Active layer thermal regime in two climatically contrasted sites of the Antarctic Peninsula region

  1. F. Hrbáček 1
  2. M. Oliva 2
  3. K. Laska 2
  4. J. Ruiz Fernández 3
  5. M. A. de Pablo 4
  6. G. Vieira 2
  7. M. Ramos 4
  8. D. Nývlt 1
  1. 1 Masaryk University

    Masaryk University

    Brno, República Checa


  2. 2 Universidade de Lisboa

    Universidade de Lisboa

    Lisboa, Portugal


  3. 3 Universidad de Oviedo

    Universidad de Oviedo

    Oviedo, España


  4. 4 Universidad de Alcalá

    Universidad de Alcalá

    Alcalá de Henares, España


Cuadernos de investigación geográfica: Geographical Research Letters

ISSN: 0211-6820 1697-9540

Year of publication: 2016

Volume: 42

Issue: 2

Pages: 457-474

Type: Article

DOI: 10.18172/CIG.2915 DIALNET GOOGLE SCHOLAR lock_openDialnet editor

More publications in: Cuadernos de investigación geográfica: Geographical Research Letters

Sustainable development goals


Permafrost controls geomorphic processes in ice-free areas of the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) region. Future climate trends will promote significant changes of the active layer regime and permafrost distribution, and therefore a better characterization of present-day state is needed. With this purpose, this research focuses on Ulu Peninsula (James Ross Island) and Byers Peninsula (Livingston Island), located in the area of continuous and discontinuous permafrost in the eastern and western sides of the AP, respectively. Air and ground temperatures in as low as 80 cm below surface of the ground were monitored between January and December 2014. There is a high correlation between air temperatures on both sites (r=0.74). The mean annual temperature in Ulu Peninsula was -7.9 ºC, while in Byers Peninsula was -2.6 ºC. The lower air temperatures in Ulu Peninsula are also reflected in ground temperatures, which were between 4.9 (5 cm) and 5.9 ºC (75/80 cm) lower. The maximum active layer thickness observed during the study period was 52 cm in Ulu Peninsula and 85 cm in Byers Peninsula. Besides climate, soil characteristics, topography and snow cover are the main factors controlling the ground thermal regime in both areas.

Funding information

The work was supported by the Masaryk University project MUNI/A/561 1370/2014: Global environmental changes in time and space; research project HOLOANTAR (Holocene environmental change in the Maritime Antarctic. Interactions Between permafrost and the lacustrine environment) and the Portuguese Polar Program (PROPOLAR), both funded by the Portuguese Science Foundation.


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