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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2016-80
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
30 May 2016
Review status
This discussion paper has been under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC). The revised manuscript was not accepted.
Response of freeze-thaw processes to experimental warming in the permafrost regions of the central Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
Shengyun Chen1,2,*, Wenjie Liu3,1,*, Qian Zhao1,7, Lin Zhao4, Qingbai Wu5, Xingjie Lu6, Shichang Kang1, Xiang Qin1, Shilong Chen2, Jiawen Ren1, and Dahe Qin1 1Qilian Shan Station of Glaciology and Ecologic Environment, State Key Laboratory of Cryosphere Science, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, 730000, China
2Key Laboratory of Adaptation and Evolution of Plateau Biota, Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining, 810001, China
3College of Environment and Plant Protection, Hainan University, Haikou Hainan 570228, China
4Cryosphere Research Station on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, State Key Laboratory of Cryosphere Science, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, 730000, China
5Beiluhe Observation and Research Station on Frozen Soil Engineering and Environment in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, 730000, China
6CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Aspendale, Victoria, 3195, Australia
7University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, China
*These authors contributed equally to this work.
Abstract. Assessing quantitatively effect of climate warming on freeze/thaw index (FI/TI), soil freeze-thaw processes and active layer thickness (ALT) is still lacking in the permafrost regions of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP) until now. Experimental warming was manipulated using open top chambers (OTCs) in alpine swamp meadow and alpine steppe ecosystems in the permafrost regions of the central QTP during 2009–2011. Under OTCs treatment, air temperature (Ta) significantly increased in the daytime and decreased in the nighttime, diurnal and annual Ta range significantly enhanced, and mean annual Ta increased by 1.4 °C. Owing to the experimental warming, mean annual soil temperature at the depths from 5 cm to 40 cm was increased by 0.2 ~ 0.7 °C in alpine swamp meadow and 0.3 ~ 1.5 °C in alpine steppe. Mean annual soil moisture content at 10 cm depth decreased by 1.1 % and 0.8 %, and mean annual soil salinity at 10 cm depth significantly increased by 0.3 g L-1 and 0.1 g L-1 in alpine swamp meadow and alpine steppe, respectively. Further, FI was significantly decreased by 410.7 °C d while TI was significantly increased by 460.7 °C d. Likewise, the onset dates of shallow soil thawing at 5–40 cm depths were advanced by 9 days and 8 days while the onset dates of freezing were delayed by 10 days and 4 days in alpine swamp meadow and alpine steppe, respectively. Moreover, soil frozen days were significantly decreased by 28 days and 16 days, but thawed days were increased by 18 days and 6 days, and frozen-thawed days were significantly increased by 10 days and 10 days in alpine swamp meadow and alpine steppe, respectively. Furthermore, ALT would be significantly increased by ~ 6.9 cm and ~ 19.6 cm in alpine swamp meadow and alpine steppe ecosystems, respectively.

Citation: Chen, S., Liu, W., Zhao, Q., Zhao, L., Wu, Q., Lu, X., Kang, S., Qin, X., Chen, S., Ren, J., and Qin, D.: Response of freeze-thaw processes to experimental warming in the permafrost regions of the central Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, The Cryosphere Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2016-80, 2016.
Shengyun Chen et al.
Interactive discussionStatus: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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RC1: '?', Anonymous Referee #1, 23 Jun 2016 Printer-friendly Version 
AC1: 'tc-2016-80-AC1', Shengyun Chen, 23 Sep 2016 Printer-friendly Version Supplement 
 
RC2: 'Review number 2', Anonymous Referee #2, 10 Aug 2016 Printer-friendly Version 
AC2: 'tc-2016-80-AC2', Shengyun Chen, 23 Sep 2016 Printer-friendly Version Supplement 
Shengyun Chen et al.
Shengyun Chen et al.

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Short summary
Experimental warming was manipulated using open top chambers in alpine grassland ecosystem in the permafrost regions of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The results revealed variations of earlier thawing, later freezing and longer freezing-thawing periods in shallow soil. Further, the estimated permafrost table declined under the warming scenarios. The work will be helpful to evaluate the stability of Qinghai-Tibet Railway/Highway and estimate the release of carbon under the future climate warming.
Experimental warming was manipulated using open top chambers in alpine grassland ecosystem in...
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