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Sample records for permafrost thawing due

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. On the use of mulching to mitigate permafrost thaw due to linear disturbances in sub-arctic peatlands

    Science.gov (United States)

    The presence or absence of permafrost significantly influences the hydrology and ecology of northern watersheds. Resource exploration activities are currently having noticeable effects on hydrological and ecological processes in sub-arctic peatlands. Disturbances such as seismic cutlines can result ...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-02-01

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

  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. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. Metagenomic analysis of permafrost microbial community response to thaw

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2011-07-01

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

  19. 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...

  20. 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)

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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)

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2015-01-01

    The Arctic is a water-rich region, with freshwater systems covering about 16 % of the northern permafrost landscape. Permafrost thaw creates new freshwater ecosystems, while at the same time modifying the existing lakes, streams, and rivers that are impacted by thaw. Here, we describe the current

  5. Freeze/Thaw-Induced Deformation Monitoring and Assessment of the Slope in Permafrost Based on Terrestrial Laser Scanner and GNSS

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lihui Luo

    2017-02-01

    Full Text Available Most previous studies of the Qinghai-Tibet engineering corridor (QTEC have focused on the impacts of climate change on thaw-induced slope failures, whereas few have considered freeze-induced slope failures. Terrestrial laser scanning was used in combination with global navigation satellite systems to monitor three-dimensional surface changes between 2014 and 2015 on the slope of permafrost in the QTEC, which experienced two thawing periods and a freezing period. Soil temperature and moisture sensors were also deployed at 11 depths to reveal the hydrological–thermal dynamics of the active layer. We analyzed scanned surface changes in the slope based on comparisons of multi-temporal point cloud data to determine how the hydrological–thermal process affected active layer deformation during freeze–thaw cycles, thereby comprehensively quantifying the surface deformation. During the two thawing periods, the major structure of the slope exhibited subsidence trends, whereas the major structure of the slope had an uplift trend in the freezing period. The seasonal subsidence trend was caused by thaw settlement and the seasonal uplift trend was probably due to frost heaving. This occurred mainly because the active layer and the upper permafrost underwent a phase transition due to heat transfer. The ground movements occurred approximately in the soil temperature conduction direction between the top of the soil and the permafrost table. The elevation deformation range was mainly −0.20 m to 0.20 m. Surface volume increases with heaving after freezing could have compensated for the loss of thawing twice and still led to the upward swelling of the slope. Thus, this type of slope in permafrost is dominated by frost heave. Deformation characteristics of the slope will support enhanced decision making regarding the implementation of remote sensing and hydrological–thermal measurement technologies to monitor changes in the slopes in permafrost adjacent to

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Experimentally increased nutrient availability at the permafrost thaw front selectively enhances biomass production of deep-rooting subarctic peatland species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keuper, Frida; Dorrepaal, Ellen; van Bodegom, Peter M; van Logtestijn, Richard; Venhuizen, Gemma; van Hal, Jurgen; Aerts, Rien

    2017-10-01

    Climate warming increases nitrogen (N) mineralization in superficial soil layers (the dominant rooting zone) of subarctic peatlands. Thawing and subsequent mineralization of permafrost increases plant-available N around the thaw-front. Because plant production in these peatlands is N-limited, such changes may substantially affect net primary production and species composition. We aimed to identify the potential impact of increased N-availability due to permafrost thawing on subarctic peatland plant production and species performance, relative to the impact of increased N-availability in superficial organic layers. Therefore, we investigated whether plant roots are present at the thaw-front (45 cm depth) and whether N-uptake ( 15 N-tracer) at the thaw-front occurs during maximum thaw-depth, coinciding with the end of the growing season. Moreover, we performed a unique 3-year belowground fertilization experiment with fully factorial combinations of deep- (thaw-front) and shallow-fertilization (10 cm depth) and controls. We found that certain species are present with roots at the thaw-front (Rubus chamaemorus) and have the capacity (R. chamaemorus, Eriophorum vaginatum) for N-uptake from the thaw-front between autumn and spring when aboveground tissue is largely senescent. In response to 3-year shallow-belowground fertilization (S) both shallow- (Empetrum hermaphroditum) and deep-rooting species increased aboveground biomass and N-content, but only deep-rooting species responded positively to enhanced nutrient supply at the thaw-front (D). Moreover, the effects of shallow-fertilization and thaw-front fertilization on aboveground biomass production of the deep-rooting species were similar in magnitude (S: 71%; D: 111% increase compared to control) and additive (S + D: 181% increase). Our results show that plant-available N released from thawing permafrost can form a thus far overlooked additional N-source for deep-rooting subarctic plant species and increase their

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2011-01-01

    Thawing permafrost and the resulting mineralization of previously frozen organic carbon (C) is considered an important future feedback from terrestrial ecosystems to the atmosphere. Here, we use a dynamic process oriented permafrost model, the CoupModel, to link surface and subsurface temperatures....... 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...

  13. 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.

  14. Response of CO2 exchange in a tussock tundra ecosystem to permafrost thaw and thermokarst development

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

    Climate change in high latitudes can lead to permafrost thaw, which in ice-rich soils can result in ground subsidence, or thermokarst. In interior Alaska, we examined seasonal and annual ecosystem CO2 exchange using static and automatic chamber measurements in three areas of a moist acidic tundra ecosystem undergoing varying degrees of permafrost...

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  18. 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

  19. Nonlinear CO2 flux response to 7 years of experimentally induced permafrost thaw.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mauritz, Marguerite; Bracho, Rosvel; Celis, Gerardo; Hutchings, Jack; Natali, Susan M; Pegoraro, Elaine; Salmon, Verity G; Schädel, Christina; Webb, Elizabeth E; Schuur, Edward A G

    2017-09-01

    Rapid Arctic warming is expected to increase global greenhouse gas concentrations as permafrost thaw exposes immense stores of frozen carbon (C) to microbial decomposition. Permafrost thaw also stimulates plant growth, which could offset C loss. Using data from 7 years of experimental Air and Soil warming in moist acidic tundra, we show that Soil warming had a much stronger effect on CO 2 flux than Air warming. Soil warming caused rapid permafrost thaw and increased ecosystem respiration (R eco ), gross primary productivity (GPP), and net summer CO 2 storage (NEE). Over 7 years R eco , GPP, and NEE also increased in Control (i.e., ambient plots), but this change could be explained by slow thaw in Control areas. In the initial stages of thaw, R eco , GPP, and NEE increased linearly with thaw across all treatments, despite different rates of thaw. As thaw in Soil warming continued to increase linearly, ground surface subsidence created saturated microsites and suppressed R eco , GPP, and NEE. However R eco and GPP remained high in areas with large Eriophorum vaginatum biomass. In general NEE increased with thaw, but was more strongly correlated with plant biomass than thaw, indicating that higher R eco in deeply thawed areas during summer months was balanced by GPP. Summer CO 2 flux across treatments fit a single quadratic relationship that captured the functional response of CO 2 flux to thaw, water table depth, and plant biomass. These results demonstrate the importance of indirect thaw effects on CO 2 flux: plant growth and water table dynamics. Nonsummer R eco models estimated that the area was an annual CO 2 source during all years of observation. Nonsummer CO 2 loss in warmer, more deeply thawed soils exceeded the increases in summer GPP, and thawed tundra was a net annual CO 2 source. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  20. Potential Arctic tundra vegetation shifts in response to changing temperature, precipitation and permafrost thaw

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kolk, van der Henk-Jan; Heijmans, M.M.P.D.; Huissteden, van J.; Pullens, J.W.M.; Berendse, F.

    2016-01-01

    Over the past decades, vegetation and climate have changed significantly in the Arctic. Deciduous shrub cover is often assumed to expand in tundra landscapes, but more frequent abrupt permafrost thaw resulting in formation of thaw ponds could lead to vegetation shifts towards graminoid-dominated

  1. 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

  2. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  5. 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.

  6. Temporal Behavior of Lake Size-Distribution in a Thawing Permafrost Landscape in Northwestern Siberia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Johanna Mård Karlsson

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Arctic warming alters regional hydrological systems, as permafrost thaw increases active layer thickness and in turn alters the pathways of water flow through the landscape. Further, permafrost thaw may change the connectivity between deeper and shallower groundwater and surface water altering the terrestrial water balance and distribution. Thermokarst lakes and wetlands in the Arctic offer a window into such changes as these landscape elements depend on permafrost and are some of the most dynamic and widespread features in Arctic lowland regions. In this study we used Landsat remotely sensed imagery to investigate potential shifts in thermokarst lake size-distributions, which may be brought about by permafrost thaw, over three distinct time periods (1973, 1987–1988, and 2007–2009 in three hydrological basins in northwestern Siberia. Results revealed fluctuations in total area and number of lakes over time, with both appearing and disappearing lakes alongside stable lakes. On the whole basin scales, there is no indication of any sustained long-term change in thermokarst lake area or lake size abundance over time. This statistical temporal consistency indicates that spatially variable change effects on local permafrost conditions have driven the individual lake changes that have indeed occurred over time. The results highlight the importance of using multi-temporal remote sensing data that can reveal complex spatiotemporal variations distinguishing fluctuations from sustained change trends, for accurate interpretation of thermokarst lake changes and their possible drivers in periods of climate and permafrost change.

  7. Potential carbon emissions dominated by carbon dioxide from thawed permafrost soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schädel, Christina; Bader, Martin K.-F.; Schuur, Edward A.G.; Biasi, Christina; Bracho, Rosvel; Čapek, Petr; De Baets, Sarah; Diáková, Kateřina; Ernakovich, Jessica; Estop-Aragones, Cristian; Graham, David E.; Hartley, Iain P.; Iversen, Colleen M.; Kane, Evan 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Woodward, A.; Kofinas, G.

    2013-12-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-05-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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...

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  1. NifH- Harboring Bacterial Community Composition Across an Alaskan Permafrost Thaw Gradient

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christopher Ryan Penton

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available Since nitrogen (N is often limiting in permafrost soils, we investigated the N2-fixing genetic potential and the inferred taxa harboring those genes by sequencing nifH gene fragments in samples taken along a permafrost thaw gradient in an Alaskan boreal soil. Samples from minimally, moderately and extensively thawed sites were taken to a depth of 79 cm to encompass zones above and below the depth of the water table. NifH reads were translated with frameshift correction and 112,476 sequences were clustered at 5% amino acid dissimilarity resulting in 1,631 OTUs. Sample depth in relation to water table depth was correlated to differences in the NifH sequence classes. NifH sequences most closely related to group I nifH-harboring Alpha- and Beta Proteobacteria were in higher abundance above water table depth while those related to group III nifH-harboring Delta and Gamma Proteobacteria were more abundant below. The most dominant below water table depth NifH sequences, comprising 1/3 of the total, were distantly related to Verrucomicrobia-Opitutaceae. Overall, these results suggest that permafrost thaw alters the class-level composition of N2-fixing communities in the thawed soil layers and that this distinction corresponds to the depth of the water table. These nifH data were also compared to nifH sequences obtained from a study at an Alaskan taiga site, and to those of other geographically distant, non-permafrost sites. The two Alaska sites were differentiated largely by changes in relative abundances of the same OTUs, whereas the non-Alaska sites were differentiated by the lack of many Alaskan OTUs, and the presence of unique halophilic, sulfate- and iron-reducing taxa in the Alaska sites.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Experimentally increased nutrient availability at the permafrost thaw front selectively enhances biomass production of deep-rooting subarctic peatland species

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Keuper, Frida; Dorrepaal, Ellen; van Bodegom, Peter M.; van Logtestijn, Richard; Venhuizen, Gemma; van Hal, Jurgen; Aerts, Rien

    2017-01-01

    Climate warming increases nitrogen (N) mineralization in superficial soil layers (the dominant rooting zone) of subarctic peatlands. Thawing and subsequent mineralization of permafrost increases plant-available N around the thaw-front. Because plant production in these peatlands is N-limited, such

  5. 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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Simulation of permafrost changes due to technogenic influences of different ingeneering constructions used in nothern oil and gas fields

    Science.gov (United States)

    Filimonov, M. Yu; Vaganova, N. A.

    2016-10-01

    Significant amount of oil and gas is producted in Russian Federation on the territories with permafrost soils. Ice-saturated rocks thawing due to global warming or effects of various human activity will be accompanied by termocarst and others dangerous geological processes in permafrost. Design and construction of well pads in permafrost zones have some special features. The main objective is to minimize the influence of different heat sources (engineering objects) inserted into permafrost and accounting long-term forecast of development of permafrost degradation due to different factors in particular generated by human activity. In this work on the basis a mathematical model and numerical algorithms approved on 11 northern oil and gas fields some effects obtained by carrying out numerical simulations for various engineering systems are discussed.

  10. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. Palaeoclimate characteristics in interior Siberia of MIS 6-2: first insights from the Batagay permafrost mega-thaw slump in the Yana Highlands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ashastina, Kseniia; Schirrmeister, Lutz; Fuchs, Margret; Kienast, Frank

    2017-07-01

    Syngenetic permafrost deposits formed extensively on and around the arising Beringian subcontinent during the Late Pleistocene sea level lowstands. Syngenetic deposition implies that all material, both mineral and organic, freezes parallel to sedimentation and remains frozen until degradation of the permafrost. Permafrost is therefore a unique archive of Late Pleistocene palaeoclimate. Most studied permafrost outcrops are situated in the coastal lowlands of northeastern Siberia; inland sections are, however, scarcely available. Here, we describe the stratigraphical, cryolithological, and geochronological characteristics of a permafrost sequence near Batagay in the Siberian Yana Highlands, the interior of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), Russia, with focus on the Late Pleistocene Yedoma ice complex (YIC). The recently formed Batagay mega-thaw slump exposes permafrost deposits to a depth of up to 80 m and gives insight into a climate record close to Verkhoyansk, which has the most severe continental climate in the Northern Hemisphere. Geochronological dating (optically stimulated luminescence, OSL, and 14C ages) and stratigraphic implications delivered a temporal frame from the Middle Pleistocene to the Holocene for our sedimentological interpretations and also revealed interruptions in the deposition. The sequence of lithological units indicates a succession of several distinct climate phases: a Middle Pleistocene ice complex indicates cold stage climate. Then, ice wedge growth stopped due to highly increased sedimentation rates and eventually a rise in temperature. Full interglacial climate conditions existed during accumulation of an organic-rich layer - plant macrofossils reflected open forest vegetation existing under dry conditions during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5e. The Late Pleistocene YIC (MIS 4-MIS 2) suggests severe cold-stage climate conditions. No alas deposits, potentially indicating thermokarst processes, were detected at the site. A detailed comparison

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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)

  18. Linear disturbances on discontinuous permafrost: implications for thaw-induced changes to land cover and drainage patterns

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Williams, Tyler J; Quinton, William L; Baltzer, Jennifer L

    2013-01-01

    Within the zone of discontinuous permafrost, linear disturbances such as winter roads and seismic lines severely alter the hydrology, ecology, and ground thermal regime. Continued resource exploration in this environment has created a need to better understand the processes causing permafrost thaw and concomitant changes to the terrain and ground cover, in order to efficiently reduce the environmental impact of future exploration through the development of best management practices. In a peatland 50 km south of Fort Simpson, NWT, permafrost thaw and the resulting ground surface subsidence have produced water-logged linear disturbances that appear not to be regenerating permafrost, and in many cases have altered the land cover type to resemble that of a wetland bog or fen. Subsidence alters the hydrology of plateaus, developing a fill and spill drainage pattern that allows some disturbances to be hydrologically connected with adjacent wetlands via surface flow paths during periods of high water availability. The degree of initial disturbance is an important control on the extent of permafrost thaw and thus the overall potential recovery of the linear disturbance. Low impact techniques that minimize ground surface disturbance and maintain original surface topography by eliminating windrows are needed to minimize the impact of these linear disturbances. (letter)

  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. Permafrost thaw and intense thermokarst activity decreases abundance of stream benthic macroinvertebrates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chin, Krista S; Lento, Jennifer; Culp, Joseph M; Lacelle, Denis; Kokelj, Steven V

    2016-08-01

    Intensification of permafrost thaw has increased the frequency and magnitude of large permafrost slope disturbances (mega slumps) in glaciated terrain of northwestern Canada. Individual thermokarst disturbances up to 40 ha in area have made large volumes of previously frozen sediments available for leaching and transport to adjacent streams, significantly increasing sediment and solute loads in these systems. To test the effects of this climate-sensitive disturbance regime on the ecology of Arctic streams, we explored the relationship between physical and chemical variables and benthic macroinvertebrate communities in disturbed and undisturbed stream reaches in the Peel Plateau, Northwest Territories, Canada. Highly disturbed and undisturbed stream reaches differed with respect to taxonomic composition and invertebrate abundance. Minimally disturbed reaches were not differentiated by these variables but rather were distributed along a disturbance gradient between highly disturbed and undisturbed sites. In particular, there was evidence of a strong negative relationship between macroinvertebrate abundance and total suspended solids, and a positive relationship between abundance and the distance from the disturbance. Increases in both sediments and nutrients appear to be the proximate cause of community differences in highly disturbed streams. Declines in macroinvertebrate abundance in response to slump activity have implications for the food webs of these systems, potentially leading to negative impacts on higher trophic levels, such as fish. Furthermore, the disturbance impacts on stream health can be expected to intensify as climate change increases the frequency and magnitude of thermokarst. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  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. 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. Permafrost-driven changes in groundwater discharge will alter the flux of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in rivers, yet little is known about the chemical composition and reactivity of dissolved organic matter (DOM) of groundwater in permafrost settings. Here, we characterize DOM composition of winter flow in 60 rivers and streams of the Yukon River basin to evaluate the biogeochemical consequences of enhanced groundwater discharge associated with permafrost thaw. DOC concentration of winter flow averaged 3.9 ± 0.5 mg C L−1, yet was highly variable across basins (ranging from 20 mg C L−1). In comparison to the summer-autumn period, DOM composition of winter flow had lower aromaticity (as indicated by specific ultraviolet absorbance at 254 nm, or SUVA254), lower hydrophobic acid content, and a higher proportion of hydrophilic compounds (HPI). Fluorescence spectroscopy and parallel factor analysis indicated enrichment of protein-like fluorophores in some, but not all, winter flow samples. The ratio of DOC to dissolved organic nitrogen, an indicator of DOM biodegradability, was positively correlated with SUVA254 and negatively correlated with the percentage of protein-like compounds. Using a simple two-pool mixing model, we evaluate possible changes in DOM during the summer-autumn period across a range of conditions reflecting possible increases in groundwater discharge. Across three watersheds, we consistently observed decreases in DOC concentration and SUVA254 and increases in HPI with increasing groundwater discharge. Spatial patterns in DOM composition of winter flow appear to reflect differences in the relative contributions of groundwater from suprapermafrost and subpermafrost aquifers across watersheds. Our findings call for more explicit consideration of DOC loss and stabilization

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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 ...

