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Lecture 6

GG281 Week 6.docx

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Michael English

Hydrology and Atmosphere Week 6, Lecture 1: Permafrost Hydrology What is Permafrost?  Perennially frozen ground, the ground must be at less than 0 degrees celsuis for more than 2 years. Therefore, permafrost is a function of temperature, notice content; unsaturated ground can still be defined as permafrost.  Any structures built on permafrost must have an adaptation, being raised about 1 m above the ground in order to resist damage  When permafrost thaws more carbon and methane is released into the atmosphere Vertical Profile of Permafrost Active Layer: layer situated above the permafrost table which is seasonally thawed during the summer Thickness: <0.15m in the high Arctic >1.0 m in the low Arctic Frost Table: Changing seasonal boundary between unfrozen, and frozen ground Permafrost Table: depth at which the temperature remains below 0 degrees Celsius for 2 or more years In summer more thawing is occurring, therefore, in winter permafrost is not freezing to the same depth causing gaps. Areal Extent of Permafrost Continuous- over 90% of the ground, every land feature is overlaid with permafrost Discontinuous- 20-90% of ground has permafrost underneath Isolated patches – <10%  Noticing higher snow content in areas where permafrost is degrading, the snow is acting as a
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