Permafrost thaw can be a major driver of landscape change. Regions in Western Alaska are highly vulnerable to such thawing due to the high ice content of the soils and the lack of thermal monitoring in this region has limited our ability to understand current thermal state and establish thawing rates. This study established a permafrost monitoring network in this region, providing a baseline of permafrost thermal regimes for assessing future change at a total of 26 automated monitoring stations. Stations have collected year-round temperature data from the active layer and the permafrost starting from the summer of 2011. The strong correspondence between spatial variability in permafrost thermal regime and an existing ecotype map allowed for the development of a map of 'permafrost thermal classes' for the broader study region.
Project ID: WA2011_01
Lead Investigator: Vladimir Romanovsky, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Geophysical Institute
Collaborators: Lee Anne Ayers & Anne Orlando, USFWS; Michael Brubaker, ANTHC; Kenji Yoshikawa, University of Alaska Fairbanks; Benjamin Crosby, Idaho State University; Joel Rowland, Los Alamos National Laboratory; John Chase, Northwest Arctic Borough; David Swanson, NPS; Tim Hammond, BLM