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Sample records for mountain permafrost distribution

  1. Data-driven mapping of the potential mountain permafrost distribution.

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    Deluigi, Nicola; Lambiel, Christophe; Kanevski, Mikhail

    2017-07-15

    Existing mountain permafrost distribution models generally offer a good overview of the potential extent of this phenomenon at a regional scale. They are however not always able to reproduce the high spatial discontinuity of permafrost at the micro-scale (scale of a specific landform; ten to several hundreds of meters). To overcome this lack, we tested an alternative modelling approach using three classification algorithms belonging to statistics and machine learning: Logistic regression, Support Vector Machines and Random forests. These supervised learning techniques infer a classification function from labelled training data (pixels of permafrost absence and presence) with the aim of predicting the permafrost occurrence where it is unknown. The research was carried out in a 588km 2 area of the Western Swiss Alps. Permafrost evidences were mapped from ortho-image interpretation (rock glacier inventorying) and field data (mainly geoelectrical and thermal data). The relationship between selected permafrost evidences and permafrost controlling factors was computed with the mentioned techniques. Classification performances, assessed with AUROC, range between 0.81 for Logistic regression, 0.85 with Support Vector Machines and 0.88 with Random forests. The adopted machine learning algorithms have demonstrated to be efficient for permafrost distribution modelling thanks to consistent results compared to the field reality. The high resolution of the input dataset (10m) allows elaborating maps at the micro-scale with a modelled permafrost spatial distribution less optimistic than classic spatial models. Moreover, the probability output of adopted algorithms offers a more precise overview of the potential distribution of mountain permafrost than proposing simple indexes of the permafrost favorability. These encouraging results also open the way to new possibilities of permafrost data analysis and mapping. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  2. Data analysis and mapping of the mountain permafrost distribution

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    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

  3. Modelling the Effects of Temperature and Cloud Cover Change on Mountain Permafrost Distribution, Northwest Canada

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    Bonnaventure, P. P.; Lewkowicz, A. G.

    2008-12-01

    permafrost distribution in the long-term than the probable range of cloud cover changes. Modelled results for the individual areas respond according to the hypsometry of the terrain and the relative strength of elevation and PISR in the regression models. This study indicates that significant changes to the distribution and extent of mountain permafrost in northwest Canada can be expected in the next few decades. References Bonnaventure, P.P. and Lewkowicz, A.G. (2008). Mountain permafrost probability mapping using the BTS method in two climatically dissimilar locations, northwest Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 45, 443-455. Lewkowicz, A.G. and Bonnaventure, P.P. (2008). Interchangeability of local mountain permafrost probability models, northwest Canada. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 19, 49-62.

  4. Temperature Inversions and Permafrost Distribution in a Mountain Valley: Preliminary Results From Wolf Creek, Yukon Territory, Canada

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    Lewkowicz, A. G.; Smith, K. M.

    2004-12-01

    The BTS (Basal Temperature of Snow) method to predict permafrost probability in mountain basins uses elevation as an easily available and spatially distributed independent variable. The elevation coefficient in the BTS regression model is, in effect, a substitute for ground temperature lapse rates. Previous work in Wolf Creek (60° 8'N 135° W), a mountain basin near Whitehorse, has shown that the model breaks down in a mid-elevation valley (1250 m asl) where actual permafrost probability is roughly twice that predicted by the model (60% vs. 20-30%). The existence of a double tree-line at the site suggested that air temperature inversions might be the cause of this inaccuracy (Lewkowicz and Ednie, 2004). This paper reports on a first year (08/2003-08/2004) of hourly air and ground temperature data collected along an altitudinal transect within the valley in upper Wolf Creek. Measurements were made at sites located 4, 8, 22, 82 and 162 m above the valley floor. Air temperature inversions between the lowest and highest measurement points occurred 42% of the time and in all months, but were most frequent and intense in winter (>60% of December and January) and least frequent in September (snow cover. In many cases, however, air temperature inversions are not duplicated in the ground temperature record. Nevertheless, the annual altitudinal ground temperature gradient is much lower than would be expected from a standard atmospheric lapse rate, suggesting that the inversions do have an important impact on permafrost distribution at this site. More generally, therefore, it appears probable that any reduction in inversion frequency resulting from a more vigorous atmospheric circulation in the context of future climate change, would have a significant effect on permafrost distribution in mountain basins.

  5. Mountain Permafrost in the Yukon Territory, Canada: Mapping and Modelling

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    Lewkowicz, A. G.; Bonnaventure, P.; Schultz, E.; Etzelmuller, B.

    2006-12-01

    The distribution and characteristics of mountain permafrost in North America are poorly known compared to lowland permafrost, and predictions of climatic change impacts are therefore subject to a higher degree of uncertainty. Recent DC resistivity soundings in association with borehole temperature information in the Yukon Territory, show the wide range of permafrost conditions that can exist at sites separated by short distances. To provide baseline information for future modelling, efforts are underway to produce a detailed map of permafrost probability in the mountains of the southern half of the Yukon Territory (60-65°N), an area greater than 200 x 103km2. The methodology is based on the Basal Temperature of Snow (BTS) technique, first developed in the European Alps. Ground surface temperatures measured at the base of snow > 80 cm thick in late winter are an indicator of permafrost presence or absence. We have used this method successfully in three study areas of about 200 km2: first, Wolf Creek basin near Whitehorse (Lewkowicz and Ednie, 2004) and now the western side of the Ruby Range adjacent to Kluane Lake, and the Haines Summit area in northwestern British Columbia. In each area, (1) we installed miniature temperature loggers at the ground surface and in the air to check on the timing of the BTS measurements; (2) we measured BTS values in the elevation zone across which permafrost was expected to become widespread; (3) we modelled the BTS spatial field using elevation (from a 30 m DEM) and potential incoming solar radiation (PISR) as the independent variables; and (4) we used logistic regression to compare the modelled BTS values with pit observations made in late-summer of the presence or absence of frozen ground. Both elevation and PISR were significant in the Wolf Creek and Ruby Range sites which have relatively continental climates and fall within the Upper Yukon-Stikine Basin climatic region (Wahl et al., 1987). For the Haines Summit area, however

  6. Mountain permafrost, glacier thinning, and slope stability - a perspective from British Columbia (and Alaska)

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    Geertsema, Marten

    2016-04-01

    The association of landslides with thinning glaciers and mapped, or measured, mountain permafrost is increasing. Glacier thinning debuttresses slopes and promotes joint expansion. It is relatively easy to map. Permafrost, a thermal condition, is generally not visually detectible, and is difficult to map. Much mountain permafrost may have been overlooked in hazard analysis. Identifying, and characterizing mountain permafrost, and its influence on slope instability is crucial for hazard and risk analysis in mountainous terrain. Rock falls in mountains can be the initial event in process chains. They can transform into rock avalanches, debris flows or dam burst floods, travelling many kilometres, placing infrastructure and settlements at risk.

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

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    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

  8. Interactions between Shrubs and Permafrost in the Torngat Mountains, Northern Labrador, Canada

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    Lewkowicz, A.; Way, R. G.; Hermanutz, L.; Trant, A.; Siegwart Collier, L.; Whitaker, D.

    2017-12-01

    Discontinuous permafrost is acutely sensitive to climate warming and vegetation dynamics. Shrub height is positively correlated with accumulation of snow in the tundra resulting in warming of the ground in winter, and greater shading and lower surface temperatures in summer. Rapid greening due to climate warming has been observed throughout northeastern Canada and particularly in the coastal mountainous terrain of the Torngat Mountains National Park. Our research examines how this shrubification in the Torngat Mountains is modifying permafrost characteristics using observations which extend over a 100 km south-north transect from the sporadic zone (Saglek, Torr Bay) to where permafrost is widespread (Nakvak Brook, Kangalaksiorvik Lake) and potentially continuous (Komaktorvik River). We use air and ground temperature monitoring, vegetation surveys, dendrochronology, frost probing and electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) to describe the complex interactions between shrub growth, geomorphology, climate and permafrost in a region where climate warming is rapidly altering the landscape. Preliminary analysis of field data shows low resistivity anomalies in the ERT profiles at some sites with thin permafrost, interpreted as unfrozen zones correlated with areas of tall shrubs (Alnus spp., Salix spp. and Betula glandulosa; ranging from prostrate to 2 m). Elsewhere, high resistivities extend to the base of the ERT profiles, indicating thicker permafrost, and no obvious impact of medium to low-prostrate shrubs (Salix spp., Betula glandulosa, Rhododendron spp., and Vaccinium spp.; up to 50 cm). Permafrost is interpreted to be present at most sites with low or prostrate shrubs, except where hydrological conditions favour warmer ground temperatures. We infer that the net impact of increasing shrub heights on the active layer and permafrost depends on antecedent ground temperatures and surficial geology. Increasing shrub heights may cause permafrost degradation at sites where

  9. Improving permafrost distribution modelling using feature selection algorithms

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    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

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

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    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

  11. Remote sensing of glacier- and permafrost-related hazards in high mountains: an overview

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Kääb

    2005-01-01

    Full Text Available Process interactions and chain reactions, the present shift of cryospheric hazard zones due to atmospheric warming, and the potential far reach of glacier disasters make it necessary to apply modern remote sensing techniques for the assessment of glacier and permafrost hazards in high-mountains. Typically, related hazard source areas are situated in remote regions, often difficult to access for physical and/or political reasons. In this contribution we provide an overview of air- and spaceborne remote sensing methods suitable for glacier and permafrost hazard assessment and disaster management. A number of image classification and change detection techniques support high-mountain hazard studies. Digital terrain models (DTMs, derived from optical stereo data, synthetic aperture radar or laserscanning, represent one of the most important data sets for investigating high-mountain processes. Fusion of satellite stereo-derived DTMs with the DTM from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM is a promising way to combine the advantages of both technologies. Large changes in terrain volume such as from avalanche deposits can indeed be measured even by repeat satellite DTMs. Multitemporal data can be used to derive surface displacements on glaciers, permafrost and landslides. Combining DTMs, results from spectral image classification, and multitemporal data from change detection and displacement measurements significantly improves the detection of hazard potentials. Modelling of hazardous processes based on geographic information systems (GIS complements the remote sensing analyses towards an integrated assessment of glacier and permafrost hazards in mountains. Major present limitations in the application of remote sensing to glacier and permafrost hazards in mountains are, on the one hand, of technical nature (e.g. combination and fusion of different methods and data; improved understanding of microwave backscatter. On the other hand, better

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

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    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.

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

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

    2014-05-01

    High-mountain environments worldwide are undergoing changes at an historically unprecedented pace due to the sensitivity of the high-mountain cryosphere to climate change. Humans have settled in many mountain regions hundreds, even thousands of years ago, but recent intensive socio-economic developments have increased exposure and vulnerability of people and infrastructure to a large range of natural hazards related to high-mountain processes. Resulting risks are therefore increasing and highly dynamic. GAPHAZ, the Standing Group on Glacier and Permafrost Hazards in Mountains of the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences (IACS) and International Permafrost Association (IPA), is positioned in this context. The objectives of GAPHAZ are to: • improve the international scientific communication on glacier and permafrost hazards; • stimulating and strengthen research collaborations in the field of glacier and permafrost hazards; • compile a state of knowledge related to glacier and permafrost hazards in high mountains; • work towards a greater transfer of information and improved communication between the scientific and governmental/policy communities; • signpost sources of advice to international and national agencies, responsible authorities, and private companies; and • act as a focal point for information for international media during relevant crises. GAPHAZ has initiated a variety of activities over the past years to meet these objectives. One of the important issues is the development of standards of (1) how to make and portray technical assessments of glacier and permafrost related hazards and risks; and (2) how to communicate these to the public and a range of actors including those who implement measures. Thereby, difficulties of and need for better translation between techno-scientific understanding, and the situations and concerns of people most at risk in cold regions need to be recognized. Knowledge-transfer from the few well

  14. Permafrost Distribution along the Qinghai-Tibet Engineering Corridor, China Using High-Resolution Statistical Mapping and Modeling Integrated with Remote Sensing and GIS

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    Fujun Niu

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available Permafrost distribution in the Qinghai-Tibet Engineering Corridor (QTEC is of growing interest due to the increase in infrastructure development in this remote area. Empirical models of mountain permafrost distribution have been established based on field sampled data, as a tool for regional-scale assessments of its distribution. This kind of model approach has never been applied for a large portion of this engineering corridor. In the present study, this methodology is applied to map permafrost distribution throughout the QTEC. After spatial modelling of the mean annual air temperature distribution from MODIS-LST and DEM, using high-resolution satellite image to interpret land surface type, a permafrost probability index was obtained. The evaluation results indicate that the model has an acceptable performance. Conditions highly favorable to permafrost presence (≥70% are predicted for 60.3% of the study area, declaring a discontinuous permafrost distribution in the QTEC. This map is useful for the infrastructure development along the QTEC. In the future, local ground-truth observations will be required to confirm permafrost presence in favorable areas and to monitor permafrost evolution under the influence of climate change.

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

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    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.

  16. Geochemistry of snow cover in taiga and alpine permafrost landscapes in Yakutia

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    V. N. Makarov

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available The work is devoted to results of study the chemical composition of snow in mountain taiga and permafrost landscapes of Yakutia. We studied snow cover in different mountain-belt types of landscapes. The composition and calculated volumes of chemical elements and compounds are studied in snow. The chemical composition of snow in mountain taiga and permafrost landscape has remained relatively constant (hydrocarbonate chloride-bicarbonate or sodium-calcium, low sulfate content. The dominant influence on the chemical composition of snow at plains and mountain permafrost landscapes has a continental origin, mainly carbon compounds. In mountain desert, where there is predominantly regional transfer, along with the carbon significant role in atmospheric precipitation in cold season belongs to the nitrogen compounds, mainly ammonium. The total density of the entry of soluble and insoluble components in the form of snow decreases regularly with change of altitude. The distribution of trace elements in the snow cover is not a subject to altitudinal zonation. The maximum content of heavy metals (Mn, Cu, Pb, Cd, F, and Sr in the snow cover is observed in the landscapes of mountain woodlands and mountain tundra, where the route crossed research Sette-Daban metallogenic zone of stratiform Cu and Pb-Zn mineralization.

  17. The triggering factors of the Móafellshyrna debris slide in northern Iceland: intense precipitation, earthquake activity and thawing of mountain permafrost

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    Saemundsson, Thorsteinn; Morino, Costanza; Kristinn Helgason, Jón; Conway, Susan J.; Pétursson, Halldór G.

    2017-04-01

    could represent a new source of hazard in Iceland. The knowledge of the detailed distribution of mountain permafrost on the island is poorly constrained, making it is hard to predict where the next hazardous slide could occur in the future - therefore a making this a priority for future research.

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

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    Brown, J.

    2003-12-01

    Whereas glaciers are easily discernible to the human eye and satellites, permafrost terrains and their physical components are not easily detected from the surface without supplemental knowledge and measurements. In the Northern Hemisphere, approximately 17 million km2 of exposed land contains some extent of permafrost or ground that remains frozen for more than two years. The vast majority, or 11 million km2, of permafrost terrain has temperatures of 5° C or below, with perennially frozen ground underlying essentially all ground surfaces to considerable depths. Permafrost in the remaining regions, including mid-latitude mountains, is both warmer and is spatially variable (discontinuous). As climate warms the uppermost permafrost is subjected to increase thaw with resulting ground subsidence, accelerated erosion, and related biogeochemical modifications. The challenging questions to geocryologists, modelers and the public relate to the rate of change and the spatial variability of the projected thaw, particularly in the warmer zones where actual areal and subareal distribution of permafrost is poorly known. An international network of active layer measurements and borehole sites now exists under the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), but requires additional sites for representative coverage. This Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) is coordinated by the 24-member, International Permafrost Association. At the Eighth International Conference on Permafrost (ICOP) in Zurich in July 2003, the IPA Council agreed on the scope of new activities for the next five years, many of which will be undertaken in cooperation with other international organizations (e.g. WCRP/CliC; ICSI, IASC, SCAR, IGU, IUGS). Examples of the activities of the IPA Working Groups are: 1. Antarctic Permafrost and Periglacial Environments (active layer processes, maps, database). 2. Coastal and Offshore Permafrost (sediment and organic transfers, subsea permafrost dynamics). 3

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

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    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.

  20. CRYOLINK: Monitoring of permafrost and seasonal frost in southern Norway

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    Farbrot, Herman; Hipp, Tobias; Etzelmüller, Bernd; Humlum, Ole; Isaksen, Ketil; Strand Ødegârd, Rune

    2010-05-01

    The modern southern boundary for Scandinavian permafrost is located in the mountains of Southern Norway. Permafrost and seasonal frost are considered key components of the cryosphere, and the climate-permafrost relation has acquired added importance with the increasing awareness and concern of rising air temperatures. The three-year research project CRYOLINK ("Permafrost and seasonal frost in southern Norway") aims at improving knowledge on past and present ground temperatures, seasonal frost, and distribution of mountain permafrost in Southern Norway by addressing the fundamental problem of heat transfer between the atmosphere and the ground surface. Hence, several shallow boreholes have been drilled in August 2008 in three areas (Juvvass, Jetta and Tron) situated along a west-east transect. On most borehole sites air and ground temperatures are measured. Further, vertical arrays of Miniature Temperature Dataloggers (MTDs; Thermochron iBottons®) at fixed heights above the ground surface have been installed to roughly determine the snow depths at the sites, which is also indicated by digital cameras providing daily pictures of snow and weather conditions. In addition individual MTDs have been placed out to measure ground surface temperature at different aspects and snow settings. This presentation will focus on the field set up and give examples of data obtained from the sites.

  1. Effects of permafrost thaw on carbon emissions under aerobic and anaerobic environments in the Great Hing'an Mountains, China.

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    Song, Changchun; Wang, Xianwei; Miao, Yuqing; Wang, Jiaoyue; Mao, Rong; Song, Yanyu

    2014-07-15

    The carbon (C) pool of permafrost peatland is very important for the global C cycle. Little is known about how permafrost thaw could influence C emissions in the Great Hing'an Mountains of China. Through aerobic and anaerobic incubation experiments, we studied the effects of permafrost thaw on CH4 and CO2 emissions. The rates of CH4 and CO2 emissions were measured at -10, 0 and 10°C. Although there were still C emissions below 0°C, rates of CH4 and CO2 emissions significantly increased with permafrost thaw under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. The C release under aerobic conditions was greater than under anaerobic conditions, suggesting that permafrost thaw and resulting soil environment change should be important influences on C emissions. However, CH4 stored in permafrost soils could affect accurate estimation of CH4 emissions from microbial degradation. Calculated Q10 values in the permafrost soils were significantly higher than values in active-layer soils under aerobic conditions. Our results highlight that permafrost soils have greater potential decomposability than soils of the active layer, and such carbon decomposition would be more responsive to the aerobic environment. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  2. Permafrost at its limits: The most easterly evidence of existing permafrost in the European Alps as indicated by ground temperature and geoelectrical measurements

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    Kellerer-Pirklbauer, A.; Kühnast, B.

    2009-04-01

    Mountain permafrost is a widespread phenomenon in alpine regions in the European Alps. For instance, some 2000 km² or 4% of the Austrian Alps are underlain by permafrost. Up to recent times most research on permafrost issues in Austria focused on the central and highest section of the Austrian Alps. By contrast, knowledge concerning marginal permafrost zones is fairly limited. To increase knowledge about the easternmost limit of permafrost in the European Alps, a research project focusing on the Seckauer Tauern Mountains (14°30'E to 15°00'E) and particularly on the Hochreichart area was initiated in 2004 by the first author. Since then, different methods have been applied such as e.g. geomorphic mapping, numerical permafrost modelling, multi-annual BTS measurements (since 2004) or continuous ground surface and near ground surface temperature measurements by miniature temperature data loggers/MTDs (since 2004). In order to verify the temperature data and to extend the spatial knowledge about permafrost distribution beyond point information, a geoelectrical survey was carried out at the end of August 2008 by applying the electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) method along a 120 m long profile covering the upper part of the rooting zone of a (more-or-less) relict rock glacier and the talus slope above. For this survey the two-dimensional (2D) electrical surveys was performed using the Wenner-Alfa configuration with 2.5 m spacing and an LGM-Lippmann 4-Punkt light hp resistivity-meter. The ERT results indicate an active layer of 2 to 4 m underlain by a permafrost body along 3/4 of the entire profile with resistivity values between 50 to 100 kOhm.m and extending to a depth of 10 to 15 m. The permafrost body is substantially thicker at the lower part of the profile (rock glacier; first 50 m of profile) compared to most of the upper part (talus slope). Focusing on the talus slope, the permafrost body is thickest on the central section of the profile (~5-6 m thickness

  3. Examining Environmental Gradients with satellite data in permafrost regions - the current state of the ESA GlobPermafrost initative

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grosse, G.; Bartsch, A.; Kääb, A.; Westermann, S.; Strozzi, T.; Wiesmann, A.; Duguay, C. R.; Seifert, F. M.; Obu, J.; Nitze, I.; Heim, B.; Haas, A.; Widhalm, B.

    2017-12-01

    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 spaceborne Earth Observation. Suitable regions to examine environmental gradients across the Arctic have been defined in a community white paper (Bartsch et al. 2014, hdl:10013/epic.45648.d001). These transects have been revised and adjusted within the DUE GlobPermafrost initiative of the European Space Agency. 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 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 status of the Permafrost Information System and first results will be presented. Prototypes of GlobPermafrost datasets include: Modelled mean annual ground temperature by use of land surface temperature and snow water equivalent from satellites Land surface characterization including shrub height, land cover and parameters related to surface roughness Trends from

  4. Bacterial community in ancient permafrost alluvium at the Mammoth Mountain (Eastern Siberia).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brouchkov, Anatoli; Kabilov, Marsel; Filippova, Svetlana; Baturina, Olga; Rogov, Victor; Galchenko, Valery; Mulyukin, Andrey; Fursova, Oksana; Pogorelko, Gennady

    2017-12-15

    Permanently frozen (approx. 3.5Ma) alluvial Neogene sediments exposed in the Aldan river valley at the Mammoth Mountain (Eastern Siberia) are unique, ancient, and poorly studied permafrost environments. So far, the structure of the indigenous bacterial community has remained unknown. Use of 16S metagenomic analysis with total DNA isolation using DNA Spin Kit for Soil (MO-Bio) and QIAamp DNA Stool Mini Kit (Qiagen) has revealed the major and minor bacterial lineages in the permafrost alluvium sediments. In sum, 61 Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) with 31,239 reads (Qiagen kit) and 15,404 reads (Mo-Bio kit) could be assigned to the known taxa. Only three phyla, Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria and Firmicutes, comprised >5% of the OTUs abundance and accounted for 99% of the total reads. OTUs pertaining to the top families (Chitinophagaceae, Caulobacteraceae, Sphingomonadaceae, Bradyrhizobiaceae, Halomonadaceae) held >90% of reads. The abundance of Actinobacteria was less (0.7%), whereas members of other phyla (Deinococcus-Thermus, Cyanobacteria/Chloroplast, Fusobacteria, and Acidobacteria) constituted a minor fraction of reads. The bacterial community in the studied ancient alluvium differs from other permafrost sediments, mainly by predominance of Bacteroidetes (>52%). The diversity of this preserved bacterial community has the potential to cause effects unknown if prompted to thaw and spread with changing climate. Therefore, this study elicits further reason to study how reintroduction of these ancient bacteria could affect the surrounding ecosystem, including current bacterial species. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  5. Increasing risks related to landslides from degrading permafrost into new lakes in de-glaciating mountain ranges

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haeberli, Wilfried; Schaub, Yvonne; Huggel, Christian

    2017-09-01

    While glacier volumes in most cold mountain ranges rapidly decrease due to continued global warming, degradation of permafrost at altitudes above and below glaciers is much slower. As a consequence, many still existing glacier and permafrost landscapes probably transform within decades into new landscapes of bare bedrock, loose debris, sparse vegetation, numerous new lakes and steep slopes with slowly degrading permafrost. These new landscapes are likely to persist for centuries if not millennia to come. During variable but mostly extended future time periods, such new landscapes will be characterized by pronounced disequilibria within their geo- and ecosystems. This especially involves long-term stability reduction of steep/icy mountain slopes as a slow and delayed reaction to stress redistribution following de-buttressing by vanishing glaciers and to changes in mechanical strength and hydraulic permeability caused by permafrost degradation. Thereby, the probability of far-reaching flood waves from large mass movements into lakes systematically increases with the formation of many new lakes and systems of lakes in close neighborhood to, or even directly at the foot of, so-affected slopes. Results of recent studies in the Swiss Alps are reviewed and complemented with examples from the Cordillera Blanca in Peru and the Mount Everest region in Nepal. Hot spots of future hazards from potential flood waves caused by large rock falls into new lakes can already now be recognized. To this end, integrated spatial information on glacier/permafrost evolution and lake formation can be used together with scenario-based models for rapid mass movements, impact waves and flood propagation. The resulting information must then be combined with exposure and vulnerability considerations related to settlements and infrastructure. This enables timely planning of risk reduction options. Such risk reduction options consist of two components: Mitigation of hazards, which in the present

  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. 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

  8. 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. © FEMS 2016. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  9. Air and Ground Surface Temperature Relations in a Mountainous Basin, Wolf Creek, Yukon Territory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roadhouse, Emily A.

    The links between climate and permafrost are well known, but the precise nature of the relationship between air and ground temperatures remains poorly understood, particularly in complex mountain environments. Although previous studies indicate that elevation and potential incoming solar radiation (PISR) are the two leading factors contributing to the existence of permafrost at a given location, additional factors may also contribute significantly to the existence of mountain permafrost, including vegetation cover, snow accumulation and the degree to which individual mountain landscapes are prone to air temperature inversions. Current mountain permafrost models consider only elevation and aspect, and have not been able to deal with inversion effects in a systematic fashion. This thesis explores the relationship between air and ground surface temperatures and the presence of surface-based inversions at 27 sites within the Wolf Creek basin and surrounding area between 2001 and 2006, as a first step in developing an improved permafrost distribution TTOP model. The TTOP model describes the relationship between the mean annual air temperature and the temperature at the top of permafrost in terms of the surface and thermal offsets (Smith and Riseborough, 2002). Key components of this model are n-factors which relate air and ground climate by establishing the ratio between air and surface freezing (winter) and thawing (summer) degree-days, thus summarizing the surface energy balance on a seasonal basis. Here we examine (1) surface offsets and (2) freezing and thawing n-factor variability at a number of sites through altitudinal treeline in the southern Yukon. Thawing n-factors (nt) measured at individual sites remained relatively constant from one year to the next and may be related to land cover. During the winter, the insulating effect of a thick snow cover results in higher surface temperatures, while thin snow cover results in low surface temperatures more closely

  10. 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.

  11. Landscape effects of wildfire on permafrost distribution in interior Alaska derived from remote sensing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Dana R. N.; Jorgenson, M. Torre; Kielland, Knut; Verbyla, David L.; Prakash, Anupma; Koch, Joshua C.

    2016-01-01

    Climate change coupled with an intensifying wildfire regime is becoming an important driver of permafrost loss and ecosystem change in the northern boreal forest. There is a growing need to understand the effects of fire on the spatial distribution of permafrost and its associated ecological consequences. We focus on the effects of fire a decade after disturbance in a rocky upland landscape in the interior Alaskan boreal forest. Our main objectives were to (1) map near-surface permafrost distribution and drainage classes and (2) analyze the controls over landscape-scale patterns of post-fire permafrost degradation. Relationships among remote sensing variables and field-based data on soil properties (temperature, moisture, organic layer thickness) and vegetation (plant community composition) were analyzed using correlation, regression, and ordination analyses. The remote sensing data we considered included spectral indices from optical datasets (Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI)), the principal components of a time series of radar backscatter (Advanced Land Observing Satellite—Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (ALOS-PALSAR)), and topographic variables from a Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)-derived digital elevation model (DEM). We found strong empirical relationships between the normalized difference infrared index (NDII) and post-fire vegetation, soil moisture, and soil temperature, enabling us to indirectly map permafrost status and drainage class using regression-based models. The thickness of the insulating surface organic layer after fire, a measure of burn severity, was an important control over the extent of permafrost degradation. According to our classifications, 90% of the area considered to have experienced high severity burn (using the difference normalized burn ratio (dNBR)) lacked permafrost after fire. Permafrost thaw, in turn, likely increased drainage and resulted in

  12. Landscape Effects of Wildfire on Permafrost Distribution in Interior Alaska Derived from Remote Sensing

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dana R.N. Brown

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available Climate change coupled with an intensifying wildfire regime is becoming an important driver of permafrost loss and ecosystem change in the northern boreal forest. There is a growing need to understand the effects of fire on the spatial distribution of permafrost and its associated ecological consequences. We focus on the effects of fire a decade after disturbance in a rocky upland landscape in the interior Alaskan boreal forest. Our main objectives were to (1 map near-surface permafrost distribution and drainage classes and (2 analyze the controls over landscape-scale patterns of post-fire permafrost degradation. Relationships among remote sensing variables and field-based data on soil properties (temperature, moisture, organic layer thickness and vegetation (plant community composition were analyzed using correlation, regression, and ordination analyses. The remote sensing data we considered included spectral indices from optical datasets (Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+ and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI, the principal components of a time series of radar backscatter (Advanced Land Observing Satellite—Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (ALOS-PALSAR, and topographic variables from a Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR-derived digital elevation model (DEM. We found strong empirical relationships between the normalized difference infrared index (NDII and post-fire vegetation, soil moisture, and soil temperature, enabling us to indirectly map permafrost status and drainage class using regression-based models. The thickness of the insulating surface organic layer after fire, a measure of burn severity, was an important control over the extent of permafrost degradation. According to our classifications, 90% of the area considered to have experienced high severity burn (using the difference normalized burn ratio (dNBR lacked permafrost after fire. Permafrost thaw, in turn, likely increased drainage and resulted

  13. Wind-driven snow conditions control the occurrence of contemporary marginal mountain permafrost in the Chic-Choc Mountains, south-eastern Canada: a case study from Mont Jacques-Cartier

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davesne, Gautier; Fortier, Daniel; Domine, Florent; Gray, James T.

    2017-06-01

    We present data on the distribution and thermophysical properties of snow collected sporadically over 4 decades along with recent data of ground surface temperature from Mont Jacques-Cartier (1268 m a.s.l.), the highest summit in the Appalachians of south-eastern Canada. We demonstrate that the occurrence of contemporary permafrost is necessarily associated with a very thin and wind-packed winter snow cover which brings local azonal topo-climatic conditions on the dome-shaped summit. The aims of this study were (i) to understand the snow distribution pattern and snow thermophysical properties on the Mont Jacques-Cartier summit and (ii) to investigate the impact of snow on the spatial distribution of the ground surface temperature (GST) using temperature sensors deployed over the summit. Results showed that above the local treeline, the summit is characterized by a snow cover typically less than 30 cm thick which is explained by the strong westerly winds interacting with the local surface roughness created by the physiography and surficial geomorphology of the site. The snowpack structure is fairly similar to that observed on windy Arctic tundra with a top dense wind slab (300 to 450 kg m-3) of high thermal conductivity, which facilitates heat transfer between the ground surface and the atmosphere. The mean annual ground surface temperature (MAGST) below this thin and wind-packed snow cover was about -1 °C in 2013 and 2014, for the higher, exposed, blockfield-covered sector of the summit characterized by a sporadic herbaceous cover. In contrast, for the gentle slopes covered with stunted spruce (krummholz), and for the steep leeward slope to the south-east of the summit, the MAGST was around 3 °C in 2013 and 2014. The study concludes that the permafrost on Mont Jacques-Cartier, most widely in the Chic-Choc Mountains and by extension in the southern highest summits of the Appalachians, is therefore likely limited to the barren wind-exposed surface of the summit

  14. Spatial distribution and morphometry of permafrost-related landforms in the Central Pyrenees

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fernandes, Marcelo; Oliva, Marc; Lopes, Luís; Ruiz-Fernández, Jesus; Palma, Pedro; Pereira, Paulo

    2017-04-01

    Present and past permafrost distribution in the Pyrenees is still under discussion. As in other mid-latitude mountain regions, rock glaciers and protalus lobes are the min indicators of permafrost conditions. In this study, we examine the distribution of these landforms in the Boí valley, a formerly glaciated U-shaped valley ranging from 850 to 3000 m a.s.l. The valley encompasses a surface of 247 km2, mainly composed of granite and shales. The spatial distribution of rock glaciers and protalus lobes and their chronostratigraphic position within the valley allow a better understanding of the climatic and environmental conditions necessary for their development. Geomorphological mapping of these landforms was built using high resolution imagery provided by the Institut Cartogràfic i Geologic de Catalunya, complemented with Basemap ESRI images and Google Earth Pro, and subsequently improved with field observations. The map was generated in a GIS environment following the RCP 77 mapping system of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) (Joly, 1997). Several parameters of each landform have been measured (Table 1): area (ha), altitude (maximum, minimum, mean), length (L), width (W), aspect and slope. This information provides accurate characterization of the morphometric properties of these landforms as well as a detailed identification of their spatial distribution. Up to 121 permafrost-related landforms were identified in the Boí valley, including 84 rock glaciers and 37 protalus lobes. Most of the landforms (93% for rock glaciers and 95% for protalus lobes) are located inside the glacial cirques, while the rest is distributed in the valley bottom or slopes of the formerly glaciated valleys. The lowest elevation of both forms is situated at 2100 m a.s.l. Therefore, this altitude may be indicative of the lowest level recording permafrost conditions during the period in which these landforms formed. The maximum elevation of the landforms usually

  15. Water balance and hydrology research in a mountainous permafrost watershed in upland streams of the Kolyma River, Russia: a database from the Kolyma Water-Balance Station, 1948-1997

    Science.gov (United States)

    Makarieva, Olga; Nesterova, Nataliia; Lebedeva, Lyudmila; Sushansky, Sergey

    2018-04-01

    In 2018, 70 years have passed since the beginning of observations at the Kolyma Water-Balance Station (KWBS), a unique scientific research hydrological and permafrost catchment. The volume and duration (50 continuous years) of hydrometeorological standard and experimental data, characterizing the natural conditions and processes occurring in mountainous permafrost conditions, significantly exceed any counterparts elsewhere in the world. The data are representative of mountainous territory of the North-East of Russia. In 1997, the station was terminated, thereby leaving Russia without operating research watersheds in the permafrost zone. This paper describes the dataset containing the series of daily runoff from 10 watersheds with an area from 0.27 to 21.3 km2, precipitation, meteorological observations, evaporation from soil and snow, snow surveys, soil thaw and freeze depths, and soil temperature for the period 1948-1997. It also highlights the main historical stages of the station's existence, its work and scientific significance, and outlines the prospects for its future, where the Kolyma Water-Balance Station could be restored to the status of a scientific research watershed and become a valuable international centre for hydrological research in permafrost. The data are available at https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.881731.

  16. Wind-driven snow conditions control the occurrence of contemporary marginal mountain permafrost in the Chic-Choc Mountains, south-eastern Canada: a case study from Mont Jacques-Cartier

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G. Davesne

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available We present data on the distribution and thermophysical properties of snow collected sporadically over 4 decades along with recent data of ground surface temperature from Mont Jacques-Cartier (1268 m a.s.l., the highest summit in the Appalachians of south-eastern Canada. We demonstrate that the occurrence of contemporary permafrost is necessarily associated with a very thin and wind-packed winter snow cover which brings local azonal topo-climatic conditions on the dome-shaped summit. The aims of this study were (i to understand the snow distribution pattern and snow thermophysical properties on the Mont Jacques-Cartier summit and (ii to investigate the impact of snow on the spatial distribution of the ground surface temperature (GST using temperature sensors deployed over the summit. Results showed that above the local treeline, the summit is characterized by a snow cover typically less than 30 cm thick which is explained by the strong westerly winds interacting with the local surface roughness created by the physiography and surficial geomorphology of the site. The snowpack structure is fairly similar to that observed on windy Arctic tundra with a top dense wind slab (300 to 450 kg m−3 of high thermal conductivity, which facilitates heat transfer between the ground surface and the atmosphere. The mean annual ground surface temperature (MAGST below this thin and wind-packed snow cover was about −1 °C in 2013 and 2014, for the higher, exposed, blockfield-covered sector of the summit characterized by a sporadic herbaceous cover. In contrast, for the gentle slopes covered with stunted spruce (krummholz, and for the steep leeward slope to the south-east of the summit, the MAGST was around 3 °C in 2013 and 2014. The study concludes that the permafrost on Mont Jacques-Cartier, most widely in the Chic-Choc Mountains and by extension in the southern highest summits of the Appalachians, is therefore likely limited to the barren wind

  17. 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.

  18. 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

    Mountain environments are very sensitive to climate change, yet assessing the potential impacts of these changes is not easy because of the complexity and diversity of mountain systems. The Himalayan permafrost belt presents three main specificities: (1) it develops in a geodynamically active mountain, which means that the controlling factors are not only temperature but also seismo-tectonic activity; (2) due to the steepness of the southern flank of the Greater Himalaya and potential large scale rock failures, permafrost evidence manifests itself best in the inner valleys and on the northern, arid side of the Himalayas (elevations >4000m); (3) the east-west strike of the mountain range creates large spatial discontinuity in the "cold" belt, mostly related to precipitation nature and availability. Only limited studies have been carried to date, and there is no permanent "field laboratory", nor continuous records but a few local studies. Based on preliminary observations in the Nepal Himalayas (mostly in Mustang and Dolpo districts), and Indian Ladakh, we present the main features indicating the existence of permafrost (either continuous or discontinuous). Rock-glaciers are quite well represented, though their presence may be interpreted as a combined result from both ground ice and large rock collapse. The precise altitudinal zonation of permafrost belt (specifying potential permafrost, probable permafrost, observed permafrost belts) still requires careful investigations in selected areas. Several questions arise when considering the evolution of permafrost in a context of climate change, with its impacts on the development of potential natural hazards that may affect the mountain population. Firstly, permafrost degradation (ground ice melting) is a cause of mountain slope destabilization. When the steep catchments are developed in frost/water sensitive bedrock (shales and marls) and extend to high elevations (as observed in Mustang or Dolpo), it would supply more

  19. The Thermal State of Permafrost in the Nordic Area during the International Polar Year 2007-2009

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Christiansen, H. H.; Etzelmuller, B.; Isaksen, K.

    2010-01-01

    This paper provides a snapshot of the permafrost thermal state in the Nordic area obtained during the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2009. Several intensive research campaigns were undertaken within a variety of projects in the Nordic countries to obtain this snapshot. We demonstrate...... for Scandinavia that both lowland permafrost in palsas and peat plateaus, and large areas of permafrost in the mountains are at temperatures close to 0 degrees C, which makes them sensitive to climatic changes. In Svalbard and northeast Greenland, and also in the highest parts of the mountains in the rest...... affect the permafrost thermal state in the Nordic area. Time series of active-layer thickness and permafrost temperature conditions in the Nordic area, which are generally only 10 years in length, show generally increasing active-layer depths and risings permafrost temperatures....

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  1. Diversity and Distribution of Archaea Community along a Stratigraphic Permafrost Profile from Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shiping Wei

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Accompanying the thawing permafrost expected to result from the climate change, microbial decomposition of the massive amounts of frozen organic carbon stored in permafrost is a potential emission source of greenhouse gases, possibly leading to positive feedbacks to the greenhouse effect. In this study, the community composition of archaea in stratigraphic soils from an alpine permafrost of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau was investigated. Phylogenic analysis of 16S rRNA sequences revealed that the community was predominantly constituted by Crenarchaeota and Euryarchaeota. The active layer contained a proportion of Crenarchaeota at 51.2%, with the proportion of Euryarchaeota at 48.8%, whereas the permafrost contained 41.2% Crenarchaeota and 58.8% Euryarchaeota, based on 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis. OTU1 and OTU11, affiliated to Group 1.3b/MCG-A within Crenarchaeota and the unclassified group within Euryarchaeota, respectively, were widely distributed in all sediment layers. However, OTU5 affiliated to Group 1.3b/MCG-A was primarily distributed in the active layers. Sequence analysis of the DGGE bands from the 16S rRNAs of methanogenic archaea showed that the majority of methanogens belonged to Methanosarcinales and Methanomicrobiales affiliated to Euryarchaeota and the uncultured ZC-I cluster affiliated to Methanosarcinales distributed in all the depths along the permafrost profile, which indicated a dominant group of methanogens occurring in the cold ecosystems.

  2. Ice-Rich Yedoma Permafrost: A Synthesis of Circum-Arctic Distribution and Thickness

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strauss, J.; Fedorov, A. N.; Fortier, D.; Froese, D. G.; Fuchs, M.; Grosse, G.; Günther, F.; Harden, J. W.; Hugelius, G.; Kanevskiy, M. Z.; Kholodov, A. L.; Kunitsky, V.; Laboor, S.; Lapointe Elmrabti, L.; Rivkina, E.; Robinson, J. E.; Schirrmeister, L.; Shmelev, D.; Shur, Y.; Spektor, V.; Ulrich, M.; Veremeeva, A.; Walter Anthony, K. M.; Zimov, S. A.

    2015-12-01

    Vast portions of Arctic and sub-Arctic Siberia, Alaska and the Yukon Territory are covered by ice-rich silts that are penetrated by large ice wedges, resulting from syngenetic sedimentation and freezing. Accompanied by wedge-ice growth, the sedimentation process was driven by cold continental climatic and environmental conditions in unglaciated regions during the late Pleistocene, inducing the accumulation of the unique Yedoma permafrost deposits up to 50 meter thick. Because of fast incorporation of organic material into permafrost during formation, Yedoma deposits include low-decomposed organic matter. Moreover, ice-rich permafrost deposits like Yedoma are especially prone to degradation triggered by climate changes or human activity. When Yedoma deposits degrade, large amounts of sequestered organic carbon as well as other nutrients are released and become part of active biogeochemical cycling. This could be of global significance for the climate warming, as increased permafrost thaw is likely to cause a positive feedback loop. Therefore, a detailed assessment of the Yedoma deposit volume is of importance to estimate its potential future climate response. Moreover, as a step beyond the objectives of this synthesis study, our coverage (see figure for the Yedoma domain) and thickness estimation will provide critical data to refine the Yedoma permafrost organic carbon inventory, which is assumed to have freeze-locked between 83±12 and 129±30 gigatonnes (Gt) of organic carbon. Hence, we here synthesize data on the circum-Arctic and sub-Arctic distribution and thickness of Yedoma permafrost (see figure for the Yedoma domain) in the framework of an Action Group funded by the International Permafrost Association (IPA). The quantification of the Yedoma coverage is conducted by the digitization of geomorphological and Quaternary geological maps. Further data on Yedoma thickness is contributed from boreholes and exposures reported in the scientific literature.

  3. Pore Effect on the Occurrence and Formation of Gas Hydrate in Permafrost of Qilian Mountain, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gao, H.; Lu, H.; Lu, Z.

    2014-12-01

    Gas hydrates were found in the permafrost of Qilian Mountain, Qinghai- Tibet Plateau, China in 2008. It has been found that gas hydrates occur in Jurassic sedimentary rocks, and the hydrated gases are mainly thermogenic. Different from the gas hydrates existing in loose sands in Mallik, Mackenzie Delta, Canada and North Slope, Alaska, USA, the gas hydrates in Qilian Mountain occurred in hard rocks. For understanding the occurrence and formation mechanism of gas hydrate in hard rcok, extensive experimental investigations have been conducted to study the pore features and hydrate formation in the rocks recovered from the hydrate layers in Qilian Mountain. The structures of sedimentary rock were observed by high-resolution X-ray CT, and pore size distribution of a rock specimen was measured with the mercury-injection method. Methane hydrate was synthesized in water-saturated rocks, and the saturations of hydrate in sedimentary rocks of various types were estimated from the amount of gas released from certain volume of rock. X-ray CT observation revealed that fractures were developed in the rocks associated with faults, while those away from faults were generally with massive structure. The mercury-injection analysis of pore features found that the porosities of the hydrate-existing rocks were generally less than 3%, and the pore sizes were generally smaller than 100 nm. The synthesizing experiments found that the saturation of methane hydrate were generally lower than 6% of pore space in rocks, but up to 16% when fractures developed. The low hydrate saturation in Qilian sedimentary rocks has been found mainly due to the small pore size of rock. The low hydrate saturation in the rocks might be the reason for the failure of regional seismic and logging detections of gas hydrates in Qilian Mountain.

  4. Review: Impacts of permafrost degradation on inorganic chemistry of surface fresh water

    Science.gov (United States)

    Colombo, Nicola; Salerno, Franco; Gruber, Stephan; Freppaz, Michele; Williams, Mark; Fratianni, Simona; Giardino, Marco

    2018-03-01

    Recent studies have shown that climate change is impacting the inorganic chemical characteristics of surface fresh water in permafrost areas and affecting aquatic ecosystems. Concentrations of major ions (e.g., Ca2 +, Mg2 +, SO42 -, NO3-) can increase following permafrost degradation with associated deepening of flow pathways and increased contributions of deep groundwater. In addition, thickening of the active layer and melting of near-surface ground ice can influence inorganic chemical fluxes from permafrost into surface water. Permafrost degradation has also the capability to modify trace element (e.g., Ni, Mn, Al, Hg, Pb) contents in surface water. Although several local and regional modifications of inorganic chemistry of surface fresh water have been attributed to permafrost degradation, a comprehensive review of the observed changes is lacking. The goal of this paper is to distil insight gained across differing permafrost settings through the identification of common patterns in previous studies, at global scale. In this review we focus on three typical permafrost configurations (pervasive permafrost degradation, thermokarst, and thawing rock glaciers) as examples and distinguish impacts on (i) major ions and (ii) trace elements. Consequences of warming climate have caused spatially-distributed progressive increases of major ion and trace element delivery to surface fresh water in both polar and mountain areas following pervasive permafrost degradation. Moreover, localised releases of major ions and trace elements to surface water due to the liberation of soluble materials sequestered in permafrost and ground ice have been found in ice-rich terrains both at high latitude (thermokarst features) and high elevation (rock glaciers). Further release of solutes and related transport to surface fresh water can be expected under warming climatic conditions. However, complex interactions among several factors able to influence the timing and magnitude of the impacts

  5. Permafrost distribution in peatlands of west-central Canada during the Holocene warm period 6000 years BP

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Zoltai, S.C. [Canadian Forest Service, Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    1995-12-31

    The extent and timing of permafrost development in peatlands of west-central Canada are examined. The floristic composition of the permafrost peatlands was determined from macrofossil samples of cores drilled at 161 locations. Radiocarbon dating of substantial changes in the peat sequences and of basal peat deposition was used to provide chronological control. The reconstructed paleoenvironments show the presence or absence of permafrost at the time of peat formation. Permafrost distribution in peatlands is estimated during the warm period 6000 years BP. It is estimated that the mean annual temperature was approximately 5{degree}C warmer than at present. 42 refs., 3 figs., 4 tabs.

  6. Quality and Distribution of Frozen Organic Matter (Old, Deep, Fossil Carbon) in Siberian Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schirrmeister, Lutz; Strauss, Jens; Wetterich, Sebastian; Grosse, Guido; Overduin, Pier Paul

    2013-04-01

    Permafrost deposits constitute a large organic carbon (OC) pool vulnerable to degradation and potential carbon release due to global warming. Permafrost sections along coastal and river bank exposures and subsea cores in northeastern Siberia were studied for organic matter (OM) characteristics and ice content. OM stored in Quaternary permafrost grew, accumulated, froze, partly decomposed, and refroze under different periglacial environments, reflected in specific biogeochemical and cryolithological features. For the studied individual strata (Saalian ice-rich deposits, Pre-Eemian floodplain, Eemian lake deposits, Early to Middle Weichselian fluvial deposits, Middle Weichselian Yedoma, Late Weichselian Yedoma , Taberites, Holocene cover, Holocene thermokarst, Holocene thermoerosional valley and submerged lagoon and fluvial deposits) OM accumulation, preservation, and distribution are strongly linked to a broad variety of paleoenvironmental factors and specific surface and subsurface conditions before inclusion of OM into the permafrost. OM in permafrost includes twigs, leaves, peat, grass roots, plant detritus, and particulate and dissolved OM. The vertical distribution of total OC (TOC) in exposures varies from 0.1 wt % of the dry sediment in fluvial deposits to 45 wt % in Holocene peats. High TOC, high C/N, and low d13C reflect less decomposed OM accumulated under wet, anaerobic soil conditions characteristic of interglacial and interstadial periods. Glacial and stadial periods are characterized by less variable, low TOC, low C/N, and high d13C values indicating stable environments with reduced bioproductivity and stronger OM decomposition under dryer, aerobic soil conditions. Based on TOC data and updated information on bulk densities, we estimate average OC inventories for different stratigraphic units in northeastern Siberia, ranging from 7 kg C/m³ for Early Weichselian fluvial deposits, to 33 kg C/m³ for Middle Weichselian Yedoma deposits, to 75 kg C/m³ for

  7. 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

  8. 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

    2016-01-01

    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.

  9. Holocene landscape history and ground ice distribution in Svalbard and NE-Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Cable, Stefanie

    This PhD study contributes to the scarce knowledge of permafrost dynamics in mountainous terrain. In High-Arctic valleys, on Svalbard and in NE-Greenland, linkages between geomorphology and ground ice- and carbon distribution have been described, quantified and compared between landscape types...... and locations. To achieve this, detailed geomorphological mapping was combined with cryostratigraphic and laboratory analyses (grain size, solutes, radiocarbon- and optically stimulated luminescence-age) of 31 permafrost cores (up to 16 m) from seven different landforms. Ground ice in permafrost has been...

  10. Diagnostic and model dependent uncertainty of simulated Tibetan permafrost area

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, W.; Rinke, A.; Moore, J. C.; Cui, X.; Ji, D.; Li, Q.; Zhang, N.; Wang, C.; Zhang, S.; Lawrence, D. M.; McGuire, A. D.; Zhang, W.; Delire, C.; Koven, C.; Saito, K.; MacDougall, A.; Burke, E.; Decharme, B.

    2016-02-01

    We perform a land-surface model intercomparison to investigate how the simulation of permafrost area on the Tibetan Plateau (TP) varies among six modern stand-alone land-surface models (CLM4.5, CoLM, ISBA, JULES, LPJ-GUESS, UVic). We also examine the variability in simulated permafrost area and distribution introduced by five different methods of diagnosing permafrost (from modeled monthly ground temperature, mean annual ground and air temperatures, air and surface frost indexes). There is good agreement (99 to 135 × 104 km2) between the two diagnostic methods based on air temperature which are also consistent with the observation-based estimate of actual permafrost area (101 × 104 km2). However the uncertainty (1 to 128 × 104 km2) using the three methods that require simulation of ground temperature is much greater. Moreover simulated permafrost distribution on the TP is generally only fair to poor for these three methods (diagnosis of permafrost from monthly, and mean annual ground temperature, and surface frost index), while permafrost distribution using air-temperature-based methods is generally good. Model evaluation at field sites highlights specific problems in process simulations likely related to soil texture specification, vegetation types and snow cover. Models are particularly poor at simulating permafrost distribution using the definition that soil temperature remains at or below 0 °C for 24 consecutive months, which requires reliable simulation of both mean annual ground temperatures and seasonal cycle, and hence is relatively demanding. Although models can produce better permafrost maps using mean annual ground temperature and surface frost index, analysis of simulated soil temperature profiles reveals substantial biases. The current generation of land-surface models need to reduce biases in simulated soil temperature profiles before reliable contemporary permafrost maps and predictions of changes in future permafrost distribution can be made for

  11. 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.

  12. Computing a ground appropriateness index for route selection in permafrost regions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chi Zhang

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available The reasonable calculation of ground appropriateness index in permafrost region is the precondition of highway route design in permafrost region. The theory of knowledge base and fuzzy mathematics are applied, and the damage effect of permafrost is considered in the paper. Based on the idea of protecting permafrost the calculation method of ground appropriateness index is put forward. Firstly, based on the actual environment conditions, the paper determines the factors affecting the road layout in permafrost areas by qualitative and quantitative analysis, including the annual slope, the average annual ground temperature of permafrost, the amount of ice in frozen soil, and the interference engineering. Secondly, based on the knowledge base theory and the use of Delphi method, the paper establishes the knowledge base, the rule base of the permafrost region and inference mechanism. The method of selecting the road in permafrost region is completed and realized by using the software platform. Thirdly, taking the Tuotuo River to Kaixin Mountain section of permafrost region as an example, the application of the method is studied by using an ArcGIS platform. Results show that the route plan determined by the method of selecting the road in permafrost region can avoid the high temperature and high ice content area, conform the terrain changes and evade the heat disturbance among the existing projects. A reasonable route plan can be achieved, and it can provide the basis for the next engineering construction.

  13. Diagnostic and model dependent uncertainty of simulated Tibetan permafrost area

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, A.; Moore, J.C.; Cui, Xingquan; Ji, D.; Li, Q.; Zhang, N.; Wang, C.; Zhang, S.; Lawrence, D.M.; McGuire, A.D.; Zhang, W.; Delire, C.; Koven, C.; Saito, K.; MacDougall, A.; Burke, E.; Decharme, B.

    2016-01-01

     We perform a land-surface model intercomparison to investigate how the simulation of permafrost area on the Tibetan Plateau (TP) varies among six modern stand-alone land-surface models (CLM4.5, CoLM, ISBA, JULES, LPJ-GUESS, UVic). We also examine the variability in simulated permafrost area and distribution introduced by five different methods of diagnosing permafrost (from modeled monthly ground temperature, mean annual ground and air temperatures, air and surface frost indexes). There is good agreement (99 to 135  ×  104 km2) between the two diagnostic methods based on air temperature which are also consistent with the observation-based estimate of actual permafrost area (101  × 104 km2). However the uncertainty (1 to 128  ×  104 km2) using the three methods that require simulation of ground temperature is much greater. Moreover simulated permafrost distribution on the TP is generally only fair to poor for these three methods (diagnosis of permafrost from monthly, and mean annual ground temperature, and surface frost index), while permafrost distribution using air-temperature-based methods is generally good. Model evaluation at field sites highlights specific problems in process simulations likely related to soil texture specification, vegetation types and snow cover. Models are particularly poor at simulating permafrost distribution using the definition that soil temperature remains at or below 0 °C for 24 consecutive months, which requires reliable simulation of both mean annual ground temperatures and seasonal cycle, and hence is relatively demanding. Although models can produce better permafrost maps using mean annual ground temperature and surface frost index, analysis of simulated soil temperature profiles reveals substantial biases. The current generation of land-surface models need to reduce biases in simulated soil temperature profiles before reliable contemporary permafrost maps and predictions of changes in future

  14. Using Distributed Fiber Optic Sensing to Monitor Large Scale Permafrost Transitions: Preliminary Results from a Controlled Thaw Experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ajo Franklin, J. B.; Wagner, A. M.; Lindsey, N.; Dou, S.; Bjella, K.; Daley, T. M.; Freifeld, B. M.; Ulrich, C.; Gelvin, A.; Morales, A.; James, S. R.; Saari, S.; Ekblaw, I.; Wood, T.; Robertson, M.; Martin, E. R.

