Korea Polar Research Institute

Korea Polar Research Institute has opened a web page in May 2014, (http://www.arctic.or.kr), to provide all sorts of arctic related information in Korean. The webpage introduces organizations and groups involved in arctic activities as well as scientific activities. South Korea was granted an observer status in the Arctic Council in 2013, from when interest in the Arctic has been rapidly growing among the Korean government and the general public. The web page, "Arctic N", can satisfy the curiosity of the people by providing systematically organized Arctic information.

There was a photo exhibition showing Arctic tundra in Seoul in April 2014. In this exhibition photos concerning, the Arctic plants, animals, and research activities in Ny-Ålesund (Svalbard), Council (Alaska), Cambridge Bay (Canada), and Zackenberg (Greenland), were displayed. The public enjoyed viewing the Arctic photos which were absolutely different from the perspective that many have in South Korea.

SouthKorea_Fig.1Figure 1. Front page of "Arctic N".


Figure 2. Photo exhibition: Arctic tundra.

New research project in Svalbard (PI: Yoo Kyung Lee)

A new research project based on the Arctic Dasan Station in Svalbard has been initiated in 2014 by Korea Polar Research Institute. KOPRI research groups and other teams from several universities and institutes studied the glacier foreland ecosystem of Midtre Lovénbreen. The glacier foreland was surveyed by the French team 10 years ago. We repeated vegetation survey in the same sampling sites, studied by the French team, with the French and Norwegian groups in the same manner. In addition, soil samples were collected to study soil organic carbon, microbial community, plants metabolites, and fatty acids composition in the glacier foreland. Since the whole area of the glacier foreland in Midtre Lovénbreen had been investigated, we expect to see the development and changes in soil properties and biological components along the microtopography as well as soil age (glacier retreat period). Ultimately, we are aiming to produce maps for soil organic carbon stock and microbial community in this glacier foreland through multivariate analyses and modelling approaches. Furthermore, the experiments on the CO2 and CH4 between the atmosphere and permafrost have been continuously operated on Amundsen-Nobile Climate Change Tower through collaboration with CNR in 2014.

SouthKorea_Fig.3-MidtreFigure 3. Soil sampling and vegetation survey sites in Midtre Lovénbreen glacier forefield.


Figure 4. Field measurements (site selection, soil sampling, and vegetation survey).

CAPEC Project (PI: Bang Yong Lee)

The CAPEC (Circum Arctic Permafrost Environment Change Monitoring) Project, supported by Korea Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, has been continued since 2011. Through this project, we 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 aims of this project are (1) to understand the correlation between carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes and soil properties; (2) to estimate the contribution of microbial respiration, and plant photosynthesis and respiration to the CO2 production from soil; (3) to understand the geophysical and mechanical behavior of frozen ground correlated with environmental change. On the basis of the CAPEC project, we had two Arctic explorations this spring and summer: Council, Alaska; and Cambridge Bay, Canada.

CAPEC project in Council, Alaska

We operated the eddy-covariance flux system and 4-component radiometer at the Council site, during the summer period to monitor NEE (Net Ecosystem Exchange of CO2) over Alaskan permafrost region. Furthermore, methane (CH4) flux was measured in July for the first time at the site. Spatial variation of NEE was also measured using a manual chamber system with 9×9 grids on a 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. Likewise, plant activity was monitored using a camera and NDVI sensors throughout the year. Multiple 1-m depth soil cores were sampled to investigate microbial community structure and organic matter composition at several points.

SouthKorea_Fig.5Figure 5. Eddy covariance system for green-house-gas (CO2, CH4, H2O) flux measurement at Council, Alaska.


Figure 6 .Soil coring activity at Council, Alaska in July, 2014.

CAPEC project in Cambridge Bay, Canada

For long-term monitoring of 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 since 2012 (69o7'47.7"N, 105o3'35.3"W). In 2014, heat flux plate (8 cm depth) and 4 temperature sensors (2, 3, 4, 6 cm depth) were installed around 5 m apart from the flux system to calculate heat exchange between air and soil. In addition, we have been continuously measuring black carbon concentration by an aethalometer since 2013.
To investigate the effects of increasing temperature and precipitation in arctic tundra, we have continued the climate manipulation experiment since 2012. This year, we just maintained climate manipulation treatments (open top chambers and watering per week) from middle June to late September with a help from Hamlet of Cambridge Bay. In July 19, there were extremely strong winds on the field site, thus, all OTCs were blown away or broken again like last year. We visited Cambridge Bay and fixed OTCs by using anchors and rope to protect them from strong wind.

SouthKorea_Fig.7-CBFigure 7. Installation of the heat flux plate and soil temperature sensors in June 2014.


Figure 8. Fixing open top chambers from strong wind.

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