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Saturday, 30 December 2006 10:16
CAPP: Carbon Pools in Permafrost RegionsWritten by Administrator
The CAPP (Carbon Pools in Permafrost Regions) Project is an initiative of IPA (International Permafrost Association) as well as IPY (International Polar Year). The overall aims of the IPA-CAPP Project are to assess below-ground organic matter quantity and quality along ecoclimatic and edaphic gradients in high latitude and high altitude regions characterized by the presence of isolated to continuous permafrost. The longer-term plan of IPA-CAPP is to contribute and initiate new research activities at up to 10-12 high latitude transects in the Northern Hemisphere representing the range of ecoclimatic and permafrost regions, complemented by 2 transects in the sub-Antarctic and Antarctic regions, and additional altitudinal transects in high alpine environments. Intensive study sites along transects will permit to investigate the allocation of below-ground carbon in the landscape, comparing quantity and quality between different permafrost settings. Within the context of IPY 2007-2009, the IPY-CAPP Project (#373), in close cooperation with the IPA CWG (Cryosol Working Group), the European Commission JRC (Joint Research Centre) in Ispra (Italy) and the Global Carbon Project, is preparing an important update of the Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database. The total carbon pool for the northern circumpolar permafrost region is now estimated at 496 PgC for 0–100 cm depth and 1024 PgC for 0–300 cm depth. If deeper deltaic and loess deposits are included the total is estimated at 1672 PgC (Charles Tarnocai et al., in prep.). These are indeed very large amounts, which represent about twice the total amount of carbon in the atmosphere and about three times the total amount of carbon in the forest biomass of the World ! An Atlas of Northern Circumpolar Soil was recently produced (Arwyn Jones et al., Eds., European Commission, 2008). New CAPP related research is presently underway in Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia and Russia.
Text and images submitted by Peter Kuhry, Stockholm University
Photo 1. Peat plateau with thaw lakes (Russian Arctic). The peat plateau contains thick peat deposits that are formed of almost pure organic matter and are permanently frozen (©Photo, Peter Kuhry)
Photo 2. A collapse scar resulting from the melting of buried ice. The peat deposit can now start to decompose rapidly, producing both carbon dioxide and methane gases (©Photo, Peter Kuhry)
Photo 3. Peat erosion along the edges of thaw lakes, which accelerates the thawing of the permafrost and the production of greenhouse gases (©Photo, Peter Kuhry)
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