    2016-12-01

    In a warming world, permafrost landscapes are being rapidly transformed by thaw, yielding surface subsidence and groundwater flow alteration. The same transformations pose a threat to arctic infrastructure and can induce catastrophic failure of the roads, runways, and pipelines on which human habitation depends. Scalable solutions to monitoring permafrost thaw dynamics are required to both quantitatively understand biogeochemical feedbacks as well as to protect built infrastructure from damage. Unfortunately, permafrost alteration happens over the time scale of climate change, years to decades, a decided challenge for testing new sensing technologies in a limited context. One solution is to engineer systems capable of rapidly thawing large permafrost units to allow short duration experiments targeting next-generation sensing approaches. We present preliminary results from a large-scale controlled permafrost thaw experiment designed to evaluate the utility of different geophysical approaches for tracking the cause, precursors, and early phases of thaw subsidence. We focus on the use of distributed fiber optic sensing for this challenge and deployed distributed temperature (DTS), strain (DSS), and acoustic (DAS) sensing systems in a 2D array to detect thaw signatures. A 10 x 15 x 1 m section of subsurface permafrost was heated using an array of 120 downhole heaters (60 w) at an experimental site near Fairbanks, AK. Ambient noise analysis of DAS datasets collected at the plot, coupled to shear wave inversion, was utilized to evaluate changes in shear wave velocity associated with heating and thaw. These measurements were confirmed by seismic surveys collected using a semi-permanent orbital seismic source activated on a daily basis. Fiber optic measurements were complemented by subsurface thermistor and thermocouple arrays, timelapse total station surveys, LIDAR, secondary seismic measurements (geophone and broadband recordings), timelapse ERT, borehole NMR, soil

  15. 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

  16. Modelling borehole temperatures in Southern Norway - insights into permafrost dynamics during the 20th and 21st century

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hipp, T.; Etzelmüller, B.; Farbrot, H.; Schuler, T. V.; Westermann, S.

    2012-05-01

    This study aims at quantifying the thermal response of mountain permafrost in southern Norway to changes in climate since 1860 and until 2100. A transient one-dimensional heat flow model was used to simulate ground temperatures and associated active layer thicknesses for nine borehole locations, which are located at different elevations and in substrates with different thermal properties. The model was forced by reconstructed air temperatures starting from 1860, which approximately coincides with the end of the Little Ice Age in the region. The impact of climate warming on mountain permafrost to 2100 is assessed by using downscaled air temperatures from a multi-model ensemble for the A1B scenario. Borehole records over three consecutive years of ground temperatures, air temperatures and snow cover data served for model calibration and validation. With an increase of air temperature of ~1.5 °C over 1860-2010 and an additional warming of ~2.8 °C until 2100, we simulate the evolution of ground temperatures for each borehole location. In 1860 the lower limit of permafrost was estimated to be ca. 200 m lower than observed today. According to the model, since the approximate end of the Little Ice Age, the active-layer thickness has increased by 0.5-5 m and >10 m for the sites Juvvasshøe and Tron, respectively. The most pronounced increases in active layer thickness were modelled for the last two decades since 1990 with increase rates of +2 cm yr-1 to +87 cm yr-1 (20-430%). According to the A1B climate scenario, degradation of mountain permafrost is suggested to occur throughout the 21st century at most of the sites below ca. 1800 m a.s.l. At the highest locations at 1900 m a.s.l., permafrost degradation is likely to occur with a probability of 55-75% by 2100. This implies that mountain permafrost in southern Norway is likely to be confined to the highest peaks in the western part of the country.

  17. The microbial diversity, distribution, and ecology of permafrost in China: a review.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hu, Weigang; Zhang, Qi; Tian, Tian; Cheng, Guodong; An, Lizhe; Feng, Huyuan

    2015-07-01

    Permafrost in China mainly located in high-altitude areas. It represents a unique and suitable ecological niche that can be colonized by abundant microbes. Permafrost microbial community varies across geographically separated locations in China, and some lineages are novel and possible endemic. Besides, Chinese permafrost is a reservoir of functional microbial groups involved in key biogeochemical cycling processes. In future, more work is necessary to determine if these phylogenetic groups detected by DNA-based methods are part of the viable microbial community, and their functional roles and how they potentially respond to climate change. This review summaries recent studies describing microbial biodiversity found in permafrost and associated environments in China, and provides a framework for better understanding the microbial ecology of permafrost.

  18. Impacts of the active layer on runoff in an upland permafrost basin, northern Tibetan Plateau.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gao, Tanguang; Zhang, Tingjun; Guo, Hong; Hu, Yuantao; Shang, Jianguo; Zhang, Yulan

    2018-01-01

    The paucity of studies on permafrost runoff generation processes, especially in mountain permafrost, constrains the understanding of permafrost hydrology and prediction of hydrological responses to permafrost degradation. This study investigated runoff generation processes, in addition to the contribution of summer thaw depth, soil temperature, soil moisture, and precipitation to streamflow in a small upland permafrost basin in the northern Tibetan Plateau. Results indicated that the thawing period and the duration of the zero-curtain were longer in permafrost of the northern Tibetan Plateau than in the Arctic. Limited snowmelt delayed the initiation of surface runoff in the peat permafrost in the study area. The runoff displayed intermittent generation, with the duration of most runoff events lasting less than 24 h. Precipitation without runoff generation was generally correlated with lower soil moisture conditions. Combined analysis suggested runoff generation in this region was controlled by soil temperature, thaw depth, precipitation frequency and amount, and antecedent soil moisture. This study serves as an important baseline to evaluate future environmental changes on the Tibetan Plateau.

  19. Impacts of mean annual air temperature change on a regional permafrost probability model for the southern Yukon and northern British Columbia, Canada

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    P. P. Bonnaventure

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available Air temperature changes were applied to a regional model of permafrost probability under equilibrium conditions for an area of nearly 0.5 × 106 km2 in the southern Yukon and northwestern British Columbia, Canada. Associated environmental changes, including snow cover and vegetation, were not considered in the modelling. Permafrost extent increases from 58% of the area (present day: 1971–2000 to 76% under a −1 K cooling scenario, whereas warming scenarios decrease the percentage of permafrost area exponentially to 38% (+ 1 K, 24% (+ 2 K, 17% (+ 3 K, 12% (+ 4 K and 9% (+ 5 K of the area. The morphology of permafrost gain/loss under these scenarios is controlled by the surface lapse rate (SLR, i.e. air temperature elevation gradient, which varies across the region below treeline. Areas that are maritime exhibit SLRs characteristically similar above and below treeline resulting in low probabilities of permafrost in valley bottoms. When warming scenarios are applied, a loss front moves to upper elevations (simple unidirectional spatial loss. Areas where SLRs are gently negative below treeline and normal above treeline exhibit a loss front moving up-mountain at different rates according to two separate SLRs (complex unidirectional spatial loss. Areas that display high continentally exhibit bidirectional spatial loss in which the loss front moves up-mountain above treeline and down-mountain below treeline. The parts of the region most affected by changes in MAAT (mean annual air temperature have SLRs close to 0 K km−1 and extensive discontinuous permafrost, whereas the least sensitive in terms of areal loss are sites above the treeline where permafrost presence is strongly elevation dependent.

  20. Relict Mountain Permafrost Area (Loess Plateau, China) Exhibits High Ecosystem Respiration Rates and Accelerating Rates in Response to Warming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mu, Cuicui; Wu, Xiaodong; Zhao, Qian; Smoak, Joseph M.; Yang, Yulong; Hu, Lian; Zhong, Wen; Liu, Guimin; Xu, Haiyan; Zhang, Tingjun

    2017-10-01

    Relict permafrost regions are characterized by thin permafrost and relatively high temperatures. Understanding the ecosystem respiration rate (ERR) and its relationship with soil hydrothermal conditions in these areas can provide knowledge regarding the permafrost carbon cycle in a warming world. In this study, we examined a permafrost area, a boundary area, and a seasonally frozen ground area within a relict permafrost region on the east edge of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China. Measurements from July 2015 to September 2016 showed that the mean annual ecosystem CO2 emissions for the boundary area were greater than the permafrost area. The Q10 value of the ERRs in the seasonally frozen ground area was greater than the permafrost area, indicating that the carbon emissions in the nonpermafrost areas were more sensitive to warming. The 1 year open-top chamber (OTC) warming increased soil temperatures in both the permafrost and seasonally frozen ground areas throughout the year, and the warming increased the ERRs by 1.18 (0.99-1.38, with interquartile range) and 1.13 (0.75-1.54, with interquartile range) μmol CO2 m-2 s-1 in permafrost and seasonally frozen ground areas, respectively. The OTC warming increased annual ERRs by approximately 50% for both permafrost and seasonally frozen ground areas with half the increase occurring during the nongrowing seasons. These results suggest that the ERRs in relict permafrost are high in comparison with arctic regions, and the carbon balance in relict permafrost areas could be greatly changed by climate warming.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Modelling borehole temperatures in Southern Norway – insights into permafrost dynamics during the 20th and 21st century

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. Hipp

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available This study aims at quantifying the thermal response of mountain permafrost in southern Norway to changes in climate since 1860 and until 2100. A transient one-dimensional heat flow model was used to simulate ground temperatures and associated active layer thicknesses for nine borehole locations, which are located at different elevations and in substrates with different thermal properties. The model was forced by reconstructed air temperatures starting from 1860, which approximately coincides with the end of the Little Ice Age in the region. The impact of climate warming on mountain permafrost to 2100 is assessed by using downscaled air temperatures from a multi-model ensemble for the A1B scenario. Borehole records over three consecutive years of ground temperatures, air temperatures and snow cover data served for model calibration and validation. With an increase of air temperature of ~1.5 °C over 1860–2010 and an additional warming of ~2.8 °C until 2100, we simulate the evolution of ground temperatures for each borehole location. In 1860 the lower limit of permafrost was estimated to be ca. 200 m lower than observed today. According to the model, since the approximate end of the Little Ice Age, the active-layer thickness has increased by 0.5–5 m and >10 m for the sites Juvvasshøe and Tron, respectively. The most pronounced increases in active layer thickness were modelled for the last two decades since 1990 with increase rates of +2 cm yr−1 to +87 cm yr−1 (20–430%. According to the A1B climate scenario, degradation of mountain permafrost is suggested to occur throughout the 21st century at most of the sites below ca. 1800 m a.s.l. At the highest locations at 1900 m a.s.l., permafrost degradation is likely to occur with a probability of 55–75% by 2100. This implies that mountain permafrost in southern Norway is likely to be confined to the highest peaks in the western part of the country.

  4. 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.

    2016-01-01

    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.

  5. Spatial variability and its main controlling factors of the permafrost soil-moisture on the northern-slope of Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cao, W.; Sheng, Y.

    2017-12-01

    The soil moisture movement is an important carrier of material cycle and energy flow among the various geo-spheres in the cold regions. It is very critical to protect the alpine ecology and hydrologic cycle in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Especially, it becomes one of the key problems to reveal the spatial-temporal variability of soil moisture movement and its main influence factors in earth system science. Thus, this research takes the north slope of Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau as a case study. The present study firstly investigates the change of permafrost moisture in different slope positions and depths. Based on this investigation, this article attempts to investigate the spatial variability of permafrost moisture and identifies the key influence factors in different terrain conditions. The method of classification and regression tree (CART) is adopted to identify the main controlling factors influencing the soil moisture movement. And the relationships between soil moisture and environmental factors are revealed by the use of the method of canonical correspondence analysis (CCA). The results show that: 1) the change of the soil moisture on the permafrost slope is divided into 4 stages, including the freezing stability phase, the rapid thawing phase, the thawing stability phase and the fast freezing phase; 2) this greatly enhances the horizontal flow in the freezing period due to the terrain slope and the freezing-thawing process. Vertical migration is the mainly form of the soil moisture movement. It leads to that the soil-moisture content in the up-slope is higher than that in the down-slope. On the contrary, the soil-moisture content in the up-slope is lower than that in the down-slope during the melting period; 3) the main environmental factors which affect the slope-permafrost soil-moisture are elevation, soil texture, soil temperature and vegetation coverage. But there are differences in the impact factors of the soil moisture in different

  6. Permafrost Monitoring Sonnblick

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reisenhofer, Stefan; Riedl, Claudia

    2014-05-01

    Within the project 'Permafrost Monitoring Sonnblick' (PERSON) the spatial distribution of permafrost is investigated by the 'Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik' (ZAMG) in the Sonnblick area, in the Hohe Tauern in Austria. The aim of PERSON is to identify parameters affecting permafrost (geological, geomorphological, orographical and climatic factors), to determine its spatio-temporal behaviour under present day climate conditions and to estimate its possible future extension under a climate change scenario. PERSON makes use of a permafrost monitoring network that was installed 2005 in the Sonnblick area and is made up by four study sites: On the one hand the spatial extension of permafrost was focused at the ice-dammed lake Pilatus and the rock glacier Zirmsee. On the other hand, at two sites, namely Goldbergspitze and Wintergasse measurements of 'Ground-Surface Temperature' (GST) and 'Bottom Temperatures of the Snow cover' (BTS) are measured. In order to record temperatures in the uppermost layer of the ground and avoid heating by direct solar radiation loggers were buried a few centimetres into the ground or installed in boreholes at depths between 2 and 140 cm. Each of the 'Near Surface Temperature' (NST) borehole mouths is closed up with insulating foam to protect the measurements from atmospheric influence. In addition to these measurements, continuous temperature records from three 20 m deep boreholes located at the southern slope of Hoher Sonnblick are available since 2007, which represent the longest series of its kind in Austria. Furthermore, data from seismic and geoelectric measurements, temperature sensors readings at the surface and extensive meteorological observations from the Sonnblick Observatory are available. Already collected and evaluated data indicate that the thickness of the debris layer around the boreholes reaches a depth of 2 m but no more. The active layer thickness measured in the borehole next to the glacier ranges between

  7. Slope instability related to permafrost changes on Mexican volcanoes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Delgado Granados, Hugo; Molina, Victor Soto

    2015-04-01

    Permafrost is present above 4,500 meters at the three highest Mexican mountains, Citlaltépetl, Popocatépetl and Iztaccihuatl (5,675, 5,452 and 5,286m asl, respectively), all active volcanoes. During the rainy season in the central region of Mexico, the occurrence of small debris-flows in the ice-free parts of the mountains, as well as small lanslides is frequent. At Popocatépetl volcano, flows are mostly related to a combination of the eruptive activity and climatic factors. However, the volcanic activity is different at Citlaltépetl and Iztaccihuatl where there is no eruptive activity, but landslides have occurred in recent years on their steep slopes because its stability has been altered as a result of an increase in the air temperature which in turn has caused variations in the thickness of the active layer of permafrost, causing as a consequence, the increase of an even more unstable soil. Additionally, cracks in the rock walls are subject to an increasing hydrostatic pressure due to continuous daily freezing and thawing of seasonal water produced by a warmer and less solid precipitation accumulating in the cracks over time and in the unconsolidated potentially unstable material.

  8. Using Modeling Tools to Better Understand Permafrost Hydrology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Clément Fabre

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available Modification of the hydrological cycle and, subsequently, of other global cycles is expected in Arctic watersheds owing to global change. Future climate scenarios imply widespread permafrost degradation caused by an increase in air temperature, and the expected effect on permafrost hydrology is immense. This study aims at analyzing, and quantifying the daily water transfer in the largest Arctic river system, the Yenisei River in central Siberia, Russia, partially underlain by permafrost. The semi-distributed SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tool hydrological model has been calibrated and validated at a daily time step in historical discharge simulations for the 2003–2014 period. The model parameters have been adjusted to embrace the hydrological features of permafrost. SWAT is shown capable to estimate water fluxes at a daily time step, especially during unfrozen periods, once are considered specific climatic and soils conditions adapted to a permafrost watershed. The model simulates average annual contribution to runoff of 263 millimeters per year (mm yr−1 distributed as 152 mm yr−1 (58% of surface runoff, 103 mm yr−1 (39% of lateral flow and 8 mm yr−1 (3% of return flow from the aquifer. These results are integrated on a reduced basin area downstream from large dams and are closer to observations than previous modeling exercises.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. Using dynamical downscaling to close the gap between global change scenarios and local permafrost dynamics

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Stendel, Martin; Romanovsky, Vladimir E.; Christensen, Jens H.

    2007-01-01

    Even though we can estimate the zonation of present-day permafrost from deep-soil temperatures obtained from global coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (GCMs) by accounting for heat conduction in the frozen soil, it is impossible to explicitly resolve soil properties, vegetation......, in particular in mountainous regions. By using global climate change scenarios as driving fields, one can obtain permafrost dynamics in high temporal resolution on the order of years. For the 21st century under the IPCC SRES scenarios A2 and B2, we find an increase of mean annual ground temperature by up to 6 K...

  12. Rock glaciers in crystalline catchments: Hidden permafrost-related threats to alpine headwater lakes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ilyashuk, Boris P; Ilyashuk, Elena A; Psenner, Roland; Tessadri, Richard; Koinig, Karin A

    2018-04-01

    A global warming-induced transition from glacial to periglacial processes has been identified in mountainous regions around the world. Degrading permafrost in pristine periglacial environments can produce acid rock drainage (ARD) and cause severe ecological damage in areas underlain by sulfide-bearing bedrock. Limnological and paleolimnological approaches were used to assess and compare ARDs generated by rock glaciers, a typical landform of the mountain permafrost domain, and their effects on alpine headwater lakes with similar morphometric features and underlying bedrock geology, but characterized by different intensities of frost action in their catchments during the year. We argue that ARD and its effects on lakes are more severe in the alpine periglacial belt with mean annual air temperatures (MAAT) between -2°C and +3°C, where groundwater persists in the liquid phase for most of the year, in contrast to ARD in the periglacial belt where frost action dominates (MAAT cycle of aquatic organisms should be considered when reconstructing long-term trends in the ecotoxicological state of lakes. © 2017 The Authors. Global Change Biology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  13. 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

  14. Simulations of permafrost evolution at Olkiluoto

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hartikainen, J.

    2013-07-01

    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

  15. Minimum distribution of subsea ice-bearing permafrost on the US Beaufort Sea continental shelf

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

    Starting in Late Pleistocene time (~19 ka), sea level rise inundated coastal zones worldwide. On some parts of the present-day circum-Arctic continental shelf, this led to flooding and thawing of formerly subaerial permafrost and probable dissociation of associated gas hydrates. Relict permafrost has never been systematically mapped along the 700-km-long U.S. Beaufort Sea continental shelf and is often assumed to extend to ~120 m water depth, the approximate amount of sea level rise since the Late Pleistocene. Here, 5,000 km of multichannel seismic (MCS) data acquired between 1977 and 1992 were examined for high-velocity (>2.3 km s−1) refractions consistent with ice-bearing, coarse-grained sediments. Permafrost refractions were identified along sea ice-bearing permafrost, which does not extend seaward of 30 km offshore or beyond the 20 m isobath.

  16. Subsea Permafrost Mapped Across the U.S. Beaufort Sea Using Multichannel Seismic Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brothers, L.; Hart, P. E.; Ruppel, C. D.

    2011-12-01

    Circum-Arctic continental shelves at water depths less than ~100 m were subaerial permafrost prior to the onset of sea-level rise starting in the late Pleistocene. Rapid transgression and the resulting temperature increase at the sediment surface have led to thawing of the inundated permafrost, landward retreat of the leading edge of the permafrost, and dissociation of permafrost-associated gas hydrates. Past numerical modeling has shown that gas hydrate dissociation is particularly pronounced at the permafrost-to-no permafrost transition offshore. On the U.S. Beaufort margin, subsea permafrost has never been systematically mapped, and the best insights about permafrost and associated gas hydrate have been based on a limited number of offshore boreholes and numerical studies, with sometimes contrasting predictions of the permafrost's seaward extent. We bring together 5370 km of multichannel seismic (MCS) data acquired during various proprietary exploration industry and public domain government surveys between 1977 and 1992 to map a velocity anomaly diagnostic of submerged permafrost along 500 km of the US Beaufort coastline. These high-velocity (>~2.8 km/s) refractions (HVR), which are evident in prestack MCS shot records, reveal laterally continuous layers of shallow, ice-bonded, coarse-grained sediments beneath the inner continental shelf. The HVR occur in less than 5% of the tracklines, and calculated HVR depths range from 60 to 350 m below seafloor. The velocity anomaly is not observed seaward of the 20 m isobath, and is only found within 30 km of the current shoreline. These results can be used to: 1) create a map of the minimum distribution of remaining US Beaufort shelf subsea permafrost; 2) reconcile discrepancies between model-predicted and borehole-verified offshore permafrost distribution; and 3) constrain where to expect hydrate dissociation.

  17. Assessing the permafrost temperature and thickness conditions favorable for the occurrence of gas hydrate in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wu Qingbai; Jiang Guanli; Zhang Peng

    2010-01-01

    Permafrost accounts for about 52% of the total area of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and the permafrost area is about 140 x 10 4 km 2 . The mean annual ground temperature of permafrost ranges from -0.1 to -5 deg. C, and lower than -5 deg. C at extreme high-mountains. Permafrost thickness ranges from 10 to 139.4 m by borehole data, and more than 200 m by geothermal gradients. The permafrost geothermal gradient ranges from 1.1 deg. C/100 m to 8.0 deg. C/100 m with an average of 2.9 deg. C/100 m, and the geothermal gradient of the soil beneath permafrost is about 2.8-8.5 deg. C/100 m with an average of 6.0 deg. C/100 m in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. For a minimum of permafrost geothermal gradients of 1.1 deg. C/100 m, the areas of the potential occurrence of methane hydrate (sI) is approximately estimated to be about 27.5% of the total area of permafrost regions in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. For an average of permafrost geothermal gradients of 2.9 deg. C/100 m, the areas of the potential occurrence of methane hydrate (sI) is approximately estimated about 14% of the total area of permafrost regions in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. For the sII hydrate, the areas of the potential occurrence of sII hydrate are more than that of sI methane hydrate.

  18. 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.

    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

  19. Modeling sub-sea permafrost in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf: the Dmitry Laptev Strait

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nicolsky, D; Shakhova, N

    2010-01-01

    The present state of sub-sea permafrost modeling does not agree with certain observational data on the permafrost state within the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. This suggests a need to consider other mechanisms of permafrost destabilization after the recent ocean transgression. We propose development of open taliks wherever thaw lakes and river paleo-valleys were submerged shelf-wide as a possible mechanism for the degradation of sub-sea permafrost. To test the hypothesis we performed numerical modeling of permafrost dynamics in the Dmitry Laptev Strait area. We achieved sufficient agreement with the observed distribution of thawed and frozen layers to suggest that the proposed mechanism of permafrost destabilization is plausible.

  20. Modelling the temperature evolution of permafrost and seasonal frost in southern Norway during the 20th and 21st century

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hipp, T.; Etzelmüller, B.; Farbrot, H.; Schuler, T. V.

    2011-03-01

    A heat flow model was used to simulate both past and future ground temperatures of mountain permafrost in Southern Norway. A reconstructed air temperature series back to 1860 was used to evaluate the permafrost evolution since the end of the Little Ice Age in the region. The impact of a changing climate on discontinuous mountain permafrost until 2100 is predicted by using downscaled temperatures from an ensemble of downscaled climate models for the A1B scenario. From 13 borehole locations two consecutive years of ground temperature, air temperature and snow cover data are available for model calibration and validation. The boreholes are located at different elevations and in substrates having different thermal properties. With an increase of air temperature of ~+1.5 °C over 1860-2010 and an additional warming of +2.8 °C towards 2100 in air temperature, we simulate the evolution of ground temperatures for the borehole locations. According to model results, the active-layer thickness has increased since 1860 by about 0.5-5 m and >10 m for the sites Juvvass and Tron, respectively. The simulations also suggest that at an elevation of about 1900 m a.s.l. permafrost will degrade until the end of this century with a likelihood of 55-75% given the chosen A1B scenario.

  1. Multi-decadal degradation and persistence of permafrost in the Alaska Highway corridor, northwest Canada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    James, Megan; Lewkowicz, Antoni G; Smith, Sharon L; Miceli, Christina M

    2013-01-01

    Changes in permafrost distribution in the southern discontinuous zone were evaluated by repeating a 1964 survey through part of the Alaska Highway corridor (56° N–61° N) in northwest Canada. A total of 55 sites from the original survey in northern British Columbia and southern Yukon were located using archival maps and photographs. Probing for frozen ground, manual excavations, air and ground temperature monitoring, borehole drilling and geophysical techniques were used to gather information on present-day permafrost and climatic conditions. Mean annual air temperatures have increased by 1.5–2.0 ° C since the mid-1970s and significant degradation of permafrost has occurred. Almost half of the permafrost sites along the entire transect which exhibited permafrost in 1964 do so no longer. This change is especially evident in the south where two-thirds of the formerly permafrost sites have thawed and the limit of permafrost appears to have shifted northward. The permafrost that persists is patchy, generally less than 15 m thick, has mean annual surface temperatures >0 ° C, mean ground temperatures between −0.5 and 0 ° C, is in peat or beneath a thick organic mat, and appears to have a thicker active layer than in 1964. Its persistence may relate to the latent heat requirements of thawing permafrost or to the large thermal offset of organic soils. The study demonstrates that degradation of permafrost has occurred in the margins of its distribution in the last few decades, a trend that is expected to continue as the climate warms. (letter)

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Vidstrand, Patrik

    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 there is

  3. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    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),...

  5. Assessing and Projecting Greenhouse Gas Release due to Abrupt Permafrost Degradation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saito, K.; Ohno, H.; Yokohata, T.; Iwahana, G.; Machiya, H.

    2017-12-01

    Permafrost is a large reservoir of frozen soil organic carbon (SOC; about half of all the terrestrial storage). Therefore, its degradation (i.e., thawing) under global warming may lead to a substantial amount of additional greenhouse gas (GHG) release. However, understanding of the processes, geographical distribution of such hazards, and implementation of the relevant processes in the advanced climate models are insufficient yet so that variations in permafrost remains one of the large source of uncertainty in climatic and biogeochemical assessment and projections. Thermokarst, induced by melting of ground ice in ice-rich permafrost, leads to dynamic surface subsidence up to 60 m, which further affects local and regional societies and eco-systems in the Arctic. It can also accelerate a large-scale warming process through a positive feedback between released GHGs (especially methane), atmospheric warming and permafrost degradation. This three-year research project (2-1605, Environment Research and Technology Development Fund of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan) aims to assess and project the impacts of GHG release through dynamic permafrost degradation through in-situ and remote (e.g., satellite and airborn) observations, lab analysis of sampled ice and soil cores, and numerical modeling, by demonstrating the vulnerability distribution and relative impacts between large-scale degradation and such dynamic degradation. Our preliminary laboratory analysis of ice and soil cores sampled in 2016 at the Alaskan and Siberian sites largely underlain by ice-rich permafrost, shows that, although gas volumes trapped in unit mass are more or less homogenous among sites both for ice and soil cores, large variations are found in the methane concentration in the trapped gases, ranging from a few ppm (similar to that of the atmosphere) to hundreds of thousands ppm We will also present our numerical approach to evaluate relative impacts of GHGs released through dynamic

  6. Surface geophysical methods for characterising frozen ground in transitional permafrost landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Briggs, Martin A.; Campbell, Seth; Nolan, Jay; Walvoord, Michelle Ann; Ntarlagiannis, Dimitrios; Day-Lewis, Frederick D.; Lane, John W.

    2017-01-01

    The distribution of shallow frozen ground is paramount to research in cold regions, and is subject to temporal and spatial changes influenced by climate, landscape disturbance and ecosystem succession. Remote sensing from airborne and satellite platforms is increasing our understanding of landscape-scale permafrost distribution, but typically lacks the resolution to characterise finer-scale processes and phenomena, which are better captured by integrated surface geophysical methods. Here, we demonstrate the use of electrical resistivity imaging (ERI), electromagnetic induction (EMI), ground penetrating radar (GPR) and infrared imaging over multiple summer field seasons around the highly dynamic Twelvemile Lake, Yukon Flats, central Alaska, USA. Twelvemile Lake has generally receded in the past 30 yr, allowing permafrost aggradation in the receded margins, resulting in a mosaic of transient frozen ground adjacent to thick, older permafrost outside the original lakebed. ERI and EMI best evaluated the thickness of shallow, thin permafrost aggradation, which was not clear from frost probing or GPR surveys. GPR most precisely estimated the depth of the active layer, which forward electrical resistivity modelling indicated to be a difficult target for electrical methods, but could be more tractable in time-lapse mode. Infrared imaging of freshly dug soil pit walls captured active-layer thermal gradients at unprecedented resolution, which may be useful in calibrating emerging numerical models. GPR and EMI were able to cover landscape scales (several kilometres) efficiently, and new analysis software showcased here yields calibrated EMI data that reveal the complicated distribution of shallow permafrost in a transitional landscape.

  7. 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....

  8. Relative Roles of Deterministic and Stochastic Processes in Driving the Vertical Distribution of Bacterial Communities in a Permafrost Core from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hu, Weigang; Zhang, Qi; Tian, Tian; Li, Dingyao; Cheng, Gang; Mu, Jing; Wu, Qingbai; Niu, Fujun; Stegen, James C; An, Lizhe; Feng, Huyuan

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the processes that influence the structure of biotic communities is one of the major ecological topics, and both stochastic and deterministic processes are expected to be at work simultaneously in most communities. Here, we investigated the vertical distribution patterns of bacterial communities in a 10-m-long soil core taken within permafrost of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. To get a better understanding of the forces that govern these patterns, we examined the diversity and structure of bacterial communities, and the change in community composition along the vertical distance (spatial turnover) from both taxonomic and phylogenetic perspectives. Measures of taxonomic and phylogenetic beta diversity revealed that bacterial community composition changed continuously along the soil core, and showed a vertical distance-decay relationship. Multiple stepwise regression analysis suggested that bacterial alpha diversity and phylogenetic structure were strongly correlated with soil conductivity and pH but weakly correlated with depth. There was evidence that deterministic and stochastic processes collectively drived bacterial vertically-structured pattern. Bacterial communities in five soil horizons (two originated from the active layer and three from permafrost) of the permafrost core were phylogenetically random, indicator of stochastic processes. However, we found a stronger effect of deterministic processes related to soil pH, conductivity, and organic carbon content that were structuring the bacterial communities. We therefore conclude that the vertical distribution of bacterial communities was governed primarily by deterministic ecological selection, although stochastic processes were also at work. Furthermore, the strong impact of environmental conditions (for example, soil physicochemical parameters and seasonal freeze-thaw cycles) on these communities underlines the sensitivity of permafrost microorganisms to climate change and potentially subsequent

  9. Permafrost Favorability Index: Spatial Modeling in the French Alps Using a Rock Glacier Inventory

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marco Marcer

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available In the present study we used the first rock glacier inventory for the entire French Alps to model spatial permafrost distribution in the region. Climatic and topographic data evaluated at the rock glacier locations were used as predictor variables in a Generalized Linear Model. Model performances are strong, suggesting that, in agreement with several previous studies, this methodology is able to model accurately rock glacier distribution. A methodology to estimate model uncertainties is proposed, revealing that the subjectivity in the interpretation of rock glacier activity and contours may substantially bias the model. The model highlights a North-South trend in the regional pattern of permafrost distribution which is attributed to the climatic influences of the Atlantic and Mediterranean climates. Further analysis suggest that lower amounts of precipitation in the early winter and a thinner snow cover, as typically found in the Mediterranean area, could contribute to the existence of permafrost at higher temperatures compared to the Northern Alps. A comparison with the Alpine Permafrost Index Map (APIM shows no major differences with our model, highlighting the very good predictive power of the APIM despite its tendency to slightly overestimate permafrost extension with respect to our database. The use of rock glaciers as indicators of permafrost existence despite their time response to climate change is discussed and an interpretation key is proposed in order to ensure the proper use of the model for research as well as for operational purposes.

  10. Distribution of late Pleistocene ice-rich syngenetic permafrost of the Yedoma Suite in east and central Siberia, Russia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grosse, Guido; Robinson, Joel E.; Bryant, Robin; Taylor, Maxwell D.; Harper, William; DeMasi, Amy; Kyker-Snowman, Emily; Veremeeva, Alexandra; Schirrmeister, Lutz; Harden, Jennifer

    2013-01-01

    This digital database is the product of collaboration between the U.S. Geological Survey, the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks; the Los Altos Hills Foothill College GeoSpatial Technology Certificate Program; the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Potsdam, Germany; and the Institute of Physical Chemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The primary goal for creating this digital database is to enhance current estimates of soil organic carbon stored in deep permafrost, in particular the late Pleistocene syngenetic ice-rich permafrost deposits of the Yedoma Suite. Previous studies estimated that Yedoma deposits cover about 1 million square kilometers of a large region in central and eastern Siberia, but these estimates generally are based on maps with scales smaller than 1:10,000,000. Taking into account this large area, it was estimated that Yedoma may store as much as 500 petagrams of soil organic carbon, a large part of which is vulnerable to thaw and mobilization from thermokarst and erosion. To refine assessments of the spatial distribution of Yedoma deposits, we digitized 11 Russian Quaternary geologic maps. Our study focused on extracting geologic units interpreted by us as late Pleistocene ice-rich syngenetic Yedoma deposits based on lithology, ground ice conditions, stratigraphy, and geomorphological and spatial association. These Yedoma units then were merged into a single data layer across map tiles. The spatial database provides a useful update of the spatial distribution of this deposit for an approximately 2.32 million square kilometers land area in Siberia that will (1) serve as a core database for future refinements of Yedoma distribution in additional regions, and (2) provide a starting point to revise the size of deep but thaw-vulnerable permafrost carbon pools in the Arctic based on surface geology and the distribution of cryolithofacies types at high spatial

  11. Permafrost delineation for remediation planning : Fort Wainwright, Alaska

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Astley, B. [Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Anchorage, AK (United States); Snyder, C. [YEC Inc., Valley Cottage, NJ (United States); Delaney, A. [Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Fairbanks, AK (United States); Arcone, S.; Lawson, D. [Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Hanover, NH (United States)

    2003-07-01

    In the summer of 1999, geophysical and hydrogeological surveys were conducted at the Birch Hill Tank Farm and Truck Fill Stand in Fort Wainwright, Alaska to assess the distribution of benzene, 1,2-dichloroethane, and 1,2-dibromoethane. The Birch Hill site consists of a silt, sand and gravel fluvial deposit that overlies bedrock. Permafrost occurs discontinuously throughout the alluvium and underlying bedrock, resulting in a complex aquifer distribution. The bedrock beneath the Tank Farm is highly fractured and faulted with a weathered horizon that is 30 meters thick. The goal of this study was to map the discontinuous permafrost and aquifers in the alluvial deposits and weathered bedrock zone for the purpose of delineating bedrock depth and structural features that influence ground water flow. Several methods were used to define subsurface conditions, including borehole logs, DC resistivity, and ground-penetrating radar. A 3-D hydrogeologic model was used to develop a ground water flow model used to determine contaminant migration pathways and rates. The permafrost configuration was found to be the most important boundary condition in this model. 7 refs., 1 tab., 5 figs.

  12. Resolution capacity of geophysical monitoring regarding permafrost degradation induced by hydrological processes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mewes, Benjamin; Hilbich, Christin; Delaloye, Reynald; Hauck, Christian

    2017-12-01

    Geophysical methods are often used to characterize and monitor the subsurface composition of permafrost. The resolution capacity of standard methods, i.e. electrical resistivity tomography and refraction seismic tomography, depends not only on static parameters such as measurement geometry, but also on the temporal variability in the contrast of the geophysical target variables (electrical resistivity and P-wave velocity). Our study analyses the resolution capacity of electrical resistivity tomography and refraction seismic tomography for typical processes in the context of permafrost degradation using synthetic and field data sets of mountain permafrost terrain. In addition, we tested the resolution capacity of a petrophysically based quantitative combination of both methods, the so-called 4-phase model, and through this analysed the expected changes in water and ice content upon permafrost thaw. The results from the synthetic data experiments suggest a higher sensitivity regarding an increase in water content compared to a decrease in ice content. A potentially larger uncertainty originates from the individual geophysical methods than from the combined evaluation with the 4-phase model. In the latter, a loss of ground ice can be detected quite reliably, whereas artefacts occur in the case of increased horizontal or vertical water flow. Analysis of field data from a well-investigated rock glacier in the Swiss Alps successfully visualized the seasonal ice loss in summer and the complex spatially variable ice, water and air content changes in an interannual comparison.

  13. Resolution capacity of geophysical monitoring regarding permafrost degradation induced by hydrological processes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    B. Mewes

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available Geophysical methods are often used to characterize and monitor the subsurface composition of permafrost. The resolution capacity of standard methods, i.e. electrical resistivity tomography and refraction seismic tomography, depends not only on static parameters such as measurement geometry, but also on the temporal variability in the contrast of the geophysical target variables (electrical resistivity and P-wave velocity. Our study analyses the resolution capacity of electrical resistivity tomography and refraction seismic tomography for typical processes in the context of permafrost degradation using synthetic and field data sets of mountain permafrost terrain. In addition, we tested the resolution capacity of a petrophysically based quantitative combination of both methods, the so-called 4-phase model, and through this analysed the expected changes in water and ice content upon permafrost thaw. The results from the synthetic data experiments suggest a higher sensitivity regarding an increase in water content compared to a decrease in ice content. A potentially larger uncertainty originates from the individual geophysical methods than from the combined evaluation with the 4-phase model. In the latter, a loss of ground ice can be detected quite reliably, whereas artefacts occur in the case of increased horizontal or vertical water flow. Analysis of field data from a well-investigated rock glacier in the Swiss Alps successfully visualized the seasonal ice loss in summer and the complex spatially variable ice, water and air content changes in an interannual comparison.

  14. Assessment of Gas Production Potential from Hydrate Reservoir in Qilian Mountain Permafrost Using Five-Spot Horizontal Well System

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yun-Pei Liang

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available The main purpose of this study is to investigate the production behaviors of gas hydrate at site DK-2 in the Qilian Mountain permafrost using the novel five-spot well (5S system by means of numerical simulation. The whole system is composed of several identical units, and each single unit consists of one injection well and four production wells. All the wells are placed horizontally in the hydrate deposit. The combination method of depressurization and thermal stimulation is employed for hydrate dissociation in the system. Simulation results show that favorable gas production and hydrate dissociation rates, gas-to-water ratio, and energy ratio can be acquired using this kind of multi-well system under suitable heat injection and depressurization driving forces, and the water production rate is manageable in the entire production process under current technology. In addition, another two kinds of two-spot well (2S systems have also been employed for comparison. It is found that the 5S system will be more commercially profitable than the 2S configurations for gas production under the same operation conditions. Sensitivity analysis indicates that the gas production performance is dependent on the heat injection rate and the well spacing of the 5S system.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-01

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

  16. LGM permafrost distribution: how well can the latest PMIP multi-model ensembles perform reconstruction?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    K. Saito

    2013-08-01

    Full Text Available Here, global-scale frozen ground distribution from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM has been reconstructed using multi-model ensembles of global climate models, and then compared with evidence-based knowledge and earlier numerical results. Modeled soil temperatures, taken from Paleoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project phase III (PMIP3 simulations, were used to diagnose the subsurface thermal regime and determine underlying frozen ground types for the present day (pre-industrial; 0 kya and the LGM (21 kya. This direct method was then compared to an earlier indirect method, which categorizes underlying frozen ground type from surface air temperature, applying to both the PMIP2 (phase II and PMIP3 products. Both direct and indirect diagnoses for 0 kya showed strong agreement with the present-day observation-based map. The soil temperature ensemble showed a higher diversity around the border between permafrost and seasonally frozen ground among the models, partly due to varying subsurface processes, implementation, and settings. The area of continuous permafrost estimated by the PMIP3 multi-model analysis through the direct (indirect method was 26.0 (17.7 million km2 for LGM, in contrast to 15.1 (11.2 million km2 for the pre-industrial control, whereas seasonally frozen ground decreased from 34.5 (26.6 million km2 to 18.1 (16.0 million km2. These changes in area resulted mainly from a cooler climate at LGM, but from other factors as well, such as the presence of huge land ice sheets and the consequent expansion of total land area due to sea-level change. LGM permafrost boundaries modeled by the PMIP3 ensemble – improved over those of the PMIP2 due to higher spatial resolutions and improved climatology – also compared better to previous knowledge derived from geomorphological and geocryological evidence. Combinatorial applications of coupled climate models and detailed stand-alone physical-ecological models for the cold-region terrestrial

  17. LGM permafrost distribution: how well can the latest PMIP multi-model ensembles perform reconstruction?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saito, K.; Sueyoshi, T.; Marchenko, S.; Romanovsky, V.; Otto-Bliesner, B.; Walsh, J.; Bigelow, N.; Hendricks, A.; Yoshikawa, K.

    2013-08-01

    Here, global-scale frozen ground distribution from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) has been reconstructed using multi-model ensembles of global climate models, and then compared with evidence-based knowledge and earlier numerical results. Modeled soil temperatures, taken from Paleoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project phase III (PMIP3) simulations, were used to diagnose the subsurface thermal regime and determine underlying frozen ground types for the present day (pre-industrial; 0 kya) and the LGM (21 kya). This direct method was then compared to an earlier indirect method, which categorizes underlying frozen ground type from surface air temperature, applying to both the PMIP2 (phase II) and PMIP3 products. Both direct and indirect diagnoses for 0 kya showed strong agreement with the present-day observation-based map. The soil temperature ensemble showed a higher diversity around the border between permafrost and seasonally frozen ground among the models, partly due to varying subsurface processes, implementation, and settings. The area of continuous permafrost estimated by the PMIP3 multi-model analysis through the direct (indirect) method was 26.0 (17.7) million km2 for LGM, in contrast to 15.1 (11.2) million km2 for the pre-industrial control, whereas seasonally frozen ground decreased from 34.5 (26.6) million km2 to 18.1 (16.0) million km2. These changes in area resulted mainly from a cooler climate at LGM, but from other factors as well, such as the presence of huge land ice sheets and the consequent expansion of total land area due to sea-level change. LGM permafrost boundaries modeled by the PMIP3 ensemble - improved over those of the PMIP2 due to higher spatial resolutions and improved climatology - also compared better to previous knowledge derived from geomorphological and geocryological evidence. Combinatorial applications of coupled climate models and detailed stand-alone physical-ecological models for the cold-region terrestrial, paleo-, and modern

  18. The effect of permafrost thaw on short- and long-term carbon accumulation in permafrost mires

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olid, Carolina; Klaminder, Jonatan; Monteux, Sylvain; Johansson, Margareta; Dorrepaal, Ellen

    2017-04-01

    Permafrost stores twice as much carbon (C) as is currently present in the atmosphere. During recent years, warmer temperatures in the Arctic has caused rapid thawing of permafrost, which have dramatically altered permafrost C storage by increasing both microbial decomposition and plant productivity. Although current research focuses on the effects of climate change on these two processes, there are still no scientific consensus about the magnitude or even the direction of future C feedbacks from permafrost ecosystems. Field manipulation experiments have been widely used during the last decade to improve our knowledge about the net effects of permafrost thaw in the permafrost C storage. However, due to the slow response (decades) of permafrost ecosystems to environmental changes and the short-time nature of these experiments (usually shorter than 5-9 years), there are still concerns when attempting to extrapolate the results to predict long term effects. In addition, measurements are mostly taken exclusively during the summer season, without taking into account inter-annual variability in C fluxes and underestimating microbial activity throughout the cold season. The need to develop a comprehensive understanding of C fluxes over the entire year and at long temporal scales sets the basis of this study. This study aims to quantify the effects of permafrost thawing in permafrost C fluxes using a 12 years permafrost thaw experiment in northern Sweden. Our aims were to quantify the effect of permafrost thaw in both decomposition and primary production in active layer and newly thawed permafrost, and its implications for the C balance. Based on previous observations, we hypothesized that 1) soil decomposition rates were higher in manipulated thaw plots. However, 2) the observed increase in nutrients availability and the higher presence of vascular plants after thawing stimulate primary production, which compensates to some extent the increased C losses by respiration. To

  19. 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.

  20. High-resolution digital mapping of soil organic carbon in permafrost terrain using machine learning: a case study in a sub-Arctic peatland environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Siewert, Matthias B.

    2018-03-01

    Soil organic carbon (SOC) stored in northern peatlands and permafrost-affected soils are key components in the global carbon cycle. This article quantifies SOC stocks in a sub-Arctic mountainous peatland environment in the discontinuous permafrost zone in Abisko, northern Sweden. Four machine-learning techniques are evaluated for SOC quantification: multiple linear regression, artificial neural networks, support vector machine and random forest. The random forest model performed best and was used to predict SOC for several depth increments at a spatial resolution of 1 m (1×1 m). A high-resolution (1 m) land cover classification generated for this study is the most relevant predictive variable. The landscape mean SOC storage (0-150 cm) is estimated to be 8.3 ± 8.0 kg C m-2 and the SOC stored in the top meter (0-100 cm) to be 7.7 ± 6.2 kg C m-2. The predictive modeling highlights the relative importance of wetland areas and in particular peat plateaus for the landscape's SOC storage. The total SOC was also predicted at reduced spatial resolutions of 2, 10, 30, 100, 250 and 1000 m and shows a significant drop in land cover class detail and a tendency to underestimate the SOC at resolutions > 30 m. This is associated with the occurrence of many small-scale wetlands forming local hot-spots of SOC storage that are omitted at coarse resolutions. Sharp transitions in SOC storage associated with land cover and permafrost distribution are the most challenging methodological aspect. However, in this study, at local, regional and circum-Arctic scales, the main factor limiting robust SOC mapping efforts is the scarcity of soil pedon data from across the entire environmental space. For the Abisko region, past SOC and permafrost dynamics indicate that most of the SOC is barely 2000 years old and very dynamic. Future research needs to investigate the geomorphic response of permafrost degradation and the fate of SOC across all landscape compartments in post-permafrost landscapes.

  1. 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

  2. Simulation of pollutant transport in mobile water-flow channels in permafrost environment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. I. Debolskaya

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available A common problem for the Arctic region is pollution by persistent organic compounds and other substances that have accumulated over the years in these areas. With temperature increasing, these substances can get out of the snow, ice, permafrost in the human environment. With climate warming and permafrost degradation the risk of toxic substances from the burial sites of chemical and radioactive waste increases. The work is devoted to research the pollution propagation in the rivers flowing in the permafrost taking into account the possible deformations of the channels caused by the melting of the permafrost with increasing temperature of the river flow water. We also consider the distribution of pollutants released during erosion of the coastal slopes, caused thermal erosion. Numerical experiments confirmed the quantitative assessment obtained from the field observations of the erosion rate increases with increasing temperature. Study the impact of thermal and mechanical erosion of the distribution of impurities led to the conclusion that as a result of the formation of taliks uniform flow conditions are violated, resulting in a non-stationary distribution of impurities. The increase in the volume of the test section of the river due to the appearance of cavities in the coastal slope leads to an increase in impurity concentration. Analysis of the results of modeling the spread of contamination during thawing sources in the frozen shores, demonstrated the relationship in the process of distribution of impurities from the position of the source and allowed to give a preliminary quantitative assessment.

  3. 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.

  4. Snow control on active layer and permafrost in steep alpine rock walls (Aiguille du Midi, 3842 m a.s.l, Mont Blanc massif)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Magnin, Florence; Westermann, Sebastian; Pogliotti, Paolo; Ravanel, Ludovic; Deline, Philip

    2016-04-01

    Permafrost degradation through the thickening of the active layer and the rising temperature at depth is a crucial process of rock wall stability. The ongoing increase in rock falls observed during hot periods in mid-latitude mountain ranges is regarded as a result of permafrost degradation. However, the short-term thermal dynamics of alpine rock walls are misunderstood since they result of complex processes related to the interaction of local climate variables, heterogeneous snow cover and heat transfers. As a consequence steady-state and long-term changes that can be approached with simpler process mainly related to air temperature, solar radiations and heat conduction were the most common dynamics to be studied so far. The effect of snow on the bedrock surface temperature is increasingly investigated and has already been demonstrated to be an essential factor of permafrost distribution. Nevertheless, its effect on the year-to-year changes of the active layer thickness and of the permafrost temperature in steep alpine bedrock has not been investigated yet, partly due to the lack of appropriate data. We explore the role of snow accumulations on the active layer and permafrost thermal regime of steep rock walls of a high-elevated site, the Aiguille du Midi (AdM, 3842 m a.s.l, Mont Blanc massif, Western European Alps) by mean of a multi-methods approach. We first analyse six years of temperature records in three 10-m-deep boreholes. Then we describe the snow accumulation patterns on two rock faces by means of automatically processed camera records. Finally, sensitivity analyses of the active layer thickness and permafrost temperature towards timing and magnitude of snow accumulations are performed using the numerical permafrost model CryoGrid 3. The energy balance module is forced with local meteorological measurements on the AdM S face and validated with surface temperature measurements at the weather station location. The heat conduction scheme is calibrated with

  5. 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.

  6. PeRL: A circum-Arctic Permafrost Region Pond and Lake database

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muster, Sina; Roth, Kurt; Langer, Moritz; Lange, Stephan; Cresto Aleina, Fabio; Bartsch, Annett; Morgenstern, Anne; Grosse, Guido; Jones, Benjamin; Sannel, A.B.K.; Sjoberg, Ylva; Gunther, Frank; Andresen, Christian; Veremeeva, Alexandra; Lindgren, Prajna R.; Bouchard, Frédéric; Lara, Mark J.; Fortier, Daniel; Charbonneau, Simon; Virtanen, Tarmo A.; Hugelius, Gustaf; Palmtag, J.; Siewert, Matthias B.; Riley, William J.; Koven, Charles; Boike, Julia

    2017-01-01

    Ponds and lakes are abundant in Arctic permafrost lowlands. They play an important role in Arctic wetland ecosystems by regulating carbon, water, and energy fluxes and providing freshwater habitats. However, ponds, i.e., waterbodies with surface areas smaller than 1. 0 × 104 m2, have not been inventoried on global and regional scales. The Permafrost Region Pond and Lake (PeRL) database presents the results of a circum-Arctic effort to map ponds and lakes from modern (2002–2013) high-resolution aerial and satellite imagery with a resolution of 5 m or better. The database also includes historical imagery from 1948 to 1965 with a resolution of 6 m or better. PeRL includes 69 maps covering a wide range of environmental conditions from tundra to boreal regions and from continuous to discontinuous permafrost zones. Waterbody maps are linked to regional permafrost landscape maps which provide information on permafrost extent, ground ice volume, geology, and lithology. This paper describes waterbody classification and accuracy, and presents statistics of waterbody distribution for each site. Maps of permafrost landscapes in Alaska, Canada, and Russia are used to extrapolate waterbody statistics from the site level to regional landscape units. PeRL presents pond and lake estimates for a total area of 1. 4 × 106 km2 across the Arctic, about 17 % of the Arctic lowland ( s.l.) land surface area. PeRL waterbodies with sizes of 1. 0 × 106 m2 down to 1. 0 × 102 m2 contributed up to 21 % to the total water fraction. Waterbody density ranged from 1. 0 × 10 to 9. 4 × 101 km−2. Ponds are the dominant waterbody type by number in all landscapes representing 45–99 % of the total waterbody number. The implementation of PeRL size distributions in land surface models will greatly improve the investigation and projection of surface inundation and carbon fluxes in permafrost lowlands. Waterbody maps, study area

  7. Permafrost slowly exhales methane

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herndon, Elizabeth M.

    2018-04-01

    Permafrost soils store vast quantities of organic matter that are vulnerable to decomposition under a warming climate. Recent research finds that methane release from thawing permafrost may outpace carbon dioxide as a major contributor to global warming over the next century.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Whiticar, M. J. [School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria (Canada); Bhatti, J.; Startsev, N. [Northern Forestry Centre, St Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    2013-07-15

    Thawing permafrost peatlands substantially influence Canadian northern ecosystems by changing the regional hydrology and mobilizing the vast carbon (C) reserves that results in increased greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions to the atmosphere. With permafrost distribution controlled largely by topography and climate, our International polar y ear (IPY) study intensively monitored the local C cycling processes and GHG fluxes associated with different hydrologic and permafrost environments at 4 sites along a climatic gradient extending from the Isolated patches permafrost Zone (northern alberta), to the continuous permafrost Zone (Inuvik, NWT). Each site encompasses a local gradient from upland forest and peat plateau to collapse scar. Our multi-year measurements of peatland profiles and flux chambers for CH{sub 4} and CO{sub 2} 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 CH{sub 4} production occurs by both hydrogenotrophic and acetoclastic methanogenesis in submerged, anaerobic peats, e.g., collapse scars, whereas methane oxidation is restricted to aerobic, drier environments, e.g., upland sites and peat-atmosphere interface. The most active methanogenesis and emissions are in areas of actively thawing permafrost contrasting with sites under continuous permafrost. This degree of methanogenesis is being amplified by the increased rate of Arctic warming and the rapid retreat of permafrost in canada's arctic (approximately. 2.5 km/a). (author)

  10. 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

  11. PeRL: a circum-Arctic Permafrost Region Pond and Lake database

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muster, Sina; Roth, Kurt; Langer, Moritz; Lange, Stephan; Cresto Aleina, Fabio; Bartsch, Annett; Morgenstern, Anne; Grosse, Guido; Jones, Benjamin; Sannel, A. Britta K.; Sjöberg, Ylva; Günther, Frank; Andresen, Christian; Veremeeva, Alexandra; Lindgren, Prajna R.; Bouchard, Frédéric; Lara, Mark J.; Fortier, Daniel; Charbonneau, Simon; Virtanen, Tarmo A.; Hugelius, Gustaf; Palmtag, Juri; Siewert, Matthias B.; Riley, William J.; Koven, Charles D.; Boike, Julia

    2017-06-01

    Ponds and lakes are abundant in Arctic permafrost lowlands. They play an important role in Arctic wetland ecosystems by regulating carbon, water, and energy fluxes and providing freshwater habitats. However, ponds, i.e., waterbodies with surface areas smaller than 1. 0 × 104 m2, have not been inventoried on global and regional scales. The Permafrost Region Pond and Lake (PeRL) database presents the results of a circum-Arctic effort to map ponds and lakes from modern (2002-2013) high-resolution aerial and satellite imagery with a resolution of 5 m or better. The database also includes historical imagery from 1948 to 1965 with a resolution of 6 m or better. PeRL includes 69 maps covering a wide range of environmental conditions from tundra to boreal regions and from continuous to discontinuous permafrost zones. Waterbody maps are linked to regional permafrost landscape maps which provide information on permafrost extent, ground ice volume, geology, and lithology. This paper describes waterbody classification and accuracy, and presents statistics of waterbody distribution for each site. Maps of permafrost landscapes in Alaska, Canada, and Russia are used to extrapolate waterbody statistics from the site level to regional landscape units. PeRL presents pond and lake estimates for a total area of 1. 4 × 106 km2 across the Arctic, about 17 % of the Arctic lowland ( pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.868349" target="_blank">https://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.868349.

