Warming-induced destabilization of peat plateau/thermokarst lake complexes
2011 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research, ISSN 0148-0227, Vol. 116, G03035- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Peat plateaus are widespread at high northern latitudes and are important soil organic carbon reservoirs. A warming climate can cause either increased ground subsidence (thermokarst) resulting in lake formation or increased drainage as the permafrost thaws. A better understanding of spatiotemporal variations in these landforms in relation to climate change is important for predicting the future thawing permafrost carbon feedback. In this study, dynamics in thermokarst lake extent during the last 35-50 years has been quantified through time series analysis of aerial photographs and high-resolution satellite images (IKONOS/QuickBird) in three peat plateau complexes, spread out across the northern circumpolar region along a climatic and permafrost gradient. From the mid-1970s until the mid-2000s there has been an increase in mean annual air temperature, winter precipitation, and ground temperature in all three study areas. The two peat plateaus located in the continuous and discontinuous permafrost zones, respectively, where mean annual air temperatures are below -5 degrees C and ground temperatures are -2 degrees C or colder, have experienced small changes in thermokarst lake extent. In the peat plateau located in the sporadic permafrost zone where the mean annual air temperature is around -3 degrees C, and the ground temperature is close to 0 degrees C, lake drainage and infilling with fen vegetation has been extensive and many new thermokarst lakes have formed. In a future progressively warmer and wetter climate permafrost degradation can cause significant impacts on landscape composition and greenhouse gas exchange also in areas with extensive peat plateaus, which presently still experience stable permafrost conditions.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 116, G03035- p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-66512DOI: 10.1029/2010JG001635ISI: 000295130400002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-66512DiVA: diva2:469862
authorCount :22011-12-272011-12-202011-12-27Bibliographically approved