Land Surface Temperatures and Permafrost Dynamics

Funding source: Alfred Bretscher Fund
Duration: April 2022 – September 2025


Influence of Land Surface Temperature on Permafrost Dynamics - a Northern Hemisphere Perspective of the last 40 Years



Abstract: Due to Arctic Amplification, the Arctic region is warming four times faster as anywhere else. The warming affects the sensible ecosystem, vegetation dynamics and the cryosphere (sea ice, snow and permafrost). Permafrost, which is a crucial component of arctic ecosystems, is particularly sensitive to increasing air temperatures and changes in the snow regime. This project aims at understanding the influence of land surface temperature changes on permafrost dynamics over the last 40 years based on AVHRR data.


The following key questions are the focus of this PhD project:
- How large is the variability and trends of the 40 year LST time series in relation to land cover changes, latitude and snow cover duration?
- How is the non-analog behavior of LST and air temperature (in-situ; modelled) affected by temporal and regional differences?
- How does LST influence bio-physical processes (i.e. vegetation dynamics; permafrost thawing) of the northern high latitudes?
- Can the performance of permafrost models be improved with the proposed LST data set? Will it enable to retrieve temporal changes in ground temperature and active layer thickness during the last four decades with higher confidence than recently?