WorldWideScience

Sample records for permafrost carbon feedback

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Evaluation of the Committed Carbon Emissions and Global Warming due to the Permafrost Carbon Feedback

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elshorbany, Y. F.; Schaefer, K. M.; Jafarov, E. E.; Yumashev, D.; Hope, C.

    2017-12-01

    We quantify the increase in carbon emissions and temperature due to Permafrost Carbon feedback (PCF), defined as the amplification of anthropogenic warming due to carbon emissions from thawing permafrost (i.e., of near-surface layers to 3 m depth). We simulate the Committed PCF emissions, the cumulative total emissions from thawing permafrost by 2300 for a given global temperature increase by 2100, and investigate the resulting global warming using the Simple Biosphere/Carnegie-Ames-Stanford Approach SiBCASA model. We estimate the committed PCF emissions and warming for the Fifth Assessment Report, Representative Concentration Pathway scenarios 4.5 and 8.5 using two ensembles of five projections. For the 2 °C warming target of the global climate change treaty, committed PCF emissions increase to 24 Gt C by 2100 and 76 Gt C by 2300 and the committed PCF warming is 0.23 °C by 2300. Our calculations show that as the global temperature increase by 2100 approaches 5.8 °C, the entire stock of frozen carbon thaws out, resulting in maximum committed PCF emissions of 560 Gt C by 2300.

  4. 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

  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. 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

  7. Detecting the permafrost carbon feedback: talik formation and increased cold-season respiration as precursors to sink-to-source transitions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parazoo, Nicholas C.; Koven, Charles D.; Lawrence, David M.; Romanovsky, Vladimir; Miller, Charles E.

    2018-01-01

    Thaw and release of permafrost carbon (C) due to climate change is likely to offset increased vegetation C uptake in northern high-latitude (NHL) terrestrial ecosystems. Models project that this permafrost C feedback may act as a slow leak, in which case detection and attribution of the feedback may be difficult. The formation of talik, a subsurface layer of perennially thawed soil, can accelerate permafrost degradation and soil respiration, ultimately shifting the C balance of permafrost-affected ecosystems from long-term C sinks to long-term C sources. It is imperative to understand and characterize mechanistic links between talik, permafrost thaw, and respiration of deep soil C to detect and quantify the permafrost C feedback. Here, we use the Community Land Model (CLM) version 4.5, a permafrost and biogeochemistry model, in comparison to long-term deep borehole data along North American and Siberian transects, to investigate thaw-driven C sources in NHL ( > 55° N) from 2000 to 2300. Widespread talik at depth is projected across most of the NHL permafrost region (14 million km2) by 2300, 6.2 million km2 of which is projected to become a long-term C source, emitting 10 Pg C by 2100, 50 Pg C by 2200, and 120 Pg C by 2300, with few signs of slowing. Roughly half of the projected C source region is in predominantly warm sub-Arctic permafrost following talik onset. This region emits only 20 Pg C by 2300, but the CLM4.5 estimate may be biased low by not accounting for deep C in yedoma. Accelerated decomposition of deep soil C following talik onset shifts the ecosystem C balance away from surface dominant processes (photosynthesis and litter respiration), but sink-to-source transition dates are delayed by 20-200 years by high ecosystem productivity, such that talik peaks early ( ˜ 2050s, although borehole data suggest sooner) and C source transition peaks late ( ˜ 2150-2200). The remaining C source region in cold northern Arctic permafrost, which shifts to a net

  8. Detecting the permafrost carbon feedback: talik formation and increased cold-season respiration as precursors to sink-to-source transitions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N. C. Parazoo

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available Thaw and release of permafrost carbon (C due to climate change is likely to offset increased vegetation C uptake in northern high-latitude (NHL terrestrial ecosystems. Models project that this permafrostfeedback may act as a slow leak, in which case detection and attribution of the feedback may be difficult. The formation of talik, a subsurface layer of perennially thawed soil, can accelerate permafrost degradation and soil respiration, ultimately shifting the C balance of permafrost-affected ecosystems from long-term C sinks to long-term C sources. It is imperative to understand and characterize mechanistic links between talik, permafrost thaw, and respiration of deep soil C to detect and quantify the permafrostfeedback. Here, we use the Community Land Model (CLM version 4.5, a permafrost and biogeochemistry model, in comparison to long-term deep borehole data along North American and Siberian transects, to investigate thaw-driven C sources in NHL ( >  55° N from 2000 to 2300. Widespread talik at depth is projected across most of the NHL permafrost region (14 million km2 by 2300, 6.2 million km2 of which is projected to become a long-term C source, emitting 10 Pg C by 2100, 50 Pg C by 2200, and 120 Pg C by 2300, with few signs of slowing. Roughly half of the projected C source region is in predominantly warm sub-Arctic permafrost following talik onset. This region emits only 20 Pg C by 2300, but the CLM4.5 estimate may be biased low by not accounting for deep C in yedoma. Accelerated decomposition of deep soil C following talik onset shifts the ecosystem C balance away from surface dominant processes (photosynthesis and litter respiration, but sink-to-source transition dates are delayed by 20–200 years by high ecosystem productivity, such that talik peaks early ( ∼  2050s, although borehole data suggest sooner and C source transition peaks late ( ∼  2150–2200. The

  9. 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.

  10. 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...

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Abundant pre-industrial carbon detected in Canadian Arctic headwaters: implications for the permafrost carbon feedback

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dean, J. F.; van der Velde, Y.; Garnett, M. H.; Dinsmore, K. J.; Baxter, R.; Lessels, J. S.; Smith, P.; Street, L. E.; Subke, J.-A.; Tetzlaff, D.; Washbourne, I.; Wookey, P. A.; Billett, M. F.

    2018-03-01

    Mobilization of soil/sediment organic carbon into inland waters constitutes a substantial, but poorly-constrained, component of the global carbon cycle. Radiocarbon (14C) analysis has proven a valuable tool in tracing the sources and fate of mobilized carbon, but aquatic 14C studies in permafrost regions rarely detect ‘old’ carbon (assimilated from the atmosphere into plants and soil prior to AD1950). The emission of greenhouse gases derived from old carbon by aquatic systems may indicate that carbon sequestered prior to AD1950 is being destabilized, thus contributing to the ‘permafrost carbon feedback’ (PCF). Here, we measure directly the 14C content of aquatic CO2, alongside dissolved organic carbon, in headwater systems of the western Canadian Arctic—the first such concurrent measurements in the Arctic. Age distribution analysis indicates that the age of mobilized aquatic carbon increased significantly during the 2014 snow-free season as the active layer deepened. This increase in age was more pronounced in DOC, rising from 101-228 years before sampling date (a 120%-125% increase) compared to CO2, which rose from 92-151 years before sampling date (a 59%-63% increase). ‘Pre-industrial’ aged carbon (assimilated prior to ~AD1750) comprised 15%-40% of the total aquatic carbon fluxes, demonstrating the prevalence of old carbon to Arctic headwaters. Although the presence of this old carbon is not necessarily indicative of a net positive PCF, we provide an approach and baseline data which can be used for future assessment of the PCF.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2015-09-15

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

  16. Dependence of the evolution of carbon dynamics in the northern permafrost region on the trajectory of climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGuire, A. David; Lawrence, David M.; Koven, Charles; Clein, Joy S.; Burke, Eleanor J.; Chen, Guangsheng; Jafarov, Elchin; MacDougall, Andrew H.; Marchenko, Sergey S.; Nicolsky, Dmitry J.; Peng, Shushi; Rinke, Annette; Ciais, Philippe; Gouttevin, Isabelle; Hayes, Daniel J.; Ji, Duoying; Krinner, Gerhard; Moore, John C.; Romanovsky, Vladimir; Schadel, Christina; Schaefer, Kevin; Schuur, Edward A.G.; Zhuang, Qianlai

    2018-01-01

    We conducted a model-based assessment of changes in permafrost area and carbon storage for simulations driven by RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 projections between 2010 and 2299 for the northern permafrost region. All models simulating carbon represented soil with depth, a critical structural feature needed to represent the permafrost carbon–climate feedback, but that is not a universal feature of all climate models. Between 2010 and 2299, simulations indicated losses of permafrost between 3 and 5 million km2 for the RCP4.5 climate and between 6 and 16 million km2 for the RCP8.5 climate. For the RCP4.5 projection, cumulative change in soil carbon varied between 66-Pg C (1015-g carbon) loss to 70-Pg C gain. For the RCP8.5 projection, losses in soil carbon varied between 74 and 652 Pg C (mean loss, 341 Pg C). For the RCP4.5 projection, gains in vegetation carbon were largely responsible for the overall projected net gains in ecosystem carbon by 2299 (8- to 244-Pg C gains). In contrast, for the RCP8.5 projection, gains in vegetation carbon were not great enough to compensate for the losses of carbon projected by four of the five models; changes in ecosystem carbon ranged from a 641-Pg C loss to a 167-Pg C gain (mean, 208-Pg C loss). The models indicate that substantial net losses of ecosystem carbon would not occur until after 2100. This assessment suggests that effective mitigation efforts during the remainder of this century could attenuate the negative consequences of the permafrost carbon–climate feedback.

  17. Dissolved organic carbon biodegradability from thawing permafrost stimulated by sunlight rather than inorganic nitrogen

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, F.; Chen, L.; Zhang, B.; Wang, G.; Qin, S.; Yang, Y.

    2017-12-01

    Permafrost thaw could result in a large portion of frozen carbon being laterally transferred to aquatic ecosystems as dissolved organic carbon (DOC). During this delivery process, the size of biodegradable DOC (BDOC) determines the proportion of DOC mineralized by microorganisms and associated carbon loss to the atmosphere, which may further trigger positive carbon-climate feedback. Thermokarst is an abrupt permafrost thaw process that can enhance DOC export and also impact DOC processing through increased inorganic nitrogen (N) and sunlight exposure. However, it remains unclear how thermokarst-impacted BDOC responds to inorganic N addition and ultraviolet (UV) light irradiation. Here we explored the responses of DOC concentration, composition and its biodegradability to inorganic N and UV light in a typical thermokarst on the Tibetan Plateau, by combining field observation and laboratory incubation with spectra analyses (UV-visible absorption and three-dimensional fluorescence spectra) and parallel factor analyses. Our results showed that BDOC in thermokarst feature outflows was significantly higher than in reference water. Furthermore, inorganic N addition had no influence on thermokarst-impacted BDOC, whereas exposure to UV light significantly increased BDOC by as much as 2.3 times higher than the dark-control. Moreover, N addition and UV irradiation did not generate additive effects on BDOC. These results imply that sunlight rather than inorganic N can increase thermokarst-derived BDOC, potentially strengthening the positive permafrost carbon-climate feedback.

  18. Dependence of the evolution of carbon dynamics in the northern permafrost region on the trajectory of climate change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGuire, A David; Lawrence, David M; Koven, Charles; Clein, Joy S; Burke, Eleanor; Chen, Guangsheng; Jafarov, Elchin; MacDougall, Andrew H; Marchenko, Sergey; Nicolsky, Dmitry; Peng, Shushi; Rinke, Annette; Ciais, Philippe; Gouttevin, Isabelle; Hayes, Daniel J; Ji, Duoying; Krinner, Gerhard; Moore, John C; Romanovsky, Vladimir; Schädel, Christina; Schaefer, Kevin; Schuur, Edward A G; Zhuang, Qianlai

    2018-04-10

    We conducted a model-based assessment of changes in permafrost area and carbon storage for simulations driven by RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 projections between 2010 and 2299 for the northern permafrost region. All models simulating carbon represented soil with depth, a critical structural feature needed to represent the permafrost carbon-climate feedback, but that is not a universal feature of all climate models. Between 2010 and 2299, simulations indicated losses of permafrost between 3 and 5 million km 2 for the RCP4.5 climate and between 6 and 16 million km 2 for the RCP8.5 climate. For the RCP4.5 projection, cumulative change in soil carbon varied between 66-Pg C (10 15 -g carbon) loss to 70-Pg C gain. For the RCP8.5 projection, losses in soil carbon varied between 74 and 652 Pg C (mean loss, 341 Pg C). For the RCP4.5 projection, gains in vegetation carbon were largely responsible for the overall projected net gains in ecosystem carbon by 2299 (8- to 244-Pg C gains). In contrast, for the RCP8.5 projection, gains in vegetation carbon were not great enough to compensate for the losses of carbon projected by four of the five models; changes in ecosystem carbon ranged from a 641-Pg C loss to a 167-Pg C gain (mean, 208-Pg C loss). The models indicate that substantial net losses of ecosystem carbon would not occur until after 2100. This assessment suggests that effective mitigation efforts during the remainder of this century could attenuate the negative consequences of the permafrost carbon-climate feedback. Copyright © 2018 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.

  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. Observation-based modelling of permafrost carbon fluxes with accounting for deep carbon deposits and thermokarst activity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schneider von Deimling, T.; Grosse, G.; Strauss, J.; Schirrmeister, L.; Morgenstern, A.; Schaphoff, S.; Meinshausen, M.; Boike, J.

    2015-06-01

    High-latitude soils store vast amounts of perennially frozen and therefore inert organic matter. With rising global temperatures and consequent permafrost degradation, a part of this carbon stock will become available for microbial decay and eventual release to the atmosphere. We have developed a simplified, two-dimensional multi-pool model to estimate the strength and timing of future carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) fluxes from newly thawed permafrost carbon (i.e. carbon thawed when temperatures rise above pre-industrial levels). We have especially simulated carbon release from deep deposits in Yedoma regions by describing abrupt thaw under newly formed thermokarst lakes. The computational efficiency of our model allowed us to run large, multi-centennial ensembles under various scenarios of future warming to express uncertainty inherent to simulations of the permafrost carbon feedback. Under moderate warming of the representative concentration pathway (RCP) 2.6 scenario, cumulated CO2 fluxes from newly thawed permafrost carbon amount to 20 to 58 petagrams of carbon (Pg-C) (68% range) by the year 2100 and reach 40 to 98 Pg-C in 2300. The much larger permafrost degradation under strong warming (RCP8.5) results in cumulated CO2 release of 42 to 141 Pg-C and 157 to 313 Pg-C (68% ranges) in the years 2100 and 2300, respectively. Our estimates only consider fluxes from newly thawed permafrost, not from soils already part of the seasonally thawed active layer under pre-industrial climate. Our simulated CH4 fluxes contribute a few percent to total permafrost carbon release yet they can cause up to 40% of total permafrost-affected radiative forcing in the 21st century (upper 68% range). We infer largest CH4 emission rates of about 50 Tg-CH4 per year around the middle of the 21st century when simulated thermokarst lake extent is at its maximum and when abrupt thaw under thermokarst lakes is taken into account. CH4 release from newly thawed carbon in wetland

  1. Observation-based modelling of permafrost carbon fluxes with accounting for deep carbon deposits and thermokarst activity

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. Schneider von Deimling

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available High-latitude soils store vast amounts of perennially frozen and therefore inert organic matter. With rising global temperatures and consequent permafrost degradation, a part of this carbon stock will become available for microbial decay and eventual release to the atmosphere. We have developed a simplified, two-dimensional multi-pool model to estimate the strength and timing of future carbon dioxide (CO2 and methane (CH4 fluxes from newly thawed permafrost carbon (i.e. carbon thawed when temperatures rise above pre-industrial levels. We have especially simulated carbon release from deep deposits in Yedoma regions by describing abrupt thaw under newly formed thermokarst lakes. The computational efficiency of our model allowed us to run large, multi-centennial ensembles under various scenarios of future warming to express uncertainty inherent to simulations of the permafrost carbon feedback. Under moderate warming of the representative concentration pathway (RCP 2.6 scenario, cumulated CO2 fluxes from newly thawed permafrost carbon amount to 20 to 58 petagrams of carbon (Pg-C (68% range by the year 2100 and reach 40 to 98 Pg-C in 2300. The much larger permafrost degradation under strong warming (RCP8.5 results in cumulated CO2 release of 42 to 141 Pg-C and 157 to 313 Pg-C (68% ranges in the years 2100 and 2300, respectively. Our estimates only consider fluxes from newly thawed permafrost, not from soils already part of the seasonally thawed active layer under pre-industrial climate. Our simulated CH4 fluxes contribute a few percent to total permafrost carbon release yet they can cause up to 40% of total permafrost-affected radiative forcing in the 21st century (upper 68% range. We infer largest CH4 emission rates of about 50 Tg-CH4 per year around the middle of the 21st century when simulated thermokarst lake extent is at its maximum and when abrupt thaw under thermokarst lakes is taken into account. CH4 release from newly thawed carbon in

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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)

  5. High biolability of ancient permafrost carbon upon thaw

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  6. Permafrost collapse shifts alpine tundra to a carbon source but reduces N2O and CH4 release on the northern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mu, C.

    2017-12-01

    Important unknowns remain about how abrupt permafrost collapse (thermokarst) affects carbon balance and greenhouse gas flux, limiting our ability to predict the magnitude and timing of the permafrost carbon feedback. We measured monthly, growing-season fluxes of CO2, CH4, and N2O at a large thermokarst feature in alpine tundra on the northern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP). Thermokarst formation disrupted plant growth and soil hydrology, shifting the ecosystem from a growing-season carbon sink to a weak source, but decreasing feature-level CH4 and N2O flux. Temperature-corrected ecosystem respiration from decomposing permafrost soil was 2.7 to 9.5-fold higher than in similar features from Arctic and Boreal regions, suggesting that warmer and dryer conditions on the northern QTP could accelerate carbon decomposition following permafrost collapse. N2O flux was similar to the highest values reported for Arctic ecosystems, and was 60% higher from exposed mineral soil on the feature floor, confirming Arctic observations of coupled nitrification and denitrification in collapsed soils. Q10 values for respiration were typically over 4, suggesting high temperature sensitivity of thawed carbon. Taken together, these results suggest that QTP permafrost carbon in alpine tundra is highly vulnerable to mineralization following thaw, and that N2O production could be an important non-carbon permafrost climate feedback.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Melillo, Jerry [Marine Biological Lab., Woods Hole, MA (United States)

    2017-12-12

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abbott, Benjamin W; Jones, Jeremy B

    2015-12-01

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

  9. 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

  10. 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...

  11. 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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2015-11-03

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

  13. 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)

  14. 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...

  15. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    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 and highly biologically available (biolabile) upon thaw. A better understanding of the processes regulating Yedoma degradation is important to improve estimates of the response and magnitude of permafrost carbon feedbacks to climate warming. In this study, we examine the composition of ice wedges and the influence of ice wedge thaw on the biolability of Yedoma OM. Incubation assays were used to assess OM biolability, fluorescence spectroscopy to characterize the OM composition, and potential enzyme activity rates to examine the controls and regulation of OM degradation. We show that increasing amounts of ice wedge melt water in Yedoma-leached incubations enhanced the loss of dissolved OM over time. This may be attributed to the presence of low-molecular weight compounds and low initial phenolic content in the OM of ice wedges, providing a readily available substrate that promotes the degradation of Yedoma OC. The physical vulnerability of ice wedges upon thaw (causing irreversible collapse), combined with the composition of ice wedge-engrained OM (co-metabolizing old OM), underlines the particularly strong potential of Yedoma to generate a positive feedback to climate warming relative to other forms of non-ice wedge permafrost. (letter)

  17. 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

  18. 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).

  19. 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

  20. 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...

  1. 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.

  2. 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...

  3. Decadal warming causes a consistent and persistent shift from heterotrophic to autotrophic respiration in contrasting permafrost ecosystems

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hicks Pries, C.E.; van Logtestijn, R.S.P; Schuur, E.A.G.; Natali, S.M.; Cornelissen, J.H.C.; Aerts, R.; Dorrepaal, E.

    2015-01-01

    Soil carbon in permafrost ecosystems has the potential to become a major positive feedback to climate change if permafrost thaw increases heterotrophic decomposition. However, warming can also stimulate autotrophic production leading to increased ecosystem carbon storage-a negative climate change

  4. Long-term anoxia and release of ancient, labile carbon upon thaw of Pleistocene permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ewing, Stephanie A.; O'Donnell, Jonathan A.; Aiken, George R.; Butler, Kenna D.; Butman, David; Windham-Myers, Lisamarie; Kanevskiy, Mikhail

    2015-01-01

    The fate of permafrost carbon upon thaw will drive feedbacks to climate warming. Here we consider the character and context of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in yedoma permafrost cores from up to 20 m depth in central Alaska. We observed high DOC concentrations (4 to 129 mM) and consistent low molecular weight organic acid concentrations in three cores. We estimate a DOC production rate of 12 µmol DOC m−2 yr−1 based on model ages of up to ~200 kyr derived from uranium isotopes. Acetate C accounted for 24 ± 1% of DOC in all samples. This proportion suggests long-term anaerobiosis and is likely to influence thaw outcomes due to biolability of acetate upon release in many environments. The combination of uranium isotopes, ammonium concentrations, and calcium concentrations explained 86% of the variation in thaw water DOC concentrations, suggesting that DOC production may be related to both reducing conditions and mineral dissolution over time.

  5. 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...

  6. 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...

  7. Modeling the Space-Time Destiny of Pan-Arctic Permafrost DOC in a Global Land Surface Model: Feedback Implications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bowring, S.; Lauerwald, R.; Guenet, B.; Zhu, D.; Ciais, P.

    2017-12-01

    Most global climate models do not represent the unique permafrost soil environment and its respective processes. This significantly contributes to uncertainty in estimating their responses, and that of the planet at large, to warming. Here, the production, transport and atmospheric release of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from high-latitude permafrost soils into inland waters and the ocean is explicitly represented for the first time in the land surface component (ORCHIDEE-MICT) of a CMIP6 global climate model (IPSL). This work merges two models that are able to mechanistically simulate complex processes for 1) snow, ice and soil phenomena in high latitude environments, and 2) DOC production and lateral transport through soils and the river network, respectively, at 0.5° to 2° resolution. The resulting model is subjected to a wide range of input forcing data, parameter testing and contentious feedback phenomena, including microbial heat generation as the active layer deepens. We present results for the present and future Pan-Arctic and Eurasia, with a focus on the Lena and Mackenzie River basins, and show that soil DOC concentrations, their riverine transport and atmospheric evasion are reasonably well represented as compared to observed stocks, fluxes and seasonality. We show that most basins exhibit large increases in DOC transport and riverine CO2 evasion across the suite of RCP scenarios to 2100. We also show that model output is strongly influenced by choice of input forcing data. The riverine component of what is known as the `boundless carbon cycle' is little-recognized in global climate modeling. Hydrological mobilization to the river network results either in sedimentary settling or atmospheric `evasion', presently amounting to 0.5-1.8 PgC yr-1. Our work aims at filling in these knowledge gaps, and the response of these DOC-related processes to thermal forcing. Potential feedbacks owing to such a response are of particular relevance, given the magnitude

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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...

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Webster, K.L.; McLaughlin, J.W.

    2014-01-01

    Highlights: • Permafrost areas are subject to accelerated rates of climate change leading to thaw. • Thaw will increase decomposition rates, exacerbating climate feedback. • We present a Bayesian belief network as a tool to examine interacting factors. • Organic soil (Hudson Plain region) and mineral soil (Arctic region) are contrasted. • Hudson Plain has contributed more to climate feedback than Arctic, but gap closing. - Abstract: Permafrost affected soils are an important component of the Boreal, Subarctic, and Arctic ecosystems of Canada. These areas are undergoing accelerated rates of climate change and have been identified as being at high risk for thaw. Thaw will expose soil to warmer conditions that support increased decomposition rates, which in turn will affect short- and long-term carbon storage capacity and result in feedback to global climate. We present a tool in the form of a Bayesian belief network influence diagram that will allow policymakers and managers to understand how interacting factors contribute to permafrost thaw and resulting effects on greenhouse gas (GHG) production and climate feedback. A theoretical example of expected responses from an organic soil typical of the Hudson Plain region and a mineral soil typical in the Arctic region demonstrate variability in responses across different combinations of climate and soil conditions within Canada. Based on the network results, the Arctic has historically had higher probability of thaw, but the Hudson Plain has had higher probability of producing carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) and methane (CH 4 ). Under past and current climate conditions, the Hudson Plain has, on a per unit area basis, contributed more to climate feedback than the Arctic. However, the gap in contribution between the two regions is likely to decrease as thaw progresses more rapidly in the Arctic than Hudson Plain region, resulting in strong positive feedback to climate warming from both regions. The flexible framework

  12. 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.

  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.

    2015-01-01

    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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2011-01-01

    Thawing permafrost and the resulting mineralization of previously frozen organic carbon (C) is considered an important future feedback from terrestrial ecosystems to the atmosphere. Here, we use a dynamic process oriented permafrost model, the CoupModel, to link surface and subsurface temperatures....... The model is successfully adjusted and applied for the study area and shown to be able to simulate active layer dynamics. Subsequently, the model is used to predict the active layer thickness under future warming scenarios. The model predicts an increase of maximum active layer thickness from today 70 to 80......–105 cm as a result of a 2–6 °C warming. An additional increase in the maximum active layer thickness of a few centimetres may be expected due to heat production from decomposition of organic matter. Simulated future soil temperatures and water contents are subsequently used with measured basal soil...

  17. Determination of 14C age of inorganic and organic carbon in ancient Siberian permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Onstott, T. C.; Liang, R.; Lau, M.; Vishnivetskaya, T. A.; Lloyd, K. G.; Pfiffner, S. M.; Hodgins, G.; Rivkina, E.

    2017-12-01

    Permafrost represents a large reservoir of ancient carbon that could have an important impact on the global carbon budget during climate warming. Due to the low turnover rate of carbon by microorganisms at subzero temperatures, the persistence of ancient carbon in younger permafrost deposits could also pose challenges for radiocarbon dating of permafrost sediment. We utilized Accelerator Mass Spectrometry to determine the 14C age of inorganic carbon, labile and recalcitrant organic carbon in Siberian permafrost sediment sampled at various depths from 2.9 to 5.6m. The fraction of inorganic carbon (CO2) was collected after acidification using phosphoric acid. The labile (younger) and recalcitrant (old) organic carbon in the subsequent residues were collected after combustion at 400 ºC and 800 ºC, respectively. The percentages of inorganic carbon increased from the youngest (2.9m) to the oldest (5.6m), whereas the fractions for organic carbon varied significantly at different depths. The 14C age determined in the inorganic fraction in the top sample (2.9 m) was 21,760 yr BP and gradually increased to 33,900 yr BP in the relative deeper sediment (3.5 and 5.6 m). Surprisingly, the fraction of "younger" carbon liberated at 400 oC was older than the more recalcitrant and presumably older organic carbon liberated at 800 oC in all cases. Moreover, the 14C age of the younger and older organic carbon fractions did not increase with depth as observed in the carbonate fraction. In particular, the 14C age of the organic carbon in the top sample (38,590-41,700 yr BP) was much older than the deeper samples at depth of 3.5m (18,228-20,158 yr BP) and 5.6m (29,040-38,020 yr BP). It should be noticed that the metabolism of ancient carbon in frozen permafrost may vary at different depths due to the different proportion of necromass and metabolically active microbes. Therefore, additional knowledge about the carbon dynamics of permafrost and more investigation would be required to

  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. Activation of old carbon by erosion of coastal and subsea permafrost in Arctic Siberia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vonk, J E; Sánchez-García, L; van Dongen, B E; Alling, V; Kosmach, D; Charkin, A; Semiletov, I P; Dudarev, O V; Shakhova, N; Roos, P; Eglinton, T I; Andersson, A; Gustafsson, O

    2012-09-06

    The future trajectory of greenhouse gas concentrations depends on interactions between climate and the biogeosphere. Thawing of Arctic permafrost could release significant amounts of carbon into the atmosphere in this century. Ancient Ice Complex deposits outcropping along the ~7,000-kilometre-long coastline of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS), and associated shallow subsea permafrost, are two large pools of permafrost carbon, yet their vulnerabilities towards thawing and decomposition are largely unknown. Recent Arctic warming is stronger than has been predicted by several degrees, and is particularly pronounced over the coastal ESAS region. There is thus a pressing need to improve our understanding of the links between permafrost carbon and climate in this relatively inaccessible region. Here we show that extensive release of carbon from these Ice Complex deposits dominates (57 ± 2 per cent) the sedimentary carbon budget of the ESAS, the world’s largest continental shelf, overwhelming the marine and topsoil terrestrial components. Inverse modelling of the dual-carbon isotope composition of organic carbon accumulating in ESAS surface sediments, using Monte Carlo simulations to account for uncertainties, suggests that 44 ± 10 teragrams of old carbon is activated annually from Ice Complex permafrost, an order of magnitude more than has been suggested by previous studies. We estimate that about two-thirds (66 ± 16 per cent) of this old carbon escapes to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, with the remainder being re-buried in shelf sediments. Thermal collapse and erosion of these carbon-rich Pleistocene coastline and seafloor deposits may accelerate with Arctic amplification of climate warming.

  1. 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.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Abbott, Benjamin W.; Jones, Jeremy B.; Schuur, Edward A. G.

    2016-01-01

    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...

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. A dynamic ecosystem process model for understanding interactions between permafrost thawing and vegetation responses in the arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, C.; Travis, B. J.; Fisher, R. A.; Wilson, C. J.; McDowell, N.

    2010-12-01

    The arctic is expected to play an important role in the Earth’s future climate due to the large carbon stocks that are stored in permafrost and peatlands, a substantial proportion of which may be released to the atmosphere due to permafrost thawing. There may be positive feedbacks of permafrost thawing on plant growth by releasing stored nitrogen and increasing rooting depth; however, vegetation response to other changing variables such as CO2 and temperature can also modify soil hydrology and energy fluxes, leading to either positive or negative feedbacks on permafrost thawing. Disentangling the interactions between permafrost thawing and vegetation growth is critical for assessing the potential role of arctic regions on current and future global carbon cycling. We have developed a mechanistic, regional, and spatially explicit dynamic ecosystem process model through the integration of a 3-D soil hydrology and biogeochemistry model (Arctic Hydrology, ARCHY) and a dynamic vegetation model (Ecosystem Demography, ED), to quantify the importance of plant-permafrost interactions to soil and plant carbon storage. This model integrates important processes including photosynthesis, transpiration, respiration, 3-D competition for light, 3-D soil hydrology, energy fluxes (ice melting in the soil and solar radiation interception by canopy), nitrogen cycles (microbial decomposition, nitrogen transportation in soil, passive and active nitrogen uptake by plants), species migration, and drought-related mortality. A sensitivity analysis has been implemented to assess the importance of the hydrological cycle, the nitrogen cycle and energy fluxes in regulating the above and below-ground carbon cycles in arctic regions. Our model can fill an important gap between field and global land surface models for assessing plot and regional level hypotheses in the context of global climate.

