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Expected Impacts

Uncertainties in estimates of below-ground organic carbon and nitrogen in the northern circumpolar region, as well as in their re-mobilization and associated feedbacks to global climate change, are large and result from a broad range of historical, logistical and scientific factors.

These uncertainties relate to the relatively little pedon data available for certain geographic sectors and for the deeper cryoturbated horizons, as well as to the uneven distribution of carbon and nitrogen within the landscape, the large polygon size used for upscaling in soil maps, the inadequate knowledge of carbon quality and lability, the lack of studies on the impact of permafrost processes on the release of these soil organic matter pools, and to the generally crude representations of arctic climate processes in current climate models.

The PAGE21 project will address and better quantify a number of the uncertainties associated with the dynamics of the carbon and nitrogen cycles in permafrost. In particular, the project will result in:

  • a better understanding of the three dimensional  distribution of soil carbon and nitrogen

  • quantitative nature of permafrost processes affecting the size of the carbon and nitrogen pools, the uncertainties caused by the upscaling of field measurements, the seasonal cycle of gas fluxes, the quality and lability of soil organic matter

  • a better understanding of the feedbacks of the Arctic permafrost carbon and nitrogen pools to global climate change.

 

Introduction Project Description - Key Questions