  9. 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

  10. The fate of 13C15N labelled glycine in permafrost and surface soil at simulated thaw in mesocosms from high arctic and subarctic ecosystems

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ravn, Nynne Marie Rand; Elberling, Bo; Michelsen, Anders

    2017-01-01

    Background and aim: Nutrient distribution and carbon fluxes upon spring thaw are compared in mesocosms from high arctic and subarctic ecosystems dominated by Cassiope tetragona or Salix hastata/Salix arctica, in order to evaluate the possibility of plant and microbial utilization of an organic...... compound in thawing permafrost and surface soil. Methods: Double labeled glycine (13C15N) was added to soil columns with vegetation and to permafrost. During thaw conditions ecosystem respiration 13C was measured and 13C and 15N distribution in the ecosystem pools was quantified one day and one month after...... glycine addition. Results: Near-surface soil microbes were more efficient in the uptake of intact glycine immediately upon thaw than plants. After one month plants had gained more 15N whereas microbes seemed to lose 15N originating from glycine. We observed a time lag in glycine degradation upon...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

    On the 20th of September in 2012, a large debris slide occurred in the Móafellshyrna Mountain in the Tröllaskagi peninsula, central north Iceland. Three factors are likely to have contributed to the failure of the slope: intense precipitation, earthquake activity and thawing of ground ice. The weather conditions prior the slide were somewhat unusual, with a warm and dry summer. From the 20th of August to the 20th of September, about 440 mm of precipitation fell in the area, where the mean annual precipitation at the nearest station is around 670 mm. The slide initiated after this thirty day period of intense precipitation, followed by a seismic sequence in the Eyjafjarðaráll graben, located about 60 km NNE of Móafellshyrna Mountain, a sequence that started on the 19th of September. The slide originated at elevation of 870 m a.s.l. on the NW-slope of the mountain. The total volume of the debris slide is estimated around 500,000 m3 and that its primary cause was intense precipitation. We cannot exclude the influence of the seismic sequence as a secondary contributing factor. The presence of ice-cemented blocks of talus immediately after the debris slide shows that thawing of ground ice could also have played an important role as a triggering factor. Ice-cemented blocks of talus have been observed in the deposits of two other recent landslides in northern Iceland, in the Torfufell Mountain and the Árnesfjall Mountain. The source areas for both the Móafellshyrna and the Torfufell slides are within the lower elevation limit of mountain permafrost in northern Iceland but the source area of the Árnesfjall slide is at much lower elevation, around 350 m a.s.l. The fact that there are now three documented landslides which are linked to ground ice-melting suggests that discontinuous permafrost is degrading in Iceland, consistent with the decadal trend of increasing atmospheric temperature in Iceland due to climate change. This study highlights that ground ice thaw

  12. Assessing hazard risk, cost of adaptation and traditional land use activities in the context of permafrost thaw in communities in Yukon and the Northwest Territories, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benkert, B.; Perrin, A.; Calmels, F.

    2015-12-01

    Together with its partners, the Northern Climate ExChange (NCE, part of the Yukon Research Centre at Yukon College) has been mapping permafrost-related hazard risk in northern communities since 2010. By integrating geoscience and climate project data, we have developed a series of community-scale hazard risk maps. The maps depict hazard risk in stoplight colours for easy interpretation, and support community-based, future-focused adaptation planning. Communities, First Nations, consultants and local regulatory agencies have used the hazard risk maps to site small-scale infrastructure projects, guide land planning processes, and assess suitability of land development applications. However, we know that assessing risk is only one step in integrating the implications of permafrost degradation in societal responses to environmental change. To build on our permafrost hazard risk maps, we are integrating economic principles and traditional land use elements. To assess economic implications of adaptation to permafrost change, we are working with geotechnical engineers to identify adaptation options (e.g., modified building techniques, permafrost thaw mitigation approaches) that suit the risks captured by our existing hazard risk maps. We layer this with an economic analysis of the costs associated with identified adaptation options, providing end-users with a more comprehensive basis upon which to make decisions related to infrastructure. NCE researchers have also integrated traditional land use activities in assessments of permafrost thaw risk, in a project led by Jean Marie River First Nation in the Northwest Territories. Here, the implications of permafrost degradation on food security and land use priorities were assessed by layering key game and gathering areas on permafrost thaw vulnerability maps. Results indicated that close to one quarter of big and small game habitats, and close to twenty percent of key furbearer and gathering areas within the First Nation

  13. Tree density and permafrost thaw depth influence water limitations on stomatal conductance in Siberian Arctic boreal forests

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kropp, H.; Loranty, M. M.; Natali, S.; Kholodov, A. L.; Alexander, H. D.; Zimov, N.

    2017-12-01

    Boreal forests may experience increased water stress under global climate change as rising air temperatures increase evaporative demand and decrease soil moisture. Increases in plant water stress can decrease stomatal conductance, and ultimately, decrease primary productivity. A large portion of boreal forests are located in Siberia, and are dominated by deciduous needleleaf trees, Larix spp. We investigated the variability and drivers of canopy stomatal conductance in upland Larix stands with different stand density that arose from differing fire severity. Our measurements focus on an open canopy stand with low tree density and deep permafrost thaw depth, and a closed canopy stand with high tree density and shallow permafrost thaw depth. We measured canopy stomatal conductance, soil moisture, and micrometeorological variables. Our results demonstrate that canopy stomatal conductance was significantly lower in the closed canopy stand with a significantly higher sensitivity to increases in atmospheric evaporative demand. Canopy stomatal conductance in both stands was tightly coupled to precipitation that occurred over the previous week; however, the closed canopy stand showed a significantly greater sensitivity to increases in precipitation compared to the open canopy stand. Differences in access to deep versus shallow soil moisture and the physical characteristics of the soil profile likely contribute to differences in sensitivity to precipitation between the two stands. Our results indicate that Larix primary productivity may be highly sensitive to changes in evaporative demand and soil moisture that can result of global climate change. However, the effect of increasing air temperatures and changes in precipitation will differ significantly depending on stand density, thaw depth, and the hydraulic characteristics of the soil profile.

  14. 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.

  15. The Arctic Vegetation Type Change retrieved from Spaceborne Observations and its Influence on the Simulation of Permafrost Thawing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Y.; Wang, Z.

    2017-12-01

    The vegetation types change in Arctic has been studied using 10 years of MODIS land cover product (MCD12Q1). The shrub expansion is observed in Alaska and Northeast Asia, while shrub fraction decreases in North Canada and Southwest Arctic Eurasia. The total Arctic shrub fraction increases 3% in 10 years. The tundra decreases where the shrub expands, and thrives where the shrub retreats. In order to isolate the influence of the vegetation dynamic on the permafrost thawing, the Arctic terrestrial ecosystem in recent decades will be simulated using the Community Land Model (CLM) with and without the vegetation type changes. The energy and carbon exchange on the land surface will also be simulated and compared. Acknowledgement: This work was supported by the Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI, PN17081) and the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (2015R1C1A2A01054800).

  16. Shifted energy fluxes, increased Bowen ratios, and reduced thaw depths linked with drainage-induced changes in permafrost ecosystem structure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Göckede, Mathias; Kittler, Fanny; Kwon, Min Jung; Burjack, Ina; Heimann, Martin; Kolle, Olaf; Zimov, Nikita; Zimov, Sergey

    2017-12-01

    Hydrologic conditions are a key factor in Arctic ecosystems, with strong influences on ecosystem structure and related effects on biogeophysical and biogeochemical processes. With systematic changes in water availability expected for large parts of the northern high-latitude region in the coming centuries, knowledge on shifts in ecosystem functionality triggered by altered water levels is crucial for reducing uncertainties in climate change predictions. Here, we present findings from paired ecosystem observations in northeast Siberia comprising a drained and a control site. At the drainage site, the water table has been artificially lowered by up to 30 cm in summer for more than a decade. This sustained primary disturbance in hydrologic conditions has triggered a suite of secondary shifts in ecosystem properties, including vegetation community structure, snow cover dynamics, and radiation budget, all of which influence the net effects of drainage. Reduced thermal conductivity in dry organic soils was identified as the dominating drainage effect on energy budget and soil thermal regime. Through this effect, reduced heat transfer into deeper soil layers leads to shallower thaw depths, initially leading to a stabilization of organic permafrost soils, while the long-term effects on permafrost temperature trends still need to be assessed. At the same time, more energy is transferred back into the atmosphere as sensible heat in the drained area, which may trigger a warming of the lower atmospheric surface layer.

  17. Shifted energy fluxes, increased Bowen ratios, and reduced thaw depths linked with drainage-induced changes in permafrost ecosystem structure

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Göckede

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available Hydrologic conditions are a key factor in Arctic ecosystems, with strong influences on ecosystem structure and related effects on biogeophysical and biogeochemical processes. With systematic changes in water availability expected for large parts of the northern high-latitude region in the coming centuries, knowledge on shifts in ecosystem functionality triggered by altered water levels is crucial for reducing uncertainties in climate change predictions. Here, we present findings from paired ecosystem observations in northeast Siberia comprising a drained and a control site. At the drainage site, the water table has been artificially lowered by up to 30 cm in summer for more than a decade. This sustained primary disturbance in hydrologic conditions has triggered a suite of secondary shifts in ecosystem properties, including vegetation community structure, snow cover dynamics, and radiation budget, all of which influence the net effects of drainage. Reduced thermal conductivity in dry organic soils was identified as the dominating drainage effect on energy budget and soil thermal regime. Through this effect, reduced heat transfer into deeper soil layers leads to shallower thaw depths, initially leading to a stabilization of organic permafrost soils, while the long-term effects on permafrost temperature trends still need to be assessed. At the same time, more energy is transferred back into the atmosphere as sensible heat in the drained area, which may trigger a warming of the lower atmospheric surface layer.

  18. 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

  19. Interpreting Carbon Fluxes from a Spatially Heterogeneous Peatland with Thawing Permafrost: Scaling from Plant Community Scale to Ecosystem Scale

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harder, S. R.; Roulet, N. T.; Strachan, I. B.; Crill, P. M.; Persson, A.; Pelletier, L.; Watt, C.

    2014-12-01

    Various microforms, created by spatial differential thawing of permafrost, make up the subarctic heterogeneous Stordalen peatland complex (68°22'N, 19°03'E), near Abisko, Sweden. This results in significantly different peatland vegetation communities across short distances, as well as differences in wetness, temperature and peat substrates. We have been measuring the spatially integrated CO2, heat and water vapour fluxes from this peatland complex using eddy covariance and the CO2 exchange from specific plant communities within the EC tower footprint since spring 2008. With this data we are examining if it is possible to derive the spatially integrated ecosystem-wide fluxes from community-level simple light use efficiency (LUE) and ecosystem respiration (ER) models. These models have been developed using several years of continuous autochamber flux measurements for the three major plant functional types (PFTs) as well as knowledge of the spatial variability of the vegetation, water table and active layer depths. LIDAR was used to produce a 1 m resolution digital evaluation model of the complex and the spatial distribution of PFTs was obtained from concurrent high-resolution digital colour air photography trained from vegetation surveys. Continuous water table depths have been measured for four years at over 40 locations in the complex, and peat temperatures and active layer depths are surveyed every 10 days at more than 100 locations. The EC footprint is calculated for every half-hour and the PFT based models are run with the corresponding environmental variables weighted for the PFTs within the EC footprint. Our results show that the Sphagnum, palsa, and sedge PFTs have distinctly different LUE models, and that the tower fluxes are dominated by a blend of the Sphagnum and palsa PFTs. We also see a distinctly different energy partitioning between the fetches containing intact palsa and those with thawed palsa: the evaporative efficiency is higher and the Bowen

  20. The Impacts of Thawing Permafrost and Climate Change on USAF Infrastructure Within Northern Tier Bases

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graboski, A. J.

    2016-12-01

    The Department of Defense (DoD) is planning over $600M in military construction on Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) within the next three fiscal years. Although many studies have been conducted on permafrost and climate change, the future of our climate as well as any impacts on arctic infrastructure, remains unclear. This research focused on future climate predictions to determine likely scenarios for the United States Air Force's Strategic Planners to consider. This research also looked at various construction methods being used by industry to glean best practices to incorporate into future construction in order to determine cost factors to consider when permafrost soils may be encountered. The most recent 2013 International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report predicts a 2.2ºC to 7.8ºC temperature rise in Arctic regions by the end of the 21st Century in the Representative Concentration Pathways, (RCP4.5) emissions scenario. A regression model was created using archived surface observations from 1944 to 2016. Initial analysis using regression/forecast techniques show a 1.17ºC temperature increase in the Arctic by the end of the 21st Century. Historical DoD construction data was then used to determine an appropriate cost factor. Applying statistical tests to the adjusted climate predictions supports continued usage of current DoD cost factors of 2.13 at Eielson and 2.97 at Thule AFBs as they should be sufficient when planning future construction projects in permafrost rich areas. These cost factors should allow planners the necessary funds to plan foundation mitigation techniques and prevent further degradation of permafrost soils around airbase infrastructure. This current research focused on Central Alaska while further research is recommended on the Alaskan North Slope and Greenland to determine climate change impacts on critical DoD infrastructure.

  1. Multi-channel ground-penetrating radar to explore spatial variations in thaw depth and moisture content in the active layer of a permafrost site

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    U. Wollschläger

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available Multi-channel ground-penetrating radar (GPR was applied at a permafrost site on the Tibetan Plateau to investigate the influence of surface properties and soil texture on the late-summer thaw depth and average soil moisture content of the active layer. Measurements were conducted on an approximately 85 × 60 m2 sized area with surface and soil textural properties that ranged from medium to coarse textured bare soil to finer textured, sparsely vegetated areas covered with fine, wind blown sand, and it included the bed of a gravel road. The survey allowed a clear differentiation of the various units. It showed (i a shallow thaw depth and low average soil moisture content below the sand-covered, vegetated area, (ii an intermediate thaw depth and high average soil moisture content along the gravel road, and (iii an intermediate to deep thaw depth and low to intermediate average soil moisture content in the bare soil terrain. From our measurements, we found hypotheses for the permafrost processes at this site leading to the observed late-summer thaw depth and soil moisture conditions. The study clearly indicates the complicated interactions between surface and subsurface state variables and processes in this environment. Multi-channel GPR is an operational technology to efficiently study such a system at scales varying from a few meters to a few kilometers.

  2. 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)

  3. 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

  4. Hydrologic impacts of thawing permafrost—A review

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walvoord, Michelle Ann; Kurylyk, Barret L.

    2016-01-01

    Where present, permafrost exerts a primary control on water fluxes, flowpaths, and distribution. Climate warming and related drivers of soil thermal change are expected to modify the distribution of permafrost, leading to changing hydrologic conditions, including alterations in soil moisture, connectivity of inland waters, streamflow seasonality, and the partitioning of water stored above and below ground. The field of permafrost hydrology is undergoing rapid advancement with respect to multiscale observations, subsurface characterization, modeling, and integration with other disciplines. However, gaining predictive capability of the many interrelated consequences of climate change is a persistent challenge due to several factors. Observations of hydrologic change have been causally linked to permafrost thaw, but applications of process-based models needed to support and enhance the transferability of empirical linkages have often been restricted to generalized representations. Limitations stem from inadequate baseline permafrost and unfrozen hydrogeologic characterization, lack of historical data, and simplifications in structure and process representation needed to counter the high computational demands of cryohydrogeologic simulations. Further, due in part to the large degree of subsurface heterogeneity of permafrost landscapes and the nonuniformity in thaw patterns and rates, associations between various modes of permafrost thaw and hydrologic change are not readily scalable; even trajectories of change can differ. This review highlights promising advances in characterization and modeling of permafrost regions and presents ongoing research challenges toward projecting hydrologic and ecologic consequences of permafrost thaw at time and spatial scales that are useful to managers and researchers.

  5. 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

  6. The role of deep nitrogen and dynamic rooting profiles on vegetation dynamics and productivity in response to permafrost thaw and climate change in Arctic tundra

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hewitt, R. E.; Helene, G.; Taylor, D. L.; McGuire, A. D.; Mack, M. C.

    2017-12-01

    The release of permafrost-derived nitrogen (N) has the potential to fertilize tundra vegetation, modulating plant competition, stimulating productivity, and offsetting carbon losses from thawing permafrost. Dynamic rooting, mycorrhizal interactions, and coupling of N availability and root N uptake have been identified as gaps in ecosystem models. As a first step towards understanding whether Arctic plants can access deep permafrost-derived N, we characterized rooting profiles and quantified acquisition of 15N tracer applied at the permafrost boundary by moist acidic tundra plants subjected to almost three decades of warming at Toolik Lake, Alaska. In the ambient control plots the vegetation biomass is distributed between five plant functional types (PFTs): sedges, evergreen and deciduous shrubs, mosses and in lower abundance, forbs. The warming treatment has resulted in the increase of deciduous shrub biomass and the loss of sedges, evergreen shrubs, and mosses. We harvested roots by depth increment down to the top of the permafrost. Roots were classified by size class and PFT. The average thaw depth in the warmed plots was 58.3 cm ± 6.4 S.E., close to 18 cm deeper than the average thaw depth in the ambient plots (40.8 cm ± 1.8 S.E.). Across treatments the deepest rooting species was Rubus chamaemorus (ambient 40.8 cm ± 1.8 S.E., warmed 50.3 cm ± 9.8 S.E.), a non-mycorrhizal forb, followed by Eriophorum vaginatum, a non-mycorrhizal sedge. Ectomycorrhizal deciduous and ericoid mycorrhizal evergreen shrubs were rooted at more shallow depths. Deeply rooted non-mycorrhizal species had the greatest uptake of 15N tracer within 24 hours across treatments. Tracer uptake was greatest for roots of E. vaginatum in ambient plots and R. chamaemorus in warmed plots. Root profiles were integrated into a process-based ecosystem model coupled with a dynamic vegetation model. Functions modeling dynamic rooting profile relative to thaw depth were implemented for each PFT. The

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  8. 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.

  9. Observations and Impacts of Permafrost Thaw in the Lower Yukon River Basin and Yukon Delta Region: the Importance of Local Knowledge

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herman-Mercer, N. M.; Elder, K.; Toohey, R.; Mutter, E. A.

    2015-12-01

    In regions of the arctic and subarctic baseline measurements of permafrost dynamics are lacking and scientific research can be especially expensive when remote sensing techniques are utilized. This research demonstrated the importance of local observations, a powerful tool for understanding landscape change, such as permafrost dynamics. Fifty-five interviews were recently conducted with community members in four villages of the lower Yukon River Basin and Yukon Delta to understand local environmental and landscape changes and the impacts these changes may be having on the lives and livelihoods of these communities. The interviews were semi-structured and focused on many climate and landscape change factors including knowledge of permafrost in their community or the surrounding landscape. All positive respondents stated that they believe the permafrost is thawing. The research revealed that residents of the arctic and subarctic interact with permafrost in a variety of ways. Some people utilize permafrost to store food resources and have found that they have to dig deeper presently than in their youth in order to find ground cold enough. Others are involved in digging graves and report encountering easier excavation in recent years. Subsistence hunters and gatherers travel long distances by snowmobile and boat, and have noticed slumping ground, eroding river banks and coast lines, as well as land that seems to be rising. Finally, all residents of the arctic and subarctic interact with permafrost in terms of the stability of their homes and other infrastructure. Many interview participants complained of their houses leaning and needing more frequent adjustment than in the past. Indigenous residents of the arctic and subarctic have intimate relationships with their landscape owing to their subsistence lifestyle and are also connected to the landscape of the past through the teachings of their elders. Further, arctic and subarctic communities will sustain the majority

  10. 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

  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. 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...

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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...

  18. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Vidstrand, Patrik; Svensson, Urban; Follin, Sven

    2006-10-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ward, Collin P; Cory, Rose M

    2016-04-05

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

  1. Change in behavior of uniaxial compression due to degradation of salt water and freezing and thawing for rock

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Yamamoto, Kiyohito; Kobayashi, Akira; Aoyama, Shigeyasu

    2007-01-01

    To investigate the effect of the degradation on the mechanical behavior, the degraded rock samples were prepared to the uniaxial compression test. The degradation methods are divided into two types. One type is submerged in the 10% saline water (10%NaCl) for 90 days, and another one is freezing and thawing for 240 cycles. The degraded Smaland-granites were preserved in saline water. Kurihashi-granodiorite, Tage-tuff and Funyu-tuff were imposed on freezing and thawing test to make degraded state. The damage parameters were identified from the stress-strain relation obtained from the uniaxial compression tests. The damage parameters are K υ , n υ , K d , n d and B 0 . K υ and n υ are related to expansive strain. K d , n d and B 0 are subject to behavior of Young's modulus. By investigating the change in the damage parameters of the degraded rock, the effect of the degradation was tried to infer. As the results, it was inferred using the damage parameters that the Smaland-granite becomes more expansive material and the damage occurs earlier due to saline water degradation. Moreover, it was considered that the Kurihashi-granodiorite and Tage-tuff become more expansive and the axial strain at the failure decreases by freezing and thawing degradation, however the axial strain of the Funyu-tuff at the failure becomes large. It was found the proposed damage parameters can be good index for volumetric strain behavior after degradation. (author)

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Magnetic thaw-down and boil-off due to magneto acceptors in 2DEG

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Chaubet, C.; Raymond, A.; Bisotto, I.; Harmand, J. C.; Kubisa, M.; Zawadzki, W.

