Geophysical Monitoring Shows that Spatial Heterogeneity in Thermohydrological Dynamics Reshapes a Transitional Permafrost System
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
Climate change is causing rapid changes of Arctic ecosystems. Yet, data needed to unravel complex subsurface processes are very rare. Using geophysical and in situ sensing, this study closes an observational gap associated with thermohydrological dynamics in discontinuous permafrost systems. It highlights the impact of vegetation and snow thickness distribution on subsurface thermohydrological properties and processes. Large snow accumulation near tall shrubs insulates the ground and allows for rapid and downward heat flow. Thinner snow pack above graminoid results in surficial freezing and prevents water from infiltrating into the subsurface. Analyzing short‐term disturbances, we found that lateral flow could be a driving factor in talik formation. Interannual measurements show that deep permafrost temperatures increased by about 0.2°C over 2 years. The results, which suggest that snow‐vegetation‐subsurface processes are tightly coupled, will be useful for improving predictions of Arctic feedback to climate change, including how subsurface thermohydrology influences CO2 and CH4 fluxes. Show more
Journal / seriesGeophysical Research Letters
Pages / Article No.
PublisherAmerican Geophysical Union
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