  14. Snowball Earth termination by destabilization of equatorial permafrost methane clathrate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kennedy, Martin; Mrofka, David; von der Borch, Chris

    2008-05-29

    The start of the Ediacaran period is defined by one of the most severe climate change events recorded in Earth history--the recovery from the Marinoan 'snowball' ice age, approximately 635 Myr ago (ref. 1). Marinoan glacial-marine deposits occur at equatorial palaeolatitudes, and are sharply overlain by a thin interval of carbonate that preserves marine carbon and sulphur isotopic excursions of about -5 and +15 parts per thousand, respectively; these deposits are thought to record widespread oceanic carbonate precipitation during postglacial sea level rise. This abrupt transition records a climate system in profound disequilibrium and contrasts sharply with the cyclical stratigraphic signal imparted by the balanced feedbacks modulating Phanerozoic deglaciation. Hypotheses accounting for the abruptness of deglaciation include ice albedo feedback, deep-ocean out-gassing during post-glacial oceanic overturn or methane hydrate destabilization. Here we report the broadest range of oxygen isotope values yet measured in marine sediments (-25 per thousand to +12 per thousand) in methane seeps in Marinoan deglacial sediments underlying the cap carbonate. This range of values is likely to be the result of mixing between ice-sheet-derived meteoric waters and clathrate-derived fluids during the flushing and destabilization of a clathrate field by glacial meltwater. The equatorial palaeolatitude implies a highly volatile shelf permafrost pool that is an order of magnitude larger than that of the present day. A pool of this size could have provided a massive biogeochemical feedback capable of triggering deglaciation and accounting for the global postglacial marine carbon and sulphur isotopic excursions, abrupt unidirectional warming, cap carbonate deposition, and a marine oxygen crisis. Our findings suggest that methane released from low-latitude permafrost clathrates therefore acted as a trigger and/or strong positive feedback for deglaciation and warming. Methane hydrate

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  16. 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...

  17. Decadal warming causes a consistent and persistent shift from heterotrophic to autotrophic respiration in contrasting permafrost ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hicks Pries, Caitlin E; van Logtestijn, Richard S P; Schuur, Edward A G; Natali, Susan M; Cornelissen, Johannes H C; Aerts, Rien; Dorrepaal, Ellen

    2015-12-01

    Soil carbon in permafrost ecosystems has the potential to become a major positive feedback to climate change if permafrost thaw increases heterotrophic decomposition. However, warming can also stimulate autotrophic production leading to increased ecosystem carbon storage-a negative climate change feedback. Few studies partitioning ecosystem respiration examine decadal warming effects or compare responses among ecosystems. Here, we first examined how 11 years of warming during different seasons affected autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration in a bryophyte-dominated peatland in Abisko, Sweden. We used natural abundance radiocarbon to partition ecosystem respiration into autotrophic respiration, associated with production, and heterotrophic decomposition. Summertime warming decreased the age of carbon respired by the ecosystem due to increased proportional contributions from autotrophic and young soil respiration and decreased proportional contributions from old soil. Summertime warming's large effect was due to not only warmer air temperatures during the growing season, but also to warmer deep soils year-round. Second, we compared ecosystem respiration responses between two contrasting ecosystems, the Abisko peatland and a tussock-dominated tundra in Healy, Alaska. Each ecosystem had two different timescales of warming (permafrost ecosystems. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. Susceptibility of Permafrost Soil Organic Carbon under Warming Climate

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  10. CO2 loss by permafrost thawing implies additional emissions reductions to limit warming to 1.5 or 2 °C

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burke, Eleanor J.; Chadburn, Sarah E.; Huntingford, Chris; Jones, Chris D.

    2018-02-01

    Large amounts of carbon are stored in the permafrost of the northern high latitude land. As permafrost degrades under a warming climate, some of this carbon will decompose and be released to the atmosphere. This positive climate-carbon feedback will reduce the natural carbon sinks and thus lower anthropogenic CO2 emissions compatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Simulations using an ensemble of the JULES-IMOGEN intermediate complexity climate model (including climate response and process uncertainty) and a stabilization target of 2 °C, show that including the permafrost carbon pool in the model increases the land carbon emissions at stabilization by between 0.09 and 0.19 Gt C year-1 (10th to 90th percentile). These emissions are only slightly reduced to between 0.08 and 0.16 Gt C year-1 (10th to 90th percentile) when considering 1.5 °C stabilization targets. This suggests that uncertainties caused by the differences in stabilization target are small compared with those associated with model parameterisation uncertainty. Inertia means that permafrost carbon loss may continue for many years after anthropogenic emissions have stabilized. Simulations suggest that between 225 and 345 Gt C (10th to 90th percentile) are in thawed permafrost and may eventually be released to the atmosphere for stabilization target of 2 °C. This value is 60-100 Gt C less for a 1.5 °C target. The inclusion of permafrost carbon will add to the demands on negative emission technologies which are already present in most low emissions scenarios.

  11. 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

  12. 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)

  13. 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)

  14. 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.

  15. Carbon accumulation in a permafrost polygon peatland: steady long-term rates in spite of shifts between dry and wet conditions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gao, Yang; Couwenberg, John

    2015-02-01

    Ice-wedge polygon peatlands contain a substantial part of the carbon stored in permafrost soils. However, little is known about their long-term carbon accumulation rates (CAR) in relation to shifts in vegetation and climate. We collected four peat profiles from one single polygon in NE Yakutia and cut them into contiguous 0.5 cm slices. Pollen density interpolation between AMS (14)C dated levels provided the time span contained in each of the sample slices, which--in combination with the volumetric carbon content--allowed for the reconstruction of CAR over decadal and centennial timescales. Vegetation representing dry palaeo-ridges and wet depressions was reconstructed with detailed micro- and macrofossil analysis. We found repeated shifts between wet and dry conditions during the past millennium. Dry ridges with associated permafrost growth originated during phases of (relatively) warm summer temperature and collapsed during relatively cold phases, illustrating the important role of vegetation and peat as intermediaries between ambient air temperature and the permafrost. The average long-term CAR across the four profiles was 10.6 ± 5.5 g C m(-2) yr(-1). Time-weighted mean CAR did not differ significantly between wet depression and dry ridge/hummock phases (10.6 ± 5.2 g C m(-2) yr(-1) and 10.3 ± 5.7 g C m(-2) yr(-1), respectively). Although we observed increased CAR in relation to warm shifts, we also found changes in the opposite direction and the highest CAR actually occurred during the Little Ice Age. In fact, CAR rather seems to be governed by strong internal feedback mechanisms and has roughly remained stable on centennial time scales. The absence of significant differences in CAR between dry ridge and wet depression phases suggests that recent warming and associated expansion of shrubs will not affect long-term rates of carbon burial in ice-wedge polygon peatlands. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    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.

    2015-01-01

    As Arctic regions warm and frozen soils thaw, the large organic carbon pool stored in permafrost becomes increasingly vulnerable to decomposition or transport. The transfer of newly mobilized carbon to the atmosphere and its potential influence upon climate change will largely depend on the

  19. Carbon-climate feedbacks accelerate ocean acidification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matear, Richard J.; Lenton, Andrew

    2018-03-01

    Carbon-climate feedbacks have the potential to significantly impact the future climate by altering atmospheric CO2 concentrations (Zaehle et al. 2010). By modifying the future atmospheric CO2 concentrations, the carbon-climate feedbacks will also influence the future ocean acidification trajectory. Here, we use the CO2 emissions scenarios from four representative concentration pathways (RCPs) with an Earth system model to project the future trajectories of ocean acidification with the inclusion of carbon-climate feedbacks. We show that simulated carbon-climate feedbacks can significantly impact the onset of undersaturated aragonite conditions in the Southern and Arctic oceans, the suitable habitat for tropical coral and the deepwater saturation states. Under the high-emissions scenarios (RCP8.5 and RCP6), the carbon-climate feedbacks advance the onset of surface water under saturation and the decline in suitable coral reef habitat by a decade or more. The impacts of the carbon-climate feedbacks are most significant for the medium- (RCP4.5) and low-emissions (RCP2.6) scenarios. For the RCP4.5 scenario, by 2100 the carbon-climate feedbacks nearly double the area of surface water undersaturated with respect to aragonite and reduce by 50 % the surface water suitable for coral reefs. For the RCP2.6 scenario, by 2100 the carbon-climate feedbacks reduce the area suitable for coral reefs by 40 % and increase the area of undersaturated surface water by 20 %. The sensitivity of ocean acidification to the carbon-climate feedbacks in the low to medium emission scenarios is important because recent CO2 emission reduction commitments are trying to transition emissions to such a scenario. Our study highlights the need to better characterise the carbon-climate feedbacks and ensure we do not underestimate the projected ocean acidification.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Soil data from fire and permafrost-thaw chronosequences in upland Picea mariana stands near Hess Creek and Tok, interior Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Donnell, Jonathan A.; Harden, Jennifer W.; Manies, Kristen L.; Jorgenson, M. Torre; Kanevskiy, Mikhail; Xu, Xiaomei

    2013-01-01

    Soils of the Northern Circumpolar Permafrost region harbor 1,672 petagrams (Pg) (1 Pg = 1,000,000,000 kilograms) of organic carbon (OC), nearly 50 percent of the global belowground OC pool (Tarnocai and others, 2009). Of that soil OC, nearly 88 percent is presently stored in perennially frozen ground. Recent climate warming at northern latitudes has resulted in warming and thawing of permafrost in many regions (Osterkamp, 2007), which might mobilize OC stocks from associated soil reservoirs via decomposition, leaching, or erosion. Warming also has increased the magnitude and severity of wildfires in the boreal region (Turetsky and others, 2011), which might exacerbate rates of permafrost degradation relative to warming alone. Given the size and vulnerability of the soil OC pool in permafrost soils, permafrost thaw will likely function as a strong positive feedback to the climate system (Koven and others, 2011; Schaefer and others, 2011). In this report, we report soil OC inventories from two upland fire chronosequences located near Hess Creek and Tok in Interior Alaska. We sampled organic and mineral soils in the top 2 meters (m) across a range of stand ages to evaluate the effects of wildfire and permafrost thaw on soil C dynamics. These data were used to parameterize a simple process-based fire-permafrost-carbon model, which is described in detail by O’Donnell and others (2011a, b). Model simulations examine long-term changes in soil OC storage in response to fire, permafrost thaw, and climate change. These data also have been used in other papers, including Harden and others (2012), which examines C recovery post-fire, and Johnson and others (2011), which synthesizes data within the Alaska Soil Carbon Database. Findings from these studies highlight the importance of climate and disturbance (wildfire, permafrost thaw) on soil C storage, and loss of soil C from high-latitude ecosystems.

  7. 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.

  8. Biomarker and carbon isotope constraints (δ13C, Δ14C) on sources and cycling of particulate organic matter discharged by large Siberian rivers draining permafrost areas

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Winterfeld, Maria

    2014-08-01

    Circumpolar permafrost soils store about half of the global soil organic carbon pool. These huge amounts of organic matter (OM) could accumulate due to low temperatures and water saturated soil conditions over the course of millennia. Currently most of this OM remains frozen and therefore does not take part in the active carbon cycle, making permafrost soils a globally important carbon sink. Over the last decades mean annual air temperatures in the Arctic increased stronger than the global mean and this trend is projected to continue. As a result the permafrost carbon pool is under climate pressure possibly creating a positive climate feedback due to the thaw-induced release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Arctic warming will lead to increased annual permafrost thaw depths and Arctic river runoff likely resulting in enhanced mobilization and export of old, previously frozen soil-derived OM. Consequently, the great arctic rivers play an important role in global biogeochemical cycles by connecting the large permafrost carbon pool of their hinterlands with the arctic shelf seas and the Arctic Ocean. The first part of this thesis deals with particulate organic matter (POM) from the Lena Delta and adjacent Buor Khaya Bay. The Lena River in central Siberia is one of the major pathways translocating terrestrial OM from its southernmost reaches near Lake Baikal to the coastal zone of the Laptev Sea. The permafrost soils from the Lena catchment area store huge amounts of pre-aged OM, which is expected to be remobilized due to climate warming. To characterize the composition and vegetation sources of OM discharged by the Lena River, the lignin phenol and carbon isotopic composition (δ 13 C and Δ 14 C) in total suspended matter (TSM) from surface waters, surface sediments from the Buor Khaya Bay along with soils from the Lena Delta's first (Holocene) and third terraces (Pleistocene ice complex) were analyzed. The lignin compositions of these samples are

  9. 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.

  10. Impact of downslope soil transport on carbon storage and fate in permafrost dominated landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shelef, E.; Rowland, J. C.; Wilson, C. J.; Altmann, G.; Hilley, G. E.

    2014-12-01

    A large fraction of high latitude permafrost-dominated landscapes are covered by soil mantled hillslopes. In these landscapes, soil organic carbon (SOC) accumulates and is lost through lateral transport processes. At present, these processes are not included in regional or global landsurface climate models. We present preliminary results of a soil transport and storage model over a permafrost dominated hillslope. In this model soil carbon is transported downslope within a mobile layer that thaws every summer. The model tracks soil transport and its subsequent storage at the hillslope's base. In a scenario where a carbon poor subsurface is blanketed by a carbon-rich surface layer, the progressive downslope soil transport can result in net carbon sequestration. This sequestration occurs because SOC is carried from the hilllsope's near-surface layer, where it is produced by plants and is capable of decomposing, into depositional sites at the hillslope's base where it is stored in frozen deposits such that it's decomposition rate is effectively zero. We use the model to evaluate the quantities of carbon stored in depositional settings during the Holocene, and to predict changes in sequestration rate in response to thaw depth thickening expected to occur within the next century due to climate-change. At the Holocene time scale, we show that a large amount of SOC is likely stored in depositional sites that comprise only a small fraction of arctic landscapes. The convergent topography of these sites makes them susceptible to fluvial erosion and suggests that increased fluvial incision in response to climate-change-induced thawing has the potential to release significant amounts of carbon to the river system, and potentially to the atmosphere. At the time scale of the next century, increased thaw depth may increase soil-transport rates on hillslopes and therefore increase SOC sequestration rates at a magnitude that may partly compensate for the carbon release expected from

  11. The impact of Earth system feedbacks on carbon budgets and climate response

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lowe, Jason A.; Bernie, Daniel

    2018-05-01

    A number of studies have examined the size of the allowable global cumulative carbon budget compatible with limiting twenty-first century global average temperature rise to below 2°C and below 1.5°C relative to pre-industrial levels. These estimates of cumulative emissions have a number of uncertainties including those associated with the climate sensitivity and the global carbon cycle. Although the IPCC fifth assessment report contained information on a range of Earth system feedbacks, such as carbon released by thawing of permafrost or methane production by wetlands as a result of climate change, the impact of many of these Earth system processes on the allowable carbon budgets remains to be quantified. Here, we make initial estimates to show that the combined impact from typically unrepresented Earth system processes may be important for the achievability of limiting warming to 1.5°C or 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The size of the effects range up to around a 350 GtCO2 budget reduction for a 1.5°C warming limit and around a 500 GtCO2 reduction for achieving a warming limit of 2°C. Median estimates for the extra Earth system forcing lead to around 100 GtCO2 and 150 GtCO2, respectively, for the two warming limits. Our estimates are equivalent to several years of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions at present rates. In addition to the likely reduction of the allowable global carbon budgets, the extra feedbacks also bring forward the date at which a given warming threshold is likely to be exceeded for a particular emission pathway. This article is part of the theme issue `The Paris Agreement: understanding the physical and social challenges for a warming world of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels'.

  12. The impact of Earth system feedbacks on carbon budgets and climate response.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lowe, Jason A; Bernie, Daniel

    2018-05-13

    A number of studies have examined the size of the allowable global cumulative carbon budget compatible with limiting twenty-first century global average temperature rise to below 2°C and below 1.5°C relative to pre-industrial levels. These estimates of cumulative emissions have a number of uncertainties including those associated with the climate sensitivity and the global carbon cycle. Although the IPCC fifth assessment report contained information on a range of Earth system feedbacks, such as carbon released by thawing of permafrost or methane production by wetlands as a result of climate change, the impact of many of these Earth system processes on the allowable carbon budgets remains to be quantified. Here, we make initial estimates to show that the combined impact from typically unrepresented Earth system processes may be important for the achievability of limiting warming to 1.5°C or 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The size of the effects range up to around a 350 GtCO 2 budget reduction for a 1.5°C warming limit and around a 500 GtCO 2 reduction for achieving a warming limit of 2°C. Median estimates for the extra Earth system forcing lead to around 100 GtCO 2 and 150 GtCO 2 , respectively, for the two warming limits. Our estimates are equivalent to several years of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions at present rates. In addition to the likely reduction of the allowable global carbon budgets, the extra feedbacks also bring forward the date at which a given warming threshold is likely to be exceeded for a particular emission pathway.This article is part of the theme issue 'The Paris Agreement: understanding the physical and social challenges for a warming world of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels'. © 2018 The Author(s).

  13. Effects of experimental warming of air, soil and permafrost on carbon balance in Alaskan tundra

    Science.gov (United States)

    S.M. Natali; E.A.G. Schuur; C. Trucco; C.E. Hicks Pries; K.G. Crummer; A.F. Baron Lopez

    2011-01-01

    The carbon (C) storage capacity of northern latitude ecosystems may diminish as warming air temperatures increase permafrost thaw and stimulate decomposition of previously frozen soil organic C. However, warming may also enhance plant growth so that photosynthetic carbon dioxide (C02) uptake may, in part, offset respiratory losses. To determine...

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Zhang Ningning [Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Aichi 464-8601 (Japan); Yasunari, Tetsuzo [Hydrospheric Atmospheric Research Center, Nagoya University, Nagoya 464-8601 (Japan); Ohta, Takeshi, E-mail: zhangningning@lasg.iap.ac.cn [Study Consortium for Earth-Life Interactive Systems (SELIS) of Nagoya University, Nagoya (Japan)

    2011-04-15

    Larch taiga, also known as Siberian boreal forest, plays an important role in global and regional water-energy-carbon (WEC) cycles and in the climate system. Recent in situ observations have suggested that larch-dominated taiga and permafrost behave as a coupled eco-climate system across a broad boreal zone of Siberia. However, neither field-based observations nor modeling experiments have clarified the synthesized dynamics of this system. Here, using a new dynamic vegetation model coupled with a permafrost model, we reveal the processes of interaction between the taiga and permafrost. The model demonstrates that under the present climate conditions in eastern Siberia, larch trees maintain permafrost by controlling the seasonal thawing of permafrost, which in turn maintains the taiga by providing sufficient water to the larch trees. The experiment without permafrost processes showed that larch would decrease in biomass and be replaced by a dominance of pine and other species that suffer drier hydroclimatic conditions. In the coupled system, fire not only plays a destructive role in the forest, but also, in some cases, preserves larch domination in forests. Climate warming sensitivity experiments show that this coupled system cannot be maintained under warming of about 2 deg. C or more. Under such conditions, a forest with typical boreal tree species (dark conifer and deciduous species) would become dominant, decoupled from the permafrost processes. This study thus suggests that future global warming could drastically alter the larch-dominated taiga-permafrost coupled system in Siberia, with associated changes of WEC processes and feedback to climate.

  15. 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.

  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. 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

  18. Biomarker and carbon isotope constraints (δ{sup 13}C, Δ{sup 14}C) on sources and cycling of particulate organic matter discharged by large Siberian rivers draining permafrost areas

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Winterfeld, Maria

    2014-08-15

    Circumpolar permafrost soils store about half of the global soil organic carbon pool. These huge amounts of organic matter (OM) could accumulate due to low temperatures and water saturated soil conditions over the course of millennia. Currently most of this OM remains frozen and therefore does not take part in the active carbon cycle, making permafrost soils a globally important carbon sink. Over the last decades mean annual air temperatures in the Arctic increased stronger than the global mean and this trend is projected to continue. As a result the permafrost carbon pool is under climate pressure possibly creating a positive climate feedback due to the thaw-induced release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Arctic warming will lead to increased annual permafrost thaw depths and Arctic river runoff likely resulting in enhanced mobilization and export of old, previously frozen soil-derived OM. Consequently, the great arctic rivers play an important role in global biogeochemical cycles by connecting the large permafrost carbon pool of their hinterlands with the arctic shelf seas and the Arctic Ocean. The first part of this thesis deals with particulate organic matter (POM) from the Lena Delta and adjacent Buor Khaya Bay. The Lena River in central Siberia is one of the major pathways translocating terrestrial OM from its southernmost reaches near Lake Baikal to the coastal zone of the Laptev Sea. The permafrost soils from the Lena catchment area store huge amounts of pre-aged OM, which is expected to be remobilized due to climate warming. To characterize the composition and vegetation sources of OM discharged by the Lena River, the lignin phenol and carbon isotopic composition (δ{sup 13}C and Δ{sup 14}C) in total suspended matter (TSM) from surface waters, surface sediments from the Buor Khaya Bay along with soils from the Lena Delta's first (Holocene) and third terraces (Pleistocene ice complex) were analyzed. The lignin compositions of these samples are

  19. 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.

  20. Interactions between iron and organic matter may influence the fate of permafrost carbon in the Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cory, R. M.; Trusiak, A.; Ward, C.; Kling, G. W.; Tfaily, M.; Paša-Tolić, L.; Noel, V.; Bargar, J.

    2017-12-01

    The ongoing thawing of permafrost soils is the only environmental change that allows tremendous stores of organic carbon (C) to be converted into carbon dioxide (CO2) on decadal time scales, thus providing a positive and accelerating feedback to global warming. Evidence suggests that iron enhances abiotic reactions that convert dissolved organic matter (DOM) to CO2 in dark soils and in sunlit surface waters depending on its redox state and association with DOM (i.e., iron-DOM complexation). However, the complexation of iron in surface waters and soils remains too poorly understood to predict how iron influences the rates of oxidation of DOM to CO2. To address this knowledge gap, we characterized iron-DOM complexation in iron-rich soil and surface waters of the Arctic, in combination with measurements of DOM oxidation to CO2. These waters contain high concentrations of dissolved iron and DOM (up to 1 and 2 mM, respectively), and low concentrations of other potential ligands for iron such as sulfide, carbonate, chloride, or bromide. Ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry (FT-ICR MS) was used to identify ligands for iron within the DOM pool, and synchrotron based X-ray analysis (XAS and EXAFS) was used to assess iron's oxidation state, to detect iron complexation, and to constrain the chemical composition of the complexes. Across a natural gradient of dissolved iron and DOM concentrations, many potential ligands were identified within DOM that are expected to complex with iron (e.g., aromatic acids). EXAFS showed substantial complexation of reduced ferrous iron (Fe(II)) to DOM in arctic soil waters, on the basis of comparison to Fe(II)-DOM reference spectra. Identification of iron complexed to DOM in soil waters is consistent with strongly co-varying iron and DOM concentrations in arctic soil and surface waters, and supports our hypothesis that complexation of iron by DOM influences dark and light redox reactions that oxidize DOM to CO2. Understanding the molecular

  1. 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.

  2. Microbial communities of the deep unfrozen: Do microbes in taliks increase permafrost carbon vulnerability? (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Waldrop, M. P.; Blazewicz, S.; Jones, M.; Mcfarland, J. W.; Harden, J. W.; Euskirchen, E. S.; Turetsky, M.; Hultman, J.; Jansson, J.

    2013-12-01

    The vast frozen terrain of northern latitude ecosystems is typically thought of as being nearly biologically inert for the winter period. Yet deep within the frozen ground of northern latitude soils reside microbial communities that can remain active during the winter months. As we have shown previously, microbial communities may remain active in permafrost soils just below the freezing point of water. Though perhaps more importantly, microbial communities persist in unfrozen areas of water, soil, and sediment beneath water bodies the entire year. Microbial activity in taliks may have significant impacts on biogeochemical cycling in northern latitude ecosystems because their activity is not limited by the winter months. Here we present compositional and functional data, including long term incubation data, for microbial communities within permafrost landscapes, in permafrost and taliks, and the implications of these activities on permafrost carbon decomposition and the flux of CO2 and CH4. Our experiment was conducted at the Alaska Peatland Experiment (APEX) within the Bonanza Creek LTER in interior Alaska. Our site consists of a black spruce forest on permafrost that has degraded into thermokarst bogs at various times over the last five hundred years. We assume the parent substrate of the deep (1-1.5m) thermokarst peat was similar to the nearby forest soil and permafrost C before thaw. At this site, flux tower and autochamber data show that the thermokarst bog is a sink of CO2 , but a significant source of CH4. Yet this does not tell the whole story as these data do not fully capture microbial activity within the deep unfrozen talik layer. There is published evidence that within thermokarst bogs, relatively rapid decomposition of old forest floor material may be occurring. There are several possible mechanisms for this pattern; one possible mechanism for accelerated decomposition is the overwintering activities of microbial communities in taliks of thermokarst

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jonathan A. O' Donnell; Jennifer W. Harden; A. David McGuire; Mikhail Z. Kanevskiy; M. Torre Jorgenson; Xiaomei Xu

    2010-01-01

    High-latitude regions store large amounts of organic carbon (OC) in active-layer soils and permafrost, accounting for nearly half of the global belowground OC pool. In the boreal region, recent warming has promoted changes in the fire regime, which may exacerbate rates of permafrost thaw and alter soil OC dynamics in both organic and mineral soil. We examined how...

  4. Vulnerability of permafrost carbon to global warming. Part II: sensitivity of permafrost carbon stock to global warming

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Khvorostyanov, D.V.; Ciais, G. (Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et l' Environnement, Saclay (France)); Krinner, G. (Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Geophysique de l' Environnement, St Martin d' Heres (France)). e-mail: Dimitry.Khvorostiyanov@lsce.ipsl.fr; Zimov, S.A. (Northeast Science Station, Cherskii (RU)); Corradi, C. (UNITUS, Univ. of Tuscia, Veterbo (Italy)); Guggenberger, G. (Inst. of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, Martin-Luther-Univ., Halle-Wittenberg (DE))

    2008-07-01

    In the companion paper (Part I), we presented a model of permafrost carbon cycle to study the sensitivity of frozen carbon stocks to future climate warming. The mobilization of deep carbon stock of the frozen Pleistocene soil in the case of rapid stepwise increase of atmospheric temperature was considered. In this work, we adapted the model to be used also for floodplain tundra sites and to account for the processes in the soil active layer. The new processes taken into account are litter input and decomposition, plant-mediated transport of methane, and leaching of exudates from plant roots. The SRES-A2 transient climate warming scenario of the IPSL CM4 climate model is used to study the carbon fluxes from the carbon-rich Pleistocene soil with seasonal active-layer carbon cycling on top of it. For a point to the southwest from the western branch of Yedoma Ice Complex, where the climate warming is strong enough to trigger self-sustainable decomposition processes, about 256 kg C/m2, or 70% of the initial soil carbon stock under present-day climate conditions, are emitted to the atmosphere in about 120 yr, including 20 kg C/m2 released as methane. The total average flux of CO{sub 2} and methane emissions to the atmosphere during this time is of 2.1 kg C/m2/yr. Within the Yedoma, whose most part of the territory remains relatively cold, the emissions are much smaller: 0.2 kg C/m2/yr between 2050 and 2100 for Yakutsk area. In a test case with saturated upper-soil meter, when the runoff is insufficient to evacuate the meltwater, 0.05 kg CH{sub 4}/m2/yr on average are emitted as methane during 250 yr starting from 2050. The latter can translate to the upper bound of 1 GtC/yr in CO{sub 2} equivalent from the 1 million km2 area of the Yedoma

  5. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  7. 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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Weiss, Niels; Blok, Daan; Elberling, Bo

    2016-01-01

    This study relates soil organic matter (SOM) characteristics to initial soil incubation carbon release from upper permafrost samples in Yedoma region soils of northeastern Siberia, Russia. Carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) content, carbon to nitrogen ratios (C:N), δ13C and δ15N values show clear trends...

  9. 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.

  10. Development of capability for microtopography-resolving simulations of hydrologic processes in permafrost affected regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Painter, S.; Moulton, J. D.; Berndt, M.; Coon, E.; Garimella, R.; Lewis, K. C.; Manzini, G.; Mishra, P.; Travis, B. J.; Wilson, C. J.

    2012-12-01

    The frozen soils of the Arctic and subarctic regions contain vast amounts of stored organic carbon. This carbon is vulnerable to release to the atmosphere as temperatures warm and permafrost degrades. Understanding the response of the subsurface and surface hydrologic system to degrading permafrost is key to understanding the rate, timing, and chemical form of potential carbon releases to the atmosphere. Simulating the hydrologic system in degrading permafrost regions is challenging because of the potential for topographic evolution and associated drainage network reorganization as permafrost thaws and massive ground ice melts. The critical process models required for simulating hydrology include subsurface thermal hydrology of freezing/thawing soils, thermal processes within ice wedges, mechanical deformation processes, overland flow, and surface energy balances including snow dynamics. A new simulation tool, the Arctic Terrestrial Simulator (ATS), is being developed to simulate these coupled processes. The computational infrastructure must accommodate fully unstructured grids that track evolving topography, allow accurate solutions on distorted grids, provide robust and efficient solutions on highly parallel computer architectures, and enable flexibility in the strategies for coupling among the various processes. The ATS is based on Amanzi (Moulton et al. 2012), an object-oriented multi-process simulator written in C++ that provides much of the necessary computational infrastructure. Status and plans for the ATS including major hydrologic process models and validation strategies will be presented. Highly parallel simulations of overland flow using high-resolution digital elevation maps of polygonal patterned ground landscapes demonstrate the feasibility of the approach. Simulations coupling three-phase subsurface thermal hydrology with a simple thaw-induced subsidence model illustrate the strong feedbacks among the processes. D. Moulton, M. Berndt, M. Day, J

  11. 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.

  12. Deglacial remobilization of permafrost carbon to sediments along the East Siberian Arctic Seas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martens, J.; Wild, B.; Bröder, L.; Andersson, A.; Pearce, C.; O'Regan, M.; Jakobsson, M.; Tesi, T.; Muschitiello, F.; Sköld, M.; Semiletov, I. P.; Dudarev, O.; Gustafsson, O.

    2017-12-01

    Current climate change is expected to thaw large quantities of permafrost carbon (PF-C) and expose it to degradation which emits greenhouse gases (i.e. CO2 and CH4). Warming causes a gradual deepening of the seasonally thawed active layer surface of permafrost soils, but also the abrupt collapse of deeper Ice Complex Deposits (ICD), especially along Siberian coastlines. It was recently hypothesized that past warming already induced large-scale permafrost degradation after the last glacial, which ultimately amplified climate forcing. We here assess the mobilization of PF-C to East Siberian Arctic Sea sediments during these warming periods. We perform source apportionment using bulk carbon isotopes (ΔΔ14C, δ13C) together with terrestrial biomarkers (CuO-derived lignin phenols) as indicators for PF-C transfer. We apply these techniques to sediment cores (SWERUS-L2) from the Chukchi Sea (4-PC1) and the southern Lomonosov Ridge (31-PC1). We found that PF-C fluxes during the Bølling-Allerød warming (14.7 to 12.7 cal ka BP), the Younger Dryas cooling (12.7 to 11.7 cal ka BP) and the early Holocene warming (until 11 cal ka BP) were overall higher than mid and late Holocene fluxes. In the Chukchi Sea, PF-C burial was 2x higher during the deglaciation (7.2 g m-2 a-1) than in the mid and late Holocene (3.6 g m-2 a-1), and ICD were the dominant source of PF-C (79.1%). Smaller fractions originated from the active layer (9.1%) and marine sources (11.7%). We conclude that thermo-erosion of ICD released large amounts of PF-C to the Chukchi Sea, likely driven by climate warming and the deglacial sea level rise. This contrasts to earlier analyses of Laptev Sea sediments where active layer material from river transport dominated the carbon flux. Preliminary data on lignin phenol concentrations of Lomonosov Ridge sediments suggest that the postglacial remobilization of PF-C was one order of magnitude higher (10x) than during both the preceding glacial and the subsequent Holocene

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

    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...