    2013-01-01

    The Quantum Hall Effect (QHE) and Shubnikov-de Haas effect are investigated experimentally using n type modulation-doped GaAs/GaAlAs quantum wells (QWs) additionally doped in the well with beryllium acceptor atoms. It is presently shown that the localized magneto-acceptor (MA) states which possess discrete energies above the corresponding Landau levels (LLs) lead to two observable effects in magneto-transport: magnetic thaw-down and magnetic boil-off of 2D electrons. Both effects are related to the fact that electrons occupying the localized MA states cannot conduct. Thus in the thaw-down effect the electrons fall down from the MA states to the free Landau states. This leads to a shift of the Hall plateau towards higher magnetic fields as a consequence of an increase of the 2D electron density N S . In the boil-off effect the electrons are pushed from the free Landau states to the empty MA states under high enough Hall electric field. This process has an avalanche character leading to a dramatic increase of magneto-resistance, consequence of a decrease of N S

  5. Magnetic thaw-down and boil-off due to magneto acceptors in 2DEG

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Chaubet, C.; Raymond, A. [L2C UMR 5221, CNRS-Université Montpellier 2, Place E. Bataillon, 34090 Montpellier cedex 05 (France); Bisotto, I. [LNCMI, UPR 3228, CNRS-INSA-UJF-UPS, BP166, 38042 Grenoble, Cedex 9 (France); Harmand, J. C. [LPN, CNRS, route de Nozay, 91460 Marcoussis (France); Kubisa, M. [Institute of Physics, Wroclaw University of Technology, 50-370 Wroclaw (Poland); Zawadzki, W. [Institute of Physics, Polish Academy of Sciences, 02668 Warsaw (Poland)

    2013-12-04

    The Quantum Hall Effect (QHE) and Shubnikov-de Haas effect are investigated experimentally using n type modulation-doped GaAs/GaAlAs quantum wells (QWs) additionally doped in the well with beryllium acceptor atoms. It is presently shown that the localized magneto-acceptor (MA) states which possess discrete energies above the corresponding Landau levels (LLs) lead to two observable effects in magneto-transport: magnetic thaw-down and magnetic boil-off of 2D electrons. Both effects are related to the fact that electrons occupying the localized MA states cannot conduct. Thus in the thaw-down effect the electrons fall down from the MA states to the free Landau states. This leads to a shift of the Hall plateau towards higher magnetic fields as a consequence of an increase of the 2D electron density N{sub S}. In the boil-off effect the electrons are pushed from the free Landau states to the empty MA states under high enough Hall electric field. This process has an avalanche character leading to a dramatic increase of magneto-resistance, consequence of a decrease of N{sub S}.

  6. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  8. Ground-Penetrating-Radar Profiles of Interior Alaska Highways: Interpretation of Stratified Fill, Frost Depths, Water Table, and Thaw Settlement over Ice-Rich Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    2016-08-01

    along either massive ice surfaces or within sections of segregated ice. The uninsulated ice surface at Tok in Figure 17B is irregular. All of the...ER D C/ CR RE L TR -1 6- 14 ERDC’s Center-Directed Research Program Ground -Penetrating-Radar Profiles of Interior Alaska Highways...August 2016 Ground -Penetrating-Radar Profiles of Interior Alaska Highways Interpretation of Stratified Fill, Frost Depths, Water Table, and Thaw

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-07-19

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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  14. Leveraging Subsidence in Permafrost with Remotely Sensed Active Layer Thickness (ReSALT) Products

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaefer, K. M.; Chen, A.; Chen, J.; Chen, R. H.; Liu, L.; Michaelides, R. J.; Moghaddam, M.; Parsekian, A.; Tabatabaeenejad, A.; Thompson, J. A.; Zebker, H. A.; Meyer, F. J.

    2017-12-01

    The Remotely Sensed Active Layer Thickness (ReSALT) product uses the Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) technique to measure ground subsidence in permafrost regions. Seasonal subsidence results from the expansion of soil water into ice as the surface soil or active layer freezes and thaws each year. Subsidence trends result from large-scale thaw of permafrost and from the melting and subsequent drainage of excess ground ice in permafrost-affected soils. The attached figure shows the 2006-2010 average seasonal subsidence from ReSALT around Barrow, Alaska. The average active layer thickness (the maximum surface thaw depth during summer) is 30-40 cm, resulting in an average seasonal subsidence of 1-3 cm. Analysis of the seasonal subsidence and subsidence trends provides valuable insights into important permafrost processes, such as the freeze/thaw of the active layer, large-scale thawing due to climate change, the impact of fire, and infrastructure vulnerability. ReSALT supports the Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) field campaign in Alaska and northwest Canada and is a precursor for a potential NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) product. ReSALT includes uncertainties for all parameters and is validated against in situ measurements from the Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) network, Ground Penetrating Radar and mechanical probe measurements. Here we present examples of ReSALT products in Alaska to highlight the untapped potential of the InSAR technique to understand permafrost dynamics, with a strong emphasis on the underlying processes that drive the subsidence.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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)

  18. 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)

  19. 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

  20. Thaw pond development and initial vegetation succession in experimental plots at a Siberian lowland tundra site

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Li, Bingxi; Heijmans, Monique M.P.D.; Blok, Daan; Wang, Peng; Karsanaev, Sergey V.; Maximov, Trofim C.; Huissteden, van Jacobus; Berendse, Frank

    2017-01-01

    Background and aims: Permafrost degradation has the potential to change the Arctic tundra landscape. We observed rapid local thawing of ice-rich permafrost resulting in thaw pond formation, which was triggered by removal of the shrub cover in a field experiment. This study aimed to examine the

  1. Thaw pond development and initial vegetation succession in experimental plots at a Siberian lowland tundra site

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Li, Bingxi; Heijmans, Monique M.P.D.; Blok, Daan; Wang, Guang-Peng; Karsanaev, Sergey V.; Maximov, Trofim C.; van Huissteden, Jacobus; Berendse, Frank

    2017-01-01

    Background and aims: Permafrost degradation has the potential to change the Arctic tundra landscape. We observed rapid local thawing of ice-rich permafrost resulting in thaw pond formation, which was triggered by removal of the shrub cover in a field experiment. This study aimed to examine the rate

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guo, Donglin; Wang, Huijun

    2017-10-01

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

  4. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wei Cao

    2017-09-01

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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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...

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. The subcatchment- and catchment-scale hydrology of a boreal headwater peatland complex with sporadic permafrost.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sonnentag, O.; Helbig, M.; Connon, R.; Hould Gosselin, G.; Ryu, Y.; Karoline, W.; Hanisch, J.; Moore, T. R.; Quinton, W. L.

    2017-12-01

    The permafrost region of the Northern Hemisphere has been experiencing twice the rate of climate warming compared to the rest of the Earth, resulting in the degradation of the cryosphere. A large portion of the high-latitude boreal forests of northwestern Canada grows on low-lying organic-rich lands with relative warm and thin isolated, sporadic and discontinuous permafrost. Along this southern limit of permafrost, increasingly warmer temperatures have caused widespread permafrost thaw leading to land cover changes at unprecedented rates. A prominent change includes wetland expansion at the expense of Picea mariana (black spruce)-dominated forest due to ground surface subsidence caused by the thawing of ice-rich permafrost leading to collapsing peat plateaus. Recent conceptual advances have provided important new insights into high-latitude boreal forest hydrology. However, refined quantitative understanding of the mechanisms behind water storage and movement at subcatchment and catchment scales is needed from a water resources management perspective. Here we combine multi-year daily runoff measurements with spatially explicit estimates of evapotranspiration, modelled with the Breathing Earth System Simulator, to characterize the monthly growing season catchment scale ( 150 km2) hydrological response of a boreal headwater peatland complex with sporadic permafrost in the southern Northwest Territories. The corresponding water budget components at subcatchment scale ( 0.1 km2) were obtained from concurrent cutthroat flume runoff and eddy covariance evapotranspiration measurements. The highly significant linear relationships for runoff (r2=0.64) and evapotranspiration (r2=0.75) between subcatchment and catchment scales suggest that the mineral upland-dominated downstream portion of the catchment acts hydrologically similar to the headwater portion dominated by boreal peatland complexes. Breakpoint analysis in combination with moving window statistics on multi

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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).

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2006-12-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. An estimated cost of lost climate regulation services caused by thawing of the Arctic cryosphere.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Euskirchen, Eugénie S; Goodstein, Eban S; Huntington, Henry P

    2013-12-01

    Recent and expected changes in Arctic sea ice cover, snow cover, and methane emissions from permafrost thaw are likely to result in large positive feedbacks to climate warming. There is little recognition of the significant loss in economic value that the disappearance of Arctic sea ice, snow, and permafrost will impose on humans. Here, we examine how sea ice and snow cover, as well as methane emissions due to changes in permafrost, may potentially change in the future, to year 2100, and how these changes may feed back to influence the climate. Between 2010 and 2100, the annual costs from the extra warming due to a decline in albedo related to losses of sea ice and snow, plus each year's methane emissions, cumulate to a present value cost to society ranging from US$7.5 trillion to US$91.3 trillion. The estimated range reflects uncertainty associated with (1) the extent of warming-driven positive climate feedbacks from the thawing cryosphere and (2) the expected economic damages per metric ton of CO2 equivalents that will be imposed by added warming, which depend, especially, on the choice of discount rate. The economic uncertainty is much larger than the uncertainty in possible future feedback effects. Nonetheless, the frozen Arctic provides immense services to all nations by cooling the earth's temperature: the cryosphere is an air conditioner for the planet. As the Arctic thaws, this critical, climate-stabilizing ecosystem service is being lost. This paper provides a first attempt to monetize the cost of some of those lost services.

  7. 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...

  8. 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

  9. 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 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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...

  12. 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.

  13. 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...

  14. 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...

  15. 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...

  16. 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...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. I. Debolskaya

    2013-01-01

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

  18. Subsidence from an artificial permafrost warming experiment.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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...

  5. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oliver-Cabrera, T.; Wdowinski, S.

    2017-12-01

    land covers, (4) Additional phase jump located near areas undergoing road construction, and (5) Small scale phase changes located in different section of the delta, which occur most likely due to water level changes of small wetland bodies, possibly reflecting permafrost thawing processes.

  7. Mathematical modeling of the heat transfer for determining the depth of thawing basin buildings with long service life

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sirditov, Ivan; Stepanov, Sergei

    2017-11-01

    In this paper, a numerical study of the problem of determining a thawing basin in the permafrost soil for buildings with a long service life is carried out using two methods, with the formulas of set of rules 25.13330.2012 "Soil bases and foundations on permafrost soils" and using a mathematical model.

  8. 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.

  9. Slope instability related to permafrost changes on Mexican volcanoes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Delgado Granados, Hugo; Molina, Victor Soto

    2015-04-01

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

  10. Behaviour of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in soils under freeze-thaw cycles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zschocke, Anne; Schönborn, Maike; Eschenbach, Annette

    2010-05-01

    The arctic region will be one of the most affected regions by climate change due to the predicted temperature rise. As a result of anthropogenic actions as mining, exploration and refining as well as atmospheric transport pollutions can be found in arctic soils. Therefore questions on the behaviour of organic contaminants in permafrost influenced soils are of high relevance. First investigations showed that permafrost can act as a semi-permeable layer for PAH (Curtosi et al., 2007). Therefore it can be assumed that global warming could result in a mobilization of PAH in these permafrost influenced soils. On the other hand a low but detectable mineralization of organic hydrocarbons by microorganisms under repeated freeze-thaw cycles was analysed (Börresen et al. 2007, Eschenbach et al. 2000). In this study the behaviour and distribution of PAH under freezing and periodically freezing and thawing were investigated in laboratory column experiments with spiked soil materials. Two soil materials which are typical for artic regions, a organic matter containing melt water sand and a well decomposed peat, were homogeneously spiked with a composite of a crude oil and the PAH anthracene and benzo(a)pyrene. After 14days preincubation time the soil material was filled in the laboratory columns (40cm high and 10 cm in diameter). Based on studies by Chuvilin et al. (2001) the impact of freezing of the upper third of the column from the surface downwards was examined. The impact of freezing was tested in two different approaches the first one with a single freezing step and the second one with a fourfold repeated cycle of freezing and thawing which takes about 6 or 7 days each. The experimental design and very first results will be shown and discussed. In some experiments with the peat a higher concentration of anthracene and benzo(a)pyrene could be detected below the freezing front in the unfrozen part of the column. Whereas the concentration of PAH had slightly decreased in

  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 effects of climate, permafrost and fire on vegetation change in Siberia in a changing climate

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Tchebakova, N M; Parfenova, E [V N Sukachev Institute of Forest, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Academgorodok, Krasnoyarsk, 660036 (Russian Federation); Soja, A J, E-mail: ncheby@forest.akadem.r, E-mail: Amber.J.Soja@nasa.go [National Institute of Aerospace (NIA), NASA Langley Research Center, Climate Sciences, 21 Langley Boulevard, Mail Stop 420, Hampton, VA 23681-2199 (United States)

    2009-10-15

    Observations and general circulation model projections suggest significant temperature increases in Siberia this century that are expected to have profound effects on Siberian vegetation. Potential vegetation change across Siberia was modeled, coupling our Siberian BioClimatic Model with several Hadley Centre climate change scenarios for 2020, 2050 and 2080, with explicit consideration of permafrost and fire activity. In the warmer and drier climate projected by these scenarios, Siberian forests are predicted to decrease and shift northwards and forest-steppe and steppe ecosystems are predicted to dominate over half of Siberia due to the dryer climate by 2080. Despite the large predicted increases in warming, permafrost is not predicted to thaw deep enough to sustain dark (Pinus sibirica, Abies sibirica, and Picea obovata) taiga. Over eastern Siberia, larch (Larix dahurica) taiga is predicted to continue to be the dominant zonobiome because of its ability to withstand continuous permafrost. The model also predicts new temperate broadleaf forest and forest-steppe habitats by 2080. Potential fire danger evaluated with the annual number of high fire danger days (Nesterov index is 4000-10 000) is predicted to increase by 2080, especially in southern Siberia and central Yakutia. In a warming climate, fuel load accumulated due to replacement of forest by steppe together with frequent fire weather promotes high risks of large fires in southern Siberia and central Yakutia, where wild fires would create habitats for grasslands because the drier climate would no longer be suitable for forests.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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...

  16. 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.

  17. 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...

  18. Thermokarst rates intensify due to climate change and forest fragmentation in an Alaskan boreal forest lowland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lara, M.; Genet, Helene; McGuire, A. David; Euskirchen, Eugénie S.; Zhang, Yujin; Brown, Dana R. N.; Jorgenson, M.T.; Romanovsky, V.; Breen, Amy L.; Bolton, W.R.

    2016-01-01

    Lowland boreal forest ecosystems in Alaska are dominated by wetlands comprised of a complex mosaic of fens, collapse-scar bogs, low shrub/scrub, and forests growing on elevated ice-rich permafrost soils. Thermokarst has affected the lowlands of the Tanana Flats in central Alaska for centuries, as thawing permafrost collapses forests that transition to wetlands. Located within the discontinuous permafrost zone, this region has significantly warmed over the past half-century, and much of these carbon-rich permafrost soils are now within ~0.5 °C of thawing. Increased permafrost thaw in lowland boreal forests in response to warming may have consequences for the climate system. This study evaluates the trajectories and potential drivers of 60 years of forest change in a landscape subjected to permafrost thaw in unburned dominant forest types (paper birch and black spruce) associated with location on elevated permafrost plateau and across multiple time periods (1949, 1978, 1986, 1998, and 2009) using historical and contemporary aerial and satellite images for change detection. We developed (i) a deterministic statistical model to evaluate the potential climatic controls on forest change using gradient boosting and regression tree analysis, and (ii) a 30 × 30 m land cover map of the Tanana Flats to estimate the potential landscape-level losses of forest area due to thermokarst from 1949 to 2009. Over the 60-year period, we observed a nonlinear loss of birch forests and a relatively continuous gain of spruce forest associated with thermokarst and forest succession, while gradient boosting/regression tree models identify precipitation and forest fragmentation as the primary factors controlling birch and spruce forest change, respectively. Between 1950 and 2009, landscape-level analysis estimates a transition of ~15 km² or ~7% of birch forests to wetlands, where the greatest change followed warm periods. This work highlights that the vulnerability and resilience of

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. Decadal changes of surface elevation over permafrost area estimated using reflected GPS signals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Lin; Larson, Kristine M.

    2018-02-01

    Conventional benchmark-based survey and Global Positioning System (GPS) have been used to measure surface elevation changes over permafrost areas, usually once or a few times a year. Here we use reflected GPS signals to measure temporal changes of ground surface elevation due to dynamics of the active layer and near-surface permafrost. Applying the GPS interferometric reflectometry technique to the multipath signal-to-noise ratio data collected by a continuously operating GPS receiver mounted deep in permafrost in Barrow, Alaska, we can retrieve the vertical distance between the antenna and reflecting surface. Using this unique kind of observables, we obtain daily changes of surface elevation during July and August from 2004 to 2015. Our results show distinct temporal variations at three timescales: regular thaw settlement within each summer, strong interannual variability that is characterized by a sub-decadal subsidence trend followed by a brief uplift trend, and a secular subsidence trend of 0.26 ± 0.02 cm year-1 during 2004 and 2015. This method provides a new way to fully utilize data from continuously operating GPS sites in cold regions for studying dynamics of the frozen ground consistently and sustainably over a long time.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cao, W.; Sheng, Y.

    2017-12-01

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

  7. 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

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2018-01-01

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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Vidstrand, Patrik [Bergab, Goeteborg (Sweden)

    2003-02-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-03-01

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

  15. 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...

  16. 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

  17. Shrub expansion may reduce summer permafrost thaw in Siberian tundra

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Blok, D.; Heijmans, M.M.P.D.; Schaepman-Strub, G.; Kononov, A.V.; Maximov, T.C.; Berendse, F.

