Field researchers, modellers and long-term observatory operators from 18 scientific institutes are now working together to investigate what happens when the carbon from Arctic soils reaches the atmosphere. Two research teams from the KlimaCampus are contributing their expertise to develop more reliable projections of global climate change. These will provide input for the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The impact of climate change in the Artic is particularly swift and severe. This could be further intensified by the additional greenhouse gases released by the melting permafrost. Although the fundamental mechanisms have been widely investigated, the quantification of individual processes still requires a considerable amount of research. The goal of "Page 21" is therefore to obtain high quality data for gases emitted over the course of the year. In order to record seasonal variations and development over time, measurements must be taken over as large an area and as long a time period as possible. The use of standardised methods by the institutes involved are supposed to increase the comparability of the data.
In order to understand how permafrost regions develop due to climate change and which feedback effects might result, the scientific researchers are combining observations and modelling. KlimaCampus scientists are providing important project building blocks for both of these elements.
The research group "Regional Hydrology in Terrestrial Systems", under the leadership of CliSAP Junior Professor Lars Kutzbach, measures the carbon and nitrogen fluxes in artic permafrost. What do changes to these fluxes mean for the ecosystem, the soil and ultimately for the climate? The research group "Terrestrial Hydrology" under Dr Stefan Hagemann at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology is currently working on improving climate models so that these take permafrost soils into greater account in future. The temperature of the soil, the interaction between soil and water, carbon fluxes and carbon storage all play an important role here.