Korea Polar Research Institute
A new research project started on June 2011 supported by Korea MEST (Ministry of Education, Science and Technology): Establishment of Circum Arctic Permafrost Environment Change Monitoring Network and Future Prediction Techniques (CAPEC Project, PI Dr. Bang Yong Lee)

Through this project, we have a plan to establish Arctic monitoring nodes to study environmental changes and develop the state-of-the-art observation techniques for terrestrial permafrost region. This monitoring project includes atmosphere-pedosphere-biosphere monitoring system with Ubiquitous Sensor Network (USN) and GPS monitoring. The research aim of this project is (1) Understanding the correlation between carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes with soil properties, (2) Estimating the contribution of microbial respiration, and plant photosynthesis and respiration to the CO2 production from soil (3) Understanding geophysical and mechanical behavior of frozen ground correlated with environmental change. On the basis of KAMP (Korea Arctic Multidisciplinary Program) and CAPEC project, we did Arctic exploration on five different research sites in this spring and summer: Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard Archipelago; Zackenberg, Greenland; Barrow and Council, Alaska; and Cambridge Bay, Canada.


We publish a book titled <Arctic Tundra Plants>. This book covers 27 family and 95 species of vascular plants and provides about 530 photos of Arctic plants that grow in Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, Council in Alaska, Zackenberg in Greenland, and Cambridge Bay in Canada during the summers from 2010 to 2012. When comparing the four different regions, some plants are distributed widely across the Arctic regions, and others grow only in specific areas. Some plants grow only in the Arctic and alpine regions, and others grow in temperate region as well as the Arctic tundra.

Arctic Tundra Plants

Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard Archipelago
For continuous and simultaneous monitoring for the exchanges of CO2 and CH4 between the atmosphere and the permafrost, cavity ring-down spectrometer (CRDS) was added to the eddy covariance system (setup on September, 2011) on Amundsen-Nobile Climate Change Tower through the collaboration with CNR, Italy on May, 2012. Open-path CH4 analyzer was also mounted for its performance comparison with that from CRDS. The eddy covariance system is monitored via. The internet at the KOPRI and its maintenance is performed by CNR colleague and Kings Bay at the site.
We revisited the area of Vestre Lovenbreen where different vegetation types were established to collect soil samples for verifying the results from last year. We also set up five open top chambers (the ITEX corner type) in the area of Dryas octopetala to investigate the effects of warming on plants and soil microbes. We are planning to monitor the warming effects in the long-term period and obtained baseline soil samples this year. In addition, we looked around the Austre Lovenbreen region with Dr. Florian Tolle (Univ. of Franche-Comté) and Alexander Prokop (Univ. of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna) for the study of soil and microorganisms along the glacier retreat in next year.

Eddy covariance flux system at a height of 22 m (LHS) and Cavity Ring-down Spectrometer in the cabinet (RHS) at Amundsen-Nobile Climate Change Tower


Zackenberg, Greenland
We have conducted a continuous project of the effects of climate manipulation on soil organic carbon and microbial community since last year. Prof. Anders Michelsen (Univ. of Copenhagen) established climate manipulation plots (treatments: summer warming, shaded, added snow, removed snow, and control) under Salix arctica and Cassiope tetragona in 2004. We collected soil samples from the Cassiope plots last year and from the Salix plots this year.

Field trip in Barrow Environmental Observation (Sungjin Nam from KOPRI)

Barrow, Alaska
One KOPRI member participated in the field trip from the NGEE (Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments) Arctic project in April to learn more about soil coring in permafrost regions. Permafrost coring was conducted in Barrow Environmental Observation (BEO), Alaska during five days. The NGEE Arctic research team collected about 20 permafrost core samples using the SIPRI soil corer and a hydraulic drill rig from two areas with different microtopography in BEO: high-centered polygon and low-centered polygon. We got one permafrost core collected from the center of high-centered polygon. We appreciate Dr. Larry Hinzman (International Arctic Research Center) arranging the trip to BEO for us.

Automated chamber system and Eddy covariance flux system at Council, Alaska


Council, Alaska
To quantify net ecosystem exchange of CO2 (NEE) and to understand the role of each ecosystem component on the NEE at the study site, eddy covariance flux system was setup on late June in 2012 and operated with automated chamber system simultaneously. Eddy covariance flux system consists of 3-D sonic anemometer and open-path CO2/H2O gas analyzer and a net radiometer. In the meanwhile, chamber system, consisting of 15 chambers (40 cm × 30 cm), gas analyzer and control board was operated in main vegetation (i.e. vascular plant and moss, tussock and lichen) near the flux tower. While eddy covariance system is set to be operated from March to October due to lack of power, chamber system is operated from late June to mid September at the moment.
We collected soil cores (about one meter depth) using the SIPRI soil corer in order to investigate differences of microbial community structure and soil properties between the active and permafrost layers. We selected five sites to collect soil core samples based on the last year research results from electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) monitoring system in September (three sites) and from different soil texture (two sites). We took three cores from each site for replication after surveying plant composition and collecting gas samples emitted from ground during 1 hour with 15 minutes intervals.

Soil core sample (about 80 cm depth)

Cambridge Bay, Canada

For long-term monitoring for CO2 and energy exchanges between the atmosphere and the ecosystem at the site, eddy covariance flux system together with a net radiometer was set up at the height of 5 m on a tower of Environment Canada about 50 m away from the climate manipulation plots in early July this year (69o7'47.7"N, 105o3'35.3"W). Maintenance of and data retrieval from the flux system are supported by Hamlet of Cambridge through regular visit to the site every two weeks. In near future, this flux system will be extended to monitor CO2 and CH4 simultaneously.
To monitor the effects of climate change, we set up the climate manipulation plots this year. It is expected that temperature and precipitation will be increasing in this region in the future. Thus, we set up the factorial experiment with the factors of warming and increased precipitation. The hexagon types of open top chambers (OTCs) in 2 m diameter were used to increase temperature, and 2 L of water/plot (area 4 m2) was added every week from mid July to the end of September to manipulate precipitation. The chambers were removed at the end of growing season to avoid the side effects of OTCs during winter and will be reinstalled in next spring. Before setting up the climate manipulation plots, we surveyed the active layer depth with Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and plant composition, and collected soil samples (0-5 and 5-10 cm depths) to use baseline data.


Eddy covariance flux system setup on Cambridge Bay on July 1st, 2012 (left picture)

The open top chamber Atmospheric temperature and humidity, soil temperature and moisture have been recorded through several sensors and data loggers (right picture)

Yoo Kyung Lee (yklee@kopri.re.kr)