  12. Evaluating the use of testate amoebae for palaeohydrological reconstruction in permafrost peatlands

    OpenAIRE

    Swindles, Graeme T.; Amesbury, Matthew J.; Turner, T. Edward; Carrivick, Jonathan L.; Woulds, Clare; Raby, Cassandra; Mullan, Donal; Roland, Thomas P.; Galloway, Jennifer M.; Parry, Lauren; Kokfelt, Ulla; Garneau, Michelle; Charman, Dan J.; Holden, Joseph

    2015-01-01

    The melting of high-latitude permafrost peatlands is a major concern due to a potential positive feedback on global climate change. We examine the ecology of testate amoebae in permafrost peatlands, based on sites in Sweden (~ 200 km north of the Arctic Circle). Multivariate statistical analysis confirms that water-table depth and moisture content are the dominant controls on the distribution of testate amoebae, corroborating the results from studies in mid-latitude peatlands. We present a ne...

  13. Geographic conditions for distribution of agriculture and potentials for tourism development on Mokra mountain

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Knežević Marko

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available This work considers important natural conditions of distribution of agricultural production, cattle breeding in particular, and also potentials for tourism development on Mokra mountain. Half-nomadic cattle breeding in mountain settlements was highly developed in recent past. It represented the main source of existence for local highlanders. Today it is neglected and in phase of dying out. The mountain disposes with excellent natural potentials for ecological and mountain tourism, but these potentials are unused.

  14. High-resolution digital mapping of soil organic carbon in permafrost terrain using machine learning: a case study in a sub-Arctic peatland environment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. B. Siewert

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available Soil organic carbon (SOC stored in northern peatlands and permafrost-affected soils are key components in the global carbon cycle. This article quantifies SOC stocks in a sub-Arctic mountainous peatland environment in the discontinuous permafrost zone in Abisko, northern Sweden. Four machine-learning techniques are evaluated for SOC quantification: multiple linear regression, artificial neural networks, support vector machine and random forest. The random forest model performed best and was used to predict SOC for several depth increments at a spatial resolution of 1 m (1×1 m. A high-resolution (1 m land cover classification generated for this study is the most relevant predictive variable. The landscape mean SOC storage (0–150 cm is estimated to be 8.3 ± 8.0 kg C m−2 and the SOC stored in the top meter (0–100 cm to be 7.7 ± 6.2 kg C m−2. The predictive modeling highlights the relative importance of wetland areas and in particular peat plateaus for the landscape's SOC storage. The total SOC was also predicted at reduced spatial resolutions of 2, 10, 30, 100, 250 and 1000 m and shows a significant drop in land cover class detail and a tendency to underestimate the SOC at resolutions  >  30 m. This is associated with the occurrence of many small-scale wetlands forming local hot-spots of SOC storage that are omitted at coarse resolutions. Sharp transitions in SOC storage associated with land cover and permafrost distribution are the most challenging methodological aspect. However, in this study, at local, regional and circum-Arctic scales, the main factor limiting robust SOC mapping efforts is the scarcity of soil pedon data from across the entire environmental space. For the Abisko region, past SOC and permafrost dynamics indicate that most of the SOC is barely 2000 years old and very dynamic. Future research needs to investigate the geomorphic response of permafrost degradation and the fate of

  15. Changes to the Carbon and Energy fluxes in a Northern Peatland with Thawing Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harder, S. R.; Roulet, N. T.; Crill, P. M.; Strachan, I. B.

    2017-12-01

    The maintenance of thaw of high carbon density landscapes in the permafrost region ultimately depends of how the energy balance is partitioned as temperatures and precipitation change, yet there are comparatively few energy balance studies, especially in peatlands that contain permafrost. While permafrost peatlands are currently net sinks of carbon, as Arctic temperatures rise and permafrost thaws, the future of these ecosystems and their capacity for carbon uptake is in question. Since 2012 we have been measuring the spatially integrated CO2, energy and water vapour fluxes from the Stordalen peatland (68°22'N, 19°03'E) using eddy covariance (EC). The Stordalen peatland is a heterogeneous peatland in the discontinuous permafrost zone where permafrost thaw is actively occurring, resulting in large changes to the landscape from year to year. Areas where permafrost is present are elevated by up to 1.5 m compared to the areas where permafrost has thawed causing differences in water table depth, peat temperatures, snow distribution, vegetation community and therefore in the carbon and energy fluxes. Our EC tower is located on the edge of a permafrost peat plateau (or palsa) where one fetch measures fluxes from an area underlain by permafrost and the other fetch sees the portion of the peatland where the permafrost has thawed. Within each sector, we have an array of soil temperature and water content sensors to determine the physical characteristics of each fetch. Extensive vegetation surveys (based on plant functional types or PFTs) have also been conducted to run a footprint analysis on the flux data to complete a comparative analysis of the magnitude and variability of the carbon and energy exchanges from PFT. The footprint analysis allows us to explain the difference in energy and carbon fluxes by examining the ecological, biogeochemical and physical characteristics within each footprint. We see distinctly different energy partitioning between the fetches

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Johnson, Kristofer D; Harden, Jennifer W; David McGuire, A; 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. (letter)

  17. Thermokarst transformation of permafrost preserved glaciated landscapes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kokelj, S.; Tunnicliffe, J. F.; Fraser, R.; Kokoszka, J.; Lacelle, D.; Lantz, T. C.; Lamoureux, S. F.; Rudy, A.; Shakil, S.; Tank, S. E.; van der Sluijs, J.; Wolfe, S.; Zolkos, S.

    2017-12-01

    Thermokarst is the fundamental mechanism of landscape change and a primary driver of downstream effects in a warming circumpolar world. Permafrost degradation is inherently non-linear because latent heat effects can inhibit thawing. However, once this thermal transition is crossed thermokarst can accelerate due to the interaction of thermal, physical and ecological feedbacks. In this paper we highlight recent climate and precipitation-driven intensification of thaw slumping that is transforming permafrost preserved glaciated landscapes in northwestern Canada. The continental distribution of slump affected terrain reflects glacial extents and recessional positions of the Laurentide Ice sheet. On this basis and in conjunction with intense thermokarst in cold polar environments, we highlight the critical roles of geological legacy and climate history in dictating the sensitivity of permafrost terrain. These glaciated landscapes, maintained in a quasi-stable state throughout much of the late Holocene are now being transformed into remarkably dynamic environments by climate-driven thermokarst. Individual disturbances displace millions of cubic metres of previously frozen material downslope, converting upland sedimentary stores into major source areas. Precipitation-driven evacuation of sediment by fluidized mass flows perpetuates non-linear enlargement of disturbances. The infilling of valleys with debris deposits tens of metres thick increases stream base-levels and promotes rapid valley-side erosion. These processes destabilize adjacent slopes and proliferate disturbance effects. Physically-based modeling of thaw slump development provides insight into the trajectories of landscape change, and the mapping of fluvial linkages portrays the cascade of effects across watershed scales. Post-glacial or "paraglacial" models of landscape evolution provide a useful framework for understanding the nature and magnitude of climate-driven changes in permafrost preserved glaciated

  18. Permafrost investigations at the Lake Hövsgöl, northern Mongolia, using DC resistivity tomography and DEM-analyses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Etzelmuller, B.; Heggem, E. S. F.; Frauenfelder, R.; Romanovsky, V.; Sharkhuu, N.; Jambaljav, Y.; Tumensetseg, S.; Kääb, A.; Goulden, C.

    2003-04-01

    The region of Lake Hövsgöl, northern Mongolia, lies at the southern edge of Siberia and forms the southern-most fringe of the Siberian continuous permafrost zone. Analysis of long-term temperature data from the area indicates that annual temperatures have warmed by about 1.5^oC over the last 40 years. Being at the southern fringe of permafrost existence, temperature changes are supposed to have a major impact on permafrost degradation and thus on the environment, in interaction with human activities like nomadic pasture use. The objective of this study is to define the distribution of permafrost and the depth of the active zones in detail, and to begin a monitoring program of soil and permafrost temperatures in the study area. During these studies (a) field measurements of ground temperature, (b) analyses of geophysical parameters (mainly ground resistivities), and (c) the generation and analyses of digital elevation models and satellite imagery were carried out. The field measurements provided the basis for the later development of statistical/empirical and physical models of the permafrost distribution in the Hövsgöl area. This presentation will focus on the DC-resistivity tomography mapping of permafrost and digital elevation model analyses. The study showed that DC resistivity tomography was useful to distinguish the active layer and permafrost thickness under different types of surface cover. The project is funded by a five-year grant from the Global Environment Facility to the Mongolian Academy of Sciences (MAS), implemented by the World Bank and a foundation of the Mongolian Long Term Ecological Research Program at Lake Hövsgöl.

  19. Experiences with a Decade of Wireless Sensor Networks in Mountain Cryosphere Research

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beutel, Jan

    2017-04-01

    Research in geoscience depends on high-quality measurements over long periods of time in order to understand processes and to create and validate models. The promise of wireless sensor networks to monitor autonomously at unprecedented spatial and temporal scale motivated the use of this novel technology for studying mountain permafrost in the mid 2000s. Starting from a first experimental deployment to investigate the thermal properties of steep bedrock permafrost in 2006 on the Jungfraujoch, Switzerland at 3500 m asl using prototype wireless sensors the PermaSense project has evolved into a multi-site and multi-discipline initiative. We develop, deploy and operate wireless sensing systems customized for long-term autonomous operation in high-mountain environments. Around this central element, we develop concepts, methods and tools to investigate and to quantify the connection between climate, cryosphere (permafrost, glaciers, snow) and geomorphodynamics. In this presentation, we describe the concepts and system architecture used both for the wireless sensor network as well as for data management and processing. Furthermore, we will discuss the experience gained in over a decade of planning, installing and operating large deployments on field sites spread across a large part of the Swiss and French Alps and applications ranging from academic, experimental research campaigns, long-term monitoring and natural hazard warning in collaboration with government authorities and local industry partners. Reference http://www.permasense.ch Online Open Data Access http://data.permasense.ch

  20. International Permafrost Field Courses in Siberia: the Synthesis of Research and Education

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ablyazina, D.; Boitsov, A.; Grebenets, V.; Kaverin, D.; Klene, A.; Kurchatova, A.; Pfeiffer, E. M.; Zschocke, A.; Shiklomanov, N.; Streletskiy, D.

    2009-04-01

    During summers of 2007 and 2008 a series of International University Courses on Permafrost (IUCP) were conducted in West Siberia, Russia. Courses were organized as part of the International Permafrost Association (IPA) International Polar Year activities. The North of West Siberia region was selected to represent diverse permafrost, climatic and landscape conditions. The courses were jointly organized by the Moscow State University (MSU) and the Tumen' Oil and Gas University (TOGU) with the help from German and U.S. institutions. The program attracted undergraduate and graduate students with diverse interests and backgrounds from Germany, Russia and the U.S. and involved instructors specializing in different aspects of permafrost research. Courses were designed to address three major topics of permafrost-related research: a) permafrost environments characteristic of the discontinuous and continuous zones; b) field instrumentation and techniques; c) permafrost engineering and problems of development in permafrost regions. Methodologically, courses consisted of systematic permafrost investigations at long-term monitoring sites and survey-type expeditions. Systematic, process-based investigations were conducted at a network of sites which constitute the TEPO established by TOGU in collaboration with the gas company NadymGasProm. The observation complex includes an array of 30-m deep boreholes equipped with automatic data collection systems and representing characteristic permafrost landscapes of West Siberia. Boreholes are complemented by sites for snow cover, vegetation, soil, ground ice, and geomorphologic investigations. As part of student research activities, four new Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) sites were established in proximity to boreholes for monitoring spatial distribution and long-term dynamic of the active layer. New sites represent diverse landscapes characteristic of the West Siberian previously underrepresented in the CALM network

  1. Field Biogeochemical Measurements in Support of Remote Sensing Signatures and Characterization of Permafrost Terrain: Integrated Technologies for Delineating Permafrost and Ground-State Conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-03-01

    Characterization of Permafrost Terrain Integrated Technologies for Delineating Permafrost and Ground-State Conditions En gi ne er R es ea rc h an d...Signatures and Characterization of Permafrost Terrain Integrated Technologies for Delineating Permafrost and Ground-State Conditions Robyn A. Barbato...Center-Directed Research Project, “Integrated Technologies for Delineating Permafrost and Ground-State Conditions” ERDC TR-15-1 ii Abstract This

  2. Elevation-based upscaling of organic carbon stocks in High-Arctic permafrost terrain

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Weiss, Niels; Faucherre, Samuel; Lampiris, Nikos

    2017-01-01

    Accurate quantity and distribution estimates of permafrost soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks are needed to project potential feedbacks to climate, following warming. Still, upscaling from local field observations to regional estimates to circumarctic assessments remains a challenge. Here we explore...... elevation-based upscaling techniques for High-Arctic permafrost SOC stocks. We combine two detailed, high-resolution SOC inventories on Spitsbergen (Svalbard) with regional validation data. We find a clear relationship between elevation and SOC content, and use this observed exponential correlation, as well...... as discrete elevation classes, as upscaling models for Spitsbergen. We estimate the total amount of permafrost SOC currently present in soils on Spitsbergen to be 105.36 Tg (0.11 Pg), with a mean SOC content of 2.84 ± 0.74 kg C m−2 (mean ± 95% confidence interval). Excluding glaciers and permanent snowfields...

  3. 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...... investigation results from one of the sites, located at Ilulissat, in an area of discontinuous saline permafrost. We have established ground temperature measurement stations and conducted a shallow geoelectrical study. Our results show that the sediments in the studied area mainly consist of very frost...... susceptible silty clays. The area has permafrost with a maximum active layer thickness between 0.9 and 1 m. In spite of low permafrost temperatures a considerable part of the pore water is unfrozen, due to high residual salt concentrations. Consequently, the unfrozen water content dominates the technical...

  4. On the influence of topographic, geological and cryospheric factors on rock avalanches and rockfalls in high-mountain areas

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. Fischer

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available The ongoing debate about the effects of changes in the high-mountain cryosphere on rockfalls and rock avalanches suggests a need for more knowledge about characteristics and distribution of recent rock-slope instabilities. This paper investigates 56 sites with slope failures between 1900 and 2007 in the central European Alps with respect to their geological and topographical settings and zones of possible permafrost degradation and glacial recession. Analyses of the temporal distribution show an increase in frequency within the last decades. A large proportion of the slope failures (60% originated from a relatively small area above 3000 m a.s.l. (i.e. 10% of the entire investigation area. This increased proportion of detachment zones above 3000 m a.s.l. is postulated to be a result of a combination of factors, namely a larger proportion of high slope angles, high periglacial weathering due to recent glacier retreat (almost half of the slope failures having occurred in areas with recent deglaciation, and widespread permafrost occurrence. The lithological setting appears to influence volume rather than frequency of a slope failure. However, our analyses show that not only the changes in cryosphere, but also other factors which remain constant over long periods play an important role in slope failures.

  5. Applying GIPL2.0 Model to assess the permafrost dynamics on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, T.

    2017-12-01

    The modeling of active layer and permafrost distribution is of great importance to understand the permafrost dynamics of cold regions, especially in those regions where are difficult to approach such as the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP). In this study we have applied the Geophysical Institute Permafrost Lab model (GIPL2.0) to estimate the active layer thickness and assess the permafrost thermal regime on the QTP. The GIPL 2.0 have been widely applied in the Arctic regions of Alaska, however less on the QTP. The model has been calibrated according to the four active layer in-situ measurement sites which have different underlying surface and soil characteristics. We extended the original GIPL2 model depth to the depth of 18 m. After the calibration of the GIPL2.0 at those four sites, the first-hand single point model is expanded to a regional model. The key permafrost parameters were simulated, including active layer thickness (ALT), mean annual ground temperature (MAGT) at multiple soil layers, and the permafrost classification was also carried out in order to study the permafrost the thermal stability across the QTP. To validate the performance of expanded regional-GIPL2 model, we compare simulated ALT and MAGT at the depth of zero annual amplitude (DZAA) with observed data. It is demonstrated that the modifications regional-GIPL2 model are able to improve the accuracy of permafrost thermal regime simulations greatly on the QTP. The simulated ALT are generally underestimate the observed ones with the MBE value of -0.14 m and the RMSE value of 0.22 m. For the MAGT at the DZAA of all 51 sites, the simulation errors range from - 0.9 ° to 0.9 ° with the RMSE value of 0.41 °. For the whole permafrost area of the QTP, the simulated ALT ranges from 0 to 8 m, with an average of 2.30 m. The simulated results indicate that most of regions were underlain by the sub-stable permafrost and less regions were underlain by the extremely stable permafrost.

  6. 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...

  7. Evolving hydrologic connectivity in discontinuous permafrost lowlands: what it means for lake systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walvoord, M. A.; Jepsen, S. M.; Rover, J.; Voss, C. I.; Briggs, M. A.

    2015-12-01

    Permafrost influence on the hydrologic connectivity of surface water bodies in high-latitude lowlands is complicated by subsurface heterogeneity and the propensity of the system to change over time. In general, permafrost limits the subsurface exchange of water, solute, and nutrients between lakes and rivers. It follows that permafrost thaw could enhance subsurface hydrologic connectivity among surface water bodies, but the impact of this process on lake distribution is not well known. Changes in the extent of lakes in interior Alaska have important ecological and societal impacts since lakes provide (1) critical habitat for migratory arctic shorebirds and waterfowl, fish, and wildlife, and (2) provisional, recreational, and cultural resources for local communities. We utilize electromagnetic imaging of the shallow subsurface and remote sensing of lake level dynamics in the Yukon Flats of interior Alaska, USA, together with water balance modeling, to gain insight into the influence of discontinuous permafrost on lowland lake systems. In the study region with relatively low precipitation, observations suggest that lakes that are hydrologically isolated during normal conditions are sustained by periodic river flooding events, including ice-jam floods that occur during river ice break-up. Climatically-influenced alterations in flooding frequency and intensity, as well as depth to permafrost, are quantitatively assessed in the context of lake maintenance. Scenario modeling is used to evaluate lake level evolution under plausible changing conditions. Model results demonstrate how permafrost degradation can reduce the dependence of typical lowland lakes on flooding events. Study results also suggest that river flooding may recharge a more spatially widespread zone of lakes and wetlands under future scenarios of permafrost table deepening and enhanced subsurface hydrologic connectivity.

  8. 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...

  9. A New Wave of Permafrost Warming in the Alaskan Interior?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Romanovsky, V. E.; Nicolsky, D.; Cable, W.; Kholodov, A. L.; Panda, S. K.

    2017-12-01

    The impact of climate warming on permafrost and the potential of climate feedbacks resulting from permafrost thawing have recently received a great deal of attention. Ground temperatures are a primary indicator of permafrost stability. Many of the research sites in our permafrost network are located along the North American Arctic Permafrost-Ecological Transect that spans all permafrost zones in Alaska. Most of the sites in Alaska show substantial warming of permafrost since the 1980s. The magnitude of warming has varied with location, but was typically from 0.5 to 3°C. However, this warming was not linear in time and not spatially uniform. In some regions this warming even may be reversed and a slight recent cooling of permafrost has been observed recently at some locations. The Interior of Alaska is one of such regions where a slight permafrost cooling was observed starting in the late 1990s that has continued through the 2000s and in the beginning of the 2010s. The cooling has followed the substantial increase in permafrost temperatures documented for the Interior during the 1980s and 1990s. Permafrost temperatures at 15 m depth increased here by 0.3 to 0.6°C between 1983 and 1996. In most locations they reached their maximum in the second half of the 1990s. Since then, the permafrost temperatures started to decrease slowly and by 2013 this decrease at some locations was as much as 0.3°C at 15 m depth. There are some indications that the warming trend in the Alaskan Interior permafrost resumed during the last four years. By 2016, new record highs for the entire period of measurements of permafrost temperatures at 15 m depth were recorded at several locations. The latest observed permafrost warming in the Interior was combined with higher than normal summer precipitations. This combination has triggered near-surface permafrost degradation in many locations with adverse consequences for the ground surface stability affecting ecosystems and infrastructure. In

  10. 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.

    2013-09-01

    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 (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.

  11. 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

  12. High-resolution Mapping of Permafrost and Soil Freeze/thaw Dynamics in the Tibetan Plateau Based on Multi-sensor Satellite Observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, W.; Yi, Y.; Yang, K.; Kimball, J. S.

    2016-12-01

    The Tibetan Plateau (TP) is underlain by the world's largest extent of alpine permafrost ( 2.5×106 km2), dominated by sporadic and discontinuous permafrost with strong sensitivity to climate warming. Detailed permafrost distributions and patterns in most of the TP region are still unknown due to extremely sparse in-situ observations in this region characterized by heterogeneous land cover and large temporal dynamics in surface soil moisture conditions. Therefore, satellite-based temperature and moisture observations are essential for high-resolution mapping of permafrost distribution and soil active layer changes in the TP region. In this study, we quantify the TP regional permafrost distribution at 1-km resolution using a detailed satellite data-driven soil thermal process model (GIPL2). The soil thermal model is calibrated and validated using in-situ soil temperature/moisture observations from the CAMP/Tibet field campaign (9 sites: 0-300 cm soil depth sampling from 1997-2007), a multi-scale soil moisture and temperature monitoring network in the central TP (CTP-SMTMN, 57 sites: 5-40 cm, 2010-2014) and across the whole plateau (China Meteorology Administration, 98 sites: 0-320 cm, 2000-2015). Our preliminary results using the CAMP/Tibet and CTP-SMTMN network observations indicate strong controls of surface thermal and soil moisture conditions on soil freeze/thaw dynamics, which vary greatly with underlying topography, soil texture and vegetation cover. For regional mapping of soil freeze/thaw and permafrost dynamics, we use the most recent soil moisture retrievals from the NASA SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) sensor to account for the effects of temporal soil moisture dynamics on soil thermal heat transfer, with surface thermal conditions defined by MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) land surface temperature records. Our study provides the first 1-km map of spatial patterns and recent changes of permafrost conditions in the TP.

  13. 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).

  14. High biolability of ancient permafrost carbon upon thaw

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vonk, J.E.; Mann, P.J.; Davydov, S.; Davydova, A.; Spencer, R.G.M.; Schade, J.; Sobczak, W.V.; Zimov, S.; Bulygina, E.; Eglinton, T.I.; Holmes, R.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

  15. Effect of permafrost on the formation of organic carbon pools and their physical-chemical properties in the Eastern Swiss Alps

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pichler, B.; Alewell, C.; Kneisel, C.; Meusburger, K.; Egli, M.

    2012-04-01

    Alpine soils contain a relatively large amount of organic matter (OM) even at elevations above the present-days timberline. Current climatic conditions and the occurrence of discontinuous and sporadic permafrost in the mountains result in a low turnover rate and therefore accumulation of OM. Alpine ecosystems are highly sensitive to environmental changes and therefore may become a potential source of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) due to global warming. The expected changes in thermal and hydrological conditions in permafrost soils will not only influence OM degradation processes within the soil. Especially in alpine regions, soil erosion processes might be affected and potentially promote the mineralization of OM. However, the knowledge about the biogeochemistry and OM-stabilization processes and rates in permafrost soils in alpine regions is scarce, which makes it difficult to predict climate-carbon feedbacks. Our aim is to determine and compare the quantity, allocation and mean residence time of OM and the potential erosion processes in permafrost soils and adjacent unfrozen soils (distance between permafrost/non-permafrost soils max. 200m) at three locations in the Eastern Swiss Alps (Val Bever, Albula). Bulk soil, labile (oxidized by H2O2) and stable fractions (H2O2-resistant) were analyzed for their C-content and characterized using DRIFT (Diffuse Reflection Infrared Fourier Transform). Additionally, selected soil samples were 14C-dated. This approach has been applied for the first time in high alpine regions. To estimate the degree of disturbance, soil erosion has been qualitatively assessed by relating the OM-delta13C values of the soil profiles of interest to undisturbed reference profiles. We found rather well-developed soil profiles and a relatively high amount of OM at both types of sites (permafrost/non-permafrost), leading to the assumption that these soils developed over a certain period under a different (warmer) climate. This fact is supported by

  16. PeRL: a circum-Arctic Permafrost Region Pond and Lake database

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Muster

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available Ponds and lakes are abundant in Arctic permafrost lowlands. They play an important role in Arctic wetland ecosystems by regulating carbon, water, and energy fluxes and providing freshwater habitats. However, ponds, i.e., waterbodies with surface areas smaller than 1. 0 × 104 m2, have not been inventoried on global and regional scales. The Permafrost Region Pond and Lake (PeRL database presents the results of a circum-Arctic effort to map ponds and lakes from modern (2002–2013 high-resolution aerial and satellite imagery with a resolution of 5 m or better. The database also includes historical imagery from 1948 to 1965 with a resolution of 6 m or better. PeRL includes 69 maps covering a wide range of environmental conditions from tundra to boreal regions and from continuous to discontinuous permafrost zones. Waterbody maps are linked to regional permafrost landscape maps which provide information on permafrost extent, ground ice volume, geology, and lithology. This paper describes waterbody classification and accuracy, and presents statistics of waterbody distribution for each site. Maps of permafrost landscapes in Alaska, Canada, and Russia are used to extrapolate waterbody statistics from the site level to regional landscape units. PeRL presents pond and lake estimates for a total area of 1. 4 × 106 km2 across the Arctic, about 17 % of the Arctic lowland ( <  300 m a.s.l. land surface area. PeRL waterbodies with sizes of 1. 0 × 106 m2 down to 1. 0 × 102 m2 contributed up to 21 % to the total water fraction. Waterbody density ranged from 1. 0 × 10 to 9. 4 × 101 km−2. Ponds are the dominant waterbody type by number in all landscapes representing 45–99 % of the total waterbody number. The implementation of PeRL size distributions in land surface models will greatly improve the investigation and projection of surface inundation and carbon fluxes in permafrost lowlands

  17. LGM permafrost distribution: how well can the latest PMIP multi-model ensembles reconstruct?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saito, K.; Sueyoshi, T.; Marchenko, S.; Romanovsky, V.; Otto-Bliesner, B.; Walsh, J.; Bigelow, N.; Hendricks, A.; Yoshikawa, K.

    2013-03-01

    Global-scale frozen ground distribution during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) was reconstructed using multi-model ensembles of global climate models, and then compared with evidence-based knowledge and earlier numerical results. Modeled soil temperatures, taken from Paleoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project Phase III (PMIP3) simulations, were used to diagnose the subsurface thermal regime and determine underlying frozen ground types for the present-day (pre-industrial; 0 k) and the LGM (21 k). This direct method was then compared to the earlier indirect method, which categorizes the underlying frozen ground type from surface air temperature, applied to both the PMIP2 (phase II) and PMIP3 products. Both direct and indirect diagnoses for 0 k showed strong agreement with the present-day observation-based map, although the soil temperature ensemble showed a higher diversity among the models partly due to varying complexity of the implemented subsurface processes. The area of continuous permafrost estimated by the multi-model analysis was 25.6 million km2 for LGM, in contrast to 12.7 million km2 for the pre-industrial control, whereas seasonally, frozen ground increased from 22.5 million km2 to 32.6 million km2. These changes in area resulted mainly from a cooler climate at LGM, but other factors as well, such as the presence of huge land ice sheets and the consequent expansion of total land area due to sea-level change. LGM permafrost boundaries modeled by the PMIP3 ensemble-improved over those of the PMIP2 due to higher spatial resolutions and improved climatology-also compared better to previous knowledge derived from the geomorphological and geocryological evidences. Combinatorial applications of coupled climate models and detailed stand-alone physical-ecological models for the cold-region terrestrial, paleo-, and modern climates will advance our understanding of the functionality and variability of the frozen ground subsystem in the global eco-climate system.

  18. 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

  19. Coupling of snow and permafrost processes using the Basic Modeling Interface (BMI)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, K.; Overeem, I.; Jafarov, E. E.; Piper, M.; Stewart, S.; Clow, G. D.; Schaefer, K. M.

    2017-12-01

    We developed a permafrost modeling tool based by implementing the Kudryavtsev empirical permafrost active layer depth model (the so-called "Ku" component). The model is specifically set up to have a basic model interface (BMI), which enhances the potential coupling to other earth surface processes model components. This model is accessible through the Web Modeling Tool in Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System (CSDMS). The Kudryavtsev model has been applied for entire Alaska to model permafrost distribution at high spatial resolution and model predictions have been verified by Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) in-situ observations. The Ku component uses monthly meteorological forcing, including air temperature, snow depth, and snow density, and predicts active layer thickness (ALT) and temperature on the top of permafrost (TTOP), which are important factors in snow-hydrological processes. BMI provides an easy approach to couple the models with each other. Here, we provide a case of coupling the Ku component to snow process components, including the Snow-Degree-Day (SDD) method and Snow-Energy-Balance (SEB) method, which are existing components in the hydrological model TOPOFLOW. The work flow is (1) get variables from meteorology component, set the values to snow process component, and advance the snow process component, (2) get variables from meteorology and snow component, provide these to the Ku component and advance, (3) get variables from snow process component, set the values to meteorology component, and advance the meteorology component. The next phase is to couple the permafrost component with fully BMI-compliant TOPOFLOW hydrological model, which could provide a useful tool to investigate the permafrost hydrological effect.

  20. Permafrost at Lupin. Interpretation of SAMPO electromagnetic soundings at Lupin

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Paananen, M.; Ruskeeniemi, T

    2003-07-01

    The Permafrost Project at the Lupin Mine in northern Canada is an international project, aiming to improve the understanding of behaviour and processes of crystalline bedrock under permafrost conditions. As a part of this project, the Geological Survey of Finland carried out electromagnetic SAMPO soundings in the vicinity of the mine between 11th and 23rd of June 2002 in order to give additional information on the permafrost depth, the location and electrical characteristics of fracture zones and possible talik structures. The total number of sounding points was 214, forming 17 separate survey lines. Used coil separation was 100 - 800 m. According to the temperature data from Lupin Mine, the base of the permafrost is at the depth of 540 m. However, there is no information about the depth distribution outside the mine. The starting point of this survey was the possible existence of a saline water horizon below the permafrost, resulting from repeated segregation and enrichment of salts in front of advancing freezing front. The main result of the survey was a deep conductor, observed at numerous sounding points irrespectively of the measurement configuration. These sounding anomalies form a subhorizontal layer at the depths between 400 and 700 m, in contrast to the vertical orientation of the geological units in the area. According to the results, the conductor gets weaker or deeper close to the Lake Contwoyto and seems to be absent below the lake. There also seems to be a lithological control, since the conducting layer is not observed in granodiorite. It is assumed that the conducting layer represents saline or brackish waters at the base of the permafrost; their calculated TDS-values are in a realistic range for such waters (5000-30 000 mg/l). The subvertical fracture zone VI, previously interpreted from the seismic survey, could be observed as a slight decrease in resistivity in 3 survey profiles using a coil separation of 100 m. (orig.)

  1. Permafrost at Lupin. Interpretation of SAMPO electromagnetic soundings at Lupin

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Paananen, M.; Ruskeeniemi, T.

    2003-01-01

    The Permafrost Project at the Lupin Mine in northern Canada is an international project, aiming to improve the understanding of behaviour and processes of crystalline bedrock under permafrost conditions. As a part of this project, the Geological Survey of Finland carried out electromagnetic SAMPO soundings in the vicinity of the mine between 11th and 23rd of June 2002 in order to give additional information on the permafrost depth, the location and electrical characteristics of fracture zones and possible talik structures. The total number of sounding points was 214, forming 17 separate survey lines. Used coil separation was 100 - 800 m. According to the temperature data from Lupin Mine, the base of the permafrost is at the depth of 540 m. However, there is no information about the depth distribution outside the mine. The starting point of this survey was the possible existence of a saline water horizon below the permafrost, resulting from repeated segregation and enrichment of salts in front of advancing freezing front. The main result of the survey was a deep conductor, observed at numerous sounding points irrespectively of the measurement configuration. These sounding anomalies form a subhorizontal layer at the depths between 400 and 700 m, in contrast to the vertical orientation of the geological units in the area. According to the results, the conductor gets weaker or deeper close to the Lake Contwoyto and seems to be absent below the lake. There also seems to be a lithological control, since the conducting layer is not observed in granodiorite. It is assumed that the conducting layer represents saline or brackish waters at the base of the permafrost; their calculated TDS-values are in a realistic range for such waters (5000-30 000 mg/l). The subvertical fracture zone VI, previously interpreted from the seismic survey, could be observed as a slight decrease in resistivity in 3 survey profiles using a coil separation of 100 m. (orig.)

  2. Permafrost Stores a Globally Significant Amount of Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schuster, Paul F.; Schaefer, Kevin M.; Aiken, George R.; Antweiler, Ronald C.; Dewild, John F.; Gryziec, Joshua D.; Gusmeroli, Alessio; Hugelius, Gustaf; Jafarov, Elchin; Krabbenhoft, David P.; Liu, Lin; Herman-Mercer, Nicole; Mu, Cuicui; Roth, David A.; Schaefer, Tim; Striegl, Robert G.; Wickland, Kimberly P.; Zhang, Tingjun

    2018-02-01

    Changing climate in northern regions is causing permafrost to thaw with major implications for the global mercury (Hg) cycle. We estimated Hg in permafrost regions based on in situ measurements of sediment total mercury (STHg), soil organic carbon (SOC), and the Hg to carbon ratio (RHgC) combined with maps of soil carbon. We measured a median STHg of 43 ± 30 ng Hg g soil-1 and a median RHgC of 1.6 ± 0.9 μg Hg g C-1, consistent with published results of STHg for tundra soils and 11,000 measurements from 4,926 temperate, nonpermafrost sites in North America and Eurasia. We estimate that the Northern Hemisphere permafrost regions contain 1,656 ± 962 Gg Hg, of which 793 ± 461 Gg Hg is frozen in permafrost. Permafrost soils store nearly twice as much Hg as all other soils, the ocean, and the atmosphere combined, and this Hg is vulnerable to release as permafrost thaws over the next century. Existing estimates greatly underestimate Hg in permafrost soils, indicating a need to reevaluate the role of the Arctic regions in the global Hg cycle.

  3. Permafrost and urban Development in Norilsk Russia.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

    The city of Norilsk was established in 1935 as a GULAG mining and metallurgy work camp to explore the rich deposits of non-ferrous metals. By the 1989, the population of Norilsk reached 179,757 people. Two additional cities were developed in proximity to Norilsk in the 1960s-1980s: Talnakh (1989 population 65,710); and Kaerkan (1989 population 29,824) making the Norilsk region a major Arctic metropolis. While such rapid growth is not unusual for developing industrial cities, the geographic location makes Norilsk rather unique among world urban centers. It was built in Central Siberia at 69°51' N latitude (above the Arctic Circle), in region characterized by harsh subarctic climate (mean annual temperature around -10 oC), over forest tundra/tundra transitional landscapes underlined by perennially frozen ground (permafrost). Throughout its existence, the Norilsk region was highly isolated: it is not connected to Russian road and railroad systems. The harsh environmental conditions provided significant and rather unique challenges to Norilsk development. Specifically, the presence of ice-rich permafrost imposed restrictions on application of standard urban planning and engineering practices. This presentation analyzes the history of permafrost construction in Norilsk. It shows how though initial trial and errors, a set of guiding principles and engineering methods of construction on permafrost were developed allowing a rapid urbanization of the area during the 1960-1980s. However, despite significant advances in permafrost engineering, the pronounced permafrost degradation has become evident in Norilsk by the mid 1980s and has accelerated rapidly since the mid 1990s resulting in widespread deformation of buildings. Climatic changes are frequently identified as a major cause of accelerated deterioration of infrastructure build on permafrost. However, we argue that other factors, including the complexity of interactions between deferent components of urban

  4. 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.

  5. Permafrost Meta-Omics and Climate Change

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2016-01-01

    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...

  6. Permafrost degradation and associated ground settlement estimation under 2 °C global warming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guo, Donglin; Wang, Huijun

    2017-10-01

    Global warming of 2 °C above preindustrial levels has been considered to be the threshold that should not be exceeded by the global mean temperature to avoid dangerous interference with the climate system. However, this global mean target has different implications for different regions owing to the globally nonuniform climate change characteristics. Permafrost is sensitive to climate change; moreover, it is widely distributed in high-latitude and high-altitude regions where the greatest warming is predicted. Permafrost is expected to be severely affected by even the 2 °C global warming, which, in turn, affects other systems such as water resources, ecosystems, and infrastructures. Using air and soil temperature data from ten coupled model intercomparison project phase five models combined with observations of frozen ground, we investigated the permafrost thaw and associated ground settlement under 2 °C global warming. Results show that the climate models produced an ensemble mean permafrost area of 14.01 × 106 km2, which compares reasonably with the area of 13.89 × 106 km2 (north of 45°N) in the observations. The models predict that the soil temperature at 6 m depth will increase by 2.34-2.67 °C on area average relative to 1990-2000, and the increase intensifies with increasing latitude. The active layer thickness will also increase by 0.42-0.45 m, but dissimilar to soil temperature, the increase weakens with increasing latitude due to the distinctly cooler permafrost at higher latitudes. The permafrost extent will obviously retreat north and decrease by 24-26% and the ground settlement owing to permafrost thaw is estimated at 3.8-15 cm on area average. Possible uncertainties in this study may be mostly attributed to the less accurate ground ice content data and coarse horizontal resolution of the models.

  7. Permafrost hydrology in changing climatic conditions: seasonal variability of stable isotope composition in rivers in discontinuous permafrost

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Streletskiy, Dmitry A; Shiklomanov, Nikolay I; Nyland, Kelsey E; Tananaev, Nikita I; Opel, Thomas; Streletskaya, Irina D; Tokarev, Igor’; Shiklomanov, Alexandr I

    2015-01-01

    Role of changing climatic conditions on permafrost degradation and hydrology was investigated in the transition zone between the tundra and forest ecotones at the boundary of continuous and discontinuous permafrost of the lower Yenisei River. Three watersheds of various sizes were chosen to represent the characteristics of the regional landscape conditions. Samples of river flow, precipitation, snow cover, and permafrost ground ice were collected over the watersheds to determine isotopic composition of potential sources of water in a river flow over a two year period. Increases in air temperature over the last forty years have resulted in permafrost degradation and a decrease in the seasonal frost which is evident from soil temperature measurements, permafrost and active-layer monitoring, and analysis of satellite imagery. The lowering of the permafrost table has led to an increased storage capacity of permafrost affected soils and a higher contribution of ground water to river discharge during winter months. A progressive decrease in the thickness of the layer of seasonal freezing allows more water storage and pathways for water during the winter low period making winter discharge dependent on the timing and amount of late summer precipitation. There is a substantial seasonal variability of stable isotopic composition of river flow. Spring flooding corresponds to the isotopic composition of snow cover prior to the snowmelt. Isotopic composition of river flow during the summer period follows the variability of precipitation in smaller creeks, while the water flow of larger watersheds is influenced by the secondary evaporation of water temporarily stored in thermokarst lakes and bogs. Late summer precipitation determines the isotopic composition of texture ice within the active layer in tundra landscapes and the seasonal freezing layer in forested landscapes as well as the composition of the water flow during winter months. (letter)

  8. Water Travel Time Distributions in Permafrost-affected Catchments: Challenges, Progress and Implications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, A. A.; Piovano, T. I.; Tetzlaff, D.; Ala-aho, P. O. A.; Wookey, P. A.; Soulsby, C.

    2017-12-01

    Characterising the travel times of water has been a major research focus in catchment science over the past decade. Use of isotopes to quantify the temporal dynamics of the transformation of precipitation into runoff has revealed fundamental new insights into catchment flow paths and mixing processes that influence biogeochemical transport. However, permafrost-affected catchments have received little attention, despite their global importance in terms of rapid environmental change. Such places have limited access for data collection during critical periods (e.g. early phases of snowmelt), temporal and spatially variable freeze-thaw cycles, and the development of the active layer has a time variant influence on catchment hydrology. All of these characteristics make the application of traditional transit time estimation approaches challenging. This contribution describes an isotope-based study undertaken to provide a preliminary assessment of travel times at SikSik Creek in the Canadian Arctic. We adopted a model-data fusion approach to estimate the volumes and isotopic characteristics of snowpack and meltwater. Using sampling in the spring/summer we characterise the isotopic composition of summer rainfall, melt from residual snow, soil water and stream water. In addition, soil moisture dynamics and the temporal evolution of the active layer profile were also monitored. Transit times were estimated for soil and stream water compositions using lumped convolution integral models and temporally variable inputs including snowmelt, ice thaw, and summer rainfall. Comparing transit time estimates using a variety of inputs reveals transit time is best estimated using all available inflows (i.e. snowmelt, ice thaw, and rainfall). Early spring transit times are short, dominated by snowmelt and ice thaw and limited catchment storage when soils are predominantly frozen. However, significant and increasing mixing with water in the active layer during the summer results in more

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, Benjamin M.; Baughman, Carson; Romanovsky, Vladimir E.; Parsekian, Andrew D.; Babcock, Esther; Stephani, Eva; 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 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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Corina Dörfer

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

  11. The Effects of Perchlorates on the Permafrost Methanogens: Implication for Autotrophic Life on Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shcherbakova, Viktoria; Oshurkova, Viktoria; Yoshimura, Yoshitaka

    2015-09-09

    The terrestrial permafrost represents a range of possible cryogenic extraterrestrial ecosystems on Earth-like planets without obvious surface ice, such as Mars. The autotrophic and chemolithotrophic psychrotolerant methanogens are more likely than aerobes to function as a model for life forms that may exist in frozen subsurface environments on Mars, which has no free oxygen, inaccessible organic matter, and extremely low amounts of unfrozen water. Our research on the genesis of methane, its content and distribution in permafrost horizons of different ages and origin demonstrated the presence of methane in permanently frozen fine-grained sediments. Earlier, we isolated and described four strains of methanogenic archaea of Methanobacterium and Methanosarcina genera from samples of Pliocene and Holocene permafrost from Eastern Siberia. In this paper we study the effect of sodium and magnesium perchlorates on growth of permafrost and nonpermafrost methanogens, and present evidence that permafrost hydogenotrophic methanogens are more resistant to the chaotropic agent found in Martian soil. In this paper we study the effect of sodium and magnesium perchlorates on the growth of permafrost and nonpermafrost methanogens, and present evidence that permafrost hydogenotrophic methanogens are more resistant to the chaotropic agent found in Martian soil. Furthermore, as shown in the studies strain M2(T) M. arcticum, probably can use perchlorate anion as an electron acceptor in anaerobic methane oxidation. Earth's subzero subsurface environments are the best approximation of environments on Mars, which is most likely to harbor methanogens; thus, a biochemical understanding of these pathways is expected to provide a basis for designing experiments to detect autotrophic methane-producing life forms on Mars.

  12. The Effects of Perchlorates on the Permafrost Methanogens: Implication for Autotrophic Life on Mars

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Viktoria Shcherbakova

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available The terrestrial permafrost represents a range of possible cryogenic extraterrestrial ecosystems on Earth-like planets without obvious surface ice, such as Mars. The autotrophic and chemolithotrophic psychrotolerant methanogens are more likely than aerobes to function as a model for life forms that may exist in frozen subsurface environments on Mars, which has no free oxygen, inaccessible organic matter, and extremely low amounts of unfrozen water. Our research on the genesis of methane, its content and distribution in permafrost horizons of different ages and origin demonstrated the presence of methane in permanently frozen fine-grained sediments. Earlier, we isolated and described four strains of methanogenic archaea of Methanobacterium and Methanosarcina genera from samples of Pliocene and Holocene permafrost from Eastern Siberia. In this paper we study the effect of sodium and magnesium perchlorates on growth of permafrost and nonpermafrost methanogens, and present evidence that permafrost hydogenotrophic methanogens are more resistant to the chaotropic agent found in Martian soil. In this paper we study the effect of sodium and magnesium perchlorates on the growth of permafrost and nonpermafrost methanogens, and present evidence that permafrost hydogenotrophic methanogens are more resistant to the chaotropic agent found in Martian soil. Furthermore, as shown in the studies strain M2T M. arcticum, probably can use perchlorate anion as an electron acceptor in anaerobic methane oxidation. Earth’s subzero subsurface environments are the best approximation of environments on Mars, which is most likely to harbor methanogens; thus, a biochemical understanding of these pathways is expected to provide a basis for designing experiments to detect autotrophic methane-producing life forms on Mars.

  13. InSAR observation of seasonal ground surface deformation in permafrost area near Batagay, Siberia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yanagiya, K.; Furuya, M.

    2017-12-01

    Thawing of permafrost can lead to ground deformation. Ground deformation has been studied as a serious problem in the Arctic Ocean coastal area such as Russia for a long time, because the deformation causes damage to architectures at these areas. However, there have been no quantitative observation data, and the spatial and temporal distributions have hardly been investigated. On the other hand, by the recently global warming influence, the importance of organic carbon stored in permafrost is pointed out. Although the release of methane gas is confirmed in some thermokarst lakes, it is very difficult to observe the permafrost in a wide area by field study. Instead, it is technically possible to monitor the subsidence and uplift of the ground over the permafrost area, which could potentially make a significant contribution to the monitoring thawing process of permafrost. In this study, we attempted to detect ground deformation signal in permafrost area by remote sensing using interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR). Using the data of two SAR satellites ALOS and ALOS2 launched by JAXA, we observed recent ground deformation from 2007 to 2016. Particularly recent observations of ALOS2 from 2014 to 2016 discovered distant displacements towards the LOS direction in the northeast region from the town of Batagay,Siberia. The diameter of the displacements area covers about 7.7 km. In this study, we considered that this signal is likely to be due to permafrost thawing, we also investigated the seasonal characteristics and looked back ALOS data of this area. In addition, since the high latitude area, observation results include noise due to the ionosphere, so we tried to remove the noise.

  14. Anaerobic methanotrophic communities thrive in deep submarine permafrost.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Winkel, Matthias; Mitzscherling, Julia; Overduin, Pier P; Horn, Fabian; Winterfeld, Maria; Rijkers, Ruud; Grigoriev, Mikhail N; Knoblauch, Christian; Mangelsdorf, Kai; Wagner, Dirk; Liebner, Susanne

    2018-01-22

    Thawing submarine permafrost is a source of methane to the subsurface biosphere. Methane oxidation in submarine permafrost sediments has been proposed, but the responsible microorganisms remain uncharacterized. We analyzed archaeal communities and identified distinct anaerobic methanotrophic assemblages of marine and terrestrial origin (ANME-2a/b, ANME-2d) both in frozen and completely thawed submarine permafrost sediments. Besides archaea potentially involved in anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) we found a large diversity of archaea mainly belonging to Bathyarchaeota, Thaumarchaeota, and Euryarchaeota. Methane concentrations and δ 13 C-methane signatures distinguish horizons of potential AOM coupled either to sulfate reduction in a sulfate-methane transition zone (SMTZ) or to the reduction of other electron acceptors, such as iron, manganese or nitrate. Analysis of functional marker genes (mcrA) and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) corroborate potential activity of AOM communities in submarine permafrost sediments at low temperatures. Modeled potential AOM consumes 72-100% of submarine permafrost methane and up to 1.2 Tg of carbon per year for the total expected area of submarine permafrost. This is comparable with AOM habitats such as cold seeps. We thus propose that AOM is active where submarine permafrost thaws, which should be included in global methane budgets.

  15. Permafrost stores a globally significant amount of mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaefer, K. M.; Schuster, P. F.; Antweiler, R.; Aiken, G.; DeWild, J.; Gryziec, J. D.; Gusmeroli, A.; Hugelius, G.; Jafarov, E.; Krabbenhoft, D. P.; Liu, L.; Herman-Mercer, N. M.; Mu, C.; Roth, D. A.; Schaefer, T.; Striegl, R. G.; Wickland, K.; Zhang, T.

    2017-12-01

    Changing climate in northern regions is causing permafrost to thaw with major implications for the cycling of mercury in arctic and subarctic ecosystems. Permafrost occurs in nearly one quarter of the Earth's Northern Hemisphere. We measured total soil mercury concentration in 588 samples from 13 soil permafrost cores from the interior and the North Slope of Alaska. The median concentration was 47.7±23.4 ng Hg g soil-1 and the median ratio of Hg to carbon was 1.56±0.86 µg Hg g C-1. We estimate Alaskan permafrost stores 56±32 kilotons of mercury and the entire northern hemisphere permafrost land mass stores 773±441 kilotons of mercury. This increases estimates of mercury stored in soils by 60%, making permafrost the second largest reservoir of mercury on the planet. Climate projections indicate extensive permafrost thawing, releasing mercury into the environment through a variety of mechanisms, for example, terrestrial transport via dissolved organic carbon (DOC), gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) evasion, forest fires, atmospheric mixing processes with ozone, and Springtime atmospheric Hg depletion after the polar sunrise. These findings have major implications for terrestrial and aquatic life, the world's fisheries, and ultimately human health.

  16. Permafrost stores a globally significant amount of mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schuster, Paul F.; Schaefer, Kevin; Aiken, George R.; Antweiler, Ronald C.; DeWild, John F.; Gryziec, Joshua D.; Gusmeroli, Alessio; Hugelius, Gustaf; Jafarov, Elchin E.; Krabbenhoft, David P.; Liu, Lin; Herman-Mercer, Nicole M.; Mu, Cuicui; Roth, David A.; Schaefer, Tim; Striegl, Robert G.; Wickland, Kimberly P.; Zhang, Tingjun

    2018-01-01

    Changing climate in northern regions is causing permafrost to thaw with major implications for the global mercury (Hg) cycle. We estimated Hg in permafrost regions based on in situ measurements of sediment total mercury (STHg), soil organic carbon (SOC), and the Hg to carbon ratio (RHgC) combined with maps of soil carbon. We measured a median STHg of 43 ± 30 ng Hg g soil−1 and a median RHgC of 1.6 ± 0.9 μg Hg g C−1, consistent with published results of STHg for tundra soils and 11,000 measurements from 4,926 temperate, nonpermafrost sites in North America and Eurasia. We estimate that the Northern Hemisphere permafrost regions contain 1,656 ± 962 Gg Hg, of which 793 ± 461 Gg Hg is frozen in permafrost. Permafrost soils store nearly twice as much Hg as all other soils, the ocean, and the atmosphere combined, and this Hg is vulnerable to release as permafrost thaws over the next century. Existing estimates greatly underestimate Hg in permafrost soils, indicating a need to reevaluate the role of the Arctic regions in the global Hg cycle.

  17. Historical and Possible Future Changes in Permafrost and Active Layer Thickness in Alaska: Implications to Landscape Changes and Permafrost Carbon Pool.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marchenko, S. S.; Helene, G.; Euskirchen, E. S.; Breen, A. L.; McGuire, D.; Rupp, S. T.; Romanovsky, V. E.; Walsh, J. E.

    2017-12-01

    The Soil Temperature and Active Layer Thickness (ALT) Gridded Data was developed to quantify the nature and rate of permafrost degradation and its impact on ecosystems, infrastructure, CO2 and CH4 fluxes and net C storage following permafrost thaw across Alaska. To develop this database, we used the process-based permafrost dynamics model GIPL2 developed in the Geophysical Institute Permafrost Lab, UAF and which is the permafrost module of the Integrated Ecosystem Model (IEM) for Alaska and Northwest Canada. The climate forcing data for simulations were developed by the Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning (SNAP, http://www.snap.uaf.edu/). These data are based on the historical CRU3.1 data set for the retrospective analysis period (1901-2009) and the five model averaged data were derived from the five CMIP5/AR5 IPCC Global Circulation Models that performed the best in Alaska and other northern regions: NCAR-CCSM4, GFDL-CM3, GISS-E2-R, IPSL-CM5A-LR, MRI-CGCM3. A composite of all five-model outputs for the RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 were used in these particular permafrost dynamics simulations. Data sets were downscaled to a 771 m resolution, using the Parameter-elevation Regressions on Independent Slopes Model (PRISM) climatology. Additional input data (snow characteristics, soil thermal properties, soil water content, organic matter accumulation or its loss due to fire, etc.) came from the Terrestrial Ecosystem Model (TEM) and the ALFRESCO (ALaska FRame-based EcoSystem COde) model simulations. We estimated the dynamics of permafrost temperature, active layer thickness, area occupied by permafrost, and volume of seasonally thawed soils within the 4.75 upper meters (original TEM soil column) across the Alaska domain. Simulations of future changes in permafrost indicate that, by the end of the 21st century, late-Holocene permafrost in Alaska will be actively thawing at all locations and that some Late Pleistocene carbon-rich peatlands underlain by permafrost will

  18. Distribution of potentially hazardous phases in the subsurface at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Guthrie, G.D. Jr.; Bish, D.L.; Chipera, S.J.; Raymond, R. Jr.

