Monday, October 19, 2015

Raising Temperatures on the Tundra…

The NGEE Arctic project is interested in the fate of active layer soils and permafrost as it potentially warms in the coming century. So far, however, few manipulative studies have experimentally controlled in situ temperatures in the tundra. Intended to address specific hypotheses, scientists working on the NGEE Arctic project from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) have developed a small linear heater that once inserted into the active layer can be monitored and controlled to warm soils and permafrost to 4-5 oC above ambient. The approach was deployed at our Barrow field sites in early 2015 and evaluated throughout the season. Ori Chaffe and Bryan Curtis are busy this week monitoring system performance and conducting flux measurements. The team has a lot of data to analyze, but preliminary results look encouraging both in terms of magnitude of warming, temperature profiles with depth, and the monitored consequences of warming for CO2 and CH4 flux.

Margaret Torn, soil ecologist at LBNL will be talking about the technique and its impact of greenhouse gas emissions at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco, CA.