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Relations between slow slope processes and active-layer thickness 1972–2002, Kapp Linné, Svalbard

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The active layer has been monitored at 10 sites near Kapp Linné (78°03'42?N 13°37'07?E), Svalbard. The 10 sites differ in elevation, distance from the sea, vegetation cover, substrate, and periglacial processes. The International Permafrost Association's CALM (circumpolar active layer monitoring) standard grids, has been applied. The macroclimate is covered by data from Kapp Linné, for the period 1912 to 2004. Slow slope processes are monitored parallel with the active layer. The mean active layer for the sites varies between 1.13 m and 0.43 m. The variability of the active layer correlates reasonably well with the summer climate, MAAT and DDT-air. The period 1972–1983 had cool summers and since then steadily increasing summer temperatures have been recorded. The active layer follows the same general pattern with good correlation. The slope processes respond clearly to the deeper active layer. The effect is clearest during the last decade when solifluction and creep rates increased significantly. This is explained by the deepening of the active layer and the fact that the summer temperatures during the last decade not only ‘statistically' show increasing trends but also that the interannual variability is less. This leads to an accumulated, more steady and ‘reliable' effect upon soil temperatures and the processes within the active layer.
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Keywords: Arctic summer climate; Svalbard; active layer; permafrost; slope processes

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystems Analysis, Lund University, Solvegatan 12, SE-222 63, Lund, Sweden

Publication date: 01 June 2005

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