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

Abbott BW et al. (2016) Biomass offsets little or none of permafrost carbon release from soils, streams, and wildfire: an expert assessment. Environmental Research Letters, 11, 034014.

Beer C (2016) Permafrost Sub-grid Heterogeneity of Soil Properties Key for 3-D Soil Processes and Future Climate Projections. Frontiers in Earth Science, 4. doi:10.3389/feart.2016.00081

Bracho R et a. (2016) Temperature sensitivity of organic matter decomposition of permafrost-region soils during laboratory incubations. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 97, 1-14. doi:10.1016/j.soilbio.2016.02.008

Cao X et al. (2016) Novel insights from NMR spectroscopy into seasonal changes in the composition of dissolved organic matter exported to the Bering Sea by the Yukon River. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta, 181, 72-88. doi:10.1016/j.gca.2016.02.029

Ding J et al. (2016) The permafrost carbon inventory on the Tibetan Plateau: a new evaluation using deep sediment cores. Global Change Biology. doi:10.1111/gcb.13257

Grosse G, Goetz SJ, McGuire AD, Romanovsky VE, Schuur EAG (2016) Changing permafrost in a warming world and feedbacks to the Earth system. Environmental Research Letters, 11, 040201.

Hagemann S, Blome T, Ekici A, Beer C (2016) Soil-frost-enabled soil-moisture–precipitation feedback over northern high latitudes. Earth Syst. Dynam., 7, 611-625. doi:10.5194/esd-7-611-2016

Harp DR et al. (2016) Effect of soil property uncertainties on permafrost thaw projections: a calibration-constrained analysis. The Cryosphere, 10, 341-358. doi:10.5194/tc-10-341-2016

Hicks Pries CE, Schuur EAG, Natali SM, Crummer KG (2016) Old soil carbon losses increase with ecosystem respiration in experimentally thawed tundra. Nature Clim. Change, 6, 214-218. doi:10.1038/nclimate2830

Jafarov E, Schaefer K (2016) The importance of a surface organic layer in simulating permafrost thermal and carbon dynamics. The Cryosphere, 10, 465-475. doi:10.5194/tc-10-465-2016

Jones MC et al. (2016) Rapid carbon loss and slow recovery following permafrost thaw in boreal peatlands. Global Change Biology. doi:10.1111/gcb.13403

Kim Y, Park S-J, Lee B-Y, Risk D (2016) Continuous measurement of soil carbon efflux with Forced Diffusion (FD) chambers in a tundra ecosystem of Alaska. Science of the Total Environment, 566–567, 175-184. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.05.052

McGuire AD et al. (2016) Variability in the sensitivity among model simulations of permafrost and carbon dynamics in the permafrost region between 1960 and 2009. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. doi:10.1002/2016GB005405

Parazoo NC et al. (2016) Detecting regional patterns of changing CO2 flux in Alaska. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113, 7733-7738. doi:10.1073/pnas.1601085113

Peng S et al. (2016) Simulated high-latitude soil thermal dynamics during the past 4 decades. The Cryosphere, 10, 179-192. doi:10.5194/tc-10-179-2016

Salmon VG et al. (2016) Nitrogen availability increases in a tundra ecosystem during five years of experimental permafrost thaw. Global Change Biology. doi: 10.1111/gcb.13204

Schädel C et al. (2016) Potential carbon emissions dominated by carbon dioxide from thawed permafrost soils. Nature Clim. Change, advance online publication.

Schaefer K, Jafarov E (2016) A parameterization of respiration in frozen soils based on substrate availability. Biogeosciences, 13, 1991-2001. doi:10.5194/bg-13-1991-2016

Treat CC, Wollheim W, M., Varner R, K., Bowden W, B. (2016) Longer thaw seasons increase nitrogen availability for leaching during fall in tundra soils. Environmental Research Letters, 11, 064013.

Webb E et al. (2016) Increased wintertime CO2 loss as a result of sustained tundra warming. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. doi:10.1002/2014JG002795

Wild B et al. (2016) Plant-derived compounds stimulate the decomposition of organic matter in arctic permafrost soils. Scientific Reports, 6, 25607. doi:10.1038/srep25607

Wik M, Varner RK, Anthony KW, MacIntyre S, Bastviken D (2016) Climate-sensitive northern lakes and ponds are critical components of methane release. Nature Geosci,doi:10.1038/ngeo2578

Xue K et al. (2016) Tundra soil carbon is vulnerable to rapid microbial decomposition under climate warming. Nature Clim. Change, advance online publication

Yang Z, Wullschleger SD, Liang L, Graham DE, Gu B (2016) Effects of warming on the degradation and production of low-molecular-weight labile organic carbon in an Arctic tundra soil. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 95, 202-211. doi:10.1016/j.soilbio.2015.12.022

Zhu D et al. (2016) Simulating soil organic carbon in yedoma deposits during the Last Glacial Maximum in a land surface model. Geophysical Research Letters, 43, 5133-5142. doi:10.1002/2016GL068874




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