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

Boris.Biskaborn [ at ] awi.de


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

Item Type
Conference (Poster)
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Primary Topic
Peer revision
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Event Details
AGU 2016, 12 Dec 2016 - 16 Dec 2016, San Francisco.
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Shiklomanov, N. , Nelson, F. , Streletskiy, D. and Biskaborn, B. K. (2016): Long-term active-layer dynamics: results of 22 years of field observations in Northern Hemisphere permafrost regions. , AGU 2016, San Francisco, 12 December 2016 - 16 December 2016 .


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