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USGS - science for a changing world

Morse, Peter D.

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Field observations show significant impacts of wildfires on active layer thickness and ground temperatures. However, the importance of fires to permafrost conditions at regional scales remains unclear, especially with climate warming. This study evaluated the regional impacts of fire on permafrost with climate change from 1942 to 2100 using a process-based model in a large subarctic region in the Northwest Territories, Canada. Climate warming is shown to be the dominant factor for permafrost reduction. The warming trend of climate reduces permafrost extent in this region from 67% at present to 2% by 2100. For burned areas, fire increases the reduction of permafrost extent by up to 9% on average, with up to 16% for...
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