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INTERACTlogoWe are very pleased to announce the next step in our cooperation with the EU 7th framework programme funded infrastructure project INTERACT- International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic.
Last week PAGE21 and INTERACT signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which especially encourages exchange of best practices and creation of synergies in permafrost research.
The INTERACT project, led by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and Prof. Terry Callaghan, is a circumarctic network of 58 terrestrial field bases in northern Europe, Russia, US, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, The faroe Islands and Scotland. The project seeks to build capacity for research and monitoring in the European Arctic and beyond, and is offering access to numerous research stations through its Transnational Access-program.
For PAGE21 this cooperation means enhanced opportunities to conduct internationally coordinated permafrost research in the circumpolar scale and even broaden the geographical scope of activities within the project.

PAGE21 Young Researcher Profile: Isabelle Gouttevin

Today we have a pleasure to introduce one of our PAGE21 young researchers, Isabelle Gouttevin from Joseph Fourier University, located in Grenoble, France.
Isabelle GouttevinName: Isabelle Gouttevin
Institution: UJF – Université Jospeh Fourier, Grenoble (currently at EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland)

Nationality: French
Please describe your research field: 
I belong to the people who try to represent what appends on the Earth's surface through equations fed into a numerical code – in short: modelers.

I work with the French land-surface model ORCHIDEE, which is co-developed between Paris and Grenoble (we are the high-latitude team). During my PhD, I implemented a representation of soil freezing in the hydrological part of ORCHIDEE: this helps reproducing spring flooding over certain areas of the arctic, because of melt water running of the surface of still frozen soils.

Research field (Photo: Isabelle Gouttevin) Aside from the thermal effects of soil freezing (which are huge !), we are also interested in the impact of snow and its time-varying properties on the soil thermal regime (and its link to the carbon cycle).

Snow is something land surface models (but also remote-sensing) struggle to capture with accuracy. In order to learn more about this fragile, beautiful but yet uncooperative component of high-latitude landscapes, I just started a post-doc in the EPFL – CRYOS team, where researchers develop and use a dedicated, very precise snow model: Alpine 3D. Meanwhile, I still work on the ORCHIDEE model...

How it is affiliated with the PAGE21 project / what parts of your research will be a direct input to PAGE21?
I contribute to WP6: model developments and cross validation at the field sites.

What is the current challenge within this topic?
As Sarah pretty well reported in her blog, arctic landscapes are very variable and our model parameterizations are, in comparison, very limited. But worse than that: we often lack the possibility to disentangle the well represented from the more inaccurately represented processes, out of lack of detailed data. Data specifically and intensively acquired at a site, spanning from soil properties to turbulent fluxes, are just a goldmine for modelers: they can understand the strengths and weaknesses of their model, and come up for better parameterizations... This is just what a modeler dreams about!
How did it happen that you became a researcher?
It was simple: I just cannot figure out anything else to do. It is the job that blends my curiosity, eagerness to understand, love to write, communicate, and meet nice people, and ambition to keep my brain working a little bit -- besides being compatible with my lousy life habits.

Why do you like being the researcher?
See above

What do you like most in being a researcher?
Meeting nice, interesting, dedicated people for whom research is just a way of life, as natural as breathing.

How a typical working day looks like?
Code.. bugs..., discussions, solution.. arghh, no... let's have a coffee...!
Modeler question: What are the challenges for modelers?
Incorporate arctic-relevant processes (like thermokarst ponds, ice-rich permafrost..), that can affect even the magnitude of projected climate change, in a way that is still coherent with the scale of application of the models, eg. rather coarse scale. And this is not so easy !
Usual response when you tell somebody that you are researcher in the field of modeling?
They just call me geek... might be partially true, though !
Answered by Isabelle

Permafrost in EU Horizon Magazine

horizon 5284d78f98fd9MPG Hamburg Pricipal Investigator Dr. Stefan Hagemann was featured yesterday in the Horizon, the EU Research & Innovation Magazine in an article titled: "Thawing permafrost could release vast carbon deposits, diseases".
The article explains the importance and relevance of permafrost thaw to climate change and lists efforts undertaken to measure and predict the quantity of the thaw and its impact on climate change.
More articles from the Horizon can be found at

