A new method for analysing and representing ground temperature variations in cold environments. The Fuegian Andes, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

M. Oliveira, A. Pérez-Alberti, R.M. Crujeiras, A. Rodríguez-Casal, F. Castillo-Rodríguez


The thermal response of soils in cold environments has been investigated in numerous studies. The data considered here were obtained in a study carried out in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, as part of the IV International Polar Year. Temperature sensors were installed at ground level (0) and depths of -10, -20 and -60 cm in the study area, with the aim of characterizing the thermal response by detecting diurnal and annual variations.

The study has two main aims. The first is to present and discuss the study findings regarding the thermal response of a soil in a sub-Antarctic environment by using classical descriptive analysis. The second, closely related, aim is to apply some novel statistical tools that would help improve this description. The study of freeze-thaw patterns can be approached from a non-parametric perspective, while taking into account the cyclical nature of the data. Data are considered cyclical when they can be represented on a unit circle, as with the hours in which certain events occur throughout a day (e.g. freezing and thawing). Analysis of this type of data is very different from the analysis of scalar data, as regards both descriptive and graphical measures. The application in this study of methods used to represent and analyse cyclical data improved visualization of the data and interpretation of the analytical findings. The main contribution of the present study is the use of estimators of the nuclear type density and derived techniques, such as the CircSiZer map, which enabled identification of significant freeze-thaw patterns. In addition, the relationships between the temperature recordings at different points were analysed using Taylor diagrams.


active layer; temperature sensors; non-parametric methods; circular data; Taylor diagram; Tierra del Fuego (Argentina)

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18172/cig.3373

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