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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 13, issue 23
Biogeosciences, 13, 6471-6486, 2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Biogeosciences, 13, 6471-6486, 2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 12 Dec 2016

Research article | 12 Dec 2016

The growth of shrubs on high Arctic tundra at Bylot Island: impact on snow physical properties and permafrost thermal regime

Florent Domine et al.
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Cited articles  
Allard, M. and Gauthier, G.: Environmental data from Bylot Island in Nunavut, Canada, v. 1.4 (1992–2014), in: Nordicana D2, Centre d'Études Nordiques, Centre d'Études Nordiques, Nordicana D2, Quebec City, 2014.
Bilodeau, F., Gauthier, G., and Berteaux, D.: The effect of snow cover on lemming population cycles in the Canadian High Arctic, Oecologia, 172, 1007–1016, 2013.
Blok, D., Heijmans, M. M. P. D., Schaepman-Strub, G., Kononov, A. V., Maximov, T. C., and Berendse, F.: Shrub expansion may reduce summer permafrost thaw in Siberian tundra, Glob. Change Biol., 16, 1296–1305, 2010.
CEN: Climate station data from Bylot Island in Nunavut, Canada,, last access: 1 November 2016.
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Warming-induced shrub growth in the Arctic traps snow and modifies snow properties, hence the permafrost thermal regime. In the Canadian high Arctic, we measured snow physical properties in the presence and absence of willow shrubs (Salix richardsonii). Shrubs dramatically reduce snow density and thermal conductivity, seriously limiting soil winter cooling. Simulations taking into account only winter changes show that shrub growth leads to a ground winter warming of up to 13 °C.
Warming-induced shrub growth in the Arctic traps snow and modifies snow properties, hence the...