Feb 6, 2017

Climate-driven thaw of permafrost preserved glacial landscapes, northwestern Canada

Steven V. Kokelj, Trevor C. Lantz, Jon Tunnicliffe, Rebecca Segal, Denis Lacelle
  • Reviews past research demonstrating that rising air and permafrost temperatures and increasing frequency of extreme precipitation are accelerating thermokarst in many regions, altering slopes, modifying ecosystems, and liberating carbon from thawing soils
  • States that permafrost has preserved relict ground ice and glacigenic sediments throughout circumpolar regions, delaying the sequence of postglacial landscape change
  • Maps and analyzes a 1,274,625 km2 area of northwestern Canada using SPOT (Satellite Pour l’Observation de la Terre) 4 and SPOT 5 satellite imagery (A.D. 2005–2010)
  • Concludes that extensive glacigenic deposits imprisoned by permafrost are poised for major climate-driven transformation