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Permafrost is one of the six major components of the cryosphere. Currently, permafrost covers approximately a quarter of the exposed land surface area of the Northern Hemisphere, extending from high latitudes in the Arctic, Subarctic and boreal regions to high elevations in alpine, high-plateau, and ...

Permafrost is one of the six major components of the cryosphere. Currently, permafrost covers approximately a quarter of the exposed land surface area of the Northern Hemisphere, extending from high latitudes in the Arctic, Subarctic and boreal regions to high elevations in alpine, high-plateau, and mountainous regions at lower latitudes. The spatial distribution of permafrost is primarily controlled by the balance of the geothermal flows and the redistribution of solar energy at macro-scales, and by local surface characteristics, such as the vegetation and snow cover, hydrology, lithology, and geology. The multi-interactions between permafrost and geo-environmental factors are very complicated. Since the 1980s, extensive and accelerating permafrost degradation has been reported under the combined influences of climate warming and increasing anthropogenic activities, as manifested by surface subsidence, rising ground temperature, thickening active layer, disappearing of isolated patches of permafrost, the emergence and expanding of taliks, as well as shrinking in areal continuity of permafrost. The degradation of permafrost would extensively and profoundly impact the eco-environment, such as permafrost hydrology, ecohydrology, water resources, landscapes, and biological and climate processes. Unfortunately, so far the ecological impacts of the rapidly degrading permafrost have not yet been adequately appreciated and evaluated.

This Research Topic aims to provide a forum for researchers to share the latest findings in the ecological impacts of degrading permafrost. High-quality Original Research and Review articles in this field are welcome for submission to this Research Topic. Research interests include but are not limited to the following areas:

• Hydrothermal variations of permafrost based on in-situ observations and numerical model simulations;
• Variations in the active layer thickness and freeze-thaw cycles and their influences on near-surface hydrothermal processes;
• Permafrost changes and their impacts on biogeochemical cycles;
• Changes in seasonal frost and permafrost (perennial frost) as well as their impacts on the hydrological process and water resources and supply;
• Long- and short-term evolution of frozen ground and its ecological impacts;
• Projection of changes in near-surface permafrost and the active layer and their impacts on sustainable socioeconomic development under the scenarios of 1.5 or 2 °C climate warming;
• Studies in the effects of regional climate and environmental changes on permafrost;
• Land use and cover change and its effects on permafrost;
• Application of satellite, airborne, and ground-surface-based remote-sensing and other geophysical techniques for studying permafrost and associated eco-environment changes at local to global scales.

The different types of articles offered by Frontiers in Earth Science are strongly encouraged within this Research Topic. However, the major focus is on Original Research articles.

Keywords: vegetation, eco-environmental impacts, permafrost, permafrost degradation, climate change


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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