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Liu, Wenjie; Chen, Shengyun; Zhao, Qian; Ren, Jiawen; Qin, Dahe; Sun, Zhizhong

    2014-01-01

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

  15. Differential response of carbon fluxes to climate in three peatland ecosystems that vary in the presence and stability of permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Euskirchen, Eugenie S; Edgar, C.W.; Turetsky, M.R.; Waldrop, Mark P.; Harden, Jennifer W.

    2016-01-01

    Changes in vegetation and soil properties following permafrost degradation and thermokarst development in peatlands may cause changes in net carbon storage. To better understand these dynamics, we established three sites in Alaska that vary in permafrost regime, including a black spruce peat plateau forest with stable permafrost, an internal collapse scar bog formed as a result of thermokarst, and a rich fen without permafrost. Measurements include year-round eddy covariance estimates of carbon dioxide (CO2), water, and energy fluxes, associated environmental variables, and methane (CH4) fluxes at the collapse scar bog. The ecosystems all acted as net sinks of CO2 in 2011 and 2012, when air temperature and precipitation remained near long-term means. In 2013, under a late snowmelt and late leaf out followed by a hot, dry summer, the permafrost forest and collapse scar bog were sources of CO2. In this same year, CO2 uptake in the fen increased, largely because summer inundation from groundwater inputs suppressed ecosystem respiration. CO2 exchange in the permafrost forest and collapse scar bog was sensitive to warm air temperatures, with 0.5 g C m−2 lost each day when maximum air temperature was very warm (≥29°C). The bog lost 4981 ± 300 mg CH4 m−2 between April and September 2013, indicating that this ecosystem acted as a significant source of both CO2 and CH4 to the atmosphere in 2013. These results suggest that boreal peatland responses to warming and drying, both of which are expected to occur in a changing climate, will depend on permafrost regime.

  16. 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 ...

  17. Methane Carbon Isotopic Composition Reveals Changing Production Pathways Across a Gradient of Permafrost Thaw

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rocci, K.; Burke, S. A.; Clariza, P.; Malhotra, A.; McCalley, C. K.; Verbeke, B. A.; Werner, S. L.; Roulet, N. T.; Varner, R. K.

    2017-12-01

    Methane (CH4) emission in areas of discontinuous permafrost may increase with warming temperatures resulting in a positive feedback to climate change. Characterizing the production pathways of CH4, which may be inferred by measuring carbon isotopes, can help determine underlying mechanistic changes. We studied CH4 flux and isotopic composition of porewater (δ13C-CH4) in a sub-arctic peatland in Abisko, Sweden to understand controls on these factors across a thaw gradient during four growing seasons. Methane chamber flux measurements and porewater samples were collected in July 2013, and over the growing seasons of 2014 to 2016. Samples were analyzed on a Gas Chromatograph with a Flame Ionization Detector for CH4 concentrations and a Quantum Cascade Laser for carbon isotopes. Increased emission rates and changing isotopic signatures were observed across the thaw gradient throughout the growing season. While CH4 flux increased with increases in temperature and shallower water table, δ13C-CH4 exhibited a seasonal pattern that did not correlate with measured environmental variables, suggesting dependence on other factors. The most significant controlling factor for both flux and isotopic signature was plant community composition, specifically, the presence of graminoid species. Graminoid cover increases with thaw stage so both CH4 emissions and δ13C-CH4 are likely to increase in a warmer world, suggesting a shift toward the acetoclastic pathway of methane production.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  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. Hydrological processes and permafrost regulate magnitude, source and chemical characteristics of dissolved organic carbon export in a peatland catchment of northeastern China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guo, Yuedong; Song, Changchun; Tan, Wenwen; Wang, Xianwei; Lu, Yongzheng

    2018-02-01

    Permafrost thawing in peatlands has the potential to alter the catchment export of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), thus influencing the carbon balance and cycling in linked aquatic and ocean ecosystems. Peatlands along the southern margins of the Eurasian permafrost are relatively underexplored despite the considerable risks associated with permafrost degradation due to climate warming. This study examined dynamics of DOC export from a permafrost peatland catchment located in northeastern China during the 2012 to 2014 growing seasons. The estimated annual DOC loads varied greatly between 3211 and 19 022 kg yr-1, with a mean DOC yield of 4.7 g m-2 yr-1. Although the estimated DOC yield was in the lower range compared with other permafrost regions, it was still significant for the net carbon balance in the studied catchment. There were strong linkages between daily discharge and DOC concentrations in both wet and dry years, suggesting a transport-limited process of DOC delivery from the catchment. Discharge explained the majority of both seasonal and interannual variations of DOC concentrations, which made annual discharge a good indicator of total DOC load from the catchment. As indicated by three fluorescence indices, DOC source and chemical characteristics tracked the shift of flow paths during runoff processes closely. Interactions between the flow path and DOC chemical characteristics were greatly influenced by the seasonal thawing of the soil active layer. The deepening of the active layer due to climate warming likely increases the proportion of microbial-originated DOC in baseflow discharge.

  3. Hydrological processes and permafrost regulate magnitude, source and chemical characteristics of dissolved organic carbon export in a peatland catchment of northeastern China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Y. Guo

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available Permafrost thawing in peatlands has the potential to alter the catchment export of dissolved organic carbon (DOC, thus influencing the carbon balance and cycling in linked aquatic and ocean ecosystems. Peatlands along the southern margins of the Eurasian permafrost are relatively underexplored despite the considerable risks associated with permafrost degradation due to climate warming. This study examined dynamics of DOC export from a permafrost peatland catchment located in northeastern China during the 2012 to 2014 growing seasons. The estimated annual DOC loads varied greatly between 3211 and 19 022 kg yr−1, with a mean DOC yield of 4.7 g m−2 yr−1. Although the estimated DOC yield was in the lower range compared with other permafrost regions, it was still significant for the net carbon balance in the studied catchment. There were strong linkages between daily discharge and DOC concentrations in both wet and dry years, suggesting a transport-limited process of DOC delivery from the catchment. Discharge explained the majority of both seasonal and interannual variations of DOC concentrations, which made annual discharge a good indicator of total DOC load from the catchment. As indicated by three fluorescence indices, DOC source and chemical characteristics tracked the shift of flow paths during runoff processes closely. Interactions between the flow path and DOC chemical characteristics were greatly influenced by the seasonal thawing of the soil active layer. The deepening of the active layer due to climate warming likely increases the proportion of microbial-originated DOC in baseflow discharge.

  4. Viral impacts on microbial carbon cycling in thawing permafrost soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trubl, G. G.; Roux, S.; Bolduc, B.; Jang, H. B.; Emerson, J. B.; Solonenko, N.; Li, F.; Solden, L. M.; Vik, D. R.; Wrighton, K. C.; Saleska, S. R.; Sullivan, M. B.; Rich, V. I.

    2017-12-01

    Permafrost contains 30-50% of global soil carbon (C) and is rapidly thawing. While the fate of this C is unknown, it will be shaped in part by microbes and their associated viruses, which modulate host activities via mortality and metabolic control. To date, viral research in soils has been outpaced by that in aquatic environments, due to the technical challenges of accessing viruses as well as the dramatic physicochemical heterogeneity in soils. Here, we describe advances in soil viromics from our research on permafrost-associated soils, and their implications for associated terrestrial C cycling. First, we optimized viral resuspension-DNA extraction methods for a range of soil types. Second, we applied cutting-edge viral-specific informatics methods to recover viral populations, define their gene content, connect them to potential hosts, and analyze their relationships to environmental parameters. A total of 781 viral populations were recovered from size-fractionated virus samples of three soils along a permafrost thaw gradient. Ecological analyses revealed endemism as recovered viral populations were largely unique to each habitat and unlike those in aquatic communities. Genome- and network-based classification assigned these viruses into 226 viral clusters (VCs; genus-level taxonomy), 55% of which were novel. This increases the number of VCs by a third and triples the number of soil viral populations in the RefSeq database (currently contains 256 VCs and 316 soil viral populations). Genomic analyses revealed 85% of the genes were functionally unknown, though 5% of the annotatable genes contained C-related auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs; e.g. glycoside hydrolases). Using sequence-based features and microbial population genomes, we were able to in silico predict hosts for 30% of the viral populations. The identified hosts spanned 3 phyla and 6 genera but suggested these viruses have species-specific host ranges as >80% of hosts for a given virus were in the same

  5. Permafrost thaw and climate warming may decrease the CO2, carbon, and metal concentration in peat soil waters of the Western Siberia Lowland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raudina, T V; Loiko, S V; Lim, A; Manasypov, R M; Shirokova, L S; Istigechev, G I; Kuzmina, D M; Kulizhsky, S P; Vorobyev, S N; Pokrovsky, O S

    2018-09-01

    Soil pore waters are a vital component of the ecosystem as they are efficient tracers of mineral weathering, plant litter leaching, and nutrient uptake by vegetation. In the permafrost environment, maximal hydraulic connectivity and element transport from soils to rivers and lakes occurs via supra-permafrost flow (i.e. water, gases, suspended matter, and solutes migration over the permafrost table). To assess possible consequences of permafrost thaw and climate warming on carbon and Green House gases (GHG) dynamics we used a "substituting space for time" approach in the largest frozen peatland of the world. We sampled stagnant supra-permafrost (active layer) waters in peat columns of western Siberia Lowland (WSL) across substantial gradients of climate (-4.0 to -9.1°C mean annual temperature, 360 to 600mm annual precipitation), active layer thickness (ALT) (>300 to 40cm), and permafrost coverage (sporadic, discontinuous and continuous). We analyzed CO 2 , CH 4 , dissolved carbon, and major and trace elements (TE) in 93 soil pit samples corresponding to several typical micro landscapes constituting the WSL territory (peat mounds, hollows, and permafrost subsidences and depressions). We expected a decrease in intensity of DOC and TE mobilization from soil and vegetation litter to the supra-permafrost water with increasing permafrost coverage, decreasing annual temperature and ALT along a latitudinal transect from 62.3°N to 67.4°N. However, a number of solutes (DOC, CO 2 , alkaline earth metals, Si, trivalent and tetravalent hydrolysates, and micronutrients (Mn, Co, Ni, Cu, V, Mo) exhibited a northward increasing trend with highest concentrations within the continuous permafrost zone. Within the "substituting space for time" climate change scenario and northward shift of the permafrost boundary, our results suggest that CO 2 , DOC, and many major and trace elements will decrease their concentration in soil supra-permafrost waters at the boundary between thaw and

  6. 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.

  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. Modeling interactions of soil hydrological dynamics and soil thermal and permafrost dynamics and their effects on carbon cycling in northern high latitudes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhuang, Q.; Tang, J.

    2008-12-01

    Large areas of northern high latitude ecosystems are underlain with permafrost. The warming temperature and fires deteriorate the stability of those permafrost, altering hydrological cycle, and consequently soil temperature and active layer depth. These changes will determine the fate of large carbon pools in soils and permafrost over the region. We developed a modeling framework of hydrology, permafrost, and biogeochemical dynamics based on our existing modules of these components. The framework was incorporated with a new snow dynamics module and the effects of soil moisture on soil thermal properties. The framework was tested for tundra and boreal forest ecosystems at field sites with respect to soil thermal and hydrological regimes in Alaska and was then applied to the whole Alaskan ecosystems for the period of 1923-2000 at a daily time step. Our two sets of simulations with and without considering soil moisture effects indicated that the soil temperature profile and active layer depth between two simulations are significant different. The differences of soil thermal regime would expect to result in different carbon dynamics. Next, we will verify the framework with the observed data of soil moisture and soil temperature at poor-drain, moderate-drain, and well-drain boreal forest sites in Alaska. With the verified framework, we will evaluate the effects of interactions of soil thermal and hydrological dynamics on carbon dynamics for the whole northern high latitudes.

  9. Photochemical alteration of organic carbon draining permafrost soils shifts microbial metabolic pathways and stimulates respiration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ward, Collin P; Nalven, Sarah G; Crump, Byron C; Kling, George W; Cory, Rose M

    2017-10-03

    In sunlit waters, photochemical alteration of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) impacts the microbial respiration of DOC to CO 2 . This coupled photochemical and biological degradation of DOC is especially critical for carbon budgets in the Arctic, where thawing permafrost soils increase opportunities for DOC oxidation to CO 2 in surface waters, thereby reinforcing global warming. Here we show how and why sunlight exposure impacts microbial respiration of DOC draining permafrost soils. Sunlight significantly increases or decreases microbial respiration of DOC depending on whether photo-alteration produces or removes molecules that native microbial communities used prior to light exposure. Using high-resolution chemical and microbial approaches, we show that rates of DOC processing by microbes are likely governed by a combination of the abundance and lability of DOC exported from land to water and produced by photochemical processes, and the capacity and timescale that microbial communities have to adapt to metabolize photo-altered DOC.The role of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) photo-alteration in the microbial respiration of DOC to CO 2 is unclear. Here, the authors show that the impact of this mechanism depends on whether photo-alteration of DOC produces or removes molecules used by native microbial communities prior to light exposure.

  10. A shift of thermokarst lakes from carbon sources to sinks during the Holocene epoch

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walter Anthony, K. M.; Zimov, S. A.; Grosse, G.; Jones, Miriam C.; Anthony, P.; Chapin, F. S.; Finlay, J. C.; Mack, M. C.; Davydov, S.; Frenzel, P.F.; Frolking, S.

    2014-01-01

    Thermokarst lakes formed across vast regions of Siberia and Alaska during the last deglaciation and are thought to be a net source of atmospheric methane and carbon dioxide during the Holocene epoch1,2,3,4. However, the same thermokarst lakes can also sequester carbon5, and it remains uncertain whether carbon uptake by thermokarst lakes can offset their greenhouse gas emissions. Here we use field observations of Siberian permafrost exposures, radiocarbon dating and spatial analyses to quantify Holocene carbon stocks and fluxes in lake sediments overlying thawed Pleistocene-aged permafrost. We find that carbon accumulation in deep thermokarst-lake sediments since the last deglaciation is about 1.6 times larger than the mass of Pleistocene-aged permafrost carbon released as greenhouse gases when the lakes first formed. Although methane and carbon dioxide emissions following thaw lead to immediate radiative warming, carbon uptake in peat-rich sediments occurs over millennial timescales. We assess thermokarst-lake carbon feedbacks to climate with an atmospheric perturbation model and find that thermokarst basins switched from a net radiative warming to a net cooling climate effect about 5,000 years ago. High rates of Holocene carbon accumulation in 20 lake sediments (47±10 grams of carbon per square metre per year; mean±standard error) were driven by thermokarst erosion and deposition of terrestrial organic matter, by nutrient release from thawing permafrost that stimulated lake productivity and by slow decomposition in cold, anoxic lake bottoms. When lakes eventually drained, permafrost formation rapidly sequestered sediment carbon. Our estimate of about 160petagrams of Holocene organic carbon in deep lake basins of Siberia and Alaska increases the circumpolar peat carbon pool estimate for permafrost regions by over 50 per cent (ref. 6). The carbon in perennially frozen drained lake sediments may become vulnerable to mineralization as permafrost disappears7

  11. 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...

  12. Analytically tractable climate-carbon cycle feedbacks under 21st century anthropogenic forcing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lade, Steven J.; Donges, Jonathan F.; Fetzer, Ingo; Anderies, John M.; Beer, Christian; Cornell, Sarah E.; Gasser, Thomas; Norberg, Jon; Richardson, Katherine; Rockström, Johan; Steffen, Will

    2018-05-01

    Changes to climate-carbon cycle feedbacks may significantly affect the Earth system's response to greenhouse gas emissions. These feedbacks are usually analysed from numerical output of complex and arguably opaque Earth system models. Here, we construct a stylised global climate-carbon cycle model, test its output against comprehensive Earth system models, and investigate the strengths of its climate-carbon cycle feedbacks analytically. The analytical expressions we obtain aid understanding of carbon cycle feedbacks and the operation of the carbon cycle. Specific results include that different feedback formalisms measure fundamentally the same climate-carbon cycle processes; temperature dependence of the solubility pump, biological pump, and CO2 solubility all contribute approximately equally to the ocean climate-carbon feedback; and concentration-carbon feedbacks may be more sensitive to future climate change than climate-carbon feedbacks. Simple models such as that developed here also provide workbenches for simple but mechanistically based explorations of Earth system processes, such as interactions and feedbacks between the planetary boundaries, that are currently too uncertain to be included in comprehensive Earth system models.

  13. Sources and characteristics of terrestrial carbon in Holocene-scale sediments of the East Siberian Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keskitalo, Kirsi; Tesi, Tommaso; Bröder, Lisa; Andersson, August; Pearce, Christof; Sköld, Martin; Semiletov, Igor P.; Dudarev, Oleg V.; Gustafsson, Örjan

    2017-09-01

    Thawing of permafrost carbon (PF-C) due to climate warming can remobilise considerable amounts of terrestrial carbon from its long-term storage to the marine environment. PF-C can be then be buried in sediments or remineralised to CO2 with implications for the carbon-climate feedback. Studying historical sediment records during past natural climate changes can help us to understand the response of permafrost to current climate warming. In this study, two sediment cores collected from the East Siberian Sea were used to study terrestrial organic carbon sources, composition and degradation during the past ˜ 9500 cal yrs BP. CuO-derived lignin and cutin products (i.e., compounds solely biosynthesised in terrestrial plants) combined with δ13C suggest that there was a higher input of terrestrial organic carbon to the East Siberian Sea between ˜ 9500 and 8200 cal yrs BP than in all later periods. This high input was likely caused by marine transgression and permafrost destabilisation in the early Holocene climatic optimum. Based on source apportionment modelling using dual-carbon isotope (Δ14C, δ13C) data, coastal erosion releasing old Pleistocene permafrost carbon was identified as a significant source of organic matter translocated to the East Siberian Sea during the Holocene.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. Effects of long-term land use change on dissolved carbon characteristics in the permafrost streams of northeast China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guo, Yuedong; Song, Changchun; Wan, Zhongmei; Tan, Wenwen; Lu, Yongzheng; Qiao, Tianhua

    2014-11-01

    Permafrost soils act as large sinks of organic carbon but are highly sensitive to interference such as changes in land use, which can greatly influence dissolved carbon loads in streams. This study examines the effects of long-term land reclamation on seasonal concentrations of dissolved carbons in the upper reaches of the Nenjiang River, northeast China. A comparison of streams in natural and agricultural systems shows that the dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration is much lower in the agricultural stream (AG) than in the two natural streams (WAF, wetland dominated; FR, forest dominated), suggesting that land use change is associated with reduced DOC exporting capacity. Moreover, the fluorescence indexes and the ratio of dissolved carbon to nitrogen also differ greatly between the natural and agricultural streams, indicating that the chemical characteristics and the origin of the DOC released from the whole reaches are also altered to some extent. Importantly, the exporting concentration of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and its proportion of total dissolved carbon (TDC) substantially increase following land reclamation, which would largely alter the carbon cycling processes in the downstream fluvial system. Although the strong association between the stream discharge and the DOC concentration was unchanged, the reduction in total soil organic carbon following land reclamation led to remarkable decline of the total flux and exporting coefficient of the dissolved carbons. The results suggest that dissolved carbons in permafrost streams have been greatly affected by changes in land use since the 1970s, and the changes in the concentration and chemical characteristics of dissolved carbons will last until the alteration in both the traditional agriculture pattern and the persistent reclamation activities.

  17. Dissolved organic carbon and major and trace elements in peat porewater of sporadic, discontinuous, and continuous permafrost zones of western Siberia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raudina, Tatiana V.; Loiko, Sergey V.; Lim, Artyom G.; Krickov, Ivan V.; Shirokova, Liudmila S.; Istigechev, Georgy I.; Kuzmina, Daria M.; Kulizhsky, Sergey P.; Vorobyev, Sergey N.; Pokrovsky, Oleg S.

    2017-07-01

    Mobilization of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and related trace elements (TEs) from the frozen peat to surface waters in the permafrost zone is expected to enhance under ongoing permafrost thaw and active layer thickness (ALT) deepening in high-latitude regions. The interstitial soil solutions are efficient tracers of ongoing bio-geochemical processes in the critical zone and can help to decipher the intensity of carbon and metals migration from the soil to the rivers and further to the ocean. To this end, we collected, across a 640 km latitudinal transect of the sporadic to continuous permafrost zone of western Siberia peatlands, soil porewaters from 30 cm depth using suction cups and we analyzed DOC, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), and 40 major elements and TEs in 0.45 µm filtered fraction of 80 soil porewaters. Despite an expected decrease in the intensity of DOC and TE mobilization from the soil and vegetation litter to the interstitial fluids with the increase in the permafrost coverage and a decrease in the annual temperature and ALT, the DOC and many major and trace elements did not exhibit any distinct decrease in concentration along the latitudinal transect from 62.2 to 67.4° N. The DOC demonstrated a maximum of concentration at 66° N, on the border of the discontinuous/continuous permafrost zone, whereas the DOC concentration in peat soil solutions from the continuous permafrost zone was equal to or higher than that in the sporadic/discontinuous permafrost zone. Moreover, a number of major (Ca, Mg) and trace (Al, Ti, Sr, Ga, rare earth elements (REEs), Zr, Hf, Th) elements exhibited an increasing, not decreasing, northward concentration trend. We hypothesize that the effects of temperature and thickness of the ALT are of secondary importance relative to the leaching capacity of peat, which is in turn controlled by the water saturation of the peat core. The water residence time in peat pores also plays a role in enriching the fluids in some elements

  18. Dissolved organic carbon and major and trace elements in peat porewater of sporadic, discontinuous, and continuous permafrost zones of western Siberia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. V. Raudina

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available Mobilization of dissolved organic carbon (DOC and related trace elements (TEs from the frozen peat to surface waters in the permafrost zone is expected to enhance under ongoing permafrost thaw and active layer thickness (ALT deepening in high-latitude regions. The interstitial soil solutions are efficient tracers of ongoing bio-geochemical processes in the critical zone and can help to decipher the intensity of carbon and metals migration from the soil to the rivers and further to the ocean. To this end, we collected, across a 640 km latitudinal transect of the sporadic to continuous permafrost zone of western Siberia peatlands, soil porewaters from 30 cm depth using suction cups and we analyzed DOC, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC, and 40 major elements and TEs in 0.45 µm filtered fraction of 80 soil porewaters. Despite an expected decrease in the intensity of DOC and TE mobilization from the soil and vegetation litter to the interstitial fluids with the increase in the permafrost coverage and a decrease in the annual temperature and ALT, the DOC and many major and trace elements did not exhibit any distinct decrease in concentration along the latitudinal transect from 62.2 to 67.4° N. The DOC demonstrated a maximum of concentration at 66° N, on the border of the discontinuous/continuous permafrost zone, whereas the DOC concentration in peat soil solutions from the continuous permafrost zone was equal to or higher than that in the sporadic/discontinuous permafrost zone. Moreover, a number of major (Ca, Mg and trace (Al, Ti, Sr, Ga, rare earth elements (REEs, Zr, Hf, Th elements exhibited an increasing, not decreasing, northward concentration trend. We hypothesize that the effects of temperature and thickness of the ALT are of secondary importance relative to the leaching capacity of peat, which is in turn controlled by the water saturation of the peat core. The water residence time in peat pores also plays a role in enriching the

  19. The Contribution of Old Carbon to Respiration from Alaskan Tundra Following Permafrost Thaw

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schuur, E. A.; Vogel, J. G.; Crummer, K. G.; Lee, H.; Sickman, J. O.; Dutta, K.

    2007-12-01

    More than 450 Pg of soil carbon (C) has accumulated in high latitude ecosystems after the retreat of the last major ice sheets. Recent studies suggest that, due to climate warming, these ecosystems may no longer be accumulating C, and in some cases may be losing stored C to the atmosphere. We used radiocarbon measurements of carbon dioxide to detect the age of C respired from tussock tundra near Denali National Park, Alaska. At this tundra site, permafrost has been observed to warm and thaw over the past several decades, causing the ground surface to subside as ice volume in the soil decreased. We established three sites within this area that differed in vegetation and surface topography; both characteristics varied in relation to the degree of permafrost thaw. We made radiocarbon measurements of ecosystem respiration, incubations of soil organic matter, and incubations of above and belowground plant biomass to determine the age and isotopic value of C respired from these sites. Over the study period from 2004 to 2006, ecosystem respiration radiocarbon values averaged from +35‰ to +95‰ in different months across sites. For soil incubations, surface soil radiocarbon was elevated relative both to ecosystem respiration and the current atmospheric radiocarbon value, demonstrating the significant contribution from C fixed over the past years to several decades. The deeper soil, in contrast, had respiration isotope values that averaged below zero, reflecting the significant effect of radioactive decay on the isotope content of deeper soil layers. The plant and soil incubations were combined in a multi- source mixing model to determine probable contributions from these different sources to ecosystem respiration. Deep soil respiration generally averaged between 5-15% of total ecosystem respiration, but reached as high as 40% in some months. When aggregated across the growing season, the two sites undergoing more disturbance from permafrost thaw had on average 2-3 times

  20. 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

  1. Seasonal dynamics of permafrost carbon emissions: A passive, quasi-continuous 14CO2 sampler

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pedron, S.; Xu, X.; Walker, J. C.; Welker, J. M.; Klein, E. S.; Euskirchen, E. S.; Czimczik, C. I.

    2017-12-01

    Millennia of carbon (C) fixation by tundra vegetation, coupled with low rates of C mineralization by soil microorganisms and preservation in permafrost, have allowed Arctic soils to accumulate vast quantities of organic C (1672 Pg C total). Today, the Arctic is rapidly warming (0.48oC decade-1) and widespread degradation of permafrost may subject permafrost C to microbial mineralization and fluxes to the atmosphere, accelerating climate change. Loss of permafrost C can be quantified in situ by measuring the radiocarbon (14C) content of soil and ecosystem respiration, because permafrost C is older (depleted in 14C) than current plant products and soil C cycling operates on timescales of years to centuries. Here, we use 14C analysis of CO2 respired from graminoid tundra in Arctic Alaska to 1) apportion how plant and microbial respiration contribute to ecosystem respiration in spring, summer, and fall, and 2) elucidate the C sources of microbial respiration throughout the year. We used a novel, passive sampling system, capable of trapping diffusive CO2 throughout the active layer of tussock sedge tundra (n=4, from mineral soil to air) over periods of 2 days to 3 weeks in June 2017. CO2 was collected into various sizes of canisters, ranging from 0.5-32 L, and analyzed for its 14C content at UC Irvine's KCCAMS laboratory. To evaluate the system's efficiency, and quantify the temporal and spatial variability of ecosystem respiration sources, we co-deployed 3 Vaisala Carbocap [CO2] and temperature probes, and traditional chambers (n=6) and gas wells (n=10) for sampling of ecosystem- and soil-respired 14CO2 over 15 min-24 hours. A comparison of traditional methods with our new sampler indicates that the system accurately sampled the expected [CO2] depth gradient. The CO2 sampling rate was positively correlated to soil [CO2] (R2=0.963), equivalent to 1.4*10-3±1.6*10-3 mg C/L/month/ppm (n=8). Gas well and probe concentrations were of the same order of magnitude on the same

  2. Permafrost conditions in peatlands regulate magnitude, timing, and chemical composition of catchment dissolved organic carbon export.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olefeldt, David; Roulet, Nigel T

    2014-10-01

    Permafrost thaw in peatlands has the potential to alter catchment export of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and thus influence downstream aquatic C cycling. Subarctic peatlands are often mosaics of different peatland types, where permafrost conditions regulate the hydrological setting of each type. We show that hydrological setting is key to observed differences in magnitude, timing, and chemical composition of DOC export between permafrost and nonpermafrost peatland types, and that these differences influence the export of DOC of larger catchments even when peatlands are minor catchment components. In many aspects, DOC export from a studied peatland permafrost plateau was similar to that of a forested upland catchment. Similarities included low annual export (2-3 g C m(-2) ) dominated by the snow melt period (~70%), and how substantial DOC export following storms required wet antecedent conditions. Conversely, nonpermafrost fens had higher DOC export (7 g C m(-2) ), resulting from sustained hydrological connectivity during summer. Chemical composition of catchment DOC export arose from the mixing of highly aromatic DOC from organic soils from permafrost plateau soil water and upland forest surface horizons with nonaromatic DOC from mineral soil groundwater, but was further modulated by fens. Increasing aromaticity from fen inflow to outlet was substantial and depended on both water residence time and water temperature. The role of fens as catchment biogeochemical hotspots was further emphasized by their capacity for sulfate retention. As a result of fen characteristics, a 4% fen cover in a mixed catchment was responsible for 34% higher DOC export, 50% higher DOC concentrations and ~10% higher DOC aromaticity at the catchment outlet during summer compared to a nonpeatland upland catchment. Expansion of fens due to thaw thus has potential to influence landscape C cycling by increasing fen capacity to act as biogeochemical hotspots, amplifying aquatic C cycling, and

  3. Climate-carbon cycle feedbacks under stabilization: uncertainty and observational constraints

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jones, Chris D.; Cox, Peter M.; Huntingford, Chris

    2006-01-01

    Avoiding 'dangerous climate change' by stabilization of atmospheric CO 2 concentrations at a desired level requires reducing the rate of anthropogenic carbon emissions so that they are balanced by uptake of carbon by the natural terrestrial and oceanic carbon cycles. Previous calculations of profiles of emissions which lead to stabilized CO 2 levels have assumed no impact of climate change on this natural carbon uptake. However, future climate change effects on the land carbon cycle are predicted to reduce its ability to act as a sink for anthropogenic carbon emissions and so quantification of this feedback is required to determine future permissible emissions. Here, we assess the impact of the climate-carbon cycle feedback and attempt to quantify its uncertainty due to both within-model parameter uncertainty and between-model structural uncertainty. We assess the use of observational constraints to reduce uncertainty in the future permissible emissions for climate stabilization and find that all realistic carbon cycle feedbacks consistent with the observational record give permissible emissions significantly less than previously assumed. However, the observational record proves to be insufficient to tightly constrain carbon cycle processes or future feedback strength with implications for climate-carbon cycle model evaluation

  4. 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.

  5. Increasing Carbon Loss from Snow-Scoured Alpine Tundra in the Colorado Rocky Mountains: An Indicator of Climate Change?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knowles, J. F.; Blanken, P.; Williams, M. W.; Lawrence, C. R.

