle of the 21st century anthropogenic climate change may cause 2 to 3 C warming of the frozen ground, 10% to 16% reduction of the total permafrost area, 30% to 50% deepening of the active-layer thickness, and shifts between the permafrost zones due to cumulative effect of changing surface temperature, soil moisture, and vegetation. Such changes will have important implications for northern engineering and infrastructure built upon permafrost. The foundations supporting engineered structures are designed for the constant climatic conditions with construction-specific safety factor, which in the practice of the cold-region engineering varies typically from 5% to 60% with respect to the bearing capacity. In the zone of discontinuous permafrost a 2.0 C rise in air temperature may decrease the bearing capacity of frozen ground under buildings by more than a half. This may have important consequences for the infrastructure and particularly for residential buildings constructed in the permafrost zone between 1950 and 1990 in northern Russian cities Vorkuta, Yakytsk, Norylsk, and Magadan. Many of them are already weakened or damaged, which may in part be attributed to the effect of climate change. Susceptibility of permafrost to environmental hazards associated with thermokarst, ground settlement, and other destructive cryogenic processes may be crudely evaluated using the geocryological hazard index, which is the combination of the predicted for the future climate relative change in the active-layer thickness and the ground ice content. Predictive maps constructed for scenarios of climate change indicated that several population centers (Barrow, Inuvik), river terminals on the arctic coast of Russia (Salekhard, Igarka, Dudinka, Tiksi), and gas production complexes with associated infrastructure in northwest Siberia fall

  14. Dynamics of the larch taiga-permafrost coupled system in Siberia under climate change

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Zhang Ningning [Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Aichi 464-8601 (Japan); Yasunari, Tetsuzo [Hydrospheric Atmospheric Research Center, Nagoya University, Nagoya 464-8601 (Japan); Ohta, Takeshi, E-mail: zhangningning@lasg.iap.ac.cn [Study Consortium for Earth-Life Interactive Systems (SELIS) of Nagoya University, Nagoya (Japan)

    2011-04-15

    Larch taiga, also known as Siberian boreal forest, plays an important role in global and regional water-energy-carbon (WEC) cycles and in the climate system. Recent in situ observations have suggested that larch-dominated taiga and permafrost behave as a coupled eco-climate system across a broad boreal zone of Siberia. However, neither field-based observations nor modeling experiments have clarified the synthesized dynamics of this system. Here, using a new dynamic vegetation model coupled with a permafrost model, we reveal the processes of interaction between the taiga and permafrost. The model demonstrates that under the present climate conditions in eastern Siberia, larch trees maintain permafrost by controlling the seasonal thawing of permafrost, which in turn maintains the taiga by providing sufficient water to the larch trees. The experiment without permafrost processes showed that larch would decrease in biomass and be replaced by a dominance of pine and other species that suffer drier hydroclimatic conditions. In the coupled system, fire not only plays a destructive role in the forest, but also, in some cases, preserves larch domination in forests. Climate warming sensitivity experiments show that this coupled system cannot be maintained under warming of about 2 deg. C or more. Under such conditions, a forest with typical boreal tree species (dark conifer and deciduous species) would become dominant, decoupled from the permafrost processes. This study thus suggests that future global warming could drastically alter the larch-dominated taiga-permafrost coupled system in Siberia, with associated changes of WEC processes and feedback to climate.

  15. 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, the Canadian Beaufort Sea, in which associative geological processes of permafrost degradation and gas hydrate dissociation occur because of long-term warming since the Last Glacial Maximum. Heat flow in the continental slope was collected for the first time and is rather higher than those from deep boreholes (up to a few km below the seafloor) in the continental shelf. However, the smaller geothermal gradient and thermal conductivity were observed from sites along a transect line across permafrost limit on the eastern slope of the trough. It is noted that geothermal gradients are relatively constant in the vicinity of permafrost limit but are much smaller (even minus) only at deeper depths with positive bottom water temperature. Reason for such distribution is unclear yet. Based on observed geothermal gradient and bottom water temperature, permafrost table shown in subbottom profile seems to be controlled not by temperature. On the other hand, our finding of permafrost evidence on the other subbottom profile located landward may support that permafrost limit in the trough is along with ~100 m isobath.

