Sensitivity of Permafrost in the Arctic (sparc)
Sensitivity of the Permafrost System's Water and Energy Balance under Changing Climate: a Multiscale Perspective
Our main objective is to elucidate the two major cycles (water and heat) in the complex Arctic landscape system at scales from metres to kilometres (meso-scale). The goal is to close the gap between our small-scale process understanding and the large scale that is accessible to satellite remote sensing.
We work intensively at two Arctic sites in Siberia (Lena Delta) and Spitsbergen (Ny-Alesund). Through international cooperation, additional sites in Alaska and Canada complement the circumpolar analysis. The Arctic ecosystems range from warm, maritime conditions with low above ground biomass (Spitsbergen), over medium, continental climate with high above ground biomass (North Slope, Alaska) towards extreme cold, dry but ice rich permafrost conditions with medium biomass (Lena Delta, Siberia).
By studying these different locations, we hope to gain an understanding of how changes in annual and inter-annual heat and water processes and potentially offset the balance and stability of the Arctic climate system.
In particular, we focus on:
- Establishing spatial and temporal linkages between water and energy fluxes at the plot and landscape scales of different permafrost affected ecosystems;
- Developing a process-oriented model for the typical Arctic permafrost system to predict subsurface processes (soil water and heat);
- Use of innovative aerial imaging methods, including telescopic rods, ballons, kites and drones;
- Instrumentation on soil thermal and hydrologic dynamic and micrometeorology with spatially distributed measurements; and
- Long term monitoring of data.
The research is based at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Research Unit Potsdam and networked with the Faculty of Chemistry and Geosciences and Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Heidelberg.
- 13 April 2012: Opening of In-walk exposition "Arktische Spirale" at the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Schumannstr. 8, Berlin. For further information look here
- 19 March 2012: Sebastian Westermann wins the "Umweltpreis" of the "Viktor und Sigrid Dulger-Stiftung" of the University of Heidelberg for his PhD thesis „Sensitivity of permafrost“
- 1 February 2012: Successful habilitation of Julia Boike at the University of Heidelberg
- 5 - 9 December 2011: AGU Fall Meeting, Julia Boike is attending with a poster "Sensitivity of Permafrost in the Arctic - a multiscale perspective" presenting the results of the SPARC group. Moritz Langer is giving a talk about "The freeze-up of high Arctic ponds and potential impacts on the carbon balance" in session Lakes and Reservoirs in cold Region Hydrology II (CS1B).
- 7 November 2011: Today researchers from eleven countries will meet in Potsdam to launch a new, four-year EU project. What happens when the vast amounts of carbon in Arctic soils are released to the atmosphere? This is the central question field-researchers, operators of long term observatories and modellers from 18 partner institutions in the EU intend to answer with the PAGE21 project. For further information look here
- 14 October 2011: Open position for an engineer in the EU project “Changing Permafrost in the Arctic and its Global Effects in the 21st Century (PAGE21). Job discription here
- September 2011: Get an all around impression of our field sites on Polar Bear Pass, Svalbard and in the Lena Delta and have a look at the panorama pictures.
- September 2011: Everybody is back from expedition and the period of data evaluation begins.
- July/August 2011: Karoline Wischnewski and Katrin Fröb on expedition to Samoylov/Siberia. Read here the expedition reports (in German).
- 3 June 2011: Moritz Langer gives a lecture on sparc's research to students of meteorology.
- 28 May 2011: The sparc group participates in the long night of science ("Lange Nacht der Wissenschaft") and shows visitors how a infrared camera works by using a huge block of ice. See the pictures.
- April 2011: Moritz Langer on expedition to Samoylov/Siberia taking ice samples from thermokarst lakes. Read here the expedition reports (in German).
- January 2011: Anna Abnizova writes 'Oasen in der Kältewüste' an article about her work in the Canadian Arctic that is published in the DAAD letter.
- July 2010: 'Wenn der Permafrost taut' an article about permafrost written by Julia Boike and Lars Kutzbach is published in Welt der Physik.
- October 2009: Julia Boike presents the work of SPARC in an Helmholtz Podcast.
- October 2009: Some results of 11 years SPARC permafrost research on Svalbard published under: http://www.svalbardscienceforum.no
- February 2009: Sebastian Westermann won the PYRN-USPA best presentation award at the American Geophysical Union General Fall Meeting in San Fancisco in December 2008.
Monitoring of Surface Temperatures with Thermal Camera Systems at a High-Arctic Permafrost Site on Svalbard, Norway
- January 2009: Sina Muster was selected as a recipient for the Alexander Goetz Instrument Support Program for the 2009 Calendar Year with her project proposal "Multi-scale eco-hydrological classification of a High Arctic wetland". The project investigates relationships between above-ground phenomena (e.g. vegetation, ground-type) and sub-surface parameters such as moisture content and thaw depth which is critical for accurate estimates of evapotranspiration. Spectral measurements with an ASD FieldSpec®HandHeld (325-1075 nm) will provide ground truth for the spatial classification of surface parameters via satellite data.
- Julia Boike presented her plenary paper (titled 'Heat and Water Transfer Processes in Permafrost-Affected Soils: A Review of Field and Modeling-Based Studies for the Arctic and Antarctic') at the NICOP conference. Click here to watch it.
- Paul Overduin and Sebastian Westermann participated in the last Tunnel Man episode 2 on their summer expedition in Alaska. Click here to watch it.