    2015-12-01

    We used the eddy covariance method to continuously measure the net ecosystem exchange of carbon dioxide for seven years from a snow-scoured alpine tundra meadow on Niwot Ridge in Colorado, USA that may be underlain by sporadic permafrost. On average, the alpine tundra was a net annual source of 232 g C m-2 to the atmosphere, and the source strength of this ecosystem increased over the length of the seven year period due to both reduced carbon uptake during the growing season and increased respiration throughout the winter. To constrain the contribution of permafrost degradation to observed carbon emissions, we also measured the radiocarbon content of actively cycling, occluded, and mineral soil carbon pools across a meso-scale soil moisture and (possible) permafrost gradient within this meadow, as well as the seasonal radiocarbon content of soil respiration. These data suggest that wintertime soil respiration is limited to patches of wet meadow tundra that may be associated with permafrost. Furthermore, soil respiration from one of these locations indicates preferential turnover of a relatively slow cycling carbon pool during the winter. Given that summer air temperatures and positive degree days have been increasing on Niwot Ridge since the middle of the 20th century, this research suggests that an alpine tundra permafrost-respiration feedback to climate change, similar to that observed in arctic tundra ecosystems, may be currently underway.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

    fluctuations in climate, fire disturbance and vegetation. Radiocarbon (14C) analysis of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in thaw waters supports ages greater than ∼40 ky BP below 10 m. DOC concentrations in thaw waters increased with depth to maxima of >1000 ppm, despite little change in ice content or cryostructures. These relations suggest time-dependent production of old DOC that will be released upon permafrost thaw at a rate that is mediated by sediment transport, among other factors.

  9. Vulnerability of permafrost carbon to global warming. Part I: model description and role of heat generated by organic matter decomposition

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Khvorostyanov, D.V.; Ciais, G. (Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et l' Environnement, Saclay (France)); Krinner, G. (Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Geophysique de l' Environnement, St Martin d' Heres (France)). e-mail: Dimitry.Khvorostiyanov@lsce.ipsl.fr; Heimann, M. (Max-Planck Inst. of Biogeochemistry, Jena (DE)); Zimov, S.A. (Northeast Science Station, Cherskii (RU))

    2008-07-01

    We constructed a new model to study the sensitivity of permafrost carbon stocks to future climate warming. The one-dimensional model solves an equation for diffusion of heat penetrating from the overlying atmosphere and takes into account additional in situ heat production by active soil microorganisms. Decomposition of frozen soil organic matter and produced CO{sub 2} and methane fluxes result from an interplay of soil heat conduction and phase transitions, respiration, methanogenesis and methanotrophy processes. Respiration and methanotrophy consume soil oxygen and thus can only develop in an aerated top-soil column. In contrast, methanogenesis is not limited by oxygen and can be sustained within the deep soil, releasing sufficient heat to further thaw in depth the frozen carbon-rich soil organic matter. Heat production that accompanies decomposition and methanotrophy can be an essential process providing positive feedback to atmospheric warming through self-sustaining transformation of initially frozen soil carbon into CO{sub 2} and CH{sub 4}. This supplementary heat becomes crucial, however, only under certain climate conditions. Oxygen limitation to soil respiration slows down the process, so that the mean flux of carbon released during the phase of intense decomposition is more than two times less than without oxygen limitation. Taking into account methanogenesis increases the mean carbon flux by 20%. Part II of this study deals with mobilization of frozen carbon stock in transient climate change scenarios with more elaborated methane module, which makes it possible to consider more general cases with various site configurations. Part I (this manuscript) studies mobilization of 400 GtC carbon stock of the Yedoma in response to a stepwise rapid warming focusing on the role of supplementary heat that is released to the soil during decomposition of organic matter

  10. 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

  11. Nitrate and Moisture Content of Broad Permafrost Landscape Features in the Barrow Peninsula: Predicting Evolving NO3 Concentrations in a Changing Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

    The geochemical evolution of Arctic regions as permafrost degrades, significantly impacts nutrient availability. The release of nitrogen compounds from permafrost degradation fertilizes both microbial decomposition and plant productivity. Arctic warming promotes permafrost degradation, causing geomorphic and hydrologic transitions that have the potential to convert saturated zones to unsaturated zones and subsequently alter the nitrate production capacity of permafrost regions. Changes in Nitrate (NO3-) content associated with shifting moisture regimes are a primary factor determining Arctic fertilization and subsequent primary productivity, and have direct feedbacks to carbon cycling. We have documented a broad survey of co-located soil moisture and nitrate concentration measurements in shallow active layer regions across a variety of topographic features in the expansive continuous permafrost region encompassing the Barrow Peninsula of Alaska. Topographic features of interest are slightly higher relative to surrounding landscapes with drier soils and elevated nitrate, including the rims of low centered polygons, the centers of flat and high centered polygons, the rims of young, old and ancient drain thaw lake basins and drainage slopes that exist across the landscape. With this information, we model the nitrate inventory of the Barrow Peninsula using multiple geospatial approaches to estimate total area cover by unsaturated features of interest and further predict how various drying scenarios increase the magnitude of nitrate produced in degrading permafrost regions across the Arctic. This work is supported by the US Department of Energy Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment, NGEE-Arctic.

  12. 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.

  13. 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...

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-12-01

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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. Coarsely crystalline cryogenic cave carbonate – a new archive to estimate the Last Glacial minimum permafrost depth in Central Europe

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Žák, Karel; Richter, D. K.; Filippi, Michal; Živor, Roman; Deininger, M.; Mangini, A.; Scholz, D.

    2012-01-01

    Roč. 8, č. 6 (2012), s. 1821-1837 ISSN 1814-9324 R&D Projects: GA ČR GAP210/10/1760 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z30130516 Keywords : caves * cave carbonate * permafrost * Last Glacial Subject RIV: DB - Geology ; Mineralogy Impact factor: 3.556, year: 2012

  5. Methane isotopic signature of gas bubbles in permafrost winter lake ice: a tool for quantifying variable oxidation levels

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sapart, C. J.; Boereboom, T.; Roeckmann, T.; Tison, J.-L.

    2012-04-01

    Methane (CH4) is a strong greenhouse gas and its atmospheric mixing ratio has strongly increased since pre-industrial times. This increase was primarily due to emissions from anthropogenic sources, but there is growing concern about possible feedbacks of natural sources in a changing climate. Thawing of permafrost areas in the Arctic is considered as an important feedback, since the Arctic region undergoes the fastest climate change and hosts large carbon stocks. Subarctic lakes are considered as "hotspots" for CH4 emissions, but the role of the ice cover during the winter period is not well understood to date. Here, we present measurements of CH4 mixing ratio and δ13C-CH4 in 4 types of bubbles identified in subarctic lake ice covers located in a sporadic or discontinuous permafrost area. Our analysis reveals that different bubble types contain CH4 with different, specific isotopic signatures. The evolution of mixing ratio and δ13C-CH4 suggest that oxidation of dissolved CH4 is the most important process determining the isotopic composition of CH4 in bubbles. This results from gas exsolution occurring during the ice growth process. A first estimate of the CH4 oxidation budget (mean = 0.12 mg CH4 m-2 d-1) enables to quantify the impact of the ice cover on CH4 emissions from subartic lakes. The increased exchange time between gases coming from the sediments and the water column, due to the capping effect of the lake ice cover, reduces the amount of CH4 released "as is" and favours its oxidation into carbon dioxide; the latter being further added to the HCO3- pool through the carbonate equilibration reactions.

  6. Sorting and degradation of permafrost-derived organic carbon during across-shelf transport in the Laptev and East Siberian shelves

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tesi, Tommaso; Semiletov, Igor; Dudarev, Oleg; Andersson, August; Gustafsson, Örjan

    2015-04-01

    The flux of permafrost-derived organic carbon to the vast Siberian marginal seas has been receiving growing attention because its magnitude is expected to considerably increase due to changes in both river discharge and coastal permafrost stability. To what extent this relocated terrigenous organic carbon (TerrOC) pool will affect climate and biogeochemistry is currently unknown but it will largely depend on its reactivity in the marine environment. This study seeks an improved mechanistic understanding of TerrOC cycling during across-shelf transport in the vast East Siberian Arctic Seas (ESAS). Surface sediments were collected in both river-dominated and coastal erosion-dominated regions as well as at increasing distances from the shore. The organic composition in different density, size and settling velocity fractions was characterized using bulk parameters (δ13C and Δ14C) and terrigenous biomarkers including CuO-derived reaction products (lignin phenols and cutin acids) and solvent extractable HMW lipids (n-alkanoic acids, n-alkanols and n-alkanes). Key insights were gained by understanding how different TerrOC pools, operationally defined at bulk and molecular level, are distributed among different density, size and settling velocity fractions and how they change over the margin in relative concentration and composition. Our results show that the partitioning and mobility of TerrOC pools is intimately linked to density and size of particles. A large fraction of TerrOC entering the margin is associated with large, lignin-rich plant fragments which are hydrodynamically retained in coastal sediments. The across-shelf transport of TerrOC occurs primarily in the form of mineral-bound OC through the preferential mobilization of fine lithogenic particles rich in HMW lipids. Despite the mineral-association, noticeable decrease of TerrOC was observed at molecular and bulk level which indicates extensive degradation during transport across the margin. Altogether our

  7. 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).

  8. 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...

  9. Assessing the net effect of long-term drainage on a permafrost ecosystem through year-round eddy-covariance flux measurements

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kittler, F.; Heimann, M.; Goeckede, M.; Zimov, S. A.; Zimov, N.

    2014-12-01

    Permafrost regions in the Northern high latitudes play a key role in the carbon budget of the earth system because of their massive carbon reservoir and the uncertain feedback processes with future climate change. For an improved understanding of mechanisms and drivers dominating permafrost carbon cycling, more observations in high-latitude regions are needed. Particularly the contribution of wintertime fluxes to the annual carbon budget and the impact of disturbances on biogeochemical and biogeophysical ecosystem properties, and the resulting modification of the carbon cycle, have rarely been studied to date. In summer of 2013, we established a new eddy-covariance station for continuous, year-round monitoring of carbon fluxes and their environmental drivers near Cherskii in Northeast Siberia (68.75°N, 161.33°E). Parts of the observation area have been disturbed by drainage since 2004, altering the soil water conditions in a way that is expected for degrading ice-rich permafrost under a warming climate. With two eddy-covariance towers running in parallel over the disturbed (drained) area and a reference area nearby, respectively, we can directly infer the disturbance effect on the carbon cycle budgets and the dominating biogeochemical mechanisms. This study presents findings based on 16 months of continuous eddy-covariance CO2 flux measurements (July 2013 - October 2014) for both observation areas. At both towers, we observed systematic, non-zero flux contributions outside the growing seasons that significantly altered annual CO2 budgets. A direct comparison of fluxes between the two disturbance regimes indicates a net reduction of the sink strength for CO2 in the disturbed area during the growing season, mostly caused by reduced CO2 uptake with low water levels in late summer. Moreover, shifts in soil temperatures and snow cover caused by reduced soil water levels result in lower net CO2 emissions during the winter at the drained area, which is partly

  10. 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...

  11. 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.

  12. 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...

  13. Implications of a lightning-rich tundra biome for permafrost carbon and vegetation dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Y.; Veraverbeke, S.; Randerson, J. T.

    2017-12-01

    Lightning is a major ignition source of wildfires in circumpolar boreal forests but rarely occurs in arctic tundra. While theoretical and empirical work suggests that climate change will increase lightning strikes in temperate regions, much less is known about future changes in lightning across terrestrial ecosystems at high northern latitudes. Here we analyzed the spatial and temporal patterns of lightning flash rate (FR) from the satellite observations and surface detection networks. Regression models between the observed FR from the Optical Transient Detector on the MicroLab-1 satellite (later renamed OV-1) and meteorological parameters, including surface temperature (T), convective available potential energy (CAPE), and convective precipitation (CP) from ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) ERA-interim reanalysis, were established and assessed. We found that FR had significant linear correlations with CAPE and CP, and a strong non-linear relationship with T. The statistical model based on T and CP can reproduce most of the spatial and temporal variability in FR in the circumpolar region. By using the regression model and meteorological predictions from 24 earth system models in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5), we estimated the spatial distribution of FR by the end of the 21st century. Due to increases in surface temperature and convection, modeled FR shows substantial increase in northern biomes, including a 338% change in arctic tundra and a 185% change in regions with permafrost soil carbon reservoirs. These changes highlight a new mechanism by which permafrost carbon is vulnerable to the sustained impacts of climate warming. Increased fire in a warmer and lightning-rich future near the treeline has the potential to accelerate the northward migration of trees, which may further enhance warming and the abundance of lightning strikes.

  14. Contrasting above- and belowground organic matter decomposition and carbon and nitrogen dynamics in response to warming in High Arctic tundra.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blok, Daan; Faucherre, Samuel; Banyasz, Imre; Rinnan, Riikka; Michelsen, Anders; Elberling, Bo

    2017-12-13

    Tundra regions are projected to warm rapidly during the coming decades. The tundra biome holds the largest terrestrial carbon pool, largely contained in frozen permafrost soils. With warming, these permafrost soils may thaw and become available for microbial decomposition, potentially providing a positive feedback to global warming. Warming may directly stimulate microbial metabolism but may also indirectly stimulate organic matter turnover through increased plant productivity by soil priming from root exudates and accelerated litter turnover rates. Here, we assess the impacts of experimental warming on turnover rates of leaf litter, active layer soil and thawed permafrost sediment in two high-arctic tundra heath sites in NE-Greenland, either dominated by evergreen or deciduous shrubs. We incubated shrub leaf litter on the surface of control and warmed plots for 1 and 2 years. Active layer soil was collected from the plots to assess the effects of 8 years of field warming on soil carbon stocks. Finally, we incubated open cores filled with newly thawed permafrost soil for 2 years in the active layer of the same plots. After field incubation, we measured basal respiration rates of recovered thawed permafrost cores in the lab. Warming significantly reduced litter mass loss by 26% after 1 year incubation, but differences in litter mass loss among treatments disappeared after 2 years incubation. Warming also reduced litter nitrogen mineralization and decreased the litter carbon to nitrogen ratio. Active layer soil carbon stocks were reduced 15% by warming, while soil dissolved nitrogen was reduced by half in warmed plots. Warming had a positive legacy effect on carbon turnover rates in thawed permafrost cores, with 10% higher respiration rates measured in cores from warmed plots. These results demonstrate that warming may have contrasting effects on above- and belowground tundra carbon turnover, possibly governed by microbial resource availability. © 2017 John

  15. 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.

  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. 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

  18. 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

  19. The biomass burning contribution to climate–carbon-cycle feedback

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. P. Harrison

    2018-05-01

    Full Text Available Temperature exerts strong controls on the incidence and severity of fire. All else equal, warming is expected to increase fire-related carbon emissions, and thereby atmospheric CO2. But the magnitude of this feedback is very poorly known. We use a single-box model of the land biosphere to quantify this positive feedback from satellite-based estimates of biomass burning emissions for 2000–2014 CE and from sedimentary charcoal records for the millennium before the industrial period. We derive an estimate of the centennial-scale feedback strength of 6.5 ± 3.4 ppm CO2 per degree of land temperature increase, based on the satellite data. However, this estimate is poorly constrained, and is largely driven by the well-documented dependence of tropical deforestation and peat fires (primarily anthropogenic on climate variability patterns linked to the El Niño–Southern Oscillation. Palaeo-data from pre-industrial times provide the opportunity to assess the fire-related climate–carbon-cycle feedback over a longer period, with less pervasive human impacts. Past biomass burning can be quantified based on variations in either the concentration and isotopic composition of methane in ice cores (with assumptions about the isotopic signatures of different methane sources or the abundances of charcoal preserved in sediments, which reflect landscape-scale changes in burnt biomass. These two data sources are shown here to be coherent with one another. The more numerous data from sedimentary charcoal, expressed as normalized anomalies (fractional deviations from the long-term mean, are then used – together with an estimate of mean biomass burning derived from methane isotope data – to infer a feedback strength of 5.6 ± 3.2 ppm CO2 per degree of land temperature and (for a climate sensitivity of 2.8 K a gain of 0.09 ± 0.05. This finding indicates that the positive carbon cycle feedback from increased fire provides a substantial

  20. Consequences of changes in vegetation and snow cover for climate feedbacks in Alaska and northwest Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Euskirchen, Eugénie S.; Bennett, A. P.; Breen, Amy L.; Genet, Helene; Lindgren, Michael A.; Kurkowski, Tom; McGuire, A. David; Rupp, T. Scott

    2016-01-01

    Changes in vegetation and snow cover may lead to feedbacks to climate through changes in surface albedo and energy fluxes between the land and atmosphere. In addition to these biogeophysical feedbacks, biogeochemical feedbacks associated with changes in carbon (C) storage in the vegetation and soils may also influence climate. Here, using a transient biogeographic model (ALFRESCO) and an ecosystem model (DOS-TEM), we quantified the biogeophysical feedbacks due to changes in vegetation and snow cover across continuous permafrost to non-permafrost ecosystems in Alaska and northwest Canada. We also computed the changes in carbon storage in this region to provide a general assessment of the direction of the biogeochemical feedback. We considered four ecoregions, or Landscape Conservations Cooperatives (LCCs; including the Arctic, North Pacific, Western Alaska, and Northwest Boreal). We examined the 90 year period from 2010 to 2099 using one future emission scenario (A1B), under outputs from two general circulation models (MPI-ECHAM5 and CCCMA-CGCM3.1). We found that changes in snow cover duration, including both the timing of snowmelt in the spring and snow return in the fall, provided the dominant positive biogeophysical feedback to climate across all LCCs, and was greater for the ECHAM (+3.1 W m−2 decade−1regionally) compared to the CCCMA (+1.3 W m−2 decade−1 regionally) scenario due to an increase in loss of snow cover in the ECHAM scenario. The greatest overall negative feedback to climate from changes in vegetation cover was due to fire in spruce forests in the Northwest Boreal LCC and fire in shrub tundra in the Western LCC (−0.2 to −0.3 W m−2 decade−1). With the larger positive feedbacks associated with reductions in snow cover compared to the smaller negative feedbacks associated with shifts in vegetation, the feedback to climate warming was positive (total feedback of +2.7 W m−2decade regionally in the ECHAM scenario compared to +0.76 W

  1. Response of terrestrial hydrology to climate and permafrost change for the 21st century as simulated by JSBACH offline experiments

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-04-01

    Permafrost (PF) 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. In terms of hydrology, changes in permafrost characteristics may lead to contradicting effects. E.g., observations show that the deepening of the Active Layer (AL) can both decrease and increase soil moisture, depending on the specific conditions. For the investigation of hydrological changes in response to climatic and thus PF change, it is therefore necessary to use a model. To address this response of the terrestrial hydrology to projected changes for the 21st century, the global land surface model of the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology, JSBACH, was used to simulate several future climate scenarios. JSBACH recently has been equipped with important physical PF processes, such as 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 order to identify hydrological impacts originating solely in the physical forcing, experiments were conducted in an offline mode and with fixed vegetation cover. Feedback mechanisms, e.g. via the carbon cycle, were thus excluded. The uncertainty range arising through different Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) as well as through different

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-03-01

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

  3. Distribution and landscape controls of organic layer thickness and carbon within the Alaskan Yukon River Basin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pastick, Neal J.; Rigge, Matthew B.; Wylie, Bruce K.; Jorgenson, M. Torre; Rose, Joshua R.; Johnson, Kristofer D.; Ji, Lei

    2014-01-01

    Understanding of the organic layer thickness (OLT) and organic layer carbon (OLC) stocks in subarctic ecosystems is critical due to their importance in the global carbon cycle. Moreover, post-fire OLT provides an indicator of long-term successional trajectories and permafrost susceptibility to thaw. To these ends, we 1) mapped OLT and associated uncertainty at 30 m resolution in the Yukon River Basin (YRB), Alaska, employing decision tree models linking remotely sensed imagery with field and ancillary data, 2) converted OLT to OLC using a non-linear regression, 3) evaluate landscape controls on OLT and OLC, and 4) quantified the post-fire recovery of OLT and OLC. Areas of shallow (2 = 0.68; OLC: R2 = 0.66), where an average of 16 cm OLT and 5.3 kg/m2 OLC were consumed by fires. Strong predictors of OLT included climate, topography, near-surface permafrost distributions, soil wetness, and spectral information. Our modeling approach enabled us to produce regional maps of OLT and OLC, which will be useful in understanding risks and feedbacks associated with fires and climate feedbacks.

  4. 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

  5. Enhanced simulations of CH4 and CO2 production in permafrost-affected soils address soil moisture controls on anaerobic decomposition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, D. E.; Zheng, J.; Moon, J. W.; Painter, S. L.; Thornton, P. E.; Gu, B.; Wullschleger, S. D.

    2017-12-01

    Rapid warming of Arctic ecosystems exposes soil organic carbon (SOC) to accelerated microbial decomposition, leading to increased emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) that have a positive feedback on global warming. The magnitude, timing, and form of carbon release will depend not only on changes in temperature, but also on biogeochemical and hydrological properties of soils. In this synthesis study, we assessed the decomposability of thawed organic carbon from active layer soils and permafrost from the Barrow Environmental Observatory across different microtopographic positions under anoxic conditions. The main objectives of this study were to (i) examine environmental conditions and soil properties that control anaerobic carbon decomposition and carbon release (as both CO2 and CH4); (ii) develop a common set of parameters to simulate anaerobic CO2 and CH4 production; and (iii) evaluate uncertainties generated from representations of pH and temperature effects in the current model framework. A newly developed anaerobic carbon decomposition framework simulated incubation experiment results across a range of soil water contents. Anaerobic CO2 and CH4 production have different temperature and pH sensitivities, which are not well represented in current biogeochemical models. Distinct dynamics of CH4 production at -2° C suggest methanogen biomass and growth rate limit activity in these near-frozen soils, compared to warmer temperatures. Anaerobic CO2 production is well constrained by the model using data-informed labile carbon pool and fermentation rate initialization to accurately simulate its temperature sensitivity. On the other hand, CH4 production is controlled by water content, methanogenesis biomass, and the presence of alternative electron acceptors, producing a high temperature sensitivity with large uncertainties for methanogenesis. This set of environmental constraints to methanogenesis is likely to undergo drastic changes due to permafrost

  6. Microbial contributions to climate change through carbon cycle feedbacks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bardgett, Richard D; Freeman, Chris; Ostle, Nicholas J

    2008-08-01

    There is considerable interest in understanding the biological mechanisms that regulate carbon exchanges between the land and atmosphere, and how these exchanges respond to climate change. An understanding of soil microbial ecology is central to our ability to assess terrestrial carbon cycle-climate feedbacks, but the complexity of the soil microbial community and the many ways that it can be affected by climate and other global changes hampers our ability to draw firm conclusions on this topic. In this paper, we argue that to understand the potential negative and positive contributions of soil microbes to land-atmosphere carbon exchange and global warming requires explicit consideration of both direct and indirect impacts of climate change on microorganisms. Moreover, we argue that this requires consideration of complex interactions and feedbacks that occur between microbes, plants and their physical environment in the context of climate change, and the influence of other global changes which have the capacity to amplify climate-driven effects on soil microbes. Overall, we emphasize the urgent need for greater understanding of how soil microbial ecology contributes to land-atmosphere carbon exchange in the context of climate change, and identify some challenges for the future. In particular, we highlight the need for a multifactor experimental approach to understand how soil microbes and their activities respond to climate change and consequences for carbon cycle feedbacks.

  7. Storm Runoff and Seasonal Dissolved Carbon Flow Dynamics Across Watershed Scales in the Discontinuous Permafrost Zone, Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dornblaser, M.; Koch, J. C.; Striegl, R. G.

    2017-12-01

    Storm events are important contributors to annual carbon (C) loads from terrestrial to aquatic environments. We investigated the hysteretic trends in dissolved inorganic and organic C transport from a headwater stream and its receiving intermediate-sized river in a watershed underlain by discontinuous permafrost. Using high-frequency sensor data, we observed similar counterclockwise hysteretic trends in dissolved organic matter (DOM) transport at Beaver Creek (3rd order tributary of the Yukon River) and its tributary West Twin Creek (1st order) in boreal Alaska. The counterclockwise hysteresis suggests that suprapermafrost soil water is a more important source of DOM than either groundwater or storm event water in a three-component mixing model. A seasonal decrease in the positive slope of fluorescent dissolved organic matter / discharge (fDOM/Q) during storm events at both locations suggests an early season flushing of near surface DOM. This is followed by deeper flow path routing into mineral layers with an increased proportion of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC):DOM export as the active layer depth increases. Specific conductance (SC, a proxy for DIC) exhibits clockwise hysteresis, suggesting that groundwater is the more prominent DIC source. While an upward trend in the negative slope of SC/Q during storm events at Beaver Creek was observed, indicating the increased contribution of DIC as summer progresses, SC/Q slopes at West Twin Creek do not increase. This perhaps suggests limited connectivity with the underlying aquifer in the upper watershed where permafrost is more continuous. Our results highlight similarities in DOM export at both scales in response to storm inputs during the thawed season, but different patterns of DIC export related to increased mixing from other sources downstream at Beaver Creek. The seasonal progression in storm C responses between watersheds of different size and position within the same surface water network shed light on

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. Wisser

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available Northern peatlands contain a large terrestrial carbon pool that plays an important role in the Earth's carbon cycle. A considerable fraction of this carbon pool is currently in permafrost and is biogeochemically relatively inert; this will change with increasing soil temperatures as a result of climate warming in the 21st century. We use a geospatially explicit representation of peat areas and peat depth from a recently-compiled database and a geothermal model to estimate northern North America soil temperature responses to predicted changes in air temperature. We find that, despite a widespread decline in the areas classified as permafrost, soil temperatures in peatlands respond more slowly to increases in air temperature owing to the insulating properties of peat. We estimate that an additional 670 km3 of peat soils in North America, containing ~33 Pg C, could be seasonally thawed by the end of the century, representing ~20 % of the total peat volume in Alaska and Canada. Warming conditions result in a lengthening of the soil thaw period by ~40 days, averaged over the model domain. These changes have potentially important implications for the carbon balance of peat soils.

  12. Interannual and Seasonal Patterns of Carbon Dioxide, Water, and Energy Fluxes From Ecotonal and Thermokarst-Impacted Ecosystems on Carbon-Rich Permafrost Soils in Northeastern Siberia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Euskirchen, Eugénie S.; Edgar, Colin W.; Syndonia Bret-Harte, M.; Kade, Anja; Zimov, Nikita; Zimov, Sergey

    2017-10-01

    Eastern Siberia Russia is currently experiencing a distinct and unprecedented rate of warming. This change is particularly important given the large amounts of carbon stored in the yedoma permafrost soils that become vulnerable to thaw and release under warming. Data from this region pertaining to year-round carbon, water, and energy fluxes are scarce, particularly in sensitive ecotonal ecosystems near latitudinal treeline, as well as those already impacted by permafrost thaw. Here we investigated the interannual and seasonal carbon dioxide, water, and energy dynamics at an ecotonal forested site and a disturbed thermokarst-impacted site. The ecotonal site was approximately neutral in terms of CO2 uptake/release, while the disturbed site was either a source or neutral. Our data suggest that high rates of plant productivity during the growing season at the disturbed site may, in part, counterbalance higher rates of respiration during the cold season compared to the ecotonal site. We also found that the ecotonal site was sensitive to the timing of the freezeup of the soil active layer in fall, releasing more CO2 when freezeup occurred later. Both sites showed a negative water balance, although the ecotonal site appeared more sensitive to dry conditions. Water use efficiency at the ecotonal site was lower during warmer summers. Overall, these Siberian measurements indicate ecosystem sensitivity to warmer conditions during the fall and to drier conditions during the growing season and provide a better understanding of ecosystem response to climate in a part of the circumpolar Arctic where current knowledge is weakest.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  16. 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...

  17. 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...

  18. 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),...

  19. Large methane emission upon spring thaw from natural wetlands in the northern permafrost region

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Song Changchun; Sun Xiaoxin; Sun Li; Miao Yuqing; Wang Xianwei; Guo Yuedong; Xu Xiaofeng; Tian Hanqin

    2012-01-01

    The permafrost carbon–climate feedback is one of the major mechanisms in controlling the climate–ecosystem interactions in northern high latitudes. Of this feedback, methane (CH 4 ) emission from natural wetlands is critically important due to its high warming potential. The freeze–thaw transition has been confirmed to play an important role in annual CH 4 budget, yet the magnitude of this effect is uncertain. An intensive field campaign was carried out in the Sanjiang Plain, Northeast China to estimate the CH 4 emission in the spring freeze–thaw transition period. The observation concluded that a large CH 4 source was caused by spring thaw; the maximum hourly emission rate was 48.6 g C m −2 h −1 , more than three orders of the regularly observed CH 4 emission rate in the growing season. In some sporadically observed ‘hot spots’, the spring thawing effect contributed to a large CH 4 source of 31.3± 10.1 g C m −2 , which is approximately 80% of the previously calculated annual CH 4 emission in the same study area. If our results are typical for natural wetlands in the Northern Hemisphere permafrost region, we estimate a global CH 4 source strength of 0.5–1.0 Tg C (1 Tg =10 12 g) caused by spring thaw in the Northern Hemisphere permafrost region in the year 2011. Combining with available satellite and flask data, a regional extrapolation reaches a temporal pattern of CH 4 emission during 2003–2009 which is consistent with recently observed changes in atmospheric CH 4 concentration in the high latitudes. This suggests that the CH 4 emission upon spring thaw in the high latitudes might be enhanced by the projected climate warming. These findings indicate that the spring thawing effect is an important mechanism in the permafrost carbon–climate feedback and needs to be incorporated in Earth system models. (letter)

  20. Markers of Soil Organic Matter Transformation in Permafrost Peat Mounds of Northeastern Europe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pastukhov, A. V.; Knoblauch, C.; Yakovleva, E. V.; Kaverin, D. A.

    2018-01-01

    For the paleoreconstruction of permafrost peat mounds and the identification of plant communities participating in the formation of peat, the contents of n-alkanes (C20-C33) have been determined, and relative changes in the stable isotope compositions of carbon and nitrogen and the C/N ratio have been analysed. Several indices ( CPI alkanes, P aq, P wax) have been calculated to assess the degree of decomposition of the peats studied and the contributions of different plant species to their formation. It has been found that shortand long-chain n-alkanes are concentrated in high-moor peat, while medium-chain alkanes are typical for transitional peat. Integrated analysis of the studied markers has shown that the botanical and material composition of peat, anaerobic conditions of bog formation, and permafrost play an important role in the preservation of organic carbon in permafrost peat mounds. Alternation of plant associations is the main reason for changes in n-alkane concentrations, C/N ratios, and δ13C values.

