Permafrost Biogeochemistry

Profile

Climate warming is inducing drastic changes in Arctic permafrost landscapes, such as active layer deepening, thermal erosion and development of rapid thaw features. Organic matter stored frozen in permafrost deposits for thousands of years, may be decomposed by microbes upon permafrost thaw. The re-introduction of carbon as greenhouse gas into the active biogeochemical cycle causes a feedback loop of global significance accelerating climate warming and inducing more permafrost thaw and carbon release.

To assess the concern of a permafrost-climate feedback and to develop a better understanding of future permafrost-carbon dynamics, the Permafrost Biogeochemistry working group aims at:

  • Resolving and quantifying key biogeochemical pathways from permafrost to its fluid spheres, and determine how they affect climate by changing land cover and the sequestration or release of atmospheric trace gases
  • Characterizing the past, present and future changes of permafrost organic matter under warming climate and changing land use.

Mission Statement:

The Permafrost Biogeochemistry Working Group focuses its efforts on the observation, quantification and characterisation of organic matter in permafrost landscapes to assess the past and current state and its potential future pathways.

Methods

  • Field surveys in Russia (focus region Yakutia) and North America (focus region Alaska)