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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2014-07-10
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Conference , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2015-12-25
    Description: Top melting of ice-wedges and subsequent ground subsidence is now a widespread phenomenon across the Arctic domain. We show field and remote sensing observations that document extensive ice-wedge degradation, which initially has resulted in increased wetness contrast across the landscape (i.e. both a drying and a wetting), a shift in pond type and an overall drying in later stages. The differential ground subsidence at cold continuous permafrost regions appear to be linked to press and pulse climate forcing. Here, the process of crossing the local threshold for ice-wedge stability may be favored by a press occurrence such as long-term, gradual increases in summer air temperature, mean annual air temperature and/or possibly winter precipitation, but our observations suggest it is most likely initiated by pulse atmospheric forcing such as extreme summer warmth and/or winter precipitation. Field measurements of water levels, frost tables and snow accumulation across the main ice-wedge polygon types and their respective features support dramatic shifts in the hydrologic regime with altered topography and a complexity that ultimately affect the larger-scale hydrologic system. For example, our numerical model experiments show that a connected trough-network reduces inundation and increases runoff and that changing patterns of snow distribution due to the differential ground subsidence play a crucial role in altering lowland tundra water balance. These fine-scale (10’s cm) geomorphic changes are expected to further expand and amplify in rapidly warming permafrost regions and likely will dramatically modify land-atmosphere and land-ocean fluxes and exchange of carbon, water, and energy.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Conference , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-12-09
    Description: Ice-wedges are common permafrost features formed over hundreds to thousands of years of repeated frost cracking and ice vein growth. We used field and remote sensing observations to assess changes in areas dominated by ice-wedges, and we simulated the effects of those changes on watershed-scale hydrology. We show that top melting of ice-wedges and subsequent ground subsidence has occurred at multiple sites in the North American and Russian Arctic. At most sites, melting ice-wedges have initially resulted in increased wetness contrast across the landscape, evident as increased surface water in the ice-wedge polygon troughs and somewhat drier polygon centers. Most areas are becoming more heterogeneous with wetter troughs, more small ponds (themokarst pits forming initially at ice-wedge intersections and then spreading along the troughs) and drier polygon centers. Some areas with initial good drainage, such as near creeks, lake margins, and in hilly terrain, high-centered polygons form an overall landscape drying due to a drying of both polygon centers and troughs. Unlike the multi-decadal warming observed in permafrost temperatures, the ice-wedge melting that we observed appeared as a sub-decadal response, even at locations with low mean annual permafrost temperatures (down to −14 °C). Gradual long-term air and permafrost warming combined with anomalously warm summers or deep snow winters preceded the onset of the ice-wedge melting. To assess hydrological impacts of ice-wedge melting, we simulated tundra water balance before and after melting. Our coupled hydrological and thermal model experiments applied over hypothetical polygon surfaces suggest that (1) ice-wedge melting that produces a connected trough-network reduces inundation and increases runoff, and that (2) changing patterns of snow distribution due to differential ground subsidence has a major control on ice-wedge polygon tundra water balance despite an identical snow water equivalent at the landscape-scale. These decimeter-scale geomorphic changes are expected to continue in permafrost regions dominated by ice-wedge polygons, with implications for land-atmosphere and land-ocean fluxes of water, carbon, and energy.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Conference , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 4
  • 5
    Publication Date: 2016-03-21
