Biogeochemical Cycling in the
Arctic Terrestrial Ecosystem,
Permafrost and Periglacial Regions
The tundra and forest ecosystems in the pan-Arctic region are thought to be impacted by global warming and the resulting degradation of the permafrost. However, insufficient observation data exists to provide evidence for the response of ecosystems to permafrost degradation, and the full picture of the terrestrial interaction system, which is required to conduct future prediction, has not yet been identified.
As member nations in the Arctic Council (AC) move to enhance observation in the Arctic region in recent years, Japan, as an observer country, is expected to play a key role by utilizing the observation stations in AC member nations and providing practical scientific knowledge to governments of AC nations, the Council’s working groups, and local residents.
This research program will focus on changes in tundra and forest ecosystems and the melting of permafrost and retreat of alpine glaciers with the objective of elucidating the actual state of the material cycle, primarily that of greenhouse gases.
In particular, there is insufficient understanding of the actual state of phenomena such as biodiversity and carbon fixation functions, changes in soil microflora in permafrost terrain and their interaction with vegetation, and the material cycle process associated with the melting of subsurface ice and glaciers. We have established three sub-programs under which we will conduct new field observations while utilizing long-term observation data and remote sensing data to elucidate the actual state of the material cycle.
The findings of the program will deepen understanding of material cycles in the pan-Arctic region, particularly that of carbon, and its effect on warming, as well as contribute to the sophistication of ecosystem and earth system modelling. We also hope that the knowledge we obtain through advancement of observation models to be reflected in reports issued by organizations such as International Arctic Scientific Committee (IASC) and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).