IAB Research Project Description

Collaborative Research: Synthesis of Arctic System Carbon Cycle Research through Model-Data Fusion Studies

Credit: Courtesy of A. Dave McGuire/IAB/AKCFWRU

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A large release of CO2 and CH4 from high latitude terrestrial and marine systems to the atmosphere has the potential to affect the climate system in a way that may accelerate global warming. To improve our ability to predict the dynamics of carbon in high latitudes, we propose a study to comprehensively analyze the carbon cycle of the Arctic System that is guided by the following general questions:

1. What are the geographic patterns of fluxes of CO2 and CH4 over the Pan-Arctic region and how is the balance changing over time? (Spatial Patterns and Temporal Variability)

2. What processes control the sources and sinks of CO2 and CH4 over the Pan-Arctic region and how do the controls change with time (processes and interactions)? To address these general questions, we will conduct research that

(1) effectively integrates data on CO2 and CH4 dynamics of the Arctic System using a combination of prognostic and inverse approaches and

(2) provides an integrative approach to estimating and understanding the exchanges of CO2 and CH4 from terrestrial and marine components of the system including a consideration of the lateral exchange of C between the terrestrial and marine components of the Arctic System.

The proposed study addresses all the criteria of this announcement: Because the climate system is vulnerable to significant releases of CO2 and CH4 from high latitudes, the responses of these gases to climate change have global consequences. We propose to investigate the dynamics which control this biogeochemically important region.

The study will bring together diverse regional data sets and understanding in the context of a linked set of numerical model studies. It will examine, and attempt to quantify, the fluxes and links between the terrestrial, atmospheric and oceanic components of the Arctic carbon and methane cycles. The proposed research is directly relevant to the broader aims of the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH).

Project Funding

National Science Foundation
31 Aug 2005 – 31 Jul 2008
IAB Proposal #05-074
UAF Grant #G2664
IAB Project #135

Media Contact

Marie Thoms
Communications/Web Manager
Institute of Arctic Biology
302A Irving I
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK 99775-7000
email: methoms@alaska.edu
phone: 907.474.7412