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Title: Comparison of effects of cold-region soil/snow processes and the uncertainties from model forcing data on permafrost physical characteristics

Here, we used a land surface model to (1) evaluate the influence of recent improvements in modeling cold-region soil/snow physics on near-surface permafrost physical characteristics (within 0–3 m soil column) in the northern high latitudes (NHL) and (2) compare them with uncertainties from climate and land-cover data sets. Specifically, four soil/snow processes are investigated: deep soil energetics, soil organic carbon (SOC) effects on soil properties, wind compaction of snow, and depth hoar formation. In the model, together they increased the contemporary NHL permafrost area by 9.2 × 10 6 km 2 (from 2.9 to 12.3—without and with these processes, respectively) and reduced historical degradation rates. In comparison, permafrost area using different climate data sets (with annual air temperature difference of ~0.5°C) differed by up to 2.3 × 10 6 km 2, with minimal contribution of up to 0.7 × 10 6 km 2 from substantial land-cover differences. Individually, the strongest role in permafrost increase was from deep soil energetics, followed by contributions from SOC and wind compaction, while depth hoar decreased permafrost. The respective contribution on 0–3 m permafrost stability also followed a similar pattern. However, soil temperature and moisture within vegetation root zone (~0–1 m), which strongly influence soilmore » biogeochemistry, were only affected by the latter three processes. The ecosystem energy and water fluxes were impacted the least due to these soil/snow processes. While it is evident that simulated permafrost physical characteristics benefit from detailed treatment of cold-region biogeophysical processes, we argue that these should also lead to integrated improvements in modeling of biogeochemistry.« less
 [1] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0006706; DOE-DE-SC0006706
Published Article
Journal Name:
Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1942-2466
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Research Org:
Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1244566; OSTI ID: 1258600