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 sicentist 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

Andresen CG et al. (2017) Rising plant-mediated methane emissions from arctic wetlands. Global Change Biology, 23, 1128-1139. doi:10.1111/gcb.13469

Celis G et al. (2017) Tundra is a consistent source of CO2 at a site with progressive permafrost thaw during six years of chamber and eddy covariance measurements. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. doi:10.1002/2016JG003671

Chadburn SE et al. (2017) An observation-based constraint on permafrost loss as a function of global warming. Nature Clim. Change, advance online publication.

Commane R et al. (2017) Carbon dioxide sources from Alaska driven by increasing early winter respiration from Arctic tundra. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi: 10.1073/pnas.161856711

Ding J et al. (2017) Decadal soil carbon accumulation across Tibetan permafrost regions. Nature Geosci, advance online publication

Harden JW, Sanderman J, Hugelius G (2017) Soils and the Carbon Cycle. In: International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment and Technology. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. doi: 10.1002/9781118786352.wbieg1124

Koven CD et al. (2017) Higher climatological temperature sensitivity of soil carbon in cold than warm climates. Nature Clim. Change, 7, 817–822. doi:10.1038/nclimate3421

Mauritz M et al. (2017) Non-linear CO2 flux response to seven years of experimentally induced permafrost thaw. Global Change Biology. doi:10.1111/gcb.13661

Parmentier F-JW et al. (2017) A synthesis of the arctic terrestrial and marine carbon cycles under pressure from a dwindling cryosphere. Ambio, 46, 53-69. doi:10.1007/s13280-016-0872-8

Ruppel CD, Kessler JD (2017) The interaction of climate change and methane hydrates. Reviews of Geophysics. doi:10.1002/2016RG000534

Salzmann N, Gärtner-Roer I (2017) Climate Change and Permafrost. In: International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment and Technology. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. doi: 10.1002/9781118786352.wbieg1124

Tarnocai C, Bockheim JG (2017) Soils of Cold and Permafrost-Affected Landscapes. In: International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment and Technology. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. doi: 10.1002/9781118786352.wbieg0563

Vitharana UWA et al. (2017) Observational needs for estimating Alaskan soil carbon stocks under current and future climate. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. doi:10.1002/2016JG003421

Walz J et al. (2017) Regulation of soil organic matter decomposition in permafrost-affected Siberian tundra soils - Impact of oxygen availability, freezing and thawing, temperature, and labile organic matter. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 110, 34-43.

Wilson RM et al. (2017) Greenhouse gas balance over thaw-freeze cycles in discontinuous zone permafrost. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. doi:10.1002/2016JG003600

Xia J et al. (2017) Terrestrial ecosystem model performance in simulating productivity and its vulnerability to climate change in the northern permafrost region. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 122, 430-446. doi:10.1002/2016JG003384

Yu Q et al. (2017) Circumpolar arctic tundra biomass and productivity dynamics in response to projected climate change and herbivory. Global Change Biology. doi:10.1111/gcb.13632

Zhang X et al. (2017) Importance of lateral flux and its percolation depth on organic carbon export in Arctic tundra soil: Implications from a soil leaching experiment. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. doi:10.1002/2016JG003754




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