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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2016-210
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2016-210
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 23 Sep 2016

Submitted as: research article | 23 Sep 2016

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC). A final paper in TC is not foreseen.

Effects of variability of meteorological measures 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. To clarify effects of the variability of meteorological measures and their extreme events on topsoil and subsoil temperature in permafrost regions, an artificially manipulated climate dataset has been used for process-oriented model experiments. Climate variability mainly impacts snow depth, and the cover and thermal diffusivity of lichens and bryophytes. The latter effect is of opposite direction in summer and winter. These impacts of climate variability on insulating layers together substantially alter the heat exchange between atmosphere and soil. As a result, soil temperature is up to 1 K higher when climate variability is reduced under conserved long-term mean meteorological measures. Climate models project warming of the Arctic region but also increasing climate variability and extreme events. Therefore, our results show that projected future increases in permafrost temperature and active-layer thickness will be less pronounced in response to climate change when considering dynamic snow and near-surface vegetation modules.

Christian Beer et al.
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Status: closed
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Christian Beer et al.
Christian Beer et al.
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Short summary
Models suggest thawing permafrost in future due to climate change. In addition to warming, day-to-day variability of air temperature and precipitation is projected to increase. In an idealized theoretical model experiment we show that such changing short-term variability will reduce soil warming as a consequence of air warming by up to 1 K due to effects on snow and moss insulating layers. This shows the need of a mechanistic representation of such layers in Earth system models.
Models suggest thawing permafrost in future due to climate change. In addition to warming,...
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