April 6, 2010
Results based on permafrost cores collected as part of the IPY UNIS
course AG-333 are now published in Nature Geoscience
Contact person for additional information: Hanne H Christiansen
Text and photos by Hanne H. Christiansen.
High nitrous oxide production from thawing permafrost is
the title of a Nature
Geoscience paper authored by two UNIS-professors Bo Elberling and Hanne H.
Christiansen, and published
online today. Here, surprisingly high nitrous oxide production rates based
on incubated permafrost samples are reported. The scientific results is based on
successful externally funded multidisciplinary permafrost IPY research approach
coordinated by the UNIS Arctic Geology Department, combining teaching and
research across the large climatic gradient between Greenland and Svalbard with
permafrost samples collected by UNIS students in Svalbard as well as in
Zackenberg (High Arctic NE Greenland). This was done in the master & ph.d.
level AG-333 The
summary: Permafrost soils contain nearly twice as much carbon as the
atmosphere. When these soils thaw, large quantities of carbon are lost, mainly
in the form of methane and carbon dioxide. In contrast, thawing is thought to
have little impact on nitrous oxide emissions, which remain minimal following
the summer thaw. Here, we examined the impact of thawing on nitrous oxide
production in permafrost soils collected from a heath and wetland site in
Permafrost coring in Zackenberg, NE Greenland, August 2008. Photo: Hanne H. Christiansen.
The AG-333 student group and its two lecturers at the summit of the mountain Aucellaberget in Zackenberg, August 2008. Photo: Bo Elberling.
thanks to the ten UNIS course AG-333 students for their hard work in obtaining
the permafrost cores studied, and to AG-333 student Louise Berg for laboratory
requests for materials should be addressed to Professor Bo Elberling, Department
of Geography and Geology,