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Tundra degradation in the Russian Arctic


TUNDRA (TUNdra Degradation in the Russian Arctic) is a multi-disciplinary research project that studies global change in the Russian Arctic. It consists of a West-European component (this proposal) and a Russian component (summary only). The West-European component, planned over three years (proposed starting date is January 1998), will assess possible feedbacks from the Russian Arctic to the global climate system through changes in greenhouse gas emissions and in freshwater input to the Arctic Ocean. This component has a clear 'European Dimension' since feedback processes originating in the Russian Arctic might affect the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the strength of the northern branches of the Atlantic Gulf Stream, with direct repercussions for the climate in WestEurope. The Russian component is planned as a series of INTAS (or other) proposals, with a duration of up to two years, that will address research issues in the Russian Arctic which have a more regional dimension. What follows is a short description of the West-European component of TUNDRA.
The area selected for TUNDRA studies, the Usa Basin in the East-European Russian Arctic, includes major ecotones (e.g. Arctic and alpine treelines, southern limits of discontinuous and continuous permafrost) and industrial pollution gradients (especially from oil, gas and coal exploitation). Individual research groups of the project will study 1 ) climate change and the carbon cycle, 2) climate change and the hydrological cycle, and 3) industrial pollution and social awareness. The latter group will assess how pollution might affect ecosystem function, and how human attitudes could change environmental legislation and its implementation. Research groups will develop base-case scenarios that include preindustrial natural variability, validate their finds with detailed analyses at four selected field sites, and subsequently develop future global change scenarios.
All research groups address relevant issues within their field of science. The innovative strength of this project lies in the integrative approach for all studies. Cooperation among partners is enhanced by working at four selected field sites as part of a nested catchment experiment for the Usa Basin. Research efforts are closely linked by addressing different aspects of the same two key topics, i.e. the carbon cycle and the water cycle under climatic and socio-economic forcings. All research groups will make use of the same Geographical Information System (GIS, ARC-INFO software) and work at the same scale for the entire Usa Basin (1:1.000.000) and the four selected field sites (1:100.000) warranting compatibility and exchangeability of data. Additionally, this approach is cost effective by sharing materials (e.g. Iow and high resolution satellite imagery) and field logistics (e.g. helicopter time). The ultimate goal is to obtain net fluxes for carbon and water from an Arctic catchment under base-case and global change scenarios.
Results of this research project will be published in internationally recognised scientific journals.
In addition, popular progress and final reports will be prepared both in English and Russian explaining the main results and significance of the study to West-European communities and to local inhabitants of the region. Two international workshops are planned for all participants in the project, Russian colleagues from the Ecological Centre on Study and Protection of the East-European Tundra (ECET), Syktyvkar and the Komi Science Centre, Syktyvkar, and other scientists from Russia, West-Europe and North-America that are carrying out related studies in other areas of the Arctic. A CD-ROM will be produced that includes all layers of the common GIS data base developed for the Usa Basin.
Keywords: Arctic, European Russia, global change, feedbacks, climate, pollution, land-use, social awareness, water cycle, carbon cycle

Call for proposal

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Pohjoisranta 4
96101 Rovaniemi

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EU contribution
€ 0,00

Participants (11)