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Title: Mathematical Modelling of Arctic Polygonal Tundra with Ecosys : 1. Microtopography Determines How Active Layer Depths Respond to Changes in Temperature and Precipitation

Abstract

Microtopographic variation that develops among features (troughs, rims, and centers) within polygonal landforms of coastal arctic tundra strongly affects movement of surface water and snow and thereby affects soil water contents (θ) and active layer depth (ALD). Spatial variation in ALD among these features may exceed interannual variation in ALD caused by changes in climate and so needs to be represented in projections of changes in arctic ALD. For this study, increases in near-surface θ with decreasing surface elevation among polygon features at the Barrow Experimental Observatory (BEO) were modeled from topographic effects on redistribution of surface water and snow and from lateral water exchange with a subsurface water table during a model run from 1981 to 2015. These increases in θ caused increases in thermal conductivity that in turn caused increases in soil heat fluxes and hence in ALD of up to 15 cm with lower versus higher surface elevation which were consistent with increases measured at BEO. The modeled effects of θ caused interannual variation in maximum ALD that compared well with measurements from 1985 to 2015 at the Barrow Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) site (R 2 = 0.61, RMSE = 0.03 m). For higher polygon features,more » interannual variation in ALD was more closely associated with annual precipitation than mean annual temperature, indicating that soil wetting from increases in precipitation may hasten permafrost degradation beyond that caused by soil warming from increases in air temperature. This degradation may be more rapid if increases in precipitation cause sustained wetting in higher features.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [2];  [2]; ORCiD logo [3];  [2]
  1. Univ. of Alberta, Edmonton, AB (Canada). Dept. of Renewable Resources
  2. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States). Earth Science Division
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Environmental Sciences Division
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1427642
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1433101
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-00OR22725; AC02‐05CH11231; AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research. Biogeosciences
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 122; Journal Issue: 12; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-8953
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 58 GEOSCIENCES; active layer depth; ecosys; ecosystem modeling; arctic tundra; microtopography

Citation Formats

Grant, R. F., Mekonnen, Z. A., Riley, W. J., Wainwright, H. M., Graham, D., and Torn, M. S.. Mathematical Modelling of Arctic Polygonal Tundra with Ecosys : 1. Microtopography Determines How Active Layer Depths Respond to Changes in Temperature and Precipitation. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1002/2017JG004035.
Grant, R. F., Mekonnen, Z. A., Riley, W. J., Wainwright, H. M., Graham, D., & Torn, M. S.. Mathematical Modelling of Arctic Polygonal Tundra with Ecosys : 1. Microtopography Determines How Active Layer Depths Respond to Changes in Temperature and Precipitation. United States. doi:10.1002/2017JG004035.
Grant, R. F., Mekonnen, Z. A., Riley, W. J., Wainwright, H. M., Graham, D., and Torn, M. S.. Fri . "Mathematical Modelling of Arctic Polygonal Tundra with Ecosys : 1. Microtopography Determines How Active Layer Depths Respond to Changes in Temperature and Precipitation". United States. doi:10.1002/2017JG004035.
@article{osti_1427642,
title = {Mathematical Modelling of Arctic Polygonal Tundra with Ecosys : 1. Microtopography Determines How Active Layer Depths Respond to Changes in Temperature and Precipitation},
author = {Grant, R. F. and Mekonnen, Z. A. and Riley, W. J. and Wainwright, H. M. and Graham, D. and Torn, M. S.},
abstractNote = {Microtopographic variation that develops among features (troughs, rims, and centers) within polygonal landforms of coastal arctic tundra strongly affects movement of surface water and snow and thereby affects soil water contents (θ) and active layer depth (ALD). Spatial variation in ALD among these features may exceed interannual variation in ALD caused by changes in climate and so needs to be represented in projections of changes in arctic ALD. For this study, increases in near-surface θ with decreasing surface elevation among polygon features at the Barrow Experimental Observatory (BEO) were modeled from topographic effects on redistribution of surface water and snow and from lateral water exchange with a subsurface water table during a model run from 1981 to 2015. These increases in θ caused increases in thermal conductivity that in turn caused increases in soil heat fluxes and hence in ALD of up to 15 cm with lower versus higher surface elevation which were consistent with increases measured at BEO. The modeled effects of θ caused interannual variation in maximum ALD that compared well with measurements from 1985 to 2015 at the Barrow Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) site (R2 = 0.61, RMSE = 0.03 m). For higher polygon features, interannual variation in ALD was more closely associated with annual precipitation than mean annual temperature, indicating that soil wetting from increases in precipitation may hasten permafrost degradation beyond that caused by soil warming from increases in air temperature. This degradation may be more rapid if increases in precipitation cause sustained wetting in higher features.},
doi = {10.1002/2017JG004035},
journal = {Journal of Geophysical Research. Biogeosciences},
number = 12,
volume = 122,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Nov 17 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Fri Nov 17 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
This content will become publicly available on November 17, 2018
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