Peatlands and permafrost soils are long-term repositories for enormous amounts of carbon. It is feared that global climate change could lead to a partial release of this carbon into the atmosphere in the form of greenhouse gases. The CliSAP Research Group “Regional Hydrology in Terrestrial Systems” investigates the role that these carbon-rich landscapes play in the regional and global climate system. How do climate change and changes in land use affect the water and carbon fluxes in these landscapes? Expeditions to the Russian Taiga, the Arctic Lena Delta in Siberia or the undisturbed peatlands of Patagonia provide data from these difficult to access regions, which have hardly been investigated up to now. The researchers combine their observations and experiments with hydrological and biogeochemical models in close cooperation with modeling and observation groups within CliSAP/CEN.
The CRG contributes to the investigation of the role of peatlands and permafrost landscapes within the climate system and the global carbon cycle by:
- collecting high-quality data on the land-atmosphere and land-hydrosphere exchange fluxes of water, carbon and nutrients from under-researched peatland and permafrost sites, which are provided to the Earth science community,
- optimising ecosystem exchange flux measurement methodology,
- analysing the interlinked controls of vertical CH4, CO2 and water fluxes and lateral carbon and nutrient fluxes by pedological, hydrological and atmospheric controls,
- studying the pronounced spatial heterogeneity of carbon and nutrient dynamics on plot (micro-) and landscape (meso-) scales and its implications for mass balance assessments and up-scaling studies,
- contributing to the implementation, parameterisation and validation of wetland and permafrost modules of mechanistic Earth system models, and
- developing new statistical methods for model-data intercomparison purposes.