The Arctic is one of the most climatically sensitive regions on Earth. Global warming in the Arctic is leading to permafrost thaw and thickening of the active layer, microbial decomposition of vulnerable soil organic matter, altered productivity and vegetation migration, and changes in surface and groundwater storage. These changes impact water and carbon cycles, and resources and infrastructure on which the world population depends. Improving the ability to manage and predict Arctic ecosystem functioning requires new approaches to monitor and model complex, multi-scale hydro-biogeochemical processes that occur between bedrock, groundwater, permafrost, soil, ground surface, snow, and vegetation properties.
Our research focuses on developing new inexpensive and ubiquitous sensors, above-and-below ground networked geophysical monitoring strategies, and inversion- and fusion approaches to understand how permafrost systems are changing. Our research into pore-through-landscape scale processes is leading to improvements in understanding and quantifying the permafrost/ice distribution and its relationship with landscape properties, the covariability of permafrost, soil, and vegetation properties, and the influence of the property suites on heat, water, and carbon fluxes.
Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments – Arctic (NGEE-Arctic)