  1. Subsurface flow pathway dynamics in the active layer of coupled permafrost-hydrogeological systems under seasonal and annual temperature variability.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frampton, Andrew

    2017-04-01

    There is a need for improved understanding of the mechanisms controlling subsurface solute transport in the active layer in order to better understand permafrost-hydrological-carbon feedbacks, in particular with regards to how dissolved carbon is transported in coupled surface and subsurface terrestrial arctic water systems under climate change. Studying solute transport in arctic systems is also relevant in the context of anthropogenic pollution which may increase due to increased activity in cold region environments. In this contribution subsurface solute transport subject to ground surface warming causing permafrost thaw and active layer change is studied using a physically based model of coupled cryotic and hydrogeological flow processes combined with a particle tracking method. Changes in subsurface water flows and solute transport travel times are analysed for different modelled geological configurations during a 100-year warming period. Results show that for all simulated cases, the minimum and mean travel times increase non-linearly with warming irrespective of geological configuration and heterogeneity structure. The timing of the start of increase in travel time depends on heterogeneity structure, combined with the rate of permafrost degradation that also depends on material thermal and hydrogeological properties. These travel time changes are shown to depend on combined warming effects of increase in pathway length due to deepening of the active layer, reduced transport velocities due to a shift from horizontal saturated groundwater flow near the surface to vertical water percolation deeper into the subsurface, and pathway length increase and temporary immobilization caused by cryosuction-induced seasonal freeze cycles. The impact these change mechanisms have on solute and dissolved substance transport is further analysed by integrating pathway analysis with a Lagrangian approach, incorporating considerations for both dissolved organic and inorganic

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Wetland succession in a permafrost collapse: interactions between fire and thermokarst

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    I. H. Myers-Smith

    2008-09-01

    Full Text Available To determine the influence of fire and thermokarst in a boreal landscape, we investigated peat cores within and adjacent to a permafrost collapse feature on the Tanana River Floodplain of Interior Alaska. Radioisotope dating, diatom assemblages, plant macrofossils, charcoal fragments, and carbon and nitrogen content of the peat profile indicate ~600 years of vegetation succession with a transition from a terrestrial forest to a sedge-dominated wetland over 100 years ago, and to a Sphagnum-dominated peatland in approximately 1970. The shift from sedge to Sphagnum, and a decrease in the detrended tree-ring width index of black spruce trees adjacent to the collapse coincided with an increase in the growing season temperature record from Fairbanks. This concurrent wetland succession and reduced growth of black spruce trees indicates a step-wise ecosystem-level response to a change in regional climate. In 2001, fire was observed coincident with permafrost collapse and resulted in lateral expansion of the peatland. These observations and the peat profile suggest that future warming and/or increased fire disturbance could promote permafrost degradation, peatland expansion, and increase carbon storage across this landscape; however, the development of drought conditions could reduce the success of both black spruce and Sphagnum, and potentially decrease the long-term ecosystem carbon storage.

  5. Acceleration of global warming due to carbon-cycle feedbacks in a coupled climate model

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cox, P.M.; Betts, R.A.; Jones, C.D.; Spall, S.A.; Totterdell, I.J.

    2000-01-01

    The continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide due to anthropogenic emissions is predicted to lead to significant changes in climate. About half of the current emissions are being absorbed by the ocean and by land ecosystems, but this absorption is sensitive to climate as well as to atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, creating a feedback loop. General circulation models have generally excluded the feedback between climate and the biosphere, using static vegetation distributions and CO 2 concentrations from simple carbon-cycle models that do not include climate change. Here we present results from a fully coupled, three-dimensional carbon-climate model, indicating that carbon-cycle feedbacks could significantly accelerate climate change over the twenty-first century. We find that under a 'business as usual' scenario, the terrestrial biosphere acts as an overall carbon sink until about 2050, but turns into a source thereafter. By 2100, the ocean uptake rate of 5 Gt C yr -1 is balanced by the terrestrial carbon source, and atmospheric CO 2 concentrations are 250 p.p.m.v. higher in our fully coupled simulation than in uncoupled carbon models, resulting in a global-mean warming of 5.5 K, as compared to 4 K without the carbon-cycle feedback. (author)

  6. 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....

  7. How positive is the feedback between climate change and the carbon cycle?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Friedlingstein, P.; Rayner, P.

    2003-01-01

    Future climate change induced by atmospheric emissions of greenhouse gases is believed to have a large impact on the global carbon cycle. Several offline studies focusing either on the marine or on the terrestrial carbon cycle highlighted such potential effects. Two recent online studies, using ocean-atmosphere general circulation models coupled to land and ocean carbon cycle models, investigated in a consistent way the feedback between the climate change and the carbon cycle. These two studies used observed anthropogenic CO 2 emissions for the 1860-1995 period and IPCC scenarios for the 1995-2100 period to force the climate - carbon cycle models. The study from the Hadley Centre group showed a very large positive feedback, atmospheric CO 2 reaching 980 ppmv by 2100 if future climate impacts on the carbon cycle, but only about 700 ppmv if the carbon cycle is included but assumed to be insensitive to the climate change. The IPSL coupled climate - carbon cycle model simulated a much smaller positive feedback: climate impact on the carbon cycle leads by 2100 to an addition of less than 100 ppmv in the atmosphere. Here we perform a detailed feedback analysis to show that such differences are due to two key processes that are still poorly constrained in these coupled models: first Southern Ocean circulation, which primarily controls the geochemical uptake of CO 2 , and second vegetation and soil carbon response to global warming. Our analytical analysis reproduces remarkably the results obtained by the fully coupled models. Also it allows us to identify that, amongst the two processes mentioned above, the latter (the land response to global warming) is the one that essentially explains the differences between the IPSL and the Hadley results

  8. 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.

  9. Constraining estimates of methane emissions from Arctic permafrost regions with CARVE

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chang, R. Y.; Karion, A.; Sweeney, C.; Henderson, J.; Mountain, M.; Eluszkiewicz, J.; Luus, K. A.; Lin, J. C.; Dinardo, S.; Miller, C. E.; Wofsy, S. C.

    2013-12-01

    Permafrost in the Arctic contains large carbon pools that are currently non-labile, but can be released to the atmosphere as polar regions warm. In order to predict future climate scenarios, we need to understand the emissions of these greenhouse gases under varying environmental conditions. This study presents in-situ measurements of methane made on board an aircraft during the Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE), which sampled over the permafrost regions of Alaska. Using measurements from May to September 2012, seasonal emission rate estimates of methane from tundra are constrained using the Stochastic Time-Inverted Lagrangian Transport model, a Lagrangian particle dispersion model driven by custom polar-WRF fields. Preliminary results suggest that methane emission rates have not greatly increased since the Arctic Boundary Layer Experiment conducted in southwest Alaska in 1988.

  10. 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)

  11. Deep nitrogen acquisition in warming permafrost soils: Contributions of belowground plant traits and fungal symbioses in the permafrost carbon feedback to climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hartnett, H. E.; Palta, M. M.; Grimm, N. B.; Ruhi, A.; van Shaijik, M.

    2016-12-01

    Tempe Town Lake (TTL) is a hydrologically-regulated reservoir in Tempe, Arizona. The lake has high primary production and receives dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from rainfall, storm flow, and upstream river discharge. We applied an ARIMA time-series model to a three-year period for which we have high-frequency chemistry, meteorology, and streamflow data and analyzed external (rainfall, stream flow) and internal (dissolved O2) drivers of DOC content and composition. DOC composition was represented by fluorescence-based indices (fluorescence index, humification index, freshness) related to DOC source (microbially- vs. terrestrially-derived) and reactivity DOC. Patterns in DOC concentration and composition suggest carbon cycling in the lake responds to both meteorological events and to anthropogenic activity. The fluorescence-derived DOC composition is consistent with seasonally-distinct inputs of algal- and terrestrially-derived carbon. For example, Tempe Town Lake is supersaturated in O2 over 70% of the time, suggesting the system is autotrophic and primary productivity (i.e., O2 saturation state) was the strongest driver of DOC concentration. In contrast, external drivers (rainfall pattern, streamflow) were the strongest determinants of DOC composition. Biological processes (e.g., algal growth) generate carbon in the lake during spring and summer, and high Fluorescence Index and Freshness values at this time are indicative of algal-derived material; these parameters generally decrease with rain or flow suggesting algal-derived carbon is diluted by external water inputs. During dry periods, carbon builds up on the land surface and subsequent rainfall events deliver terrestrial carbon to the lake. Further evidence that rain and streamflow deliver land-derived material are increases in the Humification Index (an indicator of terrestrial material) following rain/flow events. Our results indicate that Tempe Town Lake generates autochthonous carbon and has the capacity

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    C. Schädel; E.A.G. Schuur; R. Bracho; B. Elberling; C. Knoblauch; H. Lee; Y. Luo; G. Shaver; M. Turetsky.

    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...

  13. What Have We Learned About Arctic Carbon Since The First State of the Carbon Cycle Report?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schuur, E.

    2015-12-01

    Large pools of organic carbon were reported in The First State of the Carbon Cycle Report, but measurements from high latitude ecosystems, in particular for deeper soils >1m depth, remained scarce. A newly enlarged soil carbon database with an order of magnitude more numerous deep sampling sites has verified the widespread pattern of large quantities of carbon accumulated deep in permafrost (perennially frozen) soils. The known pool of permafrost carbon across the northern circumpolar permafrost zone is now estimated to be 1330-1580 Pg C, with the potential for an additional ~400 Pg C in deep permafrost sediments. In addition, an uncertainty estimate of plus/minus 15% has now been calculated for the soil carbon pool in the surface 0-3m. Laboratory incubations of these permafrost soils reveal that a significant fraction can be mineralized by microbes upon thaw and converted to carbon dioxide and methane on time scales of years to decades, with decade-long average losses from aerobic incubations ranging from 6-34% of initial carbon. Carbon emissions from the same soils incubated in an anaerobic environment are, on average, 78-85% lower than aerobic soils. But, the more potent greenhouse gas methane released under anaerobic conditions in part increases the climate impact of these emissions. While mean quantities of methane are only 3% to 7% that of carbon dioxide emitted from anaerobic incubations (by weight of C), these mean methane values represent 25% to 45% of the overall potential impact on climate when accounting for the higher global warming potential of methane. Taken together though, in spite of the more potent greenhouse gas methane, a unit of newly thawed permafrost carbon could have a greater impact on climate over a century if it thaws and decomposes within a drier, aerobic soil as compared to an equivalent amount of carbon within a waterlogged soil or sediment. Model projections tend to estimate losses of carbon in line with empirical measurements, but

  14. Soil frost-induced soil moisture precipitation feedback and effects on atmospheric states

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-01

    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 large-scale hydrology and climate over northern hemisphere high latitude land areas. For this analysis, the atmosphere-land part of MPI-ESM, ECHAM6-JSBACH, is driven by prescribed observed SST and sea ice in an AMIP2-type setup with and without the newly implemented permafrost processes. Results show a large improvement in the simulated discharge. On one hand this is related to an improved snowmelt peak of runoff due to frozen soil in spring. On the other hand a subsequent reduction of soil moisture leads to a positive

  15. Increase of carbon cycle feedback with climate sensitivity: results from a coupled climate and carbon cycle model

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Govindasamy, B.; Thompson, S.; Mirin, A.; Wickett, M.; Caldeira, K.; Delire, C.

    2005-01-01

    Coupled climate and carbon cycle modelling studies have shown that the feedback between global warming and the carbon cycle, in particular the terrestrial carbon cycle, could accelerate climate change and result in greater warming. In this paper we investigate the sensitivity of this feedback for year 2100 global warming in the range of 0 to 8 K. Differing climate sensitivities to increased CO 2 content are imposed on the carbon cycle models for the same emissions. Emissions from the SRES A2 scenario are used. We use a fully coupled climate and carbon cycle model, the INtegrated Climate and CArbon model (INCCA), the NCAR/DOE Parallel Climate Model coupled to the IBIS terrestrial biosphere model and a modified OCMIP ocean biogeochemistry model. In our integrated model, for scenarios with year 2100 global warming increasing from 0 to 8 K, land uptake decreases from 47% to 29% of total CO 2 emissions. Due to competing effects, ocean uptake (16%) shows almost no change at all. Atmospheric CO 2 concentration increases are 48% higher in the run with 8 K global climate warming than in the case with no warming. Our results indicate that carbon cycle amplification of climate warming will be greater if there is higher climate sensitivity to increased atmospheric CO 2 content; the carbon cycle feedback factor increases from 1.13 to 1.48 when global warming increases from 3.2 to 8 K

  16. Influence of the permafrost boundary on dissolved organic matter characteristics in rivers within the Boreal and Taiga plains of western Canada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Olefeldt, D; Turetsky, M R; Persson, A

    2014-01-01

    Catchment export of terrestrial dissolved organic matter (DOM) and its downstream degradation in aquatic ecosystems are important components of landscape scale carbon balances. In order to assess the influence of peatland permafrost on river DOM characteristics, we sampled 65 rivers along a 900 km transect crossing into the southern discontinuous permafrost zone on the Boreal and Tundra Plains of western Canada. Catchment peatland cover and catchment location north or south of the permafrost boundary were found together to have strong influences on dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations and DOM chemical composition. River DOC concentrations increased with catchment peatland cover, but were consistently lower for catchments north of the permafrost boundary. In contrast, protein fluorescence (PARAFAC analysis), was unrelated to catchment peatland cover but increased significantly in rivers north of the permafrost boundary. Humic and fulvic acid contribution to DOM fluorescence was lower in rivers draining catchments with large lakes than in other rivers, consistent with extensive photodegradation, but humic and fulvic acid fluorescence were also lower in rivers north of the permafrost boundary than in rivers to the south. We hypothesize that shifts in river DOM characteristics when crossing the permafrost boundary are related to the influence of permafrost on peatland hydrological connectivity to stream networks, peatland DOM characteristics and differences in DOM degradation within aquatic ecosystems. (paper)

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Impact of fire on active layer and permafrost microbial communities and metagenomes in an upland Alaskan boreal forest.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Taş, Neslihan; Prestat, Emmanuel; McFarland, Jack W; Wickland, Kimberley P; Knight, Rob; Berhe, Asmeret Asefaw; Jorgenson, Torre; Waldrop, Mark P; Jansson, Janet K

    2014-09-01

    Permafrost soils are large reservoirs of potentially labile carbon (C). Understanding the dynamics of C release from these soils requires us to account for the impact of wildfires, which are increasing in frequency as the climate changes. Boreal wildfires contribute to global emission of greenhouse gases (GHG-CO2, CH4 and N2O) and indirectly result in the thawing of near-surface permafrost. In this study, we aimed to define the impact of fire on soil microbial communities and metabolic potential for GHG fluxes in samples collected up to 1 m depth from an upland black spruce forest near Nome Creek, Alaska. We measured geochemistry, GHG fluxes, potential soil enzyme activities and microbial community structure via 16SrRNA gene and metagenome sequencing. We found that soil moisture, C content and the potential for respiration were reduced by fire, as were microbial community diversity and metabolic potential. There were shifts in dominance of several microbial community members, including a higher abundance of candidate phylum AD3 after fire. The metagenome data showed that fire had a pervasive impact on genes involved in carbohydrate metabolism, methanogenesis and the nitrogen cycle. Although fire resulted in an immediate release of CO2 from surface soils, our results suggest that the potential for emission of GHG was ultimately reduced at all soil depths over the longer term. Because of the size of the permafrost C reservoir, these results are crucial for understanding whether fire produces a positive or negative feedback loop contributing to the global C cycle.

  20. 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

  1. Multicentury changes in ocean and land contributions to the climate-carbon feedback

    Science.gov (United States)

    Randerson, J. T.; Lindsay, K.; Munoz, E.; Fu, W.; Moore, J. K.; Hoffman, F. M.; Mahowald, N. M.; Doney, S. C.

    2015-06-01

    Improved constraints on carbon cycle responses to climate change are needed to inform mitigation policy, yet our understanding of how these responses may evolve after 2100 remains highly uncertain. Using the Community Earth System Model (v1.0), we quantified climate-carbon feedbacks from 1850 to 2300 for the Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 and its extension. In three simulations, land and ocean biogeochemical processes experienced the same trajectory of increasing atmospheric CO2. Each simulation had a different degree of radiative coupling for CO2 and other greenhouse gases and aerosols, enabling diagnosis of feedbacks. In a fully coupled simulation, global mean surface air temperature increased by 9.3 K from 1850 to 2300, with 4.4 K of this warming occurring after 2100. Excluding CO2, warming from other greenhouse gases and aerosols was 1.6 K by 2300, near a 2 K target needed to avoid dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Ocean contributions to the climate-carbon feedback increased considerably over time and exceeded contributions from land after 2100. The sensitivity of ocean carbon to climate change was found to be proportional to changes in ocean heat content, as a consequence of this heat modifying transport pathways for anthropogenic CO2 inflow and solubility of dissolved inorganic carbon. By 2300, climate change reduced cumulative ocean uptake by 330 Pg C, from 1410 Pg C to 1080 Pg C. Land fluxes similarly diverged over time, with climate change reducing stocks by 232 Pg C. Regional influence of climate change on carbon stocks was largest in the North Atlantic Ocean and tropical forests of South America. Our analysis suggests that after 2100, oceans may become as important as terrestrial ecosystems in regulating the magnitude of the climate-carbon feedback.

  2. 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

  3. Abundant Pre-Industrial Carbon Emitted by Arctic Inland Waters

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dean, J.; Van der Velde, Y.; Billett, M. F.; Dinsmore, K. J.; Garnett, M.; Meisel, O.; Dolman, A. J.

    2017-12-01

    Mobilization of carbon (C) derived from soil/sediment organic matter into inland freshwaters constitutes a substantial, but poorly-constrained, component of the global C cycle. Radiocarbon (14C) analysis has proven a valuable tool in tracing the sources and fate of mobilized C, but aquatic 14C studies in permafrost regions rarely detect 'old' C (assimilated from the atmosphere into plants and soil prior to AD1950). This is partly due to a focus on dissolved organic C (DOC) in many Arctic inland water 14C studies to date, now known to be an insensitive method for detecting old C. Crucially, the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) derived from old permafrost C by aquatic systems contributes to a positive climate feedback loop: the 'Permafrost Climate Feedback' (PCF). Here, we measure directly the 14C content and quantify fluxes of aquatic CO2 and CH4, alongside DOC and particulate-OC, in freshwater systems of the Canadian and Siberian Arctic tundra - the first such concurrent 14C measurements from freshwater systems. Aquatic C increased in age significantly over the snow-free season as the active layer deepened (Figure 1). However, 'modern' C (assimilated since AD1950) still dominated aquatic CO2 and CH4 emissions, except where deep ancient (6,000 to 50,000 yBP) C was exposed. Age distribution modeling of these bulk 14C samples indicated that 'pre-industrial' C (assimilated prior to AD1750) comprised 15-30% of aquatic GHGs (Figure 1). Further, we estimate that 15-20% of total CO2 and CH4 emissions were derived from old C previously locked up in permafrost soils and thus contributed to the PCF. These results demonstrate the previously unknown presence of aged C within Arctic headwater GHG emissions that could be equivalent to 7.5-28.2 Tg C yr-1 across the pan-Arctic.

  4. Interannual Variability of Carbon Dioxide, Methane and Nitrous Oxide Fluxes in Subarctic European Russian Tundra

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marushchak, M. E.; Voigt, C.; Gil, J.; Lamprecht, R. E.; Trubnikova, T.; Virtanen, T.; Kaverin, D.; Martikainen, P. J.; Biasi, C.

    2017-12-01

    Southern tundra landscapes are particularly vulnerable to climate warming, permafrost thaw and associated landscape rearrangement due to near-zero permafrost temperatures. The large soil C and N stocks of subarctic tundra may create a positive feedback for warming if released to the atmosphere at increased rates. Subarctic tundra in European Russia is a mosaic of land cover types, which all play different roles in the regional greenhouse gas budget. Peat plateaus - massive upheaved permafrost peatlands - are large storehouses of soil carbon and nitrogen, but include also bare peat surfaces that act as hot-spots for both carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions. Tundra wetlands are important for the regional greenhouse gas balance since they show high rates of methane emissions and carbon uptake. The most dominant land-form is upland tundra vegetated by shrubs, lichens and mosses, which displays a close-to-neutral balance with respect to all three greenhouse gases. The study site Seida (67°03'N, 62°56'E), located in the discontinuous permafrost zone of Northeast European Russia, incorporates all these land forms and has been an object for greenhouse gas investigations since 2007. Here, we summarize the growing season fluxes of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide measured by chamber techniques over the study years. We analyzed the flux time-series together with the local environmental data in order to understand the drivers of interannual variability. Detailed soil profile measurements of greenhouse gas concentrations, soil moisture and temperature provide insights into soil processes underlying the net emissions to the atmosphere. The multiannual time-series allows us to assess the importance of the different greenhouse gases and landforms to the overall climate forcing of the study region.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Nauta, A.L.; Heijmans, M.M.P.D.; Blok, D.; Limpens, J.; Elberling, B.; Gallagher, A.; Li, B.; Petrov, R.E.; Maximov, T.C.; van Huissteden, J.; Berendse, F.

    2015-01-01

    Arctic tundra ecosystems are warming almost twice as fast as the global average. Permafrost thaw and the resulting release of greenhouse gases from decomposing soil organic carbon have the potential to accelerate climate warming. In recent decades, Arctic tundra ecosystems have changed rapidly,

  6. 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

  7. Carbon and nitrogen pools in thermokarst-affected permafrost landscapes in Arctic Siberia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fuchs, Matthias; Grosse, Guido; Strauss, Jens; Günther, Frank; Grigoriev, Mikhail; Maximov, Georgy M.; Hugelius, Gustaf

    2018-02-01

    Ice-rich yedoma-dominated landscapes store considerable amounts of organic carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) and are vulnerable to degradation under climate warming. We investigate the C and N pools in two thermokarst-affected yedoma landscapes - on Sobo-Sise Island and on Bykovsky Peninsula in the north of eastern Siberia. Soil cores up to 3 m depth were collected along geomorphic gradients and analysed for organic C and N contents. A high vertical sampling density in the profiles allowed the calculation of C and N stocks for short soil column intervals and enhanced understanding of within-core parameter variability. Profile-level C and N stocks were scaled to the landscape level based on landform classifications from 5 m resolution, multispectral RapidEye satellite imagery. Mean landscape C and N storage in the first metre of soil for Sobo-Sise Island is estimated to be 20.2 kg C m-2 and 1.8 kg N m-2 and for Bykovsky Peninsula 25.9 kg C m-2 and 2.2 kg N m-2. Radiocarbon dating demonstrates the Holocene age of thermokarst basin deposits but also suggests the presence of thick Holocene-age cover layers which can reach up to 2 m on top of intact yedoma landforms. Reconstructed sedimentation rates of 0.10-0.57 mm yr-1 suggest sustained mineral soil accumulation across all investigated landforms. Both yedoma and thermokarst landforms are characterized by limited accumulation of organic soil layers (peat). We further estimate that an active layer deepening of about 100 cm will increase organic C availability in a seasonally thawed state in the two study areas by ˜ 5.8 Tg (13.2 kg C m-2). Our study demonstrates the importance of increasing the number of C and N storage inventories in ice-rich yedoma and thermokarst environments in order to account for high variability of permafrost and thermokarst environments in pan-permafrost soil C and N pool estimates.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  9. 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

  10. The biological carbon pump in the ocean: Reviewing model representations and its feedbacks on climate perturbations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hülse, Dominik; Arndt, Sandra; Ridgwell, Andy; Wilson, Jamie

    2016-04-01

    The ocean-sediment system, as the biggest carbon reservoir in the Earth's carbon cycle, plays a crucial role in regulating atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and climate. Therefore, it is essential to constrain the importance of marine carbon cycle feedbacks on global warming and ocean acidification. Arguably, the most important single component of the ocean's carbon cycle is the so-called "biological carbon pump". It transports carbon that is fixed in the light-flooded surface layer of the ocean to the deep ocean and the surface sediment, where it is degraded/dissolved or finally buried in the deep sediments. Over the past decade, progress has been made in understanding different factors that control the efficiency of the biological carbon pump and their feedbacks on the global carbon cycle and climate (i.e. ballasting = ocean acidification feedback; temperature dependant organic matter degradation = global warming feedback; organic matter sulphurisation = anoxia/euxinia feedback). Nevertheless, many uncertainties concerning the interplay of these processes and/or their relative significance remain. In addition, current Earth System Models tend to employ empirical and static parameterisations of the biological pump. As these parametric representations are derived from a limited set of present-day observations, their ability to represent carbon cycle feedbacks under changing climate conditions is limited. The aim of my research is to combine past carbon cycling information with a spatially resolved global biogeochemical model to constrain the functioning of the biological pump and to base its mathematical representation on a more mechanistic approach. Here, I will discuss important aspects that control the efficiency of the ocean's biological carbon pump, review how these processes of first order importance are mathematically represented in existing Earth system Models of Intermediate Complexity (EMIC) and distinguish different approaches to approximate

  11. 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

  12. Minor contribution of small thaw ponds to the pools of carbon and methane in the inland waters of the permafrost-affected part of the Western Siberian Lowland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Polishchuk, Y. M.; Bogdanov, A. N.; Muratov, I. N.; Polishchuk, V. Y.; Lim, A.; Manasypov, R. M.; Shirokova, L. S.; Pokrovsky, O. S.

    2018-04-01

    Despite the potential importance of small (permafrost-affected WSL territory based on a combination of medium-resolution Landsat-8 images and high-resolution Kanopus-V scenes on 78 test sites across the WSL in a wide range of lake sizes (from 20 to 2 × 108 m2). The results were in fair agreement with other published data for world lakes including those in circum-polar regions. Based on available measurements of CH4, CO2, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in thermokarst lakes and thaw ponds of the permafrost-affected part of the WSL, we found an inverse relationship between lake size and concentration, with concentrations of GHGs and DOC being highest in small thaw ponds. However, since these small ponds represent only a tiny fraction of the landscape (i.e. ~1.5% of the total lake area), their contribution to the total pool of GHG and DOC in inland lentic water of the permafrost-affected part of the WSL is less than 2%. As such, despite high concentrations of DOC and GHG in small ponds, their role in overall C storage can be negated. Ongoing lake drainage due to climate warming and permafrost thaw in the WSL may lead to a decrease in GHG emission potential from inland waters and DOC release from lakes to rivers.

  13. 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

  14. Effects of permafrost thaw on CO2 and CH4 exchange in a western Alaska peatland chronosequence

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carmel E. Johnston,; Stephanie A. Ewing,; Harden, Jennifer W.; Ruth K. Varner,; Wickland, Kimberly P.; Koch, Joshua C.; Fuller, Christopher C.; Manies, Kristen L.; M. Torre Jorgenson,

    2014-01-01

    Permafrost soils store over half of global soil carbon (C), and northern frozen peatlands store about 10% of global permafrost C. With thaw, inundation of high latitude lowland peatlands typically increases the surface-atmosphere flux of methane (CH4), a potent greenhouse gas. To examine the effects of lowland permafrost thaw over millennial timescales, we measured carbon dioxide (CO2) and CH4 exchange along sites that constitute a ~1000 yr thaw chronosequence of thermokarst collapse bogs and adjacent fen locations at Innoko Flats Wildlife Refuge in western Alaska. Peak CH4exchange in July (123 ± 71 mg CH4–C m−2 d−1) was observed in features that have been thawed for 30 to 70 (peatlands, particularly those developed on poorly drained mineral substrates, are a key locus of elevated CH4 emission to the atmosphere that must be considered for a complete understanding of high latitude CH4 dynamics.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Nauta, A.L.; Heijmans, M.M.P.D.; Blok, D.; Limpens, J.; Elberling, B.; Gallagher, A.; Li, B.; Petrov, R.E.; Maximov, T.C.; Huissteden, van J.; Berendse, F.

    2015-01-01

    Arctic tundra ecosystems are warming almost twice as fast as the global average1. Permafrost thaw and the resulting release of greenhouse gases from decomposing soil organic carbon have the potential to accelerate climate warming2, 3. In recent decades, Arctic tundra ecosystems have changed

  16. 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.

  17. Interregional carbon emission spillover–feedback effects in China

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zhang, Youguo

    2017-01-01

    A three-region input–output model was applied in this study to analyze the emission spillover–feedback effects across the eastern, middle, and western regions of China. Results revealed that the interregional trade has important spillover effects (SEs) on the emissions of each region, particularly in the middle and western regions, but the feedback effects are few. Although the eastern regional final demands have a smaller economic SE per unit than those of the middle and western regions in 2002–2010, its emission SE gradually exceeded that of the two other regions. The interregional trade policy has to be enforced in the future, but the emission SEs should be controlled efficiently. Therefore, the central government should continue to implement the policies on the reduction of energy and carbon intensities from the past decade, limit coal consumption, and encourage renewable fuel development. At the same time, the central government and the eastern region can help the middle and western regions control their carbon intensity by providing fiscal, technological, and training assistance. The middle and western regions should set strict admittance standards for energy-intensive plants that transferred from the eastern region. - Highlights: • We study spillover-feedback effects (SFEs) with a three-region input-output model. • We calculate the emission SFEs among the east, middle and west China. • We compare changes of the interregional emission and economic SFEs in 2002–2010. • Regional sector emission SFEs are also presented. • The policy implication of emission SFEs are discussed.

  18. 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.

  19. Circumpolar assessment of rhizosphere priming shows limited increase in carbon loss estimates for permafrost soils but large regional variability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wild, B.; Keuper, F.; Kummu, M.; Beer, C.; Blume-Werry, G.; Fontaine, S.; Gavazov, K.; Gentsch, N.; Guggenberger, G.; Hugelius, G.; Jalava, M.; Koven, C.; Krab, E. J.; Kuhry, P.; Monteux, S.; Richter, A.; Shazhad, T.; Dorrepaal, E.

    2017-12-01

    Predictions of soil organic carbon (SOC) losses in the northern circumpolar permafrost area converge around 15% (± 3% standard error) of the initial C pool by 2100 under the RCP 8.5 warming scenario. Yet, none of these estimates consider plant-soil interactions such as the rhizosphere priming effect (RPE). While laboratory experiments have shown that the input of plant-derived compounds can stimulate SOC losses by up to 1200%, the magnitude of RPE in natural ecosystems is unknown and no methods for upscaling exist so far. We here present the first spatial and depth explicit RPE model that allows estimates of RPE on a large scale (PrimeSCale). We combine available spatial data (SOC, C/N, GPP, ALT and ecosystem type) and new ecological insights to assess the importance of the RPE at the circumpolar scale. We use a positive saturating relationship between the RPE and belowground C allocation and two ALT-dependent rooting-depth distribution functions (for tundra and boreal forest) to proportionally assign belowground C allocation and RPE to individual soil depth increments. The model permits to take into account reasonable limiting factors on additional SOC losses by RPE including interactions between spatial and/or depth variation in GPP, plant root density, SOC stocks and ALT. We estimate potential RPE-induced SOC losses at 9.7 Pg C (5 - 95% CI: 1.5 - 23.2 Pg C) by 2100 (RCP 8.5). This corresponds to an increase of the current permafrost SOC-loss estimate from 15% of the initial C pool to about 16%. If we apply an additional molar C/N threshold of 20 to account for microbial C limitation as a requirement for the RPE, SOC losses by RPE are further reduced to 6.5 Pg C (5 - 95% CI: 1.0 - 16.8 Pg C) by 2100 (RCP 8.5). Although our results show that current estimates of permafrost soil C losses are robust without taking into account the RPE, our model also highlights high-RPE risk in Siberian lowland areas and Alaska north of the Brooks Range. The small overall impact of

  20. Elemental composition and optical properties reveal changes in dissolved organic matter along a permafrost thaw chronosequence in a subarctic peatland

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hodgkins, Suzanne; Tfaily, Malak M.; Podgorski, David C.; McCalley, Carmody; Saleska, Scott; Crill, Patrick M.; Rich, Virginia; Chanton, Jeffrey; Cooper, William T.

