– CliC co-sponsored the THAW workshop
The THermokarst Aquatic Workshop was held from 12 to 15 March 2014 at Centre d’études nordiques (CEN), Laval University, in Québec City, Canada. The meeting was attended by around 100 researchers (including a large percentage of polar and alpine early career scientists) to present, discuss and synthesize observations concerning freshwater systems in permafrost landscapes, and to identify gaps in knowledge that are priorities for ongoing and future research. The meeting noted the increasing interest in thermokarst lakes, ponds and wetlands given the accelerated warming of the Arctic and the associated effects on permafrost degradation, and peat erosion. In some regions of the Arctic permafrost lakes are eroding and draining, while in other areas they are expanding in size and numerical abundance. The net effects are important to assess, because these aquatic systems provide a major class of ecological habitats in the North. They also have the potential to contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, thereby acting as a positive feedback on climate change, and may be large sources of particulate and dissolved organic materials to the coastal ocean that some of them ultimately drain into. The meeting brought together specialists from a variety of physical, chemical and biological disciplines to exchange ideas, results and information on three connected themes: a) Physical aspects and dynamics through time and space; b) Biogeochemical and photochemical properties; and c) Biodiversity and food webs. A special issue of the EGU journal Biogeosciences is now being produced from the meeting, and follow-up meetings were planned, including at the European Conference on Permafrost (Portugal) and the Arctic Change conference (Canada).
On going collaborations fostered at this workshop will feed directly into the CliC/IASC/AMAP Arctic Freshwater Synthesis, the IPA/CliC Permafrost Research Priorities process, and the Permafrost and Carbon parts of the WCRP Cryosphere in a Changing Climate led by CliC.