About this book
This book provides a cross-disciplinary overview of permafrost and the carbon cycle by providing an introduction into the geographical distribution of permafrost, with a focus on the distribution of permafrost and its soil carbon reservoirs. The chapters explain the basic physical properties and processes of permafrost soils: ice, mineral and organic components, and how these interact with climate, vegetation and geomorphological processes. In particular, the book covers the role of the large quantities of ice in many permafrost soils which are crucial to understanding carbon cycle processes.
An explanation is given on how permafrost becomes loaded with ice and carbon. Gas hydrates are also introduced. Structures and processes formed by the intense freeze-thaw action in the active layer are considered (e.g. ice wedging, cryoturbation), and the processes that occur as the permafrost thaws, (pond and lake formation, erosion).
The book introduces soil carbon accumulation and decomposition mechanisms and how these are modified in a permafrost environment. A separate chapter deals with deep permafrost carbon, gas reservoirs and recently discovered methane emission phenomena from regions such as Northwest Siberia and the Siberian yedoma permafrost.