AGU Fall Meeting coming up

agu-logo-blueThe 46th American Geophysical Union's annual Fall Meeting will be held in San Francisco 9.-13. December.
More than 22,000 earth and space scientists, educators and students gather to present research and connect with colleagues.
The PAGE21 project and the scientific outcomes from the project so far are presented in various sessions in this years meeting.
AWI as the Coordinator has been invited to present the PAGE21 project in the session "Integration of International Arctic Research Programs and Data Streams From Polar Observatories, User Facilities, Data Collection Networks, and Field Campaigns II" on Wednesday December 11. Julia Boike will present the project.
She will also give a presention in a session "Hydrological Response to Climate Change in Permafrost Regions I" with a title "It's all about water: from small scale hydrologic processes in ice wedge polygonal tundra and thermokarst lakes to larger scale river runoff (Lena River Delta, Siberia)"
Ko Van Huissteden from VUA will also present the PAGE21 project at a meeting of the Permafrost Carbon RCN meeting on Sunday, December 8th. In addition, Ko will give a presentation with a title "Rapid thaw pond formation in Northeast Siberia transfers permafrost carbon to the atmosphere" in the session "Vulnerability of Permafrost semenax wiki Carbon to Climate Change I". You can find his abstract in the abstract section on our website here.

In addition, at least the following PAGE21 members will be presenting their research at AGU:

Shushi Peng from LGGE will give a presentation with a title "Simulated permafrost soil thermal dynamics during 1960-2009 in eight offline processed-based models" in the session "Vulnerability of Permafrost Carbon to Climate Change II".
Gustaf Hugelius from SU presents his research under a title "Assessing uncertainties in circumpolar permafrost carbon maps by comparing them to local scale studies" on Monday December 8 in a session "Vulnerability of Permafrost Carbon to Climate Change III"
Sarah Chadburn from UNEXE presents latest modelling outcomes in a poster titled "The effect of arctic mosses on the simulation of permafrost by the JULES land surface model" in the session on "Modeling of the Cryosphere: Energy and Mass Balance of Snow, Ice, and Permafrost I Posters"
Mathias Goeckede from MPG presents the research in Northeast Siberia in a poster titled "Long-term effects of drainage disturbance on the carbon cycle processes within a tussock tundra ecosystem in Northeast Siberia" in a session "Vulnerability of Permafrost Carbon to Climate Change IV Posters" on

Winter Blog: Cherskii 2013 ´´Flux measurement in winter´´

Chamber measurement in winter time (with evolving sledge)  Tuesday, 3rd of December 2013
When we were planning to come to Cherskii for fall/winter flux measurements, many people asked us if the permafrost ecosystem would be active in the fall/winter, i.e. whether or not any gas emits from soil at below zero degrees.
The short answer is yes, and surprisingly even photosynthesis (CO2 consumption) occurs by some lichen species, even though it was neither observed at very cold temperatures like -30 degrees nor with a thick snow layer on the ground – sunlight will hardly pass through thick layer of snow pack.

Basically the environment observational setup to capture the fluxes is similar at any season, but one big difference that needs to be considered for the measurement strategy in winter season obviously is the presence of snow. To measure flux with chambers, some people remove snow from the ground and measure directly on the ground, while others put chambers on top of snow.
Hotspots for gas emission through “tussock shadow”There are several other indirect methods but these two are widely used. The reason why some people remove snow is that snow can absorb/preserve gases and the flux measured on top of the snow might not represent "real time" flux emitted by the ecosystem (usually the signal is underestimated and delayed). Despite of this, we decided not to remove snow.
The main reason is to not destroy the chamber sites. We have specific chamber locations where some sensors/probes are permanently installed, which we plan to use long-term over the coming years. So if we remove snow, the soil temperature would be different from that of the surrounding environment that is still covered by snow since the snow is very important for insulation.
As a consequence, if wintertime soil temperature changes (drops) because of snow removal, the flux measurements including those within the following seasons, will be affected by different soil processes. Primarily flux (emission rate) can be lower than it should be because of lower temperature. Physical processes can also change the flux pattern – depending on how rapidly it freezes soil or how much the temperature fluctuates over time without insulation. Moreover, one of the objectives of our study is to compare/upscale the chamber data to eddy covariance data, so if we disturb the chamber sites, their representatives for comparing with the eddy data will be poor.
(Photo 1) One very interesting pattern we observed in our data sets so far is the occurrence of higher flux rates in some chamber sites where big tussocks prevent accumulation of a closed snow cover on the ground. These exposed tussock sites appear to be very important pathways for gas exchange with the atmosphere so we are excited to see this variation depending on snow cover among chamber sites. (Photo 2)

One good thing is that the snow depth is not very high in our site so this shallow snow layer is not influencing flux so much. Snow is also changing like sand in desert ecosystems sometimes. Snow was accumulating gradually every day when it snowed and it stayed almost the same for the next days. But one time strong wind blew and the next day all the tracks of sledge and marks of chambers were disappeared. This can also compensate our disturbance while visiting chambers.
Written by Min