Examining the spatial distribution of soil moisture and its relationship to vegetation and permafrost dynamics in a Subarctic permafrost peatland

Warren, Rebecca Kathleen
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University of Guelph

Landscape change is occurring rapidly in the permafrost peatlands of the Canadian Subarctic due to rising mean annual air temperatures. Manuscript 1 examines the statistical characteristics and environmental controls of near-surface soil moisture at the field scale. Soil moisture standard deviation increased with mean moisture, while the coefficient of variation and skew decreased. Soil moisture was correlated to frost table depth and the general topographical differences between the elevated plateaus and low-lying fens and bogs. In Manuscript 2 Picea Mariana sap velocity, available water and atmospheric conditions were measured in a 100 m2 plot. Sap velocity was primarily controlled by atmospheric conditions and antecedent soil moisture, indicating that the study site experienced drought stress. The findings of this research will aid in advancing our understanding of the processes governing forest browning, hydrological modelling of cold regions, and the accuracy of remotely sensed soil moisture products.

hydrology, soil moisture, permafrost, peatlands, evapotranspiration, subarctic