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    Author(s): J. Brown; V.E. Romanovsky
    Date: 2008
    Source: Permafrost and Periglacial Processess. 19(2): 255-260
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    PDF: View PDF  (1.23 MB)


    Recent assessments have considered present-day and future responses of permafrost terrain to climate change; included are the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) , Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) and United Nations Environment Programme assessments (Romanovsky et al., 2007), the on-going National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) annual State of the Arctic Report and the Arctic Council assessment. The general consensus is that permafrost temperatures have risen in the last 20-30 years. Permafrost thermal responses to climate change occur at different time scales, with changes in active layer thickness being highly responsive to seasonal events and summer conditions. Major modification of thermal profiles below the depth of zero amplitude take decades to centuries, and the basal thawing of permafrost associated with progressive permafrost thinning requires centuries or millennia. Thawing of permafrost is currently observed within the southern limits of the permafrost zone. If the current trends in climate continue, warming of permafrost will eventually lead to widespread permafrost thaw in colder permafrost zones. However, there are regional differences in the response of permafrost terrain to climate change and there are the uncertainties as to where thawing will occur first and the resulting rates. All agree that thawing permafrost in the 21st century may create serious societal and environmental impacts, some of which may have global consequences.

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    Brown, J.; Romanovsky, V.E. 2008. Report from the International Permafrost Association: state of permafrost in the first decade of the 21st century. Permafrost and Periglacial Processess. 19(2): 255-260.


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    permafrost, active layer

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