Skip to main content



Explore more of Isaaffik

Inter-annual variability of CO2 exchange in a discontinuous permafrost ecosystem (Disko, Greenland)

13.30-14.15. Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Øster Voldgade 10, Rød Stue, area 6, 1. Floor

Inter-annual variability of CO2 exchange in a discontinuous permafrost ecosystem (Disko, Greenland)

Alistair McConnel, PhD Student, GEO/CENPERM

Ecosystems with underlying permafrost cover nearly 25% of the ice-free land area in the northern hemisphere and store almost half of the global soil carbon. Future climate changes are predicted to have the most pronounced effect in northern latitudes. These Arctic ecosystems are therefore subject to dramatic changes following thawing of permafrost, glacial retreat, and coastal erosion. The most dramatic effect of permafrost thawing is the accelerated decomposition and potential mobilization of organic matter stored in the permafrost. This will impact global climate through the mobilization of carbon and nitrogen accompanied by release of greenhouses gases, including carbon dioxide.

I will present the initial (rough) findings, future plans to integrate remote sensing, and the first full annual carbon (CO2) budget, derived from eddy covariance measurements, for an Arctic landscape in West Greenland. The study site, a terrestrial Arctic maritime climate, is located at Østerlien, near Qeqertarsuaq, on the southern coast of Disko Island in central West Greenland (69° 15’ N, 53° 34’ W) within the transition zone from continuous to discontinuous permafrost. The mean annual air temperature is -5 C and the annual precipitation as rain is 150–200 mm.

Arctic ecosystem feedback mechanisms and processes interact on micro, local and regional scales. This is further complicated by several potential feedback mechanisms likely to occur in permafrost-affected ecosystems, involving the interactions of microorganisms, vegetation and soil. The eddy covariance method allows us to interrogate the processes and drivers of land-atmosphere carbon exchange at extremely high temporary frequency (10 Hz), providing landscape-scale measurements of CO2, H2O and heat fluxes for the site, which are processed to derive daily, monthly and now, annual carbon fluxes. I will present inter/intra- annual variability in the exchange of CO2 from an area of discontinuous permafrost and discuss the controlling factors, and present an annual carbon budget demonstrating that there was a net uptake of carbon by the ecosystem for the 2013-2014 year.Welcome – no registration is necessary

Welcome – no registration is necessary