    2010-01-01

    Climate change is expected to cause extensive vegetation changes in the Arctic: deciduous shrubs are already expanding, in response to climate warming. The results from transect studies suggest that increasing shrub cover will impact significantly on the surface energy balance. However, little is

  18. 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

  19. Preservation of labile organic matter in soils of drained thaw lakes in Northern Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mueller, Carsten W.; Rethemeyer, Janet; Kao-Kniffin, Jenny; Löppmann, Sebastian; Hinkel, Kenneth; Bockheim, James

    2014-05-01

    A large number of studies predict changing organic matter (OM) dynamics in arctic soils due to global warming. In contrast to rather slowly altering bulk soil properties, single soil organic matter (SOM) fractions can provide a more detailed picture of the dynamics of differently preserved SOM pools in climate sensitive arctic regions. By the study of the chemical composition of such distinctive SOM fractions using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) together with radiocarbon analyses it is possible to evaluate the stability of the major OM pools. Approximately 50-75% of Alaska's Arctic Coastal Plain is covered with thaw lakes and drained thaw lakes that follow a 5,000 yr cycle of development (between creation and final drainage), thus forming a natural soil chronosequence. The drained thaw lakes offer the possibility to study SOM dynamics affected by permafrost processes over millennial timescales. In April 2010 we sampled 16 soil cores (including the active and permanent layer) reaching from young drained lakes (0-50 years since drainage) to ancient drained lakes (3000-5500 years since drainage). Air dried soil samples from soil horizons of the active and permanent layer were subjected to density fractionation in order to differentiate particulate OM and mineral associated OM. The chemical composition of the SOM fractions was analyzed by 13C CPMAS NMR spectroscopy. For a soil core of a young and an ancient drained thaw lake basin we also analyzed the 14C content. For the studied soils we can show that up to over 25 kg OC per square meter are stored mostly as labile, easily degradable organic matter rich in carbohydrates. In contrast only 10 kg OC per square meter were sequestered as presumably more stable mineral associated OC dominated by aliphatic compounds. Comparable to soils of temperate regions, we found small POM (dating we could show the stabilization of younger more labile OM at greater depth in buried O horizons. Additionally the study of the

  20. 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)

  1. Thaw pond dynamics and carbon emissions in a Siberian lowland tundra landscape

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Huissteden, Ko; Heijmans, Monique; Dean, Josh; Meisel, Ove; Goovaerts, Arne; Parmentier, Frans-Jan; Schaepman-Strub, Gabriela; Belelli Marchesini, Luca; Kononov, Alexander; Maximov, Trofim; Borges, Alberto; Bouillon, Steven

    2017-04-01

    Arctic climate change induces drastic changes in permafrost surface wetness. As a result of thawing ground ice bodies, ice wedge troughs and thaw ponds are formed. Alternatively, ongoing thaw may enhance drainage as a result of increased interconnectedness of thawing ice wedge troughs, as inferred from a model study (Liljedahl et al., 2016, Nature Geoscience, DOI: 10.1038/NGEO2674). However, a recent review highlighted the limited predictability of consequences of thawing permafrost on hydrology (Walvoord and Kurylyk, 2016, Vadose Zone J., DOI:10.2136/vzj2016.01.0010). Overall, these changes in tundra wetness modify carbon cycling in the Arctic and in particular the emissions of CO2 and CH4 to the atmosphere, providing a possibly positive feedback on climate change. Here we present the results of a combined remote sensing, geomorphological, vegetation and biogechemical study of thaw ponds in Arctic Siberian tundra, at Kytalyk research station near Chokurdakh, Indigirka lowlands. The station is located in an area dominated by Pleistocene ice-rich 'yedoma' sediments and drained thaw lake bottoms of Holocene age. The development of three types of ponds in the Kytalyk area (polygon centre ponds, ice wedge troughs and thaw ponds) has been traced with high resolution satellite and aerial imagery. The remote sensing data show net areal expansion of all types of ponds. Next to formation of new ponds, local vegetation change from dry vegetation types to wet, sedge-dominated vegetation is common. Thawing ice wedges and thaw ponds show an increase in area and number at most studied locations. In particular the area of polygon centre ponds increased strongly between 2010 and 2015, but this is highly sensitive to antecedent precipitation conditions. Despite a nearly 60% increase of the area of thawing ice wedge troughs, there is no evidence of decreasing water surfaces by increasing drainage through connected ice wedge troughs. The number of thaw ponds shows an equilibrium

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-15

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. Seasonal thaw settlement at drained thermokarst lake basins, Arctic Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Lin; Schaefer, Kevin; Gusmeroli, Alessio; Grosse, Guido; Jones, Benjamin M.; Zhang, Tinjun; Parsekian, Andrew; Zebker, Howard

    2014-01-01

    Drained thermokarst lake basins (DTLBs) are ubiquitous landforms on Arctic tundra lowland. Their dynamic states are seldom investigated, despite their importance for landscape stability, hydrology, nutrient fluxes, and carbon cycling. Here we report results based on high-resolution Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) measurements using space-borne data for a study area located on the North Slope of Alaska near Prudhoe Bay, where we focus on the seasonal thaw settlement within DTLBs, averaged between 2006 and 2010. The majority (14) of the 18 DTLBs in the study area exhibited seasonal thaw settlement of 3–4 cm. However, four of the DTLBs examined exceeded 4 cm of thaw settlement, with one basin experiencing up to 12 cm. Combining the InSAR observations with the in situ active layer thickness measured using ground penetrating radar and mechanical probing, we calculated thaw strain, an index of thaw settlement strength along a transect across the basin that underwent large thaw settlement. We found thaw strains of 10–35% at the basin center, suggesting the seasonal melting of ground ice as a possible mechanism for the large settlement. These findings emphasize the dynamic nature of permafrost landforms, demonstrate the capability of the InSAR technique to remotely monitor surface deformation of individual DTLBs, and illustrate the combination of ground-based and remote sensing observations to estimate thaw strain. Our study highlights the need for better description of the spatial heterogeneity of landscape-scale processes for regional assessment of surface dynamics on Arctic coastal lowlands.

  10. 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.

  11. 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...

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. Optimization in the use of Air Convection Embankments for Protection of Underlying Permafrost

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jørgensen, Anders Stuhr; Ingeman-Nielsen, Thomas

    2012-01-01

    Since the beginning of the 1990s a significant increase in the mean annual air temperatures has been recorded all over the arctic regions. This has lead to a degrading of permafrost, which is now threatening the stability of airport and road embankments. To minimize the damages caused by thaw...

  16. 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,

  17. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-05-01

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

  19. Thermokarst and thaw-related landscape dynamics -- an annotated bibliography with an emphasis on potential effects on habitat and wildlife

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, Benjamin M.; Amundson, Courtney L.; Koch, Joshua C.; Grosse, Guido

    2013-01-01

    Permafrost has warmed throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere since the 1980s, with colder permafrost sites warming more rapidly (Romanovsky and others, 2010; Smith and others, 2010). Warming of the near-surface permafrost may lead to widespread terrain instability in ice-rich permafrost in the Arctic and the Subarctic, and may result in thermokarst development and other thaw-related landscape features (Jorgenson and others, 2006; Gooseff and others, 2009). Thermokarst and other thaw-related landscape features result from varying modes and scales of permafrost thaw, subsidence, and removal of material. An increase in active-layer depth, water accumulation on the soil surface, permafrost degradation and associated retreat of the permafrost table, and changes to lake shores and coastal bluffs act and interact to create thermokarst and other thaw-related landscape features (Shur and Osterkamp, 2007). There is increasing interest in the spatial and temporal dynamics of thermokarst and other thaw-related features from diverse disciplines including landscape ecology, hydrology, engineering, and biogeochemistry. Therefore, there is a need to synthesize and disseminate knowledge on the current state of near-surface permafrost terrain. The term "thermokarst" originated in the Russian literature, and its scientific use has varied substantially over time (Shur and Osterkamp, 2007). The modern definition of thermokarst refers to the process by which characteristic landforms result from the thawing of ice-rich permafrost or the melting of massive ice (van Everdingen, 1998), or, more specifically, the thawing of ice-rich permafrost and (or) melting of massive ice that result in consolidation and deformation of the soil surface and formation of specific forms of relief (Shur, 1988). Jorgenson (2013) identifies 23 distinct thermokarst and other thaw-related features in the Arctic, Subarctic, and Antarctic based primarily on differences in terrain condition, ground-ice volume

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. Estimation of thawing cryolithic area with numerical modeling in 3D geometry while exploiting underground small nuclear power plant

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Melnikov N. N.

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available The paper presents results on 3D numerical calculation of a thermal task related to assessing a thawing area when placing modules with reactor and steam-turbine facility of a small nuclear power plant in thickness of permafrost rocks. The paper discusses influence of the coefficient of thermal conductivity for large-scaled underground excavations lining and cryolithic area porosity on thawing depth and front movement velocity under different spatial directions

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

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

  7. Variety, State and Origin of Drained Thaw Lake Basins in West-Siberian North

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kirpotin, S.; Polishchuk, Y.; Bryksina, N.; Sugaipova, A.; Pokrovsky, O.; Shirokova, L.; Kouraev, A.; Zakharova, E.; Kolmakova, M.; Dupre, B.

    2009-04-01

    Drained thaw lake basins in Western Siberia have a local name "khasyreis" [1]. Khasyreis as well as lakes, ponds and frozen mounds are invariable element of sub-arctic frozen peat bogs - palsas and tundra landscapes. In some areas of West-Siberian sub-arctic khasyreis occupy up to 40-50% of total lake area. Sometimes their concentration is so high that we call such places ‘khasyrei's fields". Khasyreis are part of the natural cycle of palsa complex development [1], but their origin is not continuous and uniform in time and, according to our opinion, there were periods of more intensive lake drainage and khasyrei development accordingly. These times were corresponding with epochs of climatic warming and today we have faced with one of them. So, last years this process was sufficiently activated in the south part of West-Siberian sub-arctic [2]. It was discovered that in the zone of continuous permafrost thermokarst lakes have expanded their areas by about 10-12%, but in the zone of discontinuous permafrost the process of their drainage prevails. These features are connected with the thickness of peat layers which gradually decreases to the North, and thus have reduced the opportunity for lake drainage in northern areas. The most typical way of khasyrei origin is their drainage to the bigger lakes which are always situated on the lower levels and works as a collecting funnels providing drainage of smaller lakes. The lower level of the big lake appeared when the lake takes a critical mass of water enough for subsidence of the lake bottom due to the melting of underlaying rocks [2]. Another one way of lake drainage is the lake intercept by any river. Lake drainage to the subsurface (underlaying rocks) as some authors think [3, 4] is not possible in Western Siberia, because the thickness of permafrost is at list 500 m here being safe confining bed. We mark out few stages of khasyrei development: freshly drained, young, mature and old. This row reflects stages of

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-02-01

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

  9. 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....

  10. Quality Evaluation of Pork with Various Freezing and Thawing Methods

    Science.gov (United States)

    2014-01-01

    In this study, the physicochemical and sensory quality characteristics due to the influence of various thawing methods on electro-magnetic and air blast frozen pork were examined. The packaged pork samples, which were frozen by air blast freezing at −45℃ or electro-magnetic freezing at −55℃, were thawed using 4 different methods: refrigeration (4±1℃), room temperature (RT, 25℃), cold water (15℃), and microwave (2450 MHz). Analyses were carried out to determine the drip and cooking loss, water holding capacity (WHC), moisture content and sensory evaluation. Frozen pork thawed in a microwave indicated relatively less thawing loss (0.63-1.24%) than the other thawing methods (0.68-1.38%). The cooking loss after electro-magnetic freezing indicated 37.4% by microwave thawing, compared with 32.9% by refrigeration, 36.5% by RT, and 37.2% by cold water in ham. The thawing of samples frozen by electro-magnetic freezing showed no significant differences between the methods used, while the moisture content was higher in belly thawed by microwave (62.0%) after electro-magnetic freezing than refrigeration (54.8%), RT (61.3%), and cold water (61.1%). The highest overall acceptability was shown for microwave thawing after electro-magnetic freezing but there were no significant differences compared to that of the other samples. PMID:26761493

  11. Trace elements transport in western Siberia rivers across a permafrost gradient

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pokrovsky, O. S.; Manasypov, R. M.; Loiko, S.; Krickov, I. A.; Kopysov, S. G.; Kolesnichenko, L. G.; Vorobyev, S. N.; Kirpotin, S. N.

    2015-11-01

    decreased significantly northward during all seasons. Overall, the rank of environmental factors on TE concentration in western Siberian rivers was latitude (3 permafrost zones) > season > watershed size. The effect of the latitude was minimal in spring for most TE 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 vs. bog water feeding determined the pattern of trace element concentration and fluxes in rivers of various size as a function of season. Comparison of obtained TE fluxes in WSL rivers with those of other subarctic rivers demonstrated reasonable agreement for most trace elements; the lithology of base rocks was the major factor controlling the magnitude of TE fluxes. The climate change in western Siberia and permafrost boundary migration will affect essentially 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 plants - 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 by merely active layer thickening and permafrost boundary shift.

  12. Contribution of black spruce (Picea mariana) transpiration to growing season evapotranspiration in a subarctic discontinuous permafrost peatland complex

    Science.gov (United States)

    Helbig, M.; Warren, R. K.; Pappas, C.; Sonnentag, O.; Berg, A. A.; Chasmer, L.; Baltzer, J. L.; Quinton, W. L.; Patankar, R.

    2016-12-01

    Partitioning the components of evapotranspiration (ET), evaporation and transpiration, has been increasingly important for the better understanding and modeling of carbon, water, and energy dynamics, and for reliable water resources quantification and management. However, disentangling its individual processes remains highly uncertain. Here, we quantify the contribution of black spruce transpiration, the dominant overstory, to ET of a boreal forest-wetland landscape in the southern Taiga Plains. In these ecosystems, thawing permafrost induces rapid landscape change, whereby permafrost-supported forested plateaus are transformed into bogs or fens (wetlands), resulting in tree mortality. Using historical and projected rates of forest-wetland changes, we assess how the contribution of black spruce transpiration to landscape ET might be altered with continued permafrost loss, and quantify the resulting water balance changes. We use two nested eddy covariance flux towers and a footprint model to quantify ET over the entire landscape. Sap flux density of black spruce is measured using the heat ratio method during the 2013 (n=22) and 2014 (n=3) growing seasons, and is used to estimate tree-level transpiration. Allometric relations between tree height, diameter at breast height and sapwood area are derived to upscale tree-level transpiration to overstory transpiration within the eddy covariance footprint. Black spruce transpiration accounts for <10% of total landscape ET. The largest daily contribution of overstory transpiration to landscape ET is observed shortly after the landscape becomes snow-free, continually decreasing throughout the progression of the growing season. Total transpiration is notably lower in 2014 (2.34 mm) than 2013 (2.83 mm) over the same 40-day period, corresponding to 3% of cumulative landscape ET in both years. This difference is likely due to the antecedent moisture conditions, where the 2014 growing season was proceeded by lower than average

  13. 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)

  14. Hydrogeological considerations in northern pipeline development. [Permafrost affected by hot or chilled pipeline

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Harlan, R L

    1974-11-01

    Some of the hydrogeological implications of construction and operation of oil and gas pipelines in northern regions of Canada are considered in relation to their potential environmental impacts and those factors affecting the security of the pipeline itself. Although the extent to which water in permafrost participates in the subsurface flow regime has not been fully demonstrated, the role of liquid as well as vapor transport in frozen earth materials can be shown from theory to be highly significant; water movement rates in frozen soil are on the same order as those in unsaturated, unfrozen soil. Below 0/sup 0/C, the unfrozen water content in a fine-grained porous medium is dependent on temperature but independent of the total water content. The thermal gradient controls the rate and direction of water movement in permafrost. The groundwater stabilizes the streamflow and in the absence of large lakes provides the main source of flow during the winter. As groundwater is frequently confined by the permafrost, degradation of the permafrost can have significant consequences. The thaw bulb formed around a hot oil pipeline can induce liquefactioned flow of the thawed material. A chilled pipeline could restrict groundwater movement, resulting in buildup of artesian conditions and icings. The liberation and absorption of latent heat on freezing and thawing affects the thermal regime in the ground surface. Recommendations are given for pipeline construction and areas for further study pointed out. (DLC)

  15. Interaction of thermal and mechanical processes in steep permafrost rock walls: A conceptual approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Draebing, D.; Krautblatter, M.; Dikau, R.

    2014-12-01

    Degradation of permafrost rock wall decreases stability and can initiate rock slope instability of all magnitudes. Rock instability is controlled by the balance of shear forces and shear resistances. The sensitivity of slope stability to warming results from a complex interplay of shear forces and resistances. Conductive, convective and advective heat transport processes act to warm, degrade and thaw permafrost in rock walls. On a seasonal scale, snow cover changes are a poorly understood key control of the timing and extent of thawing and permafrost degradation. We identified two potential critical time windows where shear forces might exceed shear resistances of the rock. In early summer combined hydrostatic and cryostatic pressure can cause a peak in shear force exceeding high frozen shear resistance and in autumn fast increasing shear forces can exceed slower increasing shear resistance. On a multiannual system scale, shear resistances change from predominantly rock-mechanically to ice-mechanically controlled. Progressive rock bridge failure results in an increase of sensitivity to warming. Climate change alters snow cover and duration and, hereby, thermal and mechanical processes in the rock wall. Amplified thawing of permafrost will result in higher rock slope instability and rock fall activity. We present a holistic conceptual approach connecting thermal and mechanical processes, validate parts of the model with geophysical and kinematic data and develop future scenarios to enhance understanding on system scale.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. Using in-field and remote sensing techniques for the monitoring of small-scale permafrost decline in Northern Quebec

    Science.gov (United States)

    May, Inga; Kim, Jun Su; Spannraft, Kati; Ludwig, Ralf; Hajnsek, Irena; Bernier, Monique; Allard, Michel

    2010-05-01

    year (2009) are highlighted. The main focus during this year was to figure out whether small-scale topographical changes caused by seasonal thawing and freezing processes, are detectable by means of SAR-interferometry. For this purpose, repeat passes of interferometric products were computed from the multi-temporal image pairs of Germany's X-band SAR sensor TerraSar-X. These are then compared with in-situ measurements surveyed by high precision differential GPS, taken during the field measurements in April and August of 2009. Thus, the first methodological research question is to prove that the results from the interferogram analysis correspond to the findings of field surveys. The results are promising as topographical changes could be observed with the D-GPS as well as on the interferograms. Due to the amount of factors influencing the remote sensed data, the analysis of the information contained in the data in order to make quantitative statements still remains an effort. Nevertheless it is very likely that, after further investigation to fully understand the radar-signal, this procedure is indeed reliable and efficient, and may be applied to a long-term and interannual assessment of permafrost dynamics in the sub-arctic.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Junwei, Zhang; Jinping, Li; Xiaojuan, Quan

    2013-01-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Landsat time series analysis documents beaver migration into permafrost landscapes of arctic Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, B. M.; Tape, K. D.; Nitze, I.; Arp, C. D.; Grosse, G.; Zimmerman, C. E.

    2017-12-01

    Landscape-scale impacts of climate change in the Arctic include increases in growing season length, shrubby vegetation, winter river discharge, snowfall, summer and winter water temperatures, and decreases in river and lake ice thickness. Combined, these changes may have created conditions that are suitable for beaver colonization of low Arctic tundra regions. We developed a semi-automated workflow that analyzes Landsat imagery time series to determine the extent to which beavers may have colonized permafrost landscapes in arctic Alaska since 1999. We tested this approach on the Lower Noatak, Wulik, and Kivalina river watersheds in northwest Alaska and identified 83 locations representing potential beaver activity. Seventy locations indicated wetting trends and 13 indicated drying trends. Verification of each site using high-resolution satellite imagery showed that 80 % of the wetting locations represented beaver activity (damming and pond formation), 11 % were unrelated to beavers, and 9 % could not readily be distinguished as being beaver related or not. For the drying locations, 31 % represented beaver activity (pond drying due to dam abandonment), 62 % were unrelated to beavers, and 7 % were undetermined. Comparison of the beaver activity database with historic aerial photography from ca. 1950 and ca. 1980 indicates that beavers have recently colonized or recolonized riparian corridors in northwest Alaska. Remote sensing time series observations associated with the migration of beavers in permafrost landscapes in arctic Alaska include thermokarst lake expansion and drainage, thaw slump initiation, ice wedge degradation, thermokarst shore fen development, and possibly development of lake and river taliks. Additionally, beaver colonization in the Arctic may alter channel courses, thermal regimes, hyporheic flow, riparian vegetation, and winter ice regimes that could impact ecosystem structure and function in this region. In particular, the combination of beaver

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Thawing of Frozen Tuna Meat

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tanaka, Takeo; Nishiwaki, Kôji; Kakuda, Kitonari; Tomimatsu, Takao

    Frozen southern bluefin tuna meat discolors easily and sometimes contracts when thawed caused by thaw rigor. These phenomenon often become problematic in the transaction or handling of this kind of frozen tuna. Frozen meat blocks of southern Bluefin tuna were thawed separately by air thawing, running water thawing and microwave thawing. Changes occurring during thawing were checked for meat color by met-myoglobin ratio determination and for contract by microscopic observation. Results are as follows : (1) Discoloration scarcely occurred in the process of running water thawing (at 10°C for 50 min, or at 0°C for 6 hr). (2) No contraction was observed during thawing with running water described above and air thawing (at 18-20°C for 6 hr). (3) Discoloration and contraction seemed to be minimized, as to latently contractile blocks, when meat temperature passed through rapidly between -10°C and -5°C, and slowly (for 5-6 hr) between -5°C and -1°C. When the block was originally not contractile, discloration was minimized by rising meat temperature rapidly from -10°C to -l°C.

  7. Simulation of Soil Frost and Thaw Fronts Dynamics with Community Land Model 4.5

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gao, J.; Xie, Z.

