WP 6: Thaw-remobilization of carbon and GHG emissions from sub-sea and coastal eroded permafrost.
The East Siberian Arctic Ocean (ESAO) is our focus area since it is experiencing the fastest rate of climate warming and holds vast stores of potentially vulnerable carbon. The severely understudied ESAO system hosts 80% of the World’s subsea permafrost, receives massive amounts of thawed old permafrost carbon from land with a poorly constrained fate in the marine system and, finally, also holds large deposits of CH4 in unknown proportions as hydrates and free gas, just below the subsea permafrost. There is thus a potential for – partly climate-induced – mobilization of these carbon pools into the atmosphere in form of CO2 and CH4.
Previous campaigns in the framework of our Nordic-Russian collaboration, for example ISSS-08, have provided us with a large collection of samples from the ESAO water column, surface sediments and deep drilling cores. These samples are analyzed and interpreted using a combination of organic geochemistry and isotopic tools. Future WP-activities will build on and extend our research in this hard to access yet critical region for the Arctic carbon-climate couplings. Highlights will be the planned SWERUS-C3 expedition in 2014 and the expansion of the RAS-Tiksi observatory (ongoing measurements of atmospheric methane and black carbon from aerosols, possible extension to other trace gases and isotope studies.)
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