Cherskiy

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The Northeast Science Station (NESS), Cherskiy, Russia, located near the Kolyma River, Yakutia (69oN, 161oE), serves as a year-round base for international research in arctic biology, climate change and other fields.  Cherskiy is in a region of forest tundra at the latitudinal treeline 100km south of the Arctic Ocean. The Kolyma is one of five major rivers draining into the Arctic Ocean.

Research sites near the Northeast Science Station are representative of the coastal plain of Northeast Siberia, a one-million km2 area of carbon-rich loess soils (the Yedoma ice complex) that accumulated carbon during the Pleistocene and have gradually been releasing this carbon to the atmosphere and ocean through thawing of soils previously frozen during the Holocene. The ice content of these soils is much greater than that of permafrost soils in North America, and hence the North Siberian landscape is undergoing intense thermokarst erosion (permafrost thaw that results in ground subsidence). Huge amount of carbon yet remain in Yedoma permafrost. Given projections of the complete degradation of surface permafrost by 2100, the release of this carbon as CO2 and CH4 will be an important feedback to global as well as high-latitude warming. There are nearly 20 years of CO2 and CH4 exchange measurements, providing a basis for extrapolating across a series of years with substantial interannual variation in climate.

 

We have established a 35m eddy covariance tower in Pleistocene Park, a 160 km2 extension of the Northeast Science Station located about 20 km south of Cherskiy. The height of this tower is necessary to account for the heterogeneity in landscape and vegetation.  We have been measuring CO2 and CH4 water and energy fluxes at this location since 2008.

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