Climate Impacts Research Centre (CIRC)
Greenhouse gas emission from aquatic systems in northern permafrost areas
Climate change and thawing of permafrost causes mobilization and decomposition of old carbon stocks from high latitude soils and, hence, releases significant amounts of greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4) to the atmosphere. Data now show that permafrost thawing can also increase the export and decomposition of terrestrial organic carbon stocks in lakes and streams, implying a substantial flux of terrestrial organic carbon to the atmosphere. The project will quantify the importance of aquatic systems for the mineralization of terrestrial organic carbon and the subsequent release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere in regions of melting permafrost. The project will be carried out in subarctic northern Sweden and includes measurements of carbon fluxes above lakes and streams and experimental studies of how thawing of permafrost affect decomposition of terrestrial organic carbon in aquatic systems.