Rapid and gradual permafrost thaw: A tale of two sites

Geophysical Research Letters
By: , and 



Warming temperatures and increasing disturbance by wildfire and extreme weather events is driving permafrost change across northern latitudes. The state of permafrost varies widely in space and time, depending on landscape, climate, hydrologic, and ecological factors. Despite its importance, few approaches commonly measure and monitor the changes in deep (>1 m) permafrost conditions with high spatial resolution. Here, we use electrical resistivity tomography surveys along two transects in interior Alaska previously disturbed by wildfire and more recently by warming temperatures and extreme precipitation. Long-term point observations of permafrost depth, temperature, and water content inform geophysical measurements which, in turn, are used to extrapolate interpretations over larger areas and with high spatial fidelity. We contrast gradual loss of recently formed permafrost driven by warmer temperatures and increased snowfall, with rapid permafrost loss driven by changes in air temperature, snow depth, and extreme summer precipitation in 2014.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Rapid and gradual permafrost thaw: A tale of two sites
Series title Geophysical Research Letters
DOI 10.1029/2022GL100285
Volume 49
Issue 21
Year Published 2022
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center
Description e2022GL100285, 10 p.
Country United States
State Alaska
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