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Spatial distribution and morphometric analysis of thermokarst lakes and other water bodies: Case study from the sporadic permafrost region, Tavvavuoma, Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Projected air and ground temperatures are expected to be higher in Arctic and sub-Arcticlatitudes and with temperatures already close to the limit where permafrost can exist,resistance against degradation is low. With thawing permafrost, the landscape is modifiedwith depression in which thermokarst lakes emerge. In permafrost soils a considerableamount of soil organic carbon is stored, with the potential of altering climate even furtherif expansion and formation of new thermokarst lakes emerge, as decay releasesgreenhouse gases (C02 and CH4) to the atmosphere. Analyzing the spatial distribution andmorphometry over time of thermokarst lakes and other water bodies, is of importance inaccurately predict carbon budget and feedback mechanisms, as well as to assess futurelandscape layout and these features interaction. Different types of high-spatial resolutionaerial and satellite imageries from 1963, 1975, 2003, 2010 and 2015, were used in bothpre- and post-classification change detection analyses. Using object oriented segmentationin eCognition combined with manual adjustments, resulted in digitalized water bodies>28m2 from which direction of change and morphometric values were extracted. Thequantity of thermokarst lakes and other water bodies was in 1963 n=92, with succeedingyears as a trend decreased in numbers, until 2010-2015 when eleven water bodies wereadded in 2015 (n=74 to n=85). In 1963-2003, area of these water bodies decreased with50 651m2 (189 446-138 795m2) and continued to decrease in 2003-2015 ending at 129337m2. Limnicity decreased from 19.9% in 1963 to 14.6% in 2003 (-5.3%). In 2010 and2015 13.7-13.6%. The late increase in water bodies differs from an earlier hypothesis thatsporadic permafrost regions experience decrease in both area and quantity of thermokarstlakes and water bodies. During 1963-2015, land gain has been in dominance of the ratiobetween the two competing processes of expansion and drainage. In 1963-1975, 55/45%,followed by 90/10% in 1975-2003. After major drainage events, land loss increased to62/38% in 2010-2015. Drainage and infilling rates, calculated for 15 shorelines werevaried across both landscape and parts of shorelines, with in average 0.17/0.15/0.14m/yr.Except for 1963-1975 when rate of change in average was in opposite direction (-0.09m/yr.), likely due to evident expansion of a large thermokarst lake. Using a squaregrid, distribution of water bodies was determined, with an indistinct cluster located in NEand central parts. Especially for water bodies <250m2, which is the dominant area classthroughout 1963-2015 ranging from n=39-51. With a heterogeneous composition of bothsmall and large thermokarst lakes, and with both expansion and drainage altering thelandscape in Tavvavuoma, both positive and negative climate feedback mechanisms are inplay - given that sporadic permafrost still exist.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 37 p.
Keyword [en]
thermokarst lakes, permafrost, GIS and remote sensing, change detection analysis, morphometry, Tavvavuoma
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-131519OAI: diva2:940780
Available from: 2016-06-22 Created: 2016-06-21 Last updated: 2016-06-22Bibliographically approved

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