Thermally-Conditioned Paleo-Permafrost Variations from Global Climate Modeling

TitleThermally-Conditioned Paleo-Permafrost Variations from Global Climate Modeling
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsSaito, K, Marchenko, SS, Romanovsky, VE, Bigelow, N, Yoshikawa, K, Walsh, J
ISBN Number1349-6476

The permafrost distribution under Quaternary climate conditions is investigated by a frozen ground classification method based solely upon the near surface air thermal indices as a diagnosing analysis of the Paleoclimate Model Intercomparison Project 2 (PMIP2) output. The methodology is constructed using the present-day distribution of the frozen ground and the thermal (freeze and thaw) index, and showed reasonable capability for large-scale mapping. The frozen ground distribution was reconstructed for 0 ka (pre-industrial), 6 ka (mid-Holocene), and 21 ka (the last glacial maximum; LGM) conditions. The Holocene simulations (0 ka and 6 ka) produced largely similar results. The LGM outputs showed substantial increase of the permafrost area by 49.6% relative to the pre-industrial conditions in median among the models, but also showed insufficient cooling during the cold season in some regions. Across-model variations illustrate the regions that need careful examination in using PMIP2 outputs for further subsurface thermal regime calculations.

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