    2016-12-01

    Freeze-thaw processes in soils, including changes in frost and thaw fronts (FTFs) , are important physical processes. The movement of FTFs affects soil water and thermal characteristics, as well as energy and water exchanges between land surface and the atmosphere, and then the land surface hydrothermal process. In this study, a two-directional freeze and thaw algorithm for simulating FTFs is incorporated into the community land surface model CLM4.5, which is called CLM4.5-FTF. The simulated FTFs depth and soil temperature of CLM4.5-FTF compared well with the observed data both in D66 station (permafrost) and Hulugou station (seasonally frozen soil). Because the soil temperature profile within a soil layer can be estimated according to the position of FTFs, CLM4.5 performed better in soil temperature simulation. Permafrost and seasonally frozen ground conditions in China from 1980 to 2010 were simulated using the CLM4.5-FTF. Numerical experiments show that the spatial distribution of simulated maximum frost depth by CLM4.5-FTF has seasonal variation obviously. Significant positive active-layer depth trends for permafrost regions and negative maximum freezing depth trends for seasonal frozen soil regions are simulated in response to positive air temperature trends except west of Black Sea.

  8. 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)

  9. Coupled thermo-geophysical inversion for high-latitude permafrost monitoring - assessment of the method and practical considerations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tomaskovicova, Sonia; Paamand, Eskild; Ingeman-Nielsen, Thomas; Bauer-Gottwein, Peter

    2013-04-01

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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Mapping surficial geology and assessment of permafrost conditions under the Iqaluit airport, Nunavut, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mathon-Dufour, V.; Allard, M.; Leblanc, A.; L'Hérault, E.; Oldenborger, G. A.; Sladen, W. E.

    2012-12-01

    Formerly, characterization of permafrost conditions was minimal before the construction of infrastructures. It was assumed that the permafrost would forever remain a solid substrate. Before global warming, transportation infrastructures were not designed, especially in terms of materials and dimensions, to withstand without damage an increased input of heat in the soil. Iqaluit airport, the hub of the eastern Canadian Arctic, is currently affected by thawing permafrost. In fact, the runway, taxiways and apron are affected by differential settlements resulting from the presence of localized ice-rich soils. This study uses a GIS approach that makes up for the absence of appropriate characterization before the construction of the airport during WWII and in the 1950s. Mapping of surficial geology, hydrography and landforms indicative of the presence of ground ice (e.g. tundra polygons) was produced by interpreting aerial photographs dating back from the initial phases of construction (1948) and photographs taken at intervals since then, to the most recent high-resolution satellite images. Subsequent map analysis shows that the original terrain conditions prevailing before the construction of the airport have a significant impact on the current stability of the infrastructure. Data integration allowed us to summarize the main problems affecting the Iqaluit airport which are: 1) Differential settlements associated with pre-construction drainage network 2) Cracking due to thermal contraction, 3) Linear depressions associated with ice wedge degradation and 4) Sink holes. Most of the sectors affected by differential settlements and instabilities are perfectly coincident with the original streams and lakes network that has been filled to increase the size of the runway, taxiways and the apron. In addition, the runway is affected by intense frost cracking. Similarities with nearby natural terrain suggest that the network pattern of the cracks follows pre-existing ice wedges

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G. Vieira

    2017-07-01

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

  14. 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

  15. Spatiotemporal changes of freezing/thawing indices and their response to recent climate change on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau from 1980 to 2013

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Tonghua; Qin, Yanhui; Wu, Xiaodong; Li, Ren; Zou, Defu; Xie, Changwei

    2018-05-01

    The spatial and temporal changes of the ground surface freezing indices (GFIs), ground surface thawing indices (GTIs), air freezing indices (AFIs), and air thawing indices (ATIs) in permafrost and seasonally frozen ground regions of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP) were analyzed based on the daily ground surface and air temperatures from 69 meteorological stations using the Mann-Kendall test and Sen's slope estimate. The spatial patterns of the freezing indices (FIs) and thawing indices (TIs) are nearly negatively correlated. On the annual scale, the GFI and GTI are greater than the AFI and ATI in both permafrost and seasonally frozen ground regions. The marked upward and downward trends have been observed for the time series of TI and FI, respectively, since 1998 on the QTP. Moreover, GFI and AFI decrease more significantly in permafrost regions than in seasonally frozen ground regions; the increasing rate of GTI and ATI in the seasonally frozen ground regions is greater than that in the permafrost regions. In permafrost regions, the downward trend of FI is greater than the upward trend of TI. However, the upward trend of TI shows a more drastic change than the FI in the seasonally frozen ground regions. The results indicate that the warming in the permafrost regions is more pronounced in winter than in the other seasons. The summer warming is more pronounced than the other seasons in the seasonally frozen ground regions. The decreasing rate of AFI and GFI increases as the altitude rises, while they decrease with increasing ATI. The average decreasing rate of GFI is greater than that of the AFI in different altitudinal zones. The greatest decrease of FI occurs in permafrost regions in the hinterland of the QTP, which indicates the dominant winter warming in this region. The downward trend of FI and upward trend of TI are responsible for the reported permafrost degradation on the QTP.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2005-12-01

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

  20. 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

  1. 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 ...

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. The effects of fire on the thermal stability of permafrost in lowland and upland black spruce forests of interior Alaska in a changing climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    E.E. Jafarov; V.E. Romanovsky; H. Genet; A.D. McGuire; S.S. Marchenko

    2013-01-01

    Fire is an important factor controlling the composition and thickness of the organic layer in the black spruce forest ecosystems of interior Alaska. Fire that burns the organic layer can trigger dramatic changes in the underlying permafrost, leading to accelerated ground thawing within a relatively short time. In this study, we addressed the following questions. (1)...

  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. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

    . Specific emphasis was made on the study of permafrost soils. Throughout the course students were exposed to a wide range of field techniques, including surveying, coring, geothermal monitoring, thaw-depth measurements, landscape characterization, geomorphologic investigations, soil description and classification according to International, Russian, German, and U.S. classification schemes, and hydrologic and botanical field investigations. Significant portion of the course curriculum was devoted to problems of industrial development in permafrost regions. Pipelines, material sites, operating gas wells, processing plants, pump stations, and permafrost engineering testing facilities associated with three major gas fields (Yamburg, Yubileinoe, and Zapolyarnoe) were visited as part of the field excursions. Several meetings with Russian gas industry executives and workers were arranged to openly discuss economic and political issues associated with GasProm activities in West Siberia. The field work was complemented by daily lectures prepared by instructors and students, covering a wide range of topics. Students also participated in active permafrost research through daily data collection and analysis activities. Analysis of the diverse data sets obtained during the course was conducted at Moscow State University, presented in a series of detailed reports. The data collected by students were contributed to the international IPY permafrost monitoring programmes. Several students have presented results of their research at the Ninth International Conference on Permafrost and other national and international scientific meetings. This presentation describes research and educational activities of the IUCP, provides results of student research, and outlines the plan for the future.

  14. Controls on ecosystem and root respiration across a permafrost and wetland gradient in interior Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    McConnell, Nicole A.; Turetsky, Merritt R.; McGuire, A. David; Kane, Evan S.; Waldrop, Mark P.; Harden, Jennifer W.

    2013-01-01

    Permafrost is common to many northern wetlands given the insulation of thick organic soil layers, although soil saturation in wetlands can lead to warmer soils and increased thaw depth. We analyzed five years of soil CO2 fluxes along a wetland gradient that varied in permafrost and soil moisture conditions. We predicted that communities with permafrost would have reduced ecosystem respiration (ER) but greater temperature sensitivity than communities without permafrost. These predictions were partially supported. The colder communities underlain by shallow permafrost had lower ecosystem respiration (ER) than communities with greater active layer thickness. However, the apparent Q10 of monthly averaged ER was similar in most of the vegetation communities except the rich fen, which had smaller Q10 values. Across the gradient there was a negative relationship between water table position and apparent Q10, showing that ER was more temperature sensitive under drier soil conditions. We explored whether root respiration could account for differences in ER between two adjacent communities (sedge marsh and rich fen), which corresponded to the highest and lowest ER, respectively. Despite differences in root respiration rates, roots contributed equally (~40%) to ER in both communities. Also, despite similar plant biomass, ER in the rich fen was positively related to root biomass, while ER in the sedge marsh appeared to be related more to vascular green area. Our results suggest that ER across this wetland gradient was temperature-limited, until conditions became so wet that respiration became oxygen-limited and influenced less by temperature. But even in sites with similar hydrology and thaw depth, ER varied significantly likely based on factors such as soil redox status and vegetation composition.

  15. Substrate potential of last interglacial to Holocene permafrost organic matter for future microbial greenhouse gas production

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stapel, Janina G.; Schwamborn, Georg; Schirrmeister, Lutz; Horsfield, Brian; Mangelsdorf, Kai

    2018-04-01

    In this study the organic matter (OM) in several permafrost cores from Bol'shoy Lyakhovsky Island in NE Siberia was investigated. In the context of the observed global warming the aim was to evaluate the potential of freeze-locked OM from different depositional ages to act as a substrate provider for microbial production of greenhouse gases from thawing permafrost. To assess this potential, the concentrations of free and bound acetate, which form an appropriate substrate for methanogenesis, were determined. The largest free-acetate (in pore water) and bound-acetate (organic-matrix-linked) substrate pools were present in interstadial marine isotope stage (MIS) 3 and stadial MIS 4 Yedoma permafrost deposits. In contrast, deposits from the last interglacial MIS 5e (Eemian) contained only a small pool of substrates. The Holocene (MIS 1) deposits revealed a significant bound-acetate pool, representing a future substrate potential upon release during OM degradation. Additionally, pyrolysis experiments on the OM allocated an increased aliphatic character to the MIS 3 and 4 Late Pleistocene deposits, which might indicate less decomposed and presumably more easily degradable OM. Biomarkers for past microbial communities, including those for methanogenic archaea, also showed the highest abundance during MIS 3 and 4, which indicated OM-stimulated microbial degradation and presumably greenhouse gas production during time of deposition. On a broader perspective, Arctic warming will increase and deepen permafrost thaw and favor substrate availability from older freeze-locked permafrost deposits. Thus, the Yedoma deposits especially showed a high potential for providing substrates relevant for microbial greenhouse gas production.

  16. 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.

  17. 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),...

  18. Monitoring of active layer dynamics at a permafrost site on Svalbard using multi-channel ground-penetrating radar

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Westermann

    2010-11-01

    Full Text Available Multi-channel ground-penetrating radar is used to investigate the late-summer evolution of the thaw depth and the average soil water content of the thawed active layer at a high-arctic continuous permafrost site on Svalbard, Norway. Between mid of August and mid of September 2008, five surveys have been conducted in gravelly soil over transect lengths of 130 and 175 m each. The maximum thaw depths range from 1.6 m to 2.0 m, so that they are among the deepest thaw depths recorded in sediments on Svalbard so far. The thaw depths increase by approximately 0.2 m between mid of August and beginning of September and subsequently remain constant until mid of September. The thaw rates are approximately constant over the entire length of the transects within the measurement accuracy of about 5 to 10 cm. The average volumetric soil water content of the thawed soil varies between 0.18 and 0.27 along the investigated transects. While the measurements do not show significant changes in soil water content over the first four weeks of the study, strong precipitation causes an increase in average soil water content of up to 0.04 during the last week. These values are in good agreement with evapotranspiration and precipitation rates measured in the vicinity of the the study site. While we cannot provide conclusive reasons for the detected spatial variability of the thaw depth at the study site, our measurements show that thaw depth and average soil water content are not directly correlated.

    The study demonstrates the potential of multi-channel ground-penetrating radar for mapping thaw depth in permafrost areas. The novel non-invasive technique is particularly useful when the thaw depth exceeds 1.5 m, so that it is hardly accessible by manual probing. In addition, multi-channel ground-penetrating radar holds potential for mapping the latent heat content of the active layer and for estimating weekly to monthly averages of the ground heat flux during the

  19. 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.

  20. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-07-01

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

  2. 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...

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Disappearing Arctic tundra ponds: Fine-scale analysis of surface hydrology in drained thaw lake basins over a 65 year period (1948-2013)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andresen, Christian G.; Lougheed, Vanessa L.

    2015-03-01

    Long-term fine-scale dynamics of surface hydrology in Arctic tundra ponds (less than 1 ha) are largely unknown; however, these small water bodies may contribute substantially to carbon fluxes, energy balance, and biodiversity in the Arctic system. Change in pond area and abundance across the upper Barrow Peninsula, Alaska, was assessed by comparing historic aerial imagery (1948) and modern submeter resolution satellite imagery (2002, 2008, and 2010). This was complemented by photogrammetric analysis of low-altitude kite-borne imagery in combination with field observations (2010-2013) of pond water and thaw depth transects in seven ponds of the International Biological Program historic research site. Over 2800 ponds in 22 drained thaw lake basins (DTLB) with different geological ages were analyzed. We observed a net decrease of 30.3% in area and 17.1% in number of ponds over the 62 year period. The inclusion of field observations of pond areas in 1972 from a historic research site confirms the linear downward trend in area. Pond area and number were dependent on the age of DTLB; however, changes through time were independent of DTLB age, with potential long-term implications for the hypothesized geomorphologic landscape succession of the thaw lake cycle. These losses were coincident with increases in air temperature, active layer, and density and cover of aquatic emergent plants in ponds. Increased evaporation due to warmer and longer summers, permafrost degradation, and transpiration from encroaching aquatic emergent macrophytes are likely the factors contributing to the decline in surface area and number of ponds.

  8. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  10. 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

  11. 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)

  12. 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

  13. Response of organic matter quality in permafrost soils to warming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Plaza, C.; Pegoraro, E.; Schuur, E.

    2016-12-01

    Global warming is predicted to thaw large quantities of the perennially frozen organic matter stored in northern permafrost soils. Upon thaw, this organic matter will be exposed to lateral export to water bodies and to microbial decomposition, which may exacerbate climate change by releasing significant amounts of greenhouse gases. To gain an insight into these processes, we investigated how the quality of permafrost soil organic matter responded to five years of warming. In particular, we sampled control and experimentally warmed soils in 2009 and 2013 from an experiment established in 2008 in a moist acidic tundra ecosystem in Healy, Alaska. We examined surface organic (0 to 15 cm), deep organic (15 to 35 cm), and mineral soil layers (35 to 55 cm) separately by means of stable isotope analysis (δ13C and δ15N) and solid-state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance. Compared to the control, the experimental warming did not affect the isotopic and molecular composition of soil organic matter across the depth profile. However, we did find significant changes with time. In particular, in the surface organic layer, δ13C decreased and alkyl/O-alkyl ratio increased from 2009 to 2013, which indicated variations in soil organic sources (e.g., changes in vegetation) and accelerated decomposition. In the deep organic layer, we found a slight increase in δ15N with time. In the mineral layer, δ13C values decreased slightly, whereas alkyl C/O-alkyl ratio increased, suggesting a preferential loss of relatively more degraded organic matter fractions probably by lateral transport by water flowing through the soil. 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

  14. Greenhouse Gas Exchange in Small Arctic Thaw Ponds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laurion, I.; Bégin, P. N.; Bouchard, F.; Preskienis, V.

    2014-12-01

    Arctic lakes and ponds can represent up to one quarter of the land surface in permafrost landscapes, particularly in lowland tundra landscapes characterized by ice wedge organic polygons. Thaw ponds can be defined as the aquatic ecosystems associated to thawing of organic soils, either resulting from active layer processes and located above low-center peat polygons (hereafter low-center polygonal or LCP ponds), or resulting from thermokarst slumping above melting ice wedges linked to the accelerated degradation of permafrost (hereafter ice-wedge trough or IWT ponds). These ponds can merge together forming larger water bodies, but with relatively stable shores (hereafter merged polygonal or MPG ponds), and with limnological characteristics similar to LCP ponds. These aquatic systems are very small and shallow, and present a different physical structure than the larger thermokarst lakes, generated after years of development and land subsidence. In a glacier valley on Bylot Island, Nunavut, Canada, thermokarst and kettle lakes together represent 29% of the aquatic area, with a thermal profile resembling those of more standard arctic lakes (mixed epilimnion). The IWT ponds (44% of the area) are stratified for a large fraction of the summer despite their shallowness, while LCP and MPG ponds (27% of the area) show a more homogeneous water column. This will affect gas exchange in these diverse aquatic systems, in addition to their unique microbiota and organic carbon lability that control the production and consumption rates of greenhouse gases. The stratification in IWT ponds generates hypoxic conditions at the bottom, and together with the larger availability of organic carbon, stimulates methanogenesis and limits the mitigating action of methanotrophs. Overall, thaw ponds are largely supersaturated in methane, with IWT ponds dominating the emissions in this landscape (92% of total aquatic emissions estimated for the same valley), and they present large variations in

  15. Meat Quality of Chicken Breast Subjected to Different Thawing Methods

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    MR Oliveira

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available Freezing is one of the methods to preserve and guarantee the quality of meat until it reaches the consumer. Even though freezing is classified as a mild form of preservation, it causes meat changes resulting from the formation of ice crystals that subsequently affect the tenderness and functionality of meat. The aim of this study was to evaluate the physicochemical and structural characteristics of chicken half breast submitted to fast freezing (-36 °C for 2 hours and thawed by five different methods (under refrigeration, in a microwave, in a oven with air circulation, placed in cold water, or at room temperature. After thawing, the following parameters were evaluated: moisture content, drip loss (syneresis, water activity (aw, and shear force. Samples were also histologically evaluated by light microscopy. The results indicated that, despite being submitted to fast freezing, thawing affected (p <0.05 most of the physicochemical and structural properties of the meat, except for aw. Thawing in cold water (packed in low-density polyethylene bags and placed in cold water at approximately 10 °C for 2 hours and 15 minutes presented the best results due to lesser damage to the cell structure, as shown by the lower drip loss, higher moisture content, and greater tenderness of the samples compared to those thawed using the other methods. Histological examination showed that muscle fiber structural features and organization were maintained. Thawing at low temperatures seems to cause less damage to the meat structure and allows maintaining of its properties. It was concluded that the meat quality is not related only with the freezing method, but also with the method and conditions used in thawing.

  16. Transient thermal effects in Alpine permafrost

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Noetzli

    2009-04-01

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

  17. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dana R.N. Brown

    2016-08-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-08-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. H. Fraser

    2015-08-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Govaerts, Joan; Weetjens, Eef; Beerten, Koen

    2012-01-01

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

  3. METHANE HYDRATE PRODUCTION FROM ALASKAN PERMAFROST

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2005-02-01

    part of the Ugnu and throughout the West Sak. No hydrate-bearing zones were identified either in recovered core or on well logs. The base of the permafrost was found at about 1260 ft. With the exception of the deepest sands in the West Sak and some anomalous thin, tight zones, all sands recovered (after thawing) are unconsolidated with high porosity and high permeability. At 800 psi, Ugnu sands have an average porosity of 39.3% and geometrical mean permeability of 3.7 Darcys. Average grain density is 2.64 g/cc. West Sak sands have an average porosity of 35.5%, geometrical mean permeability of 0.3 Darcys, and average grain density of 2.70 g/cc. There were several 1-2 ft intervals of carbonate-cemented sandstone recovered from the West Sak. These intervals have porosities of only a few percent and very low permeability. On a well log they appear as resistive with a high sonic velocity. In shallow sections of other wells these usually are the only logs available. Given the presence of gas in Hot Ice No. 1, if only resistivity and sonic logs and a mud log had been available, tight sand zones may have been interpreted as containing hydrates. Although this finding does not imply that all previously mapped hydrate zones are merely tight sands, it does add a note of caution to the practice of interpreting the presence of hydrates from old well information. The methane hydrate stability zone below the Hot Ice No. 1 location includes thick sections of sandstone and conglomerate which would make excellent reservoir rocks for hydrates and below the permafrost zone shallow gas. The Ugnu formation comprises a more sand-rich section than does the West Sak formation, and the Ugnu sands when cleaned and dried are slightly more porous and significantly more permeable than the West Sak.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Desyatkin Roman

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    B. Mewes

    2017-12-01

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

  7. 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.)

  8. 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.)

  9. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

  11. 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.

