Rückblick: Expeditionen in 2011

Expedition campaign „Russian peatlands and Siberian permafrost 2011” successfully completed

As autumn slowly arrives here in Germany the Siberian autumn has already passed. Forced by the beginning of winter, the last permafrost scientists of the KlimaCampus have returned back to Germany. In the following some insights into the long and successful expedition campaign 2011 are presented.

KOMI 2011 – Hydrology and lateral carbon fluxes

It was still boreal winter in the Komi Republic in April and May when Dr. Benjamin Runkle, PhD student Armine Avagyan, engineer Christian Wille, and M.Sc. students Nina Hennings and Hannes Haupt from the University of Göttingen collected field data for the integrated CliSAP project „Hydrological controls on the carbon dynamics of boreal peatlands“ during the “KOMI Expedition 2011”. Together with Russian colleagues of the Komi Science Centre in Syktyvkar they conducted comprehensive analyses on peatland hydrology and lateral carbon fluxes during the snow melt period. The landscapes of the study area in Russia’s North-West (62°’N, 56°’E) are characterised by a mixture of extended, near-natural boreal forests, peatlands and rivers.

LENA 2011 – Carbon balancing and soil-atmosphere exchange

This year‘s longest expedition was the „LENA Expedition 2011“ which was realised in cooperation with the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute St. Petersburg, and the Permafrost Institute Yakutsk lasted from April to September and took place in the north Siberian Lena River Delta (72°N, 126°E).

The PhD students Sebastian Zubrzycki, Peter Schreiber, Julia Antsibor, and the M.Sc. student Manuel Helbig studied the carbon balance of carbon stored in permafrost landscapes, the methane and carbon dioxide fluxes between the tundra ecosystems and the atmosphere, the site-specific hydrology of permafrost landscapes, and the pollution of arctic soils with heavy metals. During the expedition a continuous 24 months field campaign of carbon dioxide exchange rates between soil and atmosphere was completed. This represents a remarkably long data series for such high latitudes.

KYTALYK 2011 – Nutrients in a mosaic of soils and polygons

The „Kytalyk Expedition 2011“ took place between July and September in the Indigirka flood plain (71°N, 148°E) approx. 750 km east of the Lena River Delta. The expedition was part of the Russian-German research project “Polygons in tundra wetlands: state and dynamics under climate variability in Polar Regions (POLYGON)”.

Besides scientists of the University of Hamburg the expedition team consisted of scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, the Moscow State Lomonosov University, the State Pedagogical Herzen University, and the Yakutsk State University. The PhD student of the University of Hamburg Fabian Beermann analysed the distribution and availability of nutrients in the different soils of the heterogeneous permafrost landscapes and their influence on the tundra vegetation.

The young scientists look back on eventful and instructive months of expedition, and forward to analyse the samples in the laboratory, to thoroughly interpret the comprehensive field data, and to discuss results with colleagues. A successful year 2011 goes in the final stage.