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TitleA process-based model for quantifying the impact of climate change on permafrost thermal regimes
DownloadDownloads (Preprint)
LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorZhang, YORCID logo; Chen, WORCID logo; Cihlar, J
SourceJournal of Geophysical Research vol. 108, issue D22, 2003 p. 5-15, Open Access logo Open Access
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20043166
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
SubjectsNature and Environment; remote sensing; mapping techniques; permafrost; climate effects; climate, arctic; ecosystems; Climate change
Illustrationsdiagrams; tables; graphs
Released2003 11 21
AbstractAir temperature in northern high latitudes has increased at a higher rate than the global mean and is projected to continue increasing at a higher rate. Climate warming can lead to increases in summer thaw depth and induce permafrost degradation, which may fundamentally alter the structure and functions of northern ecosystems and the lifestyles of northern communities. To address these issues, we developed a process-based model to simulate permafrost thermal regimes by combining the strength of existing permafrost models and land surface process models. Soil temperature and active layer thickness were determined from solving the heat conduction equation, with the upper boundary conditions being determined using surface energy balance and the lower boundary conditions being defined as geothermal heat flux at the depth of 35 m. The model integrated the effects of climate, vegetation, soil features and hydrological conditions based on their effects on energy and water transfer in the soil-vegetation-atmosphere system. The model was validated against the measurements at four sites in Canada. The simulation results were in agreement with the measurements of energy fluxes, snow depth, soil temperature and thaw depth. These results indicate that this physically based model captured the effects of climate, vegetation and ground conditions on soil temperature and freezing/thawing dynamics, and the model is suitable to investigate the impacts of transient climate change on soil thermal regimes and permafrost degradation, and their consequent effects on ecosystems dynamics.

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