A multidisciplinary approach to investigate the Climate Change effects in Arctic permafrost areas

Lead Author Mauro, Guglielmin
Institution Contact Dista, Insubria University, Via Dunant, 3, 21100 Varese, Italy
Co-Authors Stefano Ponti, Insubria University, Italy Vito Vitale, ISAC, CNR, Italy Nicoletta Cannone, Insubria University, Italy
Theme Theme 1: Vulnerability of Arctic Environments
Session Name 1.1 Climate Change and Environmental Management in the Arctic
Datetime Wed, Sep 14, 2016 03:20 PM - 03:40 PM
Presentation Type Oral
Abstract text Since the mid-20th Century climate change (CC) has led to significant impacts in the arctic permafrost mainly through active layer thickening and permafrost thawing. The related terrestrial Arctic ecosystems that play a key role in the global carbon cycle have suffered different feedbacks. To monitor the effects of the CC at local scale, a new multidisciplinary approach has been started at Ny Alesund since 2014. Here, a grid of 50X50m at 55 m a.s.l. was equipped to monitor snow cover, ground surface temperature (GST), active layer thickness and thermal regime and vegetation changes as coverage, species richness, composition and structure. In addition, in each node the main soil properties were also characterized. Finally, CO2 fluxes measures with a IRGA system at the metric scale were carried out.
Despite of the relative morphological homogeneity of the area GST and vegetation show a quite strong spatial variability. The vegetation coverage varies between 1-2% to 100% in metric plots. The first GST data are very variable with an annual mean ranges between -0.7 to -3.6°C. Vegetation type and snow characteristics seems the more effective factors in the GST differences.
Snow cover in fact is extremely variable as demonstrated by the heigth during the last week before the onset of the melting ranged between 98 and 42 cm. The active layer thickness (ALT) as the depth of 0°C isotherm during the summer 2014 ranged between 117 and 194 cm. Despite of a good correlation between GST and ALT also the soil characteristics seem to be important in the ALT spatial variability.
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