    Description: Ice wedges are common features of the subsurface in permafrost regions. They develop by repeated frost cracking and ice vein growth over hundreds to thousands of years. Ice-wedge formation causes the archetypal polygonal patterns seen in tundra across the Arctic landscape. Here we use field and remote sensing observations to document polygon succession due to ice-wedge degradation and trough development in ten Arctic localities over sub-decadal timescales. Initial thaw drains polygon centres and forms disconnected troughs that hold isolated ponds. Continued ice-wedge melting leads to increased trough connectivity and an overall draining of the landscape. We find that melting at the tops of ice wedges over recent decades and subsequent decimetre-scale ground subsidence is a widespread Arctic phenomenon. Although permafrost temperatures have been increasing gradually, we find that ice-wedge degradation is occurring on sub-decadal timescales. Our hydrological model simulations show that advanced ice-wedge degradation can significantly alter the water balance of lowland tundra by reducing inundation and increasing runoff, in particular due to changes in snow distribution as troughs form. We predict that ice-wedge degradation and the hydrological changes associated with the resulting differential ground subsidence will expand and amplify in rapidly warming permafrost regions.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2018-03-02
    Description: An Arctic Vegetation Classification (AVC) is needed to address issues related to rapid Arctic-wide changes to climate, land-use, and biodiversity. Location: The 7.1 million km2 Arctic tundra biome. Approach and conclusions: The purpose, scope and conceptual framework for an Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA) and Classification (AVC) were developed during numerous workshops starting in 1992. The AVA and AVC are modeled after the European vegetation archive (EVA) and classification (EVC). The AVA will use Turboveg for data management. The EVC will use a Braun-Blanquet (Br.-Bl.) classification approach. There are approximately 31,000 Arctic plots that could be included in the AVA. An Alaska AVA (AVA-AK, 24 datasets, 3026 plots) is a prototype for archives in other parts of the Arctic. The plan is to eventually merge data from otherregions of the Arctic into a single Turboveg v3 database. We present the pros and cons of using the Br.-Bl. classification approach compared to the EcoVeg (US) and Biogeoclimatic Ecological Classification (Canada) approaches. The main advantages are that the Br.-Bl. approach already has been widely used in all regions of the Arctic, and many described, well-accepted vegetation classes have a pan-Arctic distribution. A crosswalk comparison of Dryas octopetala communities described according to the EcoVeg and the Braun-Blanquet approaches indicates that the non-parallel hierarchies of the two approaches make crosswalks difficult above the plantcommunity level. A preliminary Arctic prodromus contains a list of typical Arctic habitat types with associated described syntaxa from Europe, Greenland, western North America, and Alaska. Numerical clustering methods are used to provide an overview of the variability of habitat types across the range of datasets and to determine their relationship to previously described Braun-Blanquet syntaxa. We emphasize the need for continued maintenance of the Pan-Arctic Species List, and additional plot data to fully sample the variability across bioclimatic subzones, phytogeographic regions, and habitats in the Arctic. This will require standardized methods of plot-data collection, inclusion of physiogonomic information in the numeric analysis approaches to create formal definitions for vegetation units, and new methods of data sharing between the AVA and national vegetation- plot databases.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2018-07-09
    Description: © The Author(s), 2016. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Environmental Research Letters 11 (2016): 034014, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/11/3/034014.
    Description: As the permafrost region warms, its large organic carbon pool will be increasingly vulnerable to decomposition, combustion, and hydrologic export. Models predict that some portion of this release will be offset by increased production of Arctic and boreal biomass; however, the lack of robust estimates of net carbon balance increases the risk of further overshooting international emissions targets. Precise empirical or model-based assessments of the critical factors driving carbon balance are unlikely in the near future, so to address this gap, we present estimates from 98 permafrost-region experts of the response of biomass, wildfire, and hydrologic carbon flux to climate change. Results suggest that contrary to model projections, total permafrost-region biomass could decrease due to water stress and disturbance, factors that are not adequately incorporated in current models. Assessments indicate that end-of-the-century organic carbon release from Arctic rivers and collapsing coastlines could increase by 75% while carbon loss via burning could increase four-fold. Experts identified water balance, shifts in vegetation community, and permafrost degradation as the key sources of uncertainty in predicting future system response. In combination with previous findings, results suggest the permafrost region will become a carbon source to the atmosphere by 2100 regardless of warming scenario but that 65%–85% of permafrost carbon release can still be avoided if human emissions are actively reduced.
