Permafrost Studies in Russia Altai

Rapid atmospheric warming has recently occurred in Siberia (e.g., Chapman and Walsh, 1993; Weller, 1998), and change in the lower limit of mountain permafrost in the Russian Altai Mountains on the southern fringe of the Siberia Plain may serve as an important indicator of past and future climate change in the region. Shats (1978) indicated that the lower limit of permafrost in the region was between 1400 and 2000 m ASL. Gorbunov and Gorbunova (1994), however, reported that sporadic permafrost occurred in burial mounds above 1000 m ASL. Recently Fukui et al. (2007b) determined that sporadic/patchy permafrost zone was 1800-2000 m and discontinuous/continuous permafrost zone was above 2000 m based on permafrost-indicator features in this area. We report possible climate warming impact on permafrost near the lower limit of discontinuous permafrost in the Russian Altai Mountains.

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