Soil characteristics of cryosols from two sites on King George Island, maritime Antarctica

This study presents soil temperature and moisture regimes from March 2008 to January 2009 for two active layer monitoring (CALM-S) sites at King George Island, Maritime Antarctica. The monitoring sites were installed during the summer of 2008 and consist of thermistors (accuracy of ±0.2 °C), arranged vertically with probes at different depths and one soil moisture probe placed at the bottommost layer at each site (accuracy of ± 2.5%), recording data at hourly intervals in a high capacity datalogger. The active layer thermal regime in the studied period for both soils was typical of periglacial environments, with extreme variation in surface temperature during summer resulting in frequent freeze and thaw cycles. The great majority of the soil temperature readings during the eleven month period was close to 0 °C, resulting in low values of freezing and thawing degree days. Both soils have poor thermal apparent diffusivity but values were higher for the soil from Fildes Peninsula. The different moisture regimes for the studied soils were attributed to soil texture, with the coarser soil presenting much lower water content during all seasons. Differences in water and ice contents may explain the contrasting patterns of freezing of the studied soils, being two-sided for the coarser soil and one-sided for the loamy soil. The temperature profile of the studied soils during the eleven month period indicates that the active layer reached a maximum depth of approximately 92 cm at Potter and 89 cm at Fildes. Longer data sets are needed for more conclusive analysis on active layer behaviour in this part of Antarctica. Data extracted in the frame of a joint ICSTI/PANGAEA IPY effort, see http://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.150150

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