Understanding the fate and response of soil carbon to climate change in the Arctic

Climate change is responsible for rising temperatures in high latitude areas, in particular the Arctic circle. This causes permafrost to thaw and water to drain from Arctic peatlands and creates favourable conditions for microorganisms to thrive. These microorganisms then decompose soil organic materials which, in turn, produce higher carbon dioxide emissions.

This project will measure emissions of two greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), and find the factors that influence them, such as the temperature of peat soil, water content, acidity and the depth of the permafrost. Greenhouse gas measurements will be taken using a field infra-red gas analyser and the project will deepen our understanding of how carbon is lost from Arctic peats as the climate changes.


Dr Donatella Zona

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences


Jonathan Leake

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences