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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/tc-2016-129
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
14 Jul 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper is under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).
Response of seasonal soil freeze depth to climate change across China
Xiaoqing Peng1,2, Oliver W. Frauenfeld2, Tingjun Zhang1, Kang Wang3, Bin Cao1,4, Xinyue Zhong5, Hang Su1, and Cuicui Mu1 1Key Laboratory of Western China's Environmental Systems (Ministry of Education), College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, 730000, China
2Department of Geography, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-3147, USA
3Institute of Arctic and Apline Research, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
4Department of Geography & Environmental Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
5Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
Abstract. Abstract. The response of seasonal soil freeze depth to climate change has repercussions for the surface energy and water balance, ecosystems, the carbon cycle, and soil nutrient exchange. In this study, we use data from 845 meteorological stations to investigate the response of variations in soil freeze depth to climate change across China. Observations include daily air temperature, daily soil temperatures at various depths, mean monthly gridded air temperature, and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index. Results show that soil freeze depth decreased significantly at a rate of −0.18 cm/year, resulting in a net decrease of 8.05 cm over 1967–2012 across China. On the regional scale, soil freeze depth decreases varied between 0.0 and 0.4 cm/year in most parts of China from 1950 to 2009. Combining climatic and non-climatic factors with soil freeze depth, we conclude that air temperature increases are responsible for the decrease in soil seasonal freeze depth during this period. Changes in snow depth and vegetation are negatively correlated with soil freeze depth. These results are important for understanding the soil freeze/thaw dynamics and the impacts of soil freeze depth on ecosystem and hydrological process.

Citation: Peng, X., Frauenfeld, O. W., Zhang, T., Wang, K., Cao, B., Zhong, X., Su, H., and Mu, C.: Response of seasonal soil freeze depth to climate change across China, The Cryosphere Discuss., doi:10.5194/tc-2016-129, in review, 2016.
Xiaoqing Peng et al.
Xiaoqing Peng et al.
Xiaoqing Peng et al.

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Short summary
Previous researches paid more attention on the permafrost, e.g. active layer thickness, soil temperature, permafrost area extent, and associated with permafrost degradation leading other changes. However, seasonally frozen ground, vast area extent, did not focus by so much attention. Here, we combined more than 800 observation station data and gridded data to investigate soil freeze depth across China. The results indicate that soil freeze depth increase with climate warming.
Previous researches paid more attention on the permafrost, e.g. active layer thickness, soil...
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