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Biogeochemistry

Name
Pokrovsky
Surname
Oleg
Scientific organization
CNRS
Academic degree
PhD
Position
Research Director
Scientific discipline
Earth Sciences, Ecology & Environmental Management
Topic
Biogeochemistry
Abstract
Our center studies the climate-regulating role of Siberian wetlands via multidisciplinary approach that combines natural observations, laboratory experiments, and landscape-level modeling. The keywords of our research activity are carbon, green house gases, permafrost, peat, rivers and lakes. Although of mainly academic orientation, the applied component of our research will provide enormous social and economic benefits for the region and beyond.
Keywords
carbon, green house gases, permafrost, peat, rivers, lakes
Summary

The Environmental Context of western Siberia is extremely important  for the biosphere and climate of our planet and highly attractive for Earth scientists for the following four reasons

. In the southern part of western Siberia, the bogs are strong CO2 sink from the atmosphere due to higly productive taiga forest and on-going peat formation

 

  • In the northern, permafrost-bearing part of western Siberia, the bog-lake landscape system contain  a lot of frozen organic carbon that is being released to the atmosphere in the form of methane and CO2. Here, highly abundant thermokarst lakes act as important mediator of CO2 from the frozen peat to the atmosphere.

 

  • Western Siberia contains mostly discontinuous and sporadic permafrost, those temperature is between 0 and -2°C. Unlike usual continuous permafrost, this western siberian permafrost is highly unstable, very vulnerable to even the minor climate warming and can produce significaant environmental and economic effects within the next 1 – 2 decades

 

  • Finally, the Ob river is dramatically different from the other Siberian  and subarctic rivers because of its huge flood zone, the 2nd largest in the world after the Amazon Varzea. This flood zone represent so called HOT SPOT in biogeochemical cycles and essentially controls the flux of carbon and metals to the ocean from the full territory  of western Siberia

 

These environmental factors and processes render western Siberia as absolutely unique indicator of on-going climate change, but it is also strong regulator of CO2/CH4 exchange with the atmosphere.

 

For this reason, we are taking the advantage of our unique geographical location, developed infrastructure and accumulated knowledge to characterize the current status and future changes of western Siberia low land mires.

 

 

What are the main advantages of our research center compared to our scientific groups working in boreal and subarctic region?

  1. We investigate a mega-profile over 2000 km latitude from south to north, located at otherwise similar lithological and orographic context but different climate, vegetataion and permafrost coverage
  2. We always study seasonal dynamics of landscape parameters. To our knowledge, a few research groupss works on these issues in Siberia on year-round basis. To do state of the art research, one has to be located next to the study site.
  3. We investigate rivers bogs and lakes and their full hydrological, biogeochemical and landscape continuum from the soil profile to the estuarine mixing zone
  4. We use modern techniques which provide us a multidisciplinary character: including the expertise of trace metals and non-traditional isotopes; organic chemistry, microbiology, plant science, botany, physicis, limnology and hydrology
  5. Two last but very important aspects of our work is that we combine the natural observations and filed work with state-of-the-art laboratory experiments
  6. And, finally, we are among the few ones who already started large scale biospheric natural manipulation on selected water objects and bog zones.

 

 

Taken together, all this should provide un unprecedented level of prediction of future changes in the hydrosphere and landscapes, based primarily on ground observation combined with modeling and remote sensing techniques.