Response of freeze-thaw processes to experimental warming in the permafrost regions of the central Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

Other literature type English OPEN
Chen, Shengyun ; Liu, Wenjie ; Zhao, Qian ; Zhao, Lin ; Wu, Qingbai ; Lu, Xingjie ; Kang, Shichang ; Qin, Xiang ; Chen, Shilong ; Ren, Jiawen ; Qin, Dahe (2016)

Assessing quantitatively effect of climate warming on freeze/thaw index (FI/TI), soil freeze-thaw processes and active layer thickness (ALT) is still lacking in the permafrost regions of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP) until now. Experimental warming was manipulated using open top chambers (OTCs) in alpine swamp meadow and alpine steppe ecosystems in the permafrost regions of the central QTP during 2009&ndash;2011. Under OTCs treatment, air temperature (<i>Ta</i>) significantly increased in the daytime and decreased in the nighttime, diurnal and annual <i>Ta</i> range significantly enhanced, and mean annual <i>Ta</i> increased by 1.4 &deg;C. Owing to the experimental warming, mean annual soil temperature at the depths from 5 cm to 40 cm was increased by 0.2 ~ 0.7 &deg;C in alpine swamp meadow and 0.3 ~ 1.5 &deg;C in alpine steppe. Mean annual soil moisture content at 10 cm depth decreased by 1.1 % and 0.8 %, and mean annual soil salinity at 10 cm depth significantly increased by 0.3 g L<sup>-1</sup> and 0.1 g L<sup>-1</sup> in alpine swamp meadow and alpine steppe, respectively. Further, FI was significantly decreased by 410.7 &deg;C d while TI was significantly increased by 460.7 &deg;C d. Likewise, the onset dates of shallow soil thawing at 5&ndash;40 cm depths were advanced by 9 days and 8 days while the onset dates of freezing were delayed by 10 days and 4 days in alpine swamp meadow and alpine steppe, respectively. Moreover, soil frozen days were significantly decreased by 28 days and 16 days, but thawed days were increased by 18 days and 6 days, and frozen-thawed days were significantly increased by 10 days and 10 days in alpine swamp meadow and alpine steppe, respectively. Furthermore, ALT would be significantly increased by ~ 6.9 cm and ~ 19.6 cm in alpine swamp meadow and alpine steppe ecosystems, respectively.
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