  16. Controls on and consequences of specific leaf area variation with permafrost depth in a boreal forest

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

    Specific leaf area (SLA, leaf area per unit dry mass) is an index of plant carbon captured by photosynthesis and an important input into many terrestrial process models. However, the controls on and consequences of SLA variation are poorly understood, especially in high latitude, climatically-sensitive permafrost regions. To address this, we measured SLA along with soil and topographic properties across a boreal forest permafrost transition, in which forest composition changed as permafrost deepened from 54 to >150 cm. Using replicated transects, we characterized both linear and threshold relationships between topographic and edaphic variables and SLA, and evaluated and expanded upon a conceptual model of environmental factors and vegetation patterns. We found that the depth of the soil active layer above permafrost (ALD) was highly correlated with SLA, for both coniferous and deciduous boreal tree species. Across a permafrost transition, intraspecific SLA variation was associated with a fivefold increase in NPP, suggesting that changes in ALD due to permafrost thaw could heavily influence ecosystem carbon accumulation. High levels of intraspecific trait variation suggest the need for flexible trait representation across plant functional types in Earth System Models. We thus incorporated our empirical environment-SLA relationships into spatially explicit spin-ups of the Community Land Model (CLM v4.5) in an effort to constrain model uncertainty. Dynamic representation of plant traits can improve our representation of intraspecific trait variability and its functional relationship with environmental gradients in models predicting ecosystem responses to ongoing climate change.

  17. Low below-ground organic carbon storage in a subarctic Alpine permafrost environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fuchs, M.; Kuhry, P.; Hugelius, G.

    2015-03-01

    This study investigates the soil organic carbon (SOC) storage in Tarfala Valley, northern Sweden. Field inventories, upscaled based on land cover, show that this alpine permafrost environment does not store large amounts of SOC, with an estimate mean of 0.9 ± 0.2 kg C m-2 for the upper meter of soil. This is 1 to 2 orders of magnitude lower than what has been reported for lowland permafrost terrain. The SOC storage varies for different land cover classes and ranges from 0.05 kg C m-2 for stone-dominated to 8.4 kg C m-2 for grass-dominated areas. No signs of organic matter burial through cryoturbation or slope processes were found, and radiocarbon-dated SOC is generally of recent origin (distribution in Tarfala Valley, based on the bottom temperature of snow measurements and a logistic regression model, showed that at an altitude where permafrost is probable the SOC storage is very low. In the high-altitude permafrost zones (above 1500 m), soils store only ca. 0.1 kg C m-2. Under future climate warming, an upward shift of vegetation zones may lead to a net ecosystem C uptake from increased biomass and soil development. As a consequence, alpine permafrost environments could act as a net carbon sink in the future, as there is no loss of older or deeper SOC from thawing permafrost.

  18. Potential microbial contamination during sampling of permafrost soil assessed by tracers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bang-Andreasen, Toke; Schostag, Morten; Priemé, Anders; Elberling, Bo; Jacobsen, Carsten S

    2017-02-23

    Drilling and handling of permanently frozen soil cores without microbial contamination is of concern because contamination e.g. from the active layer above may lead to incorrect interpretation of results in experiments investigating potential and actual microbial activity in these low microbial biomass environments. Here, we present an example of how microbial contamination from active layer soil affected analysis of the potentially active microbial community in permafrost soil. We also present the development and use of two tracers: (1) fluorescent plastic microspheres and (2) Pseudomonas putida genetically tagged with Green Fluorescent Protein production to mimic potential microbial contamination of two permafrost cores. A protocol with special emphasis on avoiding microbial contamination was developed and employed to examine how far microbial contamination can penetrate into permafrost cores. The quantity of tracer elements decreased with depth into the permafrost cores, but the tracers were detected as far as 17 mm from the surface of the cores. The results emphasize that caution should be taken to avoid microbial contamination of permafrost cores and that the application of tracers represents a useful tool to assess penetration of potential microbial contamination into permafrost cores.

  19. Potential microbial contamination during sampling of permafrost soil assessed by tracers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bang-Andreasen, Toke; Schostag, Morten; Priemé, Anders; Elberling, Bo; Jacobsen, Carsten S.

