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Volume 12, issue 2 | Copyright

Special issue: Changing Permafrost in the Arctic and its Global Effects in...

The Cryosphere, 12, 741-757, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-12-741-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 01 Mar 2018

Research article | 01 Mar 2018

Effects of short-term variability of meteorological variables on soil temperature in permafrost regions

Christian Beer1,2, Philipp Porada1,2, Altug Ekici1,3, and Matthias Brakebusch1,2 Christian Beer et al.
  • 1Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry (ACES), Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
  • 3Uni Research Climate, Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway

Abstract. Effects of the short-term temporal variability of meteorological variables on soil temperature in northern high-latitude regions have been investigated. For this, a process-oriented land surface model has been driven using an artificially manipulated climate dataset. Short-term climate variability mainly impacts snow depth, and the thermal diffusivity of lichens and bryophytes. These impacts of climate variability on insulating surface layers together substantially alter the heat exchange between atmosphere and soil. As a result, soil temperature is 0.1 to 0.8°C higher when climate variability is reduced. Earth system models project warming of the Arctic region but also increasing variability of meteorological variables and more often extreme meteorological events. Therefore, our results show that projected future increases in permafrost temperature and active-layer thickness in response to climate change will be lower (i) when taking into account future changes in short-term variability of meteorological variables and (ii) when representing dynamic snow and lichen and bryophyte functions in land surface models.

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Idealized model experiments demonstrate that, in addition to a gradual climate change, changing daily to weekly variability of meteorological variables and extreme events will also have an impact on mean annual ground temperature in high-latitude permafrost areas. In fact, results of the land surface model experiments show that the projected increase of variability of meteorological variables leads to cooler permafrost soil in contrast to an otherwise soil warming in response to climate change.
Idealized model experiments demonstrate that, in addition to a gradual climate change, changing...
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