Quantifying carbon fluxes and budgets of boreal forest-tundra landscapes under the influence of rapidly changing permafrost regimes
Principal Investigator: Sonnentag, Oliver (13)
Licence Number: 15604
Organization: Université de Montréal
Licenced Year(s): 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Issued: Feb 15, 2015

Objective(s): To examine the net effect of permafrost thawing-induced biophysical and biogeochemical feedbacks to the climate system in the discontinuous and continuous permafrost zones.

Project Description: This project will address the following questions:
1) What is the effect of permafrost thawing-induced biophysical and biogeochemical feedbacks on the climate system?
2) How do these two types of feedback differ between the discontinuous and continuous permafrost zones?
3) Is the observed carbon flux measurements in tundra sites in the continuous permafrost zone generalizable to boreal forest and peatland ecosystems with discontinuous and continuous permafrost?
4) Do the net ecosystem CO2 and CH4 exchanges of boreal forest and peatland ecosystems with different permafrost zones respond differently to higher/lower precipitation inputs than, for example, thawing/growing season lengths?

Data will be collected from two existing micrometeorological towers operated at Havikpak Creek and at Trail Valley Creek. Each tower has an eddy covariance system with a three-dimensional sonic anemometer to measure wind velocities, an open-path gas analyzer for carbon dioxide, water vapour concentrations and an open-path gas analyzer for methane concentrations. The data collected by these instruments allow for the calculation of carbon fluxes between the landscape and the atmosphere. These continuous measurements are complemented by repeated surveys of surface and frost table topography, vegetation, micrometeorological and environmental conditions.

Our understanding of the vulnerability of the boreal forest and tundra ecosystem permafrost landscapes to climate change is still insufficient. This research will help to further explore this area.

The research results will be presented informally in public meetings to local communities and to local federal and territorial government agencies.


The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from April 15, 2015 to November 15, 2015.