Swedish soil scientists are studying the carbon cycle at Aktru

Stockholm University professor Peter Kuri and Master’s student Didak Paskual have conducted a series of experiments at the TSU research station Aktru in the Altai Mountains. The soil scientists made a sampling in the areas where the highland permafrost lies in order to evaluate the carbon stock, which is one of the main constituents of greenhouse gases in frozen soils.

The project is in the framework of INTERACT 2, the international research and monitoring programme in the Arctic, which includes three stations of Tomsk State University: Aktru, Kaybasovo, and Khanymey.

- Aktru was one of the many stations for which we can apply, but we chose it because all the objects that interesting for us are within walking distance, - explains Peter Kuri, a professor at Stockholm University. - We sampled three layers, of which the most carbon-rich is the upper one, in which there is a large amount of organic matter. Moreover, we were lucky to take samples from the permafrost zone.

It is especially important that there are organic substances in the samples of frozen soils, because this will allow scientists to conduct dating and accurately determine the formation time. Also, researchers are planning to estimate the carbon concentration in permafrost to predict the climate changes that will occur if it melts and releases carbon into the atmosphere.

- A number of measurements were carried out by our Swedish colleagues immediately on the spot in the field conditions, - says Sergey Kirpotin, director of the BioClimLand (Biota-Climate-Landscapes) Centre, the only Russian expert participating in the selection of applications for INTERACT 2. – One part of the samples taken in the Altai Mountains will be analyzed in the laboratories of our centre, and the other part at Stockholm University.

The results of these studies will help take another step in understanding the contribution that carbon emissions from high-mountain regions make to climate warming.