Expeditions

Fieldwork in remote permafrost regions of the Arctic and Subarctic are an important component of our PETA-CARB project. During these expeditions we collect samples, conduct geodetic surveys, and install measurement instruments that deliver critical data for our project. The focus of our field work is on the landscape dynamics resulting from rapid permafrost thaw and its impacts on soil carbon pools.

Our expeditions are conducted within international collaborations especially with colleagues from the USA and Russia, lead us into the remotest regions of Siberia and Alaska, and often are quite adventurous with their basic field camps in the wilderness, unusual transportation modes, long work days, and the promise of scientific discovery.

Central Yakutia, March 2015

Description of Expedition

An expedition jointly carried out with the Melnikov Permafrost Institute Yakutsk on the eastern banks of the Lena southeast of Yakutsk (Yukechi Alas)

Duration: One Week

Goals: (1) Drilling of four up to 20 m deep boreholes in thermokarst-affected landscapes; (2) collection of sample material from deep deposits; (3) installation of temperature sensors in the boreholes

PETA-CARB participants: Guido Grosse, Jens Strauss

Several other colleagues from University of Leipzig and Melnikov Permafrost Institute Yakutsk joined this expedition.

Alaska North Slope, April 2014

Description of Expedition

A 1600 km long snow machine expedition jointly carried out with members of the NSF CALON project on the Alaska North Slope

Duration: Three Weeks

Goals: Collection of permafrost cores from drained thermokarst lake basins for soil organic carbon analyses

PETA-CARB participant: Guido Grosse; another three participants from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks and the USGS.

ICOP, June 2016

Description of Expedition

The Eleventh International Conference of Permafrost took place from 20. to 24. June 2016 in Potsdam.

PETA-CARB Participants: Frank Günther, Matthias Fuchs, Jens Strauss, Ingmar Nitze, Guido Grosse, Sebastian Laboor, Josefine Lenz, Darshan Neubauer, Anne Morgenstern, Katharina Schilling, Andreas Fricke

Bykovsky Peninsula, April 2017

Description of Expedition

An expedition lead by AWI jointly carried out with partners from GFZ Potsdam (Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam – Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum), Hydrobase Tiksi, IPGG Novosibirsk (Trofimuk Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics), MPI Yakutsk (Melnikov Permafrost Institute), and NEFU (North-Eastern Federal University Yakutsk).

Duration: Four Weeks.

Goals: Exposed to subaquatic conditions, permafrost thaw occurs exponentially and the associated extent of taliks and alterations of biogeochemical gradients are difficult to predict. Also during winter unfrozen Zones in the permafrost areas are suggested to function as nutritious tanks for microbial activity and hence promote the production and release of methane and carbon dioxide. This drilling campaign aimed to retrieve frozen and unfrozen sediment cores, ice cores as well as geophysical data from Bykovsky Peninsula to cover several scientific disciplines including geomicrobilogy, geocryology, geophysics and geochemistry.

PETA-CARB Participants: Michael Angelopoulos, Guido Grosse and Jens Strauss

Further Scientific Participants: Boris Biskaborn, Ingeborg Bussmann, Nikita Golikov, Mikhail Grigoriev, Heike Zimmermann, Jan Kahl, Jens Kallmeyer, Axel Kitte, Susanne Liebner, Georgii Maximov, Paul Overduin, Andrey Plotnikov, Sergey Pravkin, Alexey Scherstnev and Lutz Schirrmeister

Lena Delta, August 2014

Description of Expedition

An expedition jointly carried out between the Melnikov Permafrost Institute Yakutsk and ERC PETA-CARB in the eastern Lena Delta (Sobo Sise Island) and on Bykovsky Peninsula. Transport: Helicopter.

Duration: Three Weeks.

Goals: Sampling of permafrost soils and deposits for soil organic carbon analyses and paleo-environmental reconstructions, geodetic surveys of subsidence caused by permafrost thaw, bathymetric surveys, installation of temperature sensors in permafrost boreholes and lakes.

PETA-CARB participants: Guido Grosse, Frank Günther, Jens Strauss, Matthias Fuchs, Ingmar Nitze. Several other colleagues from AWI Potsdam and AARI St. Petersburg joined this expedition, resulting in a large team of up to 16 researchers in the Sobo-Sise field camp.

Alaska North Slope, July 2015

Description of Expedition

An expedition jointly carried out with partners from the USGS and UAF on the Alaska North Slope.

Duration: Two Weeks.

Goals: (1) Collection of permafrost cores along transects in Arctic river deltas and thermokarst-affected terrains for carbon stock analysis. (2) Ground truth and validation of trends in landcover changes observed in supertemporal Landsat-time series datasets. (3) Installation of an extensive land elevation survey grid to detect and quantify thaw subsidence.

