In our research group, we aim to elucidate the two major cycles (water and heat) in the complex Arctic landscape system at scales from metres to kilometres (meso-scale). Our main objective is to close the gap between our small-scale process understanding and the large-scale that is accessible from satellite remote sensing.

We work intensively at two Arctic sites, one in Siberia (Lena Delta) and one in Spitsbergen (Ny-Alesund). In an international cooperation the additional sites in Alaska and Canada complement the circumpolar analysis. The Arctic ecosystems range from warm, maritime conditions with low above ground biomass (Spitsbergen), to medium, continental climate with high above ground biomass (North Slope, Alaska) to 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 potentially offset the balance and stability of the Arctic climate system.

In particular, we are focused on:

  • Establishing spatial and temporal linkages between water and energy fluxes at the plot and landscape scales in 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, balloons, kites and drones;
  • Spatially distributed measurements of soil thermal and hydrologic dynamics and micrometeorology;
  • Long term monitoring of meteorological and ground conditions at Arctic field sites (in Siberia, Svalbard and Canada)

Our research is based at the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Research Unit Potsdam in cooperation with the Climate Geography at Humboldt University.