Special Issue "Permafrost Landscape Response to Global Change"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X). This special issue belongs to the section "Land Systems and Global Change".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2022) | Viewed by 8671

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Alexander N. Fedorov
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Melnikov Permafrost Institute, 677010 Yakutsk, Russia
Interests: permafrost landscape; climate change; landscape stability; permafrost monitoring; GIS; remote sensing
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Yoshihiro Iijima
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Graduate School of Bioresources, Mie University, 1577 Kurimamachiya-cho, Tsu 514-8507, Japan
Interests: climatology; permafrost science
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Permafrost landscapes, which occupy about a quarter of the world's land area, have now changed their appearance and structure due to global changes in recent decades. Studying the characteristics of the reaction of permafrost landscapes to modern climate changes and anthropogenic impacts is an urgent problem in the contemporary world. Human adaptation to modern permafrost landscapes is necessary for the development of northern regions with a peculiar economy and culture. The solution to this problem is impossible without scientific research on theoretical aspects and new methods of studying the dynamics and response of permafrost landscapes, including monitoring observations, retrospective analysis and predictive modelling of future development.

In this Special Issue, we invite researchers to submit papers on the following topics:

  • Theory and methodology of permafrost landscapes studies.
  • Remote sensing and geographical information system (GIS) modelling in permafrost landscapes dynamics studies, including a new mapping method.
  • Monitoring, successions, transformation, and degradation of permafrost landscape.
  • The current state of permafrost landscapes, environmental problems, and land use.
  • Permafrost landscape sensitivity to climate change and anthropogenic impacts.
  • Retrospective analysis of permafrost landscape conditions in late Pleistocene and Holocene. Modelling of permafrost landscapes development in the future.
  • Adaptation of people to environmental changes in permafrost landscape.

Dr. Alexander N. Fedorov
Dr. Yoshihiro Iijima
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Permafrost landscape
  • Classification and mapping
  • Remote sensing and GIS analysis
  • Sensitivity to climate change
  • Transformation and degradation
  • Retrospective analysis and modelling
  • Adaptation

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

Article
Geochemical Features of Ground Ice from the Faddeevsky Peninsula Eastern Coast (Kotelny Island, East Siberian Arctic) as a Key to Understand Paleoenvironmental Conditions of Its Formation
Land 2023, 12(2), 324; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12020324 - 24 Jan 2023
Viewed by 437
Abstract
Understanding paleoenvironmental conditions of the permafrost formation allows us to estimate the permafrost carbon pool and its behavior upon thawing in a changing climate. In order to classify different types of ground ice and to reconstruct paleoenvironments, we examined geochemical data of ice [...] Read more.
Understanding paleoenvironmental conditions of the permafrost formation allows us to estimate the permafrost carbon pool and its behavior upon thawing in a changing climate. In order to classify different types of ground ice and to reconstruct paleoenvironments, we examined geochemical data of ice wedges (IWs), tabular ground ice (TGI), and lens ice from the eastern coast of the Faddeevsky Peninsula (East Siberian Arctic). We analyzed isotope and ion composition, molecular composition of the gas phase, bulk biogeochemical parameters and dissolved organic matter (DOM) composition in ground ice samples. IWs formed in the Late Pleistocene under the coldest winter conditions and in the Holocene in proximity to the sea. The Holocene IWs have the highest mean d-excess (11–13‰) and a heavier isotope composition by an average of 6‰ compared with the Late Pleistocene IWs. We observe predominance of sea-salt fractions in ion composition of the Holocene IWs, while the Late Pleistocene IW shows enrichment in non-sea-salt component of SO42- (nssSO42-), which is probably associated with mineral leaching of deposits. Higher dissolved organic carbon (DOC) content in the Late Pleistocene IW (to 17,7 mg/L) may indicate more favorable vegetation conditions or lower degree of organic matter mineralization compared to Holocene IWs and TGI. CH4 concentrations were relatively low with a maximum value of 2.27 μmol/L. DOM composition, supposed to record the paleoenvironment of the freezing process, was for the first time tried as a biomarker for paleoenvironmental reconstructions of ground ice formation. Parallel factor (PARAFAC) analysis of EEM (Excitation-Emission matrix) of fluorescent DOM decomposes four components: P1–P3, which are related to allochthonous humiс-like constituents, and P4, which is relevant to autochthonous fraction associated with microbial activity. The distribution of fluorescent DOM tracked the variability in both paleoclimate conditions of the IW formation (discriminating the Holocene and the Late Pleistocene IWs) and types of ground ice (IW and TGI), which demonstrates the potential of the used approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Permafrost Landscape Response to Global Change)
Communication
Ecosystems of Alas Landscapes—The Basis for the Development of Cattle Breeding in the Harsh Natural and Climatic Conditions of the Permafrost Zone
Land 2023, 12(2), 288; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12020288 - 19 Jan 2023
Viewed by 514
Abstract
Alas landscapes are unique ecosystems, which are dynamic, geochemically closed thermokarst landforms of the permafrost zone. Alases have a limited capacity in their active layer, and specific conditions for soil, flora and fauna formation. A comprehensive study of alas landscape functionswas carried out [...] Read more.
