|Title||Exploring near-surface ground ice distribution in patterned-ground tundracorrelations with topography, soil and vegetation: correlations with topography, soil and vegetation|
|Author(s)||Wang, Peng; Jager, Judith de; Nauta, Ake; Huissteden, Jacobus van; Trofim, Maximov C.; Limpens, Juul|
|Source||Plant and Soil (2019). - ISSN 0032-079X - 15 p.|
Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation
|Publication type||Refereed Article in a scientific journal|
|Keyword(s)||Arctic tundra - Ground ice - Permafrost degradation - Polygon - Thaw depth - Vegetation|
Aims: For informed predictions on the sensitivity of Arctic tundra landscape to permafrost thaw, we aimed to investigate the distribution pattern of near-surface ground ice and its influencing factors in Northeast Siberia. Methods: Near-surface permafrost cores (60 cm) were sampled along small-scale topographic gradients in two drained lakebeds. We investigated which factors (vegetation, hydrological and soil) correlated strongest with ice content and explored its spatial heterogeneity at different scales (1 to 100 m). Results: The ice content was highest in the depressions of the wet lakebed and lowest at the slopes of the dry lakebed. In the wet lakebed the ice content increased with depth, while in the dry lakebed the vertical distribution depended on topographical position. Spatial variability in ice content was similar at different scales, stressing strong influence of local drivers. 0–60 cm ice content correlated strongest with soil moisture of the overlying unfrozen soil, while 0–20 cm ice content correlated strongest with vegetation characteristics. Conclusions: Our study implies that vegetation effect on microclimate is strong enough to affect near-surface ice distribution, and that ice-rich tundra may be highly sensitive to thaw once climate warming offsets the protective impact of vegetation.