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Fire impacts on permafrost in Alaska: Geophysical and other field data collected in 2014

April 14, 2016

Fire can be a significant driver of permafrost change in boreal landscapes, altering the availability of soil carbon and nutrients that have important implications for future climate and ecological succession. However, not all landscapes are equally susceptible to fire-induced change. As fire frequency is expected to increase in the high latitudes, methods to understand the vulnerability and resilience of different landscapes to permafrost degradation are needed. Geophysical and other field observations reveal details of both near-surface (<1 m) and deeper (>1 m) impacts of fire on permafrost along 11 transects that span burned-unburned boundaries in different landscape settings within interior Alaska. Data collected along the 11 transect locations include: electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), downhole nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), active layer thickness (ALT), organic layer thickness (OLT), and plant species cover. These geospatial datasets are the foundation for the journal article: Minsley, B. J., N. J. Pastick, B. K. Wylie, D. R. N. Brown, and M. Andy Kass (2016), Evidence for nonuniform permafrost degradation after fire in boreal landscapes, J. Geophys. Res. Earth Surf., 121, 320335, doi:10.1002/2015JF003781.