Alas landscapes are unique ecosystems, which are dynamic, geochemically closed thermokarst landforms of the permafrost zone. Alases have a limited capacity in their active layer, and specific conditions for soil, flora and fauna formation. A comprehensive study of alas landscape functionswas carried out in Central Yakutia from 1988 to the present time using conventional methods of geobotany, zoology, entomology, etc. This paper presents long-term observations of lake fluctuation cycles and changes in the spatial structure of meadow spaces. The dynamics of the spatial structure lead to significant fluctuations in the productivity of alas phytocenoses. It was revealed that wet and normal alas meadows have the highest vegetation productivity. The long-term course of their productivity tends to decrease, which shows the influence of anthropogenic pressure since the main haymaking areas are located in these meadows. With sharp fluctuations in interannual weather conditions, which determine the microclimatic and soil characteristics of grass growth, the productivity of the edge phytocenoses tends to increase. The productivity of the steppe phytocenoses of the alas remains practically at the same level. Over the years of observation, the economic capacity of alas pastures and hayfields was calculated. Additionally, the paper presents the important role of fauna within closed alas ecosystems, which directly affects the functioning of alas landscapes and is directly involved in soil formation and the circulation of matter and energy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Permafrost Landscape Response to Global Change)
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Article
An Assessment of the Possibility of Restoration and Protection of Territories Disturbed by Thermokarst in Central Yakutia, Eastern Siberia
Land 2023, 12(1), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12010197 - 07 Jan 2023
Viewed by 517
Abstract
Rapid permafrost degradation is observed in northern regions as a result of climate change and expanding economic development. Associated increases in active layer depth lead to thermokarst development, resulting in irregular surface topography. In Central Yakutia, significant areas of the land surface have [...] Read more.
Rapid permafrost degradation is observed in northern regions as a result of climate change and expanding economic development. Associated increases in active layer depth lead to thermokarst development, resulting in irregular surface topography. In Central Yakutia, significant areas of the land surface have been deteriorated by thermokarst; however, no mitigation or land rehabilitation efforts are undertaken. This paper presents the results of numerical modeling of the thermal response of permafrost to changes in the active layer hydrothermal regime using field data from the village of Amga, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), and mathematical analysis. The results suggest that restoring a thick ice-enriched layer will require increasing the pre-winter soil moisture contents in order to increase the effective heat capacity of the active layer. Snow removal or compaction during the winter is recommended to maximize permafrost cooling. The thickness of the restored transition layer varies from 0.3 to 1.3 m depending on soil moisture contents in the active layer. The modeling results demonstrate that damaged lands can be restored through a set of measures to lower the subsurface temperatures. A combination of the insulating layer (forest vegetation) and the high heat capacity layer (transition layer) in the atmosphere–ground system would be more effective in providing stable geocryological conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Permafrost Landscape Response to Global Change)
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Communication
Impact of Climate Change on the Ground Thermal Regime in the Lower Lena Region, Arctic Central Siberia
Land 2023, 12(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12010019 - 21 Dec 2022
Viewed by 405
Abstract
This paper presents the results of 30 years of permafrost thermal monitoring in the Tiksi area in the eastern Russian Arctic. At a stone ridge site, the mean annual temperatures in the upper 30 m of the ground have increased by 1–2.4 °C [...] Read more.
