GIS-based Maps and Area Estimates of Northern Hemisphere Permafrost Extent during the Last Glacial Maximum
Number of Authors: 5
2016 (English)In: Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, ISSN 1045-6740, E-ISSN 1099-1530, Vol. 27, no 1, 6-16 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This study presents GIS-based estimates of permafrost extent in the northern circumpolar region during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), based on a review of previously published maps and compilations of field evidence in the form of ice-wedge pseudomorphs and relict sand wedges. We focus on field evidence localities in areas thought to have been located along the past southern border of permafrost. We present different reconstructions of permafrost extent, with areal estimates of exposed sea shelf, ice sheets and glaciers, to assess areas of minimum, likely and maximum permafrost extents. The GIS-based mapping of these empirical reconstructions allows us to estimate the likely area of northern permafrost during the LGM as 34.5 million km(2) (which includes 4.7 million km(2) of permafrost on exposed coastal sea shelves). The minimum estimate is 32.7 million km(2) and the maximum estimate is 35.3 million km(2). The extent of LGM permafrost is estimated to have been between c. 9.1 to 11.7 million km(2) larger than its current extent on land (23.6 million km(2)). However, 2.4 million km(2) of the lost land area currently remains as subsea permafrost on the submerged coastal shelves. The LGM permafrost extent in the northern circumpolar region during the LGM was therefore about 33 percent larger than at present. The net loss of northern permafrost since the LGM is due to its disappearance in large parts of Eurasia, which is not compensated for by gains in North America in areas formerly covered by the Laurentide ice sheet.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 27, no 1, 6-16 p.
LGM, Permafrost, GIS, Area, Paleoenvironment
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-129104DOI: 10.1002/ppp.1851ISI: 000371830000002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-129104DiVA: diva2:921044