Variability of soil moisture on three sites in the Northern Antarctic Peninsula in 2022/23



Soil moisture represents one of the crucial parameters of the terrestrial environments in Antarctica. It affects the biological abundance and also the thermal state of the soils. In this study, we present one year of volumetric water content and soil temperature measurements on James Ross Island, Nelson Island and King George Island. The volumetric water content at all sites increased with depth. The mean summer values were between 0.24 and 0.37 cm3/cm3 (James Ross Island), 0.30 and 0.40 cm3/cm3 (Nelson Island) and 0.11 and 0.36 cm3/cm3 (King George Island). We found that the freezing point of the soils was close to 0°C on Nelson Island and King George Island. We attributed the lower temperature of soil freezing around -0.5°C on James Ross Island to the site location close to the sea. Even though the sites are located in the distinctive climate zones and comprise of contrasting soil types, the only differences of moisture regime were observed the surficial layer of the studied sites.

soil moisture; soil thermal regime; permafrost; freeze-thaw processes

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