#ICOScapes | Zackenberg Fen (Greenland) | Greenhouse gas observations

Zackenberg Research Station is very far away from everything else. It’s almost 500 km to the nearest settlement. So we fly there with special charter planes, twinotters. It’s the northernmost ecosystem station within the ICOS network. It’s located in the high Arctic climate zone. and it’s underlaying by continuous permafrost. And these permafrost regions contain huge amount of organic carbon. And in a relation to climate warming, we’re interested in studying what happens with these massive carbon stocks. 50 % of the global soil organic carbon is situated in the permafrost regions. So that why it makes it important, for the global carbon cycle, to study these regions. And as they are cold and harsh environments, historically we haven’t been doing that much research in these areas compared with the lower latitudes. So that calls for more monitoring and research of the carbon cycle in these ecosystem types. So in terms of the permafrost carbon feedback, with thawing permafrost, and the worry of the release of more carbon, this is something that we can study in Zackenberg. And this needs this ecosystem type of stations that measure the fluxes between the land and atmosphere of the greenhouse gases. So this wetland has cotton grass growing on it and it’s quite productive for being such a northerly situated ecosystem. So in a way it’s a sort of a carbon hotspot. Zackenberg is a fantastic place it’s situated in the Northeast Greenland National Park, which is the world’s largest national park. It’s fantastic environment with fjords and mountains, and also the wildlife. So we have the foxes, and the Arctic hares that are often, more or less visiting us, because they are not as afraid of humans as in other places of the world. But there is also a challenge with the wildlife, with the musk oxen and polar bears. That can, of course, be very dangerous. And we need to be able to protect us againts them. But also they can be a bit curious in wanting to investigate our measurement installations. So we need to make sure to protect the installations properly so that they won’t get damaged by the wildlife. There’s not a proper intenet connection that you can check your Facebook and do stuff like that. So you are definitely away from the civilization. It’s a special feeling in that sense. During the peak period, during summer, when we have a lot of visitors, then there’s one flight every week and that’s your ticket home.

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