Research > Ongoing Projects > CryoCarb
Department of Genetics in Ecology
Center for Geobiology, University of Bergen, Norway
The overarching goal of CryoCARB is to advance organic carbon estimates for cryoturbated soils, focusing on the Eurasian Arctic and to understand the vulnerability of these carbon stocks in a future climate. Our vision is that one can build on this knowledge to improve existing models to better predict the responses of cryoturbated soils to future climate conditions. The constraints to our understanding of carbon dynamics in cryogenic soils are currently manifold. First. due to cryoturbation, organic matter is unevenly distributed within the soil, making SOC estimation very difficult. There is evidence that the North American arctic carbon stock is bigger than previously thought, also because of underestimation of carbon stored in distorted, broken and warped horizons. Second, most studies dealing with SOC in arctic soils fail to account for carbon stored in the upper permafrost, although the latter is directly under threat in a rapidly warming Arctic. Thawing of the upper permafrost will also mobilize old, geogenic C, which is rarely addressed. Third, the mechanisms of carbon stabilization are largely unknown thus hampering the prediction of climate-C02 feedbacks. Knowledge of the chemical composition of organic matter and the processes on how carbon is stabilized is necessary to predict the magnitude and the time-scale at which SOC will get remobilized from thawing permafrost under climate change.
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