Summer Moisture-Temperature for Arctic Tundra

by Gary L. Guymon, (M.ASCE), Asst. Prof. of Civ. and Environmental Engrg.; Univ. of California, Irvine, Calif.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Irrigation and Drainage Division, 1976, Vol. 102, Issue 4, Pg. 403-411

Document Type: Journal Paper


Measurements of soil moisture and temperature were made during the summer of 1973 in an arctic tundra region underlain by shallow ice-rich permafrost. Three sites near Barrow, Alaska were studied representing a range of internal soil profile and topographic drainage conditions. Tundra soils exhibit different soil moisture regimes depending upon drainage conditions. Poorly drained soils may be waterlogged and much cooler than well-drained soils which are unsaturated. During the spring high pore-water pressures exist just below the frozen layer and consequently a steep downward hydraulic gradient exists. During the summer the soil moisture regime is less dynamic than other portions of the year. A water table was developed in the poorly drained soils studied. During the fall, the soil freezes from the surface and the permafrost table causing a region of low pore-water pressure to develop near the center of the active layer. The poorly drained saturated soils are rapidly dried during the fall.

Subject Headings: Soil water | Drainage | Moisture | Vegetation | Cold regions | Temperature measurement | Permafrost | Unsaturated soils | Arctic | Alaska | United States

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