    2016-08-01

    The fate of carbon stored in permafrost-zone peatlands represents a significant uncertainty in global climate modeling. Given that the breakdown of dissolved organic matter (DOM) is often a major pathway for decomposition in peatlands, knowledge of DOM reactivity under different permafrost regimes is critical for determining future climate feedbacks. To explore the effects of permafrost thaw and resultant plant succession on DOM reactivity, we used a combination of Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR MS), UV/Vis absorbance, and excitation-emission matrix spectroscopy (EEMS) to examine the DOM elemental composition and optical properties of 27 pore water samples gathered from various sites along a permafrost thaw sequence in Stordalen Mire, a thawing subarctic peatland in northern Sweden. The presence of dense Sphagnum moss, a feature that is dominant in the intermediate thaw stages, appeared to be the main driver of variation in DOM elemental composition and optical properties at Stordalen. Specifically, DOM from sites with Sphagnum had greater aromaticity, higher average molecular weights, and greater O/C, consistent with a higher abundance of phenolic compounds that likely inhibit decomposition. These compounds are released by Sphagnum and may accumulate due to inhibition of phenol oxidase activity by the acidic pH at these sites. In contrast, sites without Sphagnum, specifically fully-thawed rich fens, had more saturated, more reduced compounds, which were high in N and S. Optical properties at rich fens were indicated the presence of microbially-derived DOM, consistent with the higher decomposition rates previously measured at these sites. These results indicate that Sphagnum acts as an inhibitor of rapid decomposition and CH4 release in thawing subarctic peatlands, consistent with lower rates of CO2 and CH4 production previously observed at these sites. However, this inhibitory effect may disappear if Sphagnumdominated bogs

  1. Elemental composition and optical properties reveal changes in dissolved organic matter along a permafrost thaw chronosequence in a subarctic peatland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hodgkins, Suzanne B.; Tfaily, Malak M.; Podgorski, David C.; McCalley, Carmody K.; Saleska, Scott R.; Crill, Patrick M.; Rich, Virginia I.; Chanton, Jeffrey P.; Cooper, William T.

    2016-08-01

    The fate of carbon stored in permafrost-zone peatlands represents a significant uncertainty in global climate modeling. Given that the breakdown of dissolved organic matter (DOM) is often a major pathway for decomposition in peatlands, knowledge of DOM reactivity under different permafrost regimes is critical for determining future climate feedbacks. To explore the effects of permafrost thaw and resultant plant succession on DOM reactivity, we used a combination of Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR MS), UV/Vis absorbance, and excitation-emission matrix spectroscopy (EEMS) to examine the DOM elemental composition and optical properties of 27 pore water samples gathered from various sites along a permafrost thaw sequence in Stordalen Mire, a thawing subarctic peatland in northern Sweden. The presence of dense Sphagnum moss, a feature that is dominant in the intermediate thaw stages, appeared to be the main driver of variation in DOM elemental composition and optical properties at Stordalen. Specifically, DOM from sites with Sphagnum had greater aromaticity, higher average molecular weights, and greater O/C, consistent with a higher abundance of phenolic compounds that likely inhibit decomposition. These compounds are released by Sphagnum and may accumulate due to inhibition of phenol oxidase activity by the acidic pH at these sites. In contrast, sites without Sphagnum, specifically fully-thawed rich fens, had more saturated, more reduced compounds, which were high in N and S. Optical properties at rich fens indicated the presence of microbially-derived DOM, consistent with the higher decomposition rates previously measured at these sites. These results indicate that Sphagnum acts as an inhibitor of rapid decomposition and CH4 release in thawing subarctic peatlands, consistent with lower rates of CO2 and CH4 production previously observed at these sites. However, this inhibitory effect may disappear if Sphagnum-dominated bogs

  2. Characterizing permafrost active layer dynamics and sensitivity to landscape spatial heterogeneity in Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yi, Yonghong; Kimball, John S.; Chen, Richard H.; Moghaddam, Mahta; Reichle, Rolf H.; Mishra, Umakant; Zona, Donatella; Oechel, Walter C.

    2018-01-01

    An important feature of the Arctic is large spatial heterogeneity in active layer conditions, which is generally poorly represented by global models and can lead to large uncertainties in predicting regional ecosystem responses and climate feedbacks. In this study, we developed a spatially integrated modeling and analysis framework combining field observations, local-scale ( ˜ 50 m resolution) active layer thickness (ALT) and soil moisture maps derived from low-frequency (L + P-band) airborne radar measurements, and global satellite environmental observations to investigate the ALT sensitivity to recent climate trends and landscape heterogeneity in Alaska. Modeled ALT results show good correspondence with in situ measurements in higher-permafrost-probability (PP ≥ 70 %) areas (n = 33; R = 0.60; mean bias = 1.58 cm; RMSE = 20.32 cm), but with larger uncertainty in sporadic and discontinuous permafrost areas. The model results also reveal widespread ALT deepening since 2001, with smaller ALT increases in northern Alaska (mean trend = 0.32±1.18 cm yr-1) and much larger increases (> 3 cm yr-1) across interior and southern Alaska. The positive ALT trend coincides with regional warming and a longer snow-free season (R = 0.60 ± 0.32). A spatially integrated analysis of the radar retrievals and model sensitivity simulations demonstrated that uncertainty in the spatial and vertical distribution of soil organic carbon (SOC) was the largest factor affecting modeled ALT accuracy, while soil moisture played a secondary role. Potential improvements in characterizing SOC heterogeneity, including better spatial sampling of soil conditions and advances in remote sensing of SOC and soil moisture, will enable more accurate predictions of active layer conditions and refinement of the modeling framework across a larger domain.

  3. 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)

  4. Terrestrial carbon turnover time constraints on future carbon cycle-climate feedback

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fan, N.; Carvalhais, N.; Reichstein, M.

    2017-12-01

    Understanding the terrestrial carbon cycle-climate feedback is essential to reduce the uncertainties resulting from the between model spread in prognostic simulations (Friedlingstein et al., 2006). One perspective is to investigate which factors control the variability of the mean residence times of carbon in the land surface, and how these may change in the future, consequently affecting the response of the terrestrial ecosystems to changes in climate as well as other environmental conditions. Carbon turnover time of the whole ecosystem is a dynamic parameter that represents how fast the carbon cycle circulates. Turnover time τ is an essential property for understanding the carbon exchange between the land and the atmosphere. Although current Earth System Models (ESMs), supported by GVMs for the description of the land surface, show a strong convergence in GPP estimates, but tend to show a wide range of simulated turnover times (Carvalhais, 2014). Thus, there is an emergent need of constraints on the projected response of the balance between terrestrial carbon fluxes and carbon stock which will give us more certainty in response of carbon cycle to climate change. However, the difficulty of obtaining such a constraint is partly due to lack of observational data on temporal change of terrestrial carbon stock. Since more new datasets of carbon stocks such as SoilGrid (Hengl, et al., 2017) and fluxes such as GPP (Jung, et al., 2017) are available, improvement in estimating turnover time can be achieved. In addition, previous study ignored certain aspects such as the relationship between τ and nutrients, fires, etc. We would like to investigate τ and its role in carbon cycle by combining observatinoal derived datasets and state-of-the-art model simulations.

  5. Earth system model simulations show different feedback strengths of the terrestrial carbon cycle under glacial and interglacial conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adloff, Markus; Reick, Christian H.; Claussen, Martin

    2018-04-01

    In simulations with the MPI Earth System Model, we study the feedback between the terrestrial carbon cycle and atmospheric CO2 concentrations under ice age and interglacial conditions. We find different sensitivities of terrestrial carbon storage to rising CO2 concentrations in the two settings. This result is obtained by comparing the transient response of the terrestrial carbon cycle to a fast and strong atmospheric CO2 concentration increase (roughly 900 ppm) in Coupled Climate Carbon Cycle Model Intercomparison Project (C4MIP)-type simulations starting from climates representing the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and pre-industrial times (PI). In this set-up we disentangle terrestrial contributions to the feedback from the carbon-concentration effect, acting biogeochemically via enhanced photosynthetic productivity when CO2 concentrations increase, and the carbon-climate effect, which affects the carbon cycle via greenhouse warming. We find that the carbon-concentration effect is larger under LGM than PI conditions because photosynthetic productivity is more sensitive when starting from the lower, glacial CO2 concentration and CO2 fertilization saturates later. This leads to a larger productivity increase in the LGM experiment. Concerning the carbon-climate effect, it is the PI experiment in which land carbon responds more sensitively to the warming under rising CO2 because at the already initially higher temperatures, tropical plant productivity deteriorates more strongly and extratropical carbon is respired more effectively. Consequently, land carbon losses increase faster in the PI than in the LGM case. Separating the carbon-climate and carbon-concentration effects, we find that they are almost additive for our model set-up; i.e. their synergy is small in the global sum of carbon changes. Together, the two effects result in an overall strength of the terrestrial carbon cycle feedback that is almost twice as large in the LGM experiment as in the PI experiment

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. Increased plant productivity in Alaskan tundra as a result of experimental warming of soil and permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    S.M. Natali; E.A.G. Schuur; R.L. Rubin

    2012-01-01

    The response of northern tundra plant communities to warming temperatures is of critical concern because permafrost ecosystems play a key role in global carbon (C) storage, and climate-induced ecological shifts in the plant community will affect the transfer of carbon-dioxide between biological and atmospheric pools. This study, which focuses on the response of tundra...

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Forestry in a greenhouse climate: For wood production or carbon storage?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pollard, D.F.W.

    1991-01-01

    The forest sector is one of the major sources of carbon dioxide in British Columbia, from pulp and papr processing and prescribed burning. To enhance knowledge about carbon budgets, Forestry Canada has developed a simulation model of the carbon pools and fluxes in the Canadian forest sector, which clearly indicates that the boreal forest, with its soils, is a major carbon pool, and also a major source of carbon, from combustion of biomass and soil organic matter. Outside the subarctic, forest growth more than compensates for fire losses in most years, and the forest is therefore calculated to be a net accumulator of carbon. While the conversion of old growth forest to managed stands on shorter rotations reduces stored carbon averaged over space and time, there is potential for managed forests to increase average live biomass, through genetic and silvicultural enhancement and through protection. A serious possibility of positive feedback by forests to the climatic warming exists in peatlands currently subject to permafrost. A warming could lead to substantial emissions of methane and carbon dioxide from vast areas. 14 refs

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

  14. Methanogen community composition and rates of methane consumption in Canadian High Arctic permafrost soils.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allan, J; Ronholm, J; Mykytczuk, N C S; Greer, C W; Onstott, T C; Whyte, L G

    2014-04-01

    Increasing permafrost thaw, driven by climate change, has the potential to result in organic carbon stores being mineralized into carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) through microbial activity. This study examines the effect of increasing temperature on community structure and metabolic activity of methanogens from the Canadian High Arctic, in an attempt to predict how warming will affect microbially controlled CH4 soil flux. In situ CO2 and CH4 flux, measured in 2010 and 2011 from ice-wedge polygons, indicate that these soil formations are a net source of CO2 emissions, but a CH4 sink. Permafrost and active layer soil samples were collected at the same sites and incubated under anaerobic conditions at warmer temperatures, with and without substrate amendment. Gas flux was measured regularly and indicated an increase in CH4 flux after extended incubation. Pyrosequencing was used to examine the effects of an extended thaw cycle on methanogen diversity and the results indicate that in situ methanogen diversity, based on the relative abundance of the 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid (rRNA) gene associated with known methanogens, is higher in the permafrost than in the active layer. Methanogen diversity was also shown to increase in both the active layer and permafrost soil after an extended thaw. This study provides evidence that although High Arctic ice-wedge polygons are currently a sink for CH4, higher arctic temperatures and anaerobic conditions, a possible result of climate change, could result in this soil becoming a source for CH4 gas flux. © 2013 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  15. Modern thermokarst lake dynamics in the continuous permafrost zone, northern Seward Peninsula, Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, Benjamin M.; Grosse, G.; Arp, C.D.; Jones, M.C.; Walter, Anthony K.M.; Romanovsky, V.E.

    2011-01-01

    Quantifying changes in thermokarst lake extent is of importance for understanding the permafrost-related carbon budget, including the potential release of carbon via lake expansion or sequestration as peat in drained lake basins. We used high spatial resolution remotely sensed imagery from 1950/51, 1978, and 2006/07 to quantify changes in thermokarst lakes for a 700 km2 area on the northern Seward Peninsula, Alaska. The number of water bodies larger than 0.1 ha increased over the entire observation period (666 to 737 or +10.7%); however, total surface area decreased (5,066 ha to 4,312 ha or -14.9%). This pattern can largely be explained by the formation of remnant ponds following partial drainage of larger water bodies. Thus, analysis of large lakes (>40 ha) shows a decrease of 24% and 26% in number and area, respectively, differing from lake changes reported from other continuous permafrost regions. Thermokarst lake expansion rates did not change substantially between 1950/51 and 1978 (0.35 m/yr) and 1978 and 2006/07 (0.39 m/yr). However, most lakes that drained did expand as a result of surface permafrost degradation before lateral drainage. Drainage rates over the observation period were stable (2.2 to 2.3 per year). Thus, analysis of decadal-scale, high spatial resolution imagery has shown that lake drainage in this region is triggered by lateral breaching and not subterranean infiltration. Future research should be directed toward better understanding thermokarst lake dynamics at high spatial and temporal resolution as these systems have implications for landscape-scale hydrology and carbon budgets in thermokarst lake-rich regions in the circum-Arctic.

  16. Carbon and geochemical properties of cryosols on the North Slope of Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mu, Cuicui; Zhang, Tingjun; Schuster, Paul F.; Schaefer, Kevin; Wickland, Kimberly P.; Repert, Deborah A.; Liu, Lin; Schaefer, Tim; Cheng, Guodong

    2014-01-01

    Cryosols contain roughly 1700 Gt of Soil organic carbon (SOC) roughly double the carbon content of the atmosphere. As global temperature rises and permafrost thaws, this carbon reservoir becomes vulnerable to microbial decomposition, resulting in greenhouse gas emissions that will amplify anthropogenic warming. Improving our understanding of carbon dynamics in thawing permafrost requires more data on carbon and nitrogen content, soil physical and chemical properties and substrate quality in cryosols. We analyzed five permafrost cores obtained from the North Slope of Alaska during the summer of 2009. The relationship between SOC and soil bulk density can be adequately represented by a logarithmic function. Gas fluxes at − 5 °C and 5 °C were measured to calculate the temperature response quotient (Q10). Q10 and the respiration per unit soil C were higher in permafrost-affected soils than that in the active layer, suggesting that decomposition and heterotrophic respiration in cryosols may contribute more to global warming.

  17. Earth system model simulations show different feedback strengths of the terrestrial carbon cycle under glacial and interglacial conditions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Adloff

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available In simulations with the MPI Earth System Model, we study the feedback between the terrestrial carbon cycle and atmospheric CO2 concentrations under ice age and interglacial conditions. We find different sensitivities of terrestrial carbon storage to rising CO2 concentrations in the two settings. This result is obtained by comparing the transient response of the terrestrial carbon cycle to a fast and strong atmospheric CO2 concentration increase (roughly 900 ppm in Coupled Climate Carbon Cycle Model Intercomparison Project (C4MIP-type simulations starting from climates representing the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM and pre-industrial times (PI. In this set-up we disentangle terrestrial contributions to the feedback from the carbon-concentration effect, acting biogeochemically via enhanced photosynthetic productivity when CO2 concentrations increase, and the carbon–climate effect, which affects the carbon cycle via greenhouse warming. We find that the carbon-concentration effect is larger under LGM than PI conditions because photosynthetic productivity is more sensitive when starting from the lower, glacial CO2 concentration and CO2 fertilization saturates later. This leads to a larger productivity increase in the LGM experiment. Concerning the carbon–climate effect, it is the PI experiment in which land carbon responds more sensitively to the warming under rising CO2 because at the already initially higher temperatures, tropical plant productivity deteriorates more strongly and extratropical carbon is respired more effectively. Consequently, land carbon losses increase faster in the PI than in the LGM case. Separating the carbon–climate and carbon-concentration effects, we find that they are almost additive for our model set-up; i.e. their synergy is small in the global sum of carbon changes. Together, the two effects result in an overall strength of the terrestrial carbon cycle feedback that is almost twice as large in the LGM experiment

  18. 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...

  19. Permafrost thaw and fire history: implications of boreal tree cover changes on land surface properties and turbulent energy fluxes in the Taiga Plains, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sonnentag, Oliver; Helbig, Manuel; Payette, Fanny; Wischnewski, Karoline; Kljun, Natascha; Chasmer, Laura; Pappas, Christoforos; Detto, Matteo; Baltzer, Jennifer; Quinton, William; Marsh, Philip

    2016-04-01

    Given their large areal coverage, high carbon densities, and unique land surface properties and disturbance regimes (e.g., wildfires), the world's boreal forests are integral components of the global and regional climate systems. A large portion of boreal forests contain permafrost, i.e., perennially cryotic ground. In the Taiga Plains ecozone in northwestern Canada, the northernmost boreal forests grow on cold (100 m) continuous permafrost (>90 % in areal extent). More southerly boreal forests occur in areas with discontinuous (>50 - 90 % in areal extent), sporadic (>10 - 50 % in areal extent) and isolated permafrost (<10 % in areal extent). Using annual MODIS Percent Tree Cover (PTC) data from the MOD44B product in combination with spatial information on fire history, and permafrost and drainage characteristics, we show that in low-lying, poorly-drained areas along the southern fringe of permafrost, thawing induces widespread decreases in PTC and dominates over PTC increases due to post-fire regrowth. In contrast, PTC appears to be slightly increasing in the central and northern Taiga Plains with more stable discontinuous and continuous permafrost, respectively. While these increases are partly explained by post-fire regrowth, more favourable growing conditions may also contribute to increasing PTC. To better understand the implications of permafrost thaw on land surface properties (e.g., aerodynamic conductance for heat [ga] and surface conductance for water vapour [gs]), and the turbulent fluxes of latent (LE) and sensible heat (H) along the southern fringe of permafrost, we examined nested eddy covariance flux measurements made at two nearby locations at Scotty Creek (61°18' N; 121°18' W) starting May 2013. The low-lying, poorly-drained southern portion of this 152 km2-watershed contains rapidly thawing sporadic permafrost resulting in a highly dynamic mosaic dominated by decreasing forested permafrost peat plateaus, and increasing permafrost-free wetlands

  20. 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.

  1. Forests and ozone: productivity, carbon storage, and feedbacks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Bin; Shugart, Herman H; Shuman, Jacquelyn K; Lerdau, Manuel T

    2016-02-22

    Tropospheric ozone is a serious air-pollutant, with large impacts on plant function. This study demonstrates that tropospheric ozone, although it damages plant metabolism, does not necessarily reduce ecosystem processes such as productivity or carbon sequestration because of diversity change and compensatory processes at the community scale ameliorate negative impacts at the individual level. This study assesses the impact of ozone on forest composition and ecosystem dynamics with an individual-based gap model that includes basic physiology as well as species-specific metabolic properties. Elevated tropospheric ozone leads to no reduction of forest productivity and carbon stock and to increased isoprene emissions, which result from enhanced dominance by isoprene-emitting species (which tolerate ozone stress better than non-emitters). This study suggests that tropospheric ozone may not diminish forest carbon sequestration capacity. This study also suggests that, because of the often positive relationship between isoprene emission and ozone formation, there is a positive feedback loop between forest communities and ozone, which further aggravates ozone pollution.

  2. 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...

  3. 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.

  4. 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...

  5. 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.

  6. Effect of permafrost thaw on CO2 and CH4 exchange in a western Alaska peatland chronosequence

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Johnston, Carmel E; Ewing, Stephanie A; Harden, Jennifer W; Fuller, Christopher C; Manies, Kristen; Varner, Ruth K; Wickland, Kimberly P; Koch, Joshua C; Jorgenson, M Torre

    2014-01-01

    Permafrost soils store over half of global soil carbon (C), and northern frozen peatlands store about 10% of global permafrost C. With thaw, inundation of high latitude lowland peatlands typically increases the surface-atmosphere flux of methane (CH 4 ), a potent greenhouse gas. To examine the effects of lowland permafrost thaw over millennial timescales, we measured carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) and CH 4 exchange along sites that constitute a ∼1000 yr thaw chronosequence of thermokarst collapse bogs and adjacent fen locations at Innoko Flats Wildlife Refuge in western Alaska. Peak CH 4 exchange in July (123 ± 71 mg CH 4 –C m −2 d −1 ) was observed in features that have been thawed for 30 to 70 (<100) yr, where soils were warmer than at more recently thawed sites (14 to 21 yr; emitting 1.37 ± 0.67 mg CH 4 –C m −2 d −1 in July) and had shallower water tables than at older sites (200 to 1400 yr; emitting 6.55 ± 2.23 mg CH 4 –C m −2 d −1 in July). Carbon lost via CH 4 efflux during the growing season at these intermediate age sites was 8% of uptake by net ecosystem exchange. Our results provide evidence that CH 4 emissions following lowland permafrost thaw are enhanced over decadal time scales, but limited over millennia. Over larger spatial scales, adjacent fen systems may contribute sustained CH 4 emission, CO 2 uptake, and DOC export. We argue that over timescales of decades to centuries, thaw features in high-latitude lowland peatlands, particularly those developed on poorly drained mineral substrates, are a key locus of elevated CH 4 emission to the atmosphere that must be considered for a complete understanding of high latitude CH 4 dynamics. (paper)

  7. Climate warming feedback from mountain birch forest expansion: reduced albedo dominates carbon uptake.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Wit, Heleen A; Bryn, Anders; Hofgaard, Annika; Karstensen, Jonas; Kvalevåg, Maria M; Peters, Glen P

    2014-07-01

    Expanding high-elevation and high-latitude forest has contrasting climate feedbacks through carbon sequestration (cooling) and reduced surface reflectance (warming), which are yet poorly quantified. Here, we present an empirically based projection of mountain birch forest expansion in south-central Norway under climate change and absence of land use. Climate effects of carbon sequestration and albedo change are compared using four emission metrics. Forest expansion was modeled for a projected 2.6 °C increase in summer temperature in 2100, with associated reduced snow cover. We find that the current (year 2000) forest line of the region is circa 100 m lower than its climatic potential due to land-use history. In the future scenarios, forest cover increased from 12% to 27% between 2000 and 2100, resulting in a 59% increase in biomass carbon storage and an albedo change from 0.46 to 0.30. Forest expansion in 2100 was behind its climatic potential, forest migration rates being the primary limiting factor. In 2100, the warming caused by lower albedo from expanding forest was 10 to 17 times stronger than the cooling effect from carbon sequestration for all emission metrics considered. Reduced snow cover further exacerbated the net warming feedback. The warming effect is considerably stronger than previously reported for boreal forest cover, because of the typically low biomass density in mountain forests and the large changes in albedo of snow-covered tundra areas. The positive climate feedback of high-latitude and high-elevation expanding forests with seasonal snow cover exceeds those of afforestation at lower elevation, and calls for further attention of both modelers and empiricists. The inclusion and upscaling of these climate feedbacks from mountain forests into global models is warranted to assess the potential global impacts. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  8. Hydrological patterns in warming permafrost: comparing results from a control and drained site on a floodplain tundra near Chersky, Northeast Siberia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boelck, Sandra; Goeckede, Mathias; Hildebrandt, Anke; Vonk, Jorien; Heimann, Martin

    2017-04-01

    Permafrost areas represent a major reservoir for organic carbon. At the same time, permafrost ecosystems are very susceptible to changing climate conditions. The stability of this reservoir, i.e. changes in lateral and vertical carbon fluxes in permafrost ecosystems, largely depends on groundwater level, temperature and vegetation community. Particularly during summer when the soil thaws and a so-called active layer develops, fluctuations in carbon flux rates are often dominantly driven by water availability. Such dry soil conditions are expected to become more frequent in the future due to deepening active layers as a consequence of climate change. This could result in degradation of polygonal tundra landscape properties with channelled water transport pathways. Therefore, water table depth and the associated groundwater fluxes are crucial to understand transport patterns and to quantify the lateral export of carbon through an aquatic system. Consequently, a fundamental understanding of hydrological patterns on ecosystem structure and function is required to close the carbon balance of permafrost ecosystems. This study focuses on small-scale hydrological patterns and its influencing factors, such as topography and precipitation events. Near Chersky, Northeast Siberia, we monitored (i) a control site of floodplain tundra, and (ii) a drained site, characterised by a drainage ring which was constructed in 2004, to study the effects of water availability on the carbon cycle. This experimental disturbance simulates drainage effects following the degradation of ice-rich permafrost ecosystems under future climate change. Continuous monitoring of water table depth in drained and control areas revealed small-scale water table variations. At several key locations, we collected water samples to determine the isotopic composition (δ18O, δD) of surface water, suprapermafrost groundwater and precipitation. Furthermore, a weir at the drainage ditch was constructed to directly

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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...

  17. 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)

  18. Methane Feedbacks to the Global Climate System in a Warmer World

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dean, Joshua F.; Middelburg, Jack J.; Röckmann, Thomas; Aerts, Rien; Blauw, Luke G.; Egger, Matthias; Jetten, Mike S. M.; de Jong, Anniek E. E.; Meisel, Ove H.; Rasigraf, Olivia; Slomp, Caroline P.; in't Zandt, Michiel H.; Dolman, A. J.

    2018-03-01

    Methane (CH4) is produced in many natural systems that are vulnerable to change under a warming climate, yet current CH4 budgets, as well as future shifts in CH4 emissions, have high uncertainties. Climate change has the potential to increase CH4 emissions from critical systems such as wetlands, marine and freshwater systems, permafrost, and methane hydrates, through shifts in temperature, hydrology, vegetation, landscape disturbance, and sea level rise. Increased CH4 emissions from these systems would in turn induce further climate change, resulting in a positive climate feedback. Here we synthesize biological, geochemical, and physically focused CH4 climate feedback literature, bringing together the key findings of these disciplines. We discuss environment-specific feedback processes, including the microbial, physical, and geochemical interlinkages and the timescales on which they operate, and present the current state of knowledge of CH4 climate feedbacks in the immediate and distant future. The important linkages between microbial activity and climate warming are discussed with the aim to better constrain the sensitivity of the CH4 cycle to future climate predictions. We determine that wetlands will form the majority of the CH4 climate feedback up to 2100. Beyond this timescale, CH4 emissions from marine and freshwater systems and permafrost environments could become more important. Significant CH4 emissions to the atmosphere from the dissociation of methane hydrates are not expected in the near future. Our key findings highlight the importance of quantifying whether CH4 consumption can counterbalance CH4 production under future climate scenarios.

  19. 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.

  20. Widespread release of old carbon across the Siberian Arctic echoed by its large rivers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ö. Gustafsson

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available Over decadal-centennial timescales, only a few mechanisms in the carbon-climate system could cause a massive net redistribution of carbon from land and ocean systems to the atmosphere in response to climate warming. The largest such climate-vulnerable carbon pool is the old organic carbon (OC stored in Arctic permafrost (perennially frozen soils. Climate warming, both predicted and now observed to be the strongest globally in the Eurasian Arctic and Alaska, causes thaw-release of old permafrost carbon from local tundra sites. However, a central challenge for the assessment of the general vulnerability of this old OC pool is to deduce any signal integrating its release over larger scales. Here we examine radiocarbon measurements of molecular soil markers exported by the five Great Russian-Arctic Rivers (Ob, Yenisey, Lena, Indigirka and Kolyma, employed as natural integrators of carbon release processes in their watersheds. The signals held in estuarine surface sediments revealed that average radiocarbon ages of n-alkanes increased east-to-west from 6400 yr BP in Kolyma to 11 400 yr BP in Ob. This is consistent with westwards trends of both warmer climate and more degraded organic matter as indicated by the ratio of high molecular weight (HMW n-alkanoic acids to HMW n-alkanes. The dynamics of Siberian permafrost can thus be probed via the molecular-radiocarbon signal as carried by Arctic rivers. Old permafrost carbon is at present vulnerable to mobilization over continental scales. Climate-induced changes in the radiocarbon fingerprint of released permafrost carbon will likely depend on changes in both permafrost coverage and Arctic soil hydraulics.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Strong atmospheric chemistry feedback to climate warming from Arctic methane emissions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Isaksen, Ivar S.A.; Gauss, Michael; Myhre, Gunnar; Walter Anthony, Katey M.; Ruppel, Carolyn

    2011-01-01

    The magnitude and feedbacks of future methane release from the Arctic region are unknown. Despite limited documentation of potential future releases associated with thawing permafrost and degassing methane hydrates, the large potential for future methane releases calls for improved understanding of the interaction of a changing climate with processes in the Arctic and chemical feedbacks in the atmosphere. Here we apply a “state of the art” atmospheric chemistry transport model to show that large emissions of CH4 would likely have an unexpectedly large impact on the chemical composition of the atmosphere and on radiative forcing (RF). The indirect contribution to RF of additional methane emission is particularly important. It is shown that if global methane emissions were to increase by factors of 2.5 and 5.2 above current emissions, the indirect contributions to RF would be about 250% and 400%, respectively, of the RF that can be attributed to directly emitted methane alone. Assuming several hypothetical scenarios of CH4 release associated with permafrost thaw, shallow marine hydrate degassing, and submarine landslides, we find a strong positive feedback on RF through atmospheric chemistry. In particular, the impact of CH4 is enhanced through increase of its lifetime, and of atmospheric abundances of ozone, stratospheric water vapor, and CO2 as a result of atmospheric chemical processes. Despite uncertainties in emission scenarios, our results provide a better understanding of the feedbacks in the atmospheric chemistry that would amplify climate warming.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Evaluating the performance of coupled snow-soil models in SURFEXv8 to simulate the permafrost thermal regime at a high Arctic site

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barrere, Mathieu; Domine, Florent; Decharme, Bertrand; Morin, Samuel; Vionnet, Vincent; Lafaysse, Matthieu

    2017-09-01

    Climate change projections still suffer from a limited representation of the permafrost-carbon feedback. Predicting the response of permafrost temperature to climate change requires accurate simulations of Arctic snow and soil properties. This study assesses the capacity of the coupled land surface and snow models ISBA-Crocus and ISBA-ES to simulate snow and soil properties at Bylot Island, a high Arctic site. Field measurements complemented with ERA-Interim reanalyses were used to drive the models and to evaluate simulation outputs. Snow height, density, temperature, thermal conductivity and thermal insulance are examined to determine the critical variables involved in the soil and snow thermal regime. Simulated soil properties are compared to measurements of thermal conductivity, temperature and water content. The simulated snow density profiles are unrealistic, which is most likely caused by the lack of representation in snow models of the upward water vapor fluxes generated by the strong temperature gradients within the snowpack. The resulting vertical profiles of thermal conductivity are inverted compared to observations, with high simulated values at the bottom of the snowpack. Still, ISBA-Crocus manages to successfully simulate the soil temperature in winter. Results are satisfactory in summer, but the temperature of the top soil could be better reproduced by adequately representing surface organic layers, i.e., mosses and litter, and in particular their water retention capacity. Transition periods (soil freezing and thawing) are the least well reproduced because the high basal snow thermal conductivity induces an excessively rapid heat transfer between the soil and the snow in simulations. Hence, global climate models should carefully consider Arctic snow thermal properties, and especially the thermal conductivity of the basal snow layer, to perform accurate predictions of the permafrost evolution under climate change.