    1995-05-01

    Drilling, trenching, excavation of the Exploratory Studies Facility, and other surface and underground-distributing activities have the potential to release minerals into the environment from tuffs at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Some of these minerals may be potential respiratory health hazards. Therefore, an understanding of the distribution of the minerals that may potentially be liberated during site-characterization and operation of the potential repository is crucial to ensuring worker and public safety. Analysis of previously reported mineralogy of Yucca Mountain tuffs using data and criteria from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) suggests that the following minerals are of potential concern: quartz, cristobalite, tridymite, opal-CT, erionite, mordenite, and palygorskite. The authors have re-evaluated the three-dimensional mineral distribution at Yucca Mountain above the static water level both in bulk-rock samples and in fractures, using quantitative X-ray powder diffraction analysis. Erionite, mordenite, and palygorskite occur primarily in fractures; the crystalline-silica minerals, quartz, cristobalite, and tridymite are major bulk-rock phases. Erionite occurs in the altered zone just above the lower Topopah Spring Member vitrophyre, and an occurrence below the vitrophyre but above the Calico Hills has recently been identified. In this latter occurrence, erionite is present in the matrix at levels up to 35 wt%. Mordenite and palygorskite occur throughout the vadose zone nearly to the surface. Opal-CT is limited to zeolitic horizons

  19. Effects of low-doses of Bacillus spp. from permafrost on differentiation of bone marrow cells.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kalyonova, L F; Novikova, M A; Kostolomova, E G

    2015-01-01

    The effects of a new microorganism species (Bacillus spp., strain M3) isolated from permafrost specimens from Central Yakutia (Mamontova Mountain) on the bone marrow hemopoiesis were studied on laboratory mice. Analysis of the count and immunophenotype of bone marrow cells indicated that even in low doses (1000-5000 microbial cells) these microorganisms modulated hemopoiesis and lymphopoiesis activity. The percentage of early hemopoietic precursors (CD117(+)CD34(-)) increased, intensity of lymphocyte precursor proliferation and differentiation (CD25(+)CD44(-)) decreased, and the percentage of lymphocytes released from the bone marrow (CD25(+)CD44(+)) increased on day 21 after injection of the bacteria. These changes in activity of hemopoiesis were associated with changes in the level of regulatory T lymphocytes (reduced expression of TCRαβ) and were most likely compensatory. The possibility of modulating hemopoiesis activity in the bone marrow by low doses of one microorganism strain isolated from the permafrost could be useful for evaluating the effects of other low dose bacteria on the bone marrow hemopoiesis.

  20. Microorganisms Trapped Within Permafrost Ice In The Fox Permafrost Tunnel, Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Katayama, T.; Tanaka, M.; Douglas, T. A.; Cai, Y.; Tomita, F.; Asano, K.; Fukuda, M.

    2008-12-01

    Several different types of massive ice are common in permafrost. Ice wedges are easily recognized by their shape and foliated structure. They grow syngenetically or epigenetically as a result of repeated cycles of frost cracking followed by the infiltration of snow, melt water, soil or other material into the open frost cracks. Material incorporated into ice wedges becomes frozen and preserved. Pool ice, another massive ice type, is formed by the freezing of water resting on top of frozen thermokarst sediment or melting wedges and is not foliated. The Fox Permafrost Tunnel in Fairbanks was excavated within the discontinuous permafrost zone of central Alaska and it contains permafrost, ice wedges, and pool ice preserved at roughly -3°C. We collected samples from five ice wedges and three pool ice structures in the Fox Permafrost Tunnel. If the microorganisms were incorporated into the ice during its formation, a community analysis of the microorganisms could elucidate the environment in which the ice was formed. Organic material from sediments in the tunnel was radiocarbon-dated between 14,000 and 30,000 years BP. However, it is still not clear when the ice wedges were formed or subsequently deformed because they are only partially exposed and their upper surfaces are above the tunnel walls. The objectives of our study were to determine the biogeochemical conditions during massive ice formation and to analyze the microbial community within the ices by incubation-based and DNA-based analyses. The geochemical profile and the PCR-DGGE band patterns of bacteria among five ice wedge and 3 portions of pool ice samples were markedly different. The DGGE band patterns of fungi were simple with a few bands of fungi or yeast. The dominant bands of ice wedge and pool ice samples were affiliated with the genus Geomyces and Doratomyces, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis using rRNA gene ITS regions indicated isolates of Geomyces spp. from different ice wedges were affiliated

  1. Content and distribution of trace metals in pristine permafrost environments of Northeastern Siberia, Russia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Antcibor, I.; Eschenbach, A.; Kutzbach, L.; Bolshiyanov, D.; Pfeiffer, E.-M.

    2012-04-01

    middle floodplain. Correlation analysis between element concentrations, grain-size distribution and carbon content revealed a direct dependence of the element distribution within all soil profiles on its mineralogical composition. Based on the obtained results we suggest that there are negligible atmospheric depositions caused by human activity on the investigation site. Therefore this data can provide a point of comparison against man-made influences on permafrost-affected landscapes and also on similar pristine areas in the Arctic region.

  2. Dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen release from boreal Holocene permafrost and seasonally frozen soils of Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wickland, Kimberly P.; Waldrop, Mark P.; Aiken, George R.; Koch, Joshua C.; Torre Jorgenson, M.; Striegl, Robert G.

    2018-06-01

    Permafrost (perennially frozen) soils store vast amounts of organic carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) that are vulnerable to mobilization as dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and dissolved organic and inorganic nitrogen (DON, DIN) upon thaw. Such releases will affect the biogeochemistry of permafrost regions, yet little is known about the chemical composition and source variability of active-layer (seasonally frozen) and permafrost soil DOC, DON and DIN. We quantified DOC, total dissolved N (TDN), DON, and DIN leachate yields from deep active-layer and near-surface boreal Holocene permafrost soils in interior Alaska varying in soil C and N content and radiocarbon age to determine potential release upon thaw. Soil cores were collected at three sites distributed across the Alaska boreal region in late winter, cut in 15 cm thick sections, and deep active-layer and shallow permafrost sections were thawed and leached. Leachates were analyzed for DOC, TDN, nitrate (NO3 ‑), and ammonium (NH4 +) concentrations, dissolved organic matter optical properties, and DOC biodegradability. Soils were analyzed for C, N, and radiocarbon (14C) content. Soil DOC, TDN, DON, and DIN yields increased linearly with soil C and N content, and decreased with increasing radiocarbon age. These relationships were significantly different for active-layer and permafrost soils such that for a given soil C or N content, or radiocarbon age, permafrost soils released more DOC and TDN (mostly as DON) per gram soil than active-layer soils. Permafrost soil DOC biodegradability was significantly correlated with soil Δ14C and DOM optical properties. Our results demonstrate that near-surface Holocene permafrost soils preserve greater relative potential DOC and TDN yields than overlying seasonally frozen soils that are exposed to annual leaching and decomposition. While many factors control the fate of DOC and TDN, the greater relative yields from newly thawed Holocene permafrost soils will have the largest

  3. 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

  4. 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...... and the first author has been involved since 1970 in engineering geology, geotechnical engineering and permafrost related studies for foundation construction and infrastructures in towns and communities mainly in West Greenland. We have since 2006 together with the Danish Meteorological Institute, Greenland...... Survey (ASIAQ) and the University of Alaska Fairbanks carried out the US NSF funded project ARC-0612533: Recent and future permafrost variability, retreat and degradation in Greenland and Alaska: An integrated approach. This contribution will present data and observations from the towns Ilulissat...

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Coupled Northern Hemisphere permafrost-ice-sheet evolution over the last glacial cycle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Willeit, M.; Ganopolski, A.

    2015-09-01

    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. Modeled 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 modeling 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 ka. 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 in our model. 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.

  8. Unraveling of permafrost hydrological variabilities on Central Qinghai-Tibet Plateau using stable isotopic technique.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Yuzhong; Wu, Qingbai; Hou, Yandong; Zhang, Zhongqiong; Zhan, Jing; Gao, Siru; Jin, Huijun

    2017-12-15

    Permafrost degradation on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP) will substantially alter the surface runoff discharge and generation, which changes the recharge processes and influences the hydrological cycle on the QTP. Hydrological connections between different water bodies and the influence of thawing permafrost (ground ice) are not well understood on the QTP. This study applied water stable isotopic method to investigate the permafrost hydrological variabilities in Beiluhe Basin (BLB) on Central QTP. Isotopic variations of precipitation, river flow, thermokarst lake, and near-surface ground ice were identified to figure out the moisture source of them, and to elaborate the hydrological connections in permafrost region. Results suggested that isotopic seasonalities in precipitation is evident, it is showing more positive values in summer seasons, and negative values in winter seasons. Stable isotopes of river flow are mainly distributed in the range of precipitation which is indicative of important replenishment from precipitation. δ 18 O, δD of thermokarst lakes are more positive than precipitation, indicating of basin-scale evaporation of lake water. Comparison of δ I values in different water bodies shows that hydrology of thermokarst lakes was related to thawing of permafrost (ground ice) and precipitation. Near-surface ground ice in BLB exhibits different isotopic characteristics, and generates a special δD-δ 18 O relationship (freezing line): δD=5.81δ 18 O-23.02, which reflects typical freezing of liquid water. From isotopic analysis, it is inferred that near-surface ground ice was mainly recharged by precipitation and active layer water. Stable isotopic and conceptual model is suggestive of striking hydrological connections between precipitation, river flow, thermokarst lake, and ground ice under degrading permafrost. This research provides fundamental comprehensions into the hydrological processes in permafrost regions on QTP, which should be considered

  9. 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.

  10. Seasonal distribution and aerial surveys of mountain goats in Mount Rainier, North Cascades, and Olympic National Parks, Washington

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jenkins, Kurt; Beirne, Katherine; Happe, Patricia; Hoffman, Roger; Rice, Cliff; Schaberl, Jim

    2011-01-01

    We described the seasonal distribution of Geographic Positioning System (GPS)-collared mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus) in Mount Rainier, North Cascades, and Olympic National Parks to evaluate aerial survey sampling designs and provide general information for park managers. This work complemented a companion study published elsewhere of aerial detection biases of mountain goat surveys in western Washington. Specific objectives reported here were to determine seasonal and altitudinal movements, home range distributions, and temporal dynamics of mountain goat movements in and out of aerial survey sampling frames established within each park. We captured 25 mountain goats in Mount Rainier (9), North Cascades (5), and Olympic (11) National Parks, and fitted them with GPS-collars programmed to obtain 6-8 locations daily. We obtained location data on 23 mountain goats for a range of 39-751 days from 2003 to 2008. Altitudinal distributions of GPS-collared mountain goats varied individually and seasonally, but median altitudes used by individual goats during winter ranged from 817 to 1,541 meters in Olympic and North Cascades National Parks, and 1,215 to 1,787 meters in Mount Rainier National Park. Median altitudes used by GPS-collared goats during summer ranged from 1,312 to 1,819 meters in Olympic and North Cascades National Parks, and 1,780 to 2,061 meters in Mount Rainier National Park. GPS-collared mountain goats generally moved from low-altitude winter ranges to high-altitude summer ranges between June 11 and June 19 (range April 24-July 3) and from summer to winter ranges between October 26 and November 9 (range September 11-December 23). Seasonal home ranges (95 percent of adaptive kernel utilization distribution) of males and female mountain goats were highly variable, ranging from 1.6 to 37.0 kilometers during summers and 0.7 to 9.5 kilometers during winters. Locations of GPS-collared mountain goats were almost 100 percent within the sampling frame used for

  11. Monitoring Seasonal Changes in Permafrost Using Seismic Interferometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    James, S. R.; Knox, H. A.; Abbott, R. E.

    2015-12-01

    The effects of climate change in polar regions and their incorporation in global climate models has recently become an area of great interest. Permafrost holds entrapped greenhouse gases, e.g. CO2 and CH4, which are released to the atmosphere upon thawing, creating a positive feedback mechanism. Knowledge of seasonal changes in active layer thickness as well as long term degradation of permafrost is critical to the management of high latitude infrastructures, hazard mitigation, and increasing the accuracy of climate predictions. Methods for effectively imaging the spatial extent, depth, thickness, and discontinuous nature of permafrost over large areas are needed. Furthermore, continuous monitoring of permafrost over annual time scales would provide valuable insight into permafrost degradation. Seismic interferometry using ambient seismic noise has proven effective for recording velocity changes within the subsurface for a variety of applications, but has yet to be applied to permafrost studies. To this end, we deployed 7 Nanometrics Trillium posthole broadband seismometers within Poker Flat Research Range, located 30 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska in a zone of discontinuous permafrost. Approximately 2 years worth of nearly continuous ambient noise data was collected. Using the python package MSNoise, relative changes in velocity were calculated. Results show high amounts of variability throughout the study period. General trends of negative relative velocity shifts can be seen between August and October followed by a positive relative velocity shift between November and February. Differences in relative velocity changes with both frequency and spatial location are also observed, suggesting this technique is sensitive to permafrost variation with depth and extent. Overall, short and long term changes in shallow subsurface velocity can be recovered using this method proposing seismic interferometry is a promising new technique for permafrost monitoring. Sandia

  12. Permafrost: occurrence and physiochemical processes

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ahonen, L.

    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.)

  13. 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.)

  14. 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 J.; Chen, Guangsheng; Chen, Xiaodong; Delire, Christine; Jafarov, Elchin; MacDougall, Andrew H.; Marchenko, Sergey S.; Nicolsky, Dmitry J.; 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

    2016-01-01

    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 CO2and 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−1between 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

  15. Uncertainty of future projections of species distributions in mountainous regions.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ying Tang

    Full Text Available Multiple factors introduce uncertainty into projections of species distributions under climate change. The uncertainty introduced by the choice of baseline climate information used to calibrate a species distribution model and to downscale global climate model (GCM simulations to a finer spatial resolution is a particular concern for mountainous regions, as the spatial resolution of climate observing networks is often insufficient to detect the steep climatic gradients in these areas. Using the maximum entropy (MaxEnt modeling framework together with occurrence data on 21 understory bamboo species distributed across the mountainous geographic range of the Giant Panda, we examined the differences in projected species distributions obtained from two contrasting sources of baseline climate information, one derived from spatial interpolation of coarse-scale station observations and the other derived from fine-spatial resolution satellite measurements. For each bamboo species, the MaxEnt model was calibrated separately for the two datasets and applied to 17 GCM simulations downscaled using the delta method. Greater differences in the projected spatial distributions of the bamboo species were observed for the models calibrated using the different baseline datasets than between the different downscaled GCM simulations for the same calibration. In terms of the projected future climatically-suitable area by species, quantification using a multi-factor analysis of variance suggested that the sum of the variance explained by the baseline climate dataset used for model calibration and the interaction between the baseline climate data and the GCM simulation via downscaling accounted for, on average, 40% of the total variation among the future projections. Our analyses illustrate that the combined use of gridded datasets developed from station observations and satellite measurements can help estimate the uncertainty introduced by the choice of baseline

  16. Ice-Wedge Polygon Formation Impacts Permafrost Carbon Storage and Vulnerability to Top-Down Thaw in Arctic Coastal Plain Soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jastrow, J. D.; Matamala, R.; Ping, C. L.; Vugteveen, T. W.; Lederhouse, J. S.; Michaelson, G. J.; Mishra, U.

    2017-12-01

    Ice-wedge polygons are ubiquitous, patterned ground features throughout Arctic coastal plains and river deltas. The progressive expansion of ice wedges influences polygon development and strongly affects cryoturbation and soil formation. Thus, we hypothesized that polygon type impacts the distribution and composition of soil organic carbon (C) stocks across the landscape and that such information can improve estimates of permafrost C stocks vulnerable to active layer thickening and increased decomposition due to climatic change. We quantified the distribution of soil C across entire polygon profiles (2-m depth) for three developmental types - flat-centered (FCP), low-centered (LCP), and high-centered (HCP) polygons (3 replicates of each) - formed on glaciomarine sediments within and near the Barrow Environmental Observatory at the northern tip of Alaska. Active layer thickness averaged 45 cm and did not vary among polygon types. Similarly, active layer C stocks were unaffected by polygon type, but permafrost C stocks increased from FCPs to LCPs to HCPs despite greater ice volumes in HCPs. These differences were due to a greater presence of organic horizons in the upper permafrost of LCPs and, especially, HCPs. On average, C stocks in polygon interiors were double those of troughs, on a square meter basis. However, HCPs were physically smaller than LCPs and FCPs, which affected estimates of C stocks at the landscape scale. Accounting for the number of polygons per unit area and the proportional distribution of troughs versus interiors, we estimated permafrost C stocks (2-m depth) increased from 259 Mg C ha-1 in FCPs to 366 Mg C ha-1 in HCPs. Active layer C stocks did not differ among polygon types and averaged 328 Mg C ha-1. We used our detailed polygon profiles to investigate the impact of active layer deepening as projected by Earth system models under future climate scenarios. Because HCPs have a greater proportion of upper permafrost C stocks in organic horizons

  17. 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

    of the permafrost and from the internal features in the unfrozen soil. These results will be further used to determine the distribution of dielectric heterogeneities to support water content estimated from the same profiles. Comparing results from 400 and 800 MHz, we found that although both frequencies...... 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....

  18. Evidence for nonuniform permafrost degradation after fire in boreal landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Minsley, Burke J.; Pastick, Neal J.; Wylie, Bruce K.; Brown, Dana R.N.; Kass, M. Andy

    2016-01-01

    Fire can be a significant driver of permafrost change in boreal landscapes, altering the availability of soil carbon and nutrients that have important implications for future climate and ecological succession. However, not all landscapes are equally susceptible to fire-induced change. As fire frequency is expected to increase in the high latitudes, methods to understand the vulnerability and resilience of different landscapes to permafrost degradation are needed. We present a combination of multiscale remote sensing, geophysical, and field observations that reveal details of both near-surface (1 m) impacts of fire on permafrost. Along 11 transects that span burned-unburned boundaries in different landscape settings within interior Alaska, subsurface electrical resistivity and nuclear magnetic resonance data indicate locations where permafrost appears to be resilient to disturbance from fire, areas where warm permafrost conditions exist that may be most vulnerable to future change, and also areas where permafrost has thawed. High-resolution geophysical data corroborate remote sensing interpretations of near-surface permafrost and also add new high-fidelity details of spatial heterogeneity that extend from the shallow subsurface to depths of about 10 m. Results show that postfire impacts on permafrost can be variable and depend on multiple factors such as fire severity, soil texture, soil moisture, and time since fire.

  19. New insights into the ground thermal regime of talus slopes with permafrost below the timberline

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwindt, Daniel; Kneisel, Christof

    2013-04-01

    In the central Alps permafrost can be expected above 2400 m a.s.l., at altitudes where mean annual air temperatures are below -1° C. However, isolated permafrost occurrences are present in north-exposed talus slopes, far below the timberline, where mean annual air temperatures are positive. Driving factors are assumed to be a low income of solar radiation, a thick organic layer with high insulation capacities as well as the thermally induced chimney effect (Wakonigg, 1996). Investigated are three talus slopes with permafrost in the Swiss Alps that differ with regard to elevation level, talus material, humus characteristics and vegetation composition as well as the mean annual air temperatures. Aim is to achieve a deeper understanding of the factors determining the site-specific thermal regime, as well as the spatially limited and temporally highly variable permafrost occurrences in vegetated talus slopes. Focus is not solely on the question of why permafrost exists at these sites, but also why permafrost does not exist in the immediate surroundings. To detect the temporal variability and spatial heterogeneity of the permafrost occurrences, electrical resistivity tomography monitoring, seismic refraction tomography monitoring, and quasi-3D ERT were applied. To determine the ground thermal regime, air-, ground surface-, and humus temperatures, as well as temperatures within vents of the chimneys were recorded. Furthermore, humus characteristics (thickness, -temperature and -moisture) were mapped in permafrost-affected slope areas and in the immediate surroundings. To test the correlation between solar radiation, permafrost distribution, and humus/vegetation composition, digital elevation models were used to calculate the income of solar radiation. The areal extent of the permafrost bodies coincide precisely with slope sections where the organic layer is thickest, a consistent moss cover is present, and where temperatures at the transition between humus layer and

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stotler, Randy L; Frape, Shaun K; Freifeld, Barry M; Holden, Brian; Onstott, Tullis C; Ruskeeniemi, Timo; Chan, Eric

    2011-01-01

    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 δ(18) O values ∼5‰ lower than the local surface water. The fluid isotopic composition was affected by the permafrost-formation process. Nonbacteriogenic CH(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(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. Copyright © 2010 The Author(s). Journal compilation © 2010 National Ground Water Association.

  1. The Impacts of Climate Change and Anthropogenic Processes on Permafrost Soils and USAF Infrastructure within Northern Tier Bases

    Science.gov (United States)

    2017-03-24

    radiation from clouds, snow, soil , and water surfaces (the Earth’s albedo), the distribution of continents and oceans, and topography (Davis, 2001, pp...facilities will be built on the north end of the base. Two of the borehole samples were found to have traces of massive-ice permafrost soils (Inc, 2016b...J. L. (2008). Evaluation of the CRREL Permafrost Tunnel, (August). Bonan, G. B. (1989). A computer model of the solar radiation , soil moisture

  2. Tundra permafrost thaw causes significant shifts in energy partitioning

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christian Stiegler

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available Permafrost, a key component of the arctic and global climate system, is highly sensitive to climate change. Observed and ongoing permafrost degradation influences arctic hydrology, ecology and biogeochemistry, and models predict that rapid warming is expected to significantly reduce near-surface permafrost and seasonally frozen ground during the 21st century. These changes raise concern of how permafrost thaw affects the exchange of water and energy with the atmosphere. However, associated impacts of permafrost thaw on the surface energy balance and possible feedbacks on the climate system are largely unknown. In this study, we show that in northern subarctic Sweden, permafrost thaw and related degradation of peat plateaus significantly change the surface energy balance of three peatland complexes by enhancing latent heat flux and, to less degree, also ground heat flux at the cost of sensible heat flux. This effect is valid at all radiation levels but more pronounced at higher radiation levels. The observed differences in flux partitioning mainly result from the strong coupling between soil moisture availability, vegetation composition, albedo and surface structure. Our results suggest that ongoing and predicted permafrost degradation in northern subarctic Sweden ultimately result in changes in land–atmosphere coupling due to changes in the partitioning between latent and sensible heat fluxes. This in turn has crucial implications for how predictive climate models for the Arctic are further developed.

  3. 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. © FEMS 2016. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  4. Impact of physical permafrost processes on hydrological change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hagemann, Stefan; Blome, Tanja; Beer, Christian; Ekici, Altug

    2015-04-01

    Permafrost or perennially frozen ground is an important part of the terrestrial cryosphere; roughly one quarter of Earth's land surface is underlain by permafrost. As it is a thermal phenomenon, its characteristics are highly dependent on climatic factors. The impact of the currently observed warming, which is projected to persist during the coming decades due to anthropogenic CO2 input, certainly has effects for the vast permafrost areas of the high northern latitudes. The quantification of these effects, however, is scientifically still an open question. This is partly due to the complexity of the system, where several feedbacks are interacting between land and atmosphere, sometimes counterbalancing each other. Moreover, until recently, many global circulation models (GCMs) and Earth system models (ESMs) lacked the sufficient representation of permafrost physics in their land surface schemes. Within the European Union FP7 project PAGE21, the land surface scheme JSBACH of the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology ESM (MPI-ESM) has been equipped with the representation of relevant physical processes for permafrost studies. These processes include the effects of freezing and thawing of soil water for both energy and water cycles, thermal properties depending on soil water and ice contents, and soil moisture movement being influenced by the presence of soil ice. In the present study, it will be analysed how these permafrost relevant processes impact projected hydrological changes over northern hemisphere high latitude land areas. For this analysis, the atmosphere-land part of MPI-ESM, ECHAM6-JSBACH, is driven by prescribed SST and sea ice in an AMIP2-type setup with and without the newly implemented permafrost processes. Observed SST and sea ice for 1979-1999 are used to consider induced changes in the simulated hydrological cycle. In addition, simulated SST and sea ice are taken from a MPI-ESM simulation conducted for CMIP5 following the RCP8.5 scenario. The

  5. 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.

  6. Very large cryoturbation structures of Last Permafrost Maximum age at the foot of the Qilian Mountains (NE Tibet Plateau, China)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vandenberghe, J.F.; Wang, X.; Vandenberghe, D.

    2016-01-01

    Unusually large cryoturbation structures (4-4.5 m amplitude), developed in channel gravels and overbank fine-grained deposits of a river terrace on the NE Tibet Plateau, China, were formed by loadcasting as late Pleistocene-age permafrost degraded. It is suggested that the oversaturation and

  7. Permafrost Organic Carbon Mobilization From the Watershed to the Colville River Delta: Evidence From 14C Ramped Pyrolysis and Lignin Biomarkers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Xiaowen; Bianchi, Thomas S.; Cui, Xingqian; Rosenheim, Brad E.; Ping, Chien-Lu; Hanna, Andrea J. M.; Kanevskiy, Mikhail; Schreiner, Kathryn M.; Allison, Mead A.

    2017-11-01

    The deposition of terrestrial-derived permafrost particulate organic carbon (POC) has been recorded in major Arctic river deltas. However, associated transport pathways of permafrost POC from the watershed to the coast have not been well constrained. Here we utilized a combination of ramped pyrolysis-oxidation radiocarbon analysis (RPO 14C) along with lignin biomarkers, to track the linkages between soils and river and delta sediments. Surface and deep soils showed distinct RPO thermographs which may be related to degradation and organo-mineral interaction. Soil material in the bed load of the river channel was mostly derived from deep old permafrost. Both surface and deep soils were transported and deposited to the coast. Hydrodynamic sorting and barrier island protection played important roles in terrestrial-derived permafrost POC deposition near the coast. On a large scale, ice processes (e.g., ice gauging and strudel scour) and ocean currents controlled the transport and distribution of permafrost POC on the Beaufort Shelf.

  8. Air and ground temperatures along elevation and continentality gradients in Southern Norway

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farbrot, Herman; Hipp, Tobias; Etzelmüller, Bernd; Humlum, Ole; Isaksen, Ketil; Strand Ødegârd, Rune

    2010-05-01

    The modern southern boundary for Scandinavian permafrost is located in the mountains of Southern Norway. Permafrost and seasonal frost are considered key components of the cryosphere, and the climate-permafrost relation has acquired added importance with the increasing awareness and concern of rising air temperatures. The three-year research project CRYOLINK ("Permafrost and seasonal frost in southern Norway") aims at improving knowledge on past and present ground temperatures, seasonal frost, and distribution of mountain permafrost in Southern Norway by addressing the fundamental problem of heat transfer between the atmosphere and the ground surface. Hence, several shallow boreholes have been drilled, and a monitoring program to measure air and ground temperatures was started August 2008. The borehole areas (Juvvass, Jetta and Tron) are situated along a west-east transect and, hence, a continentality gradient, and each area provides boreholes at different elevations. Here we present the first year of air and ground temperatures from these sites and discuss the influence of air temperature and ground surface charcteristics (snow conditions, sediments/bedrock, vegetation) on ground temperatures.

  9. Evaluating permafrost thaw vulnerabilities and hydrologic impacts in boreal Alaska (USA) watersheds using field data and cryohydrogeologic modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walvoord, M. A.; Voss, C.; Ebel, B. A.; Minsley, B. J.

    2017-12-01

    Permafrost environments undergo changes in hydraulic, thermal, chemical, and mechanical subsurface properties upon thaw. These property changes must be considered in addition to alterations in hydrologic, thermal, and topographic boundary conditions when evaluating shifts in the movement and storage of water in arctic and sub-arctic boreal regions. Advances have been made in the last several years with respect to multiscale geophysical characterization of the subsurface and coupled fluid and energy transport modeling of permafrost systems. Ongoing efforts are presented that integrate field data with cryohydrogeologic modeling to better understand and anticipate changes in subsurface water resources, fluxes, and flowpaths caused by climate warming and permafrost thawing. Analyses are based on field data from several sites in interior Alaska (USA) that span a broad north-south transition from continuous to discontinuous permafrost. These data include soil hydraulic and thermal properties and shallow permafrost distribution. The data guide coupled fluid and energy flow simulations that incorporate porewater liquid/ice phase change and the accompanying modifications in hydraulic and thermal subsurface properties. Simulations are designed to assess conditions conducive to active layer thickening and talik development, both of which are expected to affect groundwater storage and flow. Model results provide a framework for identifying factors that control the rates of permafrost thaw and associated hydrologic responses, which in turn influence the fate and transport of carbon.

  10. 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...

  11. Continuous recording of seismic signals in Alpine permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hausmann, H.; Krainer, K.; Staudinger, M.; Brückl, E.

    2009-04-01

    Over the past years various geophysical methods were applied to study the internal structure and the temporal variation of permafrost whereof seismic is of importance. For most seismic investigations in Alpine permafrost 24-channel equipment in combination with long data and trigger cables is used. Due to the harsh environment source and geophone layouts are often limited to 2D profiles. With prospect for future 3D-layouts we introduce an alternative of seismic equipment that can be used for several applications in Alpine permafrost. This study is focussed on controlled and natural source seismic experiments in Alpine permafrost using continuous data recording. With recent data from an ongoing project ("Permafrost in Austria") we will highlight the potential of the used seismic equipment for three applications: (a) seismic permafrost mapping of unconsolidated sediments, (b) seismic tomography in rock mass, and (c) passive seismic monitoring of rock falls. Single recording units (REFTEK 130, 6 channels) are used to continuously record the waveforms of both the seismic signals and a trigger signal. The combination of a small number of recording units with different types of geophones or a trigger allow numerous applications in Alpine permafrost with regard to a high efficiency and flexible seismic layouts (2D, 3D, 4D). The efficiency of the light and robust seismic equipment is achieved by the simple acquisition and the flexible and fast deployment of the (omni-directional) geophones. Further advantages are short (data and trigger) cables and the prevention of trigger errors. The processing of the data is aided by 'Seismon' which is an open source software project based on Matlab® and MySQL (see SM1.0). For active-source experiments automatic stacking of the seismic signals is implemented. For passive data a program for automatic detection of events (e.g. rock falls) is available which allows event localization. In summer 2008 the seismic equipment was used for the

  12. Implications of Self-Potential Distribution for Groundwater Flow System in a Nonvolcanic Mountain Slope

    OpenAIRE

    Goto, Tada-nori; Kondo, Kazuya; Ito, Rina; Esaki, Keisuke; Oouchi, Yasuo; Abe, Yutaka; Tsujimura, Maki

    2012-01-01

    Self-potential (SP) measurements were conducted at Mt. Tsukuba, Japan, which is a nonvolcanic mountain, to infer groundwater flow system in the mountain. Survey routes were set around the northern slope, and the reliability of observed SP anomaly was checked by using SP values along parallel survey routes; the error was almost within 10 mV. The FFT analysis of the spatial SP distribution allows us a separation of raw data into two components with shorter and longer wavelength. In the shorter ...

  13. 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.

  14. 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....... This problem, has in the last decades, been amplified by the climate warming, which has been most evident in the arctic regions. The construction of a road embankment usually results in an increased mean annual surface temperature, which will increase the thawing of permafrost and expose the road embankment...... objective has been to study the three above-mentioned techniques and evaluate their potential for minimizing the problems with thaw settlements in permafrost areas. The air convection embankment and heat drain techniques have been tested for the implementation in the shoulders of road and airfield...

  15. Northern Peatland Shifts Under Changing Climate and Their Impact on Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shur, Y.; Jorgenson, T.; Kanevskiy, M. Z.

    2014-12-01

    Formation of peatlands depends primarily on climate and its interactions with hydrology, soil thermal regimes, plant composition, and nutrients. A water balance with precipitation exceeding evaporation is necessary for their formation. The rate of peat accumulation also greatly depends on thermal resources. The prominent impact of the water balance and temperature on peatland formation is evident in the West Siberia Lowland. The rate of peat accumulation steadily increases from arctic tundra to moss tundra, to forest tundra, to northern taiga, and to southern taiga. This increase is a result in increase in air temperature and length of the growing season because all of these zones have water balance favorable for peat formation. Further to south, evaporation prevails over precipitation and peat formation occurs only in isolated areas. Climate change will redefine geographical distribution of climatic and vegetation zones. It is predicted that in arctic and subarctic regions the difference between precipitation and evaporation will increase and as a result these regions will remain favorable to peat accumulation. With increase of thermal resources, the rate of peat accumulation will also increase. The Alaska Arctic Coastal Plain is of a special interest because it has thousands of shallow lakes, which due to warming climate would shift from open waterbodies to peatlands through shoreline paludification and infilling. The accumulation of organic matter will likely turn open water into shore fens and bogs, and eventually to peat plateaus, as is occurring in many boreal landscapes. Expected impact on permafrost in arctic and subarctic regions will include rise of the permafrost table, thickening of the ice-rich intermediate layer with ataxitic (suspended) cryostructure, and replacement of frost boils with earth hummocks. In the contemporary continuous permafrost zone, permafrost formed as climate-driven will be transformed into climate-driven ecosystem protected

  16. 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...

  17. Rock fragment distributions and regolith evolution in the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jonathan D. Phillips; Ken Luckow; Daniel A. Marion; Kristin R. Adams

    2005-01-01

    Rock fragments in the regolith are a persistent property that reflects the combined influences of geologic controls, erosion, deposition, bioturbation, and weathering. The distribution of rock fragments in regoliths of the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas, shows that sandstone fragments are common in all layers, even if sandstone is absent in parent material. Shale and...

  18. 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. PMID:25852660

  19. 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.

  20. The adder (Vipera berus in Southern Altay Mountains: population characteristics, distribution, morphology and phylogenetic position

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shaopeng Cui

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available As the most widely distributed snake in Eurasia, the adder (Vipera berus has been extensively investigated in Europe but poorly understood in Asia. The Southern Altay Mountains represent the adder’s southern distribution limit in Central Asia, whereas its population status has never been assessed. We conducted, for the first time, field surveys for the adder at two areas of Southern Altay Mountains using a combination of line transects and random searches. We also described the morphological characteristics of the collected specimens and conducted analyses of external morphology and molecular phylogeny. The results showed that the adder distributed in both survey sites and we recorded a total of 34 sightings. In Kanas river valley, the estimated encounter rate over a total of 137 km transects was 0.15 ± 0.05 sightings/km. The occurrence of melanism was only 17%. The small size was typical for the adders in Southern Altay Mountains in contrast to other geographic populations of the nominate subspecies. A phylogenetic tree obtained by Bayesian Inference based on DNA sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b (1,023 bp grouped them within the Northern clade of the species but failed to separate them from the subspecies V. b. sachalinensis. Our discovery extends the distribution range of V. berus and provides a basis for further researches. We discuss the hypothesis that the adder expands its distribution border to the southwest along the mountains’ elevation gradient, but the population abundance declines gradually due to a drying climate.

  1. A simplified, data-constrained approach to estimate the permafrost carbon-climate feedback.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koven, C D; Schuur, E A G; Schädel, C; Bohn, T J; Burke, E J; Chen, G; Chen, X; Ciais, P; Grosse, G; Harden, J W; Hayes, D J; Hugelius, G; Jafarov, E E; Krinner, G; Kuhry, P; Lawrence, D M; MacDougall, A H; Marchenko, S S; McGuire, A D; Natali, S M; Nicolsky, D J; Olefeldt, D; Peng, S; Romanovsky, V E; Schaefer, K M; Strauss, J; Treat, C C; Turetsky, M

    2015-11-13

    We present an approach to estimate the feedback from large-scale thawing of permafrost soils using a simplified, data-constrained model that combines three elements: soil carbon (C) maps and profiles to identify the distribution and type of C in permafrost soils; incubation experiments to quantify the rates of C lost after thaw; and models of soil thermal dynamics in response to climate warming. We call the approach the Permafrost Carbon Network Incubation-Panarctic Thermal scaling approach (PInc-PanTher). The approach assumes that C stocks do not decompose at all when frozen, but once thawed follow set decomposition trajectories as a function of soil temperature. The trajectories are determined according to a three-pool decomposition model fitted to incubation data using parameters specific to soil horizon types. We calculate litterfall C inputs required to maintain steady-state C balance for the current climate, and hold those inputs constant. Soil temperatures are taken from the soil thermal modules of ecosystem model simulations forced by a common set of future climate change anomalies under two warming scenarios over the period 2010 to 2100. Under a medium warming scenario (RCP4.5), the approach projects permafrost soil C losses of 12.2-33.4 Pg C; under a high warming scenario (RCP8.5), the approach projects C losses of 27.9-112.6 Pg C. Projected C losses are roughly linearly proportional to global temperature changes across the two scenarios. These results indicate a global sensitivity of frozen soil C to climate change (γ sensitivity) of -14 to -19 Pg C °C(-1) on a 100 year time scale. For CH4 emissions, our approach assumes a fixed saturated area and that increases in CH4 emissions are related to increased heterotrophic respiration in anoxic soil, yielding CH4 emission increases of 7% and 35% for the RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios, respectively, which add an additional greenhouse gas forcing of approximately 10-18%. The simplified approach

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Chen Shengyun; Liu Wenjie; Qin Xiang; Liu Yushuo; Ren Jiawen; Qin Dahe; Zhang Tongzuo; Hu Fengzu; Chen Kelong

    2012-01-01

    ) to transitional (TP), and to UP. Meanwhile, SOC/TN storages increased in the former stage, while they decreased in the latter stage. This study indicated that the response characteristics of vegetation and soil environment varied throughout the entire permafrost degradation, and SW was the dominant ecological factor that limited vegetation distribution and growth. Therefore, SSP and TP phases could provide a favourable environment for plant growth, mainly contributing to high SW. (letter)

  3. Permafrost conditions at the Upper Kuskokwim river area and its influence on local communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kholodov, A. L.; Panda, S. K.; Hanson, T.

    2017-12-01

    Research area located within the zone of discontinuous permafrost distribution. Recent mean annual air temperature here is close to the 0C. It means, that taking in consideration warming influence of the snow cower during winter, mean annual temperature at the ground surface is well above freezing point. It means that presence or absence of permafrost here completely controlled by the ecological conditions. Based on remote sensing data and the surveys conducted in 2016-17 we selected 6 main ecotypes typical for this area: black spruce boreal forest, wetlands, low and tall shrubs, deciduous and mixed forest. Most of them (low shrubs, deciduous and mixed forest) represent different stages of area recovering after forest fires that was confirmed by the presence of ashy layer close to ground surface in soil pits had been dug within these landscapes. Permafrost was observed only within 2 of them: low shrubs and black spruce boreal forest. Within these types of terrain temperature at the bottom of active layer varies from -0.2/-0.5C at the areas of low shrubs, recovered after relatively recent (approximately 30-50 years old) fires to -1/-1.5 within black spruce forest. Active (seasonally thawed) layer as thick as 0.6 to 0.8 m. Warmest ecotypes for the area are tall shrubs and deciduous forest, temperature at the depth close to 1 m is about +3C. At the mixed forest temperature at the same depth consists of +1/+2C. Active (seasonally frozen) layer thickness within permafrost free areas is 1-1.5 m at the drained sites and about 0.5 within wetlands. Ice-rich permafrost underlying the active layer was noticed only within the black spruce forest. Areas which are free of permafrost are much better drained, typical moisture of mineral soil is less than 30% versus 45-50% in seasonally thawed layer. The current state of permafrost and the fact that it presence completely depends on ecosystems limits land use abilities of local inhabitants. Any changes of forest coverage or organic

  4. Permafrost Thaw increases Emissions of Nitrous Oxide from Subarctic Peatlands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Voigt, C.; Marushchak, M. E.; Lamprecht, R. E.; Jackowicz-Korczynski, M.; Lindgren, A.; Mastepanov, M.; Christensen, T. R.; Granlund, L.; Tahvanainen, T.; Martikainen, P. J.; Biasi, C.

    2017-12-01

    Permafrost soils in the Arctic are thawing, exposing not only carbon but also large nitrogen stocks. The decomposition of this vast pool of long-term immobile C and N stocks results in the release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Among these, carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) are being studied extensively, and gaseous C release from thawing permafrost is known to be substantial. Most recent studies, however, show that Arctic soils may further be a relevant source of the strong greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O). As N2O is almost 300 times more powerful in warming the climate than CO2 based on a 100-yr time horizon, the release of N2O from thawing permafrost could create a significant non-carbon permafrost-climate feedback. To study the effect of permafrost thaw on N2O fluxes, we collected peat mesocosms from a Subarctic permafrost peatland, and subjected these intact soil-plant systems to sequential thawing from the top of the active layer down to the upper permafrost layer. Measurements of N2O fluxes were coupled with detailed soil analyses and process studies. Since N2O fluxes are highly dependent on moisture conditions and vegetation cover, we applied two distinct moisture treatments (dry vs. wet) and simulated permafrost thaw in vegetated as well as in naturally bare mesocosms. Under dry conditions, permafrost thaw clearly increased N2O emissions. We observed the largest post-thaw emissions from bare peat surfaces, a typical landform in subarctic peatlands previously identified as hot spots for Arctic N2O emissions. There, permafrost thaw caused a five-fold increase in emissions (0.56 vs. 2.81 mg N2O m-2 d-1). While water-logged conditions suppressed N2O emissions, the presence of vegetation lowered, but did not prevent post-thaw N2O release. Based on these findings, we show that one fourth of the Arctic land area could be vulnerable for N2O emissions when permafrost thaws. Our results demonstrate that Arctic N2O emissions may be larger than

  5. Collaboration in Education: International Field Class on Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-12-01

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

  6. Degradation and Local Survival of Permafrost Through the Last Interglaciation in Interior Alaska and Yukon Territory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reyes, A. V.; Froese, D. G.; Jensen, B. J.

    2006-12-01

    Permafrost in northern North America is warming, and recent modeling efforts have predicted the widespread disappearance of permafrost through much of the northern hemisphere over the next century. However, little is known of the impacts of past sustained warm intervals on permafrost dynamics, antiquity, and distribution due to difficulties in establishing reliable chronologies. Permafrost thus remains the last element of the Arctic cryosphere for which there is poor understanding of its adaptability to past warmer-than-present climate. Here we present observations from three sites in the region of interior Alaska and Yukon Territory that remained ice-free during Plio-Pleistocene glaciations, which collectively demonstrate the variable nature of the response of permafrost to warming during the last interglaciation. Chronology for all sites is based on identification of Old Crow tephra (OCt; 140±10 ka) by glass major element composition. Throughout the study region, OCt is consistently associated with organic-rich sediments that represent the last interglaciation on the basis of pollen, insect, and macrofossil assemblages. At the Palisades site on the Yukon River, 250 km west of Fairbanks, OCt is 1.5-3.5 m below thick (>1m) organic-rich silts and peats that are locally rich in beaver-chewed wood and large wood stumps, some of which are in growth position. In contrast, placer mining at Thistle Creek in central Yukon Territory exposes a dramatic thaw unconformity that is presumably related to local, but incomplete, permafrost degradation during the last interglaciation. In upslope positions at Thistle Creek, OCt is incorporated into a steeply dipping, 30 cm thick, organic-rich silt horizon that truncates at least one intact, relict ice wedge. The steeply dipping organic- rich horizon grades downslope into organic-rich silt with dense accumulations of wood fragments, including tree stems up to 2 m long. Evidence for similar permafrost degradation during the last

  7. Sensitivity of airborne geophysical data to sublacustrine and near-surface permafrost thaw

    Science.gov (United States)

    Minsley, Burke J.; Wellman, Tristan; Walvoord, Michelle Ann; Revil, Andre

    2014-01-01

    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. Numerical modeling scenarios are evaluated that consider non-isothermal hydrologic responses to variable forcing from different lake depths and for different hydrologic gradients. A novel physical property relationship connects the dynamic distribution of electrical resistivity to ice saturation and temperature outputs from the SUTRA groundwater simulator with freeze–thaw physics. The influence of lithology on electrical resistivity is controlled by a surface conduction term in the physical property relationship. Resistivity models, which reflect changes in subsurface conditions, are used as inputs 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 are modeled after conditions found in the Yukon Flats, Alaska. Synthetic AEM data are analyzed with a Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm that quantifies geophysical parameter uncertainty and resolution. Major lithological and permafrost features are well resolved by AEM data 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 identify the presence of a talik. A final synthetic 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 outside the lake margin.

  8. The occurrence and distribution of erionite at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Chipera, S.J.; Bish, D.L.

    1989-09-01

    We have conducted an investigation to determine the occurrence and distribution of erionite, a potential carcinogen, at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Using x-ray powder diffraction techniques yielding detection limits to below 0.05 wt %, we positively identified erionite in only 3 out of 76 bulk and 12 fracture samples investigated. The three erionite-bearing samples (J12-620/630, UE-25aNo.1-1296.2, and USW G4-1314) all occur above the static water level in clay/zeolite-rich horizons near the top of vitrophyres. Erionite occurs as trace amounts of less than 1 wt % in the whole rock, although it may occur locally in significant amounts as fracture fillings (e.g., UE-25aNo.1-1296.2 where it comprises approximately 45 wt % of the fracture filling material). All three occurrences appear to be extremely isolated cases since erionite was not detected in neighboring samples. Erionite at Yucca Mountain apparently formed only in localized microenvironments, possibly restricted to fractures. Since erionite occurs in trace amounts only in extremely isolated instances, it should pose little or no health hazard to workers in the potential repository at Yucca Mountain or to the public. The amounts of erionite liberated to the biosphere should be negligible, particularly when compared with the amounts of erionite occurring naturally at the surface in Nevada and surrounding states. 24 refs., 7 figs., 2 tabs

  9. The behaviour of petroleum spills in permafrost soils

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Biggar, K. W.; Nahir, M.

    1999-01-01

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

  10. Threshold loss of discontinuous permafrost and landscape evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chasmer, Laura; Hopkinson, Chris

    2017-07-01

    This study demonstrates linkages between the 1997/1998 El Niño/Southern Oscillation index and a threshold shift to increased permafrost loss within a southern Taiga Plains watershed, Northwest Territories, Canada. Three-dimensional contraction of permafrost plateaus and changes in vegetation structural characteristics are determined from multitemporal airborne Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) surveys in 2008, 2011 and 2015. Morphological changes in permafrost cover are compared with optical image analogues from 1970, 1977, 2000 and 2008 and time-series hydro-climate data. Results demonstrate that significant changes in air temperature, precipitation, runoff and a shortening of the snow-covered season by 35 days (1998-2014) and 50 days (1998 only) occurred after 1997. The albedo reduction associated with 35 and 50 days less snow cover leads to increases in shortwave energy receipt during the active thaw period of ~12% (3% annually) and ~16% (5% annually), respectively. From 2000 to 2015, sporadic permafrost loss accelerated from 0.19% (of total basin area) per year between 1970 and 2000 to 0.58% per year from 2000 to 2015, with a projected total loss of permafrost by ~2044. From ~1997 to 2011, we observe a corresponding shift to increased runoff ratio. However, observed increases in the proportion of snow precipitation and the volumetric contribution of permafrost loss to runoff post-1997 (0.6-6.4% per year) cannot fully explain this shift. This suggests increases in drainage efficiency and possible losses from long-term groundwater storage as a result of subtle terrain morphological and soil zone hydraulic conductivity changes. These hydrological changes appear coincident with high vegetation mortality at plateau margins combined with succession-related canopy growth in some bog and fen areas, which are presumed to be drying. Similar changes in runoff response were observed at adjacent Birch, Trout and Jean Marie River watersheds indicating that observations

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G. Vieira

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available 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

  12. 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

  13. Simulation of hydrodynamic effects of salt rejection due to permafrost. Hydrogeological numerical model of density-driven mixing, at a regional scale, due to a high salinity pulse

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Vidstrand, Patrik; Svensson, Urban; Follin, Sven

    2006-10-01

    The main objective of this study is to support the safety assessment of the investigated candidate sites concerning hydrogeological and hydrogeochemical issues related to permafrost. However, a more specific objective of the study is to improve the assessment of processes in relation to permafrost scenarios. The model is based on a mathematical model that includes Darcy velocities, mass conservation, matrix diffusion, and salinity distribution. Gravitational effects are thus fully accounted for. A regional groundwater flow model (POM v1.1, Simpevarp) was used as basis for the simulations. The main results of the model include salinity distributions in time. The general conclusion is that density-driven mixing processes are contained within more permeable deformation zones and that these processes are fast as compared with preliminary permafrost growth rates. The results of the simulation suggest that a repository volume in the rock mass in-between the deterministic deformation zones, approximately 150 m below the permafrost will not experience a high salinity situation due to the salt rejection process

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  15. 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

  16. 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

    freeze/thaw dynamics, geophysics, ground ice, groundwater modeling, hydrologic impacts , interior Alaska, lakes, permafrost, sub-arctic, taliks, Yukon...21  Figure 4.1.1 Location map of Beaver Meadow and Twelvemile study areas...modeling, hydrologic impacts , interior Alaska, lakes, permafrost, sub-arctic, taliks, Yukon Flats Acknowledgements We would like to

  17. Soil CO2 production in upland tundra where permafrost is thawing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hanna Lee; Edward A.G. Schuur; Jason G. Vogel

    2010-01-01

    Permafrost soils store nearly half of global soil carbon (C), and therefore permafrost thawing could lead to large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions via decomposition of soil organic matter. When ice-rich permafrost thaws, it creates a localized surface subsidence called thermokarst terrain, which changes the soil microenvironment. We used soil profile CO2...

  18. The effects of permafrost thaw on soil hydrologic, thermal, and carbon dynamics in an Alaskan peatland

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Donnell, Jonathan A.; Jorgenson, M. Torre; Harden, Jennifer W.; McGuire, A. David; Kanevskiy, Mikhail Z.; Wickland, Kimberly P.

    2012-01-01

    Recent warming at high-latitudes has accelerated permafrost thaw in northern peatlands, and thaw can have profound effects on local hydrology and ecosystem carbon balance. To assess the impact of permafrost thaw on soil organic carbon (OC) dynamics, we measured soil hydrologic and thermal dynamics and soil OC stocks across a collapse-scar bog chronosequence in interior Alaska. We observed dramatic changes in the distribution of soil water associated with thawing of ice-rich frozen peat. The impoundment of warm water in collapse-scar bogs initiated talik formation and the lateral expansion of bogs over time. On average, Permafrost Plateaus stored 137 ± 37 kg C m-2, whereas OC storage in Young Bogs and Old Bogs averaged 84 ± 13 kg C m-2. Based on our reconstructions, the accumulation of OC in near-surface bog peat continued for nearly 1,000 years following permafrost thaw, at which point accumulation rates slowed. Rapid decomposition of thawed forest peat reduced deep OC stocks by nearly half during the first 100 years following thaw. Using a simple mass-balance model, we show that accumulation rates at the bog surface were not sufficient to balance deep OC losses, resulting in a net loss of OC from the entire peat column. An uncertainty analysis also revealed that the magnitude and timing of soil OC loss from thawed forest peat depends substantially on variation in OC input rates to bog peat and variation in decay constants for shallow and deep OC stocks. These findings suggest that permafrost thaw and the subsequent release of OC from thawed peat will likely reduce the strength of northern permafrost-affected peatlands as a carbon dioxide sink, and consequently, will likely accelerate rates of atmospheric warming.

  19. Frozen-Ground Cartoons: An international collaboration between artists and permafrost scientists

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sjoberg, Y.; Bouchard, F.; Deshpande, B.; Fritz, M.; Malenfant-Lepage, J.; Nieuwendam, A.; Paquette, M.; Rudy, A.; Siewert, M. B.; Veillette, A.; Weege, S.; Habeck, J. O.; Harbor, J.

    2017-12-01

    Communicating science about a phenomenon found under ground and defined by its thermal properties in an easy, fun, and engaging way, can be a challenge. Two years ago, a group of young researchers from Canada and Europe united to tackle this problem by combining arts and science to produce a series of outreach comic strips about permafrost (frozen ground). Because this concerns us all. As the climate warms, permafrost thaws and becomes unstable for houses, roads and airports.The thawing also disrupts ecosystems, impacts water quality, and releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, making climate change even stronger. The Frozen Ground Cartoon project aims to present and explain permafrost research, placing emphasis on field work and the rapidly changing northern environment. The target audience is kids, youth, parents and teachers, with the general goal of making permafrost science more fun and accessible to the public. The project has so far produced 22 pages of comics through an iterative process of exchanging ideas between two artists and thirteen scientists. The project artists were selected through an application call that received 49 applications from artists in 16 countries. With input from scientists, artists Noémie Ross (Canada) and Heta Nääs (Finland) have created a set of beautiful, artistic, humoristic, and pedagogic comics.. The comics are available for free download through the project web page (in English and Swedish), and printed copies have so far been handed out to school kids and general public in Europe. Prints in North America are planned for the fall of 2017. The next steps of the project are (1) to distribute the comics as wide as possible, (2) work towards translations into more languages, and (3) to evaluate the effectiveness of the science communication through the comics, in collaboration with schools and pedagogic experts.

  20. Improving Permafrost Hydrology Prediction Through Data-Model Integration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, C. J.; Andresen, C. G.; Atchley, A. L.; Bolton, W. R.; Busey, R.; Coon, E.; Charsley-Groffman, L.

    2017-12-01

    The CMIP5 Earth System Models were unable to adequately predict the fate of the 16GT of permafrost carbon in a warming climate due to poor representation of Arctic ecosystem processes. The DOE Office of Science Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment, NGEE-Arctic project aims to reduce uncertainty in the Arctic carbon cycle and its impact on the Earth's climate system by improved representation of the coupled physical, chemical and biological processes that drive how much buried carbon will be converted to CO2 and CH4, how fast this will happen, which form will dominate, and the degree to which increased plant productivity will offset increased soil carbon emissions. These processes fundamentally depend on permafrost thaw rate and its influence on surface and subsurface hydrology through thermal erosion, land subsidence and changes to groundwater flow pathways as soil, bedrock and alluvial pore ice and massive ground ice melts. LANL and its NGEE colleagues are co-developing data and models to better understand controls on permafrost degradation and improve prediction of the evolution of permafrost and its impact on Arctic hydrology. The LANL Advanced Terrestrial Simulator was built using a state of the art HPC software framework to enable the first fully coupled 3-dimensional surface-subsurface thermal-hydrology and land surface deformation simulations to simulate the evolution of the physical Arctic environment. Here we show how field data including hydrology, snow, vegetation, geochemistry and soil properties, are informing the development and application of the ATS to improve understanding of controls on permafrost stability and permafrost hydrology. The ATS is being used to inform parameterizations of complex coupled physical, ecological and biogeochemical processes for implementation in the DOE ACME land model, to better predict the role of changing Arctic hydrology on the global climate system. LA-UR-17-26566.