This paper presents the results of 30 years of permafrost thermal monitoring in the Tiksi area in the eastern Russian Arctic. At a stone ridge site, the mean annual temperatures in the upper 30 m of the ground have increased by 1–2.4 °C compared to the first years of observations, with trends of °C/yr. At the same time, its change was uneven. In the last 20 years, the rate of increase has increased compared with the first decade of observations. At wet tundra sites in the foothill plain, the mean annual temperatures at the top of permafrost have increased by 2.4–2.6 °C between 2005 and 2022 at rates of 0.11–0.15 °C/yr, and the active layer thicknesses have increased at rates of 0.05–0.41 cm/yr. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Permafrost Landscape Response to Global Change)
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Article
Geology, Structure, Ground Temperature and Groundwater Level in Aquifer Taliks in the Shestakovka River Basin, Eastern Siberia
Land 2023, 12(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12010016 - 21 Dec 2022
Viewed by 318
Abstract
The objective of this study was to evaluate subaerial taliks’ geology, configuration, ground temperature and groundwater level in the continuous permafrost environment of Central Yakutia (Eastern Siberia). The study included geophysical surveys, borehole drilling and measurements of ground temperature and groundwater level variation [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to evaluate subaerial taliks’ geology, configuration, ground temperature and groundwater level in the continuous permafrost environment of Central Yakutia (Eastern Siberia). The study included geophysical surveys, borehole drilling and measurements of ground temperature and groundwater level variation in a talik aquifer in the Shestakovka research watershed. The talik occupies a gentle, sandy slope covered by a sparse pine forest. Its thickness varies from 3 to 17 m. The talik has several water-conducting branches along its slope. The seasonal thaw layer outside the talik and the talik itself form a single aquifer at the end of the summer. Water-saturated deposits in the talik have a temperature of about 0 °C throughout the year and do not freeze because of the constant filtration of water through the pores and convective heat transfer. Although the groundwater level is relatively close to the land surface, at a depth of just 1–3 m, it has very weak response to snowmelt and precipitation events. The maximum groundwater level occurs in February under cryogenic pressure due to deep seasonal ground freezing above the talik aquifer. Complicated relations between the landscape and the groundwater in the given geological conditions lead to the long-term existence of talik aquifers in the continuous permafrost environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Permafrost Landscape Response to Global Change)
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Article
Monitoring the Permafrost Conditions along Pipeline Routes in Central Yakutia, Russia
Land 2022, 11(12), 2331; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11122331 - 19 Dec 2022
Viewed by 354
Abstract
Pipelines are critical infrastructure for Yakutia, transporting vital supplies to communities in this vast northern region. The pipeline routes in central Yakutia traverse areas of ice-rich permafrost that is sensitive to temperature changes. This study examined the thermal state of permafrost in undisturbed [...] Read more.
Pipelines are critical infrastructure for Yakutia, transporting vital supplies to communities in this vast northern region. The pipeline routes in central Yakutia traverse areas of ice-rich permafrost that is sensitive to temperature changes. This study examined the thermal state of permafrost in undisturbed and disturbed settings along the Lena River to Mundulakh Reservoir water pipeline and the Mastakh to Yakutsk gas pipeline and considered the effects of climatic fluctuations and surface disturbances (forest removal and wildfire) over the monitoring periods of 28 and 18 years, respectively. The geocryological conditions in the study area, as well as the methods of permafrost thermal monitoring, are described. The observation results demonstrated significant increases in the mean annual ground temperature in the upper permafrost layers, as well as in the active-layer thickness following fire and post-fire clearing. At some sites, progressive deepening of the active layer caused the formation of taliks and reached the top of massive ground ice, initiating permafrost degradation. The development of extreme ground temperatures in the layer of annual temperature fluctuations was analyzed according to the combination of seasonal and annual meteorological conditions and the type of anthropogenic impact. The research results can be extrapolated to similar anthropogenic landscapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Permafrost Landscape Response to Global Change)
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Communication
Ice Volumes in Permafrost Landscapes of Arctic Yakutia
Land 2022, 11(12), 2329; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11122329 - 19 Dec 2022
Viewed by 580
Abstract
This article is devoted to the study of the distribution of ground ice volumes in the upper layers of 5–10 m permafrost in the permafrost landscapes of Arctic Yakutia. Compilation of such a map will serve as a basis for assessing the vulnerability [...] Read more.
