SITES_bård 160701-4

2020 > 02

Last summer, four researchers from Luleå University of Technology visited Kärkevagge. Kärkevagge is a valley about five miles west of Abisko with very special glacier-like landforms (GLFs). The research team found that it was sometimes impossible to distinguish GLFs in Kärkevagge from those found on Mars. In preparation for the upcoming Mars project, one needs to understand how different landforms have arisen. The project carried out precise geomorphological and thermal surveys in the area using the GNSS RTK (Global Navigation Satellite System - the European GPS system - and Real Time Kinematics). RTK is an accurate form of position measurement where fixed base stations and a drone with GPS receivers are used simultaneously. In this way, an extremely accurate survey of GLFs and other periglacial land formations was obtained.
 
As a further preparation for future Mars projects, the group has applied to participate in upcoming expeditions to Wasa, the Swedish station on the Antarctic, to test the mapping system and other instruments in extreme environments.

RTK measurements performed by researchers from Luleå University of Technology in Kärkevagge, Swedish Lapland. Picture: credits GAS. 

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Röbäcksdalen Field Research Station welcomes new staff to strengthen their team. First person to support the team is researcher Julien Morel, who is specialised in remote sensing and has a lot experience in running the equipment in the Spectral Lab at Röbäcksdalen. From 2020 on, Julien will be a support for researchers who want to use the Spectral Lab. In addition, he will be a back-up drone pilot for SITES Spectral.

Next in line is Niklas Björn who is already a technician at the field station. Like Julien he will be more involved in SITES activities from 2020 onwards, starting to support the team with the collection of water samples for SITES Water. Additionally, he will  be one of the bee keepers at Röbäcksdalen.

Last, but not least, Jenni Burman will start as the new research technician in the dairy barn on March 1st. Her job in SITES will mostly be within the data collection program SMURF, which aims to make all the data deriving from the field experiments available to researchers through the SITES Portal. In time she will also be responsible for the GreenFeed equipment, which measures greenhouse gas emissions from the animals in the dairy barn.

Very warm welcome to the SITES team Julien, Niklas and Jenni!
 

Julien Morel is using the FieldSpec 4 to do spectral measurements in a barley field. Photographer: Uttam Kumar.

New research technician Jenni Burman. Photographer: Jennie Burman.

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In order to raise awareness of the value of wetlands for humanity and the planet, the Wetland Convention was adopted on February 2nd, 1971. On February 2nd the year after it became "World Wetlands Day".

Wetland research is a central part of Skogaryd´s research station work; with special focus on their function and how they are affected by land use and a changing climate. "World Wetlands Day" was celebrated on Sunday, February 2nd, with an open house at Skogaryd Research Catchment (SRC) where research activities at wetlands were shown to the public. It was a beautiful day where the approximately 100 visitors walked between different installations. The day was much appreciated and the visitors requested a continuation for years to come.
In addition, the Faculty of Science at University of Gothenburg organized the first workshop in a series called "What Do We Do?" on the "Global Goals for Sustainable Development" on the 3rd of February that dealt with ditched wetlands ("How can we convert ditched peatlands from emission source to sink?”).

The background to the workshop is the large Greenhous Gas (GHG) emissions from drained peatlands in Sweden, which in the national reporting is estimated to emit 10 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents of greenhouse gases. This equals to approximately as much as the national passenger car traffic. How can we use and manage the peat so that the GHG emissions are reduced and the ecosystem can potentially be transferred to a carbon sink again? What trials are there in Sweden and what do they look like? Are there alternative approaches?

To reduce GHG emissions it is necessary to clearly show how the land must be managed to reach minimum emissions or even a GHG uptake. Perhaps ditched spruce forest must be shifted towards a wetland with meadow vegetation. A new Formas project funded at the Department of Earth Science at University of Gothenburg will focus on “how land-use management can convert high-emitting drained organic soils into areas with negative emissions”.

At the workshop, Leif Klemedtsson (Station manager) informed the participants about measurements and experiments started at SRC (SITES). After harvesting a spruce forest grown on ditched fertile peatland the emissions from the re-planted forest will now be compared with rewetted sections of the research area. Similar experiments were reported by Matthias Peichl during the workshop, who is responsible for the boreal ecosystem focused research at Svartberget Research Station (SITES). Here, the soil has low fertility and study sites include both ditched forested peatland (Kulbäcksliden) and a comparison between drained and rewetted peatland forests (Trollberget) in a similar way as in Skogaryd. The low fertility of the soil results in relatively low GHG emissions from the ditched soils and therefore rewetting will probably have a limited climate benefit.

Installation of micrometeorological flux towers to measure greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) after clearcutting a forest on drained organic soils at the Skogaryd Research Catchment. Photographer: Johan Martinelli

Photographer: Urla Ewender

Representatives from several universities, authorities, companies and organizations participated. Overall, the workshop had 45 participants and many were thankful for a rewarding event.

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The Rabot Glacier, situated on the western side of the Kebnekaise massif, is now included in the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS). The glacier has been continuously monitored by Tarfala Research Station since 1981. To qualify as a reference glacier the mass balance data series of the glacier must be longer than 30 years.
 
Storglaciären, situated on the eastern side of Kebnekaise massif, is already a reference glacier. Together with 40 other glaciers, the two glaciers in Tarfala´s vicinity provide a unique record of the state of the world´s glaciers and their response to climate change.
 
Glacier mass balance describes how much a glacier gains or loses mass over a year. Data input to the calculations of glacier mass balance is provided by measurements of snow-accumulation and snow-density at the end of the winter. Ablation, i.e. melting of snow and ice, is measured during the summer melt-season.

Read more about World Glacier Monotoring Service here.

The location of Rabot Glacier.

Field technician from Tarfala Research Station measuring mass balance on the Rabot Glaciar.
Photographer: Gunhild Rosqvist.

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