Active Layer Dynamics

  • Ming-ko Woo


The annually frozen and thawed active layer in permafrost terrain and the seasonally frozen ground in non-permafrost areas have comparable thermal and hydrologic behavior for most parts of the year. Pervasive coldness of the winter freezes the near-surface zones of rocks and soils, minimizing the thermal and hydrologic differences between the permafrost and non-permafrost materials. When seasonal frost disappears in the summer, the non-permafrost soil has above-freezing conditions throughout its profile while the active layer continues to be underlain by frigid permafrost with limited permeability. The continued existence of a cold and relatively impermeable substrate is responsible for a set of hydrologic conditions unique to the permafrost environment (Sect. 1.4.1).


Snow Cover Active Layer Freeze Soil Snow Water Equivalent Permafrost Region 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geography and Earth SciencesMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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