  1. 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...

  2. Ground thermal and geomechanical conditions in a permafrost-affected high-latitude rock avalanche site (Polvartinden, northern Norway)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frauenfelder, Regula; Isaksen, Ketil; Lato, Matthew J.; Noetzli, Jeannette

    2018-04-01

    On 26 June 2008, a rock avalanche detached in the northeast facing slope of Polvartinden, a high-alpine mountain in Signaldalen, northern Norway. Here, we report on the observed and modelled past and present near-surface temperature regime close to the failure zone, as well as on a subsequent simulation of the subsurface temperature regime, and on initial geomechanical mapping based on laser scanning. The volume of the rock avalanche was estimated to be approximately 500 000 m3. The depth to the actual failure surface was found to range from 40 m at the back of the failure zone to 0 m at its toe. Visible in situ ice was observed in the failure zone just after the rock avalanche. Between September 2009 and August 2013, ground surface temperatures were measured with miniature temperature data loggers at 14 different localities, close to the original failure zone along the northern ridge of Polvartinden and on the valley floor. The results from these measurements and from a basic three-dimensional heat conduction model suggest that the lower altitudinal limit of permafrost at present is at 600-650 m a.s.l., which corresponds to the upper limit of the failure zone. A coupling of our in situ data with regional climate data since 1958 suggests a general gradual warming and that the period with highest mean near surface temperatures on record ended four months before the Signaldalen rock avalanche detached. A comparison with a transient permafrost model run at 10 m depth, representative for areas where snow accumulates, strengthen these findings, which are also in congruence with measurements in nearby permafrost boreholes. It is likely that permafrost in and near the failure zone is presently subject to degradation. This degradation, in combination with the extreme warm year antecedent to the rock failure, is seen to have played an important role in the detaching of the Signaldalen rock avalanche.

  3. Ground thermal and geomechanical conditions in a permafrost-affected high-latitude rock avalanche site (Polvartinden, northern Norway

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. Frauenfelder

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available On 26 June 2008, a rock avalanche detached in the northeast facing slope of Polvartinden, a high-alpine mountain in Signaldalen, northern Norway. Here, we report on the observed and modelled past and present near-surface temperature regime close to the failure zone, as well as on a subsequent simulation of the subsurface temperature regime, and on initial geomechanical mapping based on laser scanning. The volume of the rock avalanche was estimated to be approximately 500 000 m3. The depth to the actual failure surface was found to range from 40 m at the back of the failure zone to 0 m at its toe. Visible in situ ice was observed in the failure zone just after the rock avalanche. Between September 2009 and August 2013, ground surface temperatures were measured with miniature temperature data loggers at 14 different localities, close to the original failure zone along the northern ridge of Polvartinden and on the valley floor. The results from these measurements and from a basic three-dimensional heat conduction model suggest that the lower altitudinal limit of permafrost at present is at 600–650 m a.s.l., which corresponds to the upper limit of the failure zone. A coupling of our in situ data with regional climate data since 1958 suggests a general gradual warming and that the period with highest mean near surface temperatures on record ended four months before the Signaldalen rock avalanche detached. A comparison with a transient permafrost model run at 10 m depth, representative for areas where snow accumulates, strengthen these findings, which are also in congruence with measurements in nearby permafrost boreholes. It is likely that permafrost in and near the failure zone is presently subject to degradation. This degradation, in combination with the extreme warm year antecedent to the rock failure, is seen to have played an important role in the detaching of the Signaldalen rock avalanche.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Westermann, Sebastian; Elberling, Bo; Pedersen, Stine 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...

  5. The Role of Arctic Soils in the Permafrost – Climate Feedback

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Richter, A.

    2016-01-01

    The total organic carbon pool in arctic and boreal permafrost soils has been estimated to be about 1,760 Petagram (10"1"5 g) C, more than twice today’s atmospheric C pool and about half of the global soil carbon. A significant proportion of this C pool may be vulnerable to climate warming through permafrost thawing and subsequent decomposition by microorganisms. Thus, it has been suggested that permafrost soils may become a future source of CO_2 and CH_4 to the atmosphere and lead to a strong positive feedback to global warming (up to + 0.5 °C until 2200). I will present results from several projects that aimed at understanding the mechanisms behind the permafrost-climate feedback, by identifying the major soil organic matter (SOM) stabilization mechanisms of permafrost SOM. I will address a range of different mechanisms by which SOM can be protected from decomposition, such as unfavourable temperature and moisture regimes, physical protection by formation of organo-mineral associations and chemical recalcitrance of SOM. I will focus, however, on energy and nutrient constraints of heterotrophic microbial communities and their role in SOM decomposition. I will then show that the physiology of the tiniest organisms on Earth will ultimately determine the vulnerability of the global permafrost carbon pool and thus the global permafrost-climate feedback. (author)

  6. Potential Distribution of Mountain Cloud Forest in Michoacán, Mexico: Prioritization for Conservation in the Context of Landscape Connectivity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Correa Ayram, Camilo A; Mendoza, Manuel E; Etter, Andrés; Pérez Salicrup, Diego R

    2017-07-01

    Landscape connectivity is essential in biodiversity conservation because of its ability to reduce the effect of habitat fragmentation; furthermore is a key property in adapting to climate change. Potential distribution models and landscape connectivity studies have increased with regard to their utility to prioritizing areas for conservation. The objective of this study was to model the potential distribution of Mountain cloud forests in the Transversal Volcanic System, Michoacán and to analyze the role of these areas in maintaining landscape connectivity. Potential distribution was modeled for the Mountain cloud forests based on the maximum entropy approach using 95 occurrence points and 17 ecological variables at 30 m spatial resolution. Potential connectivity was then evaluated by using a probability of connectivity index based on graph theory. The percentage of variation (dPCk) was used to identify the individual contribution of each potential area of Mountain cloud forests in overall connectivity. The different ways in which the potential areas of Mountain cloud forests can contribute to connectivity were evaluated by using the three fractions derived from dPCk (dPCintrak, dPCfluxk, and dPCconnectork). We determined that 37,567 ha of the TVSMich are optimal for the presence of Mountain cloud forests. The contribution of said area in the maintenance of connectivity was low. The conservation of Mountain cloud forests is indispensable, however, in providing or receiving dispersal flows through TVSMich because of its role as a connector element between another habitat types. The knowledge of the potential capacity of Mountain cloud forests to promote structural and functional landscape connectivity is key in the prioritization of conservation areas.

  7. Human-Modified Permafrost Complexes in Urbanized Areas of the Russian North

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

    Economic development in permafrost regions is accompanied by modification of natural geocryological conditions. Drastic landscape transformations in urbanized areas on permafrost are characterized by changes of heat and moisture exchange in permafrost - atmosphere system, and by engineering and technogenic influence upon the frozen ground, leading to alteration of its physical, thermal and mechanical properties. In northern cities this leads to overall increase of ground temperature relative to undisturbed areas and intensification of hazardous cryogenic processes in areas under engineering development, which together leads to reduction in stability of geotechnical environment. For example, deformations of structures in Norilsk district, Northern Siberia, in the last 15 years, became much more abundant than those revealed throughout the previous 50 years. About 250 large buildings in the local towns were deformed considerably due to deterioration of geocryological conditions, about 100 structures were functioning in emergency state, and almost 50 nine- and five-storey houses, built in the 1960-80s, have been recently disassembled. Increase in accident risk for various facilities (water and oil pipelines, industrial enterprises, etc.) enhances the technogenic pressure on permafrost, leading to the new milestone of changes in permafrost characteristics, i.e. to creation of 'another reality' of geocryological conditions. Social and natural factors dictate clustered spatial pattern of industrial development in permafrost regions. Cryogenic processes within the urban areas on permafrost are seldom similar with those under the natural conditions as intensity, duration and extent of the processes changes under technogenic impacts. Moreover, new cryogenic processes and phenomena may occur, which have not been typical for a given region. This makes mapping and characterization of these processes difficult task. Peculiar natural-technogenic geocryological complexes (NTGC

  8. Changes in surface area of the Böön Tsagaan and Orog lakes (Mongolia, Valley of the Lakes, 1974-2013) compared to climate and permafrost changes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Szumińska, Danuta

    2016-07-01

    The main aim of the study is the analysis of changes in surface area of lake Böön Tsagaan (45°35‧N, 99°8‧E) and lake Orog (45°3‧N, 100°44‧E) taking place in the last 40 years in the context of climate conditions and permafrost degradation. The lakes, located in Central Mongolia, at the borderline of permafrost range are fed predominantly by river waters and groundwater from the surrounding mountain areas, characterized by continuous and discontinuous permafrost occurrence - mostly the Khangai. The analysis of the Böön Tsagaan and Orog lake surface area in 1974-2013 was conducted based on satellite images, whereas climate conditions were analysed using the NOAA climate data and CRU dataset. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was used to study the relationship patterns between the climatic factors and changes in the surface area of the lakes. A tendency for a decrease in surface area, intermittent with short episodes of resupply, was observed in both studied lakes. Climate changes recorded in the analysed period had both direct and indirect impacts on water supply to lakes. Taking into account the results of PCA analysis, the most significant factors include: fluctuation of annual precipitation, increase in air temperature and thickness of snow cover. The extended duration of snow cover in the last decades of the 20th century may constitute a key factor in relation to permafrost degradation.

  9. A simplified, data-constrained approach to estimate the permafrost carbon–climate feedback

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koven, C.D.; Schuur, E.A.G.; Schädel, C.; Bohn, T. J.; Burke, E. J.; Chen, G.; Chen, X.; Ciais, P.; Grosse, G.; Harden, J.W.; Hayes, D.J.; Hugelius, G.; Jafarov, Elchin E.; Krinner, G.; Kuhry, P.; Lawrence, D.M.; MacDougall, A. H.; Marchenko, Sergey S.; McGuire, A. David; Natali, Susan M.; Nicolsky, D.J.; Olefeldt, David; Peng, S.; Romanovsky, V.E.; Schaefer, Kevin M.; Strauss, J.; Treat, C.C.; Turetsky, M.

    2015-01-01

    We present an approach to estimate the feedback from large-scale thawing of permafrost soils using a simplified, data-constrained model that combines three elements: soil carbon (C) maps and profiles to identify the distribution and type of C in permafrost soils; incubation experiments to quantify the rates of C lost after thaw; and models of soil thermal dynamics in response to climate warming. We call the approach the Permafrost Carbon Network Incubation–Panarctic Thermal scaling approach (PInc-PanTher). The approach assumes that C stocks do not decompose at all when frozen, but once thawed follow set decomposition trajectories as a function of soil temperature. The trajectories are determined according to a three-pool decomposition model fitted to incubation data using parameters specific to soil horizon types. We calculate litterfall C inputs required to maintain steady-state C balance for the current climate, and hold those inputs constant. Soil temperatures are taken from the soil thermal modules of ecosystem model simulations forced by a common set of future climate change anomalies under two warming scenarios over the period 2010 to 2100. Under a medium warming scenario (RCP4.5), the approach projects permafrost soil C losses of 12.2–33.4 Pg C; under a high warming scenario (RCP8.5), the approach projects C losses of 27.9–112.6 Pg C. Projected C losses are roughly linearly proportional to global temperature changes across the two scenarios. These results indicate a global sensitivity of frozen soil C to climate change (γ sensitivity) of −14 to −19 Pg C °C−1 on a 100 year time scale. For CH4 emissions, our approach assumes a fixed saturated area and that increases in CH4 emissions are related to increased heterotrophic respiration in anoxic soil, yielding CH4 emission increases of 7% and 35% for the RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios, respectively, which add an additional greenhouse gas forcing of approximately 10–18%. The

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Treat, C.C.; Jones, Miriam C.; Camill, P.; Gallego-Sala, A.; Garneau, M.; Harden, Jennifer W.; Hugelius, G.; Klein, E.S.; Kokfelt, U.; Kuhry, P.; Loisel, Julie; 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-05-14

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

  12. Quantifying shallow and deep permafrost changes using radar remote sensing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Teshebaeva, K.; van Huissteden, K. J.

    2017-12-01

    Widespread thawing of permafrost in the northern Eurasian continent cause severe problems for infrastructure and global climate. Permafrost thaw by climate warming creates land surface instability, resulting in severe problems for infrastructure, and release of organic matter to the atmosphere as CO2 and CH4. Recent discoveries of CH4 seeps in lakes, in the Arctic Ocean, and CH4 emitting craters in the permafrost. These features indicate that permafrost destabilization might no longer be a surface feature only, but that also deeper layers of the permafrost, up to tens of meters, may be affected by warming. We study two potential areas in Siberian arctic; one of the test site is the Kytalyk research station near Chokurdagh town affected with a recent inundation of the Indigirka river in July 2017, which resulted in standing surface water for the period over a month. The wet soil and standing water may cause changes in active layer thickness and influence the thermal regime of the permafrost for the next decades in the region. The second test site is Yamal peninsula with recently CH4 emitting craters, which may start to contribute to emission hotspots. We hypothesize that these deeper subsurface processes also can be detected by mapping surface elevation changes using advanced SAR techniques. We test the potential of SAR imagery to enhance detection of these features, including surface movement related to permafrost active layer changes using InSAR time-series analysis. We also apply radar backscatter signal to detect seasonal changes related to the freeze-thaw cycles. The PRISM elevation data are used to estimate elevation changes in the region along with ground-based geophysical and geodetical fieldwork.

  13. Estimating Rates of Permafrost Degradation and their Impact on Ecosystems across Alaska and Northwest Canada using the Process-based Permafrost Dynamics Model GIPL as a Component of the Integrated Ecosystem Model (IEM)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marchenko, S. S.; Genet, H.; Euskirchen, E. S.; Breen, A. L.; McGuire, A. D.; Rupp, S. T.; Romanovsky, V. E.; Bolton, W. R.; Walsh, J. E.

    2016-12-01

    The impact of climate warming on permafrost and the potential of climate feedbacks resulting from permafrost thawing have recently received a great deal of attention. Permafrost temperature has increased in most locations in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic during the past 30-40 years. The typical increase in permafrost temperature is 1-3°C. The process-based permafrost dynamics model GIPL developed in the Geophysical Institute Permafrost Lab, and which is the permafrost module of the Integrated Ecosystem Model (IEM) has been using to quantify the nature and rate of permafrost degradation and its impact on ecosystems, infrastructure, CO2 and CH4fluxes and net C storage following permafrost thaw across Alaska and Northwest Canada. The IEM project is a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary effort aimed at understanding potential landscape, habitat and ecosystem change across the IEM domain. The IEM project also aims to tie three scientific models together Terrestrial Ecosystem Model (TEM), the ALFRESCO (ALaska FRame-based EcoSystem Code) and GIPL so that they exchange data at run-time. The models produce forecasts of future fire, vegetation, organic matter, permafrost and hydrology regimes. The climate forcing data are based on the historical CRU3.1 data set for the retrospective analysis period (1901-2009) and the CMIP3 CCCMA-CGCM3.1 and MPI-ECHAM5/MPI-OM climate models for the future period (2009-2100). All data sets were downscaled to a 1 km resolution, using a differencing methodology (i.e., a delta method) and the Parameter-elevation Regressions on Independent Slopes Model (PRISM) climatology. We estimated the dynamics of permafrost temperature, active layer thickness, area occupied by permafrost, and volume of thawed soils across the IEM domain. The modeling results indicate how different types of ecosystems affect the thermal state of permafrost and its stability. Although the rate of soil warming and permafrost degradation in peatland areas are slower than

  14. Snow cover distribution over elevation zones in a mountainous catchment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Panagoulia, D.; Panagopoulos, Y.

    2009-04-01

    A good understanding of the elevetional distribution of snow cover is necessary to predict the timing and volume of runoff. In a complex mountainous terrain the snow cover distribution within a watershed is highly variable in time and space and is dependent on elevation, slope, aspect, vegetation type, surface roughness, radiation load, and energy exchange at the snow-air interface. Decreases in snowpack due to climate change could disrupt the downstream urban and agricultural water supplies, while increases could lead to seasonal flooding. Solar and longwave radiation are dominant energy inputs driving the ablation process. Turbulent energy exchange at the snow cover surface is important during the snow season. The evaporation of blowing and drifting snow is strongly dependent upon wind speed. Much of the spatial heterogeneity of snow cover is the result of snow redistribution by wind. Elevation is important in determining temperature and precipitation gradients along hillslopes, while the temperature gradients determine where precipitation falls as rain and snow and contribute to variable melt rates within the hillslope. Under these premises, the snow accumulation and ablation (SAA) model of the US National Weather Service (US NWS) was applied to implement the snow cover extent over elevation zones of a mountainous catchment (the Mesochora catchment in Western-Central Greece), taking also into account the indirectly included processes of sublimation, interception, and snow redistribution. The catchment hydrology is controlled by snowfall and snowmelt and the simulated discharge was computed from the soil moisture accounting (SMA) model of the US NWS and compared to the measured discharge. The elevationally distributed snow cover extent presented different patterns with different time of maximization, extinction and return during the year, producing different timing of discharge that is a crucial factor for the control and management of water resources systems.

  15. 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...

  16. 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.

  17. Adaptation to permafrost in the Canadian north: Present and future

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Woo Mingko; Rouse, W.R.; Young, K.L.; Lewkowicz, A.G.

    1993-01-01

    Human-induced climate warming is believed to be imminent, although its exact magnitude is uncertain. Such a warming will have a dramatic effect on permafrost, which underlies about half of Canada's land mass. Adaptation of the land to climatic warming will include diminution of permafrost both in lateral and vertical extent, with concomitant responses in the landscape such as development of thermokarst, slides and slumping in hilly terrain, and altering of hydrologic regimes. Since northern development has relied on special techniques that preserve permafrost to ensure foundation stability, climatic warming will demand adjustment in engineering designs for new facilities and alteration of maintenance procedures for existing facilities. Recommendations are presented for future research, both on permafrost and its linkages to climatic and other environmental factors, and on risk analyses of engineering projects

  18. Subsidence from an artificial permafrost warming experiment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gelvin, A.; Wagner, A. M.; Lindsey, N.; Dou, S.; Martin, E. R.; Ekblaw, I.; Ulrich, C.; James, S. R.; Freifeld, B. M.; Daley, T. M.; Saari, S.; Ajo Franklin, J. B.

    2017-12-01

    Using fiber optic sensing technologies (seismic, strain, and temperature) we installed a geophysical detection system to predict thaw subsidence in Fairbanks, Alaska, United States. Approximately 5 km of fiber optic was buried in shallow trenches (20 cm depth), in an area with discontinuous permafrost, where the top of the permafrost is approximately 4 - 4.5m below the surface. The thaw subsidence was enforced by 122 60-Watt vertical heaters installed over a 140 m2 area where seismic, strain, and temperature were continuously monitored throughout the length of the fiber. Several vertical thermistor strings were also recording ground temperatures to a depth of 10 m in parallel to the fiber optic to verify the measurements collected from the fiber optic cable. GPS, Electronic Distance Measurement (EDM) Traditional and LiDAR (Light and Detection and Ranging) scanning were used to investigate the surface subsidence. The heaters were operating for approximately a three month period starting in August, 2016. During the heating process the soil temperatures at the heater element increased from 3.5 to 45 °C at a depth of 3 - 4 m. It took approximately 7 months for the temperature at the heater elements to recover to their initial temperature. The depth to the permafrost table was deepened by about 1 m during the heating process. By the end of the active heating, the surface had subsided approximately 8 cm in the heating section where permafrost was closest to the surface. This was conclusively confirmed with GPS, EDM, and LiDAR. An additional LiDAR survey was performed about seven months after the heaters were turned off (in May 2017). A total subsidence of approximately 20 cm was measured by the end of the passive heating process. This project successfully demonstrates that this is a viable approach for simulating both deep permafrost thaw and the resulting surface subsidence.

  19. Methane production as key to the greenhouse gas budget of thawing permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knoblauch, Christian; Beer, Christian; Liebner, Susanne; Grigoriev, Mikhail N.; Pfeiffer, Eva-Maria

    2018-04-01

    Permafrost thaw liberates frozen organic carbon, which is decomposed into carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). The release of these greenhouse gases (GHGs) forms a positive feedback to atmospheric CO2 and CH4 concentrations and accelerates climate change1,2. Current studies report a minor importance of CH4 production in water-saturated (anoxic) permafrost soils3-6 and a stronger permafrost carbon-climate feedback from drained (oxic) soils1,7. Here we show through seven-year laboratory incubations that equal amounts of CO2 and CH4 are formed in thawing permafrost under anoxic conditions after stable CH4-producing microbial communities have established. Less permafrost carbon was mineralized under anoxic conditions but more CO2-carbon equivalents (CO2-Ce) were formed than under oxic conditions when the higher global warming potential (GWP) of CH4 is taken into account8. A model of organic carbon decomposition, calibrated with the observed decomposition data, predicts a higher loss of permafrost carbon under oxic conditions (113 ± 58 g CO2-C kgC-1 (kgC, kilograms of carbon)) by 2100, but a twice as high production of CO2-Ce (241 ± 138 g CO2-Ce kgC-1) under anoxic conditions. These findings challenge the view of a stronger permafrost carbon-climate feedback from drained soils1,7 and emphasize the importance of CH4 production in thawing permafrost on climate-relevant timescales.

  20. Grey relation projection model for evaluating permafrost environment in the Muli coal mining area, China

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wei Cao; Yu Sheng; Yinghong Qin; Jing Li; Jichun Wu [Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou (China). State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering

    2010-12-15

    This study attempts to estimate the current stage of the permafrost environment in the Muli coal mining area, an opencast mining site in the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, China. The estimation is done by regarding this site's permafrost environment as a system which was divided into three subsystems consisting of permafrost freeze-thaw erosion sensibility, permafrost thermal stability, and permafrost ecological fragility. The subsystems were characterized with their influencing indicators, each of which was assigned with a weight according to analytic hierarchy process. The relationship between these indictors is established using an environmental evaluation model based on grey system theory. The evaluated results show that currently the normalised grey relation projection values (GRPV) of permafrost freezing-thawing erosion sensibility, permafrost thermal stability, permafrost ecological fragility and permafrost environment are 0.58 (general situation), 0.47 (bad situation), 0.63 (general situation) and 0.56 (general situation), respectively. These values imply that the permafrost environment has been deteriorated to a certain degree by human activities and potentially could be further degraded. However, at this degree, a new equilibrium could be achieved if the current environmental degradation ratio is held and if effective treatments are constructed against further damages.

  1. Influences of Moisture Regimes and Functional Plant Types on Nutrient Cycling in Permafrost Regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCaully, R. E.; Arendt, C. A.; Newman, B. D.; Heikoop, J. M.; Wilson, C. J.; Sevanto, S.; Wales, N. A.; Wullschleger, S.

    2017-12-01

    In the permafrost-dominated Arctic, climatic feedbacks exist between permafrost, soil moisture, functional plant type and presence of nutrients. Functional plant types present within the Arctic regulate and respond to changes in hydrologic regimes and nutrient cycling. Specifically, alders are a member of the birch family that use root nodules to fix nitrogen, which is a limiting nutrient strongly linked to fertilizing Arctic ecosystems. Previous investigations in the Seward Peninsula, AK show elevated presence of nitrate within and downslope of alder patches in degraded permafrost systems, with concentrations an order of magnitude greater than that of nitrate measured above these patches. Further observations within these degraded permafrost systems are crucial to assess whether alders are drivers of, or merely respond to, nitrate fluxes. In addition to vegetative feedbacks with nitrate supply, previous studies have also linked low moisture content to high nitrate production. Within discontinuous permafrost regions, the absence of permafrost creates well-drained regions with unsaturated soils whereas the presence of permafrost limits vertical drainage of soil-pore water creating elevated soil moisture content, which likely corresponds to lower nitrate concentrations. We investigate these feedbacks further in the Seward Peninsula, AK, through research supported by the United States Department of Energy Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment (NGEE) - Arctic. Using soil moisture and thaw depth as proxies to determine the extent of permafrost degradation, we identify areas of discontinuous permafrost over a heterogeneous landscape and collect co-located soilwater chemistry samples to highlight the complex relationships that exist between alder patches, soil moisture regimes, the presence of permafrost and available nitrate supply. Understanding the role of nitrogen in degrading permafrost systems, in the context of both vegetation present and soil moisture, is crucial

  2. Amount and timing of permafrost carbon release in response to climate warming

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Schaefer, Kevin; Zhang, Tingjun; Barrett, Andrew P. (National Snow and Ice Data Center, Cooperative Inst. for Research in Environmental Sciences, Univ. of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder (United States)), e-mail: kevin.schaefer@nsidc.org; Bruhwiler, Lori (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder (United States))

    2011-04-15

    The thaw and release of carbon currently frozen in permafrost will increase atmospheric CO{sub 2} concentrations and amplify surface warming to initiate a positive permafrost carbon feedback (PCF) on climate.We use surface weather from three global climate models based on the moderate warming, A1B Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emissions scenario and the SiBCASA land surface model to estimate the strength and timing of the PCF and associated uncertainty. By 2200, we predict a 29-59% decrease in permafrost area and a 53-97 cm increase in active layer thickness. By 2200, the PCF strength in terms of cumulative permafrost carbon flux to the atmosphere is 190 +- 64 Gt C. This estimate may be low because it does not account for amplified surface warming due to the PCF itself and excludes some discontinuous permafrost regions where SiBCASA did not simulate permafrost. We predict that the PCF will change the arctic from a carbon sink to a source after the mid-2020s and is strong enough to cancel 42-88% of the total global land sink. The thaw and decay of permafrost carbon is irreversible and accounting for the PCF will require larger reductions in fossil fuel emissions to reach a target atmospheric CO{sub 2} concentration

  3. Fossil organic matter characteristics in permafrost deposits of the northeast Siberian Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lutz Schirrmeister; Guido Grosse; Sebastian Wetterich; Pier Paul Overduin; Jens Straub; Edward A.G. Schuur; Hans-Wolfgang. Hubberton

    2011-01-01

    Permafrost deposits constitute a large organic carbon pool highly vulnerable to degradation and potential carbon release due to global warming. Permafrost sections along coastal and river bank exposures in NE Siberia were studied for organic matter (OM) characteristics and ice content. OM stored in Quaternary permafrost grew, accumulated, froze, partly decomposed, and...

  4. Distributional equity problems at the proposed Yucca Mountain facility

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kasperson, R.E.; Abdollahzadeh, S.

    1988-07-01

    This paper addresses one quite specific part of this broad range of issues -- the distribution of impacts to the state of Nevada and to the nation likely to be associated with the proposed Yucca Mountain repository. As such, it is one of four needed analyses of the overall equity problems and needs to be read in conjunction with our proposed overall framework for equity studies. The objective of this report is to consider how an analysis might be made of the distribution of projected outcomes between the state and nation. At the same time, it needs to be clear that no attempt will be made actually to implement the analysis that is proposed. What follows is a conceptual statement that identifies the analytical issues and pro poses an approach for overcoming them. Significantly, it must also be noted that this report will not address procedural equity issues between the state and nation for this is the subject of a separate analysis. 14 refs., 8 figs., 3 tabs

  5. Borehole permafrost data, Kumtor and Taragai Valleys, Tienshan, Kazakhstan, Version 1

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This dataset includes observations of the permafrost temperatures in the Inner Tien Shan were started in 1986 by Kazakhstan Alpine Permafrost Laboratory....

  6. 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.

  7. Long-range atmospheric transport and the distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Changbai Mountain.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhao, Xiangai; Kim, Seung-Kyu; Zhu, Weihong; Kannan, Narayanan; Li, Donghao

    2015-01-01

    The Changbai (also known as "Baekdu") Mountain, on the border between China and North Korea, is the highest mountain (2750 m) in northeastern China. Recently, this mountain region has experienced a dramatic increase in air pollution, not only because of increasing volumes of tourism-derived traffic but also because of the long-range transport of polluted westerly winds passing through major industrial and urban cities in the eastern region of China. To assess the relative importance of the two sources of pollution, 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) as model substances were determined in the mountain soil. A total of 32 soil samples were collected from different sides of the mountain at different latitudes between July and August of 2009. The ∑PAH concentrations were within the range 38.5-190.1 ng g(-1) on the northern side, 117.7-443.6 ng g(-1) on the southern side, and 75.3-437.3 ng g(-1) on the western side. A progressive increase in the level of ∑PAHs with latitude was observed on the southern and western sides that face the westerly wind with abundant precipitation. However, a similar concentration gradient was not observed on the northern side that receives less rain and is on the leeward direction of the wind. The high-molecular-weight PAH compounds were predominant in the soils on the southern and western sides, while low-molecular-weight PAHs dominated the northern side soils. These findings show that the distribution of PAHs in the mountain soil is strongly influenced by the atmospheric long-range transport and cold trapping. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Providing more informative projections of climate change impact on plant distribution in a mountain environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Randin, C.; Engler, R.; Pearman, P.; Vittoz, P.; Guisan, A.

    2007-12-01

    Due to their conic shape and the reduction of area with increasing elevation, mountain ecosystems were early identified as potentially very sensitive to global warming. Moreover, mountain systems may experience unprecedented rates of warming during the next century, two or three times higher than that records of the 20th century. In this context, species distribution models (SDM) have become important tools for rapid assessment of the impact of accelerated land use and climate change on the distribution plant species. In this study, we developed and tested new predictor variables for species distribution models (SDM), specific to current and future geographic projections of plant species in a mountain system, using the Western Swiss Alps as model region. Since meso- and micro-topography are relevant to explain geographic patterns of plant species in mountain environments, we assessed the effect of scale on predictor variables and geographic projections of SDM. We also developed a methodological framework of space-for-time evaluation to test the robustness of SDM when projected in a future changing climate. Finally, we used a cellular automaton to run dynamic simulations of plant migration under climate change in a mountain landscape, including realistic distance of seed dispersal. Results of future projections for the 21st century were also discussed in perspective of vegetation changes monitored during the 20th century. Overall, we showed in this study that, based on the most severe A1 climate change scenario and realistic dispersal simulations of plant dispersal, species extinctions in the Western Swiss Alps could affect nearly one third (28.5%) of the 284 species modeled by 2100. With the less severe B1 scenario, only 4.6% of species are predicted to become extinct. However, even with B1, 54% (153 species) may still loose more than 80% of their initial surface. Results of monitoring of past vegetation changes suggested that plant species can react quickly to the

  9. Data Integration Tool: Permafrost Data Debugging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilcox, H.; Schaefer, K. M.; Jafarov, E. E.; Pulsifer, P. L.; Strawhacker, C.; Yarmey, L.; Basak, R.

    2017-12-01

    We developed a Data Integration Tool (DIT) to significantly speed up the time of manual processing needed to translate inconsistent, scattered historical permafrost data into files ready to ingest directly into the Global Terrestrial Network-Permafrost (GTN-P). The United States National Science Foundation funded this project through the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) with the GTN-P to improve permafrost data access and discovery. We leverage this data to support science research and policy decisions. DIT is a workflow manager that divides data preparation and analysis into a series of steps or operations called widgets (https://github.com/PermaData/DIT). Each widget does a specific operation, such as read, multiply by a constant, sort, plot, and write data. DIT allows the user to select and order the widgets as desired to meet their specific needs, incrementally interact with and evolve the widget workflows, and save those workflows for reproducibility. Taking ideas from visual programming found in the art and design domain, debugging and iterative design principles from software engineering, and the scientific data processing and analysis power of Fortran and Python it was written for interactive, iterative data manipulation, quality control, processing, and analysis of inconsistent data in an easily installable application. DIT was used to completely translate one dataset (133 sites) that was successfully added to GTN-P, nearly translate three datasets (270 sites), and is scheduled to translate 10 more datasets ( 1000 sites) from the legacy inactive site data holdings of the Frozen Ground Data Center (FGDC). Iterative development has provided the permafrost and wider scientific community with an extendable tool designed specifically for the iterative process of translating unruly data.

  10. The Effects of Permafrost Thaw on Organic Matter Quality and Availability Along a Hill Slope in Northeastern Siberia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Connolly, C. T.; Spawn, S.; Ludwig, S.; Schade, J. D.; Natali, S.

    2014-12-01

    Climate warming and permafrost thaw in northeastern Siberia are expected to change the quantity and quality of organic matter (OM) transported through watersheds, releasing previously frozen carbon (C) to biologically available pool. Hill slopes have shown to influence the distribution of OM, resulting in a downhill accumulation of available C and nutrients relative to uphill. Here we examine how future permafrost thaw will change OM quality and availability along a hill slope in a larch-dominated watershed. We collected soils from the thawed organic and mineral layers, and 1m deep permafrost cores for dissolved organic C (DOC) and total dissolved N (TDN), C composition from measures of colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM), DOC lability from biodegradable DOC (BDOC) incubations, C and nutrient availability from extracellular-enzyme assays (EEA's), and microbial respiration from aerobic soil incubations. Here we show that organic soils (O), in comparison to mineral soils (M) and permafrost (P) are the most abundant source of C (avg O DOC: 51.6mg/L), exhibiting low molecular complexity (avg O SUVA254: 4.05) and high quality. Evidence suggests permafrost OM may be an equally abundant, and more labile source of C than mineral soils (highest P DOC: 16.1 mg/L, lowest P SUVA254: 6.32; median M DOC: 18.5 mg/L, median M SUVA254: 24.0). Furthermore, we demonstrate that there may be a positive relationship in the rate of C mineralization and distance downhill, showing 15-30% greater CO2 production/gC downhill relative to uphill. Evidence also supports a similar relationship in permafrost DOC content and molecular complexity, showing more DOC of a lower complexity further downhill. This indicates DOC transport may have been occurring through the active layer and downhill during ice-rich permafrost formation, and may supply a labile source of carbon to lowland areas and adjacent stream networks upon thaw.

  11. Effect of permafrost thaw on the dynamics of lakes recharged by ice-jam floods: case study in Yukon Flats, Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steve M. Jepsen,; Walvoord, Michelle Ann; Voss, Clifford I.; Rover, Jennifer R.

    2016-01-01

    Large river floods are a key water source for many lakes in fluvial periglacial settings. Where permeable sediments occur, the distribution of permafrost may play an important role in the routing of floodwaters across a floodplain. This relationship is explored for lakes in the discontinuous permafrost of Yukon Flats, interior Alaska, using an analysis that integrates satellite-derived gradients in water surface elevation, knowledge of hydrogeology, and hydrologic modeling. We observed gradients in water surface elevation between neighboring lakes ranging from 0.001 to 0.004. These high gradients, despite a ubiquitous layer of continuous shallow gravel across the flats, are consistent with limited groundwater flow across lake basins resulting from the presence of permafrost. Permafrost impedes the propagation of floodwaters in the shallow subsurface and constrains transmission to “fill-and-spill” over topographic depressions (surface sills), as we observed for the Twelvemile-Buddy Lake pair following a May 2013 ice-jam flood on the Yukon River. Model results indicate that permafrost table deepening of 1–11 m in gravel, depending on watershed geometry and subsurface properties, could shift important routing of floodwater to lakes from overland flow (fill-and-spill) to shallow groundwater flow (“fill-and-seep”). Such a shift is possible in the next several hundred years of ground surface warming, and may bring about more synchronous water level changes between neighboring lakes following large flood events. This relationship offers a potentially useful tool, well-suited to remote sensing, for identifying long-term changes in shallow groundwater flow resulting from thawing of permafrost.

  12. Petroleum contamination movement into permafrost in the high Arctic

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Biggar, K.W.

    1997-01-01

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

  13. 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

    The sedimentary settings of West Greenlandic towns with their fine-grained, often ice-rich marine deposits are of great concern in building and construction projects in Greenland, as they lose volume, strength and bearing capacity upon thaw. Since extensive permafrost thawing over large areas 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 to climate evolution is therefore crucial for sustainable infrastructure planning and development in the Arctic. We are developing a model of heat transport for permafrost able to assess the thermal properties of the ground based on calibration by surface geoelectrical measurements and ground surface temperature measurements. The advantages of modeling approach and use of exclusively surface measurements (in comparison with direct measurements on core samples) are smaller environmental impact, cheaper logistics, assessment of permafrost conditions over larger areas and possibility of forecasting of the fate of permafrost by application of climate forcing. In our approach, the heat model simulates temperature distribution in the ground based on ground surface temperature, specified proportions of the ground constituents and their estimated thermal parameters. The calculated temperatures in the specified model layers are governing the phase distribution between unfrozen water and ice. The changing proportion of unfrozen water content as function of temperature is the main parameter driving the evolution of electrical properties of the ground. We use a forward modeling scheme to calculate the apparent resistivity distribution of such a ground as if collected from a surface geoelectrical array. The calculated resistivity profile is compared to actual field measurements and a

  14. Distinct microbial communities in the active and permafrost layers on the Tibetan Plateau.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Yong-Liang; Deng, Ye; Ding, Jin-Zhi; Hu, Hang-Wei; Xu, Tian-Le; Li, Fei; Yang, Gui-Biao; Yang, Yuan-He

    2017-12-01

    Permafrost represents an important understudied genetic resource. Soil microorganisms play important roles in regulating biogeochemical cycles and maintaining ecosystem function. However, our knowledge of patterns and drivers of permafrost microbial communities is limited over broad geographic scales. Using high-throughput Illumina sequencing, this study compared soil bacterial, archaeal and fungal communities between the active and permafrost layers on the Tibetan Plateau. Our results indicated that microbial alpha diversity was significantly higher in the active layer than in the permafrost layer with the exception of fungal Shannon-Wiener index and Simpson's diversity index, and microbial community structures were significantly different between the two layers. Our results also revealed that environmental factors such as soil fertility (soil organic carbon, dissolved organic carbon and total nitrogen contents) were the primary drivers of the beta diversity of bacterial, archaeal and fungal communities in the active layer. In contrast, environmental variables such as the mean annual precipitation and total phosphorus played dominant roles in driving the microbial beta diversity in the permafrost layer. Spatial distance was important for predicting the bacterial and archaeal beta diversity in both the active and permafrost layers, but not for fungal communities. Collectively, these results demonstrated different driving factors of microbial beta diversity between the active layer and permafrost layer, implying that the drivers of the microbial beta diversity observed in the active layer cannot be used to predict the biogeographic patterns of the microbial beta diversity in the permafrost layer. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  15. Impact of Black Dust Pollution on Permafrost Temperature Regime in Pechora Basin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khilimonyuk, V.; Pustovoit, G.; Filatova, M.

    2011-12-01

    Pechora Coal basin locates in North- Easter part of Europe within permafrost zone. The coal mining and post processing lead to emission of black dust (BD) and pollution of Earth surface. The scale of snow pollution surrounding Vorkuta city reaches to 260 g/sq.m of dust that is about 1000 ppmm BD concentration in snow before melting period. Such a large concentration of dust reduces snow reflectivity (Warren and Wiscombe, 1980; Chýlek et al., 1983,Gorbacheva, 1984, Zender et al, 2010) and can thereby trigger albedo feedbacks. The goal of this study is to evaluate the role of dirty surface albedo in the observed changing of permafrost regime in this basin. Two key sites: Workuta (North permafrost zone) and Inta (South permafrost zone) areas were selected for this study. For each site the zoning of territory by typical conditions of permafrost formation was performed. For the selected typical landscapes 1-D vertical heat transfer model coupled with the surface radiation-thermal balance equation at topsoil was simulated. The simulation was performed for the soil profile of 20 m depth during 20 years period with periodical input data at dirty surface averaged on monthly base. The initial measured not disturbed soil temperature profile was used for assessment the soil thermal property for the given landscape and natural surface radiation-thermal balance. The annual cycle of albedo change for dirty surface was taken from experimental measurement (Gorbacheva, 1984) for both sites as the function of the distance from the dust source. The simulation results next were used for mapping the vulnerability of permafrost thermal regime due to black dust pollution. Generally the simulation results show that South permafrost zone with mean temperature of permafrost (-0.5 -0.1C) is more vulnerable to albedo change than North permafrost zone with mean temperature (-2.5 -2C) for the same order of dust impact on albedo.

  16. Methane emissions from permafrost thaw lakes limited by lake drainage.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Huissteden, J.; Berrittella, C.; Parmentier, F.J.W.; Mi, Y.; Maximov, T.C.; Dolman, A.J.

    2011-01-01

    Thaw lakes in permafrost areas are sources of the strong greenhouse gas methane. They develop mostly in sedimentary lowlands with permafrost and a high excess ground ice volume, resulting in large areas covered with lakes and drained thaw-lake basins (DTLBs; refs,). Their expansion is enhanced by

  17. A 20-year record (1998-2017) of permafrost, active layer and meteorological conditions at a high Arctic permafrost research site (Bayelva, Spitsbergen)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boike, Julia; Juszak, Inge; Lange, Stephan; Chadburn, Sarah; Burke, Eleanor; Overduin, Pier Paul; Roth, Kurt; Ippisch, Olaf; Bornemann, Niko; Stern, Lielle; Gouttevin, Isabelle; Hauber, Ernst; Westermann, Sebastian

    2018-03-01

    Most permafrost is located in the Arctic, where frozen organic carbon makes it an important component of the global climate system. Despite the fact that the Arctic climate changes more rapidly than the rest of the globe, observational data density in the region is low. Permafrost thaw and carbon release to the atmosphere are a positive feedback mechanism that can exacerbate global warming. This positive feedback functions via changing land-atmosphere energy and mass exchanges. There is thus a great need to understand links between the energy balance, which can vary rapidly over hourly to annual timescales, and permafrost, which changes slowly over long time periods. This understanding thus mandates long-term observational data sets. Such a data set is available from the Bayelva site at Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, where meteorology, energy balance components and subsurface observations have been made for the last 20 years. Additional data include a high-resolution digital elevation model (DEM) that can be used together with the snow physical information for snowpack modeling and a panchromatic image. This paper presents the data set produced so far, explains instrumentation, calibration, processing and data quality control, as well as the sources for various resulting data sets. The resulting data set is unique in the Arctic and serves as a baseline for future studies. The mean permafrost temperature is -2.8 °C, with a zero-amplitude depth at 5.5 m (2009-2017). Since the data provide observations of temporally variable parameters that mitigate energy fluxes between permafrost and atmosphere, such as snow depth and soil moisture content, they are suitable for use in integrating, calibrating and testing permafrost as a component in earth system models.The presented data are available in the Supplement for this paper (time series) and through the PANGAEA and Zenodo data portals: time series (https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.880120, https://zenodo.org/record/1139714) and

  18. The effect of petroleum spills on permafrost at CFS Alert

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Haidar, S.; Jarrett, P.

    1997-01-01

    Site investigations have been carried out at two decommissioned tank farm sites at Canadian Forces Station Alert on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island. The purpose was to study the mechanism of spilt fuel movement in frozen ground and its effects on frozen soils. The investigations consisted of sampling to depths below the permafrost table to assess vertical fuel migration, hydrocarbon pollutant concentration and water content. Results showed vertical migration of spilled fuel into permafrost. The migration was attributed to gravity drainage through interconnected air voids in fill material or movement through fissures in the soil induced by thermal contraction. Unweathered contaminants were found below the liners on top of the permafrost, believed to have been caused by holes in the liner. The entrapment of the spilled fuel may have been responsible for the enhanced vertical migration of contaminants observed at these sites. It was concluded that permafrost should not be considered as an impermeable barrier to contaminants with freezing points below 0 degree C. 4 figs

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. River Export of Dissolved and Particulate Organic Carbon from Permafrost and Peat Deposits across the Siberian Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wild, B.; Andersson, A.; Bröder, L.; Vonk, J.; Hugelius, G.; McClelland, J. W.; Raymond, P. A.; Gustafsson, O.

    2017-12-01

    Permafrost and peat deposits of northern high latitudes store more than 1300 Pg of organic carbon. This carbon has been preserved for thousands of years by cold and moist conditions, but is now increasingly mobilized as temperatures rise. While part will be degraded to CO2 and CH4 and amplify global warming, part will be exported by rivers to the Arctic Ocean where it can be degraded or re-buried by sedimentation. We here use the four large Siberian rivers Ob, Yenisey, Lena, and Kolyma as natural integrators of carbon mobilization in their catchments. We apply isotope based source apportionments and Markov Chain Monte Carlo Simulations to quantify contributions of organic carbon from permafrost and peat deposits to organic carbon exported by these rivers. More specifically, we compare the 14C signatures of dissolved and particulate organic carbon (DOC, POC) sampled close to the river mouths with those of five potential carbon sources; (1) recent aquatic and (2) terrestrial primary production, (3) the active layer of permafrost soils, (4) deep Holocene deposits (including thermokarst and peat deposits) and (5) Ice Complex Deposits. 14C signatures of these endmembers were constrained based on extensive literature review. We estimate that the four rivers together exported 2.4-4.5 Tg organic carbon from permafrost and peat deposits per year. While total organic carbon export was dominated by DOC (90%), the export of organic carbon from permafrost and peat deposits was more equally distributed between DOC (56%) and POC (44%). Recent models predict that ca. 200 Pg carbon will be lost as CO2 or CH4 by 2100 (RCP8.5) from the circumarctic permafrost area, of which roughly a quarter is drained by the Ob, Yenisey, Lena, and Kolyma rivers. Our comparatively low estimates of river carbon export thus suggest limited transfer of organic carbon from permafrost and peat deposits to high latitude rivers, or its rapid degradation within rivers. Our findings highlight the importance

  2. Analysis of microseismic signals and temperature recordings for rock slope stability investigations in high mountain areas

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Occhiena

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available The permafrost degradation is a probable cause for the increase of rock instabilities and rock falls observed in recent years in high mountain areas, particularly in the Alpine region. The phenomenon causes the thaw of the ice filling rock discontinuities; the water deriving from it subsequently freezes again inducing stresses in the rock mass that may lead, in the long term, to rock falls. To investigate these processes, a monitoring system composed by geophones and thermometers was installed in 2007 at the Carrel hut (3829 m a.s.l., Matterhorn, NW Alps. In 2010, in the framework of the Interreg 2007–2013 Alcotra project no. 56 MASSA, the monitoring system has been empowered and renovated in order to meet project needs.

    In this paper, the data recorded by this renewed system between 6 October 2010 and 5 October 2011 are presented and 329 selected microseismic events are analysed. The data processing has concerned the classification of the recorded signals, the analysis of their distribution in time and the identification of the most important trace characteristics in time and frequency domain. The interpretation of the results has evidenced a possible correlation between the temperature trend and the event occurrence.

    The research is still in progress and the data recording and interpretation are planned for a longer period to better investigate the spatial-temporal distribution of microseismic activity in the rock mass, with specific attention to the relation of microseismic activity with temperatures. The overall goal is to verify the possibility to set up an effective monitoring system for investigating the stability of a rock mass under permafrost conditions, in order to supply the researchers with useful data to better understand the relationship between temperature and rock mass stability and, possibly, the technicians with a valid tool for decision-making.

  3. Isolated ecosystems on supercooled scree slopes in subalpine environments - interaction between permafrost, soil and vegetation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwindt, Daniel; Kozák, Johanna-Luise; Kohlpaintner, Michael

    2017-04-01

    In the central European Alps, permafrost can be expected in altitudes above 2300 m a.s.l., where mean annual air temperatures are below -1°C. However, attributed to the thermally induced "chimney effect", isolated permafrost lenses can be found in scree slopes far below the timberline where mean annual air temperature is positive. Usually the supercooled subsurface appears as lenses at the foot of talus slopes, covered by a thick layer of organic material and a unique vegetation composition most obviously characterized by dwarf grown trees ("Hexenwäldli") and azonal plant species. The fact that mean annual air temperature is positive and therefore can be excluded as a driving factor makes these sites unique for studying interdependencies between a supercooled subsurface, plant adaptation and vegetation sociology as well as the soil development. Three study sites in the Swiss Alps, differing in altitude and substrate (granite, dolomite, limestone) were investigated. Studies covered the permafrost-affected central parts of the slope as well as the surrounding areas. For characterizing distribution and temporal variability of ground ice geophysical methods were applied (electrical resistivity- and seismic refraction tomography). Temperature data loggers were used for monitoring the thermal regime (air-, surface- and soil temperatures). Chemical parameters (pH, C/N ratio) and nutrient contents (N, P, Ca, Mg, Mn, K) were analyzed in different depth levels. Plant communities were analyzed with the Braun-Blanquet method. To characterize physiognomic adaptation of trees, transects have been determined parallel to slope, measuring tree height, diameter and age. Results show a strong spatial correlation between frozen ground, formation of a thick organic layer (Tangelhumus), azonal plant species distribution and pronounced dwarfing of trees. Surrounding areas with unfrozen subsurface show an - for the particular altitude - expected species and soil composition and normal

  4. Groundwater controls on post-fire permafrost thaw: Water and energy balance effects

    OpenAIRE

    Rocha, Adrian; Mckenzie, Jeffrey; Lamontagne-Halle, Pierrick; Zipper, Samuel

    2018-01-01

    Fire frequency and severity is increasing in high latitude regions, with large impacts on the water and energy balances. However, the degree to which groundwater flow impacts the permafrost response to fire remains poorly understood and understudied. Here, we use the Anaktuvuk River Fire (Alaska, USA) as an archetypal example to investigate groundwater-permafrost interactions following fire. We identify key thermal and hydrologic parameters controlling permafrost and active layer response to ...

  5. Edaphic and microclimatic controls over permafrost response to fire in interior Alaska

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nossov, Dana R; Kielland, Knut; Torre Jorgenson, M; Kanevskiy, Mikhail Z

    2013-01-01

    Discontinuous permafrost in the North American boreal forest is strongly influenced by the effects of ecological succession on the accumulation of surface organic matter, making permafrost vulnerable to degradation resulting from fire disturbance. To assess factors affecting permafrost degradation after wildfire, we compared vegetation composition and soil properties between recently burned and unburned sites across three soil landscapes (rocky uplands, silty uplands, and sandy lowlands) situated within the Yukon Flats and Yukon-Tanana Uplands in interior Alaska. Mean annual air temperatures at our study sites from 2011 to 2012 were relatively cold (−5.5 ° C) and favorable to permafrost formation. Burning of mature evergreen forests with thick moss covers caused replacement by colonizing species in severely burned areas and recovery of pre-fire understory vegetation in moderately burned areas. Surface organic layer thickness strongly affected thermal regimes and thaw depths. On average, fire caused a five-fold decrease in mean surface organic layer thickness, a doubling of water storage in the active layer, a doubling of thaw depth, an increase in soil temperature at the surface (−0.6 to +2.1 ° C) and at 1 m depth (−1.7 to +0.4 ° C), and a two-fold increase in net soil heat input. Degradation of the upper permafrost occurred at all burned sites, but differences in soil texture and moisture among soil landscapes allowed permafrost to persist beneath the active layer in the silty uplands, whereas a talik of unknown depth developed in the rocky uplands and a thin talik developed in the sandy lowlands. A changing climate and fire regime would undoubtedly influence permafrost in the boreal forest, but the patterns of degradation or stabilization would vary considerably across the discontinuous permafrost zone due to differences in microclimate, successional patterns, and soil characteristics. (letter)

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  7. Investigate the plant biomass response to climate warming in permafrost ecosystem using matrix-based data assimilation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lu, X.; Du, Z.; Schuur, E.; Luo, Y.

    2017-12-01

    Permafrost is one of the most vulnerable regions on the earth with over 40% world soil C represented in this region. Future climate warming potentially has a great impact on this region. On one hand, rising temperature accelerates permafrost soil thaw and release more C from land. On the other hand, warming may also increase the plant growing season length and therefore negatively feedback to climate change by increasing annual land C uptake. However, whether permafrost vegetation biomass change in response to warming can sequester more C has not been well understood. Manipulated air warming experiments reported that air warming has very limited impacts on grass land productivity and biomass growth in permafrost region [Mauritz et al., 2017]. It is hard to reveal the mechanisms behind the limited air warming response directly from experiment data. We employ a vegetation C cycle matrix model based on Community land model 4.5 (CLM4.5) and data assimilation technique to investigate how much do phenology and physiology processes contribute to the response respectively. Our results indicate phenology contributes the most in response to warming. The shift of vegetation parameter distributions after 2012 indicate vegetation acclimation may explain the modest response in plant biomass to air warming. The results suggest future model development need to take vegetation acclimation more seriously. The novel matrix-based model allows data assimilation to be conducted more efficiently. It provides more functional understanding of the models as well as the mechanism behind experiment data.

  8. Quantifying Permafrost Extent, Condition, and Degradation at Department of Defense Installations in the Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edlund, C. A.

    2017-12-01

    The Department of Defense (DoD) is planning over $500M in military construction on Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) within the next three fiscal years. This construction program will expand the footprint of facilities and change the storm water management scheme, which will have second order effects on the underlying permafrost layer. These changes in permafrost will drive engineering decision making at local and regional levels, and help shape the overall strategy for military readiness in the Arctic. Although many studies have attempted to predict climate change induced permafrost degradation, very little site-specific knowledge exists on the anthropogenic effects to permafrost at this location. In 2016, the permafrost degradation rates at Eielson AFB were modeled using the Geophysics Institute Permafrost Laboratory (GIPL) 2.1 model and limited available geotechnical and climate data. Model results indicated a degradation of the discontinuous permafrost layer at Eielson AFB of up to 7 meters in depth over the next century. To further refine an understanding of the geophysics at Eielson AFB and help engineers and commanders make more informed decisions on engineering and operations in the arctic, this project established two permafrost monitoring stations near the future construction sites. Installation of the stations occurred in July 2017. Permafrost was located and characterized using two Electrical Resistivity Tomography surveys, as well as direct frost probe measurements. Using this data, the research team optimized the placement location and depth of two long term ground temperature monitoring stations, and then installed the stations for data collection. The data set generated by these stations are the first of their kind at Eielson AFB, and represent the first systematic effort in the DoD to quantify permafrost condition before, during, and after construction and other anthropogenic activities in order to fully understand the effects of that activity in the

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grosse, Guido; Goetz, Scott; McGuire, A. David; 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Dynamics of the larch taiga-permafrost coupled system in Siberia under climate change

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zhang Ningning; Yasunari, Tetsuzo; Ohta, Takeshi

    2011-01-01

    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.

