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Arctic patterned-ground ecosystems: A synthesis of field studies and models along a North American Arctic Transect

TitleArctic patterned-ground ecosystems: A synthesis of field studies and models along a North American Arctic Transect
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsWalker DA, Epstein HE, Romanovsky VE, Ping CL, Michaelson GJ, Daanen RP, Shur Y, Peterson RA, Krantz WB, Raynolds MK, Gould WA, Gonzalez G, Nicolsky DJ, Vonlanthen CM, Kade AN, Kuss P, Kelley AM, Munger CA, Tamocai CT, Matveyeva NV, Daniels FJA
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences
Volume113
Pagination-
Date PublishedJun 14
ISBN Number0148-0227
Accession NumberISI:000256812200001
Keywordsactive-layer, alaska, climate, frost heave, gradient, kuparuk river basin, n-factor, soils, tundra, vegetation
Abstract

Arctic landscapes have visually striking patterns of small polygons, circles, and hummocks. The linkages between the geophysical and biological components of these systems and their responses to climate changes are not well understood. The "Biocomplexity of Patterned Ground Ecosystems" project examined patterned-ground features (PGFs) in all five Arctic bioclimate subzones along an 1800-km trans-Arctic temperature gradient in northern Alaska and northwestern Canada. This paper provides an overview of the transect to illustrate the trends in climate, PGFs, vegetation, n-factors, soils, active-layer depth, and frost heave along the climate gradient. We emphasize the thermal effects of the vegetation and snow on the heat and water fluxes within patterned-ground systems. Four new modeling approaches build on the theme that vegetation controls microscale soil temperature differences between the centers and margins of the PGFs, and these in turn drive the movement of water, affect the formation of aggradation ice, promote differential soil heave, and regulate a host of system propel-ties that affect the ability of plants to colonize the centers of these features. We conclude with an examination of the possible effects of a climate wan-ning on patterned-ground ecosystems.

URL<Go to ISI>://000256812200001


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