An important component of the cryosphere is permafrost. The DKC plays a prominent role in permafrost research, and through multifaceted collaboration we seek to bridge the gap between local field studies on one side and circumpolar model assessments on the other.
In close cooperation with scientists from Greenland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, the USA and Russia, the DKC addresses aspects of changes in permafrost. For this approach, very high resolution regional climate model simulations are necessary, and the DMI has pioneered this approach by conducting simulations at the unprecedented resolution of 4 km. Detailed high resolution assessments of changes in permafrost have been made for several regions in Russia, Alaska and Greenland.
Temperatures at 2 m depth. Blue areas are permafrost, while red areas denote thawing permafrost or seasonally frozen soil. Data from a 4 km x 4 km HIRHAM5 run over north-eastern European Russia. Conducted at the DKC in the framework of the Carbo-North project and used to drive a dedicated permafrost model (GIPL-2, University of Alaska Fairbanks) at the same resolution. For 1980-1999 (left) and 2080-2099 (right), scenario A1B. Figure courtesy: Sergei Marchenko, University of Alaska Fairbanks
The high resolution output of HIRHAM is used to drive a dedicated permafrost model, GIPL from the University of Fairbanks. In addition, there are also several initiatives aiming to add a permafrost module to the HIRHAM model. Recent results show that large amounts of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane) from partly decomposed organic material might be released if the frozen ground thaws.