In the framework of the IPA mapping project of permafrost extent during the last permafrost maximum (LPM) J. Vandenberghe updated permafrost extent maps of Europe with the most recent published information for that period.
A model for thaw lake expansion has been developed ad VU University and is published in Nature Climate change in 2011. Global scale simulations with this model are being prepared. At TU-Delft, a research group led by Prof. R. Hanssen and Dr. A.J. Hooper is active in applying INSAR radar interferometry to quantify permafrost changes. A study on permafrost changes in northeast Greenland has been completed in 2011.
Carbon exchange from permafrost soils and ecosystems
Research on the carbon cycle and greenhouse gas emission of present-day permafrost environments in Northeastern Siberia is conducted by VU University Amsterdam (Prof A.J. Dolman, Dr. J. van Huissteden) and Wageningen University (Dr. M. Heijmans) in close collaboration with the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute for Biological Problems of the Cryolithozone (IBPC) in Yakutsk (Dr. T.C. Maximov) and Hokkaido University (Prof. A. Sugimoto).
At the Kytalyk reserve near Chokurdagh in the Indigirka lowlands (VU and Wageningen University) research focusses on CO2 and CH4 fluxes of tundra ecosystems on continuous permafrost. With three new PhD projects started in 2010 and funded by Dutch science funding organizations NWO and Darwin Center, and participation in the new EU project PAGE21, funding of carbon cycle observations is guaranteed until 2014. This will result in a decade-long time series of CO2 and CH4 fluxes, and seven years of research on tundra vegetation ecology. In the new research projects, emphasis is laid on spatial variability of fluxes and the effects of permafrost degradation on the tundra ecosystem and fluxes.
Wageningen University (Frank Berendse, Monique Heijmans) has set up long-term field experiments at the Kytalyk tundra research site in which either vegetation composition or thawing depth has been manipulated to study the feedback of expected shrub expansion on seasonal thawing of permafrost and vice versa. Main result so far is that low shrubs (Betula nana, dwarf birch) reduce thawing so play an important role in protecting the permafrost (Blok et al. 2010).
Closely linked to this research is a modeling project, aiming to improve hydrological aspects of carbon cycle models, which is part of the EU funded Marie Curie Greencycles Network. With this project, VU university participates in the Permafrost RCN modelling networdk, with the Peatland-VU wetland soil carbon cycle model.
At the “Nymto Park Station” (NPS) in West Siberia in the regional park “Nymto” at 63.7oN, 70.9oE the effect of climate change on the pristine peatland ecosystems and (sub)actual carbon balance of the permafrost boundary zone in Sub-arctic Western Siberia is studied (Yugra State University nd Utrecht University, Prof. W. Bleuten).
The Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, NIOZ (Dr. Jens Greinert), is currently chairing the COST Action PERGAMON (ES0902) "Permafrost and gas hydrate related methane release in the Arctic and impact on climate change: European cooperation for long-term monitoring" in which 23 countries with 49 institutes are currently involved. Next to EU countries, Russia, USA, Canada and New Zealand are regular members during the biannual workgroup and management committee meetings. The Action has 6 working groups ranging from atmospheric and remote sensing sciences, to terrestrial studies around methane release from wetlands, to marine studies related to gas hydrate decomposition and permafrost thaw. NIOZ and VU are participating from the Netherlands.
Unfortunaltely the participation of VU University in the Russian Mega-grant programme 'The carbon balance of Central Siberia and the role of the hydrgeochemistry of the big Siberian rivers in the carbon cycle', led by the Siberian Federal University of Krasnojarsk and the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany has been cancelled as a result of restrictions on import and use of equipment.
Ko van Huissteden (email@example.com)