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Title: Influences and interactions of inundation, peat, and snow on active layer thickness

Active layer thickness (ALT), the uppermost layer of soil that thaws on an annual basis, is a direct control on the amount of organic carbon potentially available for decomposition and release to the atmosphere as carbon-rich Arctic permafrost soils thaw in a warming climate. Here, we investigate how key site characteristics affect ALT using an integrated surface/subsurface permafrost thermal hydrology model. ALT is most sensitive to organic layer thickness followed by snow depth but is relatively insensitive to the amount of water on the landscape with other conditions held fixed. Furthermore, the weak ALT sensitivity to subsurface saturation suggests that changes in Arctic landscape hydrology may only have a minor effect on future ALT. But, surface inundation amplifies the sensitivities to the other parameters and under large snowpacks can trigger the formation of near-surface taliks.
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos New Mexico USA
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Climate Change Science Institute and Environmental Sciences Division
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276; KP1702010; ERKP757
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725; AC52-06NA25396
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 43; Journal Issue: 10; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
American Geophysical Union
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; active layer thickness; thermal hydrology; inundation and soil moisture; ALT sensitivity; organic soil thermal properties; snow depth; 58 GEOSCIENCES; Planetary Sciences
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1304711