Simulating the infrastructure related degradation of ice-wedge polygonal tundra along a gravel road in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska


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moritz.langer [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Due to permafrost degradation, triggered by climate warming and human activities, infrastructure in the Arctic is at particularly high risk. Linear infrastructure such as roads or railway lines can influence the evolution of polygonal tundra and enhance degradation due to changes in the hydrological conditions. In this study, the CryoGrid 3 land surface model is used to simulate the impact of different hydrological conditions triggered by a gravel road. In addition, a sensitivity analysis is performed to better understand the influence of different snow properties on the simulations. The results show that a reduced water runoff leads to a higher soil subsidence due to melting ice wedges, whereas the timing of the degradation is strongly controlled by the snow density. A more accurate determination of soil temperatures and better knowledge of stratigraphy and snow conditions could increase the accuracy of future simulations. Furthermore,factors such as snowdrifts and road dust are not taken into account yet, but might be important to consider in future studies. This will help to better understand the complex underlying processes that affect the evolution of polygonal tundra under the influence of infrastructure and changing climate conditions.



Item Type
Thesis (Bachelor)
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Not peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Published
Eprint ID
49127
Cite as
Oehme, A. (2019): Simulating the infrastructure related degradation of ice-wedge polygonal tundra along a gravel road in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska , Bachelor thesis, Humboldt University Berlin.


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