Journal cover Journal topic
The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2016-224
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
31 Oct 2016
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript for further review has not been submitted.
Relationship of Permafrost Cryofacies to Varying Surface and Subsurface Terrain Conditions in the Brooks Range and foothills of Northern Alaska, USA
Andrew W. Balser1, Jeremy B. Jones2, and M. Torre Jorgenson3 1ERDC-CRREL, Fort Wainwright, AK, 99703 USA
2Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, 99775 USA
3Alaska Ecoscience, Fairbanks, AK, 99709 USA
Abstract. Permafrost landscape responses to climate change and disturbance impact local ecology and global greenhouse gas concentrations, but the nature and magnitude of response is linked with vegetation, terrain and permafrost properties that vary markedly across landscapes. As a subsurface property, permafrost conditions are difficult to characterize across landscapes, and modeled estimates rely upon relationships among permafrost characteristics and surface properties. While a general relationship among landscape and permafrost properties has been recognized throughout the Arctic, the nature of these relationships is poorly documented in many regions, limiting modeling capability. We examined relationships among terrain, vegetation and permafrost within the Brooks Range and foothills of northern Alaska using field data from diverse sites and multiple factor analysis ordination. Terrain, vegetation and permafrost conditions were correlated throughout the region, with field sites falling into four statistically-separable groups based on ordination results. Our results identify index variables for honing field sampling and statistical analysis, illustrate the nature of relationships in the region, support future modeling of permafrost properties, and suggest a state factor approach for organizing data and ideas relevant for modeling of permafrost properties at a regional scale.

Citation: Balser, A. W., Jones, J. B., and Jorgenson, M. T.: Relationship of Permafrost Cryofacies to Varying Surface and Subsurface Terrain Conditions in the Brooks Range and foothills of Northern Alaska, USA, The Cryosphere Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2016-224, in review, 2016.
Andrew W. Balser et al.
Interactive discussionStatus: closed (peer review stopped)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Andrew W. Balser et al.
Andrew W. Balser et al.

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Short summary
The permafrost carbon feedback is an important climate change feedback, but quantifying the effect across the Arctic is difficult because permafrost includes a very broad variety of properties among landscapes which respond differently to climate perturbations. Permafrost properties are integrally linked with surface vegetation and terrain properties, but the relationships are complex. We test the ability to characterize these relationships spatially across landscapes in northern Alaska.
The permafrost carbon feedback is an important climate change feedback, but quantifying the...
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