FiWER- The effect of climate change on CO2, N2O and CH4 dynamics and ecosystem processes in Russian tundra (Finnish Warming Experiment in Russia)

Principal investigator: Assoc. Prof. Christina Biasi

Funding period: 2011-2015 (UEF strategic funding)










Higher temperatures predicted for the Arctic will drastically change the structure and functioning of tundra biome. The fate of carbon and nitrogen in tundra soils is of particular interest, since increased release of these elements from permafrost soils undergoing thawing as greenhouse gases may act as a significant positive feedback to global warming. At the same time, warming increases the plant productivity and carbon sink to arctic vegetation. Recently, it has been shown that unvegetated peat surfaces on permafrost peatlands have high emissions of nitrous oxide, a strong greenhouse gas, and that permafrost thawing can induce emissions of this trace gas also from other arctic soils.

This project aims at better understanding carbon and nitrogen cycling in different tundra soil and vegetation types as affected by warming and permafrost thawing. The overall objective is to show how climate warming affects the exchange of the entity of three most important GHGs (CO2, N2O, CH4) and the underlying processes in fragmented tundra landscape. A major aim is to produce knowledge, which is currently lacking, on the effects of warming and concomitant changes in permafrost thawing depth/hydrology on the production and emissions of N2O in tundra landscape. Warming effects on greenhouse gas emissions, soil microbial processes and arctic vegetation will be studied in the field and in the laboratory conditions using advanced methods, e.g. stable isotope techniques. At the Seida field site in Komi Republic, Russia an in-situ warming experiment is carried out using open top chambers. The field experiments will be supported by a set of laboratory experiments investigating effects of thawing on organic matter mineralization and GHG production.