  12. Oxygenated thawing and rewarming alleviate rewarming injury of cryopreserved pancreatic islets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Komatsu, Hirotake; Barriga, Alyssa; Medrano, Leonard; Omori, Keiko; Kandeel, Fouad; Mullen, Yoko

    2017-05-06

    Pancreatic islet transplantation is an effective treatment for Type 1 diabetic patients to eliminate insulin injections; however, a shortage of donor organs hinders the widespread use. Although long-term islet storage, such as cryopreservation, is considered one of the key solutions, transplantation of cryopreserved islets is still not practical due to the extensive loss during the cryopreservation-rewarming process. We have previously reported that culturing islets in a hyperoxic environment is an effective treatment to prevent islet death from the hypoxic injury during culture. In this study, we explored the effectiveness of thawing and rewarming cryopreserved islets in a hyperoxic environment. Following cryopreservation of isolated human islets, the thawing solution and culture media were prepared with or without pre-equilibration to 50% oxygen. Thawing/rewarming and the pursuant two-day culture were performed with or without oxygenation. Short-term recovery rate, defined as the volume change during cryopreservation and thawing/rewarming, was assessed. Ischemia-associated and inflammation-associated gene expressions were examined using qPCR after the initial rewarming period. Long-term recovery rate, defined as the volume change during the two-day culture after the thawing/rewarming, was also examined. Islet metabolism and function were assessed by basal oxygen consumption rate and glucose stimulated insulin secretion after long-term recovery. Oxygenated thawing/rewarming did not alter the short-term recovery rate. Inflammation-associated gene expressions were elevated by the conventional thawing/rewarming method and suppressed by the oxygenated thawing/rewarming, whereas ischemia-associated gene expressions did not change between the thawing/rewarming methods. Long-term recovery rate experiments revealed that only the combination therapy of oxygenated thawing/rewarming and oxygenated culture alleviated islet volume loss. These islets showed higher metabolism

  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. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-12-01

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

  16. Empowering the village communities for sustained observation of permafrost-related environmental changes, Upper Kuskokwim, Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

    A suite of environmental changes are underway in the North directly affecting the socio-economic state of native communities in remote Arctic villages. We cannot possibly have enough scientists and professionals on the ground to timely predict and effectively respond to the major changes. We believe the most cost-effective and possibly sustainable approach to cover more ground for monitoring and prediction of changes is by building community capacity for monitoring and research, and supporting communities to use resulting data and new findings to address emerging environmental issues and ensuing socio-economic challenges. The goal of this project is to help the communities of Upper Kuskokwim region take the lead in assessing and responding to the environmental changes that are coming with warmer climate and thawing permafrost. The permafrost related societal impacts that the communities are aware of are a) drying of lakes which affect their fishing and trapping, b) lower water level in Rivers due to bank erosion which affect their main mode of transportation in summer, c) appearance of sinkholes that pose threat to the safety of the community members and their properties, and d) eruption of a sand dune in the middle of the Telida village air strip. In August 2016 we will spend ten days in the Nikolai and Telida communities to understand the community need for monitoring through a community survey. We will offer training workshop on climate science and landscape change, and in making scientific observation and data collection. Also, we will install sensors to monitor air temperature, soil temperature, soil moisture, and snow at 12 sites spread across different ecotypes and topographic settings. Also, we will survey sites of major change to help develop a geo-hazard map for the region to facilitate safe subsistence practices and land use. As broader impact, the project will offer the traditionally-underserved native communities of the Upper Kuskokwim region an

  17. 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.

  18. Monitoring Bare Soil Freeze–Thaw Process Using GPS-Interferometric Reflectometry: Simulation and Validation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xuerui Wu

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available Frozen soil and permafrost affect ecosystem diversity and productivity as well as global energy and water cycles. Although some space-based Radar techniques or ground-based sensors can monitor frozen soil and permafrost variations, there are some shortcomings and challenges. For the first time, we use GPS-Interferometric Reflectometry (GPS-IR to monitor and investigate the bare soil freeze–thaw process as a new remote sensing tool. The mixed-texture permittivity models are employed to calculate the frozen and thawed soil permittivities. When the soil freeze/thaw process occurs, there is an abrupt change in the soil permittivity, which will result in soil scattering variations. The corresponding theoretical simulation results from the forward GPS multipath simulator show variations of GPS multipath observables. As for the in-situ measurements, virtual bistatic radar is employed to simplify the analysis. Within the GPS-IR spatial resolution, one SNOTEL site (ID 958 and one corresponding PBO (plate boundary observatory GPS site (AB33 are used for analysis. In 2011, two representative days (frozen soil on Doy of Year (DOY 318 and thawed soil on DOY 322 show the SNR changes of phase and amplitude. The GPS site and the corresponding SNOTEL site in four different years are analyzed for comparisons. When the soil freeze/thaw process occurred and no confounding snow depth and soil moisture effects existed, it exhibited a good absolute correlation (|R| = 0.72 in 2009, |R| = 0.902 in 2012, |R| = 0.646 in 2013, and |R| = 0.7017 in 2014 with the average detrended SNR data. Our theoretical simulation and experimental results demonstrate that GPS-IR has potential for monitoring the bare soil temperature during the soil freeze–thaw process, while more test works should be done in the future. GNSS-R polarimetry is also discussed as an option for detection. More retrieval work about elevation and polarization combinations are the focus of future development.

  19. Tracer-based identification of rock glacier thawing in a glacierized Alpine catchment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Engel, Michael; Penna, Daniele; Tirler, Werner; Comiti, Francesco

    2017-04-01

    Current warming in high mountains leads to increased melting of snow, glacier ice and permafrost. In particular rock glaciers, as a creeping form of mountain permafrost, may release contaminants such as heavy metals into the stream during intense melting periods in summer. This may have strong impacts on both water quantity and quality of fresh water resources but might also harm the aquatic fauna in mountain regions. In this context, the present study used stable isotopes of water and electrical conductivity (EC) combined with trace, major and minor elements to identify the influence of permafrost thawing on the water quality in the glacierized Solda catchment (130 km2) in South Tyrol (Italy). We carried out a monthly sampling of two springs fed by an active rock glacier at about 2600 m a.s.l. from July to October 2015. Furthermore, we took monthly water samples from different stream sections of the Solda River (1110 to m a.s.l.) from March to November 2015. Meteorological data were measured by an Automatic Weather Station at 2825 m a.s.l. of the Hydrographic Office (Autonomous Province of Bozen-Bolzano). First results show that water from the rock glacier springs and stream water fell along the global meteoric water line. Spring water was slightly more variable in isotopic ratio (δ2H: -91 to - 105 ) and less variable in dissolved solutes (EC: 380 to 611 μS/cm) than stream water (δ2H: -96 to - 107 ‰ and EC: 212 to 927 μS/cm). Both spring water and stream water showed a pronounced drop in EC during July and August, very likely induced by increased melt water dilution. In both water types, element concentrations of Ca and Mg were highest (up to 160 and 20 mg/l, respectively). In September, spring water showed higher concentrations in Cu, As, and Pb than stream water, indicating that these elements partly exceeded the concentration limit for drinking water. These observations highlight the important control, which rock glacier thawing may have on water quality

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. The effects of fire on the thermal stability of permafrost in lowland and upland black spruce forests of interior Alaska in a changing climate

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jafarov, E E; Romanovsky, V E; Marchenko, S S; Genet, H; McGuire, A D

    2013-01-01

    Fire is an important factor controlling the composition and thickness of the organic layer in the black spruce forest ecosystems of interior Alaska. Fire that burns the organic layer can trigger dramatic changes in the underlying permafrost, leading to accelerated ground thawing within a relatively short time. In this study, we addressed the following questions. (1) Which factors determine post-fire ground temperature dynamics in lowland and upland black spruce forests? (2) What levels of burn severity will cause irreversible permafrost degradation in these ecosystems? We evaluated these questions in a transient modeling–sensitivity analysis framework to assess the sensitivity of permafrost to climate, burn severity, soil organic layer thickness, and soil moisture content in lowland (with thick organic layers, ∼80 cm) and upland (with thin organic layers, ∼30 cm) black spruce ecosystems. The results indicate that climate warming accompanied by fire disturbance could significantly accelerate permafrost degradation. In upland black spruce forest, permafrost could completely degrade in an 18 m soil column within 120 years of a severe fire in an unchanging climate. In contrast, in a lowland black spruce forest, permafrost is more resilient to disturbance and can persist under a combination of moderate burn severity and climate warming. (letter)

  3. A case study of high Arctic anthropogenic disturbance to polar desert permafrost and ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Becker, M. S.; Pollard, W. H.

    2013-12-01

    One of the indirect impacts of climate change on Arctic ecosystems is the expected increase of industrial development in high latitudes. The scale of terrestrial impacts cannot be known ahead of time, particularly due to a lack of long-term impact studies in this region. With one of the slowest community recovery rates of any ecosystem, the high Artic biome will be under a considerable threat that is exacerbated by a high susceptibility to change in the permafrost thermal balance. One such area that provides a suitable location for study is an old airstrip near Eureka, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut (80.0175°N, 85.7340°W). While primarily used as an ice-runway for winter transport, the airstrip endured a yearly summer removal of vegetation that continued from 1947 until its abandonment in 1951. Since then, significant vegetative and geomorphic differences between disturbed and undisturbed areas have been noted in the literature throughout the decades (Bruggemann, 1953; Beschel, 1963; Couture and Pollard, 2007), but no system wide assessment of both the ecosystem and near-surface permafrost has been conducted. Key to our study is that the greatest apparent geomorphic and vegetative changes have occurred and persisted in areas where underlying ice-wedges have been disturbed. This suggests that the colonizing communities rapidly filled new available thermokarst niches and have produced an alternative ice-wedge stable state than the surrounding polar desert. We hypothesize that disturbed areas will currently have greater depths of thaw (deeper active layers) and degraded ice-wedges, with decreased vegetation diversity but higher abundance due to a changed hydrological balance. To test this a comprehensive set of near-surface active layer and ecosystem measurements were conducted. Permafrost dynamics were characterized using probing and high-frequency Ground Penetrating Radar (500 MHz) to map the near-surface details of ice-wedges and active layer. Vegetation was measured

  4. THE RELIABILITY ANALYSIS OF EXISTING REINFORCED CONCRETE PILES IN PERMAFROST REGIONS

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vladimir S. Utkin

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available The article describes the general problem of safe operation of buildings and structures with the dynamics of permafrost in Russia and other countries. The global warming on Earth will lead to global disasters such as failures of buildings and structures. The main reason of these failures will be a reduction of bearing capacity and the reliability of foundations. It is necessary to organize the observations (monitoring for the process of reducing the bearing capacity of foundations to prevent such accidents and reduce negative consequences, to development of preventive measures and operational methods for the piles reliability analysis. The main load-bearing elements of the foundation are reinforced concrete piles and frozen ground. Reinforced concrete piles have a tendency to decrease the bearing capacity and reliability of the upper (aerial part and the part in the soil. The article discusses the problem of reliability analysis of existing reinforced concrete piles in upper part in permafrost regions by the reason of pile degradation in the contact zone of seasonal thawing and freezing soil. The evaluation of the probability of failure is important in itself, but also it important for the reliability of foundation: consisting of piles and frozen soil. Authors offers the methods for reliability analysis of upper part of reinforced concrete piles in the contact zone with seasonally thawed soil under different number of random variables (fuzzy variables in the design mathematical model of a limit state by the strength criterion.

  5. Permafrost and peatland evolution in the northern Hudson Bay lowland, Manitoba

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dyke, L.D.; Sladen, W.E. [Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa, ON (Canada). Geological Survey of Canada

    2010-12-15

    This article reported on a study that investigated the sensitivity of peat plateau terrain to continued climate warming in the area of the northern Hudson Bay lowland. Snow and shallow standing water were assessed as the environmental factors most likely to create above-freezing ground temperatures in peat plateau terrain that is otherwise frozen. The relationships between air and ground temperatures in creating these surface environmental conditions were determined and used with air temperature records to predict whether peat plateaus will thaw as a result of foreseeable climate warming. Lake erosion was also assessed as a mechanism for the degradation of frozen peat plateau terrain. Environmental conditions that result in elevated ground temperatures at the margin of peat plateaus either eliminate permafrost or promote permafrost temperatures that are warmer than those beneath unforested peat plateaus. Under present climatic conditions, the process in which a frozen peat plateau degrades and transitions to fen is slow, but with continued warming the subsidence at plateau edges will become more pronounced, accelerating the subsidence process. The consequences of continued warming will be the expansion of thawed zones, subsidence at plateau margins, and potentially the collapse of plateau surfaces and conversion into fen. Peat plateau bog is also being lost to wave erosion of subsiding plateau borders at lake shorelines. 30 refs., 14 figs.

  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. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. Effect of freezing and thawing rates on the post-thaw viability of boar spermatozoa frozen in FlatPacks and Maxi-straws.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eriksson, B M; Rodriguez-Martinez, H

    2000-11-01

    The effects of different freezing and thawing rates on the post-thaw motility and membrane integrity of boar spermatozoa, processed as split samples in Maxi-straws or flat PET-plastic packages (FlatPack) were studied. A programmable freezing device was used to obtain freezing rates of either 20, 50 or 80 degrees C/min. Thawing of the samples was performed in a bath of circulating water; for 40s at 50 degrees C or 27s at 70 degrees C for Maxi-straws and 23s at 35 degrees C, 13s at 50 degrees C or 8s at 70 degrees C for the FlatPacks. Sperm motility was assessed both visually and with a computer assisted semen analysis (CASA) apparatus, while plasma membrane integrity was assessed using the fluorescent probes Calcein AM and ethidium homodimer-1. Temperature changes during freezing and thawing were monitored in both forms of packaging. Values for motile spermatozoa, sperm velocity and lateral head displacement variables were significantly (pstraws, with superior results at higher thawing rates. Freezing at 50 degrees C/min yielded better motility than 20 or 80 degrees C/min, although the effect was rather small. Neither freezing rate nor thawing rate had any effect on membrane integrity (p>0.05). A significant boar effect was seen for several parameters. The most striking difference in temperature courses between containers was a 4-5-fold lowering of the thawing rate, between -20 and 0 degrees C, in the center of the Maxi-straw, compared with the FlatPack. This is apparently due to the insulating effect of the thawed water in the periphery of the Maxi-straw. The improvement in sperm motility seen when using the FlatPack appears to be related to the rapid thawing throughout the sample, which decreases the risk of cell damage due to recrystallization during thawing. Since sperm motility patterns have been reported to be correlated with fertility both in vitro and in vivo it is speculated that the use of the FlatPack might improve the results when using frozen-thawed

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

  12. Comparing the sensitivity of permafrost and marine gas hydrate to climate warming

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Taylor, A.E.; Dallimore, S.R.; Hyndman, R.D.; Wright, F.

    2005-01-01

    The sensitivity of Arctic subpermafrost gas hydrate at the Mallik borehole was compared to temperate marine gas hydrate located offshore southwestern Canada. In particular, a finite element geothermal model was used to determine the sensitivity to the end of the ice age, and contemporary climate warming of a 30 m thick methane hydrate layer lying at the base of a gas hydrate stability zone prior to 13.5 kiloannum (ka) before present (BP). It was suggested that the 30 m gas-hydrate-bearing layer would have disappeared by now, according to the thermal signal alone. However, the same gas-hydrate-bearing layer underlying permafrost would persist until at least 4 ka after present, even with contemporary climate warming. The longer time for subpermafrost gas hydrate comes from the thawing pore ice at the base of permafrost, at the expense of dissociation of the deeper gas hydrate. The dissociation of underlying gas hydrate from climate surface warming is buffered by the overlying permafrost

  13. Climate-Induced Larch Growth Response Within the Central Siberian Permafrost Zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kharuk, Viacheslav I.; Ranson, Kenneth J.; Im, Sergei T.; Petrov, Il'ya A.

    2015-01-01

    Aim: estimation of larch (Larix gmelinii) growth response to current climate changes. Location: permafrost area within the northern part of Central Siberia (approximately 65.8 deg N, 98.5 deg E). Method: analysis of dendrochronological data, climate variables, drought index SPEI, GPP (gross primary production) and EVI vegetation index (both Aqua/MODIS satellite derived), and soil water content anomalies (GRACE satellite measurements of equivalent water thickness anomalies, EWTA). Results: larch tree ring width (TRW) correlated with previous year August precipitation (r = 0.63), snow accumulation (r = 0.61), soil water anomalies (r = 0.79), early summer temperatures and water vapor pressure (r = 0.73 and r = 0.69, respectively), May and June drought index (r = 0.68-0.82). There are significant positive trends of TRW since late 1980s and GPP since the year 2000. Mean TRW increased by about 50%, which is similar to post-Little Ice Age warming. TRW correlated with GPP and EVI of larch stands (r = 0.68-0.69). Main conclusions: within the permafrost zone of central Siberia larch TRW growth is limited by early summer temperatures, available water from snowmelt, water accumulated within soil in the previous year, and permafrost thaw water. Water stress is one of the limiting factors of larch growth. Larch TRW growth and GPP increased during recent decades.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-15

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

  17. Cooling permafrost embankment by enhancing oriented heat conduction in asphalt pavement

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Yinfei, Du; Shengyue, Wang; Shuangjie, Wang; Jianbing, Chen

    2016-01-01

    Highlights: • Solar radiation heat was prevented from entering the embankment in summer. • The downward heat transfer efficiency in asphalt pavement and embankment reduced. • The net heat accumulation in the embankment decreased. - Abstract: In this paper, a new method was proposed to decrease the heat accumulation in permafrost embankment by controlling an oriented heat transfer in asphalt pavement. Two highly oriented heat-induced structures, named G-OHIS (only gradient thermal conductivity) and G+R-OHIS (combined gradient thermal conductivity and heat reflective layer), were designed by using two indexes of summertime daily heat absorption and annual net heat accumulation on the top of embankment. The results showed that the heat absorptions on the top of embankments of the G-OHIS and G+R-OHIS in summer decreased by 9.9% and 23.2% respectively. The annual net heat accumulation on the top of embankment decreased by 6.2% for the G-OHIS and 37.9% for the G+R-OHIS. Moreover, the summertime mean daily temperatures on the top of embankments of the G-OHIS and G+R-OHIS reduced by 0.74 °C and 1.66 °C respectively. The annual temperature difference on the top of embankment reduced by 1.07 °C for the G-OHIS and 1.96 °C for the G+R-OHIS. The effectiveness of the G-OHIS in reducing pavement temperature was validated by an indoor irradiation test. It is expected to reduce permafrost thawing and other pavement distresses caused by permafrost thawing by controlling an oriented heat transfer in asphalt pavement.

  18. The positive net radiative greenhouse gas forcing of increasing methane emissions from a thawing boreal forest-wetland landscape.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Helbig, Manuel; Chasmer, Laura E; Kljun, NatasCha; Quinton, William L; Treat, Claire C; Sonnentag, Oliver

    2017-06-01

    At the southern margin of permafrost in North America, climate change causes widespread permafrost thaw. In boreal lowlands, thawing forested permafrost peat plateaus ('forest') lead to expansion of permafrost-free wetlands ('wetland'). Expanding wetland area with saturated and warmer organic soils is expected to increase landscape methane (CH 4 ) emissions. Here, we quantify the thaw-induced increase in CH 4 emissions for a boreal forest-wetland landscape in the southern Taiga Plains, Canada, and evaluate its impact on net radiative forcing relative to potential long-term net carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) exchange. Using nested wetland and landscape eddy covariance net CH 4 flux measurements in combination with flux footprint modeling, we find that landscape CH 4 emissions increase with increasing wetland-to-forest ratio. Landscape CH 4 emissions are most sensitive to this ratio during peak emission periods, when wetland soils are up to 10 °C warmer than forest soils. The cumulative growing season (May-October) wetland CH 4 emission of ~13 g CH 4  m -2 is the dominating contribution to the landscape CH 4 emission of ~7 g CH 4  m -2 . In contrast, forest contributions to landscape CH 4 emissions appear to be negligible. The rapid wetland expansion of 0.26 ± 0.05% yr -1 in this region causes an estimated growing season increase of 0.034 ± 0.007 g CH 4  m -2  yr -1 in landscape CH 4 emissions. A long-term net CO 2 uptake of >200 g CO 2  m -2  yr -1 is required to offset the positive radiative forcing of increasing CH 4 emissions until the end of the 21st century as indicated by an atmospheric CH 4 and CO 2 concentration model. However, long-term apparent carbon accumulation rates in similar boreal forest-wetland landscapes and eddy covariance landscape net CO 2 flux measurements suggest a long-term net CO 2 uptake between 49 and 157 g CO 2  m -2  yr -1 . Thus, thaw-induced CH 4 emission increases likely exert a positive net radiative greenhouse gas

  19. Physical and mathematical modeling of process of frozen ground thawing under hot tank

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zemenkova, M. Y.; Shastunova, U.; Shabarov, A.; Kislitsyn, A.; Shuvaev, A.

