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University of Helsinki Faculty of XXX

Environmental Change Research Unit - ECRU


Tracking carbon dynamic patterns and climate forcing through post-glacial mire development history by combining modern flux measurements and palaeoecological information
Impacts of climate change on Arctic environment, ecosystem services and society (CLICHE)
Biomarkers a new potential method to study highly humified peat components
Past water table fluctuations and related changes in carbon accumulation rates in mires a quantitative multi proxy-based reconstruction from different climate regimes
Impacts of multiple environmental stressors on subarctic lake food web dynamics (MESS)
Climate variability in NW Europe during the past 4000 years and its ecological consequences (CLIM-ECO)
Science workshop on past, present and fututure climate change
Long-term changes in lake ice conditions in northern Finland
Responses of Boreal ecosystem carbon exchange to changing environment in different spatio-temporal scales
Former Projects

Contact information:

Environmental Change Research Unit (ECRU)
Department of Environmental Sciences
P.O. Box 65 (Viikinkaari 1)
FIN-00014 University of Helsinki

Phone: +358-9-1911
(main switch board)
or see People


Jan Weckström



Lake Kipojärvi, Photo: Jan Weckström


Funded by the University of Helsinki

Duration 1.1.2012-31.12.2014

The modelling community is taking its first serious steps to reconstruct past carbon budgets in peatland environments. This process requires close co-operation of modern mire ecologists, palaeoecologists and modellers – a template offered by the proposed project. In order to evaluate the role of northern mires in global carbon budget, it is important to understand the past mechanisms: how different types of mires have responded to climate forcing before. In terms of modelling, peatlands have proved to be a complicated environment, and any regional incoherency in past responses set a big challenge to modelling community. Models need profound data and relevant parameters and these can be provided by palaeoecological community. Such a contribution would provide a background for scenarios of possible future dynamics in northern peatland dynamics and subsequent changes in carbon accumulation patterns.
The project seeks to combine techniques and know-how of modern carbon cycling studies, modelling and palaeocological research tradition We aim to establish robust three-dimensional chronologies for three peatlands in Finland to reveal peatland growth pattern and to quantify carbon accumulation and the increase in surface area producing methane. Observed changes in accumulation rates and growth pattern obtained by this method will be compared with independent regional climate reconstructions provided by for instance (existing) pollen analysis. We aim to model past carbon dynamics in each study site. Finally, we will estimate the effect of peatland formation on the past climate by using the established relationships between the wetland type and greenhouse gas fluxes and the existing radiative forcing model. Such an effort will be a step forward in predicting the behaviour of northern wetlands under warmer future climate. The key questions of the proposed project are: 1) what is the development history of three different peatlands located in different climate regimes 2) what is the relationship between long-term carbon accumulation and climate in the chosen study sites 3) how has their greenhouse gas dynamics changed during the Holocene 4) how has their climate forcing changed during the Holocene
For palaeoecological examination we will choose peatlands where continuous modern flux measurement data of CO2 and CH4, provided by eddy-covariance (EC) tower and manual chamber measurements, are available for several-year-periods. This is important to capture year-to-year variation. Each study site will be thoroughly studied for surface vegetation, size, bathymetry and peat depth and several cores will be collected and analysed per study site for peat composition and carbon content. We will date large amount of bottom peat samples by using radiocarbon analysis. The aim is to establish a robust chronology for several vertical cores per site to reveal peatland growth pattern and quantify carbon accumulation, and by dating basal peat layers to calculate the historical increase in surface area producing methane.



Docent Minna Väliranta, PI

PhD student Paul Mathijssen

Project partners

Professor E-S. Tuittila, School of Forest Sciences, University of Eastern Finland
Senior scientist A. Lohila, Finnish Meteorological Institute
Docent K. Minkkinen, Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki

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