    2017-01-01

    Drilling and handling of permanently frozen soil cores without microbial contamination is of concern because contamination e.g. from the active layer above may lead to incorrect interpretation of results in experiments investigating potential and actual microbial activity in these low microbial biomass environments. Here, we present an example of how microbial contamination from active layer soil affected analysis of the potentially active microbial community in permafrost soil. We also present the development and use of two tracers: (1) fluorescent plastic microspheres and (2) Pseudomonas putida genetically tagged with Green Fluorescent Protein production to mimic potential microbial contamination of two permafrost cores. A protocol with special emphasis on avoiding microbial contamination was developed and employed to examine how far microbial contamination can penetrate into permafrost cores. The quantity of tracer elements decreased with depth into the permafrost cores, but the tracers were detected as far as 17 mm from the surface of the cores. The results emphasize that caution should be taken to avoid microbial contamination of permafrost cores and that the application of tracers represents a useful tool to assess penetration of potential microbial contamination into permafrost cores. PMID:28230151

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ward, Collin P; Cory, Rose M

    2016-04-05

    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.

  1. Study on the technology for highway construction and engineering practices in permafrost regions

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2009-01-01

    In order to systemically summarize and integrate technology of highway construction in permafrost regions on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau,we studied disciplines and mechanisms of formation and development of problems and challenges in highway engineer-ing in high-altitude permafrost regions based on construction experiences for 50 years and on 30 years of research regarding the Qinghai-Tibet and Xikang highways.Embankments,pavements,bridges,and countermeasures for ecosystem protection in per-mafrost regions were the main study objects.We combined extensive analysis of key problems of engineering stability with inter-action between permafrost and highways,theoretical models,indoor tests,and field tests to reveal the interaction between em-bankments,pavements,bridge piles,and permafrost.In this paper,we propose a series of engineering measures for highway sta-bility,design parameters,key indexes for pavement durability in low temperature,relationships between re-freezing time of bridge-pile foundation and strength development as well as ecosystem recovery in high-latitude cold regions;these eventually form a construction technology package for permafrost regions.

  2. A GIS-aided response model of high-altitude permafrost to global change

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    李新; 程国栋

    1999-01-01

    Two models are used to simulate the high-altitude permafrost distribution on the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau. The two models are the "altitude model", a Gaussian distribution function used to describe the latitudinal zonation of permafrost based on the three-dimensional rules of high-altitude permafrost, and the "frost number model", a dimensionless ratio defined by manipulation of freezing and thawing degree-day sums. The results show that the "altitude model" can simulate the high-altitude permafrost distribution under present climate conditions accurately. Given the essential hypotheses and using the GCM scenarios from HADCM2, the "altitude model" is used for predicting the permafrost distribution change on the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau. The results show that the permafrost on the plateau will not change significantly during 20—50 a, the percentage of the total disappeared area will not be over 19%. However, by the year 2099, if the air temperature increases by an average of 2.91℃ on the plateau, the decre

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Study on the technology for highway construction and engineering practices in permafrost regions

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ShuangJie Wang; JianBing Chen; JiLin Qi

    2009-01-01

    In order to systemically summarize and integrate technology of highway construction in permafrost regions on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, we studied disciplines and mechanisms of formation and development of problems and challenges in highway engineering in high-altitude permafrost regions based on construction experiences for 50 years and on 30 years of research regarding the Qinghai-Tibet and Xikang highways. Embankments, pavements, bridges, and countermeasures for ecosystem protection in permafrost regions were the main study objects. We combined extensive analysis of key problems of engineering stability with interaction between permafrost and highways, theoretical models, indoor tests, and field tests to reveal the interaction between embankments, pavements, bridge piles, and permafrost. In this paper, we propose a series of engineering measures for highway stability, design parameters, key indexes for pavement durability in low temperature, relationships between re-freezing time of bridge-pile foundation and strength development as well as ecosystem recovery in high-latitude cold regions; these eventually form a construction technology package for permafrost regions.