This article is devoted to the study of the distribution of ground ice volumes in the upper layers of 5–10 m permafrost in the permafrost landscapes of Arctic Yakutia. Compilation of such a map will serve as a basis for assessing the vulnerability of permafrost to global warming, anthropogenic impact and forecasting the evolution of permafrost landscapes. The map was compiled using ArcGIS software, which supports attribute table mapping. The ground ice map of Arctic Yakutian permafrost landscapes shows that about 19% of the area is occupied by ultra ice-rich (above 0.6 in volumetric ice content) sediments. Very high ice volumes (0.4–0.6) are cover approximately 27%, moderate ice volumes (0.2–0.4)—25% of the area, and low ice volumes (less than 0.2)—about 29% of Arctic Yakutia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Permafrost Landscape Response to Global Change)
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Article
Dynamics of Vegetation and Soil Cover of Pyrogenically Disturbed Areas of the Northern Taiga under Conditions of Thermokarst Development and Climate Warming
Land 2022, 11(9), 1594; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11091594 - 16 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 667
Abstract
Vegetation and soils of the North Taiga zone were studied in natural and thermokarst-disturbed areas of Yana-Adycha interfluve (northeastern Yakutia). Soil research includes a description and physicochemical analysis of samples. The objects of study were selected taking into account the landscape diversity of [...] Read more.
Vegetation and soils of the North Taiga zone were studied in natural and thermokarst-disturbed areas of Yana-Adycha interfluve (northeastern Yakutia). Soil research includes a description and physicochemical analysis of samples. The objects of study were selected taking into account the landscape diversity of the area experiencing permafrost melting due to pyrogenic factors under global climate change: young thermokarst and taiga untouched by fires and within the thermokarst basin of early Holocene. It was determined that the permafrost melting is accompanied by the transformation of homogeneous soil cover. After a forest fire, thawing depth increases and occurs redistribution of moisture and water-soluble matters. As a result, on the drier tops of byllars, the formation of albic material under the organogenic horizon is observed in the calcic cambic cryosol, which indicates a fairly fast transformation rate. In depressions, the forest is not recovered. In the mature alas, the vegetation and soil cover has a belt structure, represented by a combination of cryosols, stagnosols, and gleysols. In contrast to the soils of the Central Yakutia alases, there are almost no signs of lacustrine redeposition of soil, which indicates a difference in the processes of alas formation in different parts of the cryolitozone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Permafrost Landscape Response to Global Change)
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Article
Response of Permafrost Thermal State to Global Climatic Change in Urbanised Landscapes, Yakutsk, Russia
Land 2022, 11(9), 1513; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11091513 - 08 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 606
Abstract
A study was undertaken to investigate the structure and condition of urban permafrost in the city of Yakutsk. The response of permafrost to recent climate change was assessed for a Shergin Shaft site in a cryogenic landscape. The results indicate that the thickness [...] Read more.
A study was undertaken to investigate the structure and condition of urban permafrost in the city of Yakutsk. The response of permafrost to recent climate change was assessed for a Shergin Shaft site in a cryogenic landscape. The results indicate that the thickness of the active layer which consists of anthropogenic soils experienced no change during the second half of the 20th century and the early 21st century. However, the thermal state of the underlying alluvial sediments has changed significantly in response to the warming of the climate. The permafrost temperatures at a depth of 10 m increased by about 3 °C between 1934 and 2015. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Permafrost Landscape Response to Global Change)
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Article
Distribution and Structure Analysis of Mountain Permafrost Landscape in Orulgan Ridge (Northeast Siberia) Using Google Earth Engine
Land 2022, 11(8), 1187; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11081187 - 29 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 914
Abstract
An analysis of the landscape spatial structure and diversity in the mountain ranges of Northeast Siberia is essential to assess how tundra and boreal landscapes may respond to climate change and anthropogenic impacts in the vast mountainous permafrost of the Arctic regions. In [...] Read more.
