Knowledge of the spatiotemporal dynamics of the soil temperature in cold environment is key to understanding the effects of climate change on land-atmosphere feedback and ecosystem functions. Here, we quantify the recent thermal status and trends in shallow ground using the most up-to-date data set of over 457 sites in Russia. The data set consists of in situ soil temperatures at multiple depths (0.8, 1.6, and 3.2 m) collected from 1975 to 2016. For the region as a whole, significant soil warming occurred over the period. The mean annual soil temperature at depths of 0.8, 1.6, and 3.2 m increased at the same level, at ca 0.30-0.31 degrees C/decade, whereas the increase in maximum soil temperature ranged from 0.40 degrees C/decade at 0.8 m to 0.31 degrees C/decade at 3.2 m. Unlike the maximum soil temperature, the increases in minimum soil temperature did not vary (ca 0.25 degrees C/decade) with depth. Due to the overall greater increase in maximum soil temperature than minimum soil temperature, the intra-annual variability of soil temperature increased over the decades. Moreover, the soil temperature increased faster in the continuous permafrost area than in the discontinuous permafrost and seasonal frost areas at shallow depths (0.8 and 1.6 m depth), and increased slower at the deeper level (3.2 m). The warming rate of the maximum soil temperature at the shallower depths was less than that at the deeper level over the discontinuous permafrost area but greater over the seasonal frost area. However, the opposite was found regarding the increase in minimum soil temperature. Correlative analyses suggest that the trends in mean and extreme soil temperatures positively relate to the trends in snow cover thickness and duration, which results in the muted response of intra-annual variability of the soil temperature as snow cover changes. This study provides a comprehensive view of the decadal evolutions of the shallow soil temperatures over Russia, revealing that the temporal trends in annual mean and extreme soil temperatures vary with depth and permafrost distribution.
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