  12. Bacterial communities in ancient permafrost profiles of Svalbard, Arctic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Singh, Purnima; Singh, Shiv M; Singh, Ram N; Naik, Simantini; Roy, Utpal; Srivastava, Alok; Bölter, Manfred

    2017-12-01

    Permafrost soils are unique habitats in polar environment and are of great ecological relevance. The present study focuses on the characterization of bacterial communities from permafrost profiles of Svalbard, Arctic. Counts of culturable bacteria range from 1.50 × 10 3 to 2.22 × 10 5 CFU g -1 , total bacterial numbers range from 1.14 × 10 5 to 5.52 × 10 5 cells g -1 soil. Bacterial isolates are identified through 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Arthrobacter and Pseudomonas are the most dominant genera, and A. sulfonivorans, A. bergeri, P. mandelii, and P. jessenii as the dominant species. Other species belong to genera Acinetobacter, Bacillus, Enterobacter, Nesterenkonia, Psychrobacter, Rhizobium, Rhodococcus, Sphingobacterium, Sphingopyxis, Stenotrophomonas, and Virgibacillus. To the best of our knowledge, genera Acinetobacter, Enterobacter, Nesterenkonia, Psychrobacter, Rhizobium, Sphingobacterium, Sphingopyxis, Stenotrophomonas, and Virgibacillus are the first northernmost records from Arctic permafrost. The present study fills the knowledge gap of culturable bacterial communities and their chronological characterization from permafrost soils of Ny-Ålesund (79°N), Arctic. © 2017 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  13. 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.

  14. 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 S.; Knoblauch, Christian; Lupascu, Massimo; Martikainen, Pertti J.; Natali, Susan M.; Norby, Richard J.; O'Donnell, Jonathan A.; Roy Chowdhury, Taniya; Šantrůčková, Hana; Shaver, Gaius; Sloan, Victoria L.; Treat, Claire C.; Turetsky, Merritt R.; Waldrop, Mark P.; Wickland, Kimberly P.

    2016-01-01

    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.

  15. Methane Ebullition During Simulated Lake Expansion and Permafrost Degradation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mazéas, O.; von Fischer, J. C.; Whelan, M.; Rhew, R.

    2007-12-01

    Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is emitted by Arctic tundra and lakes. Ebullition, or bubbling, of methane from Arctic lakes has been shown to be a major transport mechanism from the sediment to the atmosphere, and ebullition rates are greatest near the edges of the lakes where active erosion is occurring. In regions of continuous permafrost, Arctic lakes have been expanding in recent decades, attributed to permafrost melting and development of thermokarst. Lake expansion occurs when the margins erode into water, supplying large amounts of organic rich material to the sediment-water interface. This allows carbon that was previously stored in the soil (active layer and permafrost) to become bioavailable and subject to decomposition. An increase in Arctic methane emissions as a result of permafrost thawing and lake expansion would constitute a positive feedback to Arctic warming. In order to better understand these processes, an experiment was initiated in July 2007 at the Barrow Environmental Observatory, Barrow, AK. Different layers of locally collected tundra soil were placed into incubation chambers at the bottom of a shallow (about 1 m deep) lake. Each experimental chamber consists of a bucket fixed underneath an inverted funnel, with a sampling port on top to capture and collect the emitted gases. Gas samples are analyzed for methane and carbon dioxide concentrations, as well as relevant isotopic compositions. Gas sampling has occurred at frequent intervals during the late summer and will continue through the early winter. Three replicates of each layer (active layer, seasonally frozen active layer and permafrost) were incubated, as well as an empty control chamber. An additional chamber containing thawed permafrost and cellulose-rich sawdust was placed for comparison, as cellulose is a major component of plant tissue and the fermentation of the cellulose should yield substrates for methanogenesis. Total production of methane versus organic carbon content of

  16. Investigation of Soil and Vegetation Characteristics in Discontinuous Permafrost Landscapes Near Fairbanks, Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-08-01

    ER D C TR -1 5- 7 ERDC Center-Directed Research Investigation of Soil and Vegetation Characteristics in Discontinuous Permafrost ...Characteristics in Discontinuous Permafrost Landscapes Near Fairbanks, Alaska Jacob F. Berkowitz U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC...Washington, DC 20314-1000 Under ERDC Center-Directed Research project “Integrated Technologies for Delineat- ing Permafrost and Ground-State

  17. Water Futures for Cold Mountain Ecohydrology under Climate Change - Results from the North American Cordilleran Transect

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rasouli, K.; Pomeroy, J. W.; Fang, X.; Whitfield, P. H.; Marks, D. G.; Janowicz, J. R.

    2017-12-01

    A transect comprising three intensively researched mountain headwater catchments stretching from the northern US to northern Canada provides the basis to downscale climate models outputs for mountain hydrology and insight for an assessment of water futures under changing climate and vegetation using a physically based hydrological model. Reynolds Mountain East, Idaho; Marmot Creek, Alberta and Wolf Creek, Yukon are high mountain catchments dominated by forests and alpine shrub and grass vegetation with long-term snow, hydrometric and meteorological observations and extensive ecohydrological process studies. The physically based, modular, flexible and object-oriented Cold Regions Hydrological Modelling Platform (CRHM) was used to create custom spatially distributed hydrological models for these three catchments. Model parameterisations were based on knowledge of hydrological processes, basin physiography, soils and vegetation with minimal or no calibration from streamflow measurements. The models were run over multidecadal periods using high-elevation meteorological observations to assess the recent ecohydrological functioning of these catchments. The results showed unique features in each catchment, from snowdrift-fed aspen pocket forests in Reynolds Mountain East, to deep late-lying snowdrifts at treeline larch forests in Marmot Creek, and snow-trapping shrub tundra overlying discontinuous permafrost in Wolf Creek. The meteorological observations were then perturbed using the changes in monthly temperature and precipitation predicted by the NARCCAP modelling outputs for the mid-21st C. In all catchments there is a dramatic decline in snow redistribution and sublimation by wind and of snow interception by and sublimation from evergreen canopies that is associated with warmer winters. Reduced sublimation loss only partially compensated for greater rainfall fractions of precipitation. Under climate change, snowmelt was earlier and slower and at the lowest elevations

  18. A 20-year record (1998–2017 of permafrost, active layer and meteorological conditions at a high Arctic permafrost research site (Bayelva, Spitsbergen

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Boike

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available Most permafrost is located in the Arctic, where frozen organic carbon makes it an important component of the global climate system. Despite the fact that the Arctic climate changes more rapidly than the rest of the globe, observational data density in the region is low. Permafrost thaw and carbon release to the atmosphere are a positive feedback mechanism that can exacerbate global warming. This positive feedback functions via changing land–atmosphere energy and mass exchanges. There is thus a great need to understand links between the energy balance, which can vary rapidly over hourly to annual timescales, and permafrost, which changes slowly over long time periods. This understanding thus mandates long-term observational data sets. Such a data set is available from the Bayelva site at Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, where meteorology, energy balance components and subsurface observations have been made for the last 20 years. Additional data include a high-resolution digital elevation model (DEM that can be used together with the snow physical information for snowpack modeling and a panchromatic image. This paper presents the data set produced so far, explains instrumentation, calibration, processing and data quality control, as well as the sources for various resulting data sets. The resulting data set is unique in the Arctic and serves as a baseline for future studies. The mean permafrost temperature is −2.8 °C, with a zero-amplitude depth at 5.5 m (2009–2017. Since the data provide observations of temporally variable parameters that mitigate energy fluxes between permafrost and atmosphere, such as snow depth and soil moisture content, they are suitable for use in integrating, calibrating and testing permafrost as a component in earth system models.The presented data are available in the Supplement for this paper (time series and through the PANGAEA and Zenodo data portals: time series (https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.880120, https

  19. Subsea ice-bearing permafrost on the U.S. Beaufort Margin: 1. Minimum seaward extent defined from multichannel seismic reflection data

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

    Subsea ice-bearing permafrost (IBPF) and associated gas hydrate in the Arctic have been subject to a warming climate and saline intrusion since the last transgression at the end of the Pleistocene. The consequent degradation of IBPF is potentially associated with significant degassing of dissociating gas hydrate deposits. Previous studies interpreted the distribution of subsea permafrost on the U.S. Beaufort continental shelf based on geographically sparse data sets and modeling of expected thermal history. The most cited work projects subsea permafrost to the shelf edge (∼100 m isobath). This study uses a compilation of stacking velocity analyses from ∼100,000 line-km of industry-collected multichannel seismic reflection data acquired over 57,000 km2 of the U.S. Beaufort shelf to delineate continuous subsea IBPF. Gridded average velocities of the uppermost 750 ms two-way travel time range from 1475 to 3110 m s−1. The monotonic, cross-shore pattern in velocity distribution suggests that the seaward extent of continuous IBPF is within 37 km of the modern shoreline at water depths < 25 m. These interpretations corroborate recent Beaufort seismic refraction studies and provide the best, margin-scale evidence that continuous subsea IBPF does not currently extend to the northern limits of the continental shelf.

  20. Microbial Community Dynamics from Permafrost Across the Pleistocene-Holocene Boundary and Response to Abrupt Climate Change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hammad, A.; Mahony, M.; Froese, D. G.; Lanoil, B. D.

    2014-12-01

    Earth is currently undergoing rapid warming similar to that observed about 10,000 years ago at the end of the Pleistocene. We know a considerable amount about the adaptations and extinctions of mammals and plants at the Pleistocene/Holocene (P/H) boundary, but relatively little about changes at the microbial level. Due to permafrost soils' freezing anoxic conditions, they act as microbial diversity archives allowing us to determine how microbial communities adapted to the abrupt warming at the end of P. Since microbial community composition only helps differentiate viable and extant microorganisms in frozen permafrost, microbial activity in thawing permafrost must be investigated to provide a clear understanding of microbial response to climate change. Current increased temperatures will result in warming and potential thaw of permafrost and release of stored organic carbon, freeing it for microbial utilization; turning permafrost into a carbon source. Studying permafrost viable microbial communities' diversity and activity will provide a better understanding of how these microorganisms respond to soil edaphic variability due to climate change across the P/H boundary, providing insight into the changes that the soil community is currently undergoing in this modern era of rapid climate change. Modern soil, H and P permafrost cores were collected from Lucky Lady II site outside Dawson City, Yukon. 16S rRNA high throughput sequencing of permafrost DNA showed the same trends for total and viable community richness and diversity with both decreasing with permafrost depth and only the richness increasing in mid and early P. The modern, H and P soils had 50.9, 33.9, and 27.3% unique viable species and only 14% of the total number of viable species were shared by all soils. Gas flux measurements of thawed permafrost showed metabolic activity in modern and permafrost soils, aerobic CH­­4 consumption in modern, some H and P soils, and anaerobic CH­­4 production in one H

  1. Permafrost thaw and wildfire: Equally important drivers of boreal tree cover changes in the Taiga Plains, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Helbig, M.; Pappas, C.; Sonnentag, O.

    2016-02-01

    Boreal forests cover vast areas of the permafrost zones of North America, and changes in their composition and structure can lead to pronounced impacts on the regional and global climate. We partition the variation in regional boreal tree cover changes between 2000 and 2014 across the Taiga Plains, Canada, into its main causes: permafrost thaw, wildfire disturbance, and postfire regrowth. Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer Percent Tree Cover (PTC) data are used in combination with maps of historic fires, and permafrost and drainage characteristics. We find that permafrost thaw is equally important as fire history to explain PTC changes. At the southern margin of the permafrost zone, PTC loss due to permafrost thaw outweighs PTC gain from postfire regrowth. These findings emphasize the importance of permafrost thaw in controlling regional boreal forest changes over the last decade, which may become more pronounced with rising air temperatures and accelerated permafrost thaw.

  2. Uranium isotopes and dissolved organic carbon in loess permafrost: Modeling the age of ancient ice

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ewing, Stephanie A.; Paces, James B.; O'Donnell, J.A.; Jorgenson, M.T.; Kanevskiy, M.Z.; Aiken, George R.; Shur, Y.; Harden, Jennifer W.; Striegl, Robert G.

    2015-01-01

    The residence time of ice in permafrost is an indicator of past climate history, and of the resilience and vulnerability of high-latitude ecosystems to global change. Development of geochemical indicators of ground-ice residence times in permafrost will advance understanding of the circumstances and evidence of permafrost formation, preservation, and thaw in response to climate warming and other disturbance. We used uranium isotopes to evaluate the residence time of segregated ground ice from ice-rich loess permafrost cores in central Alaska. Activity ratios of 234U vs. 238U (234U/238U) in water from thawed core sections ranged between 1.163 and 1.904 due to contact of ice and associated liquid water with mineral surfaces over time. Measured (234U/238U) values in ground ice showed an overall increase with depth in a series of five neighboring cores up to 21 m deep. This is consistent with increasing residence time of ice with depth as a result of accumulation of loess over time, as well as characteristic ice morphologies, high segregated ice content, and wedge ice, all of which support an interpretation of syngenetic permafrost formation associated with loess deposition. At the same time, stratigraphic evidence indicates some past sediment redistribution and possibly shallow thaw among cores, with local mixing of aged thaw waters. Using measures of surface area and a leaching experiment to determine U distribution, a geometric model of (234U/238U) evolution suggests mean ages of up to ∼200 ky BP in the deepest core, with estimated uncertainties of up to an order of magnitude. Evidence of secondary coatings on loess grains with elevated (234U/238U) values and U concentrations suggests that refinement of the geometric model to account for weathering processes is needed to reduce uncertainty. We suggest that in this area of deep ice-rich loess permafrost, ice bodies have been preserved from the last glacial period (10–100 ky BP), despite subsequent

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    W. L. Cable

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available 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.

  4. Investigation of the relationship between permafrost distribution in NW Europe and extensive winter sea-ice cover in the North Atlantic Ocean during the cold phases of the Last Glaciation.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Renssen, H.; Vandenberghe, J.

    2003-01-01

    Atmospheric model simulations with different extents of sea-ice are compared with reconstructed European mean annual temperatures derived from permafrost indicators. Analysis of the results suggest that during cold phases of the Last Glacial, the southern margin of permafrost in western Europe was

  5. A changing world: Using nuclear techniques to investigate the impact of climate change on polar and mountainous regions

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Henriques, Sasha

    2015-01-01

    Nuclear techniques are being used in polar and mountainous regions to study climate change and its impact on the quality of land, water and ecosystems in order to better conserve and manage these resources. Researchers from around the world will be using data from 13 benchmark sites to draw conclusions about the effects of the rapidly changing climate on the Arctic, mountains and the western part of Antarctica, which have alarmed communities, environmentalists, scientists and policy makers. Between July 2015 and July 2016 they will be using isotopic and nuclear techniques, as well as geochemical and biological analytical methods from other scientific disciplines. This will enable them to track soil and water, to monitor the movement of soil and sediment and to assess the effects of melting permafrost on the atmosphere, as well as on the land, water and fragile ecosystems of mountainous and polar regions. The measurements follow numerous on-site tests carried out since November 2014 to perfect the sampling technique.

  6. Climate change and the permafrost carbon feedback.

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

    2015-04-09

    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.

  7. The thin brown line: The crucial role of peat in protecting permafrost in Arctic Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gaglioti, B.; Mann, D. H.; Farquharson, L. M.; Baughman, C. A.; Jones, B. M.; Romanovsky, V. E.; Williams, A. P.; Andreu-Hayles, L.

    2017-12-01

    Ongoing warming threatens to thaw Arctic permafrost and release its stored carbon, which could trigger a permafrost-carbon feedback capable of augmenting global warming. The effects of warming air temperatures on permafrost are complicated by the fact that across much of the Arctic and Subarctic a mat of living plants and decaying litter cover the ground and buffer underlying permafrost from air temperatures. For simplicity here, we refer to this organic mat as "peat". Because this peat modifies heat flow between ground and air, the rate and magnitude of permafrost responses to changing climate - and hence the permafrost-carbon feedback - are partly slaved to the peat layer's slower dynamics. To explore this relationship, we used 14C-age offsets within lake sediments in Alaskan watersheds underlain by yedoma deposits to track the changing responses of permafrost thaw to fluctuating climate as peat accumulated over the last 14,000 years. As the peat layer built up, warming events became less effective at thawing permafrost and releasing ancient carbon. Consistent with this age-offset record, the geological record shows that early in post-glacial times when the peat cover was still thin and limited in extent, warm intervals triggered extensive thermokarst that resulted in rapid aggradation of floodplains. Today in contrast, hillslopes and floodplains remain stable despite rapid warming, probably because of the buffering effects of the extensive peat cover. Another natural experiment is provided by tundra fires like the 2007 Anaktuvuk River fire that removed the peat cover from tundra underlain by continuous permafrost and resulted in widespread thermkarsting. Further support for peat's critical role in protecting permafrost comes from the results of modeling how permafrost temperatures under different peat thicknesses respond to warming air temperature. Although post-industrial warming has not yet surpassed the buffering capacity of 14,000 years of peat buildup in

  8. 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

  9. Impacts of peatland and permafrost changes on the terrestrial carbon storage over the last 21 ka

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spahni, Renato; Stocker, Benjamin D.; Joos, Fortunat

    2014-05-01

    Paleoclimate records and global climate-carbon cycle models suggest a net increase in land carbon (C) storage between 300 and 700 Pg C (1 Pg C = 1015 g C) during the transition from the last glacial maximum (LGM), the Holocene up to the preindustrial period. Peat accumulation rate records imply an increase in peatland C of ~600 Pg C over the course of the Holocene. In high northern latitudes mineral and organic soils are subject to permafrost formation, which is believed to have been more extensive during glacial compared to interglacial periods. Soil C in permafrost regions represents the largest inert C pool on land at present. The spatio-temporal evolution, however, of C stocks in soils and vegetation remains poorly quantified and is uncertain. Here, the Land surface Processes and eXchanges (LPX-Bern) Dynamic Global Vegetation Model is applied in transient simulations to explore the evolution of permafrost, peatland and vegetation C over the last 21'000 years. The model is forced with temperature and precipitation output from the Trace-21ka climate simulation, and dynamically simulates the formation and disappearance of peatlands and permafrost soils, vegetation distribution and C stocks. Results indicate that peatlands and permfrost areas existed further south in the LGM, in agreement with available proxy information, and that their associated C was lost during the transition into the Holocene. The simulated loss of inert C is over-compensated by vegetation regrowth. The timing of the C relocation on land is compared to observational evidence from paleoclimate archives and estimates from ocean C inventory changes.

  10. Nutrient Controls on Methane Emissions in a Permafrost Thaw Subarctic Peatland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kashi, N. N.; Perryman, C. R.; Malhotra, A.; Marek, E. A.; Giesler, R.; Varner, R. K.

    2015-12-01

    Permafrost peatlands in northern latitudes are large reservoirs of sequestered carbon that are vulnerable to climate change. While peatlands account for a small fraction of total global land surfaces, their potential to release sequestered carbon in response to higher temperatures is of concern. Of particular relevance is the conversion of these carbon stores into methane (CH4), a strong greenhouse gas with a global warming potential 20 times greater than that of CO2 over a 100-year time frame. Here, we explore how key nutrients impact the consumption of CH4 at the Stordalen Mire in Abisko, Sweden, a discontinuous permafrost peatland with expanding thaw over the last century. Peatland CH4 emissions are highly spatially variable due to multiple emission pathways and strong dependence on several environmental factors. Among controls on CH4 emissions, such as temperature and water table depth, primary production of wetland vegetation is also a strong factor in the variability of CH4 emissions. Plant community shifts among permafrost thaw stages subsequently change nutrient cycling and availability, which in turn impacts primary production. Early stages of permafrost thaw are mosaicked with a variety of vascular plants and mosses. We analyzed potential enzymatic activities of chitinase, glucosidase, and phosphatase as proxies for organic nitrogen, carbon, and phosphorus cycling, respectively, in tandem with potential CH4 oxidation rates. In addition, stoichiometric ratios of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus concentrations are used to illustrate nutrient limitation controls on CH4 oxidation rates. While CH4 emissions are low throughout initial thaw stages, highest rates of potential CH4 oxidation. These permafrost thaw-induced CH4 oxidation rates are 5 and 11 times higher, in the surface and depth of the peat profile respectively, than subsequent aerobic permafrost thaw stages. As CH4 emissions are low in intact permafrost peatlands, these high rates of potential CH4

  11. Distribution of Minor Elements in Calcite From the Unsaturated Zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marshall, B. D.; Whelan, J. F.

    2001-12-01

    Calcite is sporadically distributed in fractures and cavities in the volcanic rocks that form the 500- to 700-m-thick unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. Previous work has shown that the calcite precipitated from water moving downward through the unsaturated zone since the volcanic rocks were emplaced approximately 13 Ma. Calcite thus serves as a proxy for the chemistry and amounts of past percolation, two parameters that are important in predictions of the future behavior of the potential radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Latest calcite, which began forming between approximately 5 and 2 Ma, typically displays fine-scale growth zoning defined by distributions of Mn (inferred from cathodoluminescence), Mg, and Sr. Electron microprobe (EPMA) mapping of outermost calcite reveals Mg growth zoning1 and higher overall concentrations of Mg in late calcite than in older calcite. Micro X-ray fluorescence (micro-XRF) maps were obtained by slow rastering of the samples over a 100-watt X-ray source collimated through a final aperture of 100 μ m. Although the spatial resolution of the micro-XRF mapping is much less than that of EPMA, this technique reveals distributions of some elements to which EPMA is less sensitive. Micro-XRF maps show that Sr is spatially correlated with Mg; Sr concentrations range to 500 μ g/g at the resolution of the 100-μ m collimator. Because both Mg and Sr have similar calcite-water distribution coefficients much less than one, the Mg/Sr in calcite reflects the Mg/Sr of the water that precipitated the calcite. The distribution coefficient for Mn is greater than one and variations in Mn are not correlated with Mg and Sr. Covariation of Mg and Sr in the percolating water may be explained by reactions that affect the rate of uptake of chemical constituents from the overlying rock and soil, and/or evaporation. Late calcite has lower δ 13C values, probably due to a regional change from wetter to drier climate conditions. The higher Mg and

  12. Influence of vertical and lateral heat transfer on permafrost thaw, peatland landscape transition, and groundwater flow

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kurylyk, Barret L.; Masaki, Masaki; Quinton, William L.; McKenzie, Jeffrey M.; Voss, Clifford I.

    2016-01-01

    Recent climate change has reduced the spatial extent and thickness of permafrost in many discontinuous permafrost regions. Rapid permafrost thaw is producing distinct landscape changes in the Taiga Plains of the Northwest Territories, Canada. As permafrost bodies underlying forested peat plateaus shrink, the landscape slowly transitions into unforested wetlands. The expansion of wetlands has enhanced the hydrologic connectivity of many watersheds via new surface and near-surface flow paths, and increased streamflow has been observed. Furthermore, the decrease in forested peat plateaus results in a net loss of boreal forest and associated ecosystems. This study investigates fundamental processes that contribute to permafrost thaw by comparing observed and simulated thaw development and landscape transition of a peat plateau-wetland complex in the Northwest Territories, Canada from 1970 to 2012. Measured climate data are first used to drive surface energy balance simulations for the wetland and peat plateau. Near-surface soil temperatures simulated in the surface energy balance model are then applied as the upper boundary condition to a three-dimensional model of subsurface water flow and coupled energy transport with freeze-thaw. Simulation results demonstrate that lateral heat transfer, which is not considered in many permafrost models, can influence permafrost thaw rates. Furthermore, the simulations indicate that landscape evolution arising from permafrost thaw acts as a positive feedback mechanism that increases the energy absorbed at the land surface and produces additional permafrost thaw. The modeling results also demonstrate that flow rates in local groundwater flow systems may be enhanced by the degradation of isolated permafrost bodies.

  13. Quantifying Permafrost Characteristics with DCR-ERT

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schnabel, W.; Trochim, E.; Munk, J.; Kanevskiy, M. Z.; Shur, Y.; Fortier, R.

    2012-12-01

    Geophysical methods are an efficient method for quantifying permafrost characteristics for Arctic road design and engineering. In the Alaskan Arctic construction and maintenance of roads requires integration of permafrost; ground that is below 0 degrees C for two or more years. Features such as ice content and temperature are critical for understanding current and future ground conditions for planning, design and evaluation of engineering applications. This study focused on the proposed Foothills West Transportation Access project corridor where the purpose is to construct a new all-season road connecting the Dalton Highway to Umiat. Four major areas were chosen that represented a range of conditions including gravel bars, alluvial plains, tussock tundra (both unburned and burned conditions), high and low centered ice-wedge polygons and an active thermokarst feature. Direct-current resistivity using galvanic contact (DCR-ERT) was applied over transects. In conjunction complimentary site data including boreholes, active layer depths, vegetation descriptions and site photographs was obtained. The boreholes provided information on soil morphology, ice texture and gravimetric moisture content. Horizontal and vertical resolutions in the DCR-ERT were varied to determine the presence or absence of ground ice; subsurface heterogeneity; and the depth to groundwater (if present). The four main DCR-ERT methods used were: 84 electrodes with 2 m spacing; 42 electrodes with 0.5 m spacing; 42 electrodes with 2 m spacing; and 84 electrodes with 1 m spacing. In terms of identifying the ground ice characteristics the higher horizontal resolution DCR-ERT transects with either 42 or 84 electrodes and 0.5 or 1 m spacing were best able to differentiate wedge-ice. This evaluation is based on a combination of both borehole stratigraphy and surface characteristics. Simulated apparent resistivity values for permafrost areas varied from a low of 4582 Ω m to a high of 10034 Ω m. Previous

  14. Characterization and Modeling Of Microbial Carbon Metabolism In Thawing Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, D. E.; Phelps, T. J.; Xu, X.; Carroll, S.; Jagadamma, S.; Shakya, M.; Thornton, P. E.; Elias, D. A.

    2012-12-01

    Increased annual temperatures in the Arctic are warming the surface and subsurface, resulting in thawing permafrost. Thawing exposes large pools of buried organic carbon to microbial degradation, increasing greenhouse gas generation and emission. Most global-scale land-surface models lack depth-dependent representations of carbon conversion and GHG transport; therefore they do not adequately describe permafrost thawing or microbial mineralization processes. The current work was performed to determine how permafrost thawing at moderately elevated temperatures and anoxic conditions would affect CO2 and CH4 generation, while parameterizing depth-dependent GHG production processes with respect to temperature and pH in biogeochemical models. These enhancements will improve the accuracy of GHG emission predictions and identify key biochemical and geochemical processes for further refinement. Three core samples were obtained from discontinuous permafrost terrain in Fairbanks, AK with a mean annual temperature of -3.3 °C. Each core was sectioned into surface/near surface (0-0.8 m), active layer (0.8-1.6 m), and permafrost (1.6-2.2 m) horizons, which were homogenized for physico-chemical characterization and microcosm construction. Surface samples had low pH values (6.0), low water content (18% by weight), low organic carbon (0.8%), and high C:N ratio (43). Active layer samples had higher pH values (6.4), higher water content (34%), more organic carbon (1.4%) and a lower C:N ratio (24). Permafrost samples had the highest pH (6.5), highest water content (46%), high organic carbon (2.5%) and the lowest C:N ratio (19). Most organic carbon was quantified as labile or intermediate pool versus stable pool in each sample, and all samples had low amounts of carbonate. Surface layer microcosms, containing 20 g sediment in septum-sealed vials, were incubated under oxic conditions, while similar active and permafrost layer samples were anoxic. These microcosms were incubated at -2

  15. Analyzing Whitebark Pine Distribution in the Northern Rocky Mountains in Support of Grizzly Bear Recovery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lawrence, R.; Landenburger, L.; Jewett, J.

    2007-12-01

    Whitebark pine seeds have long been identified as the most significant vegetative food source for grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) and, hence, a crucial element of suitable grizzly bear habitat. The overall health and status of whitebark pine in the GYE is currently threatened by mountain pine beetle infestations and the spread of whitepine blister rust. Whitebark pine distribution (presence/absence) was mapped for the GYE using Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM+) imagery and topographic data as part of a long-term inter-agency monitoring program. Logistic regression was compared with classification tree analysis (CTA) with and without boosting. Overall comparative classification accuracies for the central portion of the GYE covering three ETM+ images along a single path ranged from 91.6% using logistic regression to 95.8% with See5's CTA algorithm with the maximum 99 boosts. The analysis is being extended to the entire northern Rocky Mountain Ecosystem and extended over decadal time scales. The analysis is being extended to the entire northern Rocky Mountain Ecosystem and extended over decadal time scales.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hayes, Daniel J.; Kicklighter, David W.; McGuire, A. David; Chen, Min; Zhuang, Qianlai; Yuan, Fengming; Melillo, Jerry M.; Wullschleger, Stan D.

    2014-01-01

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

  17. Determinants of carbon release from the active layer and permafrost deposits on the Tibetan Plateau

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Leiyi; Liang, Junyi; Qin, Shuqi; Liu, Li; Fang, Kai; Xu, Yunping; Ding, Jinzhi; Li, Fei; Luo, Yiqi; Yang, Yuanhe

    2016-01-01

    The sign and magnitude of permafrost carbon (C)-climate feedback are highly uncertain due to the limited understanding of the decomposability of thawing permafrost and relevant mechanistic controls over C release. Here, by combining aerobic incubation with biomarker analysis and a three-pool model, we reveal that C quality (represented by a higher amount of fast cycling C but a lower amount of recalcitrant C compounds) and normalized CO2–C release in permafrost deposits were similar or even higher than those in the active layer, demonstrating a high vulnerability of C in Tibetan upland permafrost. We also illustrate that C quality exerts the most control over CO2–C release from the active layer, whereas soil microbial abundance is more directly associated with CO2–C release after permafrost thaw. Taken together, our findings highlight the importance of incorporating microbial properties into Earth System Models when predicting permafrost C dynamics under a changing environment. PMID:27703168

  18. Shifts of methanogenic communities in response to permafrost thaw results in rising methane emissions and soil property changes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wei, Shiping; Cui, Hongpeng; Zhu, Youhai; Lu, Zhenquan; Pang, Shouji; Zhang, Shuai; Dong, Hailiang; Su, Xin

    2018-05-01

    Permafrost thaw can bring negative consequences in terms of ecosystems, resulting in permafrost collapse, waterlogging, thermokarst lake development, and species composition changes. Little is known about how permafrost thaw influences microbial community shifts and their activities. Here, we show that the dominant archaeal community shifts from Methanomicrobiales to Methanosarcinales in response to the permafrost thaw, and the increase in methane emission is found to be associated with the methanogenic archaea, which rapidly bloom with nearly tenfold increase in total number. The mcrA gene clone libraries analyses indicate that Methanocellales/Rice Cluster I was predominant both in the original permafrost and in the thawed permafrost. However, only species belonging to Methanosarcinales showed higher transcriptional activities in the thawed permafrost, indicating a shift of methanogens from hydrogenotrophic to partly acetoclastic methane-generating metabolic processes. In addition, data also show the soil texture and features change as a result of microbial reproduction and activity induced by this permafrost thaw. Those data indicate that microbial ecology under warming permafrost has potential impacts on ecosystem and methane emissions.

  19. Permafrost in vegetated scree slopes below the timberline - characterization of thermal properties and permafrost conditions by temperature measurements and geoelectrical monitoring

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwindt, Daniel; Kneisel, Christof

    2010-05-01

    Discontinuous alpine permafrost is expected to exist at altitudes above 2400m a.s.l. at mean annual air temperatures (MAAT) of less than -1°C. Below timberline only a few sites are known, where sporadic permafrost exists in vegetated talus slopes with positive MAAT. Aim of the study is to characterize permafrost-humus interaction, the thermal regime and its influence on temporal and spatial permafrost variability. Results of geophysical and thermal measurements from three talus slopes, located in the Swiss Alps (Engadin, Appenzell) at elevations between 1200 and 1800m a.s.l. with MAAT between 2.8°C and 5.5°C are presented. Parent rock-material of the slopes are granite (Bever Valley, Engadin) and dolomite (Susauna Valley, Engadin; Brüeltobel, Appenzell). Joint application of electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) and refraction seismic tomography (RST) is used to detect and characterize permafrost. To observe temporal and spatial variability in ice content and characteristics year-around geoelectrical monitoring and quasi-3D ERT are used. A forward modeling approach has been applied to validate the results of geoelectrical monitoring. A number of temperature data loggers were installed in different depth of the humus layer and in different positions of the slope to monitor the ground thermal regime. Isolated permafrost has been detected by the combination of ERT and RST in the lower parts of the investigated talus slopes. Results from geophysical measurements and monitoring indicate a high spatial and temporal variability in ice content and ice characteristics (temperature, density, content of unfrozen water) for all sites. A distinct rise of resistivities between November and December indicates a decrease of unfrozen water content, caused by a pronounced cooling in the lower parts of the slope. Decreasing ice content and extent of the permafrost lenses can be observed in decreasing seismic velocities from 2600m/sec in spring to only 1500m/sec in October. Ice

  20. Computed distributions of residual shaft drilling and construction water in the exploratory facilities at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Eaton, R.R.; Peterson, A.C.

    1989-01-01

    The Yucca Mountain Project is studying the feasibility of constructing a high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in southwest Nevada. One activity of site characterization is the construction of two exploratory shafts. This paper contains the results of engineering analytical calculations of the potential distribution of residual construction water in the exploratory shafts and drifts and numerical calculations of the movement of the residual water and how the movement is affected by drift ventilation. In all cases the increase in rock saturation resulting from the construction water was extremely small. 11 refs., 15 figs., 1 tab

  1. Suggested best practice for geotechnical characterisation of permafrost in the Nordic countries

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Agergaard, Frederik Ancker; Ingeman-Nielsen, Thomas; Foged, Niels Nielsen

    2012-01-01

    Even though permafrost is a specialty within Nordic geotechnical engineering, engineers and researcher will be faced with managing the consequences of projected climatic influences to construction design in permafrost areas. This requires the determination of the frozen soil engineering propertie...

  2. Circumpolar assessment of permafrost C quality and its vulnerability over time using long-term incubation data

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schädel, Christina; Schuur, Edward A.G.; Bracho, Rosvel

    2014-01-01

    High-latitude ecosystems store approximately 1700 Pg of soil carbon (C), which is twice as much C as is currently contained in the atmosphere. Permafrost thaw and subsequent microbial decomposition of permafrost organic matter could add large amounts of C to the atmosphere, thereby influencing...... the global C cycle. The rates at which C is being released from the permafrost zone at different soil depths and across different physiographic regions are poorly understood but crucial in understanding future changes in permafrost C storage with climate change. We assessed the inherent decomposability of C...... from the permafrost zone by assembling a database of long-term (>1 year) aerobic soil incubations from 121 individual samples from 23 high-latitude ecosystems located across the northern circumpolar permafrost zone. Using a three-pool (i.e., fast, slow and passive) decomposition model, we estimated...

  3. The potential significance of permafrost to the behaviour of a deep radioactive waste repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McEwen, T.; Marsily, G.de

    1991-02-01

    Permafrost is one of the scenarios that is being considered as part of the groundwater flow and transport modelling for the Project-90 assessment. It is included as one of the primary Features, Events and Processes (FEPs) which are being kept outside the Process System in the SKB/SKI scenario development project. There is a large amount of evidence that Sweden has suffered several cycles of permafrost development over the Quaternary, approximately the last 2My, and climatic predictions for the next hundred thousand years suggest that similar climatic cycling is likely to occur. The presence of permafrost could have important effects on the hydrogeological regime and could therefore be important in modifying the release and dispersion of radionuclides from a repository. The climatic conditions of permafrost would also influence radionuclide migration and accumulation in the biosphere and the associated radiation exposure of man. These biosphere aspects are not considered here but the implications for discharge into the biosphere are examined, including the abstraction of groundwater by man in permafrost regions. This report reviews the evidence relating to permafrost development and discusses the possible implications for the long-term safety of a deep repository. (78 refs.) (au)

  4. 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...

  5. Groundwater storage changes in arctic permafrost watersheds from GRACE and in situ measurements

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Muskett, Reginald R; Romanovsky, Vladimir E

    2009-01-01

    The Arctic permafrost regions make up the largest area component of the cryosphere. Observations from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission offer to provide a greater understanding of changes in water mass within permafrost regions. We investigate a GRACE monthly time series, snow water equivalent from the special scanning microwave imager (SSM/I), vegetation water content and soil moisture from the advanced microwave scanning radiometer for the Earth observation system (AMSR-E) and in situ discharge of the Lena, Yenisei, Ob', and Mackenzie watersheds. The GRACE water equivalent mass change responded to mass loading by snow accumulation in winter and mass unloading by runoff in spring-summer. Comparison of secular trends from GRACE to runoff suggests groundwater storage increased in the Lena and Yenisei watersheds, decreased in the Mackenzie watershed, and was unchanged in the Ob' watershed. We hypothesize that the groundwater storage changes are linked to the development of closed- and open-talik in the continuous permafrost zone and the decrease of permafrost lateral extent in the discontinuous permafrost zone of the watersheds.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  7. International student Arctic Field School on Permafrost and urban areas study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suter, L.; Tolmanov, V. A.; Grebenets, V. I.; Streletskiy, D. A.; Shiklomanov, N. I.

    2017-12-01

    Arctic regions are experiencing drastic climatic and environmental changes. These changes are exacerbated in the Russian Arctic, where active resource development resulted in further land cover transformations, especially near large settlements. There is a growing need in multidisciplinary studies of climate and human- induced changes in the Arctic cities. In order to fill this gap, International Arctic Field Course on Permafrostand Northern Studies was organized in July 2017 to the Russian Arctic. The course was organized under the umbrella of the Arctic PIRE project in cooperation between the George Washington University, Moscow State University, and the Russian Center for Arctic Development. The course attracted twenty undergraduate and graduate students from Russia, USA, and EU countries and involved instructors specializing in Arctic system science, geocryology, permafrost engineering, and urban sustainability. The field course was focused on studying typical natural Arctic landscapes of tundra and forest tundra; transformations of natural landscapes in urban and industrial areas around Vorkuta and Salekhard; construction and planning on permafrost and field methods and techniques, including permafrost and soil temperature monitoring, active layer thickness (ALT) measurements, studying of cryogenic processes, stratigraphic and soil investigations, vegetation and microclimate studies. The students were also engaged in a discussion of climatic change and historical development of urban areas on permafrost,and were exposed to examples of both active and passive construction principles while conducting a field survey of permafrost related building deformations. During the course, students collected more than 800 ALT and soil temperature measurements in typical landscapes around Vorkuta and Salekhard to determine effects of soil and vegetation factors on ground thermal regime; surveyed several hundreds of buildings to determine locations with most deformation

  8. 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

  9. Limited contribution of permafrost carbon to methane release from thawing peatlands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cooper, Mark D. A.; Estop-Aragonés, Cristian; Fisher, James P.; Thierry, Aaron; Garnett, Mark H.; Charman, Dan J.; Murton, Julian B.; Phoenix, Gareth K.; Treharne, Rachael; Kokelj, Steve V.; Wolfe, Stephen A.; Lewkowicz, Antoni G.; Williams, Mathew; Hartley, Iain P.

    2017-07-01

    Models predict that thaw of permafrost soils at northern high latitudes will release tens of billions of tonnes of carbon (C) to the atmosphere by 2100 (refs ,,). The effect on the Earth’s climate depends strongly on the proportion of this C that is released as the more powerful greenhouse gas methane (CH4), rather than carbon dioxide (CO2) (refs ,); even if CH4 emissions represent just 2% of the C release, they would contribute approximately one-quarter of the climate forcing. In northern peatlands, thaw of ice-rich permafrost causes surface subsidence (thermokarst) and water-logging, exposing substantial stores (tens of kilograms of C per square meter, ref. ) of previously frozen organic matter to anaerobic conditions, and generating ideal conditions for permafrost-derived CH4 release. Here we show that, contrary to expectations, although substantial CH4 fluxes (>20 g CH4 m-2 yr-1) were recorded from thawing peatlands in northern Canada, only a small amount was derived from previously frozen C (effect of permafrost thaw on CH4 emissions from northern peatlands.

  10. In situ nuclear magnetic resonance response of permafrost and active layer soil in boreal and tundra ecosystems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. A. Kass

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available 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 multiyear investigation into the impacts of wildfires on permafrost, we have collected in situ measurements of the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR response of the 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 and show the efficacy of borehole NMR (bNMR to permafrost studies. Through statistical analyses and synthetic freezing simulations, we also demonstrate that borehole NMR is sensitive to the nucleation of ice within soil pore spaces.

  11. 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. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. Permafrost and lakes control river isotope composition across a boreal Arctic transect in the Western Siberian lowlands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ala-aho, P.; Soulsby, C.; Pokrovsky, O. S.; Kirpotin, S. N.; Karlsson, J.; Serikova, S.; Manasypov, R.; Lim, A.; Krickov, I.; Kolesnichenko, L. G.; Laudon, H.; Tetzlaff, D.

    2018-03-01

    The Western Siberian Lowlands (WSL) store large quantities of organic carbon that will be exposed and mobilized by the thawing of permafrost. The fate of mobilized carbon, however, is not well understood, partly because of inadequate knowledge of hydrological controls in the region which has a vast low-relief surface area, extensive lake and wetland coverage and gradually increasing permafrost influence. We used stable water isotopes to improve our understanding of dominant landscape controls on the hydrology of the WSL. We sampled rivers along a 1700 km South-North transect from permafrost-free to continuous permafrost repeatedly over three years, and derived isotope proxies for catchment hydrological responsiveness and connectivity. We found correlations between the isotope proxies and catchment characteristics, suggesting that lakes and wetlands are intimately connected to rivers, and that permafrost increases the responsiveness of the catchment to rainfall and snowmelt events, reducing catchment mean transit times. Our work provides rare isotope-based field evidence that permafrost and lakes/wetlands influence hydrological pathways across a wide range of spatial scales (10-105 km2) and permafrost coverage (0%-70%). This has important implications, because both permafrost extent and lake/wetland coverage are affected by permafrost thaw in the changing climate. Changes in these hydrological landscape controls are likely to alter carbon export and emission via inland waters, which may be of global significance.

  15. Electron acceptor-based regulation of microbial greenhouse gas production from thawing permafrost

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bak, Ebbe Norskov; Jones, Eleanor; Yde, Jacob Clement

    layer as well in the permafrost. These investigations are accompanied by characterization of the carbon, iron and sulfate content in the soil and will be followed by characterization of the microbial community structure. The aim of this study is to get a better understanding of how the availability...... of sulfate and iron and the microbial community structure regulate the production of CO2 and CH4 in thawing permafrost, and to elucidate how the rate of the organic carbon degradation changes with depth in permafrost-affected soils. This study improves our understanding of climate feedback mechanisms...

  16. Monitoring of thermal regime of permafrost in the coastal zone of Western Yamal

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vasiliev, A.

    2009-04-01

    Data on thermal regime of permafrost are required for estimation of the climate change influence on permafrost dynamics. Monitoring of thermal regime of permafrost was arranged in the area of weather station "Marre-Sale", western Yamal. In terms of geomorphology, the area of our observations belongs to the second and third marine terraces; the surface of these terraces has been partly modified by recent cryogenic processes. The elevation varies from 10 to 30 m a.s.l. Marine clays lie at the base of the geological section of the coastal deposits. Their upper part was eroded and uneven surface of marine sediments is overlain by continental sandy sediments. Marine clays are saline. In the southern part of study area, low accumulative islands are forming. Their heights above sea level do not exceed 0.5 meters, and during high tides their surface is covered by sea water. The sediments accumulating at these islands are saline silty clays. Western Yamal region is located within continuous permafrost zone with thickness of 150 to 200 meters. Study of thermal regime in the on-shore zone has been performed since 1979 using the 10-12-m-deep boreholes. In 2007, five boreholes were included in the work program of the Thermal State of Permafrost (TSP) project developed as a part of IPY scientific activities. According to TSP program, temperature sensors were installed at depths 2, 3, 5, and 10 meters; measurements have been performed every six hours. In this presentation, results of our observations related to climate change are discussed. For different terrain units, increase of mean annual permafrost temperature during the last 30 years has reached 0.6 to 1.5 deg. C. In the transit zone, monitoring of thermal regime have been performed since 2006. Sensors were installed at depths 0, 0.25, 0.6, 0.75, 1.25, 1.75, and 2.25 meters. The active layer depth here reaches 1.9 meters, thus the 2.25-m-sensor is located within permafrost. Monitoring data show the sharp increase in mean

  17. 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

  18. InSAR-based detection of McKenzie River Delta Permafrost loss

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oliver-Cabrera, T.; Wdowinski, S.

    2017-12-01

    Permafrost underlies most of the McKenzie River, North America's largest delta. The in the delta is catalogued as discontinuous permafrost due to the influence of shifting river channels on near-surface ground temperatures. The area is affected by climate change, studies show that ground temperature has increased by 1.5°C since 1970, due to rising annual mean air temperature. Flooding regimes within the delta are also affected by the changing climate due to melting of near surface ground ice together with sea-level rise increasing the potential of land subsidence. Observed consequences of changes occurring in the region are vegetation growth and northward migration of the tree line. The growing vegetation can affect physical properties of the accumulated snow, including depth, density and thermal conductivity. Thogether these variations affect permafrost stability. Permafrost changes can be measured throughout the impacts on river runoffs, ground water, drainages, carbon release, land subsidence and even infrastructure damages. Degradation of permafrost can also be measured by observing ecological changes in the area. In this study, we use InSAR observations to detect permafrost changes and their transition to wetland or vegetated land cover. Our data consist of four ALOS-PALSAR frames covering the entire McKenzie River Delta with temporal coverage spanning from January 2007 to March of 2011. Each frame has 20 to 24 acquisitions, in which half of the data acquired with HH polarization and the other half with HH+HV. We process the data using ROI_PAC and PYSAR software packages. Preliminary results have detected the following spatial patterns: (1) An overall good coherence of summer interferograms with 46-92 day interferograms, (2) Low coherence of winter interferograms (November to February), probably to the increase in snow coverage, (3) Phase jumps along the border of the river reflecting morphological differences between the region near to the river and other

  19. 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. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  20. Numerical simulation of permafrost depth during a future glaciation, Campine area, Northern Belgium

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Govaerts, Joan; Weetjens, Eef; Beerten, Koen

    2012-01-01

    Document available in extended abstract form only. Given the long time frames involved and their potential detrimental effects, climate changes are considered in the safety assessment of long-term geological disposal of radioactive waste. One such effect that climate changes may govern is the re-appearance of permafrost in north-western Europe. This condition already existed during previous glaciations (e.g., Weichselian glacial, 115-11 ka BP), and may have several consequences for the hydrosphere, geosphere, biosphere and repository. Here, we present calculations of permafrost depth based on the climatic scenario with the Weichselian (last glacial) as an analog to estimate the permafrost depth during a future glaciation. Whereas the lateral extent of permafrost can be deduced from surface features, not much is known about the maximum depth of permafrost during a cold stage in the Campine region. Realistic values of the latent heat of melting of pure water, and thermal conductivity of dry or frozen and unfrozen saturated sand and clay are used as input parameters. In addition, detailed and refined climatic scenarios for the last glacial are used to improve the quality of boundary conditions, together with a more advanced description of freezing/thawing processes. To describe heat transport in the subsoil of the Mol site, the one-dimensional enthalpy conservation equation is used with heat transport only occurring by conduction. In the first calculation case, the temperature at the top of the soil layer is set equal to the air temperatures of a realistic glacial cycle (Weichselian glaciation). In a second calculation case, the insulating effects of the surface cover are considered, and the air temperatures are converted into surface temperatures by making use of the 'n-factor concept', which yields an empirical relationship between the mean annual surface temperature, T s , and the mean annual air temperature, T a . In Figure 1 the permafrost pro-gradation front

  1. In situ nuclear magnetic response of permafrost and active layer soil in boreal and tundra ecosystems

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kass, Mason Andrew; Irons, Trevor; Minsley, Burke J.

    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 the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) response of the 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 and show...

  2. Evaluating the use of testate amoebae for palaeohydrological reconstruction in permafrost peatlands

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Swindles, Graeme T.; Amesbury, Matthew J.; Turner, T. Edward

    2015-01-01

    The melting of high-latitude permafrost peatlands is a major concern due to a potential positive feedback on global climate change. We examine the ecology of testate amoebae in permafrost peatlands, based on sites in Sweden (similar to 200 km north of the Arctic Circle). Multivariate statistical ...

  3. Permafrost knowledge to serve as foundation for Inuit community planning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gibéryen, T.; Allard, M.

    2011-12-01

    With the recent announcement of Québec's provincial government's Plan Nord, Nunavik will see a 500 new houses sweep onto it's territory over the next 5 years. The local Inuit communities are confronted with the pressuring need to find suitable land to safely accommodate the new infrastructures in the long term. Additional to human and environmental constraints are those related to warming permafrost. Intensive studies on four Nunavik communities (Inukjuak, Puvirnituq, Akulivik, Kangirsuk) have allowed us to extensively consult local and regional authorities on their planning and management considerations. Recent and archived drilling data have been used to corroborate air photo interpretation, surficial geology and permafrost mapping. All collected information are integrated into aggregated maps that will eventually serve as community master plans. General recommendations on how to best manage and plan for community expansions on warming permafrost are made. Appropriate engineering techniques assuring long-term stable foundations are outlined and additionally mapped, taking into consideration the variable terrain conditions and simulated changes in permafrost temperature and active layer thickness according to climate change scenarios. The final purpose of our results is for them to support local and regional governments in their community planning process towards the best possible climate change adaptation strategies.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hayes, Daniel J; Yuan, Fengming; Wullschleger, Stan D; Kicklighter, David W; Melillo, Jerry M; McGuire, A David; Chen, Min; Zhuang, Qianlai

    2014-01-01

    Permafrost thaw and the subsequent mobilization of carbon (C) stored in previously frozen soil organic matter (SOM) have the potential to be a strong positive feedback to climate. As the northern permafrost region experiences as much as a doubling of the rate of warming as the rest of the Earth, the vast amount of C in permafrost soils is vulnerable to thaw, decomposition and release as atmospheric greenhouse gases. Diagnostic and predictive estimates of high-latitude terrestrial C fluxes vary widely among different models depending on how dynamics in permafrost, and the seasonally thawed ‘active layer’ above it, are represented. Here, we employ a process-based model simulation experiment to assess the net effect of active layer dynamics on this ‘permafrost carbon feedback’ in recent decades, from 1970 to 2006, over the circumpolar domain of continuous and discontinuous permafrost. Over this time period, the model estimates a mean increase of 6.8 cm in active layer thickness across the domain, which exposes a total of 11.6 Pg C of thawed SOM to decomposition. According to our simulation experiment, mobilization of this previously frozen C results in an estimated cumulative net source of 3.7 Pg C to the atmosphere since 1970 directly tied to active layer dynamics. Enhanced decomposition from the newly exposed SOM accounts for the release of both CO 2 (4.0 Pg C) and CH 4 (0.03 Pg C), but is partially compensated by CO 2 uptake (0.3 Pg C) associated with enhanced net primary production of vegetation. This estimated net C transfer to the atmosphere from permafrost thaw represents a significant factor in the overall ecosystem carbon budget of the Pan-Arctic, and a non-trivial additional contribution on top of the combined fossil fuel emissions from the eight Arctic nations over this time period. (paper)

  5. Impacts of Permafrost on Infrastructure and Ecosystem Services

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trochim, E.; Schuur, E.; Schaedel, C.; Kelly, B. P.

    2017-12-01

    The Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) program developed knowledge pyramids as a tool for advancing scientific understanding and making this information accessible for decision makers. Knowledge pyramids are being used to synthesize, curate and disseminate knowledge of changing land ice, sea ice, and permafrost in the Arctic. Each pyramid consists of a one-two page summary brief in broadly accessible language and literature organized by levels of detail including synthesizes and scientific building blocks. Three knowledge pyramids have been produced related to permafrost on carbon, infrastructure, and ecosystem services. Each brief answers key questions with high societal relevance framed in policy-relevant terms. The knowledge pyramids concerning infrastructure and ecosystem services were developed in collaboration with researchers specializing in the specific topic areas in order to identify the most pertinent issues and accurately communicate information for integration into policy and planning. For infrastructure, the main issue was the need to build consensus in the engineering and science communities for developing improved methods for incorporating data applicable to building infrastructure on permafrost. In ecosystem services, permafrost provides critical landscape properties which affect basic human needs including fuel and drinking water availability, access to hunting and harvest, and fish and wildlife habitat. Translating these broad and complex topics necessitated a systematic and iterative approach to identifying key issues and relating them succinctly to the best state of the art research. The development of the knowledge pyramids provoked collaboration and synthesis across distinct research and engineering communities. The knowledge pyramids also provide a solid basis for policy development and the format allows the content to be regularly updated as the research community advances.

  6. Response of permafrost to projected climate change: Results from global offline model simulations with JSBACH

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blome, Tanja; Ekici, Altug; Beer, Christian; Hagemann, Stefan

    2014-05-01

    Permafrost or perennially frozen ground is an important part of the terrestrial cryosphere; roughly one quarter of Earth's land surface is underlain by permafrost. As it is a thermal phenomenon, its characteristics are highly dependent on climatic factors. The impact of the currently observed warming, which is projected to persist during the coming decades due to anthropogenic CO2 input, certainly has effects for the vast permafrost areas of the high northern latitudes. The quantification of these effects, however, is scientifically still an open question. This is partly due to the complexity of the system, where several feedbacks are interacting between land and atmosphere, sometimes counterbalancing each other. Moreover, until recently, many global circulation models (GCMs) lacked the sufficient representation of permafrost physics in their land surface schemes. In order to assess the response of permafrost to projected climate change for the 21st century, the land surface scheme of the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology, JSBACH, has recently been equipped with the important physical processes for permafrost studies, and was driven globally with bias corrected climate data, thereby spanning a period from 1850 until 2100. The applied land surface scheme JSBACH now considers the effects of freezing and thawing of soil water for both energy and water cycles, thermal properties depending on soil water and ice contents, and soil moisture movement being influenced by the presence of soil ice. To address the uncertainty range arising through different greenhouse gas concentrations as well as through different climate realisations when using various climate models, combinations of two Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) and two GCMs were used as driving data. In order to focus only on the climatic impact on permafrost, effects due to feedbacks between climate and permafrost (namely via carbon fluxes between land and atmosphere) are excluded in the experiments

  7. Controls on the methane released through ebullition affected by permafrost degradation

    Science.gov (United States)

    S.J. Klapstein; M.R. Turetsky; A.D. McGuire; J.W. Harden; C.I. Czimczik; X. Xu; J.P. Chanton; J.M. Waddington

    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...

