Publication details

Effect of summer snow cover on the active layer thermal regime and thickness on CALM-S JGM site, James Ross Island, eastern Antarctic Peninsula

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Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Catena
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Antarctica; Soils; Periglacial environment; Ground penetrating radar; Ground temperature
Description This study aims to assess the role of ephemeral snow cover on ground thermal regime and active layer thickness in two ground temperature measurement profiles on the Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring Network – South (CALM-S) JGM site on James Ross Island, eastern Antarctic Peninsula during the high austral summer 2018. The snowstorm of 13–14 January created a snowpack of recorded depth of up to 38 cm. The snowpack remained on the study site for 12 days in total and covered 46% of its area six days after the snowfall. It directly affected ground thermal regime as indicates temperature record at snow-covered profile AWS-JGM which subsurface section was nearly 5 °C colder compared to the snow-free AWS-CALM profile. The thermal insulation effect of snow cover is also reflected in the mean monthly (January) and summer (DJF) ground temperatures on AWS-JGM that decreased by ca 1.1 and 0.7 °C, respectively. Summer thawing degree days at a depth of 5 cm decreased by ca 10% and active layer was ca 5–10 cm thinner when compared to previous snow-free summer seasons. Surveying by ground penetrating radar revealed a general active layer thinning of up to 20% in those parts of the CALM-S which were covered by snow of >20 cm depth for at least six days.
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