PETA-CARB participants: Frank Günther, Matthias Fuchs, Ingmar Nitze, Guido Grosse. Two other participants from USGS, three from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, one fantastic pilot.

Aerial view of the city of Kotzebue, Arctic Alaska

West-Alaska, August 2016

Description of Expedition

An expedition jointly carried out with partners from the USGS on West-Alaska.

Duration: Two Weeks.

Goals: (1) Collection of permafrost cores along transects in Arctic river deltas for carbon stock analysis. (2) Ground truth and validation of trends in landcover changes observed in supertemporal Landsat-time series datasets. (3) Lake coringfor carbon stock analysis and accumulation rates. (4) Sampling and describing of new Yedoma outcrops. (5) Sampling of drained lake basins for carbon stock analysis and determination of drainage time.

PETA-CARB Participants: Josefine Lenz, Matthias Fuchs, Ingmar Nitze, Guido Grosse, Jens Strauss and also Ben Jones from USGS and Jim Webster, the fantastic pilot.

Goldstream Valley in Fairbanks ist easy to access by car and snow machine.

Central-Alaska, March 2017

Description of Expedition

An expedition jointly carried out with partners from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DGGS) and the GFZ Potsdam (Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam – Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum) in the Goldstream Valley in Central-Alaska, USA.

Duration: Three Weeks.

Goals: The relationship between hydrology-permafrost-methane processes within the lake-to-watershed system is investigated within a larger NSF project. A lake coring campaign on 11 thermokarst lakes by using a hammer core system and a vibracore system was conducted in order to study the age, methane and carbon dynamics of the lakes. We retrieved more than 60 m of core material from 16 coring locations. Deep permafrost drilling of > 40 m was performed for further studies within the project.

PETA-CARB Participants: Josefine Lenz

Further Scientific Participants:  Matthias Winkel (GFZ), Chris Maio (UAF, Alaska Quaternary Center), Katey Walter Anthony (UAF, Water and Environmental Research Center) and Ronnie Daanen (DGGS)

Alaska North Slope, August 2014

Description of Expedition

An expedition jointly carried out between members of the NSF CALON and ERC PETA-CARB projects on the Alaska North Slope. Transport: Floatplane and helicopter.

Duration: Two Weeks.

Goals: Collection of thermokarst lake sediment cores for paleo-environmental reconstructions.

PETA-CARB participant: Josefine Lenz. 

Lena-Delta, August 2015

Description of Expedition

An expedition jointly carried out between the Melnikov Permafrost Institute Yakutsk (PIY) and ERC PETA-CARB in the eastern Lena Delta (Sobo Sise Island) and on Bykovsky Peninsula.

Duration: Three Weeks.

Goals: (1) Sampling of permafrost soils and deposits for soil organic carbon analyses and paleo-environmental reconstructions; (2) geodetic surveys of subsidence caused by permafrost thaw; (3) bathymetric surveys; and (4) readout of temperature sensors in permafrost boreholes and lakes.

Participants: Frank Günther and Andreas Fricke (PETA-CARB; AWI Potsdam and Potsdam University), Georgy Maximov (PIY), Alexandra Veremeeva (Institute of Physico-Chemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science, RAS, Pushchino) and Mercedes Molina Gamez (Institute of Soil Science, University of Hamburg) joined this expedition.

Thermo erosional valley, which was analysed by Justine Ramage

Lena-Delta, August 2016

Description of Expedition

An expedition jointly carried out with partners from the Melnikov Permafrost Institute Yakutsk (PIY), GFZ Potsdam (Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam – Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum), Moscow State University, and Institute of Physiochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science (Pushchino) in the eastern Lena Delta (Sobo Sise Island) and on Bykovsky Peninsula.

Duration: Three weeks.

Goals: (1) geodetic surveys of subsidence caused by permafrost thaw; (2) sampling of surface waters for DOC analysis of thermokarst lakes in Yedoma regions; (3) collection of permafrost cores from thermoerosional valleys for analysis of soil carbon stocks and dynamics; (4) bathymetric surveys in thermokarst lakes; (5) arctic coastal erosion.

PETA-CARB Participants: Frank Günther and Lydia Stolpmann

Further Scientific Participants: Justine Ramage and Sebastian Wetterich (AWI Potsdam), Aleksander Kizyakov (MGU Moscow), Alexandra Veremeeva (ISSP RAN, Pushchino), Georgy Maximov (PI RAN, Jakutsk), Mahmud Haghshenas Haghighi (GFZ, Potsdam)