Mapping simulated circum-Arctic organic carbon, ground ice, and vulnerability of ice-rich permafrost to degradation.

Mapping simulated circum-Arctic organic carbon, ground ice, and

vulnerability of ice-rich permafrost to degradation.

Published: 7/22/2020
Language: English
Summary: Permafrost is a large reservoir of soil organic carbon, accounting
for about half of all the terrestrial storage, almost equivalent to
twice the atmospheric carbon storage. Hence, permafrost
degradation under global warming may induce a release of a
substantial amount of additional greenhouse gases, leading to
further warming. In addition to gradual degradation through heat
conduction, the importance of abrupt thawing or erosion of ice-rich
permafrost has recently been recognized. Such ice-rich
permafrost has evolved over a long timescale (i.e., tens to
hundreds of thousands of years). Although important, knowledge
on the distribution of vulnerability to degradation, i.e., location and
stored amount of ground ice and soil carbon in ice-rich
permafrost, is still limited largely due to the scarcity of accessible
in situ data. Improving the future projections for the Arctic using
the Earth System Models will lead to a better understanding of the
current vulnerability distribution, which is a prerequisite for
conducting climatic and biogeochemical assessment that currently
constitutes a large source of uncertainty. In this study, present-
day circum-Arctic distributions (north of 50° N) in ground ice and
organic soil carbon content are produced by a new approach to
combine a newly developed conceptual carbon-ice balance
model, and a downscaling technique with the topographical and
hydrological information derived from a high-resolution digital
elevation model (ETOPO1). The model simulated the evolution of
ground ice and carbon for the recent 125 thousand years (from
the Last Interglacial to the present) at 1° resolution. The 0.2° high-
resolution circum-Arctic maps of the present-day ground ice and
soil organic carbon, downscaled from the 1° simulations, were
reasonable compared to the observation-based previous maps.
These data, together with a map of vulnerability of ice-rich
permafrost to degradation served as initial and boundary condition
data for model improvement and the future projection of additional
greenhouse gas release potentially caused by permafrost

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ISSN: 21974284
Format: Academic Journal

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