CR1.5

Rationale: Progressive thawing of permafrost poses a significant threat to the stability of arctic landscapes, and has strong consequences for our climate. To predict the transition of arctic landscapes and its consequence for climate-feedback, we need to understand the dynamics of permafrost thaw. Most climate models assume a gradual, top-down thawing of permafrost, resulting in gradual decomposition of carbon and enhanced plant growth (“Arctic Greening”). However, evidence of an alternative, abrupt thawing trajectory of permafrost (“Arctic Browning”) is currently increasing across the Arctic. Consequences for landscape stability and climate feedback diverge widely between these trajectories, which emphasizes the need to understand their triggers.

Aim: In this session we aim to bring together and integrate the state-of the art on the future development of permafrost ecosystems from various disciplinary backgrounds. Thereby, we hope to improve our understanding of (i) the anticipated occurrence of various thaw phenomena under global warming, (ii) the implications of these various thaw phenomena for permafrost ecosystems and (iii) the implications of various thaw phenomena for climate feedbacks.

We have compiled an exiting programme covering mechanisms, processes and fluxes at different spatial scales, from landscape to microbe. Contributions come from accross all permafrost regions from a wide range of research institutes.

The session will be started of by professor Merritt Turetsky (incoming Director, INSTAAR at the University of Colorado Boulder) on our current knowledge and the main research gaps related to the cross-scale impacts of abrupt thaw phenomena, from local-scale changes that affect water and food security to carbon emissions and global climate. She will also discuss how permafrost thaw is interacting with other disturbance regimes such as wildfire.

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Co-organized by BG1
Convener: Juul Limpens | Co-conveners: Rúna MagnússonECSECS, Gabriela Schaepman-Strub
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| Attendance Tue, 05 May, 16:15–18:00 (CEST)

Rationale: Progressive thawing of permafrost poses a significant threat to the stability of arctic landscapes, and has strong consequences for our climate. To predict the transition of arctic landscapes and its consequence for climate-feedback, we need to understand the dynamics of permafrost thaw. Most climate models assume a gradual, top-down thawing of permafrost, resulting in gradual decomposition of carbon and enhanced plant growth (“Arctic Greening”). However, evidence of an alternative, abrupt thawing trajectory of permafrost (“Arctic Browning”) is currently increasing across the Arctic. Consequences for landscape stability and climate feedback diverge widely between these trajectories, which emphasizes the need to understand their triggers.

Aim: In this session we aim to bring together and integrate the state-of the art on the future development of permafrost ecosystems from various disciplinary backgrounds. Thereby, we hope to improve our understanding of (i) the anticipated occurrence of various thaw phenomena under global warming, (ii) the implications of these various thaw phenomena for permafrost ecosystems and (iii) the implications of various thaw phenomena for climate feedbacks.

We have compiled an exiting programme covering mechanisms, processes and fluxes at different spatial scales, from landscape to microbe. Contributions come from accross all permafrost regions from a wide range of research institutes.

The session will be started of by professor Merritt Turetsky (incoming Director, INSTAAR at the University of Colorado Boulder) on our current knowledge and the main research gaps related to the cross-scale impacts of abrupt thaw phenomena, from local-scale changes that affect water and food security to carbon emissions and global climate. She will also discuss how permafrost thaw is interacting with other disturbance regimes such as wildfire.

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