  6. Metagenomic analysis of a permafrost microbial community reveals a rapid response to thaw.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mackelprang, Rachel; Waldrop, Mark P; DeAngelis, Kristen M; David, Maude M; Chavarria, Krystle L; Blazewicz, Steven J; Rubin, Edward M; Jansson, Janet K

    2011-11-06

    Permafrost contains an estimated 1672 Pg carbon (C), an amount roughly equivalent to the total currently contained within land plants and the atmosphere. This reservoir of C is vulnerable to decomposition as rising global temperatures cause the permafrost to thaw. During thaw, trapped organic matter may become more accessible for microbial degradation and result in greenhouse gas emissions. Despite recent advances in the use of molecular tools to study permafrost microbial communities, their response to thaw remains unclear. Here we use deep metagenomic sequencing to determine the impact of thaw on microbial phylogenetic and functional genes, and relate these data to measurements of methane emissions. Metagenomics, the direct sequencing of DNA from the environment, allows the examination of whole biochemical pathways and associated processes, as opposed to individual pieces of the metabolic puzzle. Our metagenome analyses reveal that during transition from a frozen to a thawed state there are rapid shifts in many microbial, phylogenetic and functional gene abundances and pathways. After one week of incubation at 5 °C, permafrost metagenomes converge to be more similar to each other than while they are frozen. We find that multiple genes involved in cycling of C and nitrogen shift rapidly during thaw. We also construct the first draft genome from a complex soil metagenome, which corresponds to a novel methanogen. Methane previously accumulated in permafrost is released during thaw and subsequently consumed by methanotrophic bacteria. Together these data point towards the importance of rapid cycling of methane and nitrogen in thawing permafrost.

  7. Potential carbon emissions dominated by carbon dioxide from thawed permafrost soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schädel, Christina; Bader, Martin K.-F.; Schuur, Edward A. G.; Biasi, Christina; Bracho, Rosvel; Čapek, Petr; de Baets, Sarah; Diáková, Kateřina; Ernakovich, Jessica; Estop-Aragones, Cristian; Graham, David E.; Hartley, Iain P.; Iversen, Colleen M.; Kane, Evan; Knoblauch, Christian; Lupascu, Massimo; Martikainen, Pertti J.; Natali, Susan M.; Norby, Richard J.; O'Donnell, Jonathan A.; Chowdhury, Taniya Roy; Šantrůčková, Hana; Shaver, Gaius; Sloan, Victoria L.; Treat, Claire C.; Turetsky, Merritt R.; Waldrop, Mark P.; Wickland, Kimberly P.

    2016-10-01

    Increasing temperatures in northern high latitudes are causing permafrost to thaw, making large amounts of previously frozen organic matter vulnerable to microbial decomposition. Permafrost thaw also creates a fragmented landscape of drier and wetter soil conditions that determine the amount and form (carbon dioxide (CO2), or methane (CH4)) of carbon (C) released to the atmosphere. The rate and form of C release control the magnitude of the permafrost C feedback, so their relative contribution with a warming climate remains unclear. We quantified the effect of increasing temperature and changes from aerobic to anaerobic soil conditions using 25 soil incubation studies from the permafrost zone. Here we show, using two separate meta-analyses, that a 10 °C increase in incubation temperature increased C release by a factor of 2.0 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.8 to 2.2). Under aerobic incubation conditions, soils released 3.4 (95% CI, 2.2 to 5.2) times more C than under anaerobic conditions. Even when accounting for the higher heat trapping capacity of CH4, soils released 2.3 (95% CI, 1.5 to 3.4) times more C under aerobic conditions. These results imply that permafrost ecosystems thawing under aerobic conditions and releasing CO2 will strengthen the permafrost C feedback more than waterlogged systems releasing CO2 and CH4 for a given amount of C.

  8. Ancient low–molecular-weight organic acids in permafrost fuel rapid carbon dioxide production upon thaw

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drake, Travis W.; Wickland, Kimberly P.; Spencer, Robert G. M.; McKnight, Diane M.; Striegl, Robert G.

