Recent extreme near-surface permafrost temperatures on Svalbard in relation to future climate scenarios
Article first published online: 11 SEP 2007
Copyright 2007 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 34, Issue 17, September 2007
How to Cite
2007), Recent extreme near-surface permafrost temperatures on Svalbard in relation to future climate scenarios, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L17502, doi:10.1029/2007GL031002., , , and (
- Issue published online: 11 SEP 2007
- Article first published online: 11 SEP 2007
- Manuscript Accepted: 2 AUG 2007
- Manuscript Revised: 2 JUL 2007
- Manuscript Received: 14 JUN 2007
- temperature anomalies;
- future scenarios
 Here we report extreme near-surface permafrost warming resulting from a remarkable temperature anomaly during winter and spring 2005–2006 on Svalbard. We demonstrate that this atmospheric temperature anomaly fell well within the range of predicted warming scenarios for the late 21st Century. The mean December to May air temperature on Svalbard was as high as −4.8°C, some 8.2°C above the 1961–1990 average. The 2006 mean ground temperature at the permafrost table in a monitored borehole in bedrock was 1.8°C higher than the mean for the previous six years, and this corresponded to a 40% reduction in accumulated annual negative degree-days at that depth. The thermal response was detectable to a depth of at least 15 m. In future, a greater frequency of high-temperature anomalies such as this, superimposed on a warming trend, is likely to cause potentially hazardous irregular acceleration in near-surface permafrost thawing.