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Title: Spatiotemporal dynamics of wetted soils across a polar desert landscape

Liquid water is scarce across the landscape of the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV), Antarctica, a 3800 km 2 ice-free region, and is chiefly associated with soils that are adjacent to streams and lakes (i.e. wetted margins) during the annual thaw season. However, isolated wetted soils have been observed at locations distal from water bodies. The source of water for the isolated patches of wet soil is potentially generated by a combination of infiltration from melting snowpacks, melting of pore ice at the ice table, and melting of buried segregation ice formed during winter freezing. In this paper, high resolution remote sensing data gathered several times per summer in the MDV region were used to determine the spatial and temporal distribution of wet soils. The spatial consistency with which the wet soils occurred was assessed for the 2009–10 to 2011–12 summers. The remote sensing analyses reveal that cumulative area and number of wet soil patches varies among summers. The 2010–11 summer provided the most wetted soil area (10.21 km 2) and 2009–10 covered the least (5.38 km 2). Finally, these data suggest that wet soils are a significant component of the MDV cold desert land system and may become more prevalentmore » as regional climate changes.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Computer Science and Mathematics Division. Climate Change Science Inst.; Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA (United States). Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  2. Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO (United States). Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  3. Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD (United States). Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science
Publication Date:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Antarctic Science
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 27; Journal Issue: 02; Journal ID: ISSN 0954-1020
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 58 GEOSCIENCES; McMurdo Dry Valleys; remote sensing; snow; soil moisture; streams; water tracks
OSTI Identifier: