Ponomarev, E; Masyagina, O; Litvintsev, K; Ponomareva, T; Shvetsov, E; Finnikov, K (2020). The Effect of Post-Fire Disturbances on a Seasonally Thawed Layer in the Permafrost Larch Forests of Central Siberia. FORESTS, 11(8), 790.

We examined and simulated the consequences of the degradation of the litter and the moss-lichen layer after fire impact, which could affect the seasonal temperature of the soil and the depth of the seasonally thawed layer (STL) in the permafrost zone. According to the analysis of satellite imagery for 2000 to 2019, the fire-disturbed area in the region of interest amounted to 20%. The main aims of the study included quantitative evaluation of the variation range of summer temperature anomalies at fire-damaged plots, summarizing the statistical norm of the STL depending on natural conditions, and numerical simulation of the response of the STL. Using Terra and Aqua/MODIS imagery, we analyzed surface temperature (in bands of lambda = 10.780-11.280 and 11.770-12.270 mu m) coupled with the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) for non-disturbed and fire-damaged sites under the same natural conditions of larch forests in Central Siberia. Heat transfer, freezing and thawing processes were numerically simulated for two extreme cases of soil conditions: dry soil and water-saturated soil. The model was also applied to soil with non-homogeneous water content. As input parameters, we used data on the properties of cryogenic soils collected in larch forests (Larix gmelinii) in the flat-mountainous taiga region of the Evenkia (Central Siberia). For post-fire plots, surface temperature anomalies observed during summer months remained significant for more than 15-20 years after fire impact, while the NDVI values were restored to the statistical norm within 7-10 years of the fire. According to the results of numerical simulation, the thickness of the STL could show a 30-50% increase compared to the statistical norm. In the first approximation, we showed the annual soil temperature dynamics at various depths in disturbed and non-disturbed plots.