Potential permafrost distributions were assessed at five Canadian locations within 55°N to 82.5°N using future climate warming projections. An ensemble of climate models produced mean changes to surface air temperatures that were applied to project 21st century warming under IPCC emissions scenarios of A1B, A2, and B1. Validation of the multi-model ensemble means showed differences from -0.1 to -0.2°C between the modeled values compared with the observed local baseline records. Future climate scenario results and site-specific soil thermal properties were applied to the Stefan Frost Number to assess climate impacts on permafrost distributions. Climate change projections indicate warming above the 1971-2000 mean air temperature baseline by a minimum of +1.5°C and a maximum of +2.4°C for the period 2011-2040; +2.6 to +4.1°C for 2041-2070; and +3.3 to +7.1°C for 2071-2100. Stefan Frost Number results projected that climate conditions will remain supportive for continuous permafrost distributions within the Canadian High Arctic region for this century. By 2040, projections in the Low Arctic indicate shifts in the potential from continuous to discontinuous permafrost. At the southernmost extent of this study within the subarctic region of northern Ontario, climate conditions are expected to be suitable for sporadic permafrost by the end this century.
|Keywords:||Permafrost, Climate Change, Stefan Frost Number|
Researcher, Department of Geography, Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Professor, Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Visiting Professor & Post-doctoral Researcher, Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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