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Title: Thermal effects of groundwater flow through subarctic fens: A case study based on field observations and numerical modeling

Abstract

Modeling and observation of ground temperature dynamics are the main tools for understanding current permafrost thermal regimes and projecting future thaw. Until recently, most studies on permafrost have focused on vertical ground heat fluxes. Groundwater can transport heat in both lateral and vertical directions but its influence on ground temperatures at local scales in permafrost environments is not well understood. In this paper, we combine field observations from a subarctic fen in the sporadic permafrost zone with numerical simulations of coupled water and thermal fluxes. At the Tavvavuoma study site in northern Sweden, ground temperature profiles and groundwater levels were observed in boreholes. These observations were used to set up one- and two-dimensional simulations down to 2 m depth across a gradient of permafrost conditions within and surrounding the fen. Two-dimensional scenarios representing the fen under various hydraulic gradients were developed to quantify the influence of groundwater flow on ground temperature. Our observations suggest that lateral groundwater flow significantly affects ground temperatures. This is corroborated by modeling results that show seasonal ground ice melts 1 month earlier when a lateral groundwater flux is present. Further, although the thermal regime may be dominated by vertically conducted heat fluxes during most ofmore » the year, isolated high groundwater flow rate events such as the spring freshet are potentially important for ground temperatures. Finally, as sporadic permafrost environments often contain substantial portions of unfrozen ground with active groundwater flow paths, knowledge of this heat transport mechanism is important for understanding permafrost dynamics in these environments.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [1];  [3];  [1]
  1. Stockholm Univ. (Sweden). Dept. of Physical Geography. Bolin Center for Climate Research
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States). Computational Earth Sciences
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Climate Change Science Inst. and Environmental Sciences Division
Publication Date:
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); Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL) (United States); Swedish Geological Survey (SGU) (Sweden); Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography (Sweden); Bolin Center for Climate Research (Sweden)
OSTI Identifier:
1261263
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1409787
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-17-27605
Journal ID: ISSN 0043-1397; KP1702010; ERKP757
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-00OR22725; LDRD201200068DR; 60-1626/2009; 362-1593/2013; AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Water Resources Research
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 52; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 0043-1397
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; 97 MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTING; permafrost; thermal hydrology; modeling; Earth Sciences

Citation Formats

Sjöberg, Ylva, Coon, Ethan, K. Sannel, A. Britta, Pannetier, Romain, Harp, Dylan, Frampton, Andrew, Painter, Scott L., and Lyon, Steve W. Thermal effects of groundwater flow through subarctic fens: A case study based on field observations and numerical modeling. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1002/2015WR017571.
Sjöberg, Ylva, Coon, Ethan, K. Sannel, A. Britta, Pannetier, Romain, Harp, Dylan, Frampton, Andrew, Painter, Scott L., & Lyon, Steve W. Thermal effects of groundwater flow through subarctic fens: A case study based on field observations and numerical modeling. United States. doi:10.1002/2015WR017571.
Sjöberg, Ylva, Coon, Ethan, K. Sannel, A. Britta, Pannetier, Romain, Harp, Dylan, Frampton, Andrew, Painter, Scott L., and Lyon, Steve W. Thu . "Thermal effects of groundwater flow through subarctic fens: A case study based on field observations and numerical modeling". United States. doi:10.1002/2015WR017571. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1261263.
@article{osti_1261263,
title = {Thermal effects of groundwater flow through subarctic fens: A case study based on field observations and numerical modeling},
author = {Sjöberg, Ylva and Coon, Ethan and K. Sannel, A. Britta and Pannetier, Romain and Harp, Dylan and Frampton, Andrew and Painter, Scott L. and Lyon, Steve W.},
abstractNote = {Modeling and observation of ground temperature dynamics are the main tools for understanding current permafrost thermal regimes and projecting future thaw. Until recently, most studies on permafrost have focused on vertical ground heat fluxes. Groundwater can transport heat in both lateral and vertical directions but its influence on ground temperatures at local scales in permafrost environments is not well understood. In this paper, we combine field observations from a subarctic fen in the sporadic permafrost zone with numerical simulations of coupled water and thermal fluxes. At the Tavvavuoma study site in northern Sweden, ground temperature profiles and groundwater levels were observed in boreholes. These observations were used to set up one- and two-dimensional simulations down to 2 m depth across a gradient of permafrost conditions within and surrounding the fen. Two-dimensional scenarios representing the fen under various hydraulic gradients were developed to quantify the influence of groundwater flow on ground temperature. Our observations suggest that lateral groundwater flow significantly affects ground temperatures. This is corroborated by modeling results that show seasonal ground ice melts 1 month earlier when a lateral groundwater flux is present. Further, although the thermal regime may be dominated by vertically conducted heat fluxes during most of the year, isolated high groundwater flow rate events such as the spring freshet are potentially important for ground temperatures. Finally, as sporadic permafrost environments often contain substantial portions of unfrozen ground with active groundwater flow paths, knowledge of this heat transport mechanism is important for understanding permafrost dynamics in these environments.},
doi = {10.1002/2015WR017571},
journal = {Water Resources Research},
number = 3,
volume = 52,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {2}
}

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    Works referencing / citing this record:

    Reviews and syntheses: Changing ecosystem influences on soil thermal regimes in northern high-latitude permafrost regions
    journal, January 2018

    • Loranty, Michael M.; Abbott, Benjamin W.; Blok, Daan
    • Biogeosciences, Vol. 15, Issue 17
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