Environmental factors controlling ground temperatures in permafrost ground around Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard
At the west coast of Svalbard, continuous permafrost occurs which has been steadily warming towards the thaw threshold in the past two decades. Since 2012,we have operated an array of 80 to 100 temperature sensors which deliver a spatially distributed picture of the ground thermal regime. Furthermore, we have systematically mapped snow depths at the logger sites, and operated an automatic camera on a nearby mountain top monitroing the timing an patterns of the snowmelt. In the thesis, you will perform a statistcial analysis on the data set, with the aim of isolating the environmental factors which control ground surface temperatures at different times of the year.
A particular focus will be on the effect of wintertime rain events, which can induce strong wamring of the ground (if the snow cover stays intact), but alos a pronounced cooling (if all snow is transformed to ice). Different numerical models (written in Matlab) on ground temperatures are available which can bes used to estimate the sensitivity of the ground thermal regme towards different environmetal factors.
With this project, there is the possibility to apply for an Arctic Field Grant from the Svalbard Science Forum to conduct field work around Ny-Ålesund.The deadline is usually on November, so contact me early enough if this is option for you.