Kneisel Christof, Emmert Adrian, Polich Pascale, Zollinger Barbara, Egli Markus (2015), Soil geomorphology and frozen ground conditions at a subalpine talus slope having permafrost in the eastern Swiss Alps, in Catena
, 133, 107-118.
Zollinger Barbara, Alewell Christine, Kneisel Christof, Meusburger Katrin, Brandová Dagmar, Kubik Peter, Schaller Mirjam, Ketterer Michael, Egli Markus (2015), The effect of permafrost on time-split soil erosion using radionuclides (137Cs, 239+240Pu, meteoric 10Be) and stable isotopes (δ13C) in the eastern Swiss Alps, in Journal of Soils and Sediments
, 15, 1400-1419.
Eckmeier Eileen, Mavris Christian, Krebs Rolf, Pichler Barbara, Egli Markus (2013), Black carbon contributes to organic matter in young soils in the Morteratsch proglacial area (Switzerland), in Biogeosciences
, 10, 1265-1274.
Zollinger Barbara, Alewell Christine, Kneisel Christof, Meusburger Katrin, Gärtner Holger, Brandová Dagmar, Ivy-Ochs Susan, Schmidt Michael, Egli Markus (2013), Effect of permafrost on the formation of soil organic carbon pools and their physical–chemical properties in the Eastern Swiss Alps, in Catena
, 110, 70-85.
This proposal applies for a continuation of the snf project 200021M_134479/1 that was financed for 2 years (for a PhD thesis). The factor climate is of growing interest with respect to landscape and consequently soil evolution. With increasing temperatures, permafrost is continuously thawing. This will lead in future to different thermal and hydrological conditions in the soil and regolith in cold regions. Therefore, climate change is assumed to cause a marked change in weathering conditions in high Alpine areas. Long-term chemical weathering and physical erosion rates are interrelated processes. In order to better understand landscape evolution, it is important to quantify both processes. The planned investigations generally aim at the estimate of element denudation/weathering rates and short- and long-term erosion of high Alpine soils and substrates. Both types of sites will be considered: a) with and b) without permafrost. Due to the often complex evolution of high-Alpine soils (warmer period during the climate optimum about 5 - 8 ky BP) and subsequent periodic presence of permafrost the following research question arose: i) Are different erosion effects (short- to long-term) recognisable at sites with or without permafrost (present-day)? ii) Do chemical weathering processes differ? iii) Are the SOM stocks at sites that actually are influenced by permafrost really higher? iv) Are the SOM characteristics and ages of fractions at such sites different to sites having no permafrost? v) What could be the potential effects of a climate warming? Alpine sites in the Engadine are investigated: the Albula region (2 areas) and the upper Val Bever (4 areas). The main objectives include: 1) the determination of A) long-term soil erosion rates using two different techniques: i) in situ produced cosmogenic 10Be in soil sections and ii) the inventory of meteoric 10Be in soils. B) Short-term erosion rates will be estimated using 137Cs as tracer. As a methodological addition, also 240Pu/239Pu and 241Pu/239Pu atom ratios as an isotopic tracer for the quantification of soil erosion and ?13C as a qualitative soil erosion indicator are and will be analysed.2) the evaluation of chemical weathering mechanisms: Chemical weathering will be determined using the technique of immobile elements and rare earth elements (REE). 3) determination of organic matter stocks in soil and characterisation and 14C dating of labile and stable (resistant to a H2O2 treatment) and physical organic matter fractions.4) Mapping of present day permafrost distribution and monitoring of near-surface and ground surface temperatures is essential for the understanding and prediction of the weathering behaviour of high Alpine regions. An important and innovative aspect is that chemical weathering and particularly erosion rates will be characterised using a multi-method approach. A cross-check of all the methods used will allow an extended interpretation and mutual control of the results and enables also a comparison between short-term and long-term process rates. Furthermore, novel or very recently developed methods (erosion rates determined by meteoric 10Be using a non-steady-state approach, Pu isotopes and ?13C; spatial on-site detection and characterisation of permafrost using a highly novel 3-D geophysical approach, 14C dating of stable (H2O2-resistant) soil organic matter, etc.) will be applied for the first time in high Alpine regions. The expected new insights will lead to a better understanding of the processes of high mountain soils and are a further step towards improving climate-related modelling of fast warming scenarios and increasing system disequilibria.The Department of Geography (University of Würzburg) has an outstanding knowledge for mapping the spatial distribution of permafrost in high Alpine regions. This institution has, furthermore, a long lasting experience in the Eastern Swiss Alps (Engadine, Val Bever, Val Muragl). Based already on past experiences, a collaboration will be most fruitful.