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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-148
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-148
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 25 Jun 2019

Submitted as: research article | 25 Jun 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Pan-Antarctic map of near-surface permafrost temperatures at 1 km2 scale

Jaroslav Obu1, Sebastian Westermann1, Gonçalo Vieira2, Andrey Abramov3, Megan Balks4, Annett Bartsch5,8, Filip Hrbáček7, Andreas Kääb1, and Miguel Ramos6 Jaroslav Obu et al.
  • 1Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Sem Sælands vei 1, 0371 Oslo, Norway
  • 2Centre of Geopgraphical Studies, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, University of Lisbon, R. Branca Edmée Marques, 1600-276 Lisbon, Portugal
  • 3Institute ofPhysicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pushchino, Russia
  • 4Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Waikato, Hamilton, Private Bag 3105, New Zealand
  • 5Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik, Hohe Warte 39, Vienna, Austria
  • 6Department of Geography, Masaryk University, Kotlářská 2 61137 Brno, Czech Republic
  • 7Department of Physics and Mathematics, University of Alcalá, Madrid, Campus universitario 28805 Alcalá de Henares, Spain
  • 8now at: b.geos GmbH, Vienna, Industriestrasse 1 2100 Korneuburg, Austria

Abstract. Permafrost is present under almost all of the Antarctic’s ice-free areas but little is known about spatial variations of permafrost temperatures outside a few areas with established ground temperature measurements. We modelled a temperature at the top of the permafrost (TTOP) for all the ice-free areas of Antarctic mainland and Antarctic Islands at 1 km2 resolution during 2000–2017. The model was driven by remotely-sensed land surface temperatures and down-scaled ERA-Interim climate reanalysis data and subgrid permafrost variability was simulated by variable snow cover. The results were validated against in-situ measured ground temperatures from 40 permafrost boreholes and the resulting root mean square error was 1.9 °C. The lowest near-surface permafrost temperature of −33 °C was modelled at Mount Markham in Queen Elizabeth Range in the Transantarctic Mountains. This is the lowest permafrost temperature on Earth according to the modelling results on global scale. The temperatures were most commonly modelled between −23 and −18 °C for mountainous areas rising above the Antarctic Ice Sheet and between −14 and −8 °C for coastal areas. The model performance was good where snow conditions were modelled realistically but errors of up to 4 °C can occur at sites with strong wind-driven redistribution of snow.

Jaroslav Obu et al.
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Jaroslav Obu et al.
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Ground Temperature Map, 2000-2017, Antarctic J. Obu, S. Westermann, A. Kääb, and A. Bartsch https://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.902576

Jaroslav Obu et al.
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Short summary
Little is known about permafrost in the Antarctic outside few research stations. We used a simple equilibrium permafrost model to estimate permafrost temperatures in the whole Antarctic. The lowest permafrost temperature on Earth is −33 °C in Queen Elizabeth Range in the Transantarctic Mountains. The temperatures are commonly between −23 and −18 °C in mountainous areas rising above the Antarctic Ice Sheet and between −14 and −8 °C in coastal areas and up to 0 °C in the Antarctic Peninsula.
Little is known about permafrost in the Antarctic outside few research stations. We used a...
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