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Geophysical mapping of palsa peatland permafrost
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
2015 (English)In: The Cryosphere, ISSN 1994-0416, E-ISSN 1994-0424, Vol. 9, 465-478 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Permafrost peatlands are hydrological and biogeochemicalhotspots in the discontinuous permafrost zone.Non-intrusive geophysical methods offer a possibility tomap current permafrost spatial distributions in these environments.In this study, we estimate the depths to the permafrosttable and base across a peatland in northern Sweden,using ground penetrating radar and electrical resistivitytomography. Seasonal thaw frost tables (at 0.5m depth),taliks (2.1–6.7m deep), and the permafrost base (at 16mdepth) could be detected. Higher occurrences of taliks werediscovered at locations with a lower relative height of permafrostlandforms, which is indicative of lower ground icecontent at these locations. These results highlight the addedvalue of combining geophysical techniques for assessing spatialdistributions of permafrost within the rapidly changingsporadic permafrost zone. For example, based on a back-ofthe-envelope calculation for the site considered here, we estimatedthat the permafrost could thaw completely within thenext 3 centuries. Thus there is a clear need to benchmark currentpermafrost distributions and characteristics, particularlyin under studied regions of the pan-Arctic.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 9, 465-478 p.
Keyword [en]
permafrost, ground penetrating radar, electrical resistivity tomography
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-115888DOI: 10.5194/tc-9-465-2015ISI: 000353878400004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-115888DiVA: diva2:800718
Available from: 2015-04-07 Created: 2015-04-07 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically 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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