    2018-05-01

    A description of a new non-stationary thermophysical model in the “hot tank-frozen ground” system is given, taking into account mass transfer of pore moisture. The results of calculated and experimental data are presented, and the position of the thawing front is shown to be in good agreement with the convective heat transfer due to moisture migration in the thawed ground.

  20. Co-occurrence patterns in aquatic bacterial communities across changing permafrost landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Comte, J.; Lovejoy, C.; Crevecoeur, S.; Vincent, W. F.

    2016-01-01

    Permafrost thaw ponds and lakes are widespread across the northern landscape and may play a central role in global biogeochemical cycles, yet knowledge about their microbial ecology is limited. We sampled a set of thaw ponds and lakes as well as shallow rock-basin lakes that are located in distinct valleys along a north-south permafrost degradation gradient. We applied high-throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene to determine co-occurrence patterns among bacterial taxa (operational taxonomic units, OTUs), and then analyzed these results relative to environmental variables to identify variables controlling bacterial community structure. Network analysis was applied to identify possible ecological linkages among the bacterial taxa and with abiotic and biotic variables. The results showed an overall high level of shared taxa among bacterial communities within each valley; however, the bacterial co-occurrence patterns were non-random, with evidence of habitat preferences. There were taxonomic differences in bacterial assemblages among the different valleys that were statistically related to dissolved organic carbon concentration, conductivity and phytoplankton biomass. Co-occurrence networks revealed complex interdependencies within the bacterioplankton communities and showed contrasting linkages to environmental conditions among the main bacterial phyla. The thaw pond networks were composed of a limited number of highly connected taxa. This "small world network" property would render the communities more robust to environmental change but vulnerable to the loss of microbial "keystone species". These highly connected nodes (OTUs) in the network were not merely the numerically dominant taxa, and their loss would alter the organization of microbial consortia and ultimately the food web structure and functioning of these aquatic ecosystems.

  1. 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.

  2. Research Article: Effects of long-term simulated Martian conditions on a freeze-dried and homogenized bacterial permafrost community

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hansen, Aviaja Anna; Jensen, Lars Liengård; Kristoffersen, Tommy

    2009-01-01

    Indigenous bacteria and biomolecules (DNA and proteins) in a freeze-dried and homogenized Arctic permafrost were exposed to simulated martian conditions that correspond to about 80 days on the surface of Mars with respect to the accumulated UV dose. The simulation conditions included UV radiation......, freeze-thaw cycles, the atmospheric gas composition, and pressure. The homogenized permafrost cores were subjected to repeated cycles of UV radiation for 3 h followed by 27 h without irradiation. The effects of the simulation conditions on the concentrations of biomolecules; numbers of viable, dead......, and cultured bacteria; as well as the community structure were determined. Simulated martian conditions resulted in a significant reduction of the concentrations of DNA and amino acids in the uppermost 1.5 mm of the soil core. The total number of bacterial cells was reduced in the upper 9 mm of the soil core...

  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. Hydrogeology, chemical and microbial activity measurement through deep permafrost

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2010-04-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

    Little is known about hydrogeochemical conditions beneath thick permafrost, particularly in fractured crystalline rock, due to difficulty in accessing this environment. The purpose of this investigation was to develop methods to obtain physical, chemical, and microbial information about the subpermafrost environment from a surface-drilled borehole. Using a U-tube, gas and water samples were collected, along with temperature, pressure, and hydraulic conductivity measurements, 420 m below ground surface, within a 535 m long, angled borehole at High Lake, Nunavut, Canada, in an area with 460-m-thick permafrost. Piezometric head was well above the base of the permafrost, near land surface. Initial water samples were contaminated with drill fluid, with later samples <40% drill fluid. The salinity of the non-drill fluid component was <20,000 mg/L, had a Ca/Na ratio above 1, with δ(18) O values ∼5‰ lower than the local surface water. The fluid isotopic composition was affected by the permafrost-formation process. Nonbacteriogenic CH(4) was present and the sample location was within methane hydrate stability field. Sampling lines froze before uncontaminated samples from the subpermafrost environment could be obtained, yet the available time to obtain water samples was extended compared to previous studies. Temperature measurements collected from a distributed temperature sensor indicated that this issue can be overcome easily in the future. The lack of methanogenic CH(4) is consistent with the high sulfate concentrations observed in cores. The combined surface-drilled borehole/U-tube approach can provide a large amount of physical, chemical, and microbial data from the subpermafrost environment with few, controllable, sources of contamination. Copyright © 2010 The Author(s). Journal compilation © 2010 National Ground Water Association.

  6. Retrogressive thaw slumps temper dissolved organic carbon delivery to streams of the Peel Plateau, NWT, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Littlefair, Cara A.; Tank, Suzanne E.; Kokelj, Steven V.

    2017-12-01

    In Siberia and Alaska, permafrost thaw has been associated with significant increases in the delivery of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to recipient stream ecosystems. Here, we examine the effect of retrogressive thaw slumps (RTSs) on DOC concentration and transport, using data from eight RTS features on the Peel Plateau, NWT, Canada. Like extensive regions of northwestern Canada, the Peel Plateau is comprised of thick, ice-rich tills that were deposited at the margins of the Laurentide Ice Sheet. RTS features are now widespread in this region, with headwall exposures up to 30 m high and total disturbed areas often exceeding 20 ha. We find that intensive slumping on the Peel Plateau is universally associated with decreasing DOC concentrations downstream of slumps, even though the composition of slump-derived dissolved organic matter (DOM; assessed using specific UV absorbance and slope ratios) is similar to permafrost-derived DOM from other regions. Comparisons of upstream and downstream DOC flux relative to fluxes of total suspended solids suggest that the substantial fine-grained sediments released by RTS features may sequester DOC. Runoff obtained directly from slump rill water, above entry into recipient streams, indicates that the deepest RTS features, which thaw the greatest extent of buried, Pleistocene-aged glacial tills, release low-concentration DOC when compared to paired upstream, undisturbed locations, while shallower features, with exposures that are more limited to a relict Holocene active layer, have within-slump DOC concentrations more similar to upstream sites. Finally, fine-scale work at a single RTS site indicates that temperature and precipitation serve as primary environmental controls on above-slump and below-slump DOC flux, but it also shows that the relationship between climatic parameters and DOC flux is complex for these dynamic thermokarst features. These results demonstrate that we should expect clear variation in thermokarst

  7. Retrogressive thaw slumps temper dissolved organic carbon delivery to streams of the Peel Plateau, NWT, Canada

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. A. Littlefair

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available In Siberia and Alaska, permafrost thaw has been associated with significant increases in the delivery of dissolved organic carbon (DOC to recipient stream ecosystems. Here, we examine the effect of retrogressive thaw slumps (RTSs on DOC concentration and transport, using data from eight RTS features on the Peel Plateau, NWT, Canada. Like extensive regions of northwestern Canada, the Peel Plateau is comprised of thick, ice-rich tills that were deposited at the margins of the Laurentide Ice Sheet. RTS features are now widespread in this region, with headwall exposures up to 30 m high and total disturbed areas often exceeding 20 ha. We find that intensive slumping on the Peel Plateau is universally associated with decreasing DOC concentrations downstream of slumps, even though the composition of slump-derived dissolved organic matter (DOM; assessed using specific UV absorbance and slope ratios is similar to permafrost-derived DOM from other regions. Comparisons of upstream and downstream DOC flux relative to fluxes of total suspended solids suggest that the substantial fine-grained sediments released by RTS features may sequester DOC. Runoff obtained directly from slump rill water, above entry into recipient streams, indicates that the deepest RTS features, which thaw the greatest extent of buried, Pleistocene-aged glacial tills, release low-concentration DOC when compared to paired upstream, undisturbed locations, while shallower features, with exposures that are more limited to a relict Holocene active layer, have within-slump DOC concentrations more similar to upstream sites. Finally, fine-scale work at a single RTS site indicates that temperature and precipitation serve as primary environmental controls on above-slump and below-slump DOC flux, but it also shows that the relationship between climatic parameters and DOC flux is complex for these dynamic thermokarst features. These results demonstrate that we should expect clear variation in

  8. Effect of moisture and freeze-thaw on mechanical properties of CRM asphalt mixture

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kim, Nak-Seok; Cho, Kee-Ju [Kyonggi University, Suwon(Korea)

    2000-06-30

    This paper presents the experimental test results on moisture and freeze-thaw resistance of hot mix crumb rubber modified (CRM) asphalt concrete mixture. To compare the differences in mechanical properties of conventional and CRM asphalt concretes, various tests were conducted under different moisture conditions and freeze-thaw cycles. Marshall mix design was also performed to determine the optimum asphalt contents for the both asphalt concrete mixtures. Test results revealed that the moisture and freeze-thaw resistance of CRM asphalt mixture was superior to the conventional asphalt concrete. As a result, it is considered that the utilization of waste tires in asphalt pavements has the potential of minimizing the damage due to the moisture and freeze-thaw. (author). 9 refs., 4 tabs., 8 figs.

  9.   Ultrasonic monitoring of fish thawing process optimal time of thawing and effect of freezing/thawing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    El Kadi, Youssef Ait; Moudden, Ali; Faiz, Bouazza; Maze, Gerard; Decultot, Dominique

    2013-01-01

    Fish quality is traditionally controlled by chemical and microbiological analysis. The non-destructive control presents an enormous professional interest thanks to the technical contribution and precision of the analysis to which it leads. This paper presents the results obtained from a characterisation of fish thaw-ing process by the ultrasonic technique, with monitoring thermal processing from frozen to defrosted states. The study was carried out on fish type red drum and salmon cut into fillets of 15 mm thickness. After being frozen at -20°C, the sample is enclosed in a plexiglas vessel with parallel walls at the ambient temperature 30°C and excited in perpendicular incidence at 0.5 MHz by an ultrasonic pulser-receiver Sofranel 5052PR. the technique of measurement consists to study the signals reflected by fish during its thawing, the specific techniques of signal processing are implemented to deduce informations characterizing the state of fish and its thawing process by examining the evolution of the position echoes reflected by the sample and the viscoelastic parameters of fish during its thawing. The obtained results show a relationship between the thermal state of fish and its acoustic properties, which allowed to deduce the optimal time of the first thawing in order to restrict the growth of microbial flora. For salmon, the results show a decrease of 36% of the time of the second thawing and an increase of 10.88% of the phase velocity, with a decrease of 65.5% of the peak-to-peak voltage of the signal reflected, thus a decrease of the acoustic impedance. This study shows an optimal time and an evolution rate of thawing specific to each type offish and a correlation between the acoustic behavior of fish and its thermal state which approves that this technique of ultrasonic monitoring can substitute the control using the destructive chemical analysis in order to monitor the thawing process and to know whether a fish has suffered an accidental thawing.

  10. 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.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cascoyne, M.

    2000-06-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gascoyne, M.

    2000-04-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2000-04-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2000-06-01

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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. Application of one-sided stress wave velocity measurement technique to evaluate freeze-thaw damage in concrete

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lee, Joon Hyun; Park, Won Su

    1998-01-01

    It is well recognized that damage resulting from freeze-thaw cycles is a serious problems causing deterioration and degradation of concrete. In general, freeze-thaw cycles change the microstructure of the concrete ultimately leading to internal stresses and cracking. In this study, a new method for one-sided stress wave velocity measurement has been applied to evaluate freeze-thaw damage in concrete by monitoring the velocity change of longitudinal and surface waves. The freeze-thaw damage was induced in a 400 x 150 x 100 mm concrete specimen in accordance with ASTM C666 using s commercial testing apparatus. A cycle consisted of a variation of the temperature from -14 to 4 degrees Celsius. A cycle takes 4-5 hours with approximately equal times devoted to freezing-thawing. Measurement of longitudinal and surface wave velocities based on one-sided stress wave velocity measurement technique was made every 5 freeze-thaw cycle. The variation of longitudinal and surface wave velocities due to increasing freeze-thaw damage is demonstrated and compared to determine which one is more effective to monitor freeze-thaw cyclic damage progress. The variation in longitudinal wave velocity measured by one-sided technique is also compared with that measured by the conventional through transmission technique.

  19. Freeze-Thaw Cycles and Soil Biogeochemistry: Implications for Greenhouse Gas emission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rezanezhad, F.; Milojevic, T.; Oh, D. H.; Parsons, C. T.; Smeaton, C. M.; Van Cappellen, P.

    2016-12-01

    Freeze-thaw cycles represent a major natural climate forcing acting on soils at middle and high latitudes. Repeated freezing and thawing of soils changes their physical properties, geochemistry, and microbial community structure, which together govern the biogeochemical cycling of carbon and nutrients. In this presentation, we focus on how freeze-thaw cycles regulate carbon and nitrogen cycling and how these transformations influence greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes. We present a novel approach, which combines the acquisition of physical and chemical data in a newly developed experimental soil column system. This system simulates realistic soil temperature profiles during freeze-thaw cycles. A high-resolution, Multi-Fiber Optode (MuFO) microsensor technique was used to detect oxygen (O2) continuously in the column at multiple depths. Surface and subsurface changes to gas and aqueous phase chemistry were measured to delineate the pathways and quantify soil respiration rates during freeze-thaw cycles. The results indicate that the time-dependent release of GHG from the soil surface is influenced by a combination of two key factors. Firstly, fluctuations in temperature and O2 availability affect soil biogeochemical activity and GHG production. Secondly, the recurrent development of a physical ice barrier prevents exchange of gaseous compounds between the soil and atmosphere during freezing conditions; removal of this barrier during thaw conditions increases GHG fluxes. During freezing, O2 levels in the unsaturated zone decreased due to restricted gas exchange with the atmosphere. As the soil thawed, O2 penetrated deeper into the soil enhancing the aerobic mineralization of organic carbon and nitrogen. Additionally, with the onset of thawing a pulse of gas flux occurred, which is attributed to the build-up of respiratory gases in the pore space during freezing. The latter implies enhanced anaerobic respiration as O2 supply ceases when the upper soil layer freezes.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  1. Spatial and temporal variations of thaw layer thickness and its controlling factors identified using time-lapse electrical resistivity tomography and hydro-thermal modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tran, Anh Phuong; Dafflon, Baptiste; Bisht, Gautam; Hubbard, Susan S.

    2018-06-01

    Quantitative understanding of controls on thaw layer thickness (TLT) dynamics in the Arctic peninsula is essential for predictive understanding of permafrost degradation feedbacks to global warming and hydrobiochemical processes. This study jointly interprets electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) measurements and hydro-thermal numerical simulation results to assess spatiotemporal variations of TLT and to determine its controlling factors in Barrow, Alaska. Time-lapse ERT measurements along a 35-m transect were autonomously collected from 2013 to 2015 and inverted to obtain soil electrical resistivity. Based on several probe-based TLT measurements and co-located soil electrical resistivity, we estimated the electrical resistivity thresholds associated with the boundary between the thaw layer and permafrost using a grid search optimization algorithm. Then, we used the obtained thresholds to derive the TLT from all soil electrical resistivity images. The spatiotemporal analysis of the ERT-derived TLT shows that the TLT at high-centered polygons (HCPs) is smaller than that at low-centered polygons (LCPs), and that both thawing and freezing occur earlier at the HCPs compared to the LCPs. In order to provide a physical explanation for dynamics in the thaw layer, we performed 1-D hydro-thermal simulations using the community land model (CLM). Simulation results showed that air temperature and precipitation jointly govern the temporal variations of TLT, while the topsoil organic content (SOC) and polygon morphology are responsible for its spatial variations. When the topsoil SOC and its thickness increase, TLT decreases. Meanwhile, at LCPs, a thicker snow layer and saturated soil contribute to a thicker TLT and extend the time needed for TLT to freeze and thaw. This research highlights the importance of combination of measurements and numerical modeling to improve our understanding spatiotemporal variations and key controls of TLT in cold regions.

  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. Permafrost and urban Development in Norilsk Russia.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fujun Niu

    2018-02-01

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

  5. 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

  6. Year-round methane emissions from permafrost in a North-east Siberian region

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

    In recent decades, permafrost regions in northern latitudes are thawing as a response of climate warming. Soils in permafrost areas contain vast amounts of organic material that is released into the environment after thaw, providing new labile material for bacterial decomposition. As a result, higher production of methane in the anoxic soil layers and within anaerobic wetlands is anticipated, and this will be further released to the atmosphere. In order to assess the current large-scale methane emissions from a wetland permafrost-thaw affected area, we present results of year-round simulated methane emissions at regional scale for a section at the Russian far Northeast in Siberia, located in the low Arctic tundra and characterized by continuous permafrost. For this we use a newly developed process-based methane model built in the framework of the land surface model JSBACH. The model contains explicit permafrost processes and an improved representation of the horizontal extent of wetlands with a hydrological model (TOPMODEL). Model simulated distribution and horizontal extent of wetlands is evaluated against high-resolution remote sensing data. Total and individual regional methane emissions by ebullition, molecular diffusion, plant-mediated and emissions through snow are presented for 2014 and 2015. The model shows a reasonable seasonal transition between the individual methane emission paths. Most of the methane emissions to the atmosphere occur in summer (July, August, September), with the peak of the emissions during August. In this month, plant-mediated transport is the dominant emission path with about 15 mg CH4 m-2 d-1 in 2014, followed by ebullition (7 mg CH4 m-2 d-1) accounting for about half of the emissions thorough plants. Molecular diffusion is a minor contributor with only 0.006 mg CH4 m-2 d-1 at the peak of the summer emissions. Methane emissions through snow occur only during spring, fall and winter months, with higher emissions in spring and autumn

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lawrence, David M; Swenson, Sean C

    2011-01-01

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

  8. Morphology-dependent water budgets and nutrient fluxes in arctic thaw ponds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koch, Joshua C.; Gurney, Kirsty; Wipfli, Mark S.

    2014-01-01

    Thaw ponds on the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska are productive ecosystems, providing habitat and food resources for many fish and bird species. Permafrost in this region creates unique pond morphologies: deep troughs, shallow low-centred polygons (LCPs) and larger coalescent ponds. By monitoring seasonal trends in pond volume and chemistry, we evaluated whether pond morphology and size affect water temperature and desiccation, and nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fluxes. Evaporation was the largest early-summer water flux in all pond types. LCPs dried quickly and displayed high early-summer nutrient concentrations and losses. Troughs consistently received solute-rich subsurface inflows, which accounted for 12 to 42 per cent of their volume and may explain higher P in the troughs. N to P ratios increased and ammonium concentrations decreased with pond volume, suggesting that P and inorganic N availability may limit ecosystem productivity in older, larger ponds. Arctic summer temperatures will likely increase in the future, which may accelerate mid-summer desiccation. Given their morphology, troughs may remain wet, become warmer and derive greater nutrient loads from their thawing banks. Overall, seasonal- to decadal-scale warming may increase ecosystem productivity in troughs relative to other Arctic Coastal Plain ponds. 

