Constraining Uncertainties in the Permafrost-Climate Feedback
COUP is aimed to improve the way climate models deal with permafrost, ground that is frozen all year round.
COUP supported new field campaigns which allowed us to samples soils and describe ecosystems in unique, remote Arctic locations.This includes the first studies of peat-rich mountain soils in NW Canada and discovering a new source of methane from the receding Greenland ice-sheet.
COUP used field data to improve the state-of-the-art CryoGRID permafrost modelthat will form the basis of the next official global permafrost map.
In COUP, we were able to use knowledge from detailed studies and specialised permafrost models to improve the global scale climate model UKESM.New runs with the improved model showed us that the permafrost-carbon feedback is important to consider if we want to reach global warming stabilisation at +1.5 or 2° C.
My name is Gustaf Hugelius and my main scientific interest is the role of soils in the global carbon cycle. I have particularly worked on the carbon cycle in Arctic and Boreal ecosystems. I was the lead principal investigator of COUP. The project provided a unique opportunity to make real progress in our ability to project permafrost changes and the collaborative aspect of the project was a fantastic learning experience for us.
The COUP consortium included participants of different backgrounds and career stages from several institutions. Stockholm University coordinated COUP and led the work on detailed field surveys of soils as well as making new pan-Arctic maps to support model development. The University of Helsinki led the work on high-resolution remote sensing with satellites and field sampling of Arctic vegetation. The University of Copenhagen led work on synthesising field data of greenhouse gas fluxes as well as field work to measure methane fluxes. The University of Eastern Finland led the work on local scale ecosystem modelling and laboratory studies of permafrost soil greenhouse gas fluxes. The University of Vienna led the work studying the composition of permafrost soil and its sensitivity to temperature increases. The University of Oslo led the permafrost modelling. The global modelling and development of global climate models was jointly led by the United Kingdom Met Office, Hadley Centre and the University of Leeds.
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