  7. Can we bet on negative emissions to achieve the 2°C target even under strong carbon cycle feedbacks?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tanaka, K.; Yamagata, Y.; Yokohata, T.; Emori, S.; Hanaoka, T.

    2015-12-01

    Negative emission technologies such as Bioenergy with Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage (BioCCS) play an ever more crucial role in meeting the 2°C stabilization target. However, such technologies are currently at their infancy and their future penetrations may fall short of the scale required to stabilize the warming. Furthermore, the overshoot in the mid-century prior to a full realization of negative emissions would give rise to a risk because such a temporal but excessive warming above 2°C might amplify itself by strengthening climate-carbon cycle feedbacks. It has not been extensively assessed yet how carbon cycle feedbacks might play out during the overshoot in the context of negative emissions. This study explores how 2°C stabilization pathways, in particular those which undergo overshoot, can be influenced by carbon cycle feedbacks and asks their climatic and economic consequences. We compute 2°C stabilization emissions scenarios under a cost-effectiveness principle, in which the total abatement costs are minimized such that the global warming is capped at 2°C. We employ a reduced-complexity model, the Aggregated Carbon Cycle, Atmospheric Chemistry, and Climate model (ACC2), which comprises a box model of the global carbon cycle, simple parameterizations of the atmospheric chemistry, and a land-ocean energy balance model. The total abatement costs are estimated from the marginal abatement cost functions for CO2, CH4, N2O, and BC.Our preliminary results show that, if carbon cycle feedbacks turn out to be stronger than what is known today, it would incur substantial abatement costs to keep up with the 2°C stabilization goal. Our results also suggest that it would be less expensive in the long run to plan for a 2°C stabilization pathway by considering strong carbon cycle feedbacks because it would cost more if we correct the emission pathway in the mid-century to adjust for unexpectedly large carbon cycle feedbacks during overshoot. Furthermore, our

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-10-01

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

  9. 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

  10. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

  12. 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.

  13. Benthic metabolic feedbacks to carbonate chemistry on coral reefs:implications for ocean acidification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Price, N.; Rohwer, F. L.; Stuart, S. A.; Andersson, A.; Smith, J.

    2012-12-01

    The metabolic activity of resident organisms can cause spatio-temporal variability in carbonate chemistry within the benthic boundary layer, and thus potentially buffer the global impacts of ocean acidification. But, little is known about the capacity for particular species assemblages to contribute to natural daily variability in carbonate chemistry. We encapsulated replicate areas (~3m2) of reef across six Northern Line Islands in the central Pacific for 24 hrs to quantify feedbacks to carbonate chemistry within the benthic boundary layer from community metabolism. Underneath each 'tent', we quantified relative abundance and biomass of each species of corals and algae. We coupled high temporal resolution time series data on the natural diurnal variability in pH, dissolved oxygen, salinity, and temperature (using autonomous sensors) with resident organisms' net community calcification and productivity rates (using change in total dissolved carbon and total alkalinity over time) to examine feedbacks from reef metabolism to boundary layer carbonate chemistry. These reefs experienced large ranges in pH (> 0.2 amplitude) each day, similar to the magnitude of 'acidification' expected over the next century. Daily benthic pH, pCO2, and aragonite saturation state (Ωaragonite) were contrasted with seasonal threshold values estimated from open ocean climatological data extrapolated at each island to determine relative inter-island feedbacks. Diurnal amplitude in pH, pCO2, and Ωaragonite at each island was dependent upon the resident species assemblage of the benthos and was particularly reliant upon the biomass, productivity, and calcification rate of Halimeda. Net primary productivity of fleshy algae (algal turfs and Lobophora spp.) predominated on degraded, inhabited islands where net community calcification was negligible. In contrast, the chemistry over reefs on 'pristine', uninhabited islands was driven largely by net calcification of calcareous algae and stony

  14. 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.

  15. 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.)

  16. 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.)

  17. 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

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

  18. Improving permafrost distribution modelling using feature selection algorithms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deluigi, Nicola; Lambiel, Christophe; Kanevski, Mikhail

    2016-04-01

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

  19. Microbial Insights into Shifting Methane Production Potential in Thawing Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crossen, K.; Wilson, R.; Raab, N.; Neumann, R.; Chanton, J.; Saleska, S. R.; Rich, V. I.

    2017-12-01

    Permafrost, which stores 50% of global soil carbon, is thawing rapidly due to climate change, and resident microbes are contributing to changing carbon gas emissions. Predictions of the fate of carbon in these regions is poorly constrained; however, improved, careful mapping of microbial community members influencing CO2 and CH4 emissions will help clarify the system response to continued change. In order to more fully understand connections between the microbial communities, major geochemical transformations, and CO2 and CH4 emissions, peat cores were collected from the active layers of three permafrost habitats spanning a thaw gradient (collapsed palsa, bog, and fen) at Stordalen Mire, Abisko, Sweden. Anaerobic incubations of shallow and deep subsamples from these sites were performed, with time-course characterization of the changes in microbial communities, peat geochemistry, and carbon gas production. The latter were profiled with 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing, and targeted metagenomes. The communities within each habitat and depth were statistically distinct, and changed significantly over the course of the incubations. Acidobacteria was consistently the dominant bacterial phylum in all three habitat types. With increased thaw, the relative abundance of Actinobacteria tended to decrease, while Chloroflexi and Bacteroidetes increased with thaw. The relative abundance of methanogens increased with thaw and with depth within each habitat. Over time in the incubations, the richness of the communities tended to decrease. Homoacetogenesis (CO2 + H2 -> CH3COOH) has been documented in other peatlands, and homoacetogens can influence CH4 production by interacting with methanogens, competing with hydrogenotrophs while providing substrate for acetoclasts. Modelling of microbial reaction networks suggests potential for highest homoacetogenesis rates in the collapsed palsa, which also contains the highest relative abundances of lineages taxonomically affiliated with known

  20. 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

  1. Glacial-interglacial variations of microbial communities in permafrost and lake deposits in the Siberian Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mangelsdorf, Kai; Bischoff, Juliane; Gattinger, Andreas; Wagner, Dirk

    2013-04-01

    The Artic regions are expected to be very sensitive to the currently observed climate change. When permafrost is thawing, the stored carbon becomes available again for microbial degradation, forming a potential source for the generation of carbon dioxide and methane with their positive feedback effect on the climate warming. For the prediction of future climate evolution it is, therefore, important to improve our knowledge about the microbial-driven greenhouse gas dynamics in the Siberian Arctic and their response to glacial-interglacial changes in the past. Sample material was drilled on Kurungnahk Island (Russian-German LENA expedition) located in the southern part of the Lena delta and in lake El'gygytgyn (ICDP-project) in the eastern part of Siberia. The Kurungnahk samples comprise Late Pleistocene to Holocene deposits, whereas the lake El'gygytgyn samples cover Middle to Late Pleistocene sediments. Samples were investigated applying a combined biogeochemical and microbiological approach. The methane profile of the Kurungnahk core reveals highest methane contents in the warm and wet Holocene and Late Pleistocene (LP) deposits and correlates largly to the organic carbon (TOC) contents. Archaeol concentrations, being a biomarker for past methanogenic archaea, are also high during the warm and wet Holocene and LP intervals and low during the cold and dry LP periods. This indicates that part of the methane might be produced and trapped in the past. However, biomarkers for living microorganisms (bacteria and archaea) and microbial activity measurements of methanogens point, especially, for the Holocene to a viable archaeal community, indicating a possible in-situ methane production. Furthermore, warm/wet-cold/dry climate cycles are recorded in the archaeal diversity as revealed by genetic fingerprint analysis. Although the overlying lake water buffers the temperature effect on the lake sediments, which never became permafrost, the bacterial and archaeal biomarker

  2. 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

  3. Carbon monoxide photoproduction: implications for photoreactivity of Arctic permafrost-derived soil dissolved organic matter.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hong, Jun; Xie, Huixiang; Guo, Laodong; Song, Guisheng

    2014-08-19

    Apparent quantum yields of carbon monoxide (CO) photoproduction (AQY(CO)) for permafrost-derived soil dissolved organic matter (SDOM) from the Yukon River Basin and Alaska coast were determined to examine the dependences of AQY(CO) on temperature, ionic strength, pH, and SDOM concentration. SDOM from different locations and soil depths all exhibited similar AQY(CO) spectra irrespective of soil age. AQY(CO) increased by 68% for a 20 °C warming, decreased by 25% from ionic strength 0 to 0.7 mol L(-1), and dropped by 25-38% from pH 4 to 8. These effects combined together could reduce AQY(CO) by up to 72% when SDOM transits from terrestrial environemnts to open-ocean conditions during summer in the Arctic. A Michaelis-Menten kinetics characterized the influence of SDOM dilution on AQY(CO) with a very low substrate half-saturation concentration. Generalized global-scale relationships between AQY(CO) and salinity and absorbance demostrate that the CO-based photoreactivity of ancient permaforst SDOM is comparable to that of modern riverine DOM and that the effects of the physicochemical variables revealed here alone could account for the seaward decline of AQY(CO) observed in diverse estuarine and coastal water bodies.

  4. 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

  5. Four years of UAS Imagery Reveals Vegetation Change Due to Permafrost Thaw

    Science.gov (United States)

    DelGreco, J. L.; Herrick, C.; Varner, R. K.; McArthur, K. J.; McCalley, C. K.; Garnello, A.; Finnell, D.; Anderson, S. M.; Crill, P. M.; Palace, M. W.

    2017-12-01

    Warming trends in sub-arctic regions have resulted in thawing of permafrost which in turn induces change in vegetation across peatlands. Collapse of palsas (i.e. permafrost plateaus) has also been correlated to increases in methane (CH4) emissions to the atmosphere. Vegetation change provides new microenvironments that promote CH4 production and emission, specifically through plant interactions and structure. By quantifying the changes in vegetation at the landscape scale, we will be able to understand the impact of thaw on CH4 emissions in these complex and climate sensitive northern ecosystems. We combine field-based measurements of vegetation composition and high resolution Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) imagery to characterize vegetation change in a sub-arctic mire. At Stordalen Mire (1 km x 0.5 km), Abisko, Sweden, we flew a fixed-wing UAS in July of each year between 2014 and 2017. High precision GPS ground control points were used to georeference the imagery. Seventy-five randomized square-meter plots were measured for vegetation composition and individually classified into one of five cover types, each representing a different stage of permafrost degradation. With this training data, each year of imagery was classified by cover type. The developed cover type maps were also used to estimate CH4 emissions across the mire based on average flux CH4 rates from each cover type obtained from flux chamber measurements collected at the mire. This four year comparison of vegetation cover and methane emissions has indicated a rapid response to permafrost thaw and changes in emissions. Estimation of vegetation cover types is vital in our understanding of the evolution of northern peatlands and its future role in the global carbon cycle.

  6. Icebergs, sea ice, blue carbon and Antarctic climate feedbacks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barnes, David K A; Fleming, Andrew; Sands, Chester J; Quartino, Maria Liliana; Deregibus, Dolores

    2018-06-28

    Sea ice, including icebergs, has a complex relationship with the carbon held within animals (blue carbon) in the polar regions. Sea-ice losses around West Antarctica's continental shelf generate longer phytoplankton blooms but also make it a hotspot for coastal iceberg disturbance. This matters because in polar regions ice scour limits blue carbon storage ecosystem services, which work as a powerful negative feedback on climate change (less sea ice increases phytoplankton blooms, benthic growth, seabed carbon and sequestration). This resets benthic biota succession (maintaining regional biodiversity) and also fertilizes the ocean with nutrients, generating phytoplankton blooms, which cascade carbon capture into seabed storage and burial by benthos. Small icebergs scour coastal shallows, whereas giant icebergs ground deeper, offshore. Significant benthic communities establish where ice shelves have disintegrated (giant icebergs calving), and rapidly grow to accumulate blue carbon storage. When 5000 km 2 giant icebergs calve, we estimate that they generate approximately 10 6 tonnes of immobilized zoobenthic carbon per year (t C yr -1 ). However, their collisions with the seabed crush and recycle vast benthic communities, costing an estimated 4 × 10 4  t C yr -1 We calculate that giant iceberg formation (ice shelf disintegration) has a net potential of approximately 10 6  t C yr -1 sequestration benefits as well as more widely known negative impacts.This article is part of the theme issue 'The marine system of the West Antarctic Peninsula: status and strategy for progress in a region of rapid change'. © 2018 The Authors.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Long-Term Drainage Reduces CO2 Uptake and CH4 Emissions in a Siberian Permafrost Ecosystem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kittler, Fanny; Heimann, Martin; Kolle, Olaf; Zimov, Nikita; Zimov, Sergei; Göckede, Mathias

    2017-12-01

    Permafrost landscapes in northern high latitudes with their massive organic carbon stocks are an important, poorly known, component of the global carbon cycle. However, in light of future Arctic warming, the sustainability of these carbon pools is uncertain. To a large part, this is due to a limited understanding of the carbon cycle processes because of sparse observations in Arctic permafrost ecosystems. Here we present an eddy covariance data set covering more than 3 years of continuous CO2 and CH4 flux observations within a moist tussock tundra ecosystem near Chersky in north-eastern Siberia. Through parallel observations of a disturbed (drained) area and a control area nearby, we aim to evaluate the long-term effects of a persistently lowered water table on the net vertical carbon exchange budgets and the dominating biogeochemical mechanisms. Persistently drier soils trigger systematic shifts in the tundra ecosystem carbon cycle patterns. Both, uptake rates of CO2 and emissions of CH4 decreased. Year-round measurements emphasize the importance of the non-growing season—in particular the "zero-curtain" period in the fall—to the annual budget. Approximately 60% of the CO2 uptake in the growing season is lost during the cold seasons, while CH4 emissions during the non-growing season account for 30% of the annual budget. Year-to-year variability in temperature conditions during the late growing season was identified as the primary control of the interannual variability observed in the CO2 and CH4 fluxes.

  11. Multidecadal increases in the Yukon River Basin of chemical fluxes as indicators of changing flowpaths, groundwater, and permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toohey, Ryan C; Herman-Mercer, Nicole M.; Schuster, Paul F.; Mutter, Edda A.; Koch, Joshua C.

    2016-01-01

    The Yukon River Basin, underlain by discontinuous permafrost, has experienced a warming climate over the last century that has altered air temperature, precipitation, and permafrost. We investigated a water chemistry database from 1982 to 2014 for the Yukon River and its major tributary, the Tanana River. Significant increases of Ca, Mg, and Na annual flux were found in both rivers. Additionally, SO4 and P annual flux increased in the Yukon River. No annual trends were observed for dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from 2001 to 2014. In the Yukon River, Mg and SO4 flux increased throughout the year, while some of the most positive trends for Ca, Mg, Na, SO4, and P flux occurred during the fall and winter months. Both rivers exhibited positive monthly DOC flux trends for summer (Yukon River) and winter (Tanana River). These trends suggest increased active layer expansion, weathering, and sulfide oxidation due to permafrost degradation throughout the Yukon River Basin.

  12. Mapping Soil Carbon in the Yukon Kuskokwim River Delta Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Natali, S.; Fiske, G.; Schade, J. D.; Mann, P. J.; Holmes, R. M.; Ludwig, S.; Melton, S.; Sae-lim, N.; Jardine, L. E.; Navarro-Perez, E.

    2017-12-01

    Arctic river deltas are hotspots for carbon storage, occupying 10% of carbon stored in arctic permafrost. The Yukon Kuskokwim (YK) Delta, Alaska is located in the lower latitudinal range of the northern permafrost region in an area of relatively warm permafrost that is particularly vulnerable to warming climate. Active layer depths range from 50 cm on peat plateaus to >100 cm in wetland and aquatic ecosystems. The size of the soil organic carbon pool and vulnerability of the carbon in the YK Delta is a major unknown and is critically important as climate warming and increasing fire frequency may make this carbon vulnerable to transport to aquatic and marine systems and the atmosphere. To characterize the size and distribution of soil carbon pools in the YK Delta, we mapped the land cover of a 1910 km2 watershed located in a region of the YK Delta that was impacted by fire in 2015. The map product was the result of an unsupervised classification using the Weka K Means clustering algorithm implemented in Google's Earth Engine. Inputs to the classification were Worldview2 resolution optical imagery (1m), Arctic DEM (5m), and Sentinel 2 level 1C multispectral imagery, including NDVI, (10 m). We collected 100 soil cores (0-30 cm) from sites of different land cover and landscape position, including moist and dry peat plateaus, high and low intensity burned plateaus, fens, and drained lakes; 13 lake sediment cores (0-50 cm); and 20 surface permafrost cores (to 100 cm) from burned and unburned peat plateaus. Active layer and permafrost soils were analyzed for organic matter content, soil moisture content, and carbon and nitrogen pools (30 and 100 cm). Soil carbon content varied across the landscape; average carbon content values for lake sediments were 12% (5- 17% range), fens 26% (9-44%), unburned peat plateaus 41% (34-44%), burned peat plateaus 19% (7-34%). These values will be used to estimate soil carbon pools, which will be applied to the spatial extent of each

  13. Methane bubbling from Siberian thaw lakes as a positive feedback to climate warming.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walter, K M; Zimov, S A; Chanton, J P; Verbyla, D; Chapin, F S

    2006-09-07

    Large uncertainties in the budget of atmospheric methane, an important greenhouse gas, limit the accuracy of climate change projections. Thaw lakes in North Siberia are known to emit methane, but the magnitude of these emissions remains uncertain because most methane is released through ebullition (bubbling), which is spatially and temporally variable. Here we report a new method of measuring ebullition and use it to quantify methane emissions from two thaw lakes in North Siberia. We show that ebullition accounts for 95 per cent of methane emissions from these lakes, and that methane flux from thaw lakes in our study region may be five times higher than previously estimated. Extrapolation of these fluxes indicates that thaw lakes in North Siberia emit 3.8 teragrams of methane per year, which increases present estimates of methane emissions from northern wetlands (< 6-40 teragrams per year; refs 1, 2, 4-6) by between 10 and 63 per cent. We find that thawing permafrost along lake margins accounts for most of the methane released from the lakes, and estimate that an expansion of thaw lakes between 1974 and 2000, which was concurrent with regional warming, increased methane emissions in our study region by 58 per cent. Furthermore, the Pleistocene age (35,260-42,900 years) of methane emitted from hotspots along thawing lake margins indicates that this positive feedback to climate warming has led to the release of old carbon stocks previously stored in permafrost.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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...

  17. Measuring the Impact of Wildfire on Active Layer Thickness in a Discontinuous Permafrost region using Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Michaelides, R. J.; Schaefer, K. M.; Zebker, H. A.; Liu, L.; Chen, J.; Parsekian, A.

    2017-12-01

    In permafrost regions, the active layer is defined as the uppermost portion of the permafrost table that is subject to annual freeze/thaw cycles. The active layer plays a crucial role in surface processes, surface hydrology, and vegetation succession; furthermore, trapped methane, carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases in permafrost are released into the atmosphere as permafrost thaws. A detailed understanding of active layer dynamics is therefore critical towards understanding the interactions between permafrost surface processes, freeze/thaw cycles, and climate-especially in regions across the Arctic subject to long-term permafrost degradation. The Yukon-Kuskokwim (YK) delta in southwestern Alaska is a region of discontinuous permafrost characterized by surface lakes, wetlands, and thermokarst depressions. Furthermore, extensive wildfires have burned across the YK delta in 2006, 2007, and 2015, impacting vegetation cover, surface soil moisture, and the active layer. Using data from the ALOS PALSAR, ALOS-2 PALSAR-2, and Sentinel-1A/B space borne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) systems, we generate a series of interferograms over a study site in the YK delta spanning 2007-2011, and 2014-present. Using the ReSALT (Remotely-Sensed Active Layer Thickness) technique, we demonstrate that active layer can be characterized over most of the site from the relative interferometric phase difference due to ground subsidence and rebound associated with the seasonal active layer freeze/thaw cycle. Additionally, we show that this technique successfully discriminates between burned and unburned regions, and can resolve increases in active layer thickness in burned regions on the order of 10's of cms. We use the time series of interferograms to discuss permafrost recovery following wildfire burn, and compare our InSAR observations with GPR and active layer probing data from a 2016 summer field campaign to the study site. Finally, we compare the advantages and disadvantages of

  18. 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

  19. Distinguishing between old and modern permafrost sources in the northeast Siberian land-shelf system with compound-specific δ2H analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vonk, Jorien E.; Tesi, Tommaso; Bröder, Lisa; Holmstrand, Henry; Hugelius, Gustaf; Andersson, August; Dudarev, Oleg; Semiletov, Igor; Gustafsson, Örjan

    2017-08-01

    Pleistocene ice complex permafrost deposits contain roughly a quarter of the organic carbon (OC) stored in permafrost (PF) terrain. When permafrost thaws, its OC is remobilized into the (aquatic) environment where it is available for degradation, transport or burial. Aquatic or coastal environments contain sedimentary reservoirs that can serve as archives of past climatic change. As permafrost thaw is increasing throughout the Arctic, these reservoirs are important locations to assess the fate of remobilized permafrost OC.We here present compound-specific deuterium (δ2H) analysis on leaf waxes as a tool to distinguish between OC released from thawing Pleistocene permafrost (ice complex deposits; ICD) and from thawing Holocene permafrost (from near-surface soils). Bulk geochemistry (%OC; δ13C; %total nitrogen, TN) was analyzed as well as the concentrations and δ2H signatures of long-chain n-alkanes (C21 to C33) and mid- to long-chain n-alkanoic acids (C16 to C30) extracted from both ICD-PF samples (n = 9) and modern vegetation and O-horizon (topsoil-PF) samples (n = 9) from across the northeast Siberian Arctic. Results show that these topsoil-PF samples have higher %OC, higher OC / TN values and more depleted δ13C-OC values than ICD-PF samples, suggesting that these former samples trace a fresher soil and/or vegetation source. Whereas the two investigated sources differ on the bulk geochemical level, they are, however, virtually indistinguishable when using leaf wax concentrations and ratios. However, on the molecular isotope level, leaf wax biomarker δ2H values are statistically different between topsoil PF and ICD PF. For example, the mean δ2H value of C29 n-alkane was -246 ± 13 ‰ (mean ± SD) for topsoil PF and -280 ± 12 ‰ for ICD PF. With a dynamic isotopic range (difference between two sources) of 34 to 50 ‰; the isotopic fingerprints of individual, abundant, biomarker molecules from leaf waxes can thus serve as endmembers to distinguish between

  20. Shifts of tundra bacterial and archaeal communities along a permafrost thaw gradient in Alaska.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deng, Jie; Gu, Yunfu; Zhang, Jin; Xue, Kai; Qin, Yujia; Yuan, Mengting; Yin, Huaqun; He, Zhili; Wu, Liyou; Schuur, Edward A G; Tiedje, James M; Zhou, Jizhong

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the response of permafrost microbial communities to climate warming is crucial for evaluating ecosystem feedbacks to global change. This study investigated soil bacterial and archaeal communities by Illumina MiSeq sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons across a permafrost thaw gradient at different depths in Alaska with thaw progression for over three decades. Over 4.6 million passing 16S rRNA gene sequences were obtained from a total of 97 samples, corresponding to 61 known classes and 470 genera. Soil depth and the associated soil physical-chemical properties had predominant impacts on the diversity and composition of the microbial communities. Both richness and evenness of the microbial communities decreased with soil depth. Acidobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, Alpha- and Gamma-Proteobacteria dominated the microbial communities in the upper horizon, whereas abundances of Bacteroidetes, Delta-Proteobacteria and Firmicutes increased towards deeper soils. Effects of thaw progression were absent in microbial communities in the near-surface organic soil, probably due to greater temperature variation. Thaw progression decreased the abundances of the majority of the associated taxa in the lower organic soil, but increased the abundances of those in the mineral soil, including groups potentially involved in recalcitrant C degradation (Actinomycetales, Chitinophaga, etc.). The changes in microbial communities may be related to altered soil C sources by thaw progression. Collectively, this study revealed different impacts of thaw in the organic and mineral horizons and suggests the importance of studying both the upper and deeper soils while evaluating microbial responses to permafrost thaw. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  1. Alaskan soil carbon stocks: spatial variability and dependence on environmental factors

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    U. Mishra

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available The direction and magnitude of soil organic carbon (SOC changes in response to climate change depend on the spatial and vertical distributions of SOC. We estimated spatially resolved SOC stocks from surface to C horizon, distinguishing active-layer and permafrost-layer stocks, based on geospatial analysis of 472 soil profiles and spatially referenced environmental variables for Alaska. Total Alaska state-wide SOC stock was estimated to be 77 Pg, with 61% in the active-layer, 27% in permafrost, and 12% in non-permafrost soils. Prediction accuracy was highest for the active-layer as demonstrated by highest ratio of performance to deviation (1.5. Large spatial variability was predicted, with whole-profile, active-layer, and permafrost-layer stocks ranging from 1–296 kg C m−2, 2–166 kg m−2, and 0–232 kg m−2, respectively. Temperature and soil wetness were found to be primary controllers of whole-profile, active-layer, and permafrost-layer SOC stocks. Secondary controllers, in order of importance, were found to be land cover type, topographic attributes, and bedrock geology. The observed importance of soil wetness rather than precipitation on SOC stocks implies that the poor representation of high-latitude soil wetness in Earth system models may lead to large uncertainty in predicted SOC stocks under future climate change scenarios. Under strict caveats described in the text and assuming temperature changes from the A1B Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emissions scenario, our geospatial model indicates that the equilibrium average 2100 Alaska active-layer depth could deepen by 11 cm, resulting in a thawing of 13 Pg C currently in permafrost. The equilibrium SOC loss associated with this warming would be highest under continuous permafrost (31%, followed by discontinuous (28%, isolated (24.3%, and sporadic (23.6% permafrost areas. Our high-resolution mapping of soil carbon stock reveals the

  2. 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

  3. Onset and stability of gas hydrates under permafrost in an environment of surface climatic change : past and future

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2008-01-01

    This paper presented a model designed to simulate permafrost and gas hydrate formation in a changing surface temperature environment in the Beaufort-Mackenzie Basin (BMB). The numerical model simulated surface forcing due to general cooling trends that began in the late Miocene era. This study modelled the onset of permafrost formation and subsequent gas hydrate formation in the changing surface temperature environment for the BMB. Paleoclimatic data were used. The 1-D model was constrained by deep heat flow from well bottom hole temperatures; conductivity; permafrost thickness; and the thickness of the gas hydrates. The model used latent heat effects for the ice-bearing permafrost and hydrate intervals. Surface temperatures for glacial and interglacial histories for the last 14 million years were considered. The model also used a detailed Holocene temperature history as well as a scenario in which atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) levels were twice as high as current levels. Two scenarios were considered: (1) the formation of gas hydrates from gas entrapped under geological seals; and (2) the formation of gas hydrates from gas located in free pore spaces simultaneously with permafrost formation. Results of the study showed that gas hydrates may have formed at a depth of 0.9 km only 1 million years ago. Results of the other modelling scenarios suggested that the hydrates formed 6 million years ago, when temperature changes caused the gas hydrate layer to expand both downward and upward. Detailed models of more recent glacial and interglacial histories showed that the gas hydrate zones will persist under the thick body of the BMB permafrost through current interglacial warming as well as in scenarios where atmospheric CO 2 is doubled. 28 refs., 13 figs

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Water chemistry in the rives of the permafrost regions on the eastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, X.; Ma, X.; Ye, L.; Liu, G.

    2017-12-01

    Qinghai-Tibetan is the largest middle-low latitude permafrost areas on the world. There are several large rivers in the plateau, and the changes of the water resources of these rivers are associated with the water resource security of more than 1.35 billion people. Due to the high gradients, these rivers have a tremendous amount of potential energy for electricity output. To promote economic and social development and provide clean energy, hydropower development has taken place on several rivers which originate on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Since dam construction affect the flow velocity, water temperature, sediments delivery as well as organic matter and nitrogen, it is important to investigate the river chemistry in the head rivers of the reservoirs. We examined the water physio-chemical characteristics in the rivers under the typical vegetation types in the eastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, and further analyzed their relationship to vegetation. The results showed that the total suspended sediment in the rivers were higher within the catchment of alpine steppe, with the lowest dissolved organic carbon content. In contrast, the rivers within the meadow had the highest dissolved organic carbon and lowest total suspension sediment. The dissolved organic carbon significantly positively correlated with the proportions of the meadow and wet meadow in the catchment. The pH, turbidity, and SUVA254 and dissolved organic carbon also correlated with each other. The results suggest that the vegetation type strongly affect the water chemistry in the permafrost regions on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.

  8. Using dissolved organic matter age and composition to detect permafrost thaw in boreal watersheds of interior Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Donnell, Jonathan A.; Aiken, George R.; Walvoord, Michelle A.; Raymond, Peter A.; Butler, Kenna D.; Dornblaser, Mark M.; Heckman, Katherine

    2014-11-01

    Recent warming at high latitudes has accelerated permafrost thaw, which can modify soil carbon dynamics and watershed hydrology. The flux and composition of dissolved organic matter (DOM) from soils to rivers are sensitive to permafrost configuration and its impact on subsurface hydrology and groundwater discharge. Here, we evaluate the utility of DOM composition and age as a tool for detecting permafrost thaw in three rivers (Beaver, Birch, and Hess Creeks) within the discontinuous permafrost zone of interior Alaska. We observed strong temporal controls on Δ14C content of hydrophobic acid isolates (Δ14C-HPOA) across all rivers, with the most enriched values occurring during spring snowmelt (75 ± 8‰) and most depleted during winter flow (-21 ± 8‰). Radiocarbon ages of winter flow samples ranged from 35 to 445 yr BP, closely tracking estimated median base flow travel times for this region (335 years). During spring snowmelt, young DOM was composed of highly aromatic, high molecular-weight compounds, whereas older DOM of winter flow had lower aromaticity and molecular weight. We observed a significant correlation between Δ14C-HPOA and UV absorbance coefficient at 254 nm (α254) across all study rivers. Using α254 as an optical indicator for Δ14C-HPOA, we also observed a long-term decline in α254 during maximum annual thaw depth over the last decade at the Hess Creek study site. These findings suggest a shift in watershed hydrology associated with increasing active layer thickness. Further development of DOM optical indicators may serve as a novel and inexpensive tool for detecting permafrost degradation in northern watersheds.

  9. Feedback mechanisms in the climate system affecting future levels of carbon dioxide

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kellogg, W.W.

