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The distribution, thermal characteristics and dynamics of permafrost in Tröllaskagi, northern Iceland, as inferred from the distribution of rock glaciers and ice-cored moraines


Lilleøren, Karianne S; Etzelmüller, Bernd; Gärtner-Roer, Isabelle; Kääb, Andreas; Westermann, Sebastian; Guðmundsson, Águst (2013). The distribution, thermal characteristics and dynamics of permafrost in Tröllaskagi, northern Iceland, as inferred from the distribution of rock glaciers and ice-cored moraines. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 24(4):322-335.

Abstract

Knowledge of the characteristics and spatial distribution of permafrost in Iceland is important to understanding slope stability, climate change impacts and palaeo-glaciology. The permafrost distribution there, however, is poorly constrained. The presence of rock glaciers and stable ice-cored moraines in mountain settings relates to permafrost, making such landforms indicators of present or past permafrost. This study combines recently published aerial photographs (2002–07), radar interferometry based on Advanced Land Observing Satellite phased array type L-band synthetic aperture radar (ALOS PALSAR) data (2007), land surface temperatures estimated from moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer satellite data (MODIS; 2003–10) and field mapping to re-examine the permafrost distribution, thermal characteristics and dynamics on the Tröllaskagi peninsula. An inventory of 265 landforms, mostly active or inactive (intact), categorised them by genesis and activity, the latter independently investigated by PALSAR interferometry. Intact landforms are mainly glacigenic, occurring as moraine-derived rock glaciers or ice-cored moraines. Their dominant orientation is between north and northeast, suggesting that topography and exposure influence their presentday formation. Permafrost landforms exist at all elevations on the Tröllaskagi peninsula, with intact landforms at high elevations and relict landforms reaching down to sea level. Rock glaciers at sea level may imply early deglaciation of northern Iceland.

Abstract

Knowledge of the characteristics and spatial distribution of permafrost in Iceland is important to understanding slope stability, climate change impacts and palaeo-glaciology. The permafrost distribution there, however, is poorly constrained. The presence of rock glaciers and stable ice-cored moraines in mountain settings relates to permafrost, making such landforms indicators of present or past permafrost. This study combines recently published aerial photographs (2002–07), radar interferometry based on Advanced Land Observing Satellite phased array type L-band synthetic aperture radar (ALOS PALSAR) data (2007), land surface temperatures estimated from moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer satellite data (MODIS; 2003–10) and field mapping to re-examine the permafrost distribution, thermal characteristics and dynamics on the Tröllaskagi peninsula. An inventory of 265 landforms, mostly active or inactive (intact), categorised them by genesis and activity, the latter independently investigated by PALSAR interferometry. Intact landforms are mainly glacigenic, occurring as moraine-derived rock glaciers or ice-cored moraines. Their dominant orientation is between north and northeast, suggesting that topography and exposure influence their presentday formation. Permafrost landforms exist at all elevations on the Tröllaskagi peninsula, with intact landforms at high elevations and relict landforms reaching down to sea level. Rock glaciers at sea level may imply early deglaciation of northern Iceland.

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9 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:05 Jan 2014 11:54
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:18
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:1045-6740
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/ppp.1792

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