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Sensitivity of the Permafrost Systems Water and Energy Balance under Changing Climate (SPARC)

The active layer, the annually freezing and thawing upper ground in permafrost areas, is of pivotal importance. The moisture and heat transfer characteristics of this layer also determine the boundary layer interactions of the underlying permafrost and the atmosphere and are therefore important parameters input for geothermal or climate modeling.

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Project date

Starts
1997-04-01

Ends
2023-04-30

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Project type

  • field work

Discipline

  • cryosphere

Project Keywords

  • cryosphere / frozen ground / permafrost

Fieldwork information

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Type Period From To Coordinates Station Location
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Summary

The active layer, the annually freezing and thawing upper ground in permafrost areas, is of pivotal importance. The moisture and heat transfer characteristics of this layer also determine the boundary layer interactions of the underlying permafrost and the atmosphere and are therefore important parameters input for geothermal or climate modeling. Finally, changes in the characteristics of the permafrost and permafrost related processes may be used as indicators of global ecological change provided the system permafrost-active layer-atmosphere is understood sufficiently well. The dynamics of permafrost soils is measured with high accuracy and high temporal resolution at our two sites close to Ny-Ålesund. Using these continuous data we quantify energy balance components and deduce heat transfer processes such as conductive heat flux, generation of heat from phase transitions, and migration of water vapor. Our main objective is to elucidate the two major cycles (water and heat) in the complex Arctic landscape system at scales from metres to kilometres (meso-scale). The goal is to close the gap between our small-scale process understanding and the large scale that is accessible to satellite remote sensing.

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