23 May 2023
 | 23 May 2023
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Rapid warming and degradation of mountain permafrost in Norway and Iceland

Bernd Etzelmüller, Ketil Isaksen, Justyna Czekirda, Sebastian Westermann, Christin Hilbich, and Christian Hauck

Abstract. With the EU-funded PACE project in the turn of this century, several deep boreholes (100 m +) were drilled in European mountain sites, including mainland Norway, Svalbard and Sweden. During other projects from c. 2004 and the International Polar Year (IPY) period in 2006/07, several additional boreholes were drilled in different sites in both Norway and Iceland, measuring temperatures along both altitudinal and latitudinal gradients. At most sites, multi-temporal geophysical soundings are available using seismic and electrical resistivity tomography (ERT). Here we study the development of permafrost and ground temperatures in mainland Norway and Iceland based on these data sets. We document that permafrost in is warming at an high rate, including the development of taliks in both Norway and Iceland in response to climate change during the last 20 years. At most sites ground surface temperature (GST) is apparently increasing stronger than surface air temperature (SAT). Changing snow conditions appear to be the most important factor for the higher GST rates. Modelling exercises also indicate that the talik development can by explained both by higher air temperatures and increasing snow cover.

Bernd Etzelmüller et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on tc-2023-50', P. Holmlund, 28 Jun 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Bernd Etzelmuller, 11 Aug 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on tc-2023-50', Anonymous Referee #2, 13 Jul 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Bernd Etzelmuller, 11 Aug 2023

Bernd Etzelmüller et al.

Bernd Etzelmüller et al.


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Short summary
Permafrost (permanently frozen ground) is widespread in the mountains of Norway and Iceland. Several boreholes were drilled after 1999 for long-term permafrost monitoring. We document an unprecedented warming of permafrost, including the development of unfrozen bodies in the permafrost. Warming and degradation of mountain permafrost may lead to more natural hazards.