Drone image over a ridge-palsa in the Vissatvuopmi palsa complex near Saarikoski, Sweden
Photo: Mats Olvmo

Threatened sub-arctic palsas: An interdisciplinary approach

Research project
Active research
Project owner
Department of Earth Sciences

Short description

Global warming has contributed to degradation of subarctic palsa mires. The melting of permafrost in this unique and vulnerable environment is expected to continue at higher rates than today, with significant environmental and socio-economic effects as a result. With permafrost thaw comes increased greenhouse gas emissions of methane and the loss of important habitats for plants and animals. The purpose of this interdisciplinary project is to gain a deeper understanding of the complex and partially unknown palsa degradation processes, and to develop models to forecast trends in palsa extent and permafrost thaw under different climate scenarios. The project uses novel geospatial data (drones, satellites, ground penetrating radar), permafrost microstructure analysis, gas-flux measurements and climate data.

The project has been run for several years using staff research time to lead student projects at Master’s and Bachelor’s level.