Korea Polar Research Institute


The 19th International Symposium on Polar Sciences was held in Korea Polar Research Institute on October 16-18, 2013 with a subject of “Toward comprehensive understanding on Arctic climate change”. Over 150 participants from 12 countries joined the symposium, and six plenary speeches and about 100 oral and poster presentations were presented in six sessions: Atmosphere, Ice and Ocean, Northern Route, Permafrost-Atmosphere Interactions, Arctic Terrestrial Ecosystems, and Arctic Paleoceanogrpahy. Along with the symposium, Pacific Arctic Group (PAG) meeting, Planning Meeting for Collaborative Observational Study in the Seasonal Ice Zone near Svalbard, Permafrost study group meeting, and Arctic Terrestrial Ecosystem group meeting were held during the symposium.




Figure 1. 19th International symposium on Polar Sciences.


CAPEC Project


CAPEC (Circum Arctic Permafrost Environment Change Monitoring) Project which is supported by Korea Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning has been continued since 2011. 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 the CAPEC project, we did Arctic exploration on three different research sites in this spring and summer: Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard Archipelago; Council, Alaska; and Cambridge Bay, Canada.


Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard Archipelago


For continuous and simultaneous monitoring for the exchanges of CO2 and CH4 between the atmosphere and the permafrost, eddy covariance flux system using open-path and closed-path gas analyzers has been continuously operating on Amundsen-Nobile Climate Change Tower through the collaboration with CNR in 2013. KOPRI’s scientists visited Ny-Alesund in May and September to maintain the measurement system at CCT this year. In addition, a data management system is under preparation to show real-time data from the flux system through the internet.


KOREA_Fig.2a KOREA_Fig.2b

Figure 2. Eddy covariance flux system at a height of 22 m (LHS) and Cavity Ring-down Spectrometer (closed-path gas analyzer) in the cabinet (RHS) at Amundsen-Nobile Climate Change Tower


We have been monitoring plant composition in the exterior of the Vestre Lovenbreen moraine for last three years. From these continuous monitoring data, we are expecting to analyze the relationship between plant distribution and environmental factors such as geomorphology and precipitation. In addition, we are studying the distribution patterns of Silene acaulis ecotype and the habitat properties for Huperzia artica.

Council, Alaska

We have operated eddy-covariance flux system and 4-component radiometer at the Council site during summer period to monitor NEE (Net Ecosystem Exchange of CO2) over Alaskan permafrost region. Spatial variation of NEE was also measured using a manual chamber system at 99 grids on monthly basis from July to September. In addition, thaw depths at multiple points were manually measured using a probe once in July, August, and September. Besides, plant activity was monitored using a camera and NDVI sensors throughout a year. Some modifications on solar panel and battery system were applied to enhance power supply to eddy-covariance system.



Figure 3. Eddy covariance flux system and 4-comopnent radiometer at Council, Alaska looking south


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 has been operated on a tower of Environment Canada about 50 m away from the climate manipulation plots this year (69o7'47.7"N, 105o3'35.3"W). For quality control of flux data and diagnosis of the impact of a garbage incineration plat southeast away from the flux tower on atmosphere quality, an aethalometer was installed to measure black carbon concentration in a building of upper air station in July this year. Maintenance of and data retrieval from the flux system and the aethalometer 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 investigate the effects of increasing temperature and precipitation in arctic tundra, we have continued the climate manipulation experiment since 2012. Installing open top chambers (OTCs) to increase temperature and watering every week to increase precipitation have been started in early July. These climate manipulation treatments continued until the early of October with a help from Hamlet of Cambridge Bay. During the first field trip in July, we downloaded the data for air temperature, relative humidity, soil temperature, and soil moisture content recorded for a year. To evaluate the effects of climate manipulation on plants, soil microbes, and soil physical and chemical properties, we surveyed plant composition and cover in the plots, and soil sampling (0~5 and 5~10 depths) were conducted in early August. We are also interested in the plant metabolites changes due to climate manipulation, therefore, sterol in soil and metabolites from plant leaves and roots were extracted during the field trip. In August 23-24, there were extremely strong winds on the field site, thus, all OTCs were blown away or broken out of position. Therefore, the climate manipulation experiments were briefly stopped during the period from August 23 to September 6. Now we are conducting several experiments to investigate the short term effects of climate manipulation on soil microbes and soil organic carbon.



Figure 4. Climate manipulation plots setup in Cambridge Bay on July 5st, 2013 and air temperature data for a year  


Report prepared by Yoo Kyung Lee (yklee@kopri.re.kr).