An analysis of the landscape spatial structure and diversity in the mountain ranges of Northeast Siberia is essential to assess how tundra and boreal landscapes may respond to climate change and anthropogenic impacts in the vast mountainous permafrost of the Arctic regions. In addition, a precise landscape map is required for knowledge-based territorial planning and management. In this article, we aimed to explore and enhanced methods to analyse and map the permafrost landscape in Orulgan Ridge. The Google Earth Engine cloud platform was used to generate vegetation cover maps based on multi-fusion classification of Sentinel 2 MSI and Landsat 8 OLI time series data. Phenological features based on the monthly median values of time series Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Green Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (GNDVI), and Normalized Difference Moisture Index (NDMI) were used to recognize geobotanical units according to the hierarchical concept of permafrost landscapes by the Support Vector Machine (SVM) classifier. In addition, geomorphological variables of megarelief (mountains and river valleys) were identified using the GIS-based terrain analysis and landform classification of the ASTER GDEM scenes mosaic. The resulting environmental variables made it possible to categorize nine classes of mountain permafrost landscapes. The result obtained was compared with previous permafrost landscape maps, which revealed a significant difference in distribution and spatial structure of intrazonal valleys and mountain tundra landscapes. Analysis of the landscape structure revealed a significant distribution of classes of mountain Larix-sparse forests and tundra. Landscape diversity was described by six longitudinal and latitudinal landscape hypsometric profiles. River valleys allow boreal–taiga landscapes to move up to high-mountainous regions. The features of the landscape structure and diversity of the ridge are noted, which, along with the specific spatial organization of vegetation and relief, can be of key importance for environmental monitoring and the study of regional variability of climatic changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Permafrost Landscape Response to Global Change)
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Article
Long-Term Variability in Ground Thermal State in Central Yakutia’s Tuymaada Valley
Land 2021, 10(11), 1231; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10111231 - 11 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 842
Abstract
This paper presents the results of long-term temperature monitoring at the Yakutsk and Zeleny Lug stations, which are experimental sites, for the thermal state of valley permafrost landscapes under the conditions of modern climate warming. An analysis of the long-term data from meteorological [...] Read more.
This paper presents the results of long-term temperature monitoring at the Yakutsk and Zeleny Lug stations, which are experimental sites, for the thermal state of valley permafrost landscapes under the conditions of modern climate warming. An analysis of the long-term data from meteorological stations in the region clearly showed one of the highest trends of increase in the mean annual air temperature in the north of Russia. Here, we established quantitative regularities in the long-term variability of the ground temperature at the bottom of the active layer and at zero amplitude. The dynamics of the ground temperature of the layer of zero amplitude during climate warming indicate the thermal stability of permafrost. The main regulating factor of the thermal state of grounds in permafrost landscapes is short-term fluctuations in the regime of snow accumulation. Active layer thickness is characterized by low interannual variability, weak climate warming responses, and insignificant trends. The results of studies of the thermal regime of soils can be extended to the same types of valley landscapes in the Lena River, and are a reliable basis for predicting heat transfer in natural and disturbed landscapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Permafrost Landscape Response to Global Change)
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Article
Influence of Rainfall Changes on the Temperature Regime of Permafrost in Central Yakutia
Land 2021, 10(11), 1230; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10111230 - 11 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 909
Abstract
Climate change effects, such as melting of glaciers and sea ice in response to rising temperatures, may lead to an increase in global water availability and thus in precipitation. In Central Yakutia, as one of the possible options for climate change, an increase [...] Read more.
Climate change effects, such as melting of glaciers and sea ice in response to rising temperatures, may lead to an increase in global water availability and thus in precipitation. In Central Yakutia, as one of the possible options for climate change, an increase in rainfall is possible, which makes up more than 60% of the annual precipitation. Rainfall is a highly variable meteorological parameter both spatially and temporally. In order to assess its effect on the ground temperature regime in Central Yakutia, we conducted manipulation and numerical experiments with increased rainfall. The manipulation experiment results suggest that a significant (three-fold) increase in rainfall can lower the mean annual ground temperatures locally. The long-term simulation predicts that a 50% increase in rainfall would have a warming effect on the ground thermal regime on a regional scale. For Central Yakutia, infiltration of increased precipitation has been shown to have both warming and cooling effect depending on the area affected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Permafrost Landscape Response to Global Change)
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