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Arctic Water System Change and its Interactions with Permafrost and Ecosystem Changes
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Climate change and various changes in the landscape itself, such as permafrost thaw, may trigger and mediate substantial changes in the inland water system of the Arctic. Many climate change responses in the Arctic landscape and ecosystems are then related to alterations in the hydrological system. The nature of all these change interactions is not well understood. This thesis aims to improve our understanding of changes in the Arctic inland water system and their interactions with permafrost and ecosystem changes. Investigation of the spatial coverage of systematic hydrological monitoring data and observation data for hydro-climatically related ecosystem shifts, such as large-scale lake-area change, shows that this overlap is small. Yet some monitoring hotspot areas exist, where such data overlap and can be used to improve our understanding of linked hydrological, permafrost and ecosystem changes in the Arctic under climate change. Analysis of lake-change patterns in such hotspot areas indicates permafrost thaw as a main change driver/mediator of some change patterns. However, clear indication of basin-wide influence of permafrost thaw on hydrological discharge dynamics was only found in two relatively small out of total six investigated permafrost basins of different scales. Further, both permafrost and non-permafrost basins exhibit large-scale lake-area changes. A salient change pattern emerging across all investigated basins is an opposite direction of runoff change to that of precipitation change. This contrast is explainable by apparent evapotranspiration changes that may be due to observed changes in surface water (lake) area and associated water-storage changes. Patches of local lake-area change can thus add up to considerable large-scale effects on evapotranspiration and runoff changes. Overall, this thesis shows that linking water system change to permafrost and ecosystem changes is essential for advancing our understanding of Arctic environmental change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University , 2014. , 22 p.
Series
Dissertations from the Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, ISSN 1653-7211 ; 46
Keyword [en]
Arctic, climate change, monitoring, ecosystem shifts, hydrology, hydro-climatic change, permafrost
National Category
Geosciences, Multidisciplinary Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-108269ISBN: 978-91-7649-015-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-108269DiVA: diva2:756334
Public defence
2014-11-21, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, 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 4: Submitted.

Available from: 2014-10-30 Created: 2014-10-16 Last updated: 2014-11-21Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Opportunities and limitations to detect climate-related regime shifts in inland Arctic ecosystems through eco-hydrological monitoring
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Opportunities and limitations to detect climate-related regime shifts in inland Arctic ecosystems through eco-hydrological monitoring
Show others...
2011 (English)In: Environmental Research Letters, ISSN 1748-9326, E-ISSN 1748-9326, Vol. 6, no 1, 014015- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study has identified and mapped the occurrences of three different types of climate-driven and hydrologically mediated regime shifts in inland Arctic ecosystems: (i) from tundra to shrubland or forest, (ii) from terrestrial ecosystems to thermokarst lakes and wetlands, and (iii) from thermokarst lakes and wetlands to terrestrial ecosystems. The area coverage of these shifts is compared to that of hydrological and hydrochemical monitoring relevant to their possible detection. Hotspot areas are identified within the Yukon, Mackenzie, Barents/Norwegian Sea and Ob river basins, where systematic water monitoring overlaps with ecological monitoring and observed ecosystem regime shift occurrences, providing opportunities for linked eco-hydrological investigations that can improve our regime shift understanding, and detection and prediction capabilities. Overall, most of the total areal extent of shifts from tundra to shrubland and from terrestrial to aquatic regimes is in hydrologically and hydrochemically unmonitored areas. For shifts from aquatic to terrestrial regimes, related water and waterborne nitrogen and phosphorus fluxes are relatively well monitored, while waterborne carbon fluxes are unmonitored. There is a further large spatial mismatch between the coverage of hydrological and that of ecological monitoring, implying a need for more coordinated monitoring efforts to detect the waterborne mediation and propagation of changes and impacts associated with Arctic ecological regime shifts.

