Environmental Remediation and Water Resources, Terrestrial Ecosystem Science

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Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment – Arctic

arctic imageIncreasing our confidence in climate projections for high-latitude regions of the world will require a coordinated set of investigations that target improved process understanding and model representation of important ecosystem-climate feedbacks. The Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE Arctic) seeks to address this challenge by quantifying the physical, chemical, and biological behavior of terrestrial ecosystems in Alaska. Initial research will focus on the highly dynamic landscapes of the North Slope (Barrow, Alaska) where thaw lakes, drained thaw lake basins, and ice-rich polygonal ground offer distinct land units for investigation and modeling. A focus on scaling based on investigations within these geomorphological units will allow us to deliver a process-rich ecosystem model, extending from bedrock to the top of the vegetative canopy, in which the evolution of Arctic ecosystems in a changing climate can be modeled at the scale of a high resolution Earth System Model grid cell (i.e., 30×30 km grid size). This vision includes mechanistic studies in the field and in the laboratory; modeling of critical and interrelated water, nitrogen, carbon, and energy dynamics; and characterization of important interactions from molecular to landscape scales that drive feedbacks to the climate system.