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Temporal and spatial variation in active layer depth in the McMurdo Sound Region, Antarctica

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2009

Leah S. Adlam
Affiliation:
Department of Earth & Ocean Sciences, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand
Megan R. Balks*
Affiliation:
Department of Earth & Ocean Sciences, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand
Cathy A. Seybold
Affiliation:
United States Department of Agriculture, National Resource Conservation Service, 100 Centennial Mall North, Federal Building, Rm 152, Lincoln, NE 68508-3866, USA
David I. Campbell
Affiliation:
Department of Earth & Ocean Sciences, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand

Abstract

A soil climate monitoring network, consisting of seven automated weather stations, was established between 1999 and 2003, ranging from Minna Bluff to Granite Harbour and from near sea level to about 1700 m on the edge of the polar plateau. Active layer depth was calculated for each site for eight successive summers from 1999/2000 to 2006/2007. The active layer depth varied from year to year and was deepest in the warm summer of 2001–02 at all recording sites. No trends of overall increase or decrease in active layer depth were evident across the up-to-eight years of data investigated. Average active layer depth decreased with increasing latitude from Granite Harbour (77°S, active layer depth of > 90 cm) to Minna Bluff (78.5°S, active layer depth of 22 ± 0.4 cm), and decreased with increasing altitude from Marble Point (50 m altitude, active layer depth of 49 ± 9 cm) through to Mount Fleming (1700 m altitude, active layer depth of 6 ± 2 cm). When all data from the sites were grouped together and used to predict active layer depth the mean summer air temperature, mean winter air temperature, total summer solar radiation and mean summer wind speed explained 73% of the variation (R2 = 0.73).

Type
Earth Sciences
Copyright
Copyright © Antarctic Science Ltd 2009

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References

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