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Arctic landscapes in transition: responses to thawing permafrostAuthor(s): J.C. Rowland; C.E. Jones; G. Altmann; R. Bryan; B.T. Crosby; G.L. Geernaert; L.D. Hinzman; D.L. Kane; D.M. Lawrence; A. Mancino; P. Marsh; J.P. McNamara; V.E. Romanovsky; H. Toniolo; B.J. Travis; E. Trochim; C.J. Wilson
Source: EOS, Transactions American Geophysical Union. 91(26): 229-236
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
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DescriptionObservations indicate that over the past several decades, geomorphic processes in the Arctic have been changing or intensifying. Coastal erosion, which currently supplies most of the sediment and carbon to the Arctic Ocean, may have doubled since 1955. Further inland, expansion of channel networks and increased river bank erosion has been attributed to warming. Lakes, ponds, and wetlands appear to be more dynamic, growing in some areas, shrinking in others, and changing distribution across lowland regions. On the Arctic coastal plain, recent degradation of frozen ground previously stable for thousands of years suggests 10-30% of lowland and tundra landscapes may be affected by even modest warming. In headwater regions, hillslope soil erosion and landslides are increasing. Although some level of landscape change is expected in response to natural climate variability, the scale and rapidity of recently observed changes suggest that Arctic landscapes may be particularly sensitive to climate change and capable of rapid geomorphic responses to perturbations. Scientists require improved understanding of mechanisms and feedbacks driving landscape processes to better predict geomorphic responses to climate change.
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CitationRowland, J.C.; Jones, C.E.; Altmann, G.; Bryan, R.; Crosby, B.T.; Geernaert, G.L.; Hinzman, L.D.; Kane, D.L.; Lawrence, D.M.; Mancino, A.; Marsh, P.; McNamara, J.P.; Romanovsky, V.E.; Toniolo, H.; Travis, B.J.; Trochim, E.; Wilson, C.J. 2010. Arctic landscapes in transition: responses to thawing permafrost. EOS, Transactions American Geophysical Union. 91(26): 229-236.
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