Permafrost Models Comparison


Project Personel

Main Contact: William Cable
Scientific Personel: V. Romanovsky, S. Marchenko, D. Nicolsky (GI Permafrost Laboratory); N.Shiklomanov, F. Nelson, O. Anisimov (University of Delaware); Tingjun Zhang, R. Barry (NSIDC, University of Colorado at Boulder)
Partner Organizations:

Research Goals: 

The proposed research focuses on development of analytical tools to improve the compatibility of observations and modeled data. It is targeted at achieving an improved understanding of environmental controls influencing permafrost distribution and its response to climate change at regional and hemispheric scales. The center of attention of the proposed research is "zonal permafrost" i.e., the broad sweep of the terrestrial, latitudinal permafrost region in the northern parts of Northern Hemisphere continents (Heginbottom, 2002).

The goals of the proposed research are:

1. Provide a comprehensive evaluation and inter-comparison of spatially oriented approaches to permafrost modeling, and synthesize knowledge related to the current status of spatial permafrost modeling.

2. Use results from modeling exercises to discern weaknesses (structural and spatial) in existing observation networks, and make recommendations about improvements to GTN-P and other relevant observation programs.

3. Provide a detailed small-scale characterization of permafrost conditions consistent with observed spatial and temporal patterns.

4. Generate a comprehensive set of permafrost-related products (data and models) useful to a broad group of scientists and stakeholders.

Our research will focus primarily on standardizing and evaluating stand-alone spatial permafrost models. The work will complement efforts aimed at developing and evaluating permafrost parameterizations for comprehensive land-surface schemes used in coupled air-land-ocean models. The results of our study will provide initial conditions and validation data sets for simulations. It will also provide guidelines for developing efficient designs for observation systems in permafrost regions.

The proposed research seeks to provide intercomparison of spatially oriented approaches to permafrost modeling at variety of geographical scales, to access the current status of available permafrost observations, and to synthesize knowledge related to the current status of spatial permafrost characterization. The role of the scientific group from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in achieving the goals of the proposed research will consist of:

1. Collection and analysis of permafrost temperature data from deep boreholes and temperature and moisture (including unfrozen water content during the winter) of soils within the active layer and near-surface permafrost in Alaska.

2. Constructing regional spatially distributed data sets for Alaska suitable for validation of spatially distributed permafrost models.

3. Providing a detailed analysis of numerical schemes and parameterizations used in equilibrium and dynamic models developed at the UAF/GI Permafrost Lab and synthesis of modeling results with observations.

4. Participation in all phases of the permafrost model inter-comparison and contributing our expertise in permafrost modeling and data analysis for development of community-wide spatially distributed permafrost model.

5. Participation in dissemination and publishing of the obtained results.