Eurasian permafrost instability constrained by reduced sea-ice cover

J. Vandenberghe, H. Renssen, D.M.V.A.P. Roche, H.J.M. Goosse, A.A. Velichko, A. Gorbunov, G. Levavasseur

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    In order to specify potentially causal relationships between climate, permafrost extent and sea-ice cover we apply a twofold research strategy: (1) we cover a large range of climate conditions varying from full glacial to the relatively warm climate projected for the end of the 21st Century, (2) we combine new proxy-based reconstructions of Eurasian permafrost extent during the LGM and climate model simulations. We find that that there is a linear relationship between the winter sea-ice extent in the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans and the latitude of the southernmost permafrost limit in Eurasia. During the LGM, extensive sea-ice cover caused a zonal permafrost distribution with the southern margin extending W-E and reaching 47°N, contrasting with the present-day NW-SE trending margin (66°-52°N). We infer that under global warming scenarios projected by climate models for the 21st Century the Arctic sea-ice cover decline will cause widespread instability of, mainly discontinuous, permafrost in Eurasian lowlands. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)16-23
    Number of pages8
    JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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