    2015-01-01

    Northern permafrost soils store a vast reservoir of carbon, nearly twice that of the present atmosphere. Current and projected climate warming threatens widespread thaw of these frozen, organic carbon (OC)-rich soils. Upon thaw, mobilized permafrost OC in dissolved and particulate forms can enter streams and rivers, which are important processors of OC and conduits for carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere. Here, we demonstrate that ancient dissolved organic carbon (DOC) leached from 35,800 y B.P. permafrost soils is rapidly mineralized to CO2. During 200-h experiments in a novel high–temporal-resolution bioreactor, DOC concentration decreased by an average of 53%, fueling a more than sevenfold increase in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentration. Eighty-seven percent of the DOC loss to microbial uptake was derived from the low–molecular-weight (LMW) organic acids acetate and butyrate. To our knowledge, our study is the first to directly quantify high CO2 production rates from permafrost-derived LMW DOC mineralization. The observed DOC loss rates are among the highest reported for permafrost carbon and demonstrate the potential importance of LMW DOC in driving the rapid metabolism of Pleistocene-age permafrost carbon upon thaw and the outgassing of CO2 to the atmosphere by soils and nearby inland waters.

  9. Potential microbial contamination during sampling of permafrost soil assessed by tracers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bang-Andreasen, Toke; Schostag, Morten; Priemé, Anders; Elberling, Bo; Jacobsen, Carsten S.

    2017-02-01

    Drilling and handling of permanently frozen soil cores without microbial contamination is of concern because contamination e.g. from the active layer above may lead to incorrect interpretation of results in experiments investigating potential and actual microbial activity in these low microbial biomass environments. Here, we present an example of how microbial contamination from active layer soil affected analysis of the potentially active microbial community in permafrost soil. We also present the development and use of two tracers: (1) fluorescent plastic microspheres and (2) Pseudomonas putida genetically tagged with Green Fluorescent Protein production to mimic potential microbial contamination of two permafrost cores. A protocol with special emphasis on avoiding microbial contamination was developed and employed to examine how far microbial contamination can penetrate into permafrost cores. The quantity of tracer elements decreased with depth into the permafrost cores, but the tracers were detected as far as 17 mm from the surface of the cores. The results emphasize that caution should be taken to avoid microbial contamination of permafrost cores and that the application of tracers represents a useful tool to assess penetration of potential microbial contamination into permafrost cores.

  10. In situ nuclear magnetic resonance response of permafrost and active layer soil in boreal and tundra ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kass, Mason A.; Irons, Trevor P; Minsley, Burke J.; Pastick, Neal J.; Brown, Dana R N; Wylie, Bruce K.

    2017-01-01

    Characterization of permafrost, particularly warm and near-surface permafrost which can contain significant liquid water, is critical to understanding complex interrelationships with climate change, ecosystems, and disturbances such as wildfires. Understanding the vulnerability and resilience of permafrost requires an interdisciplinary approach, relying on (for example) geophysical investigations, ecological characterization, direct observations, remote sensing, and more. As part of a multi-year investigation into the impacts of wildfires to permafrost, we have collected in situ measurements of the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) response of active layer and permafrost in a variety of soil conditions, types, and saturations. In this paper, we summarize the NMR data and present quantitative relationships between active layer and permafrost liquid water content and pore sizes. Through statistical analyses and synthetic freezing simulations, we also demonstrate that borehole NMR can image the nucleation of ice within soil pore spaces.

  11. Cartografía del permafrost de montaña en los Pirineos españoles

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Juan González-Trueba

    2009-06-01

    Full Text Available Mountain permafrost map of the Spanish Pyrenees. Since the 1980’s with the development of research on rock glaciers and periglacial landforms as permafrost indicators that the mountain permafrost is known to occur in the Pyrenees. In this paper we present a map of the distribution of mountain permafrost in the Pyrenees. The mapping is based on indicators of permafrost (rock glaciers, gelifluctionprocesses, ice caves, patterned ground, vertical electric sounding and ground thermal regimes and geographical information extracted from a Digital Elevation Model, such as slope angle and aspect, altitude and potential direct solar radiation. The map represents the spatial distribution of “probable” and “possible permafrost”and represents the present-day state of the art on Pyrenean permafrost.

  12. The International Permafrost Association: new structure and initiatives for cryospheric research

    Science.gov (United States)

    May, I.; Lewkowicz, A. G.; Christiansen, H.; Romanovsky, V. E.; Lantuit, H.; Schrott, L.; Sergeev, D.; Wei, M.

    2012-12-01

    The International Permafrost Association (IPA), founded in 1983, has as its objectives to foster the dissemination of