Permafrost Carbon Network

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The Permafrost Carbon Network is part of the multi-million dollar Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) project. The SEARCH project, headed by the University of Alaska Fairbanks as the lead institution and Northern Arizona University as one partner, is a system-scale, cross-disciplinary research program that seeks to connect the science of Arctic change to decision makers. The Permafrost Action Team, led by Ted Schuur will, in part, support activities developed by the Permafrost Carbon Network. The network has been successfully running since 2011 and includes more than 300 scientists from 88 research institutions located in 17 countries.

Approximately 1330-1580 Pg of soil carbon are estimated to be stored in soils and permafrost of high latitude ecosystems, which is almost twice as much carbon as is currently contained in the atmosphere. In a warmer world permafrost thawing and decomposition of previously frozen organic carbon is one of the more likely positive feedbacks from terrestrial ecosystems to the atmosphere. Although ground temperature increases in permafrost regions are well documented there is a knowledge gap in the response of permafrost carbon to climate change.


The Permafrost Carbon Network started in 2011 and our main objectives are to synthesize existing research about permafrost carbon and climate ina format that can be assimilated by biospheric and climate models, and that will contribute to future assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Our activities include a series of meetings and working groups designed to synthesize ongoing permafrost carbon research which will produce new knowledge to quantify the role of permafrost carbon in driving climate change in the 21st century and beyond.




Multiple synthesis products have come out of activities of the Permafrost Carbon Network





See here who is leading the Permafrost Carbon Network



More publications can be found here

Burke EJ et al. (2018) CO2 loss by permafrost thawing implies additional emissions reductions to limit warming to 1.5 or 2 °C. Environmental Research Letters, 13, 24024.

Christiansen CT et al. (2018) Long-term deepened snow promotes tundra evergreen shrub growth and summertime ecosystem net CO2 gain, but reduces soil carbon and nutrient pools. Global Change Biology. doi: 10.1111/gcb.14084

Couture NJ et al. (2018) Coastal Erosion of Permafrost Soils Along the Yukon Coastal Plain and Fluxes of Organic Carbon to the Canadian Beaufort Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. doi: 10.1002/2017JG004166

Estop-Aragonés C et al. (2018) Limited release of previously-frozen C and increased new peat formation after thaw in permafrost peatlands. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 118, 115–129.

Dean JF et al. (2018) Abundant pre-industrial carbon detected in Canadian Arctic headwaters: implications for the permafrost carbon feedback. Environmental Research Letters, 13, 34024.

Fuchs M et al. (2018) Carbon and nitrogen pools in thermokarst-affected permafrost landscapes in Arctic Siberia. Biogeosciences, 15, 953–971., 2018

Lara MJ et al. (2018) Reduced arctic tundra productivity linked with landform and climate change interactions. Scientific Reports, 8, 2345. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-20692-8

Parazoo NC et al. (2018) Detecting the permafrost carbon feedback: talik formation and increased cold-season respiration as precursors to sink-to-source transitions. The Cryosphere, 12, 123–144.

Schuster PF et al. (2018) Permafrost Stores a Globally Significant Amount of Mercury. Geophysical Research Letters. doi: 10.1002/2017GL075571

Wild B et al. (2018) Amino acid production exceeds plant nitrogen demand in Siberian tundra. Environmental Research Letters, 13, 34002.




Details on upcoming and past meetings can be found here




The Permafrost Carbon Network engages in scientific and public outreach




The Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database