Keyword
Arctic, climate change, regime shifts, eco-hydrology, hydrology, biogeochemical cycling, permafrost, ecosystem dynamics, feedbacks, monitoring
National Category
Environmental Sciences Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources Climate Research
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-66708 (URN)10.1088/1748-9326/6/1/014015 (DOI)000289263600016 ()
Note

authorCount :5

Available from: 2011-12-20 Created: 2011-12-20 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
2. Temporal Behavior of Lake Size-Distribution in a Thawing Permafrost Landscape in Northwestern Siberia
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Temporal Behavior of Lake Size-Distribution in a Thawing Permafrost Landscape in Northwestern Siberia
2014 (English)In: Remote Sensing, ISSN 2072-4292, E-ISSN 2072-4292, Vol. 6, no 1, 621-636 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Arctic warming alters regional hydrological systems, as permafrost thaw increases active layer thickness and in turn alters the pathways of water flow through the landscape. Further, permafrost thaw may change the connectivity between deeper and shallower groundwater and surface water altering the terrestrial water balance and distribution. Thermokarst lakes and wetlands in the Arctic offer a window into such changes as these landscape elements depend on permafrost and are some of the most dynamic and widespread features in Arctic lowland regions. In this study we used Landsat remotely sensed imagery to investigate potential shifts in thermokarst lake size-distributions, which may be brought about by permafrost thaw, over three distinct time periods (1973, 1987-1988, and 2007-2009) in three hydrological basins in northwestern Siberia. Results revealed fluctuations in total area and number of lakes over time, with both appearing and disappearing lakes alongside stable lakes. On the whole basin scales, there is no indication of any sustained long-term change in thermokarst lake area or lake size abundance over time. This statistical temporal consistency indicates that spatially variable change effects on local permafrost conditions have driven the individual lake changes that have indeed occurred over time. The results highlight the importance of using multi-temporal remote sensing data that can reveal complex spatiotemporal variations distinguishing fluctuations from sustained change trends, for accurate interpretation of thermokarst lake changes and their possible drivers in periods of climate and permafrost change.

Keyword
remote sensing, hydrology, catchment, thermokarst lakes, permafrost, size-distribution, Siberia
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences Remote Sensing
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-105264 (URN)10.3390/rs6010621 (DOI)000335555900027 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2007-8393
Note

AuthorCount:3;

Available from: 2014-06-25 Created: 2014-06-24 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
3. Thermokarst lake, hydrological flow and water balance indicators of permafrost change in Western Siberia
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Thermokarst lake, hydrological flow and water balance indicators of permafrost change in Western Siberia
2012 (English)In: Journal of Hydrology, ISSN 0022-1694, E-ISSN 1879-2707, Vol. 464, 459-466 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Permafrost, mainly of discontinuous type, that underlies the tundra and taiga landscapes of the Nadym and Put river basins in northwestern Siberia has been warming during the recent decades. A mosaic of thermokarst lakes and wetlands dominates this area. In this study we tested the hypothesis chain that permafrost thawing changes thermokarst lake area and number, and is then also reflected in and detectable through other associated hydrological changes. Based on indications from previous studies, the other hydrological changes in a basin were expected to be decreasing intra-annual runoff variability (quantified by decreasing maximum and increasing minimum runoff) and systematically decreasing water storage. To test this hypothesis chain, we mapped thermokarst lake changes using remote sensing analysis and analyzed both climate (temperature and precipitation) and water flow and balance changes using available monthly data records. This was done for the whole Nadym and Pur river basins and a smaller sub-basin of the former (denoted 7129) with comparable data availability as the whole river basins. The results for the 7129 sub-basin show all the indicators (thermokarst lake and other hydrological) changing consistently, as could be expected in response to permafrost thawing that alters the connections between surface and subsurface waters, and leads to overall decreases in water (including ground ice) storage within a basin. Over the Nadym and Pur basins, the relative area influenced by similar permafrost thawing and associated lake and hydrological effects appears (yet) too small to be clearly and systematically reflected in the basin-average indicators for these large basins.

Keyword
Permafrost, Thermokarst lakes, Hydrological cycles and budgets, Catchments, Climate change, Water storage change
National Category
Geosciences, Multidisciplinary
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-82993 (URN)10.1016/j.jhydrol.2012.07.037 (DOI)000309783700037 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2007-8393
Note

AuthorCount:3;

Available from: 2012-12-04 Created: 2012-12-03 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
4. Hydro-climatic and lake change patterns in Arctic permafrost and non-permafrost areas
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hydro-climatic and lake change patterns in Arctic permafrost and non-permafrost areas
(English)Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources Climate Research
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-108268 (URN)
Available from: 2014-10-16 Created: 2014-10-16 Last updated: 2014-10-22

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