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Title: Sensitivity of a model projection of near-surface permafrost degradation to soil column depth and representation of soil organic matter.

Author: Lawrence, David M.; Slater, Andrew G.; Romanovsky, Vladimir E.; Nicolsky, Dmitry J.;

Date: 2008

Source: Journal of Geophysical Research 113: F02011

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: The sensitivity of a global land-surface model projection of near-surface permafrost degradation is assessed with respect to explicit accounting of the thermal and hydrologic properties of soil organic matter and to a deepening of the soil column from 3.5 to 50 or more m. Together these modifications result in substantial improvements in the simulation of near-surface soil temperature in the Community Land Model (CLM). When forced off-line with archived data from a fully coupled Community Climate System Model (CCSM3) simulation of 20th century climate, the revised version of CLM produces a near-surface permafrost extent of 10.7 X 106 km2 (north of 45°N). This extent represents an improvement over the 8.5 x 106 km2 simulated in the standard model and compares reasonably with observed estimates for continuous and discontinuous permafrost area. The total extent in the new model remains lower than observed because of biases in CCSM3 air temperature and/or snow depth. The rate of near-surface permafrost degradation, in response to strong simulated Arctic warming (over Arctic land from 1900 to 2100, A 1B greenhouse gas emissions scenario), is slower in the improved version of CLM, particularly during the early 21st century. Even at the depressed rate, however, the warming is enough to drive near-surface permafrost extent sharply down by 2100. Experiments with a deep soil column exhibit a larger increase in ground heat flux than those without because of stronger near-surface vertical soil temperature gradients. This appears to lessen the sensitivity of soil temperature change to model soil depth.

Keywords: global land-surface model projection, permafrost degradation, soil organic matter

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Lawrence, David M.; Slater, Andrew G.; Romanovsky, Vladimir E.; Nicolsky, Dmitry J. 2008. Sensitivity of a model projection of near-surface permafrost degradation to soil column depth and representation of soil organic matter. Journal of Geophysical Research 113: F02011.

 


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