EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Towards the first circumarctic N2O budget – Extrapolating to the landscape scale

Lona van Delden1, Maija Marushchak1,2, Carolina Voigt3, Guido Grosse4, Alexey Faguet5, Nikolay Lashchinskiy5,6, Johanna Kerttula1, and Christina Biasi1
Lona van Delden et al.
  • 1University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland (
  • 2Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
  • 3Department of Geography, University of Montréal, Montréal, Canada
  • 4Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Potsdam, Germany
  • 5Trofimuk Institute for Petroleum Geology and Geophysics, SB RAS, Russia
  • 6Central Siberian Botanical Garden SB RAS, Novosibirsk, Russia

The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the globe. While it has been increasingly highlighted that thawing permafrost accelerates soil organic matter decomposition, research on biogeochemical N cycling is still underrepresented. Arctic nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions have long been assumed to have a negligible climatic impact but recently increasing evidence has emerged of N2O hotspots in the Arctic. Even in small amounts, N2O has the potential to contribute to climate change due to it being nearly 300 times more potent at radiative forcing than CO2. Therefore, the ‘NOCA’ project aims to establish the first circumarctic N2O budget. Following intensive N2O flux sampling campaigns at primary sites within Northern Russia and soil N2O concentration measurements from secondary sites across the Arctic, we are now entering the phase of spatial extrapolation. Challenges to overcome are the small-scale heterogeneity of the landscape and incorporating small features that can function as N2O hotspots. Therefore, as a first step in upscaling the N2O fluxes, high resolution imagery is needed. We show here novel high-resolution 3D imagery from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which will be used to upscale N2O fluxes from plot to landscape scale by linking ground-truth N2O measurements to vegetation maps. This approach will first be applied to the East cliff of Kurungnakh Island in the Lena River Delta of North Siberia and is based on 2019 sampling campaign data. Kurungnakh Island is characterized by ice- and organic-rich Yedoma permafrost that is thawed by fluvial thermo-erosion forming retrogressive thaw slumps in various stages of activity. Overall, 20 sites were sampled along the cliff and inland, covering the significant topographic and vegetative characteristics of the landscape. The data from this scale will provide the basis for extrapolating, by using a stepwise upscaling approach, to the regional and finally circumarctic scale, allowing a first rough estimate of the current climate impact of N2O emissions from permafrost affected soils. Available international circumarctic data from this and past projects will be synthesized with an Arctic N2O database under development for use in future ecosystem and process-based climate model simulations.   

How to cite: van Delden, L., Marushchak, M., Voigt, C., Grosse, G., Faguet, A., Lashchinskiy, N., Kerttula, J., and Biasi, C.: Towards the first circumarctic N2O budget – Extrapolating to the landscape scale, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-14347,, 2020


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