Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2914
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2914
22 Jan 2024
 | 22 Jan 2024

Review article: Retrogressive thaw slump theory and terminology

Nina Nesterova, Marina Leibman, Alexander Kizyakov, Hugues Lantuit, Ilya Tarasevich, Ingmar Nitze, Alexandra Veremeeva, and Guido Grosse

Abstract. Retrogressive thaw slumps (RTSs in plural and RTS in singular) are spectacular landforms that occur due to the thawing of ice-rich permafrost or melting of massive ground ice often in hillslope terrain. RTSs occur in the Arctic, Subarctic as well as high mountain (Tibetan Plateau) permafrost regions and are observed to expand in size and number due to climate warming. As the observation of RTS is receiving more and more attention due to their important role in permafrost thaw, impacts on topography, mobilization of sediment, carbon, nutrients, and contaminants, and their effects on downstream hydrology and water quality, the thematic breadth of studies increases and scientists from different scientific backgrounds and perspectives contribute to new RTS research. At this point, a wide range of terminologies originating from different scientific schools is being used and we identified the need to provide an overview of theoretical approaches, terms, and variable characteristics of RTS to clarify terminologies and create common ground for understanding RTS processes, dynamics, and feedbacks. We here review the theoretical geomorphological background of RTS formation and landform characteristics to provide an up-to-date understanding of the current views on terminology and underlying processes. The presented overview can be used not only by the international permafrost community but also by scientists working on ecological, hydrological, and biogeochemical consequences of RTS occurrence as well as remote sensing specialists developing automated methods for mapping RTS dynamics. The framework will foster a better understanding of the nature and diversity of RTS phenomena and provide a useful base for experts in the field but also ease the introduction to the topic of RTSs for scientists who are new to it.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Nina Nesterova, Marina Leibman, Alexander Kizyakov, Hugues Lantuit, Ilya Tarasevich, Ingmar Nitze, Alexandra Veremeeva, and Guido Grosse

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2914', Anonymous Referee #1, 18 Feb 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2914', Anonymous Referee #2, 16 May 2024
Nina Nesterova, Marina Leibman, Alexander Kizyakov, Hugues Lantuit, Ilya Tarasevich, Ingmar Nitze, Alexandra Veremeeva, and Guido Grosse
Nina Nesterova, Marina Leibman, Alexander Kizyakov, Hugues Lantuit, Ilya Tarasevich, Ingmar Nitze, Alexandra Veremeeva, and Guido Grosse

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Short summary
Retrogressive thaw slumps (RTSs) are widespread in the Arctic permafrost landforms. RTSs present a big interest for researchers because of their expansion due to climate change. There are currently different scientific schools and terminology used in the literature on this topic. We have critically reviewed existing concepts and terminology and provided clarifications to present a useful base for experts in the field and ease the introduction to the topic for scientists who are new to it.