Arctic regions and climate change effects  Add To Calendar

Speaker: Roser Matamala, Argonne National Laboratory
Host: BassiriRad
  • Date(s): Tuesday, 2/28 12:00 PM to Tuesday, 2/28 1:00 PM
  • Campus Address: 4289 SEL, 840 West Taylor St

Abstract:  To better understand the response of terrestrial ecosystems to changes in climate we need to take a closer look to the combination of factors affecting ecosystem functions, particularly in the Arctic regions. For example, the combined effects of soil forming factors (climate, parent material, organisms, topography and time) determine soil characteristics that impact soil organic matter and its vulnerability to environmental changes. Climate, especially low temperatures, is one of the most influential factors in the formation of northern soils. In the case of Arctic soils, soil formation is greatly influenced by unique cryopedogenic processes driven by the combination of low temperatures, water movement, and freeze-thaw cycles. For example, fresh organic materials can be buried and mixed with mineral soil at depth through the process of cryoturbation produced by frost heave, cracking, and churning. Low temperatures, sometimes coupled with saturated and reducing conditions and/or acidic environments, can also result in greater amounts of relatively fresh soil organic matter than is found in more temperate regions because it is preserved by slowed decomposition rates. Arctic and subarctic soils support a wide variety of vegetative communities including coniferous and deciduous forest, dwarf and low shrubs, and a variety of tundra types and wetlands vulnerable to climate changes. In this presentation I will show how climate warming is causing the arctic and subarctic regions to warm up quicker than any other regions and it is resulting in permafrost degradation, hydrologic changes, and other related disturbances with implications for vegetation cover, animal welfare, and persistence of the organic matter stored in the region’s soils.