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Using streamflow characteristics to explore permafrost thawing in northern Swedish catchments
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
2012 (English)In: Hydrogeology Journal, ISSN 1431-2174, E-ISSN 1435-0157, Vol. 21, no 1, 121-131 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The recent and rapid warming of the Arcticleads to thawing of permafrost, which influences andchanges subsurface water-flow systems in such landscapes.This study explores the utility of catchments as“sentinels of change” by considering long-term dischargedata from 17 stations on unregulated rivers in northernSweden and analyzing trends in annual minimum dischargeand recession flow characteristics. For the catchmentsconsidered, the annual minimum discharge hasincreased significantly (based on the Mann Kendall test ata 95% confidence level) in nine of the catchments anddecreased significantly in one catchment. Consideringchanges in recession-flow characteristics, seven catchmentsshowed significant trends consistent with permafrostthawing while two catchments showed significanttrends in the opposite direction. These results aremechanistically consistent with generic physically basedmodeling studies and the geological setting, as thecatchments considered span the spatial limit of permafrostextent. This study illuminates the potential for usinghydrologic observations to monitor changes in catchmentscalepermafrost. Further, this opens the door for researchto isolate the mechanisms behind the different trendsobserved and to gauge their ability to reflect actualpermafrost conditions at the catchment scale.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 21, no 1, 121-131 p.
Keyword [en]
Groundwater–permafrost interactions, Groundwater/surface-water relations, Streamflowtrends, Sweden, Climate change
National Category
Climate Research
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-85211DOI: 10.1007/s10040-012-0932-5ISI: 000314333600010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-85211DiVA: diva2:582917
Available from: 2013-01-07 Created: 2013-01-07 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Linking water and permafrost dynamics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Linking water and permafrost dynamics
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The extent and dynamics of permafrost are tightly linked to the distribution and movement of water in arctic landscapes. As the Arctic warms more rapidly than the global average, profound changes are expected in both permafrost and hydrology; however, much is still not known about the interactions between these two systems. The aim of this thesis is to provide new knowledge on the links between permafrost and hydrology under varying environmental conditions and across different scales. The objectives are to (i) determine how permafrost distributions and patterns in morphology are linked to hydrology, (ii) determine how groundwater flow influences ground temperature dynamics in permafrost landscapes, and (iii) explore the mechanisms that link permafrost to groundwater and streamflow dynamics. A range of methods have been applied within the four studies (papers I-IV) comprising the thesis: geophysical (ground penetrating radar and electrical resistivity tomography) and GIS techniques for mapping and analyzing permafrost distributions and related morphology; numerical modeling of coupled heat and water fluxes for mechanistic understanding permafrost-hydrological links; and statistical analyses for detecting trends in streamflow associated with permafrost thaw. Combining these various methods here allows for, and may be considered a prerequisite for, novel insights to processes. The thesis also presents statistical analyses of field observations of ground temperatures, ground- and surface water levels, as well as lake and shore morphological variables. Discontinuous permafrost peatlands are heterogeneous environments regarding permafrost distributions and thickness which is manifested in surface systems such as lake geometries. In these environments, lateral groundwater fluxes, which are not considered in most permafrost models, can significantly influence ground temperature dynamics, especially during high groundwater gradient conditions. River discharge data provide a potential for monitoring catchment-scale changes in permafrost, as the magnitude and seasonality of groundwater fluxes feeding into streams are affected by the distribution of permafrost. This thesis highlights the need to understand water and permafrost as an integrated system with potential internal feedback processes. For example, permafrost thaw can lead to increases in groundwater discharge which in turn can lead to increased heat transfer through the ground, resulting in further acceleration of permafrost thaw rates. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, 2015. 28 p.
Series
Dissertations from the Department of Physical Geography, ISSN 1653-7211 ; 50
Keyword
permafrost, hydrology, arctic, modeling, streamflow, geophysical measurements, ground thermal dynamics, groundwater
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources Physical Geography
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-116647 (URN)978-91-7649-164-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-06-12, De Geer-salen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript.

Available from: 2015-05-21 Created: 2015-04-22 Last updated: 2015-06-23Bibliographically approved

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