Faculté des sciences

Meltwater infiltration into the frozen active layer at an alpine permafrost site

Scherler, Martin ; Hauck, Christian ; Hoelzle, Martin ; Stähli, Manfred ; Völksch, Ingo

In: Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 2011, vol. 21, no. 4, p. 325–334

A coupled heat and mass transfer model simulating mass and energy balance of the soil-snow-atmosphere boundary layer was applied to simulate ground temperatures, together with water and ice content evolution, in the active layer of an alpine permafrost site on Schilthorn, Swiss Alps. Abrupt shifts and subsequent fluctuations in ground temperature observed in alpine permafrost boreholes at the... Plus

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    Summary
    A coupled heat and mass transfer model simulating mass and energy balance of the soil-snow-atmosphere boundary layer was applied to simulate ground temperatures, together with water and ice content evolution, in the active layer of an alpine permafrost site on Schilthorn, Swiss Alps. Abrupt shifts and subsequent fluctuations in ground temperature observed in alpine permafrost boreholes at the beginning of the zero curtain phase in summer were explained by snowmelt and meltwater infiltration. Simulated water contents were compared to values derived from inverted electrical resistivity measurements and yielded a further independent validation of the model results. The study shows that infiltration into frozen soil takes place as an oscillating process in the model. This process is constrained by initial ground temperatures, infiltrability and the availability of meltwater from the snow cover.