    Description: This work was supported by the National Science Foundation ARCSS program and Vulnerability of Permafrost Carbon Research Coordination Network (grants OPP-0806465, OPP-0806394, and 955713) with additional funding from SITES (Swedish Science Foundation), Future Forest (Mistra), and a Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant (TOMCAR-Permafrost #277059) within the 7th European Community Framework Programme.
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Article
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Numerous studies have evaluated the dynamics of Arctic tundra vegetation throughout the past few decades, using remotely sensed proxies of vegetation, such as the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). While extremely useful, these coarse-scale satellite-derived measurements give us minimal information with regard to how these changes are being expressed on the ground, in terms of tundra structure and function. In this analysis, we used a strong regression model between NDVI and aboveground tundra phytomass, developed from extensive field-harvested measurements of vegetation biomass, to estimate the biomass dynamics of the circumpolar Arctic tundra over the period of continuous satellite records (1982-2010). We found that the southernmost tundra subzones (C-E) dominate the increases in biomass, ranging from 20 to 26%, although there was a high degree of heterogeneity across regions, floristic provinces, and vegetation types. The estimated increase in carbon of the aboveground live vegetation of 0.40 Pg C over the past three decades is substantial, although quite small relative to anthropogenic C emissions. However, a 19.8% average increase in aboveground biomass has major implications for nearly all aspects of tundra ecosystems including hydrology, active layer depths, permafrost regimes, wildlife and human use of Arctic landscapes. While spatially extensive on-the-ground measurements of tundra biomass were conducted in the development of this analysis, validation is still impossible without more repeated, long-term monitoring of Arctic tundra biomass in the field.
    Keywords: Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN9307 , Environmental Research Letters; 7; 1; 015506
    Format: application/pdf
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2019-07-17
    Description: Remote sensing has become a valuable tool in monitoring arctic environments. The aim of this paper is ground-based hyperspectral characterization of Low Arctic Alaskan tundra communities along four environmental gradients (regional climate, soil pH, toposequence, and soil moisture) that all vary in ground cover, biomass, and dominating plant communities. Field spectroscopy in connection with vegetation analysis was carried out in summer 2012, along the North American Arctic Transect (NAAT). Spectral metrics were extracted, including the averaged reflectance and absorption-related metrics such as absorption depths and area of continuum removal. The spectral metrics were investigated with respect to “greenness”, biomass, vegetation height, and soil moisture regimes. The results show that the surface reflectances of all sites are similar in shape with a reduced near-infrared (NIR) reflectance that is specific for low-growing biomes. The main spectro-radiometric findings are: (i) Southern sites along the climate gradient have taller shrubs and greater overall vegetation biomass, which leads to higher reflectance in the NIR. (ii) Vegetation height and surface wetness are two antagonists that balance each other out with respect to the NIR reflectance along the toposequence and soil moisture gradients. (iii) Moist acidic tundra (MAT) sites have “greener” species, more leaf biomass, and green-colored moss species that lead to higher pigment absorption compared to moist non-acidic tundra (MNT) sites. (iv) MAT and MNT plant community separation via narrowband Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) shows the potential of hyperspectral remote sensing applications in the tundra.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
    Format: application/pdf
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Potential climate drivers of Arctic tundra vegetation productivity are investigated to understand recent greening and browning trends documented by maximum normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) (MaxNDVI) and time-integrated NDVI (TI-NDVI) for 19822015. Over this period, summer sea ice has continued to decline while oceanic heat content has increased. The increases in summer warmth index (SWI) and NDVI have not been uniform over the satellite record. SWI increased from 1982 to the mid-1990s and remained relatively flat from 1998 onwards until a recent upturn. While MaxNDVI displays positive trends from 19822015, TI-NDVI increased from 1982 until 2001 and has declined since. The data for the first and second halves of the record were analyzed and compared spatially for changing trends with a focus on the growing season. Negative trends for MaxNDVI and TI-NDVI were more common during 19992015 compared to 19821998.
    Keywords: Geosciences (General)
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN43560 , Environmental Research Letters (e-ISSN 1748-9326); 12; 5; 055003
    Format: text
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