Several of the world’s biggest rivers empty into the Arctic Ocean, and the watershed in Siberia is dominated by permafrost, i.e., the ground is frozen year round, and only the topsoil ever thaws. The northern taiga and tundra contain large amounts of organic carbon, and the permafrost serves as a major storehouse of greenhouse gases in the form of frozen-in carbon and sediment. Increased warming results in the increased transport of water and sediment in rivers. By studying the watershed of the Lena River and its permafrost and bedrock, researchers will be able to understand how long-term, large-scale changes in the catchment area affect the materials being transported out into the Arctic Ocean by the rivers.
Department of Geosciences, Swedish Museum of Natural History