  9. SLAPex Freeze/Thaw 2015: The First Dedicated Soil Freeze/Thaw Airborne Campaign

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Edward; Wu, Albert; DeMarco, Eugenia; Powers, Jarrett; Berg, Aaron; Rowlandson, Tracy; Freeman, Jacqueline; Gottfried, Kurt; Toose, Peter; Roy, Alexandre; hide

    2016-01-01

    Soil freezing and thawing is an important process in the terrestrial water, energy, and carbon cycles, marking the change between two very different hydraulic, thermal, and biological regimes. NASA's Soil Moisture Active/Passive (SMAP) mission includes a binary freeze/thaw data product. While there have been ground-based remote sensing field measurements observing soil freeze/thaw at the point scale, and airborne campaigns that observed some frozen soil areas (e.g., BOREAS), the recently-completed SLAPex Freeze/Thaw (F/T) campaign is the first airborne campaign dedicated solely to observing frozen/thawed soil with both passive and active microwave sensors and dedicated ground truth, in order to enable detailed process-level exploration of the remote sensing signatures and in situ soil conditions. SLAPex F/T utilized the Scanning L-band Active/Passive (SLAP) instrument, an airborne simulator of SMAP developed at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and was conducted near Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, in October/November, 2015. Future soil moisture missions are also expected to include soil freeze/thaw products, and the loss of the radar on SMAP means that airborne radar-radiometer observations like those that SLAP provides are unique assets for freeze/thaw algorithm development. This paper will present an overview of SLAPex F/T, including descriptions of the site, airborne and ground-based remote sensing, ground truth, as well as preliminary results.

  10. Characterizing vertical heterogeneity of permafrost soils in support of ABoVE radar retrievals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tabatabaeenejad, A.; Chen, R. H.; Silva, A.; Schaefer, K. M.; Moghaddam, M.

    2017-12-01

    Permafrost-affected soils, including the top active layer and underlying permafrost, have unique seasonal variations in terms of soil temperature, soil moisture, and freeze/thaw-state profiles. The presence of a perennially frozen and impermeable substrate maintains the required temperature gradient for the descending thawing front, and causes meltwater to accumulate and form the saturated zone in the active layer. Radar backscattering measurements are sensitive to dielectric properties of subsurface soils, which are strongly correlated with unfrozen water content and soil texture/composition. To enable accurate radar retrievals, we need to properly characterize soil profile heterogeneity, which can be modeled with layered soil or depth-dependent functions. To this end, we first cross compare the measured radar backscatter and model-predicted radar backscatter using in-situ dielectric profile measurements as well as mathematical or hydrologic-based profile functions. Since radar signal's backscatter has limited penetration, to fully capture the true heterogeneity profile, we determine the optimal profile function by minimizing the error between predicted and measured radar backscatter signals as well as between in-situ and fitted profiles. The in-situ soil profile data (temperature, dielectric constant, unfrozen water content, organic/mineral soils) are collected from the Soil Moisture Sensing Controller And oPtimal Estimator (SoilSCAPE) sensor networks and from the Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) field campaign in August 2017 (concurrent with the ABoVE August flights over Alaska North Slope) while the radar data are acquired by NASA's P-band AirMOSS and L-band UAVSAR as part of the ABoVE airborne campaign. The retrieval results using our new heterogeneity model will be compared with the results from retrievals that model soil as a layered medium. This analysis can advance the accuracy of retrieval of active layer properties using low-frequency SAR

  11. To transfer fresh or thawed embryos?

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pinborg, Anja

    2012-01-01

    Worldwide freezing and thawing of embryos has been increasingly used since the first infant was born as a result of this technique in 1984. The use of frozen embryo replacement (FER) currently even exceeds the number of fresh cycles performed in some countries. This article discusses the pros...... and multiple pregnancies, thereby increasing the safety for mother and child. Finally the article describes the accumulating literature on perinatal and long-term child outcome after transfer of frozen/thawed embryos, including a discussion on the concerns regarding cryo techniques and their possible roles...

  12. 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.

  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.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.

  14. Interaction of rock, water, and plants in central Siberia (Russia) dominated by continuous permafrost: biotic versus abiotic fluxes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Viers, J.; Pokrovsky, O. S.; Prokushkin, A. S.; Beaulieu, E.; Dupre, B.

    2009-12-01

    Boreal forests mainly located between the latitudes 46°N and 66°N play a key role in regulating global carbon cycle and climate of the Earth. These forests store about 42 gigatons of carbon (Gt C) of above ground biomass and 200 Gt C of soil organic matter that represents about 8 and 13% of the global amounts (Jarvis et al., 2001 and references therein). The last technical paper on climate change and water of the IPCC reports abnormal thawing of permafrost, increase of the active period, increase of river runoff and changes in the distribution of plants and their productivity for artic and sub-arctic regions (www.ipcc.ch and references therein). Within the context of global warming, forested permafrost regions appear to be very sensitive and are likely to be deeply modified in a near future. In return, these modifications affecting the functioning of these ecosystems will influence the whole Earth system. Among forested boreal regions, Central Siberia (Russia), that spreads over more than 4,000,000 km2, is very interesting due to the presence of permafrost within the specific geological substratum. Indeed, this area offers large basaltic surface and chemical weathering of basaltic rocks is considered to be the main process removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over geological time scale (Dessert et al., 2003). The sampling site is located in the drainage basin of the Nizhniya Tungunska River (eastern tributary of the Yenissey River) on the basaltic plateau of Putorana. Climate is cold with a mean annual air temperature of -9.5°C and annual precipitation of 350mm. 60% of rain is falling during the active period when the surface soil temperature is above zero degrees (end of May to September). At local scale, there are north-facing and south-facing slopes that receive equivalent precipitation but exhibit totally different heat input and consequently above-ground biomass and active layer thickness. Larches and mosses account for more than 85% of the above

  15. Thermal processes of thermokarst lakes in the continuous permafrost zone of northern Siberia - observations and modeling (Lena River Delta, Siberia)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boike, J.; Georgi, C.; Kirilin, G.; Muster, S.; Abramova, K.; Fedorova, I.; Chetverova, A.; Grigoriev, M.; Bornemann, N.; Langer, M.

    2015-10-01

    Thermokarst lakes are typical features of the northern permafrost ecosystems, and play an important role in the thermal exchange between atmosphere and subsurface. The objective of this study is to describe the main thermal processes of the lakes and to quantify the heat exchange with the underlying sediments. The thermal regimes of five lakes located within the continuous permafrost zone of northern Siberia (Lena River Delta) were investigated using hourly water temperature and water level records covering a 3-year period (2009-2012), together with bathymetric survey data. The lakes included thermokarst lakes located on Holocene river terraces that may be connected to Lena River water during spring flooding, and a thermokarst lake located on deposits of the Pleistocene Ice Complex. Lakes were covered by ice up to 2 m thick that persisted for more than 7 months of the year, from October until about mid-June. Lake-bottom temperatures increased at the start of the ice-covered period due to upward-directed heat flux from the underlying thawed sediment. Prior to ice break-up, solar radiation effectively warmed the water beneath the ice cover and induced convective mixing. Ice break-up started at the beginning of June and lasted until the middle or end of June. Mixing occurred within the entire water column from the start of ice break-up and continued during the ice-free periods, as confirmed by the Wedderburn numbers, a quantitative measure of the balance between wind mixing and stratification that is important for describing the biogeochemical cycles of lakes. The lake thermal regime was modeled numerically using the FLake model. The model demonstrated good agreement with observations with regard to the mean lake temperature, with a good reproduction of the summer stratification during the ice-free period, but poor agreement during the ice-covered period. Modeled sensitivity to lake depth demonstrated that lakes in this climatic zone with mean depths > 5 m develop

  16. Possible responses of northern peatlands to climate change in the zone of discontinuous permafrost, Manitoba, Canada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bubier, J L [New Hampshire Univ., Durham, NH (United States). Inst. for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space; Moore, T R [McGill Univ., Montreal (Canada). Geography Dept.

    1997-12-31

    More than half of the world`s peatlands occur in the boreal zone (45 - 60 deg C N. lat), a region which global climate models predict will experience large changes in temperature and precipitation with increasing atmospheric CO{sub 2} concentrations. The northern part of the boreal zone is characterised by discontinuous permafrost, an area that is particularly sensitive to climate change with the possible degradation and thawing of frozen peat. Peatlands are large sources of atmospheric methane (CH{sub 4}), an important greenhouse gas. Yet few measurements of methane have been conducted in discontinuous permafrost environments. As part of the Boreal Ecosystem-Atmosphere Study (BOREAS), CH{sub 4} flux was measured in a diverse peatland complex (bogs, fens, peat plateaus, and collapse scars), representing the complete range of temperature, moisture, and plant community gradients found in northern peatlands. The measurement period May to September 1994 was one of the warmest and driest seasons on record, which provided an opportunity to observe the short-term responses of different parts of the peatland ecosystem to a warmer and drier climate as an analog to predicted climate change in the region. (5 refs.)

  17. 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.

  18. Possible responses of northern peatlands to climate change in the zone of discontinuous permafrost, Manitoba, Canada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bubier, J.L. [New Hampshire Univ., Durham, NH (United States). Inst. for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space; Moore, T.R. [McGill Univ., Montreal (Canada). Geography Dept.

    1996-12-31

    More than half of the world`s peatlands occur in the boreal zone (45 - 60 deg C N. lat), a region which global climate models predict will experience large changes in temperature and precipitation with increasing atmospheric CO{sub 2} concentrations. The northern part of the boreal zone is characterised by discontinuous permafrost, an area that is particularly sensitive to climate change with the possible degradation and thawing of frozen peat. Peatlands are large sources of atmospheric methane (CH{sub 4}), an important greenhouse gas. Yet few measurements of methane have been conducted in discontinuous permafrost environments. As part of the Boreal Ecosystem-Atmosphere Study (BOREAS), CH{sub 4} flux was measured in a diverse peatland complex (bogs, fens, peat plateaus, and collapse scars), representing the complete range of temperature, moisture, and plant community gradients found in northern peatlands. The measurement period May to September 1994 was one of the warmest and driest seasons on record, which provided an opportunity to observe the short-term responses of different parts of the peatland ecosystem to a warmer and drier climate as an analog to predicted climate change in the region. (5 refs.)

  19. Improved Performance of Unpaved Roads During Spring Thaw

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Henry, Karen S; Olson, James P; Farrington, Stephen P; Lens, John

    2005-01-01

    Unpaved roads in Vermont are subject to deterioration from seasonal freezing and thawing, and many towns have roads that suffer chronic serviceability problems during the so-called "spring thaw," or mud season...

  20. Freeze-thaw performance testing of whole concrete railroad ties.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-10-01

    Freezing and thawing durability tests of prestressed concrete ties are normally performed according to ASTM C666 specifications. Small specimens are cut from the shoulders of concrete ties and tested through 300 cycles of freezing and thawing. Saw-cu...

  1. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vasil'chuk, Y. K.; Vasil'chuk, A. C.

    2014-11-01

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

  3. 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

  4. METHANE HYDRATE PRODUCTION FROM ALASKAN PERMAFROST

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Thomas E. Williams; Keith Millheim; Bill Liddell

    2005-03-01

    Natural-gas hydrates have been encountered beneath the permafrost and considered a nuisance by the oil and gas industry for years. Oil-field engineers working in Russia, Canada and the USA have documented numerous drilling problems, including kicks and uncontrolled gas releases, in Arctic regions. Information has been generated in laboratory studies pertaining to the extent, volume, chemistry and phase behavior of gas hydrates. Scientists studying hydrates agree that the potential is great--on the North Slope of Alaska alone, it has been estimated at 590 TCF. However, little information has been obtained on physical samples taken from actual rock containing hydrates. This gas-hydrate project is a cost-shared partnership between Maurer Technology, Anadarko Petroleum, Noble Corporation, and the U.S. Department of Energy's Methane Hydrate R&D program. The purpose of the project is to build on previous and ongoing R&D in the area of onshore hydrate deposition to help identify, quantify and predict production potential for hydrates located on the North Slope of Alaska. As part of the project work scope, team members drilled and cored the HOT ICE No. 1 on Anadarko leases beginning in January 2003 and completed in March 2004. Due to scheduling constraints imposed by the Arctic drilling season, operations at the site were suspended between April 21, 2003 and January 30, 2004. An on-site core analysis laboratory was designed, constructed and used for determining physical characteristics of frozen core immediately after it was retrieved from the well. The well was drilled from a new and innovative Anadarko Arctic Platform that has a greatly reduced footprint and environmental impact. Final efforts of the project were to correlate geology, geophysics, logs, and drilling and production data and provide this information to scientists for future hydrate operations. Unfortunately, no gas hydrates were encountered in this well; however, a wealth of information was generated

  5. Effect of freeze-thaw cycles on greenhouse gas fluxes from peat soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oh, H. D.; Rezanezhad, F.; Markelov, I.; McCarter, C. P. R.; Van Cappellen, P.

    2017-12-01

    The ongoing displacement of climate zones by global warming is increasing the frequency and intensity of freeze-thaw cycles in middle and high latitude regions, many of which are dominated by organic soils such as peat. Repeated freezing and thawing of soils changes their physical properties, geochemistry, and microbial community structure, which together govern the biogeochemical cycling of carbon and nutrients. In this presentation, we focus on how freeze-thaw cycles influence greenhouse gas fluxes from peat using a newly developed experimental soil column system that simulates realistic soil temperature profiles during freeze-thaw cycles. We measured the surface and subsurface changes to gas and aqueous phase chemistry to delineate the diffusion pathways and quantify soil greenhouse gas fluxes during freeze-thaw cycles using sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) as a conservative tracer. Three peat columns were assembled inside a temperature controlled chamber with different soil structures. All three columns were packed with 40 cm of undisturbed, slightly decomposed peat, where the soil of two columns had an additional 10 cm layer on top (one with loose Sphagnum moss and one with an impermeable plug). The results indicate that the release of SF6 and CO2 gas from the soil surface was influenced by the recurrent development of a physical ice barrier, which prevented gas exchange between the soil and atmosphere during freezing conditions. With the onset of thawing a pulse of SF6 and CO2 occurred, resulting in a flux of 3.24 and 2095.52 µmol/m2h, respectively, due to the build-up of gases in the liquid-phase pore space during freezing. Additionally, we developed a model to determine the specific diffusion coefficients for each peat column. These data allow us to better predict how increased frequency and intensity of freeze-thaw cycles will affect greenhouse gas emissions in northern peat soils.

  6. Using stable isotopes to assess surface water source dynamics and hydrological connectivity in a high-latitude wetland and permafrost influenced landscape

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ala-aho, P.; Soulsby, C.; Pokrovsky, O. S.; Kirpotin, S. N.; Karlsson, J.; Serikova, S.; Vorobyev, S. N.; Manasypov, R. M.; Loiko, S.; Tetzlaff, D.

    2018-01-01

    Climate change is expected to alter hydrological and biogeochemical processes in high-latitude inland waters. A critical question for understanding contemporary and future responses to environmental change is how the spatio-temporal dynamics of runoff generation processes will be affected. We sampled stable water isotopes in soils, lakes and rivers on an unprecedented spatio-temporal scale along a 1700 km transect over three years in the Western Siberia Lowlands. Our findings suggest that snowmelt mixes with, and displaces, large volumes of water stored in the organic soils and lakes to generate runoff during the thaw season. Furthermore, we saw a persistent hydrological connection between water bodies and the landscape across permafrost regions. Our findings help to bridge the understanding between small and large scale hydrological studies in high-latitude systems. These isotope data provide a means to conceptualise hydrological connectivity in permafrost and wetland influenced regions, which is needed for an improved understanding of future biogeochemical changes.

  7. Scaling Laws in Arctic Permafrost River Basins: Statistical Signature in Transition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rowland, J. C.; Gangodagamage, C.; Wilson, C. J.; Prancevic, J. P.; Brumby, S. P.; Marsh, P.; Crosby, B. T.

    2011-12-01

    The Arctic landscape has been shown to be fundamentally different from the temperate landscape in many ways. Long winters and cold temperatures have led to the development of permafrost, perennially frozen ground, that controls geomorphic processes and the structure of the Arctic landscape. Climate warming is causing changes in permafrost and the active layer (the seasonally thawed surface layer) that is driving an increase in thermal erosion including thermokarst (collapsed soil), retrogressive thaw slumps, and gullies. These geomorphic anomalies in the arctic landscapes have not been well quantified, even though some of the landscape geomorphic and hydrologic characteristics and changes are detectable by our existing sensor networks. We currently lack understanding of the fundamental fluvio-thermal-erosional processes that underpin Arctic landscape structure and form, which limits our ability to develop models to predict the landscape response to current and future climate change. In this work, we seek a unified framework that can explain why permafrost landscapes are different from temperate landscapes. We use high resolution LIDAR data to analyze arctic geomorphic processes at a scale of less than a 1 m and demonstrate our ability to quantify the fundamental difference in the arctic landscape. We first simulate the arctic hillslopes from a stochastic space-filling network and demonstrate that the flow-path convergent properties of arctic landscape can be effectively captured from this simple model, where the simple model represents a landscape flowpath arrangement on a relatively impervious frozen soil layer. Further, we use a novel data processing algorithm to analyze landscape attributes such as slope, curvature, flow-accumulation, elevation-drops and other geomorphic properties, and show that the pattern of diffusion and advection dominated soil transport processes (diffusion/advection regime transition) in the arctic landscape is substantially different

  8. Isolated total RNA and protein are preserved after thawing for more than twenty-four hours

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Oliveira, Ivone Braga; Ramos, Débora Rothstein; Lopes, Karen Lucasechi; de Souza, Regiane Machado; Heimann, Joel Claudio; Furukawa, Luzia Naôko Shinohara

    2012-01-01

    OBJECTIVE: The preservation of biological samples at a low temperature is important for later biochemical and/or histological analyses. However, the molecular viability of thawed samples has not been studied sufficiently in depth. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the viability of intact tissues, tissue homogenates, and isolated total RNA after defrosting for more than twenty-four hours. METHODS: The molecular viability of the thawed samples (n = 82) was assessed using the A260/A280 ratio, the RNA concentration, the RNA integrity, the level of intact mRNA determined by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, the protein level determined by Western blotting, and an examination of the histological structure. RESULTS: The integrity of the total RNA was not preserved in the thawed intact tissue, but the RNA integrity and level of mRNA were perfectly preserved in isolated defrosted samples of total RNA. Additionally, the level of β-actin protein was preserved in both thawed intact tissue and homogenates. CONCLUSION: Isolated total RNA does not undergo degradation due to thawing for at least 24 hours, and it is recommended to isolate the total RNA as soon as possible after tissue collection. Moreover, the protein level is preserved in defrosted tissues. PMID:22473407

  9. Monitoring and Quantifying Subsurface Ice and Water Content in Permafrost Regions Based on Geophysical Data Sets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hauck, C.; Bach, M.; Hilbich, C.

    2007-12-01

    Based on recent observational evidence of climate change in permafrost regions, it is now recognised that a detailed knowledge of the material composition of the subsurface in permafrost regions is required for modelling of the future evolution of the ground thermal regime and an assessment of the hazard potential due to degrading permafrost. However, due to the remote location of permafrost areas and the corresponding difficulties in obtaining high-quality data sets of the subsurface, knowledge about the material composition in permafrost areas is scarce. In frozen ground subsurface material may consist of four different phases: rock/soil matrix, unfrozen pore water, ice and air-filled pore space. Applications of geophysical techniques for determining the subsurface composition are comparatively cheap and logistically feasible alternatives to the single point information from boreholes. Due to the complexity of the subsurface a combination of complementary geophysical methods (e.g. electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) and refraction seismic tomography) is often favoured to avoid ambiguities in the interpretation of the results. The indirect nature of geophysical soundings requires a relation between the measured variable (electrical resistivity, seismic velocity) and the rock-, water-, ice- and air content. In this contribution we will present a model which determines the volumetric fractions of these four phases from tomographic electrical and seismic data sets. The so-called 4-phase model is based on two well-known geophysical mixing rules using observed resistivity and velocity data as input data on a 2-dimensional grid. Material properties such as resistivity and P- wave velocity of the host rock material and the pore water have to be known beforehand. The remaining free model parameters can be determined by a Monte-Carlo approach, the results of which are used additionally as indicator for the reliability of the model results. First results confirm the

  10. 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 ex