Exchange of carbon gas fluxes over low arctic tundra

Regions: North Slave Region

Tags: physical sciences, active layer, climatology, greenhouse gases

Principal Investigator: Lafleur, Peter M (14)
Licence Number: 15339
Organization: Trent University
Licenced Year(s): 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2007 2005 2004
Issued: Sep 20, 2013
Project Team: Elyn Humphreys (Investigator, Carleton U), Michael Treberg (Technician, Carleton U), Mary-Claire Buell (student researcher, Trent U), Le Ge (student researcher, Trent U), Robbie Hember (Technical assistant, U Victoria), Sean Arruda (student researcher, Trent U), Claire Elliott (student researcher, Carleton U)

Objective(s): To study the exchange of important greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane) between tundra surfaces and the atmosphere.

Project Description: The research team intends to study how important greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and methane, are exchanged between tundra surfaces and the atmosphere. They will measure these exchanges over various tundra types and relate them to environmental variables such as soil properties and weather, in hopes of understanding more about how future climate change will impact the land surface and how these impacts might influence the climate itself.

This research is part of a long-term study of tundra-atmosphere interactions at Daring Lake. The primary platform for measuring the CO2 exchange is an eddy covariance tower, which has been established for the past several summers at an upland tundra site and in a wet sedge fen, and occasionally at a shrub site. These towers measure concentrations of the carbon gases in the atmosphere, wind and other meteorological variables, as well as soil temperatures and moisture. The tower equipment runs automatically and is visited a few times a week for data retrieval and maintenance. Daily (or weekly) measurements to vegetation growth and active layer depth (i.e., seasonal permafrost thawing) are made around each of the sites. There is virtually no disturbance of the surrounding tundra. As well, the research team measure CO2 from small (0.5 x 0.5 m) plots on various tundra communities using a manual chamber system. These measurements help us understand how the small-scale heterogeneity of the tundra vegetation influences the tower measurements. In addition, these measurements support the tower flux measurements, especially the new CH4 eddy flux tower equipment that was test run in 2009 and will be operated in future years. Some vegetation plots (5 per location) are manipulated by clipping the vegetation in order to measure the soil only component of the flux and to measure total biomass and leaf area index. These measurements are conducted weekly and confined to small patches of tundra not far from the towers. Water in the soil and movement of water in streams and overland flow will be measured to examine if carbon (as a dissolved gas or in particulate form) is moving between tundra environments. The measurements will take place between late April and end of September, encompassing the summer growing period.

Daring Lake Research Station hosts an annual 'Science Camp' for NWT high school students. Each year this group assists the camp by giving demonstrations of the research and tours of the sites and experiments. Members of the research group have been involved with this activity for the past several years and they look forward to participating in the future. As well, on occasion members of the group have given public lectures in Yellowknife while traveling to and from the site.
Copies of any papers that result from this research will be forwarded to the Aurora Research Institute. The team are happy to provide information to any communities or other groups wishing information on the research upon request and will give presentations when and where possible.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from September, 19, 2013 to December 31, 2013.