Movie:Permafrost Projections


Information Page: Permafrost Projections

Play Animation

permafrost in Alaska 1950-2050

Key Attributes

Domain: terrestrial, hydrology, environmental controls
Keywords: active layer
Keywords: permafrost
Keywords: climate change
Model name: GIPL 2.0 - Spatially Distributed Model of Permafrost Dynamics in Alaska
Name: Elchin, Jafarov
Where: Alaska
When: 1950-2050

Short Description

Grade level: Under graduate (13-16), Graduate / Professional

Statement: Active layer temperature evolution over 100 years

Abstract: 100 years of permafrost warming in Alaska. This movie uses climate model data and soil mappings as input. The movie only shows the evolution of the mean annual temperature at 1 m depth for each gridcell. A significant warming can be seen.


GIPL was used to simulate the dynamics of the active layer thickness and mean annual ground temperature, both retrospectively and prognostically, using climate forcing from Global Climate Models. GIPL is a numerical model based on a finite difference method for the non-linear Heat Conduction Equation. In this model the process of soil freezing/thawing is occurring in accordance with the unfrozen water content curve, which is specific for each soil layer and for each geographical location. For each grid point on the map we used a one-dimensional multi-layer model of soil down to the depth of a constant geothermal heat flux (typically 500 to 1000 m). At the upper boundary, there are insulating layers of snow and vegetation that can change their properties with time. Special Enthalpy formulation of the energy conservation law makes it possible to use a coarse vertical resolution without loss of latent heat effects in phase transition zone even in case of fast temporally and spatially varying temperature fields. The new version of GIPL (GIPL 2.0) calculates soil temperature and liquid water content fields for the entire spatial domain with daily, monthly and yearly resolutions. The merge of the new GIPL and the GIS technique provides a unique opportunity to analyze spatial features of permafrost dynamics into the future.



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