    1983-01-01

    The rate of increase of concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide depends on the consumption of fossil fuels (the major source of 'new' carbon dioxide) and the natural sinks for this trace constituent, primarily the oceans and the biosphere. (It is now fairly well established that the biosphere cannot be a major source, as has been claimed.) The rate of operation of these sinks depends on several factors determined by the state of the climate system, and they will therefore presumably change as the greenhouse effect of increasing carbon dioxide warms the earth. Five specific feedback loops are discussed, two of which are positive (amplifying the rate of increase), two are weakly negative (damping the rate of increase), and one is indeterminate but probably positive. It is concluded that it would be well to be prepared for the possibility that carbon dioxide may increase faster than predicted by models based on the current or past state of the climate system

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-05-01

    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

  14. Aged dissolved organic carbon exported from rivers of the Tibetan Plateau.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qu, Bin; Sillanpää, Mika; Li, Chaoliu; Kang, Shichang; Stubbins, Aron; Yan, Fangping; Aho, Kelly Sue; Zhou, Feng; Raymond, Peter A

    2017-01-01

    The role played by river networks in regional and global carbon cycle is receiving increasing attention. Despite the potential of radiocarbon measurements (14C) to elucidate sources and cycling of different riverine carbon pools, there remain large regions such as the climate-sensitive Tibetan Plateau for which no data are available. Here we provide new 14C data on dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from three large Asian rivers (the Yellow, Yangtze and Yarlung Tsangpo Rivers) running on the Tibetan Plateau and present the carbon transportation pattern in rivers of the plateau versus other river system in the world. Despite higher discharge rates during the high flow season, the DOC yield of Tibetan Plateau rivers (0.41 gC m-2 yr-1) was lower than most other rivers due to lower concentrations. Radiocarbon ages of the DOC were older/more depleted (511±294 years before present, yr BP) in the Tibetan rivers than those in Arctic and tropical rivers. A positive correlation between radiocarbon age and permafrost watershed coverage was observed, indicating that 14C-deplted/old carbon is exported from permafrost regions of the Tibetan Plateau during periods of high flow. This is in sharp contrast to permafrost regions of the Arctic which export 14C-enriched carbon during high discharge periods.

  15. Data analysis and mapping of the mountain permafrost distribution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deluigi, Nicola; Lambiel, Christophe; Kanevski, Mikhail

    2017-04-01

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

  16. Permafrost soil characteristics and microbial community structure across a boreal forest watershed vary over short spatial scales and dictate community responses to thaw.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stegen, J.; Bottos, E. M.; Kennedy, D.; Romero, E. B.; Fansler, S.; Chu, R. K.; Tfaily, M.; Jansson, J.; Bernstein, H. C.; Brown, J. M.; Markillie, L. M.

    2017-12-01

    Understanding drivers of permafrost microbial community structure and function is critical for understanding permafrost microbiology and predicting ecosystem responses to thaw; however, studies describing ecological controls on these communities are lacking. We hypothesize that permafrost communities are uniquely shaped by constraints imposed by prolonged freezing, and decoupled from the selective factors that influence non-permafrost soil communities, but that pre-thaw environmental and community characteristics will be strong determinants of community structure and function post-thaw. We characterized patterns of environmental variation and microbial community composition in sixty permafrost samples spanning landscape gradients in a boreal forest watershed, and monitored community responses to thaw. Consistent with our hypothesis, we found that, proportionally, the strongest process influencing permafrost community composition was dispersal limitation (0.36), exceeding the influence of homogenous selection (0.21) and variable selection (0.16), and that deterministic selection arose primarily from energetic constraints of the permafrost environment. Our data supported a structural equation model in which organic carbon thermodynamics and organic acid content, influenced redox conditions and total selection. Post-thaw community composition was found to be driven primarily by pre-thaw community composition, indicating a strong influence of historical conditions. Together, these results suggest that community responses to thaw may be highly varied over short distances and that changes in community structure and function are likely to be drastic, as changes to system hydrology mobilize organisms and nutrients, thereby relieving the primary constraints on the system. These findings are being integrated with metabolomic and metatranscriptomic analyses to improve understanding of how pre-thaw conditions can be used to predict microbial activity post-thaw.

  17. Assimilation of old carbon by stream food webs in arctic Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Donnell, J. A.; Carey, M.; Xu, X.; Koch, J. C.; Walker, J. C.; Zimmerman, C. E.

    2017-12-01

    Permafrost thaw in arctic and sub-arctic region is mobilizing old carbon (C) from perennially frozen soils, driving the release of old C to the atmosphere and to aquatic ecosystems. Much research has focused on the transport and lability of old dissolved organic C (DOC) as a possible feedback to the climate system following thaw. However, little is known about the role of old C as a source to aquatic food webs in watersheds underlain by thawing permafrost. To quantify the contributions of old C to Arctic stream food-webs, we measured the radiocarbon (Δ14C) and stable isotope (δ13C, δ15N) contents of periphyton, macroinvertebrates, and resident fish species (Arctic Grayling (Thymallus arcticus) and Dolly Varden (Salvelinus malma)). We also characterized the isotopic composition of possible C sources, including DOC, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), and soil organic matter. Samples were collected across 10 streams in Arctic Alaska, draining watersheds underlain by varying parent material and ground-ice content, from ice-poor bedrock to ice-rich loess (i.e. Yedoma). Fraction modern (FM) values for Arctic Grayling and Dolly Varden ranged from 0.6720 to 1.0101 (3195 years BP to modern) across all streams, and closely tracked spatial variation in Δ14C content of periphyton. Parent material and ground-ice content appear to govern the age and form of dissolved C sources to stream biota. For instance, in watersheds underlain by ice-poor bedrock, old DIC (< 5000 years BP) was the dominant C source to stream biota, reflecting contributions from carbonate weathering and soil respiration. In streams draining ice-rich Yedoma, high concentrations of younger DOC were the primary C source to stream biota, reflecting leaching of DOC from saturated, peaty soils of the active layer. These findings highlight the importance of permafrost characteristics as a control on subsurface hydrology and the delivery of aged C to surface waters. Given the large stores Pleistocene-aged organic

  18. Distinguishing between old and modern permafrost sources in the northeast Siberian land–shelf system with compound-specific δ2H analysis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. E. Vonk

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Pleistocene ice complex permafrost deposits contain roughly a quarter of the organic carbon (OC stored in permafrost (PF terrain. When permafrost thaws, its OC is remobilized into the (aquatic environment where it is available for degradation, transport or burial. Aquatic or coastal environments contain sedimentary reservoirs that can serve as archives of past climatic change. As permafrost thaw is increasing throughout the Arctic, these reservoirs are important locations to assess the fate of remobilized permafrost OC.We here present compound-specific deuterium (δ2H analysis on leaf waxes as a tool to distinguish between OC released from thawing Pleistocene permafrost (ice complex deposits; ICD and from thawing Holocene permafrost (from near-surface soils. Bulk geochemistry (%OC; δ13C; %total nitrogen, TN was analyzed as well as the concentrations and δ2H signatures of long-chain n-alkanes (C21 to C33 and mid- to long-chain n-alkanoic acids (C16 to C30 extracted from both ICD-PF samples (n =  9 and modern vegetation and O-horizon (topsoil-PF samples (n =  9 from across the northeast Siberian Arctic. Results show that these topsoil-PF samples have higher %OC, higher OC ∕ TN values and more depleted δ13C-OC values than ICD-PF samples, suggesting that these former samples trace a fresher soil and/or vegetation source. Whereas the two investigated sources differ on the bulk geochemical level, they are, however, virtually indistinguishable when using leaf wax concentrations and ratios. However, on the molecular isotope level, leaf wax biomarker δ2H values are statistically different between topsoil PF and ICD PF. For example, the mean δ2H value of C29 n-alkane was −246 ± 13 ‰ (mean ± SD for topsoil PF and −280 ± 12 ‰ for ICD PF. With a dynamic isotopic range (difference between two sources of 34 to 50 ‰; the isotopic fingerprints of individual, abundant, biomarker molecules from leaf waxes can

  19. 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...

  20. 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...

  1. Representation of riverine DOC within a GCM: First framework for coupling soil carbon and lateral hydrology in MPI-ESM

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brovkin, V.; Gehlot, S.; Hagemann, S.

    2017-12-01

    The current state of the art General Circulation Models (GCMs) do not consider the lateral transport of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from land to ocean via rivers/streams and the global carbon budget is primarily evaluated based only on vertical gas exchange processes between land or ocean carbon reservoirs. In high latitudes, the permafrost plays an important role in contributing to riverine organic carbon. Moreover, the vertical gas exchange processes are active during the lateral riverine carbon transport but are not considered in the impact of thawing permafrost on global climate. The interplay between permafrost and lateral hydrology is a substantial factor impacting the organic carbon inflow to the Arctic and its associated atmospheric exchange. In this research, we propose a framework of coupling the soil carbon transport via rivers using the hydrological discharge scheme (HD-Model) of MPI-ESM (Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology Earth System Model). The soil carbon classification is based on the solubility (YASSO soil carbon pools) and their subsequent attribution to the dissolved organic carbon via runoff (fast carbon pool) and baseflow (slow carbon pool). The HD-model, which simulates the river discharge for all land areas at a resolution of 0.5 degree, will be modified with inclusion of the DOC as tracer over test areas. Evaluation of DOC transport scheme is intended at reservoir level via available site measurements. The analysis will include global river networks for organic carbon transport with focus on permafrost and high latitude areas. Decomposition of DOC en-route land to ocean via vertical gas exchange processes will be included.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. Geophysical Investigation of a Thermokarst Lake Talik in Continuous Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Creighton, A.; Parsekian, A.; Arp, C. D.; Jones, B. M.; Babcock, E.; Bondurant, A. C.

    2016-12-01

    On the Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) of northern Alaska, shallow thermokarst lakes cover up to 25% of the landscape. These lakes occupy depressions created by the subsidence of thawed, ice-rich permafrost. Areas of unfrozen sediment, or taliks, can form under lakes that have a mean annual bottom temperature greater than 0°C. The geometry of these taliks, as well as the processes that create them, are important for understanding interactions between surface water, groundwater, and carbon cycling. Non-invasive geophysical methods are a useful means to study talik sediments as borehole studies yield few data points, and the contrast between unfrozen and frozen sediments is an ideal geophysical target. To study talik configuration associated with an actively expanding thermokarst lake, we conducted a geophysical transect across Peatball Lake. This lake has an estimated initiation age of 1400 calendar years BP. Over the past 60 years, lake surface area has increased through thermal and mechanical shoreline erosion. A talik of previously unknown thickness likely exists below Peatball Lake. We conducted a transect of transient electromagnetic soundings across the lake extending into the surrounding terrestrial environment. Since permafrost has relatively high resistivity compared to talik sediments, the interpreted electrical structure of the subsurface likely reflects talik geometry. We also conducted nuclear magnetic resonance soundings at representative locations along the transect. These measurements can provide data on sub-lake sediment properties including water content. Together, these measurements resolve the talik structure across the lake transect and showed evidence of varying talik thicknesses from the lake edge to center. These is no evidence of a talik at the terrestrial control sites. These results can help constrain talik development models and thus provide insight into Arctic and permafrost processes in the face of a changing climate.

  5. 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

  6. Vulnerability of high-latitude soil organic carbon in North America to disturbance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grosse, Guido; Harden, Jennifer W.; Turetsky, Merritt; McGuire, A. David; Camill, Philip; Tarnocai, Charles; Frolking, Steve; Schuur, Edward A.G.; Jorgenson, Torre; Marchenko, Sergei; Romanovsky, Vladimir; Wickland, Kimberly P.; French, Nancy; Waldrop, Mark P.; Bourgeau-Chavez, Laura L.; Striegl, Robert G.

    2011-01-01

    This synthesis addresses the vulnerability of the North American high-latitude soil organic carbon (SOC) pool to climate change. Disturbances caused by climate warming in arctic, subarctic, and boreal environments can result in significant redistribution of C among major reservoirs with potential global impacts. We divide the current northern high-latitude SOC pools into (1) near-surface soils where SOC is affected by seasonal freeze-thaw processes and changes in moisture status, and (2) deeper permafrost and peatland strata down to several tens of meters depth where SOC is usually not affected by short-term changes. We address key factors (permafrost, vegetation, hydrology, paleoenvironmental history) and processes (C input, storage, decomposition, and output) responsible for the formation of the large high-latitude SOC pool in North America and highlight how climate-related disturbances could alter this pool's character and size. Press disturbances of relatively slow but persistent nature such as top-down thawing of permafrost, and changes in hydrology, microbiological communities, pedological processes, and vegetation types, as well as pulse disturbances of relatively rapid and local nature such as wildfires and thermokarst, could substantially impact SOC stocks. Ongoing climate warming in the North American high-latitude region could result in crossing environmental thresholds, thereby accelerating press disturbances and increasingly triggering pulse disturbances and eventually affecting the C source/sink net character of northern high-latitude soils. Finally, we assess postdisturbance feedbacks, models, and predictions for the northern high-latitude SOC pool, and discuss data and research gaps to be addressed by future research.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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...

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Methane Release and Pingo-Like Feature Across the South kara Sea Shels, an Area of Thawing Offshore Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Serov, P.; Portnov, A.; Mienert, J.

    2015-12-01

    Thawing subsea permafrost controls methane release from the Russian Arctic shelf having a considerable impact on the climate-sensitive Arctic environment. Our recent studies revealed extensive gas release over an area of at least 7500 km2and presence of pingo-like features (PLFs), showing severe methane leakage, in the South Kara Sea in water depths >20m (Serov et al., 2015). Specifically, we detected shallow methane ebullition sites expressed in water column acoustic anomalies (gas flares and gas fronts) and areas of increased dissolved methane concentrations in bottom water, which might be sufficient sources of carbon for seawater-atmosphere exchange. A study of nature and source of leaking gas was focused on two PLFs, which are acoustically transparent circular mounds towering 5-9 m above the surrounding seafloor. One PLF (PLF 2) connects to biogenic gas from deeper sources, which is reflected in δ13CCH4 values ranging from -55,1‰ to -88,0‰ and δDCH4values varied from -175‰ to -246‰. Low organic matter content (0.52-1.69%) of seafloor sediments restricts extensive in situ methane production. The formation of PLF 2 is directly linked to the thawing of subsea permafrost and, possibly, decomposition of permafrost related gas hydrates. High accumulations of biogenic methane create the necessary forces to push the remaining frozen layers upwards and, therefore, form a topographic feature. We speculate that PLF 1, which shows ubiquitously low methane concentrations, is either a relict submerged terrestrial pingo, or a PLF lacking the necessary underlying methane accumulations. Our model of glacial-interglacial permafrost evolution supports a scenario in which subsea permafrost tapers seaward and pinches out at 20m isobaths, controlling observed methane emissions and development of PLFs. Serov. P., A. Portnov, J. Mienert, P. Semenov, and P. Ilatovskaya (2015), Methane release from pingo-like features across the South Kara Sea shelf, an area of thawnig

  15. Modeling thermal dynamics of active layer soils and near-surface permafrost using a fully coupled water and heat transport model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jiang, Yueyang; Zhuang, Qianlai; O'Donnell, Jonathan A.

    2012-01-01

    Thawing and freezing processes are key components in permafrost dynamics, and these processes play an important role in regulating the hydrological and carbon cycles in the northern high latitudes. In the present study, we apply a well-developed soil thermal model that fully couples heat and water transport, to simulate the thawing and freezing processes at daily time steps across multiple sites that vary with vegetation cover, disturbance history, and climate. The model performance was evaluated by comparing modeled and measured soil temperatures at different depths. We use the model to explore the influence of climate, fire disturbance, and topography (north- and south-facing slopes) on soil thermal dynamics. Modeled soil temperatures agree well with measured values for both boreal forest and tundra ecosystems at the site level. Combustion of organic-soil horizons during wildfire alters the surface energy balance and increases the downward heat flux through the soil profile, resulting in the warming and thawing of near-surface permafrost. A projection of 21st century permafrost dynamics indicates that as the climate warms, active layer thickness will likely increase to more than 3 meters in the boreal forest site and deeper than one meter in the tundra site. Results from this coupled heat-water modeling approach represent faster thaw rates than previously simulated in other studies. We conclude that the discussed soil thermal model is able to well simulate the permafrost dynamics and could be used as a tool to analyze the influence of climate change and wildfire disturbance on permafrost thawing.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

  17. Carbon exchange fluxes over peatlands in Western Siberia: Possible feedback between land-use change and climate change

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Fleischer, Elisa, E-mail: elisa.fleischer@uni-muenster.de [Institute of Landscape Ecology, Climatology Research Group, University of Münster, Münster (Germany); Khashimov, Ilhom, E-mail: nixonlp@mail.ru [Institute of Earth Science, Physical Geography and Geoecology Department, Tyumen State University, Tyumen (Russian Federation); Hölzel, Norbert, E-mail: nhoelzel@uni-muenster.de [Institute of Landscape Ecology, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research Group, University of Münster, Münster (Germany); Klemm, Otto, E-mail: otto.klemm@uni-muenster.de [Institute of Landscape Ecology, Climatology Research Group, University of Münster, Münster (Germany)

    2016-03-01

    The growing demand for agricultural products has been leading to an expansion and intensification of agriculture around the world. More and more unused land is currently reclaimed in the regions of the former Soviet Union. Driven by climate change, the Western Siberian grain belt might, in a long-term, even expand into the drained peatland areas to the North. It is crucial to study the consequences of this land-use change with respect to the carbon cycling as this is still a major knowledge gap. We present for the first time data on the atmosphere-ecosystem exchange of carbon dioxide and methane of an arable field and a neighboring unused grassland on peat soil in Western Siberia. Eddy covariance measurements were performed over one vegetation period. No directed methane fluxes were found due to an effective drainage of the study sites. The carbon dioxide fluxes appeared to be of high relevance for the global carbon and greenhouse gas cycles. They showed very site-specific patterns resulting from the development of vegetation: the persistent plants of the grassland were able to start photosynthesizing soon after snow melt, while the absence of vegetation on the managed field lead to a phase of emissions until the oat plants started to grow in June. The uptake peak of the oat field is much later than that of the grassland, but larger due to a rapid plant growth. Budgeting the whole measurement period, the grassland served as a carbon sink, whereas the oat field was identified to be a carbon source. The conversion from non-used grasslands on peat soil to cultivated fields in Western Siberia is therefore considered to have a positive feedback on climate change. - Highlights: • Grasslands on drained peat soil can act as carbon sinks. • Arable fields on drained peat act as carbon sources due to long phases of bare soil. • CH{sub 4} emissions from drained peatlands seem to play a smaller role than CO{sub 2} fluxes. • Conversion from grassland to arable field has

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-12-01

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

  19. 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....

  20. Trace element transport in western Siberian rivers across a permafrost gradient

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pokrovsky, Oleg S.; Manasypov, Rinat M.; Loiko, Sergey V.; Krickov, Ivan A.; Kopysov, Sergey G.; Kolesnichenko, Larisa G.; Vorobyev, Sergey N.; Kirpotin, Sergey N.

    2016-03-01

    . The effect of the latitude was minimal in spring for most TEs but highly visible for Sr, Mo, Sb and U. The main factors controlling the shift of river feeding from surface and subsurface flow to deep underground flow in the permafrost-bearing zone were the depth of the active (unfrozen) seasonal layer and its position in organic or mineral horizons of the soil profile. In the permafrost-free zone, the relative role of carbonate mineral-bearing base rock feeding versus bog water feeding determined the pattern of TE concentration and fluxes in rivers of various sizes as a function of season. Comparison of obtained TE fluxes in WSL rivers with those of other subarctic rivers demonstrated reasonable agreement for most TEs; the lithology of base rocks was the major factor controlling the magnitude of TE fluxes. Climate change in western Siberia and permafrost boundary migration will essentially affect the elements controlled by underground water feeding (DIC, alkaline earth elements (Ca, Sr), oxyanions (Mo, Sb, As) and U). The thickening of the active layer may increase the export of trivalent and tetravalent hydrolysates in the form of organo-ferric colloids. Plant litter-originated divalent metals present as organic complexes may be retained via adsorption on mineral horizon. However, due to various counterbalanced processes controlling element source and sinks in plant-peat-mineral soil-river systems, the overall impact of the permafrost thaw on TE export from the land to the ocean may be smaller than that foreseen with merely active layer thickening and permafrost boundary shift.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

    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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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)

  5. 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

  6. Lateglacial and Holocene climate, disturbance and permafrost peatland dynamics on the Seward Peninsula, western Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hunt, Stephanie D.; Yu, Zicheng; Jones, Miriam C.

    2013-01-01

    Northern peatlands have accumulated large carbon (C) stocks, acting as a long-term atmospheric C sink since the last deglaciation. How these C-rich ecosystems will respond to future climate change, however, is still poorly understood. Furthermore, many northern peatlands exist in regions underlain by permafrost, adding to the challenge of projecting C balance under changing climate and permafrost dynamics. In this study, we used a paleoecological approach to examine the effect of past climates and local disturbances on vegetation and C accumulation at a peatland complex on the southern Seward Peninsula, Alaska over the past ∼15 ka (1 ka = 1000 cal yr BP). We analyzed two cores about 30 m apart, NL10-1 (from a permafrost peat plateau) and NL10-2 (from an adjacent thermokarst collapse-scar bog), for peat organic matter (OM), C accumulation rates, macrofossil, pollen and grain size analysis.A wet rich fen occurred during the initial stages of peatland development at the thermokarst site (NL10-2). The presence of tree pollen from Picea spp. and Larix laricinia at 13.5–12.1 ka indicates a warm regional climate, corresponding with the well-documented Bølling–Allerød warm period. A cold and dry climate interval at 12.1–11.1 ka is indicated by the disappearance of tree pollen and increase in Poaceae pollen and an increase in woody material, likely representing a local expression of the Younger Dryas (YD) event. Following the YD, the warm Holocene Thermal Maximum (HTM) is characterized by the presence of Populus pollen, while the presence of Sphagnum spp. and increased C accumulation rates suggest high peatland productivity under a warm climate. Toward the end of the HTM and throughout the mid-Holocene a wet climate-induced several major flooding disturbance events at 10 ka, 8.1 ka, 6 ka, 5.4 ka and 4.7 ka, as evidenced by decreases in OM, and increases in coarse sand abundance and aquatic fossils (algae Chara and water fleas Daphnia). The initial

  7. CRYOLINK: Monitoring of permafrost and seasonal frost 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 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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 ...

  12. 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)

  13. Multimolecular tracers of terrestrial carbon transfer across the pan-Arctic: 14C characteristics of sedimentary carbon components and their environmental controls

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feng, Xiaojuan; Gustafsson, Örjan; Holmes, R. Max; Vonk, Jorien E.; van Dongen, Bart E.; Semiletov, Igor P.; Dudarev, Oleg V.; Yunker, Mark B.; Macdonald, Robie W.; Wacker, Lukas; Montluçon, Daniel B.; Eglinton, Timothy I.

    2015-11-01

    Distinguishing the sources, ages, and fate of various terrestrial organic carbon (OC) pools mobilized from heterogeneous Arctic landscapes is key to assessing climatic impacts on the fluvial release of carbon from permafrost. Through molecular 14C measurements, including novel analyses of suberin- and/or cutin-derived diacids (DAs) and hydroxy fatty acids (FAs), we compared the radiocarbon characteristics of a comprehensive suite of terrestrial markers (including plant wax lipids, cutin, suberin, lignin, and hydroxy phenols) in the sedimentary particles from nine major arctic and subarctic rivers in order to establish a benchmark assessment of the mobilization patterns of terrestrial OC pools across the pan-Arctic. Terrestrial lipids, including suberin-derived longer-chain DAs (C24,26,28), plant wax FAs (C24,26,28), and n-alkanes (C27,29,31), incorporated significant inputs of aged carbon, presumably from deeper soil horizons. Mobilization and translocation of these "old" terrestrial carbon components was dependent on nonlinear processes associated with permafrost distributions. By contrast, shorter-chain (C16,18) DAs and lignin phenols (as well as hydroxy phenols in rivers outside eastern Eurasian Arctic) were much more enriched in 14C, suggesting incorporation of relatively young carbon supplied by runoff processes from recent vegetation debris and surface layers. Furthermore, the radiocarbon content of terrestrial markers is heavily influenced by specific OC sources and degradation status. Overall, multitracer molecular 14C analysis sheds new light on the mobilization of terrestrial OC from arctic watersheds. Our findings of distinct ages for various terrestrial carbon components may aid in elucidating fate of different terrestrial OC pools in the face of increasing arctic permafrost thaw.

  14. 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

  15. Permafrost sub-grid heterogeneity of soil properties key for 3-D soil processes and future climate projections

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christian Beer

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available There are massive carbon stocks stored in permafrost-affected soils due to the 3-D soil movement process called cryoturbation. For a reliable projection of the past, recent and future Arctic carbon balance, and hence climate, a reliable concept for representing cryoturbation in a land surface model (LSM is required. The basis of the underlying transport processes is pedon-scale heterogeneity of soil hydrological and thermal properties as well as insulating layers, such as snow and vegetation. Today we still lack a concept of how to reliably represent pedon-scale properties and processes in a LSM. One possibility could be a statistical approach. This perspective paper demonstrates the importance of sub-grid heterogeneity in permafrost soils as a pre-requisite to implement any lateral transport parametrization. Representing such heterogeneity at the sub-pixel size of a LSM is the next logical step of model advancements. As a result of a theoretical experiment, heterogeneity of thermal and hydrological soil properties alone lead to a remarkable initial sub-grid range of subsoil temperature of 2 deg C, and active-layer thickness of 150 cm in East Siberia. These results show the way forward in representing combined lateral and vertical transport of water and soil in LSMs.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Temperature acclimation of photosynthesis and respiration: A key uncertainty in the carbon cycle-climate feedback

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lombardozzi, Danica L.; Bonan, Gordon B.; Smith, Nicholas G.; Dukes, Jeffrey S.; Fisher, Rosie A.

    2015-10-01

    Earth System Models typically use static responses to temperature to calculate photosynthesis and respiration, but experimental evidence suggests that many plants acclimate to prevailing temperatures. We incorporated representations of photosynthetic and leaf respiratory temperature acclimation into the Community Land Model, the terrestrial component of the Community Earth System Model. These processes increased terrestrial carbon pools by 20 Pg C (22%) at the end of the 21st century under a business-as-usual (Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5) climate scenario. Including the less certain estimates of stem and root respiration acclimation increased terrestrial carbon pools by an additional 17 Pg C (~40% overall increase). High latitudes gained the most carbon with acclimation, and tropical carbon pools increased least. However, results from both of these regions remain uncertain; few relevant data exist for tropical and boreal plants or for extreme temperatures. Constraining these uncertainties will produce more realistic estimates of land carbon feedbacks throughout the 21st century.

  20. [Postfire restoration of organic substance in the ground cover of the larch forests in the permafrost zone of central Evenkia].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prokushkin, S G; Bogdanov, V V; Prokushkin, A S; Tokareva, I V

    2011-01-01

    The role of ground fires in transformation of organic substances in the ground cover of larch stands in the permafrost zone of Central Siberia was studied, as was the postfire restoration dynamics of organic substances. Ground fires lead to a considerable decrease in concentrations and resources of organic carbon and its individual fractions in the ground cover, and restoration takes many decades.

  1. Year-round simulated methane emissions from a permafrost ecosystem in Northeast Siberia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Castro-Morales, Karel; Kleinen, Thomas; Kaiser, Sonja; Zaehle, Sönke; Kittler, Fanny; Kwon, Min Jung; Beer, Christian; Göckede, Mathias

    2018-05-01

    Wetlands of northern high latitudes are ecosystems highly vulnerable to climate change. Some degradation effects include soil hydrologic changes due to permafrost thaw, formation of deeper active layers, and rising topsoil temperatures that accelerate the degradation of permafrost carbon and increase in CO2 and CH4 emissions. In this work we present 2 years of modeled year-round CH4 emissions into the atmosphere from a Northeast Siberian region in the Russian Far East. We use a revisited version of the process-based JSBACH-methane model that includes four CH4 transport pathways: plant-mediated transport, ebullition and molecular diffusion in the presence or absence of snow. The gas is emitted through wetlands represented by grid cell inundated areas simulated with a TOPMODEL approach. The magnitude of the summertime modeled CH4 emissions is comparable to ground-based CH4 fluxes measured with the eddy covariance technique and flux chambers in the same area of study, whereas wintertime modeled values are underestimated by 1 order of magnitude. In an annual balance, the most important mechanism for transport of methane into the atmosphere is through plants (61 %). This is followed by ebullition ( ˜ 35 %), while summertime molecular diffusion is negligible (0.02 %) compared to the diffusion through the snow during winter ( ˜ 4 %). We investigate the relationship between temporal changes in the CH4 fluxes, soil temperature, and soil moisture content. Our results highlight the heterogeneity in CH4 emissions at landscape scale and suggest that further improvements to the representation of large-scale hydrological conditions in the model will facilitate a more process-oriented land surface scheme and better simulate CH4 emissions under climate change. This is especially necessary at regional scales in Arctic ecosystems influenced by permafrost thaw.

  2. Year-round simulated methane emissions from a permafrost ecosystem in Northeast Siberia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    K. Castro-Morales

    2018-05-01

    Full Text Available Wetlands of northern high latitudes are ecosystems highly vulnerable to climate change. Some degradation effects include soil hydrologic changes due to permafrost thaw, formation of deeper active layers, and rising topsoil temperatures that accelerate the degradation of permafrost carbon and increase in CO2 and CH4 emissions. In this work we present 2 years of modeled year-round CH4 emissions into the atmosphere from a Northeast Siberian region in the Russian Far East. We use a revisited version of the process-based JSBACH-methane model that includes four CH4 transport pathways: plant-mediated transport, ebullition and molecular diffusion in the presence or absence of snow. The gas is emitted through wetlands represented by grid cell inundated areas simulated with a TOPMODEL approach. The magnitude of the summertime modeled CH4 emissions is comparable to ground-based CH4 fluxes measured with the eddy covariance technique and flux chambers in the same area of study, whereas wintertime modeled values are underestimated by 1 order of magnitude. In an annual balance, the most important mechanism for transport of methane into the atmosphere is through plants (61 %. This is followed by ebullition ( ∼  35 %, while summertime molecular diffusion is negligible (0.02 % compared to the diffusion through the snow during winter ( ∼  4 %. We investigate the relationship between temporal changes in the CH4 fluxes, soil temperature, and soil moisture content. Our results highlight the heterogeneity in CH4 emissions at landscape scale and suggest that further improvements to the representation of large-scale hydrological conditions in the model will facilitate a more process-oriented land surface scheme and better simulate CH4 emissions under climate change. This is especially necessary at regional scales in Arctic ecosystems influenced by permafrost thaw.

  3. Dissolved organic matter composition of winter flow in the Yukon River basin: Implications of permafrost thaw and increased groundwater discharge

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Donnell, Jonathan A.; Aiken, George R.; Walvoord, Michelle Ann; Butler, Kenna D.

    2012-01-01

    Groundwater discharge to rivers has increased in recent decades across the circumpolar region and has been attributed to thawing permafrost in arctic and subarctic watersheds.