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Hydrogeology Journal

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 221–224 | Cite as

Modeling challenges for predicting hydrologic response to degrading permafrost

  • S. L. PainterEmail author
  • J. D. Moulton
  • C. J. Wilson
Essay

The fate of the approximately 1,700 billion metric tons of carbon (Tarnocai et al. 2009) currently frozen in permafrost affected regions of the Arctic and subarctic is highly uncertain (IPCC 2007), primarily because of the potential for topographic evolution and resulting drainage network reorganization as permafrost degrades and massive ground ice contained in ice-rich permafrost soils melts. Computer modeling is a key tool in untangling these complex feedbacks to understand the evolution of the Arctic and subarctic landscapes and the potential feedbacks with the global climate system. Some of the challenges associated with modeling the hydrologic system in and around degrading permafrost are discussed in this essay.

Modeling requirements depend very strongly on the spatial resolution of the model. Two different classes can be identified, depending on whether microtopography is explicitly resolved or incorporated into the model through a subgrid parameterization. The focus here is on...

Keywords

Permafrost Subsidence Groundwater/surface-water relations Multiphase flow Numerical modeling 

Prévision de la réponse hydrologique à un permafrost se dégradant: les défis de la modélisation

Desafíos del modelado para la predicción de respuestas hidrológicas a la degradación del permafrost

预测永冻层退化的水文响应研究中模拟的挑战

Desafios da modelação na predição da resposta hidrológica à degradação do permafrost

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was funded by Los Alamos National Laboratory Directed Project LDRD201200068DR and by the NGEE Arctic project. The Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE Arctic) project is supported by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research in the DOE Office of Science.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Computational Earth Sciences Group, Earth and Environmental Sciences DivisionLos Alamos National LaboratoryLos AlamosUSA
  2. 2.Applied Mathematics, Theoretical DivisionLos Alamos National LaboratoryLos AlamosUSA
  3. 3.Earth Systems Observation Group, Earth and Environmental Sciences DivisionLos Alamos National LaboratoryLos AlamosUSA

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