Zero-Curtain Effect

The zero-curtain effect occurs in cold (particularly periglacial) environments where the phase transition of water to ice is retarded due to latent heat release. The effect is notably found in arctic and alpine permafrost sediments, and occurs where the air temperature falls below 0°C (the freezing point of water) followed by a rapid drop in soil temperature.[1]

Because of this effect, the lowering of temperature in moist, cold ground does not happen at a uniform rate. The loss of heat through conduction is reduced when water freezes, and latent heat is released. This heat of fusion is continually released until all the subsurface water has frozen, at which point temperatures can continue to fall.[2]

Therefore, for as long as water is available to the system (for example, through cryosuction/capillary action) the temperature of the sediment will remain at a constant temperature.


External links

  • Zero Curtain at
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.