Young researchers meet to address rising threats of climate change on permafrost
Fifty young researchers from thirteen countries around the world will meet for three days (Nov. 29 – Dec. 2, 2007) in Saint-Petersburg to learn more about the latest permafrost research methods and to discuss future plans to address climate change issues in permafrost areas.
Permafrost underlies up to 20% of the world land surface and is highly sensitive to changes in air temperatures. Large parts of the world’s uppermost permafrost are likely to disappear with increasing global air temperatures. This can lead to the release of additional greenhouse gases (in the form of carbon dioxide and the more powerful greenhouse gas methane) to the atmosphere from carbon pools that are currently stored in the permafrost. In addition permafrost degradation will pose threats on infrastructure built on frozen ground. Paradoxically, permafrost temperature evolution is relatively unknown and global approaches to monitor ground temperatures are lacking. The location of permafrost areas in often remote areas of the Arctic and the Antarctic makes it a challenge to provide a clear picture of the impacts of the global warming on areas underlain by permafrost.
The workshop aims to provide an insight in the latest techniques and methods used in permafrost research in fields as diverse as biology, geology, greenhouse gases measurements, submarine permafrost detection, etc. It brings together experts from the USA, Germany, Switzerland and Russia to provide young investigators with a multidisciplinary and trans-border perspective on permafrost research, a much-needed approach. Young permafrost researchers will carry the responsibility of assessing the impacts of a warming permafrost until the next International Polar Year (2032). A large new project involving young Researchers, PYRN Thermal State of Permafrost, drilling boreholes to establish temperature records will be presented at the workshop.
The workshop is organized by the Otto-Schmidt Labor for Polar and Marine Research in Saint-Petersburg, the Permafrost Young Researchers Network, the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists, and the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in Saint-Petersburg. This is the largest workshop ever organized to bring together the new generation of young permafrost scientists in phase with the issues raised by the IPCC. It is a major highlight of the ongoing International Polar Year.
The workshop is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Leibniz Institute for marine science IFM-GEOMAR, Kiel, Germany, International Arctic Research Centre, Fairbanks, USA, the International Permafrost Association, Thermal State of Permafrost Norway, and the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research.