Articles | Volume 15, issue 9
Geosci. Model Dev., 15, 3603–3639, 2022

Special issue: Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES) – configurations,...

Geosci. Model Dev., 15, 3603–3639, 2022
Development and technical paper
06 May 2022
Development and technical paper | 06 May 2022

Explicitly modelling microtopography in permafrost landscapes in a land surface model (JULES vn5.4_microtopography)

Noah D. Smith et al.

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Cited articles

Aas, K. S., Gisnås, K., Westermann, S., and Berntsen, T. K.: A Tiling Approach to Represent Subgrid Snow Variability in Coupled Land Surface–Atmosphere Models, J. Hydrometeorol., 18, 49–63,, 2016. 
Aas, K. S., Martin, L., Nitzbon, J., Langer, M., Boike, J., Lee, H., Berntsen, T. K., and Westermann, S.: Thaw processes in ice-rich permafrost landscapes represented with laterally coupled tiles in a land surface model, The Cryosphere, 13, 591–609,, 2019. 
Abolt, C. J., Young, M. H., Atchley, A. L., Harp, D. R., and Coon, E. T.: Feedbacks Between Surface Deformation and Permafrost Degradation in Ice Wedge Polygons, Arctic Coastal Plain, Alaska, J. Geophys. Res. Earth Surf., 125, e2019JF005349,, 2020. 
Åkerman, H. J. and Johansson, M.: Thawing permafrost and thicker active layers in sub-arctic Sweden, Permafr. Periglac. Process., 19, 279–292,, 2008. 
Atchley, A. L., Painter, S. L., Harp, D. R., Coon, E. T., Wilson, C. J., Liljedahl, A. K., and Romanovsky, V. E.: Using field observations to inform thermal hydrology models of permafrost dynamics with ATS (v0.83), Geosci. Model Dev., 8, 2701–2722,, 2015. 
Short summary
The Arctic has large areas of small mounds that are caused by ice lifting up the soil. Snow blown by wind gathers in hollows next to these mounds, insulating them in winter. The hollows tend to be wetter, and thus the soil absorbs more heat in summer. The warm wet soil in the hollows decomposes, releasing methane. We have made a model of this, and we have tested how it behaves and whether it looks like sites in Scandinavia and Siberia. Sometimes we get more methane than a model without mounds.