Year of selection 2012
Institution Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
The risks of a warming Arctic include more than melting ice. The landscape of the region, dominated by permafrost, or permanently frozen soil, holds twice as much carbon as the Earth’s atmosphere currently contains. Mathias Göckede’s research looks at the stability of this enormous carbon pool under present and future conditions. How will global climate change affect carbon reservoirs that have been locked away for millennia in frozen soils? His goal is to understand the precise environmental factors influencing the exchange of both CO2 and methane gas between ecosystems and the atmosphere – across the Arctic and over time.
To understand the permafrost carbon cycle, Dr. Göckede not only makes atmospheric observations, but studies the biology, geology, hydrology, and more, of the mechanisms underlying the entire ecosystem. With state-of-the-art analytical tools, he aims to pin down how these different influences interact, allowing a more accurate representation of the sustainability of permafrost ecosystems under future climate change scenarios. By reducing the uncertainty, this improvement could well help us mitigate and adapt to climate change.
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