  8. Evaluation of Electromagnetic Induction (EMI) Resistivity Technologies for Assessing Permafrost Geomorphologies

    Science.gov (United States)

    2016-08-01

    resistivity, have been used to interrogate the subsur- face in permafrost terrains at the meters to kilometers scales. Airborne measurement techniques have...burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden to Department of Defense... interrogate the subsurface in permafrost terrains at the meters to kilometers scales. Airborne measurement techniques have broad applicability at the

  9. Poorly known microbial taxa dominate the microbiome of permafrost thaw ponds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wurzbacher, Christian; Nilsson, R Henrik; Rautio, Milla; Peura, Sari

    2017-08-01

    In the transition zone of the shifting permafrost border, thaw ponds emerge as hotspots of microbial activity, processing the ancient carbon freed from the permafrost. We analyzed the microbial succession across a gradient of recently emerged to older ponds using three molecular markers: one universal, one bacterial and one fungal. Age was a major modulator of the microbial community of the thaw ponds. Surprisingly, typical freshwater taxa comprised only a small fraction of the community. Instead, thaw ponds of all age classes were dominated by enigmatic bacterial and fungal phyla. Our results on permafrost thaw ponds lead to a revised perception of the thaw pond ecosystem and their microbes, with potential implications for carbon and nutrient cycling in this increasingly important class of freshwaters.

  10. Climate warming over the past half century has led to thermal degradation of permafrost on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ran, Youhua; Li, Xin; Cheng, Guodong

    2018-02-01

    Air temperature increases thermally degrade permafrost, which has widespread impacts on engineering design, resource development, and environmental protection in cold regions. This study evaluates the potential thermal degradation of permafrost over the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP) from the 1960s to the 2000s using estimated decadal mean annual air temperatures (MAATs) by integrating remote-sensing-based estimates of mean annual land surface temperatures (MASTs), leaf area index (LAI) and fractional snow cover values, and decadal mean MAAT date from 152 weather stations with a geographically weighted regression (GWR). The results reflect a continuous rise of approximately 0.04 °C a-1 in the decadal mean MAAT values over the past half century. A thermal-condition classification matrix is used to convert modelled MAATs to permafrost thermal type. Results show that the climate warming has led to a thermal degradation of permafrost in the past half century. The total area of thermally degraded permafrost is approximately 153.76 × 104 km2, which corresponds to 88 % of the permafrost area in the 1960s. The thermal condition of 75.2 % of the very cold permafrost, 89.6 % of the cold permafrost, 90.3 % of the cool permafrost, 92.3 % of the warm permafrost, and 32.8 % of the very warm permafrost has been degraded to lower levels of thermal condition. Approximately 49.4 % of the very warm permafrost and 96 % of the likely thawing permafrost has degraded to seasonally frozen ground. The mean elevations of the very cold, cold, cool, warm, very warm, and likely thawing permafrost areas increased by 88, 97, 155, 185, 161, and 250 m, respectively. The degradation mainly occurred from the 1960s to the 1970s and from the 1990s to the 2000s. This degradation may lead to increased risks to infrastructure, reductions in ecosystem resilience, increased flood risks, and positive climate feedback effects. It therefore affects the well-being of millions of people

  11. The European mountain cryosphere: a review of its current state, trends, and future challenges

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beniston, Martin; Farinotti, Daniel; Stoffel, Markus; Andreassen, Liss M.; Coppola, Erika; Eckert, Nicolas; Fantini, Adriano; Giacona, Florie; Hauck, Christian; Huss, Matthias; Huwald, Hendrik; Lehning, Michael; López-Moreno, Juan-Ignacio; Magnusson, Jan; Marty, Christoph; Morán-Tejéda, Enrique; Morin, Samuel; Naaim, Mohamed; Provenzale, Antonello; Rabatel, Antoine; Six, Delphine; Stötter, Johann; Strasser, Ulrich; Terzago, Silvia; Vincent, Christian

    2018-03-01

    The mountain cryosphere of mainland Europe is recognized to have important impacts on a range of environmental processes. In this paper, we provide an overview on the current knowledge on snow, glacier, and permafrost processes, as well as their past, current, and future evolution. We additionally provide an assessment of current cryosphere research in Europe and point to the different domains requiring further research. Emphasis is given to our understanding of climate-cryosphere interactions, cryosphere controls on physical and biological mountain systems, and related impacts. By the end of the century, Europe's mountain cryosphere will have changed to an extent that will impact the landscape, the hydrological regimes, the water resources, and the infrastructure. The impacts will not remain confined to the mountain area but also affect the downstream lowlands, entailing a wide range of socioeconomical consequences. European mountains will have a completely different visual appearance, in which low- and mid-range-altitude glaciers will have disappeared and even large valley glaciers will have experienced significant retreat and mass loss. Due to increased air temperatures and related shifts from solid to liquid precipitation, seasonal snow lines will be found at much higher altitudes, and the snow season will be much shorter than today. These changes in snow and ice melt will cause a shift in the timing of discharge maxima, as well as a transition of runoff regimes from glacial to nival and from nival to pluvial. This will entail significant impacts on the seasonality of high-altitude water availability, with consequences for water storage and management in reservoirs for drinking water, irrigation, and hydropower production. Whereas an upward shift of the tree line and expansion of vegetation can be expected into current periglacial areas, the disappearance of permafrost at lower altitudes and its warming at higher elevations will likely result in mass movements

  12. 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.

  13. Classification of permafrost active layer depth from remotely sensed and topographic evidence

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Peddle, D.R.; Franklin, S.E.

    1993-01-01

    The remote detection of permafrost (perennially frozen ground) has important implications to environmental resource development, engineering studies, natural hazard prediction, and climate change research. In this study, the authors present results from two experiments into the classification of permafrost active layer depth within the zone of discontinuous permafrost in northern Canada. A new software system based on evidential reasoning was implemented to permit the integrated classification of multisource data consisting of landcover, terrain aspect, and equivalent latitude, each of which possessed different formats, data types, or statistical properties that could not be handled by conventional classification algorithms available to this study. In the first experiment, four active layer depth classes were classified using ground based measurements of the three variables with an accuracy of 83% compared to in situ soil probe determination of permafrost active layer depth at over 500 field sites. This confirmed the environmental significance of the variables selected, and provided a baseline result to which a remote sensing classification could be compared. In the second experiment, evidence for each input variable was obtained from image processing of digital SPOT imagery and a photogrammetric digital elevation model, and used to classify active layer depth with an accuracy of 79%. These results suggest the classification of evidence from remotely sensed measures of spectral response and topography may provide suitable indicators of permafrost active layer depth

  14. Seasonal and multi-year surface displacements measured by DInSAR in a High Arctic permafrost environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rudy, Ashley C. A.; Lamoureux, Scott F.; Treitz, Paul; Short, Naomi; Brisco, Brian

    2018-02-01

    Arctic landscapes undergo seasonal and long-term changes as the active layer thaws and freezes, which can result in localized or irregular subsidence leading to the formation of thermokarst terrain. Differential Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (DInSAR) is a technique capable of measuring ground surface displacements resulting from thawing permafrost at centimetre precision and is quickly gaining acceptance as a means of measuring ground displacement in permafrost regions. Using RADARSAT-2 stacked DInSAR data from 2013 and 2015 we determined the magnitude and patterns of land surface change in a continuous permafrost environment. At our study site situated in the Canadian High Arctic, DInSAR seasonal ground displacement patterns were consistent with field observations of permafrost degradation. As expected, many DInSAR values are close to the detection threshold (i.e., 1 cm) and therefore do not indicate significant change; however, DInSAR seasonal ground displacement patterns aligned well with climatological and soil conditions and offer geomorphological insight into subsurface processes in permafrost environments. While our dataset is limited to two years of data representing a three-year time period, the displacements derived from DInSAR provide insight into permafrost change in a High Arctic environment and demonstrate that DInSAR is an applicable tool for understanding environmental change in remote permafrost regions.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. Dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen release from Holocene permafrost and seasonally frozen soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wickland, K.; Waldrop, M. P.; Koch, J. C.; Jorgenson, T.; Striegl, R. G.

    2017-12-01

    Permafrost (perennially frozen) soils store vast amounts of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) that are vulnerable to mobilization to the atmosphere as greenhouse gases and to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems as dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and total dissolved nitrogen (TDN) upon thaw. Such releases will affect the biogeochemistry of arctic and boreal regions, yet little is known about active layer (seasonally frozen) and permafrost source variability that determines DOC and TDN mobilization. We quantified DOC and TDN leachate yields from a range of active layer and permafrost soils in Alaska varying in age and C and N content to determine potential release upon thaw. Soil cores from the upper 1 meter were collected in late winter, when soils were frozen, from three locations representing a range in geographic position, landscape setting, permafrost depth, and soil types across interior Alaska. Two 15 cm-thick segments were extracted from each core: a deep active-layer horizon and a shallow permafrost horizon. Soils were thawed and leached for DOC and TDN yields, dissolved organic matter optical properties, and DOC biodegradability; soils were analyzed for C and N content, and radiocarbon content. Soils had wide-ranging C and N content (<1-44% C, <0.1-2.3% N), and varied in radiocarbon age from 450-9200 years before present - thus capturing typical ranges of boreal and arctic soils. Soil DOC and TDN yields increased linearly with soil C and N content, and decreased with increasing radiocarbon age. However, across all sites DOC and TDN yields were significantly greater from permafrost soils (0.387 ± 0.324 mg DOC g-1 soil; 0.271 ± 0.0271 mg N g-1 soil) than from active layer soils (0.210 ± 0.192 mg DOC g-1 soil; 0.00716 ± 0.00569 mg N g-1 soil). DOC biodegradability increased with increasing radiocarbon age, and was statistically similar for active layer and permafrost soils. Our findings suggest that the continuously frozen state of permafrost soils has preserved

  18. Temperature response of permafrost soil carbon is attenuated by mineral protection.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gentsch, Norman; Wild, Birgit; Mikutta, Robert; Čapek, Petr; Diáková, Katka; Schrumpf, Marion; Turner, Stephanie; Minnich, Cynthia; Schaarschmidt, Frank; Shibistova, Olga; Schnecker, Jörg; Urich, Tim; Gittel, Antje; Šantrůčková, Hana; Bárta, Jiři; Lashchinskiy, Nikolay; Fuß, Roland; Richter, Andreas; Guggenberger, Georg

    2018-05-18

    Climate change in Arctic ecosystems fosters permafrost thaw and makes massive amounts of ancient soil organic carbon (OC) available to microbial breakdown. However, fractions of the organic matter (OM) may be protected from rapid decomposition by their association with minerals. Little is known about the effects of mineral-organic associations (MOA) on the microbial accessibility of OM in permafrost soils and it is not clear which factors control its temperature sensitivity. In order to investigate if and how permafrost soil OC turnover is affected by mineral controls, the heavy fraction (HF) representing mostly MOA was obtained by density fractionation from 27 permafrost soil profiles of the Siberian Arctic. In parallel laboratory incubations, the unfractionated soils (bulk) and their HF were comparatively incubated for 175 days at 5 and 15°C. The HF was equivalent to 70 ± 9% of the bulk CO 2 respiration as compared to a share of 63 ± 1% of bulk OC that was stored in the HF. Significant reduction of OC mineralization was found in all treatments with increasing OC content of the HF (HF-OC), clay-size minerals and Fe or Al oxyhydroxides. Temperature sensitivity (Q10) decreased with increasing soil depth from 2.4 to 1.4 in the bulk soil and from 2.9 to 1.5 in the HF. A concurrent increase in the metal-to-HF-OC ratios with soil depth suggests a stronger bonding of OM to minerals in the subsoil. There, the younger 14 C signature in CO 2 than that of the OC indicates a preferential decomposition of the more recent OM and the existence of a MOA fraction with limited access of OM to decomposers. These results indicate strong mineral controls on the decomposability of OM after permafrost thaw and on its temperature sensitivity. Thus, we here provide evidence that OM temperature sensitivity can be attenuated by MOA in permafrost soils. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  19. 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.

  20. Contribution of supra-permafrost discharge to thermokarst lake water balances on the northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pan, Xicai; Yu, Qihao; You, Yanhui; Chun, Kwok Pan; Shi, Xiaogang; Li, Yanping

    2017-12-01

    The seasonal hydrological mechanisms of two thermokarst lakes on the northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP) were characterized by three-year intensive field observations and a water balance model. In three ice-free seasons, the supra-permafrost discharge contributed a mean ratio of over 170% of the precipitation. In the ice-cover seasons, the supra-permafrost discharge contribution varied between -20% and 22% of the water storage change. Results show that a large portion of the lake water storage change is because of the supra-permafrost discharge resulting from precipitation. Furthermore, a precipitation-subsurface runoff function is preliminarily identified in which the supra-permafrost discharge nonlinearly increased with more precipitation. Our results show that the recent lake expansion is linked with increasing supra-permafrost discharge dominated by precipitation. This study also suggests that we need to pay attention to the nonlinear increase of precipitation-controlled supra-permafrost discharge on the large lake expansion at the catchment scale in the QTP region, instead of only looking at the inputs (e.g., precipitation and river discharge) as shown in the previous studies.

  1. Frozen in Time? Microbial strategies for survival and carbon metabolism over geologic time in a Pleistocene permafrost chronosequence

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mackelprang, R.; Douglas, T. A.; Waldrop, M. P.

    2014-12-01

    Permafrost soils have received tremendous interest due to their importance as a global carbon store with the potential to be thawed over the coming centuries. Instead of being 'frozen in time,' permafrost contains active microbes. Most metagenomic studies have focused on Holocene aged permafrost. Here, we target Pleistocene aged ice and carbon rich permafrost (Yedoma), which can differ in carbon content and stage of decay. Our aim was to understand how microbes in the permafrost transform organic matter over geologic time and to identify physiological and biochemical adaptations that enable long-term survival. We used next-generation sequencing to characterize microbial communities along a permafrost age gradient. Samples were collected from the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) Permafrost Tunnel near Fox, AK, which penetrates a hillside providing access to permafrost ranging in age from 12 to 40 kyr. DNA was extracted directly from unthawed samples. 16S rRNA amplicon (16S) and shotgun metagenome sequencing revealed significant age-driven differences. First, microbial diversity declines with permafrost age, likely due to long-term exposure to environmental stresses and a reduction in metabolic resources. Second, we observed taxonomic differences among ages, with an increasing abundance of Firmicutes (endospore-formers) in older samples, suggesting that dormancy is a common survival strategy in older permafrost. Ordination of 16S and metagenome data revealed age-based clustering. Genes differing significantly between age categories included those involved in lipopolysaccharide assembly, cold-response, and carbon processing. These data point to the physiological adaptations to long-term frozen conditions and to the metabolic processes utilized in ancient permafrost. In fact, a gene common in older samples is involved in cadaverine production, which could potentially explain the putrefied smell of Pleistocene aged permafrost. Coupled with soil

  2. Climate Change and Thawing Permafrost in Two Iñupiaq Communities of Alaska's Arctic: Observations, Implications, and Resilience

    Science.gov (United States)

    Woodward, A.; Kofinas, G.

    2013-12-01

    For thousands of years the Iñupiat of northern Alaska have relied on ecosystems underlain by permafrost for material and cultural resources. As permafrost thaws across the Arctic, these social-ecological systems are changing rapidly. Community-based research and extensive local knowledge of Iñupiaq villagers offer unique and valuable contributions to understanding permafrost change and its implications for humans. We partnered with two Iñupiaq communities in Alaska's Arctic to investigate current and potential effects of thawing permafrost on social-ecological systems. Anaktuvuk Pass is situated on thaw-stable consolidated gravel in the Brooks Range, while Selawik rests on ice-rich permafrost in Beringia lowland tundra. Using the transdisciplinary approach of resilience theory and mixed geophysical and ethnographic methods, we measured active layer thaw depths and documented local knowledge about climate and permafrost change. Thaw depths were greater overall in Selawik. Residents of both communities reported a variety of changes in surface features, hydrology, weather, flora, and fauna that they attribute to thawing permafrost and / or climate change. Overall, Selawik residents described more numerous and extreme examples of such changes, expressed higher degrees of certainty that change is occurring, and anticipated more significant and negative implications for their way of life than did residents of Anaktuvuk Pass. Of the two villages, Selawik faces greater and more immediate challenges to the resilience of its social-ecological system as permafrost thaws.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vonk, J.E.; Tank, S.E.; Bowden, W.B.; Laurion, I.; Vincent, W.F.; Alekseychik, P.; Amyot, Y.; Billet, M.F.; Canario, J.; Cory, R.M.; Deshpande, B.N.; Helbig, M.; Jammet, M.; Karlsson, J.; Larouche, J.; MacMillan, G.; Rautio, Milla; Walter Anthony, K.M.; Wickland, Kimberly 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 state of knowledge regarding how permafrost thaw affects lentic (still) and lotic (moving) systems, exploring the effects of both thermokarst (thawing and collapse of ice-rich permafrost) and deepening of the active layer (the surface soil layer that thaws and refreezes each year). Within thermokarst, we further differentiate between the effects of thermokarst in lowland areas vs. that on hillslopes. For almost all of the processes that we explore, the effects of thaw vary regionally, and between lake and stream systems. Much of this regional variation is caused by differences in ground ice content, topography, soil type, and permafrost coverage. Together, these modifying factors determine (i) the degree to which permafrost thaw manifests as thermokarst, (ii) whether thermokarst leads to slumping or the formation of thermokarst lakes, and (iii) the manner in which constituent delivery to freshwater systems is altered by thaw. Differences in thaw-enabled constituent delivery can be considerable, with these modifying factors determining, for example, the balance between delivery of particulate vs. dissolved constituents, and inorganic vs. organic materials. Changes in the composition of thaw-impacted waters, coupled with changes in lake morphology, can strongly affect the physical and optical properties of thermokarst lakes. The ecology of thaw-impacted lakes and streams is also likely to change; these systems have unique microbiological communities, and show differences in respiration, primary production, and food web structure that are largely driven by differences in sediment, dissolved organic matter, and nutrient delivery. The degree to which thaw enables the delivery

  4. The 50th Anniversary of the First International Conference on Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, J.

    2013-12-01

    This year marks the 50th anniversary of the First International Conference on Permafrost (ICOP) that was held at Purdue University on 11-15 November 1963. The conference was a historic event in that it brought together for the first time the leading researchers and practitioners from North America and other countries that had diverse interests and activities in the study and applications of perennially frozen ground, cold regions engineering and related laboratory investigations. The 285 registered participants represented engineers, researchers, manufacturers and builders from the USA (231), Canada (42), the USSR (5), Sweden (3) and Argentina, Austria, Great Britain, Japan, Norway, Poland, Switzerland, and West Germany. The conference was organized by the Building Research Advisory Board of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council (NAS-NRC). The carefully edited volume, published in 1966 by the NAS, is considered to be the first multi-national, English-language collection of papers devoted entirely to permafrost topics. The 100 published papers followed closely the actual conference venue and panel discussions: soils and vegetation (9), massive ground ice (10), geomorphology (16), phase equilibrium and transition (8), thermal aspects (8), physico-mechanical properties (7), exploration and site selection (11), sanitary and hydraulic engineering (14), and earthwork and foundations (17). This 1963 Purdue conference essentially broke the 'ice' between East and West permafrost researchers and set the stage for the Second ICOP that was held in 1973 in Yakutsk, Siberia, and represented the first large international conference held in the restricted area of Siberia. All subsequent conferences maintained the interdisciplinary principles set forth at Purdue: two more in the United States (Fairbanks 1983, 2008), two in Canada (Edmonton 1978, Yellowknife 1998), and one in Trondheim, Norway (1988), Beijing, China (1993), and Zurich, Switzerland (2003

  5. Implications of Self-Potential Distribution for Groundwater Flow System in a Nonvolcanic Mountain Slope

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tada-nori Goto

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Self-potential (SP measurements were conducted at Mt. Tsukuba, Japan, which is a nonvolcanic mountain, to infer groundwater flow system in the mountain. Survey routes were set around the northern slope, and the reliability of observed SP anomaly was checked by using SP values along parallel survey routes; the error was almost within 10 mV. The FFT analysis of the spatial SP distribution allows us a separation of raw data into two components with shorter and longer wavelength. In the shorter (altitudinal wavelength than ∼200 meters, several positive SP peaks of more than 100 mV in magnitude are present, which indicate shallow perched water discharges along the slope. In the regional SP pattern of longer wavelength, there are two major perturbations from the general trend reflecting the topographic effect. By comparing the SP and hydrological data, the perturbation around the foothill is interpreted to be caused by heterogeneous infiltration at the ground surface. The perturbation around the summit is also interpreted to be caused by heterogeneous infiltration process, based on a simplified numerical modeling of SP. As a result, the SP pattern is well explained by groundwater flow and infiltration processes. Thus, SP data is thought to be very useful for understanding of groundwater flow system on a mountain scale.

  6. Draft Genome Sequence of Methylocella silvestris TVC, a Facultative Methanotroph Isolated from Permafrost

    OpenAIRE

    Wang, Jing; Geng, Kan; Farhan Ul Haque, Muhammad; Crombie, Andrew; Street, Lorna E.; Wookey, Philip A.; Ma, Ke; Murrell, J. Colin; Pratscher, Jennifer

    2018-01-01

    Permafrost environments play a crucial role in global carbon and methane cycling. We report here the draft genome sequence of Methylocella silvestris TVC, a new facultative methanotroph strain, isolated from the Siksik Creek catchment in the continuous permafrost zone of Inuvik (Northwest Territories, Canada).

  7. A review of published literature on the effects of permafrost on the hydrogeochemistry of bedrock

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cascoyne, M.

    2000-06-01

    Salt-rejection into the aqueous phase from permafrost growth ('aggradation') during the onset of cold-climate conditions in the Pleistocene period is a mechanism that could account for the presence of saline groundwaters in the Fennoscandian Shield. This report describes the results of a review of scientific literature on the subject of permafrost, to search for and evaluate information which may indicate whether this mechanism is feasible for sites such as Olkiluoto and Aespoe on the Baltic Sea coast. The geomorphological characteristics of permafrost (such as development of patterned ground, ice wedging, pingo growth) have been studied in detail in the literature and provide an understanding of the effects of pore water expulsion and saline water formation. Evidence of salt-rejection during permafrost aggradation is found in results of analyses of the chemical and isotopic compositions of water in pingos and open taliks published in North American, Chinese and Russian literature over the last fifty years. While most studies have concentrated on shallow permafrost in soils and sediments, deep-drilling by the oil and gas industry has shown that permafrost may extend both laterally and to considerable depth. For instance, permafrost on the north slope of Alaska is laterally continuous over an area of at least 1000 km 2 and is associated with fluids of salinities up to 130 g/L. Also, in northern Siberia, permafrost has been observed to depths of over 900 m. Saline waters are ubiquitous in coastal areas that are currently underlain by permafrost. However, it is not clear how much of the salinity has been produced by the freezing process and how much is simply due to leaching of saline soils and sediments by groundwaters and the presence of residual seawater in the sediments. Possible indicators of concentration by freezing include the presence of brines (i.e. waters of greater salinity than seawater), mineral precipitates (e.g. mirabilite) that are formed on freezing

  8. A review of published literature on the effects of permafrost on the hydrogeochemistry of bedrock

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gascoyne, M.

    2000-04-01

    Salt-rejection into the aqueous phase from permafrost growth during the onset of cold-climate conditions in the Pleistocene period is a mechanism that could account for the presence of saline groundwaters in the Fennoscandian Shield. This report describes the results of a review of scientific literature on the subject of permafrost, to search for and evaluate information which may indicate whether this mechanism is feasible for sites such as Olkiluoto and Aespoe on the Baltic Sea coast. The geomorphological characteristics of permafrost (such as development of patterned ground, ice wedging, pingo growth) have been studied in detail in the literature and provide an understanding of the effects of pore water expulsion and saline water formation. Evidence of salt-rejection during permafrost aggradation is found in results of analyses of the chemical and isotopic compositions of water in pingos and open taliks published in North American, Chinese and Russian literature over the last fifty years. While most studies have concentrated on shallow permafrost in soils and sediments, deep-drilling by the oil and gas industry has shown that permafrost may extend both laterally and to considerable depth. For instance, permafrost on the north slope of Alaska is laterally continuous over an area of at least 1000 km 2 and is associated with fluids of salinities up to 130 g/L. Also, in northern Siberia, permafrost has been observed to depths of over 900 m. Saline waters are ubiquitous in coastal areas that are currently underlain by permafrost. However, it is not clear how much of the salinity has been produced by the freezing process and how much is simply due to leaching of saline soils and sediments by ground- waters and the presence of residual seawater in the sediments. Possible indicators of concentration by freezing include the presence of brines (i.e.waters of greater salinity than seawater), mineral precipitates (e.g. mirabilite) that are formed on freezing of seawater

  9. A review of published literature on the effects of permafrost on the hydrogeochemistry of bedrock

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gascoyne, M. [Gascoyne GeoProjects Inc., Pinawa (Canada)

    2000-04-01

    Salt-rejection into the aqueous phase from permafrost growth during the onset of cold-climate conditions in the Pleistocene period is a mechanism that could account for the presence of saline groundwaters in the Fennoscandian Shield. This report describes the results of a review of scientific literature on the subject of permafrost, to search for and evaluate information which may indicate whether this mechanism is feasible for sites such as Olkiluoto and Aespoe on the Baltic Sea coast. The geomorphological characteristics of permafrost (such as development of patterned ground, ice wedging, pingo growth) have been studied in detail in the literature and provide an understanding of the effects of pore water expulsion and saline water formation. Evidence of salt-rejection during permafrost aggradation is found in results of analyses of the chemical and isotopic compositions of water in pingos and open taliks published in North American, Chinese and Russian literature over the last fifty years. While most studies have concentrated on shallow permafrost in soils and sediments, deep-drilling by the oil and gas industry has shown that permafrost may extend both laterally and to considerable depth. For instance, permafrost on the north slope of Alaska is laterally continuous over an area of at least 1000 km{sup 2} and is associated with fluids of salinities up to 130 g/L. Also, in northern Siberia, permafrost has been observed to depths of over 900 m. Saline waters are ubiquitous in coastal areas that are currently underlain by permafrost. However, it is not clear how much of the salinity has been produced by the freezing process and how much is simply due to leaching of saline soils and sediments by ground- waters and the presence of residual seawater in the sediments. Possible indicators of concentration by freezing include the presence of brines (i.e.waters of greater salinity than seawater), mineral precipitates (e.g. mirabilite) that are formed on freezing of

  10. A review of published literature on the effects of permafrost on the hydrogeochemistry of bedrock

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Cascoyne, M. [Gascoyne GeoProjects Inc. (Canada)

    2000-06-01

    Salt-rejection into the aqueous phase from permafrost growth ('aggradation') during the onset of cold-climate conditions in the Pleistocene period is a mechanism that could account for the presence of saline groundwaters in the Fennoscandian Shield. This report describes the results of a review of scientific literature on the subject of permafrost, to search for and evaluate information which may indicate whether this mechanism is feasible for sites such as Olkiluoto and Aespoe on the Baltic Sea coast. The geomorphological characteristics of permafrost (such as development of patterned ground, ice wedging, pingo growth) have been studied in detail in the literature and provide an understanding of the effects of pore water expulsion and saline water formation. Evidence of salt-rejection during permafrost aggradation is found in results of analyses of the chemical and isotopic compositions of water in pingos and open taliks published in North American, Chinese and Russian literature over the last fifty years. While most studies have concentrated on shallow permafrost in soils and sediments, deep-drilling by the oil and gas industry has shown that permafrost may extend both laterally and to considerable depth. For instance, permafrost on the north slope of Alaska is laterally continuous over an area of at least 1000 km{sup 2} and is associated with fluids of salinities up to 130 g/L. Also, in northern Siberia, permafrost has been observed to depths of over 900 m. Saline waters are ubiquitous in coastal areas that are currently underlain by permafrost. However, it is not clear how much of the salinity has been produced by the freezing process and how much is simply due to leaching of saline soils and sediments by groundwaters and the presence of residual seawater in the sediments. Possible indicators of concentration by freezing include the presence of brines (i.e. waters of greater salinity than seawater), mineral precipitates (e.g. mirabilite) that are

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2015-01-01

    , including expansion of woody vegetation5,6, in response to changing climate conditions. How such vegetation changes contribute to stabilization or destabilization of the permafrost is unknown. Here we present six years of field observations in a shrub removal experiment at a Siberian tundra site. Removing...... the shrub part of the vegetation initiated thawing of ice-rich permafrost, resulting in collapse of the originally elevated shrub patches into waterlogged depressions within five years. This thaw pond development shifted the plots from a methane sink into a methane source. The results of our field......-emitting wet depressions could become more abundant in the lowland tundra landscape, at the cost of permafrost-stabilizing low shrub vegetation....

  12. Phytogeography of the tropical north-east African mountains

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    I. Friis

    1983-11-01

    Full Text Available The tropical north-east African mountains are tentatively divided into four phytochoria, the formal rank of which is not defined. The division is based on patterns of distribution and endemism in the region. The recognition of a distinct Afromontane phytochorion is now well established (Chapman & White, 1970; Werger, 1978; White, 1978. However, there is still very little information on the phytogeography of the individual mountains or mountain systems. This study hopes to fill a little of the gap by analysing distribution patterns and patterns of endemism in the flora of the tropical north-east African mountains. The north-east African mountain system is the largest in tropical Africa (see e.g. map in White, 1978. At the core of this system is the large Ethiopian massif, around which are located various mountains and mountain chains. These include the Red Sea Hills in the Sudan, the mountain chain in northern Somalia, the south-west Arabian mountains, and the Imatong mountains of south-east Sudan. The latter are often referred to the East African mountain system (White, 1978 but. as I will point out later, they also have a close connection with the south-west highlands of Ethiopia. The paper presents some results of my study of the mountain flora of tropical north-east Africa, particularly the forest species. Where no source is indicated, the data are from my own unpublished studies.

  13. 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

    2015-11-10

    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.

  14. 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.

  15. Baseline characteristics of climate, permafrost and land cover from a new permafrost observatory in the Lena River Delta, Siberia (1998–2011

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Boike

    2013-03-01

    Full Text Available Samoylov Island is centrally located within the Lena River Delta at 72° N, 126° E and lies within the Siberian zone of continuous permafrost. The landscape on Samoylov Island consists mainly of late Holocene river terraces with polygonal tundra, ponds and lakes, and an active floodplain. The island has been the focus of numerous multidisciplinary studies since 1993, which have focused on climate, land cover, ecology, hydrology, permafrost and limnology. This paper aims to provide a framework for future studies by describing the characteristics of the island's meteorological parameters (temperature, radiation and snow cover, soil temperature, and soil moisture. The land surface characteristics have been described using high resolution aerial images in combination with data from ground-based observations. Of note is that deeper permafrost temperatures have increased between 0.3 to 1.3 °C over the last five years. However, no clear warming of air and active layer temperatures is detected since 1998, though winter air temperatures during recent years have not been as cold as in earlier years. Data related to this article are archived under: http://doi. pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.806233 .

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  17. Design and Build of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway considering the Impacts of Warming Climate and Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ma, W.; Jin, H.; Cheng, G.; Wu, Q.; Lai, Y.

    2005-12-01

    During the period from 1960 to 2000, an 1°C increase of air temperature has been observed along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway (QTR) traversing 632 km of warm and ice-rich permafrost through the interior of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Correspondingly, mean annual ground temperatures (MAGTs) of warm (>-1 °C) permafrost on average increased about 0.3 to 0.5°C during 1970s-1990, while that of colder permafrost had increased by 0.1 to 0.3°C. During 1996-2004, ground temperatures at the permafrost table were increasing at the rates of 0.01-0.08°C a-1, and the permafrost table was lowering at the rates of 2.6 to 6.6 cm a-1; and the ground temperatures at depths of 6 to 8 m were warming at the rates of 0.02 to 0.05°C a-1. Consequently, the strengths of permafrost as the foundation of the QTR would be weakened if proper engineering measures were not taken. Based on the experiences and lessons learned from the road construction in permafrost regions from Alaska, Canada and Russia, and northeastern China, and taking into consideration of possible climatic warming along the QTR during the next 100 years, the design and construction of the QTR adopted the principle of``cooling the roadbed'' because most of the permafrost along the route is too deep to be thawed, too thermally sensitive to climatic warming and too critical to have appreciable thaw settlements. About 550 km of QTR is in continuous permafrost zone, 82 km is in discontinuous permafrost zone; 275 km is in warm permafrost areas, and 110 km of permafrost is ice-rich. The QTR is designed for safe operations during the next 100 years during which a warming of 2.2 to 2.6°C by 2050 is projected. Without engineering measures to keep ground frozen or maintain the settlement within the acceptable limits, thaw settlement in the foundation soils, and induced environmental instability would threaten the integrity and safety of QTR operation. However, only increasing therma resistance, such as increasing fill thickness or

  18. Greenhouse gas balance over thaw-freeze cycles in discontinuous zone permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, R. M.; Fitzhugh, L.; Whiting, G. J.; Frolking, S.; Harrison, M. D.; Dimova, N.; Burnett, W. C.; Chanton, J. P.

    2017-02-01

    Peat in the discontinuous permafrost zone contains a globally significant reservoir of carbon that has undergone multiple permafrost-thaw cycles since the end of the mid-Holocene ( 3700 years before present). Periods of thaw increase C decomposition rates which leads to the release of CO2 and CH4 to the atmosphere creating potential climate feedback. To determine the magnitude and direction of such feedback, we measured CO2 and CH4 emissions and modeled C accumulation rates and radiative fluxes from measurements of two radioactive tracers with differing lifetimes to describe the C balance of the peatland over multiple permafrost-thaw cycles since the initiation of permafrost at the site. At thaw features, the balance between increased primary production and higher CH4 emission stimulated by warmer temperatures and wetter conditions favors C sequestration and enhanced peat accumulation. Flux measurements suggest that frozen plateaus may intermittently (order of years to decades) act as CO2 sources depending on temperature and net ecosystem respiration rates, but modeling results suggest that—despite brief periods of net C loss to the atmosphere at the initiation of thaw—integrated over millennia, these sites have acted as net C sinks via peat accumulation. In greenhouse gas terms, the transition from frozen permafrost to thawed wetland is accompanied by increasing CO2 uptake that is partially offset by increasing CH4 emissions. In the short-term (decadal time scale) the net effect of this transition is likely enhanced warming via increased radiative C emissions, while in the long-term (centuries) net C deposition provides a negative feedback to climate warming.

  19. Geochemical composition of permafrost-affected soils around the town Tiksi, Northern Yakutia, Russia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Antcibor, Iuliia; Eschenbach, Annette; Pfeiffer, Eva-Maria

    2014-05-01

    Northeastern Siberia represents an area remote from evident anthropogenic trace metal sources. However, a risk of airborne pollution by trace metals from anthropogenic sources connected to the settlements exists. The largest of these are the settlements Tiksi (71° 42' 55.6" N, 128° 48' 46.3" E) and Kyusyur (70° 45' 41.7" N, 127° 23' 04.7" E). The area of Tiksi is located between the Lena River and the Kharaulach River mouths. It covers parts of Primorsky Ridge and Kharaulach Mountains which are a part of the Verkhoyansk Range. The objective of this study was to investigate features of the spatial element distribution in representative landscape-geochemical units of the Tiksi area and to identify whether local pollution from the settlement takes place. The physical and chemical properties of soils were accessed at three sites located radially in the immediate vicinity to the town Tiksi and one control site remote 10 km south from the settlement. The elements measured were As, Cd, Co, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn in soils. Differences in the element content were found for various relief forms (depressions, slopes, and elevations). The coefficient of soil buffer capacity (Bf) for the surface soil horizons in depressions was the highest (Bf > 40 %) for the majority of elements indicating their intensive accumulation there. In the surface soil horizons of elevated landscape forms the coefficient, by contrast showed low to very low soil buffer capacity to accumulate metals (0 % acid-base barriers. No significant difference in metal distribution among studied sites was revealed, except for the western site which was characterized by the highest median Ni concentration. The data suggest that ecological impacts at the studied sites were low except for one site north to Tiksi where signs of local pollution probably as a result of local emissions of fuel and mining operations were detected. Keywords: Trace metals; Russian Arctic; Northeastern Siberia; Permafrost

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2015-01-01

    Decomposition of organic carbon from thawing permafrost soils and the resulting release of carbon to the atmosphere are considered to represent a potentially critical global-scale feedback on climate change1, 2. The accompanying heat production from microbial metabolism of organic material has been...... recognized as a potential positive-feedback mechanism that would enhance permafrost thawing and the release of carbon3, 4. This internal heat production is poorly understood, however, and the strength of this effect remains unclear3. Here, we have quantified the variability of heat production in contrasting...... organic permafrost soils across Greenland and tested the hypothesis that these soils produce enough heat to reach a tipping point after which internal heat production can accelerate the decomposition processes. Results show that the impact of climate changes on natural organic soils can be accelerated...

  1. Temperature sensitivity of gaseous elemental mercury in the active layer of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau permafrost.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ci, Zhijia; Peng, Fei; Xue, Xian; Zhang, Xiaoshan

    2018-07-01

    Soils represent the single largest mercury (Hg) reservoir in the global environment, indicating that a tiny change of Hg behavior in soil ecosystem could greatly affect the global Hg cycle. Climate warming is strongly altering the structure and functions of permafrost and then would influence the Hg cycle in permafrost soils. However, Hg biogeochemistry in climate-sensitive permafrost is poorly investigated. Here we report a data set of soil Hg (0) concentrations in four different depths of the active layer in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau permafrost. We find that soil Hg (0) concentrations exhibited a strongly positive and exponential relationship with temperature and showed different temperature sensitivity under the frozen and unfrozen condition. We conservatively estimate that temperature increases following latest temperature scenarios of the IPCC could result in up to a 54.9% increase in Hg (0) concentrations in surface permafrost soils by 2100. Combining the simultaneous measurement of air-soil Hg (0) exchange, we find that enhanced Hg (0) concentrations in upper soils could favor Hg (0) emissions from surface soil. Our findings indicate that Hg (0) emission could be stimulated by permafrost thawing in a warmer world. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

    Methanogenic archaea are widespread anaerobic microorganisms responsible for the production of biogenic methane. Several new species of psychrotolerant methanogenic archaea were recently isolated from a permafrost-affected soil in the Lena Delta (Siberia, Russia), showing an exceptional resistance against desiccation, osmotic stress, low temperatures, starvation, UV and ionizing radiation when compared to methanogens from non-permafrost environments. To gain a deeper insight into the differences observed in their resistance, we described the chemical composition of methanogenic strains from permafrost and non-permafrost environments using confocal Raman microspectroscopy (CRM). CRM is a powerful tool for microbial identification and provides fingerprint-like information about the chemical composition of the cells. Our results show that the chemical composition of methanogens from permafrost-affected soils presents a high homology and is remarkably different from strains inhabiting non-permafrost environments. In addition, we performed a phylogenetic reconstruction of the studied strains based on the functional gene mcrA to prove the different evolutionary relationship of the permafrost strains. We conclude that the permafrost methanogenic strains show a convergent chemical composition regardless of their genotype. This fact is likely to be the consequence of a complex adaptive process to the Siberian permafrost environment and might be the reason underlying their resistant nature. © FEMS 2015. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  3. A simplified, data-constrained approach to estimate the permafrost carbon-climate feedback: The PCN Incubation-Panarctic Thermal (PInc-PanTher) Scaling Approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koven, C. D.; Schuur, E.; Schaedel, C.; Bohn, T. J.; Burke, E.; Chen, G.; Chen, X.; Ciais, P.; Grosse, G.; Harden, J. W.; Hayes, D. J.; Hugelius, G.; Jafarov, E. E.; Krinner, G.; Kuhry, P.; Lawrence, D. M.; MacDougall, A.; Marchenko, S. S.; McGuire, A. D.; Natali, S.; Nicolsky, D.; Olefeldt, D.; Peng, S.; Romanovsky, V. E.; Schaefer, K. M.; Strauss, J.; Treat, C. C.; Turetsky, M. R.

    2015-12-01

    We present an approach to estimate the feedback from large-scale thawing of permafrost soils using a simplified, data-constrained model that combines three elements: soil carbon (C) maps and profiles to identify the distribution and type of C in permafrost soils; incubation experiments to quantify the rates of C lost after thaw; and models of soil thermal dynamics in response to climate warming. We call the approach the Permafrost Carbon Network Incubation-Panarctic Thermal scaling approach (PInc-PanTher). The approach assumes that C stocks do not decompose at all when frozen, but once thawed follow set decomposition trajectories as a function of soil temperature. The trajectories are determined according to a 3-pool decomposition model fitted to incubation data using parameters specific to soil horizon types. We calculate litterfall C inputs required to maintain steady-state C balance for the current climate, and hold those inputs constant. Soil temperatures are taken from the soil thermal modules of ecosystem model simulations forced by a common set of future climate change anomalies under two warming scenarios over the period 2010 to 2100.

  4. 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...

  5. The circuitry of ecosystem metabolism: CO2 and CH4 flux from permafrost soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Microbial decomposition of thawed permafrost organic matter could release greenhouse gases (GHG) to the atmosphere and accelerate the carbon (C)-climate feedback. Greenhouse gas emissions from thawed permafrost are difficult to predict because they result from complex interactions between abiotic dr...

  6. Draft Genome Sequence of Methylocella silvestris TVC, a Facultative Methanotroph Isolated from Permafrost.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Jing; Geng, Kan; Farhan Ul Haque, Muhammad; Crombie, Andrew; Street, Lorna E; Wookey, Philip A; Ma, Ke; Murrell, J Colin; Pratscher, Jennifer

    2018-02-22

    Permafrost environments play a crucial role in global carbon and methane cycling. We report here the draft genome sequence of Methylocella silvestris TVC, a new facultative methanotroph strain, isolated from the Siksik Creek catchment in the continuous permafrost zone of Inuvik (Northwest Territories, Canada). Copyright © 2018 Wang et al.

  7. The role of climate change in regulating Arctic permafrost peatland hydrological and vegetation change over the last millennium

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Hui; Piilo, Sanna R.; Amesbury, Matthew J.; Charman, Dan J.; Gallego-Sala, Angela V.; Väliranta, Minna M.

    2018-02-01

    Climate warming has inevitable impacts on the vegetation and hydrological dynamics of high-latitude permafrost peatlands. These impacts in turn determine the role of these peatlands in the global biogeochemical cycle. Here, we used six active layer peat cores from four permafrost peatlands in Northeast European Russia and Finnish Lapland to investigate permafrost peatland dynamics over the last millennium. Testate amoeba and plant macrofossils were used as proxies for hydrological and vegetation changes. Our results show that during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA), Russian sites experienced short-term permafrost thawing and this induced alternating dry-wet habitat changes eventually followed by desiccation. During the Little Ice Age (LIA) both sites generally supported dry-hummock habitats, at least partly driven by permafrost aggradation. However, proxy data suggest that occasionally, MCA habitat conditions were drier than during the LIA, implying that evapotranspiration may create important additional eco-hydrological feedback mechanisms under warm conditions. All sites showed a tendency towards dry conditions as inferred from both proxies starting either from ca. 100 years ago or in the past few decades after slight permafrost thawing, suggesting that recent warming has stimulated surface desiccation rather than deeper permafrost thawing. This study shows links between two important controls over hydrology and vegetation changes in high-latitude peatlands: direct temperature-induced surface layer response and deeper permafrost layer-related dynamics. These data provide important backgrounds for predictions of Arctic permafrost peatlands and related feedback mechanisms. Our results highlight the importance of increased evapotranspiration and thus provide an additional perspective to understanding of peatland-climate feedback mechanisms.

  8. Strong geologic methane emissions from discontinuous terrestrial permafrost in the Mackenzie Delta, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kohnert, Katrin; Serafimovich, Andrei; Metzger, Stefan; Hartmann, Jörg; Sachs, Torsten

    2017-07-19

    Arctic permafrost caps vast amounts of old, geologic methane (CH 4 ) in subsurface reservoirs. Thawing permafrost opens pathways for this CH 4 to migrate to the surface. However, the occurrence of geologic emissions and their contribution to the CH 4 budget in addition to recent, biogenic CH 4 is uncertain. Here we present a high-resolution (100 m × 100 m) regional (10,000 km²) CH 4 flux map of the Mackenzie Delta, Canada, based on airborne CH 4 flux data from July 2012 and 2013. We identify strong, likely geologic emissions solely where the permafrost is discontinuous. These peaks are 13 times larger than typical biogenic emissions. Whereas microbial CH 4 production largely depends on recent air and soil temperature, geologic CH 4 was produced over millions of years and can be released year-round provided open pathways exist. Therefore, even though they only occur on about 1% of the area, geologic hotspots contribute 17% to the annual CH 4 emission estimate of our study area. We suggest that this share may increase if ongoing permafrost thaw opens new pathways. We conclude that, due to permafrost thaw, hydrocarbon-rich areas, prevalent in the Arctic, may see increased emission of geologic CH 4 in the future, in addition to enhanced microbial CH 4 production.

  9. Microbial survival strategies in ancient permafrost: insights from metagenomics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mackelprang, Rachel; Burkert, Alexander; Haw, Monica; Mahendrarajah, Tara; Conaway, Christopher H; Douglas, Thomas A; Waldrop, Mark P

    2017-10-01

    In permafrost (perennially frozen ground) microbes survive oligotrophic conditions, sub-zero temperatures, low water availability and high salinity over millennia. Viable life exists in permafrost tens of thousands of years old but we know little about the metabolic and physiological adaptations to the challenges presented by life in frozen ground over geologic time. In this study we asked whether increasing age and the associated stressors drive adaptive changes in community composition and function. We conducted deep metagenomic and 16 S rRNA gene sequencing across a Pleistocene permafrost chronosequence from 19 000 to 33 000 years before present (kyr). We found that age markedly affected community composition and reduced diversity. Reconstruction of paleovegetation from metagenomic sequence suggests vegetation differences in the paleo record are not responsible for shifts in community composition and function. Rather, we observed shifts consistent with long-term survival strategies in extreme cryogenic environments. These include increased reliance on scavenging detrital biomass, horizontal gene transfer, chemotaxis, dormancy, environmental sensing and stress response. Our results identify traits that may enable survival in ancient cryoenvironments with no influx of energy or new materials.

  10. Distribution of uranium 226Ra, 210Pb and 210Po in the ecological cycle in mountain regions of Central Yugoslavia

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Milosevic, Z.; Horsic, E.; Kljajic, R.; Bauman, A.

    1980-01-01

    The distribution of uranium, 226 Ra, 210 Pb and 210 Po in the uncultivated mountain regions of Central Yugoslavia was investigated. Samples of beef (meat and bones), milk, cheese, grass and podsolic soil were analyzed. The results showed that the distribution of these radionuclides in this ecologically unpolluted environment was no different from cultivated regions in other parts of the world. (UK)

  11. Air temperature changes and their impact on permafrost ecosystems in eastern Siberia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Desyatkin Roman

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Significant increasing of mean annual air temperatures, freezing index and thawing index - have exerted a considerable impact on the state of permafrost landscapes and ecosystems in Eastern Siberia on the last few decades. Many animals and plants have shifted their ranges and this may be the precursor of northward shifts of the landscape zones. Landscapes that contain ground ice bodies in the underlying permafrost are especially sensitive to climate warming. Increase of mean annual air temperature for 2-3°C over the last three decades has resulted an increase in ground temperature by 0.4-1.3°C in the upper part of permafrost, which in turn has led intensification of negative cryogenic processes. Previous year’s measurements of greenhouses gases emission in the Middle Taiga forest of central Yakutia were found to show high values and spatial variability. The wet meadow soils and shallow lakes have highest methane fluxes, almost comparable with emissions from tropical peatlands. Permafrost ecosystems respond to global warming quite rapidly. This makes the study of their changes somewhat easier, but still requires meticulous attention to observations, research, and analysis of the processes under way.

  12. Thin, Conductive Permafrost Surrounding Lake Fryxell Indicates Salts From Past Lakes, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foley, N.; Tulaczyk, S. M.; Gooseff, M. N.; Myers, K. F.; Doran, P. T.; Auken, E.; Dugan, H. A.; Mikucki, J.; Virginia, R. A.

    2017-12-01

    In the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV), permafrost should be thick and liquid water rare. However, despite the well below zero mean annual temperature in this cryospheric desert, liquid water can be found in lakes, summer melt streams, subglacial outflow, and - recent work has shown - underneath anomalously thin permafrost. In part, this niche hydrosphere is maintained by the presence of salts, which depress the freezing point of water to perhaps as cold as -10° Celsius. We detected widespread salty water across the MDV in lakes and at depth using a helicopter-borne Time Domain Electromagnetic (TDEM) sensor. By using the presence of brines to mark the transition from frozen permafrost (near the surface) to unfrozen ground (at depth), we have created a map of permafrost thickness in Lower Taylor Valley (LTV), a large MDV with a complex history of glaciation and occupation by lakes. Our results show that permafrost is thinner ( 200m) than would be expected based on geothermal gradient measurements (up to 1000m), a result of the freezing point depression caused by salt and potentially enhanced by an unfinished transient freezing process. Near Lake Fryxell, a large, brackish lake in the center of LTV, permafrost is very thin (about 30-40m) and notably more electrically conductive than more distal permafrost. This thin ring of conductive permafrost surrounding the lake basin most likely reflects the high presence of salts in the subsurface, preventing complete freezing. These salts may be a remnant of the salty bottom waters of a historic larger lake (LGM glacially dammed Lake Washburn) or the remnant of salty basal water from a past advance of Taylor Glacier, which now sits many km up-valley but is known to contain brines which currently flow onto the surface and directly into the subsurface aquifer.

  13. Dynamics of Permafrost Associated Methane Hydrate in Response to Climate Change

    Science.gov (United States)

    You, K.; Flemings, P. B.

    2014-12-01

    The formation and melting of methane hydrate and ice are intertwined in permafrost regions. A shortage of methane supply leads to formation of hydrate only at depth, below the base of permafrost. We consider a system with the ground surface initially at 0 oC with neither ice nor hydrate present. We abruptly decrease the temperature from 0 to -10 oC to simulate the effect of marine regression/ global cooling. A low methane supply rate of 0.005 kg m-2 yr-1 from depth leads to distinct ice and hydrate layers: a 100 m continuous hydrate layer is present beneath 850 m at 80 k.y.. However, a high methane supply rate of 0.1 kg m-2 yr-1 leads to 50 m ice-bonded methane hydrate at the base of permafrost, and the hydrate layer distributes between the depth of 350 and 700 m at 80 k.y.. We apply our model to illuminate future melting of hydrate at Mallik, a known Arctic hydrate accumulation. We assume a 600 m thick ice saturated (average 90%) layer extending downward from the ground surface. We increase the surface temperature linearly from -6 to 0 oC for 300 yr and then keep the surface temperature at 0 oC to reflect future climate warming caused by doubling of CO2. Hydrate melting is initiated at the base of the hydrate layer after 15 k.y.. Methane gas starts to vent to the atmosphere at 38 k.y. with an average flux of ~ 0.35 g m-2 yr-1. If the 600 m thick average ice saturation is decreased to half (45%) (or to zero), methane gas starts to vent to the atmosphere at 29 k.y. (or at 20 k.y.) with the same average flux. These results are found by a newly-developed fully-coupled multiphase multicomponent fluid flow and heat transport model. Our thermodynamic equilibrium-based model emphasizes the role of salinity in both ice and hydrate dynamics.

  14. 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.

  15. Scaling between reanalyses and high-resolution land-surface modelling in mountainous areas - enabling better application and testing of reanalyses in heterogeneous environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gruber, S.; Fiddes, J.

    2013-12-01

    In mountainous topography, the difference in scale between atmospheric reanalyses (typically tens of kilometres) and relevant processes and phenomena near the Earth surface, such as permafrost or snow cover (meters to tens of meters) is most obvious. This contrast of scales is one of the major obstacles to using reanalysis data for the simulation of surface phenomena and to confronting reanalyses with independent observation. At the example of modelling permafrost in mountain areas (but simple to generalise to other phenomena and heterogeneous environments), we present and test methods against measurements for (A) scaling atmospheric data from the reanalysis to the ground level and (B) smart sampling of the heterogeneous landscape in order to set up a lumped model simulation that represents the high-resolution land surface. TopoSCALE (Part A, see http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/gmdd-6-3381-2013) is a scheme, which scales coarse-grid climate fields to fine-grid topography using pressure level data. In addition, it applies necessary topographic corrections e.g. those variables required for computation of radiation fields. This provides the necessary driving fields to the LSM. Tested against independent ground data, this scheme has been shown to improve the scaling and distribution of meteorological parameters in complex terrain, as compared to conventional methods, e.g. lapse rate based approaches. TopoSUB (Part B, see http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/gmd-5-1245-2012) is a surface pre-processor designed to sample a fine-grid domain (defined by a digital elevation model) along important topographical (or other) dimensions through a clustering scheme. This allows constructing a lumped model representing the main sources of fine-grid variability and applying a 1D LSM efficiently over large areas. Results can processed to derive (i) summary statistics at coarse-scale re-analysis grid resolution, (ii) high-resolution data fields spatialized to e.g., the fine-scale digital elevation

  16. Exploring the ground ice recharge near permafrost table on the central Qinghai-Tibet Plateau using chemical and isotopic data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Weihua; Wu, Tonghua; Zhao, Lin; Li, Ren; Zhu, Xiaofan; Wang, Wanrui; Yang, Shuhua; Qin, Yanhui; Hao, Junmin

    2018-05-01

    Thawing permafrost on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP) has great impacts on the local hydrological process by way of causing ground ice to thaw. Until now there is little knowledge on ground ice hydrology near permafrost table under a warming climate. This study applied stable tracers (isotopes and chloride) and hydrograph separation model to quantify the sources of ground ice near permafrost table in continuous permafrost regions of the central QTP. The results indicated that the ground ice near permafrost table was mainly supplied by active layer water and permafrost water, accounting for 58.9 to 87.0% and 13.0 to 41.1%, respectively, which implying that the active layer was the dominant source. The contribution rates from the active layer to the ground ice in alpine meadow (59 to 69%) was less than that in alpine steppe (70 to 87%). It showed well-developed hydrogeochemical depth gradients, presenting depleted isotopes and positive chemical gradients with depth within the soil layer. The effects of evaporation and freeze-out fractionation on the soil water and ground ice were evident. The results provide additional insights into ground ice sources and cycling near permafrost table in permafrost terrain, and would be helpful for improving process-based detailed hydrologic models under the occurring global warming.

