The PermaRisk project aims to provide novel tools for the simulation of erosion and mass wasting processes in permafrost landscapes under a warming climate. Current land surface models used to simulate permafrost dynamics are not capable to represent soil erosion and mass wasting. Thus, current model assessments are most likely far too conservative in their estimates of permafrost thaw impacts. The following research questions have not yet been answered and are therefore at the focus of our project founded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF):
• How does climate warming affect the intensity of erosion and mass wasting processes?
• How does erosion and mass wasting affect infrastructure and ecosystem functions such as the energy, water, and nutrient cycles in the Arctic?
• What are the interactions between erosion-induced landscape changes and permafrost degradation?
In order to answer these crucial questions we will extend and improve the permafrost model CryoGrid3 developed by the Alfred Wegener Institute in cooperation with the University of Oslo. To ensure realistic model development, we will use field measurements as well as satellite data from three key research sites in Alaska, Canada, and Siberia for model validation.