  17. VT Green Mountain Power Pole Data

    Data.gov (United States)

    Vermont Center for Geographic Information — (Link to Metadata) Green Mountain Power (GMP) pole and OVERHEAD linear distribution/sub-transmission model data. THE LINEAR DISTRIBUTION LAYER ONLY INCLUDES OVERHEAD...

  18. Analysing the environmental harms caused by coal mining and its protection measures in permafrost regions of Qinghai–Tibet Plateau

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wei Cao

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available The coal mining has brought a series of ecological problems and environmental problems in permafrost regions. Taking Muli coal-mining area as an example, this article attempts to analyse the environmental harms caused by coal mining and its protection measures in permafrost regions of Qinghai–Tibet Plateau. This article analyses the influence of open mining on the surrounding permafrost around the open pit by using the numerical simulation. The results show that (1 based on the interrelation between coal mining and permafrost environment, these main environmental harm include the permafrost change and the natural environment change in cold regions; (2 once the surface temperature rises due to open mining, the permafrost will disappear with the increase of exploitation life. If considering the solar radiation, the climate conditions and the geological condition around the pit edge, the maximum thaw depth will be more than 2 m; (3 the protection measures are proposed to avoid the disadvantage impact on the permafrost environment caused by coal mining. It will provide a scientific basis for the resource development and environment protection in cold regions.

  19. Spatial distribution of potential near surface moisture flux at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Flint, A.L.; Flint, L.E.

    1994-01-01

    An estimate of the areal distribution of present-day surface liquid moisture flux at Yucca Mountain was made using field measured water contents and laboratory measured rock properties. Using available data for physical and hydrologic properties (porosity, saturated hydraulic conductivity, moisture retention functions) of the volcanic rocks, surface lithologic units that are hydrologically similar were delineated. Moisture retention and relative permeability functions were assigned to each surface unit based on the similarity of the mean porosity and saturated hydraulic conductivity of the surface unit to laboratory samples of the same lithology. The potential flux into the mountain was estimated for each surface hydrologic unit using the mean saturated hydraulic conductivity for each unit and assuming all matrix flow. Using measured moisture profiles for each of the surface units, estimates were made of the depth at which seasonal fluctuations diminish and steady state downward flux conditions are likely to exist. The hydrologic properties at that depth were used with the current relative saturation of the tuff, to estimate flux as the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity. This method assumes a unit gradient. The range in estimated flux was 0.02 mm/yr for the welded Tiva Canyon to 13.4 mm/yr for the nonwelded Paintbrush Tuff. The areally averaged flux was 1.4 mm/yr. The major zones of high flux occur to the north of the potential repository boundary where the nonwelded tuffs are exposed in the major drainages

  20. Spatial distribution of potential near surface moisture flux at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Flint, A.L.; Flint, L.E.

    1994-01-01

    An estimate of the areal distribution of present-day surface liquid moisture flux at Yucca Mountain was made using field measured water contents and laboratory measured rock properties. Using available data for physical and hydrologic properties (porosity, saturated hydraulic conductivity moisture retention functions) of the volcanic rocks, surface lithologic units that are hydrologically similar were delineated. Moisture retention and relative permeability functions were assigned to each surface unit based on the similarity of the mean porosity and saturated hydraulic conductivity of the surface unit to laboratory samples of the same lithology. The potential flux into the mountain was estimated for each surface hydrologic unit using the mean saturated hydraulic conductivity for each unit and assuming all matrix flow. Using measured moisture profiles for each of the surface units, estimates were made of the depth at which seasonal fluctuations diminish and steady state downward flux conditions are likely to exist. The hydrologic properties at that depth were used with the current relative saturation of the tuff, to estimate flux as the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity. This method assumes a unit gradient. The range in estimated flux was 0.02 mm/yr for the welded Tiva Canyon to 13.4 mm/yr for the nonwelded Paintbrush Tuff. The areally averaged flux was 1.4 mm/yr. The major zones of high flux occur to the north of the potential repository boundary where the nonwelded tuffs are exposed in the major drainages

  1. Gridded rainfall estimation for distributed modeling in western mountainous areas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moreda, F.; Cong, S.; Schaake, J.; Smith, M.

    2006-05-01

    Estimation of precipitation in mountainous areas continues to be problematic. It is well known that radar-based methods are limited due to beam blockage. In these areas, in order to run a distributed model that accounts for spatially variable precipitation, we have generated hourly gridded rainfall estimates from gauge observations. These estimates will be used as basic data sets to support the second phase of the NWS-sponsored Distributed Hydrologic Model Intercomparison Project (DMIP 2). One of the major foci of DMIP 2 is to better understand the modeling and data issues in western mountainous areas in order to provide better water resources products and services to the Nation. We derive precipitation estimates using three data sources for the period of 1987-2002: 1) hourly cooperative observer (coop) gauges, 2) daily total coop gauges and 3) SNOw pack TELemetry (SNOTEL) daily gauges. The daily values are disaggregated using the hourly gauge values and then interpolated to approximately 4km grids using an inverse-distance method. Following this, the estimates are adjusted to match monthly mean values from the Parameter-elevation Regressions on Independent Slopes Model (PRISM). Several analyses are performed to evaluate the gridded estimates for DMIP 2 experiments. These gridded inputs are used to generate mean areal precipitation (MAPX) time series for comparison to the traditional mean areal precipitation (MAP) time series derived by the NWS' California-Nevada River Forecast Center for model calibration. We use two of the DMIP 2 basins in California and Nevada: the North Fork of the American River (catchment area 885 sq. km) and the East Fork of the Carson River (catchment area 922 sq. km) as test areas. The basins are sub-divided into elevation zones. The North Fork American basin is divided into two zones above and below an elevation threshold. Likewise, the Carson River basin is subdivided in to four zones. For each zone, the analyses include: a) overall

  2. 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...

  3. Age-related environmental gradients influence invertebrate distribution in the Prince Charles Mountains, East Antarctica.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Czechowski, Paul; White, Duanne; Clarke, Laurence; McKay, Alan; Cooper, Alan; Stevens, Mark I

    2016-12-01

    The potential impact of environmental change on terrestrial Antarctic ecosystems can be explored by inspecting biodiversity patterns across large-scale gradients. Unfortunately, morphology-based surveys of Antarctic invertebrates are time-consuming and limited by the cryptic nature of many taxa. We used biodiversity information derived from high-throughput sequencing (HTS) to elucidate the relationship between soil properties and invertebrate biodiversity in the Prince Charles Mountains, East Antarctica. Across 136 analysed soil samples collected from Mount Menzies, Mawson Escarpment and Lake Terrasovoje, we found invertebrate distribution in the Prince Charles Mountains significantly influenced by soil salinity and/or sulfur content. Phyla Tardigrada and Arachnida occurred predominantly in low-salinity substrates with abundant nutrients, whereas Bdelloidea (Rotifera) and Chromadorea (Nematoda) were more common in highly saline substrates. A significant correlation between invertebrate occurrence, soil salinity and time since deglaciation indicates that terrain age indirectly influences Antarctic terrestrial biodiversity, with more recently deglaciated areas supporting greater diversity. Our study demonstrates the value of HTS metabarcoding to investigate environmental constraints on inconspicuous soil biodiversity across large spatial scales.

  4. Microbial network, phylogenetic diversity and community membership in the active layer across a permafrost thaw gradient.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mondav, Rhiannon; McCalley, Carmody K; Hodgkins, Suzanne B; Frolking, Steve; Saleska, Scott R; Rich, Virginia I; Chanton, Jeff P; Crill, Patrick M

    2017-08-01

    Biogenic production and release of methane (CH 4 ) from thawing permafrost has the potential to be a strong source of radiative forcing. We investigated changes in the active layer microbial community of three sites representative of distinct permafrost thaw stages at a palsa mire in northern Sweden. The palsa site (intact permafrost and low radiative forcing signature) had a phylogenetically clustered community dominated by Acidobacteria and Proteobacteria. The bog (thawing permafrost and low radiative forcing signature) had lower alpha diversity and midrange phylogenetic clustering, characteristic of ecosystem disturbance affecting habitat filtering. Hydrogenotrophic methanogens and Acidobacteria dominated the bog shifting from palsa-like to fen-like at the waterline. The fen (no underlying permafrost, high radiative forcing signature) had the highest alpha, beta and phylogenetic diversity, was dominated by Proteobacteria and Euryarchaeota and was significantly enriched in methanogens. The Mire microbial network was modular with module cores consisting of clusters of Acidobacteria, Euryarchaeota or Xanthomonodales. Loss of underlying permafrost with associated hydrological shifts correlated to changes in microbial composition, alpha, beta and phylogenetic diversity associated with a higher radiative forcing signature. These results support the complex role of microbial interactions in mediating carbon budget changes and climate feedback in response to climate forcing. © 2017 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  5. Effects of permafrost thaw on nitrogen availability and plant nitrogen acquisition in Interior Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Finger, R.; Euskirchen, E. S.; Turetsky, M.

    2013-12-01

    The degradation of ice-rich permafrost, which covers a large portion of Interior Alaska, typically leads to thermokarst and increases in soil saturation. As a result, conifer peat plateaus degrade and are often replaced by wet collapse scar bogs. This state change results in profound changes in regional hydrology, biogeochemical cycling, and plant community composition. Preliminary data suggest that permafrost thaw can increase surface soil inorganic nitrogen (IN) concentrations but it is still unknown whether these changes in nutrient availability are short-lived (pulse releases) and whether or not they impact collapse scar vegetation composition or productivity, particularly as collapse scars undergo succession with time-after-thaw. Therefore we are currently examining changes in plant community composition, N availability and plant N acquisition along three thermokarst gradients in Interior Alaska. Each gradient is comprised of a forested permafrost peat plateau, adjacent ecotones experiencing active permafrost degradation (including a collapsing forest canopy and a saturated moat), and a collapse scar bog where permafrost has completely degraded. We predicted that IN concentrations would be highest along the active thaw margin, and lowest in the peat plateau. We also predicted that IN concentrations would be positively related to shifts in vegetation community composition, nutrient use efficiency (NUE) and tissue 15N concentrations. Preliminary results have shown that IN concentrations increase in newer collapse scar features as well as with thaw depth. Our data also show a shift from feather moss and ericaceous shrub-dominate understories in the permafrost plateau to Sphagnum and sedge dominated thaw ecotone and bog communities. Further successional development of the collapse scar bog results in the reintroduction of small evergreen and deciduous shrubs as the peat mat develops. Over time, collapse scar succession and peat accumulation appears to lead to

  6. Permafrost thaw strongly reduces allowable CO2 emissions for 1.5°C and 2°C

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kechiar, M.; Gasser, T.; Kleinen, T.; Ciais, P.; Huang, Y.; Burke, E.; Obersteiner, M.

    2017-12-01

    We quantify how the inclusion of carbon emission from permafrost thaw impacts the budgets of allowable anthropogenic CO2 emissions. We use the compact Earth system model OSCAR v2.2 which we expand with a permafrost module calibrated to emulate the behavior of the complex models JSBACH, ORCHIDEE and JULES. When using the "exceedance" method and with permafrost thaw turned off, we find budgets very close to the CMIP5 models' estimates reported by IPCC. With permafrost thaw turned on, the total budgets are reduced by 3-4%. This corresponds to a 33-45% reduction of the remaining budget for 1.5°C, and a 9-13% reduction for 2°C. When using the "avoidance" method, however, permafrost thaw reduces the total budget by 3-7%, which corresponds to reductions by 33-56% and 56-79% of the remaining budget for 1.5°C and 2°C, respectively. The avoidance method relies on many scenarios that actually peak below the target whereas the exceedance method overlooks the carbon emitted by thawed permafrost after the temperature target is reached, which explains the difference. If we use only the subset of scenarios in which there is no net negative emissions, the permafrost-induced reduction in total budgets rises to 6-15%. Permafrost thaw therefore makes the emission budgets strongly path-dependent. We also estimate budgets of needed carbon capture in scenarios overshooting the temperature targets. Permafrost thaw strongly increases these capture budgets: in the case of a 1.5°C target overshot by 0.5°C, which is in line with the Paris agreement, about 30% more carbon must be captured. Our conclusions are threefold. First, inclusion of permafrost thaw systematically reduces the emission budgets, and very strongly so if the temperature target is overshot. Second, the exceedance method, that is the only one that complex models can follow, only partially accounts for the effect of slow non-linear processes such as permafrost thaw, leading to overestimated budgets. Third, the newfound

  7. Production of high-resolution digital terrain models in mountain regions to support risk assessment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gianfranco Forlani

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available Demand for high-accuracy digital terrain models (DTMs in the Alpine region has been steadily increasing in recent years in valleys as well as high mountains. In the former, the determination of the geo-mechanical parameters of rock masses is the main objective; global warming, which causes the retreat of glaciers and the reduction of permafrost, is the main drive of the latter. The consequence is the instability of rock masses in high mountains: new cost-effective monitoring techniques are required to deal with the peculiar characteristics of such environment, delivering results at short notice. After discussing the design and execution of photogrammetric surveys in such areas, with particular reference to block orientation and block control, the paper describes the production of DTMs of rock faces and glacier fronts with light instrumentation and data acquisition techniques, allowing highly automated data processing. To this aim, the PhotoGPS technique and structure from motion algorithms are used to speed up the orientation process, while dense matching area-based correlation techniques are used to generate the DTMs.

  8. Vulnerability of permafrost carbon to climate change: implications for the global carbon cycle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edward A.G. Schuur; James Bockheim; Josep G. Canadell; Eugenie Euskirchen; Christopher B. Field; Sergey V. Goryachkin; Stefan Hagemann; Peter Kuhry; Peter M. Lafleur; Hanna Lee; Galina Mazhitova; Frederick E. Nelson; Annette Rinke; Vladimir E. Romanovsky; Nikolay Shiklomanov; Charles Tarnocai; Sergey Venevsky; Jason G. Vogel; Sergei A. Zimov

    2008-01-01

    Thawing permafrost and the resulting microbial decomposition of previously frozen organic carbon (C) is one of the most significant potential feedbacks from terrestrial ecosystems to the atmosphere in a changing climate. In this article we present an overview of the global permafrost C pool and of the processes that might transfer this C into the atmosphere, as well as...

  9. Estimation of the Past and Future Infrastructure Damage Due the Permafrost Evolution Processes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sergeev, D. O.; Chesnokova, I. V.; Morozova, A. V.

    2015-12-01

    The geocryological processes such as thermokarst, frost heaving and fracturing, icing, thermal erosion are the source of immediate danger for the structures. The economic losses during the construction procedures in the permafrost area are linked also with the other geological processes that have the specific character in cold regions. These processes are swamping, desertification, deflation, flooding, mudflows and landslides. Linear transport structures are most vulnerable component of regional and national economy. Because the high length the transport structures have to cross the landscapes with different permafrost conditions that have the different reaction to climate change. The climate warming is favorable for thermokarst and the frost heaving is linked with climate cooling. In result the structure falls in the circumstances that are not predicted in the construction project. Local engineering problems of structure exploitation lead to global risks of sustainable development of regions. Authors developed the database of geocryological damage cases for the last twelve years at the Russian territory. Spatial data have the attributive table that was filled by the published information from various permafrost conference proceedings. The preliminary GIS-analysis of gathered data showed the widespread territorial distribution of the cases of negative consequences of geocryological processes activity. The information about maximum effect from geocryological processes was validated by detailed field investigation along the railways in Yamal and Transbaicalia Regions. Authors expect the expanding of database by similar data from other sectors of Arctic. It is important for analyzing the regional, time and industrial tendencies of geocryological risk evolution. Obtained information could be used in insurance procedures and in information systems of decisions support in different management levels. The investigation was completed with financial support by Russian

  10. [Spatial distribution of aboveground biomass of shrubs in Tianlaochi catchment of the Qilian Mountains].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liang, Bei; Di, Li; Zhao, Chuan-Yan; Peng, Shou-Zhang; Peng, Huan-Hua; Wang, Chao

    2014-02-01

    This study estimated the spatial distribution of the aboveground biomass of shrubs in the Tianlaochi catchment of Qilian Mountains based on the field survey and remote sensing data. A relationship model of the aboveground biomass and its feasibly measured factors (i. e. , canopy perimeter and plant height) was built. The land use was classified by object-oriented technique with the high resolution image (GeoEye-1) of the study area, and the distribution of shrub coverage was extracted. Then the total aboveground biomass of shrubs in the study area was estimated by the relationship model with the distribution of shrub coverage. The results showed that the aboveground biomass of shrubs in the study area was 1.8 x 10(3) t and the aboveground biomass per unit area was 1598.45 kg x m(-2). The distribution of shrubs mainly was at altitudes of 3000-3700 m, and the aboveground biomass of shrubs on the sunny slope (1.15 x 10(3) t) was higher than that on the shady slope (0.65 x 10(3) t).

  11. Frozen-Ground Cartoons: An international collaboration between artists and permafrost scientists

    OpenAIRE

    Fritz, Michael; Bouchard, Fréderic; Deshpande, Bethany; Malenfant-Lepage, Julie; Nieuwendam, Alexandre; Paquette, Michel; Rudy, Ashley; Siewert, Matthias; Veillete, Audrey; Weege, Stefanie; Harbor, Jonathan M.; Habeck, J. O.; Sjöberg, Ylva

    2018-01-01

    Communicating science about a phenomenon found under ground and defined by its thermal properties in an easy, funny, and engaging way, can be a challenge. Two years ago, a group of young researchers from Canada and Europe united to tackle this problem by combining arts and science to produce a series of outreach comic strips about permafrost (frozen ground). Because this concerns us all. As the climate warms, permafrost thaws and becomes unstable for houses, roads and airports. The thawi...

  12. Floristic analysis of the wanda mountain in north eastern china

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wang, H.; Xu, L.; Zhang, Z.

    2016-01-01

    The plants of the Wanda Mountain area were investigated between 2009 to 2013. The results show that Wanda Mountain has 95 families of seed plants distributed in 334 genera and 705 species. A geographical component analysis shows that in addition to a small number of cosmopolitan species, cold, temperate and tropical species account for 14.9%, 77.3% and 4.4% of the total species, respectively, indicating that the flora of the Wanda Mountains exhibits a significant temperate nature and includes a small number of tropical components and certain cold components. In addition, the Wanda Mountains show a remarkable level of endemism and are geographically related to other regions in East Asia, particularly Japan. Furthermore, the Wanda Mountains present a complicated species composition, with a total of 14 distribution patterns and 10 variants. The coefficient of similarity between the flora of the Wanda Mountain area and the flora of the Changbai Mountain area is 43.1%, and the coefficient of similarity between the flora of the Wanda Mountain area and the flora of the Lesser Xingan Mountain area is 49.2%, indicating that the plants of the Wanda Mountain area are more common to those of the Lesser Xingan Mountain area. (author)

  13. Progress in studies on hydrological impacts of degrading permafrost in the Source Area of Yellow River on NE Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, SW China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jin, H.; Ma, Q.; Jin, X.

    2017-12-01

    Permafrost degradation substantially impacts hydrological processes in the Source Area of the Yellow River (SAYR). Deepening active layer has directly led to a reduction of surface runoffs, alters the generation and dynamics of slope runoffs and groundwater, leading to a deepening of groundwater flow paths. At present, however, there is only a limited understanding of the hydrological impact mechanisms of degrading permafrost. On the basis of analyzing and evaluating the current states, changing history and developing trends of climate, permafrost and hydrological processes, this program aims at further and better quantifying the nature of these mechanisms linking the degrading permafrost with changing hydrological processes. The key scientific themes for this research are the characterization of interactions between ground freezing-thawing and hydrogeology in the SAYR. For this study, a coupling is made between geothermal states and the occurrences of taliks in river systems, in order to understand how expanding taliks control groundwater and surface-water interactions and how these interactions might intensify or weaken when the climate warms and dries persistently. Numerical models include freeze-thaw dynamics coupled to groundwater and surface flow processes. For the proper parameterization of these models, field and laboratory studies are conducted with a focus on the SAYR. Geophysical investigations are employed for mapping permafrost distribution in relation to landscape elements. Boreholes and water wells and observation sites for the hydrothermal processes and water tables are used for establishing the current thermal state of frozen ground and talik and monitor their changes over time, and serve to ground-truth surface geophysical observations. Boreholes and wellbores, water wells and active layer sites have provided access to the permafrost and aquifer systems, allowing the dating of ground-water and -ice and soil strata for elucidating the regional

  14. An ecologic study comparing distribution of Pasteurella trehalosi and Mannheimia haemolytica between Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, White Mountain bighorn sheep, and domestic sheep.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tomassini, Letizia; Gonzales, Ben; Weiser, Glen C; Sischo, William

    2009-10-01

    The prevalence and phenotypic variability of Pasteurella and Mannheimia isolates from Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis sierrae), White Mountain bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni), and domestic sheep (Ovis aries) from California, USA, were compared. The White Mountain bighorn sheep population had a recent history of pneumonia-associated mortality, whereas the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep population had no recent history of pneumonia-associated mortality. The domestic sheep flocks were pastured in areas geographically near both populations but were not known to have direct contact with either bighorn sheep population. Oropharyngeal swab samples were collected from healthy domestic and bighorn sheep and cultured to characterize bacterial species, hemolysis, biogroups, and biovariants. Pasteurella trehalosi and Mannheimia haemolytica were detected in all of the study populations, but the relative proportion of each bacterial species differed among sheep populations. Pasteurella trehalosi was more common than M. haemolytica in the bighorn sheep populations, whereas the opposite was true in domestic sheep. Mannheimia haemolytica was separated into 11 biogroups, and P. trehalosi was characterized into two biogroups. Biogroup distributions for M. haemolytica and P. trehalosi differed among the three populations; however, no difference was detected for the distribution of P. trehalosi biogroups between the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep and domestic sheep. The prevalence odds ratios (pOR) for the distribution of M. haemolytica biogroups suggested little difference between White Mountain bighorn sheep and domestic sheep compared with Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep and domestic sheep, although these comparisons had relatively large confidence intervals for the point estimates. Hemolytic activity of the isolates was not different among the sheep populations for M. haemolytica but was different for P. trehalosi. No clear evidence of association was found in the

  15. Carbon Stocks in Permafrost-Affected Soils of the Lena River Delta

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zubrzycki, S.; Kutzbach, L.; Grosse, G.; Desyatkin, A.; Pfeiffer, E.

    2012-12-01

    The soil organic carbon stock (SSOC) of soils in arctic permafrost regions is known to be significant but is insufficiently investigated so far. Previous SSOC studies report mainly the gravimetric carbon (C) contents and are limited to the active layer depth at the time of sampling. Since C deposits in permafrost regions are likely to become a future C source, more detailed investigations of the presently frozen likely carbon-rich sediment and soil layers are of importance. Our investigations were performed on Samoylov Island in the southern-central part of the Lena River Delta (32,000 km2) which is the largest arctic delta and the fifth largest delta worldwide. Samoylov Island is representative for the Lena River Delta's first terrace and the active floodplains. Within this study a new portable Snow-Ice-Permafrost-Research-Establishment (SIPRE) auger was used during a spring field session to obtain 1 m deep frozen soil cores (n = 29) distributed over all known soil and vegetation units. These cores are analyzed for bulk contents of nitrogen (N) and C, ice content and bulk density (BD) and to determine the SSOC including the rarely investigated currently permanently frozen layers up to 1 m depth on Samoylov Island. Our study provides evidence for high SSOC for a depth of 1 m for the investigated area ranging between 7 kg m-2 and 48 kg m-2. Considering the spatial extent of different soil units on the two geomorphological units of Samoylov Island, the area-weighted average SSOC were 29 kg m-2 (n = 22) for the first terrace and 14 kg m-2 (n = 7) for the active floodplain. For the correspondent soil units of Turbels and Orthels in circumpolar permafrost regions a mean SSOC of 27 kg m-2 (min: 0.1 kg m-2, max: 126 kg m-2) for a depth of 1 m was reported [1]. For up-scaling solely over the soil-covered areas of the Lena River Delta, we excluded all water bodies >3,600 m2 from the geomorphological units studied (first river terrace and the active floodplains) and

  16. 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

  17. The fate of 13C15N labelled glycine in permafrost and surface soil at simulated thaw in mesocosms from high arctic and subarctic ecosystems

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ravn, Nynne Marie Rand; Elberling, Bo; Michelsen, Anders

    2017-01-01

    Background and aim: Nutrient distribution and carbon fluxes upon spring thaw are compared in mesocosms from high arctic and subarctic ecosystems dominated by Cassiope tetragona or Salix hastata/Salix arctica, in order to evaluate the possibility of plant and microbial utilization of an organic...... compound in thawing permafrost and surface soil. Methods: Double labeled glycine (13C15N) was added to soil columns with vegetation and to permafrost. During thaw conditions ecosystem respiration 13C was measured and 13C and 15N distribution in the ecosystem pools was quantified one day and one month after...... glycine addition. Results: Near-surface soil microbes were more efficient in the uptake of intact glycine immediately upon thaw than plants. After one month plants had gained more 15N whereas microbes seemed to lose 15N originating from glycine. We observed a time lag in glycine degradation upon...

  18. Circumpolar assessment of permafrost C quality and its vulnerability over time using long-term incubation data.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schädel, Christina; Schuur, Edward A G; Bracho, Rosvel; Elberling, Bo; Knoblauch, Christian; Lee, Hanna; Luo, Yiqi; Shaver, Gaius R; Turetsky, Merritt R

    2014-02-01

    High-latitude ecosystems store approximately 1700 Pg of soil carbon (C), which is twice as much C as is currently contained in the atmosphere. Permafrost thaw and subsequent microbial decomposition of permafrost organic matter could add large amounts of C to the atmosphere, thereby influencing the global C cycle. The rates at which C is being released from the permafrost zone at different soil depths and across different physiographic regions are poorly understood but crucial in understanding future changes in permafrost C storage with climate change. We assessed the inherent decomposability of C from the permafrost zone by assembling a database of long-term (>1 year) aerobic soil incubations from 121 individual samples from 23 high-latitude ecosystems located across the northern circumpolar permafrost zone. Using a three-pool (i.e., fast, slow and passive) decomposition model, we estimated pool sizes for C fractions with different turnover times and their inherent decomposition rates using a reference temperature of 5 °C. Fast cycling C accounted for less than 5% of all C in both organic and mineral soils whereas the pool size of slow cycling C increased with C : N. Turnover time at 5 °C of fast cycling C typically was below 1 year, between 5 and 15 years for slow turning over C, and more than 500 years for passive C. We project that between 20 and 90% of the organic C could potentially be mineralized to CO2 within 50 incubation years at a constant temperature of 5 °C, with vulnerability to loss increasing in soils with higher C : N. These results demonstrate the variation in the vulnerability of C stored in permafrost soils based on inherent differences in organic matter decomposability, and point toward C : N as an index of decomposability that has the potential to be used to scale permafrost C loss across landscapes. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  19. Simulation of permafrost changes due to technogenic influences of different ingeneering constructions used in nothern oil and gas fields

    Science.gov (United States)

    Filimonov, M. Yu; Vaganova, N. A.

    2016-10-01

    Significant amount of oil and gas is producted in Russian Federation on the territories with permafrost soils. Ice-saturated rocks thawing due to global warming or effects of various human activity will be accompanied by termocarst and others dangerous geological processes in permafrost. Design and construction of well pads in permafrost zones have some special features. The main objective is to minimize the influence of different heat sources (engineering objects) inserted into permafrost and accounting long-term forecast of development of permafrost degradation due to different factors in particular generated by human activity. In this work on the basis a mathematical model and numerical algorithms approved on 11 northern oil and gas fields some effects obtained by carrying out numerical simulations for various engineering systems are discussed.

  20. Paraglacial dynamics in Little Ice Age glaciated environments in the Iberian Peninsula

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oliva, Marc; Serrano, Enrique; Ruiz-Fernández, Jesús; Gómez-Ortiz, Antonio; Palacios, David

    2017-04-01

    Three Iberian mountain ranges encompassed glaciers during the Little Ice Age (LIA): the Pyrenees, Cantabrian Mountains and Sierra Nevada. The gradual warming trend initiated during the second half of the XIX century promoted the progressive shrinking of these glaciers, which completely melted during the first half of the 20th century in the Cantabrian Mountains and Sierra Nevada and reduced by 80% of their LIA extent in the Pyrenees. Currently, the formerly glaciated environments are located within the periglacial belt and still present to a major or lesser degree signs of paraglacial activity. LIA moraines are devoid of vegetation and composed of highly unstable sediments that are being intensely mobilized by slope processes. Inside the moraines, different landforms and processes generated following LIA glacial retreat have generated: (i) buried ice trapped within rock debris supplied from the cirque walls, which has also generated rock glaciers and protalus lobes; (ii) semi-permanent snow fields distributed above the ice-patches remnants of the LIA glaciers, and (iii) small periglacial features such as frost mounds, sorted circles and solifluction landforms generated by processes such as solifluction and cryoturbation. Present-day morphodynamics is mostly related to seasonal frost conditions, though patches of permafrost have formed in some areas in contact with the buried ice. This 'geomorphic permafrost' is undergoing a process of degradation since it is not balanced with present-day climate conditions. This is reflected in the occurrence of multiple collapses and subsidences of the debris cover where the frozen bodies sit. In the highest areas of the Pyrenees there is a permafrost belt next to the small glaciated environments in the highest massifs. Finally, we propose a model for paraglacial activity in Iberian mountain ranges and compare it to other mid-latitude mountain environments as well as to other past deglaciation stages.

  1. Permafrost carbon−climate feedback is sensitive to deep soil carbon decomposability but not deep soil nitrogen dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koven, Charles D.; Lawrence, David M.; Riley, William J.

    2015-01-01

    Permafrost soils contain enormous amounts of organic carbon whose stability is contingent on remaining frozen. With future warming, these soils may release carbon to the atmosphere and act as a positive feedback to climate change. Significant uncertainty remains on the postthaw carbon dynamics of permafrost-affected ecosystems, in particular since most of the carbon resides at depth where decomposition dynamics may differ from surface soils, and since nitrogen mineralized by decomposition may enhance plant growth. Here we show, using a carbon−nitrogen model that includes permafrost processes forced in an unmitigated warming scenario, that the future carbon balance of the permafrost region is highly sensitive to the decomposability of deeper carbon, with the net balance ranging from 21 Pg C to 164 Pg C losses by 2300. Increased soil nitrogen mineralization reduces nutrient limitations, but the impact of deep nitrogen on the carbon budget is small due to enhanced nitrogen availability from warming surface soils and seasonal asynchrony between deeper nitrogen availability and plant nitrogen demands. Although nitrogen dynamics are highly uncertain, the future carbon balance of this region is projected to hinge more on the rate and extent of permafrost thaw and soil decomposition than on enhanced nitrogen availability for vegetation growth resulting from permafrost thaw. PMID:25775603

  2. A comparative review of multi-risk modelling methodologies for climate change adaptation in mountain regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Terzi, Stefano; Torresan, Silvia; Schneiderbauer, Stefan

    2017-04-01

    Keywords: Climate change, mountain regions, multi-risk assessment, climate change adaptation. Climate change has already led to a wide range of impacts on the environment, the economy and society. Adaptation actions are needed to cope with the impacts that have already occurred (e.g. storms, glaciers melting, floods, droughts) and to prepare for future scenarios of climate change. Mountain environment is particularly vulnerable to the climate changes due to its exposure to recent climate warming (e.g. water regime changes, thawing of permafrost) and due to the high degree of specialization of both natural and human systems (e.g. alpine species, valley population density, tourism-based economy). As a consequence, the mountain local governments are encouraged to undertake territorial governance policies to climate change, considering multi-risks and opportunities for the mountain economy and identifying the best portfolio of adaptation strategies. This study aims to provide a literature review of available qualitative and quantitative tools, methodological guidelines and best practices to conduct multi-risk assessments in the mountain environment within the context of climate change. We analyzed multi-risk modelling and assessment methods applied in alpine regions (e.g. event trees, Bayesian Networks, Agent Based Models) in order to identify key concepts (exposure, resilience, vulnerability, risk, adaptive capacity), climatic drivers, cause-effect relationships and socio-ecological systems to be integrated in a comprehensive framework. The main outcomes of the review, including a comparison of existing techniques based on different criteria (e.g. scale of analysis, targeted questions, level of complexity) and a snapshot of the developed multi-risk framework for climate change adaptation will be here presented and discussed.

  3. Leveraging Subsidence in Permafrost with Remotely Sensed Active Layer Thickness (ReSALT) Products

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaefer, K. M.; Chen, A.; Chen, J.; Chen, R. H.; Liu, L.; Michaelides, R. J.; Moghaddam, M.; Parsekian, A.; Tabatabaeenejad, A.; Thompson, J. A.; Zebker, H. A.; Meyer, F. J.

    2017-12-01

    The Remotely Sensed Active Layer Thickness (ReSALT) product uses the Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) technique to measure ground subsidence in permafrost regions. Seasonal subsidence results from the expansion of soil water into ice as the surface soil or active layer freezes and thaws each year. Subsidence trends result from large-scale thaw of permafrost and from the melting and subsequent drainage of excess ground ice in permafrost-affected soils. The attached figure shows the 2006-2010 average seasonal subsidence from ReSALT around Barrow, Alaska. The average active layer thickness (the maximum surface thaw depth during summer) is 30-40 cm, resulting in an average seasonal subsidence of 1-3 cm. Analysis of the seasonal subsidence and subsidence trends provides valuable insights into important permafrost processes, such as the freeze/thaw of the active layer, large-scale thawing due to climate change, the impact of fire, and infrastructure vulnerability. ReSALT supports the Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) field campaign in Alaska and northwest Canada and is a precursor for a potential NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) product. ReSALT includes uncertainties for all parameters and is validated against in situ measurements from the Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) network, Ground Penetrating Radar and mechanical probe measurements. Here we present examples of ReSALT products in Alaska to highlight the untapped potential of the InSAR technique to understand permafrost dynamics, with a strong emphasis on the underlying processes that drive the subsidence.

  4. Influence of permafrost on lake terraces of Lake Heihai (NE Tibetan Plateau)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lockot, Gregori; Hartmann, Kai; Wünnemann, Bernd

    2013-04-01

    The Tibetan Plateau (TP) is one of the key regions for climatic global change. Besides the poles the TP is the third highest storage of frozen water in glaciers. Here global warming is three times higher than in the rest of the world. Additionally the TP provides water for billions of people and influences the moisture availability from the Indian and East Asian monsoon systems. During the Holocene extent and intensity of the monsoonal systems changed. Hence, in the last decades, a lot of work was done to reconstruct timing and frequency of monsoonal moisture, to understand the past and give a better forecast for the future. Comparative workings often show very heterogeneous patterns of timing and frequency of the Holocene precipitation and temperature maximum, emphasizing the local importance of catchment dynamics. In this study we present first results of lake Heihai (36°N, 93°15'E, 4500m a.s.l.), situated at the north-eastern border of the TP. The lake is surrounded by a broad band of near-shore lake sediments, attesting a larger lake extent in the past. These sediments were uplifted by permafrost, reaching nowadays heights ca. +8 meters above present lake level. Due to the uplift one of the main inflows was blocked and the whole hydrology of the catchment changed. To quantify the uplift of permafrost Hot Spot Analysis were accomplished at a DEM of the near-shore area. As a result regions of high permafrost uplift and those which mirror the original height of lake ground were revealed. The most obvious uplift took place in the northern and western part of the lake, where the four uplift centers are located. In contrast the southern and eastern areas show a rather degraded pattern (probably by fluvial erosion, thermokarst, etc.). The ancient lake bottom, without permafrost uplift was estimated to be 4-6 meters above the modern lake level. For a better understanding of permafrost interaction inside the terrace bodies a 5m sediment profile was sampled and

  5. Nitrogen availability drives priming effect by altering microbial carbon-use efficiency after permafrost thaw

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, L.; Liu, L.; Zhang, Q.; Mao, C.; Liu, F.; Yang, Y.

    2017-12-01

    Enhanced vegetation growth can potentially aggravate soil C loss by accelerating the decomposition of soil organic matter (SOM) ("priming effect"), thereby reinforcing the positive C-climate feedback in permafrost ecosystems. However, the degree to which priming effect alters permafrost C dynamics is expected to be modified by nitrogen (N) availability after permafrost thaw. Despite this recognition, experimental evidence for the linkage between priming effect and post-thaw N availability is still lacking. Particularly, the microbial mechanisms involved remain unknown. Here, using a thermokarst-induced natural N gradient combined with an isotope-labeled glucose and N addition experiment, we presented a strong linkage between soil N availability and priming effect in Tibetan permafrost. We observed that the magnitude of priming effect along the thaw gradient was negatively associated with soil total dissolved nitrogen (TDN) concentration. This negative effect of post-thaw N availability was further proved by a sharply reduced priming effect following mineral N supply. These two lines of evidence jointly illustrated that the priming effect along the thaw chronosequence was controlled by N availability, supporting the `N mining theory'. In contrast to the prevailing assumption, this N-regulated priming effect was independent from changes in C- or N-acquiring enzyme activities, but positively associated with the change in metabolic quotients (△SOM-qCO2), highlighting that decreased microbial metabolism efficiency rather than increased enzyme activities account for greater priming effect under reduced N availability. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that C dynamics in melting permafrost largely depends on post-thaw N availability due to its effect of retarding SOM mineralization. This C-N interaction and the relevant microbial metabolic efficiency should be considered in Earth System Models for a better understanding of soil C dynamics after permafrost thaw.

  6. 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, Aureobasidium...

  7. Effects of permafrost degradation on alpine grassland in a semi-arid basin on the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Yi Shuhua; Zhou Zhaoye; Ren Shilong; Xu Ming; Qin Yu; Chen Shengyun; Ye Baisheng

    2011-01-01

    Permafrost on the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau (QTP) has degraded over the last few decades. Its ecological effects have attracted great concern. Previous studies focused mostly at plot scale, and hypothesized that degradation of permafrost would cause lowering of the water table and drying of shallow soil and then degradation of alpine grassland. However, none has been done to test the hypothesis at basin scale. In this study, for the first time, we investigated the relationships between land surface temperature (LST) and fractional vegetation cover (FVC) in different types of permafrost zone to infer the limiting condition (water or energy) of grassland growth on the source region of Shule River Basin, which is located in the north-eastern edge of the QTP. LST was obtained from MODIS Aqua products at 1 km resolution, while FVC was upscaled from quadrat (50 cm) to the same resolution as LST, using 30 m resolution NDVI data of the Chinese HJ satellite. FVC at quadrat scale was estimated by analyzing pictures taken with a multi-spectral camera. Results showed that (1) retrieval of FVC at quadrat scale using a multi-spectral camera was both more accurate and more efficient than conventional methods and (2) the limiting factor of vegetation growth transitioned from energy in the extreme stable permafrost zone to water in the seasonal frost zone. Our study suggested that alpine grassland would respond differently to permafrost degradation in different types of permafrost zone. Future studies should consider overall effects of permafrost degradation, and avoid the shortcomings of existing studies, which focus too much on the adverse effects.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-06-01

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

  9. Movement ecology and seasonal distribution of mountain yellow-legged frogs, Rana muscosa, in a high-elevation Sierra Nevada basin.

    Science.gov (United States)

    K.L. Pope; K.R. Matthews

    2001-01-01

    Movement ecology and seasonal distribution of mountain yellow-legged frogs (Rana muscosa) in Dusy Basin (3470 m), Kings Canyon National Park, California, were characterized using passive integrated transponder (PIT) surveys and visual encounter surveys. We individually PIT-tagged 500 frogs during the summers of 1997 and 1998 and monitored these individuals during seven...

  10. Mountain-Plains Curriculum.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mountain-Plains Education and Economic Development Program, Inc., Glasgow AFB, MT.

    The document lists the Mountain-Plains curriculum by job title (where applicable), including support courses. The curriculum areas covered are mathematics skills, communication skills, office education, lodging services, food services, marketing and distribution, welding support, automotive, small engines, career guidance, World of Work, health…

  11. Molecular investigations into a globally important carbon pool: permafrost-protected carbon in Alaskan soils

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    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...

  12. A ground temperature map of the North Atlantic permafrost region based on remote sensing and reanalysis data

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Westermann, S.; Østby, T. I.; Gisnås, K.

    2015-01-01

    Permafrost is a key element of the terrestrial cryosphere which makes mapping and monitoring of its state variables an imperative task. We present a modeling scheme based on remotely sensed land surface temperatures and reanalysis products from which mean annual ground temperatures (MAGT) can be ...... with gradually decreasing permafrost probabilities. The study exemplifies the unexploited potential of remotely sensed data sets in permafrost mapping if they are employed in multi-sensor multi-source data fusion approaches.......Permafrost is a key element of the terrestrial cryosphere which makes mapping and monitoring of its state variables an imperative task. We present a modeling scheme based on remotely sensed land surface temperatures and reanalysis products from which mean annual ground temperatures (MAGT) can...

  13. A Regional View of the Margin: Salmonid Abundance and Distribution in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina and Virginia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patricia A. Flebbe

    1994-01-01

    In the southern Appalachian Mountains, native brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis and introduced rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss and brown trout Salmo trutta are at the southern extremes of their distributions, an often overlooked kind of marginal habitat. At a regional scale composed of the states of Virginia...

  14. Geology of the Saddle Mountains between Sentinel Gap and 119030' longitude

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Reidel, S.P.

    1978-09-01

    Members and flows of the Grande Ronde, Wanapum, and Saddle Mountains basalts of the Columbia River Basalt Group were mapped in the Saddle Mountains between Sentinel Gap and the eastern edge of Smyrna Bench. The Grande Ronde Basalt consists of the Schwana (low-MgO) and Sentinel Bluffs (high-MgO) members (informal names). The Wanapum Basalt consists of the aphyric and phyric units of the Frenchman Springs Member, the Roza-Like Member, and the Priest Rapids Member. The Saddle Mountains Basalt consists of the Wahluke, Huntzinger, Pomona, Mattawa, and Elephant Mountain basalts. The Wanapum and Saddle Mountains basalts are unevenly distributed across the Saddle Mountains. The Wanapum Basalt thins from south to north and across a northwest-southeast-trending axis at the west end of Smyrna Bench. The Priest Rapids, Roza-Like, and aphyric Frenchman Springs units are locally missing across this zone. The Saddle Mountains basalt has a more irregular distribution and, within an area between Sentinel Gap and Smyrna Bench, is devoid of the basalt. The Wahluke, Huntzinger, and Mattawa flows are locally present, but the Pomona is restricted to the southern flank west of Smyrna Bench, and the Elephant Mountain Basalt only occurs on the flanks and in three structurally controlled basins on the northwest side. The structure of the Saddle Mountains is dominated by an east-west trend and, to a lesser degree, controlled by a northwest-southeast and northeast-southwest trend. The geomorphological expression of the Saddle Mountains results from the east-west fold set and the Saddle Mountains fault along the north side. The oldest structures follow the northwest-southeast trend. The distribution of the flows, combined with the structural features, indicates a complex geologic history for the Saddel Mountains

  15. Permafrost degradation and methane: low risk of biogeochemical climate-warming feedback

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gao Xiang; Adam Schlosser, C; Sokolov, Andrei; Anthony, Katey Walter; Zhuang Qianlai; Kicklighter, David

    2013-01-01

    Climate change and permafrost thaw have been suggested to increase high latitude methane emissions that could potentially represent a strong feedback to the climate system. Using an integrated earth-system model framework, we examine the degradation of near-surface permafrost, temporal dynamics of inundation (lakes and wetlands) induced by hydro-climatic change, subsequent methane emission, and potential climate feedback. We find that increases in atmospheric CH 4 and its radiative forcing, which result from the thawed, inundated emission sources, are small, particularly when weighed against human emissions. The additional warming, across the range of climate policy and uncertainties in the climate-system response, would be no greater than 0.1 ° C by 2100. Further, for this temperature feedback to be doubled (to approximately 0.2 ° C) by 2100, at least a 25-fold increase in the methane emission that results from the estimated permafrost degradation would be required. Overall, this biogeochemical global climate-warming feedback is relatively small whether or not humans choose to constrain global emissions. (letter)

  16. Paleo-Eskimo kitchen midden preservation in permafrost under future climate conditions at Qajaa, West Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Elberling, Bo; Matthiesen, Henning; Jørgensen, Christian Juncher

    2011-01-01

    characteristics measured in situ and from permafrost cores. Measurements of thermal properties, heat generation, oxygen consumption and CO2 production show that the kitchen midden can be characterized as peat but produces 4–7 times more heat than natural sediment. An analytical model from permafrost research has...

  17. Wetland development, permafrost history and nutrient cycling inferred from late Holocene peat and lake sediment records in subarctic Sweden

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kokfelt, U.; Reuss, N.; Struyf, E.

    2010-01-01

    to re-deposition of peat into one of the lakes after ca. 2,100 cal BP, and stimulated primary productivity in the other lake at ca. 1,900-1,800 cal BP. Carbonate precipitation appears to have been suppressed when acidic poor fen and bog (palsa) communities dominated the catchment mire, and permafrost...... insight into nutrient and permafrost dynamics in a subarctic wetland and imply that continued permafrost decay and related vegetation changes towards minerotrophy may increase carbon and nutrient storage of mire deposits and reduce nutrient fluxes in runoff. Rapid permafrost degradation may on the other...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  19. Responses of alpine grassland on Qinghai–Tibetan plateau to climate warming and permafrost degradation: a modeling perspective

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Yi, Shuhua; Wang, Xiaoyun; Qin, Yu; Ding, Yongjian; Xiang, Bo

    2014-01-01

    Permafrost plays a critical role in soil hydrology. Thus, the degradation of permafrost under warming climate conditions may affect the alpine grassland ecosystem on the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau. Previous space-for-time studies using plot and basin scales have reached contradictory conclusions. In this study, we applied a process-based ecosystem model (DOS-TEM) with a state-of-the-art permafrost hydrology scheme to examine this issue. Our results showed that 1) the DOS-TEM model could properly simulate the responses of soil thermal and hydrological dynamics and of ecosystem dynamics to climate warming and spatial differences in precipitation; 2) the simulated results were consistent with plot-scale studies showing that warming caused an increase in maximum unfrozen thickness, a reduction in vegetation and soil carbon pools as a whole, and decreases in soil water content, net primary production, and heterotrophic respiration; and 3) the simulated results were also consistent with basin-scale studies showing that the ecosystem responses to warming were different in regions with different combinations of water and energy constraints. Permafrost prevents water from draining into water reservoirs. However, the degradation of permafrost in response to warming is a long-term process that also enhances evapotranspiration. Thus, the degradation of the alpine grassland ecosystem on the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau (releasing carbon) cannot be mainly attributed to the disappearing waterproofing function of permafrost. (letter)

  20. Comparing the sensitivity of permafrost and marine gas hydrate to climate warming

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Taylor, A.E.; Dallimore, S.R.; Hyndman, R.D.; Wright, F.

    2005-01-01

    The sensitivity of Arctic subpermafrost gas hydrate at the Mallik borehole was compared to temperate marine gas hydrate located offshore southwestern Canada. In particular, a finite element geothermal model was used to determine the sensitivity to the end of the ice age, and contemporary climate warming of a 30 m thick methane hydrate layer lying at the base of a gas hydrate stability zone prior to 13.5 kiloannum (ka) before present (BP). It was suggested that the 30 m gas-hydrate-bearing layer would have disappeared by now, according to the thermal signal alone. However, the same gas-hydrate-bearing layer underlying permafrost would persist until at least 4 ka after present, even with contemporary climate warming. The longer time for subpermafrost gas hydrate comes from the thawing pore ice at the base of permafrost, at the expense of dissociation of the deeper gas hydrate. The dissociation of underlying gas hydrate from climate surface warming is buffered by the overlying permafrost

  1. Holocene ice-wedge polygon development in northern Yukon permafrost peatlands (Canada)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fritz, Michael; Wolter, Juliane; Rudaya, Natalia; Palagushkina, Olga; Nazarova, Larisa; Obu, Jaroslav; Rethemeyer, Janet; Lantuit, Hugues; Wetterich, Sebastian

    2016-09-01

    Ice-wedge polygon (IWP) peatlands in the Arctic and Subarctic are extremely vulnerable to climatic and environmental change. We present the results of a multidisciplinary paleoenvironmental study on IWPs in the northern Yukon, Canada. High-resolution laboratory analyses were carried out on a permafrost core and the overlying seasonally thawed (active) layer, from an IWP located in a drained lake basin on Herschel Island. In relation to 14 Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dates spanning the last 5000 years, we report sedimentary data including grain size distribution and biogeochemical parameters (organic carbon, nitrogen, C/N ratio, δ13C), stable water isotopes (δ18O, δD), as well as fossil pollen, plant macrofossil and diatom assemblages. Three sediment units (SUs) correspond to the main stages of deposition (1) in a thermokarst lake (SU1: 4950 to 3950 cal yrs BP), (2) during transition from lacustrine to palustrine conditions after lake drainage (SU2: 3950 to 3120 cal yrs BP), and (3) in palustrine conditions of the IWP field that developed after drainage (SU3: 3120 cal yrs BP to 2012 CE). The lacustrine phase (pre 3950 cal yrs BP) is characterized by planktonic-benthic and pioneer diatom species indicating circumneutral waters, and very few plant macrofossils. The pollen record has captured a regional signal of relatively stable vegetation composition and climate for the lacustrine stage of the record until 3950 cal yrs BP. Palustrine conditions with benthic and acidophilic diatom species characterize the peaty shallow-water environments of the low-centered IWP. The transition from lacustrine to palustrine conditions was accompanied by acidification and rapid revegetation of the lake bottom within about 100 years. Since the palustrine phase we consider the pollen record as a local vegetation proxy dominated by the plant communities growing in the IWP. Ice-wedge cracking in water-saturated sediments started immediately after lake drainage at

  2. Selective Leaching of Dissolved Organic Matter From Alpine Permafrost Soils on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Yinghui; Xu, Yunping; Spencer, Robert G. M.; Zito, Phoebe; Kellerman, Anne; Podgorski, David; Xiao, Wenjie; Wei, Dandan; Rashid, Harunur; Yang, Yuanhe

    2018-03-01

    Ongoing global temperature rise has caused significant thaw and degradation of permafrost soils on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP). Leaching of organic matter from permafrost soils to aquatic systems is highly complex and difficult to reproduce in a laboratory setting. We collected samples from natural seeps of active and permafrost layers in an alpine swamp meadow on the QTP to shed light on the composition of mobilized dissolved organic matter (DOM) by combining optical measurements, ultrahigh-resolution Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry, radiocarbon (14C), and solid-state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Our results show that even though the active layer soils contain large amounts of proteins and carbohydrates, there is a selective release of aromatic components, whereas in the deep permafrost layer, carbohydrate and protein components are preferentially leached during the thawing process. Given these different chemical characteristics of mobilized DOM, we hypothesize that photomineralization contributes significantly to the loss of DOM that is leached from the seasonally thawed surface layer. However, with continued warming, biodegradation will become more important since biolabile materials such as protein and carbohydrate are preferentially released from deep-layer permafrost soils. This transition in DOM leachate source and associated chemical composition has ramifications for downstream fluvial networks on the QTP particularly in terms of processing of carbon and associated fluxes.

  3. Landscape controls and vertical variability of soil organic carbon storage in permafrost-affected soils of the Lena River Delta

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Siewert, Matthias Benjamin; Hugelius, Gustaf; Heim, Birgit

    2016-01-01

    To project the future development of the soil organic carbon (SOC) storage in permafrost environments, the spatial and vertical distribution of key soil properties and their landscape controls needs to be understood. This article reports findings from the Arctic Lena River Delta where we sampled 50...... in the permafrost. The major geomorphological units of a subregion of the Lena River Delta were mapped with a land form classification using a data-fusion approach of optical satellite imagery and digital elevation data to upscale SOC storage. Landscape mean SOC storage is estimated to 19.2 ± 2.0 kg C m− 2. Our...... results show that the geomorphological setting explains more soil variability than soil taxonomy classes or vegetation cover. The soils from the oldest, Pleistocene aged, unit of the delta store the highest amount of SOC per m2 followed by the Holocene river terrace. The Pleistocene terrace affected...

  4. Towards improved parameterization of a macroscale hydrologic model in a discontinuous permafrost boreal forest ecosystem

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Endalamaw

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available Modeling hydrological processes in the Alaskan sub-arctic is challenging because of the extreme spatial heterogeneity in soil properties and vegetation communities. Nevertheless, modeling and predicting hydrological processes is critical in this region due to its vulnerability to the effects of climate change. Coarse-spatial-resolution datasets used in land surface modeling pose a new challenge in simulating the spatially distributed and basin-integrated processes since these datasets do not adequately represent the small-scale hydrological, thermal, and ecological heterogeneity. The goal of this study is to improve the prediction capacity of mesoscale to large-scale hydrological models by introducing a small-scale parameterization scheme, which better represents the spatial heterogeneity of soil properties and vegetation cover in the Alaskan sub-arctic. The small-scale parameterization schemes are derived from observations and a sub-grid parameterization method in the two contrasting sub-basins of the Caribou Poker Creek Research Watershed (CPCRW in Interior Alaska: one nearly permafrost