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THAWing permafrost: the fate of Soil Organic Matter in the aquatic Environment

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 THAWSOME project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the THAWSOME project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "THAWSOME" about.

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Project "THAWSOME" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: DE BOELELAAN 1105
postcode: 1081 HV

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Netherlands [NL]
 Project website
 Total cost 1˙500˙000 €
 EC max contribution 1˙500˙000 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-12-01   to  2021-11-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    STICHTING VU NL (AMSTERDAM) coordinator 1˙500˙000.00


 Project objective

As the Arctic permafrost region warms, its large organic carbon (OC) pool becomes vulnerable to decomposition. This generates greenhouse gases (GHG) that in turn fuel increased surface warming: the permafrost carbon feedback. Higher temperatures will jump-start the coupling between the carbon and hydrological cycle, allowing for the introduction of previously frozen OC pools in aquatic systems. This lateral, or horizontal, aquatic flux remains largely unknown in contrast to the relatively well-studied vertical flux, GHG emission on land.

Horizontal OC release either occurs via gradual thaw, slowly leaching OC into aquatic systems, or abrupt thaw, where ground-ice melt causes destructive surface collapse and slumping of OC into aquatic systems. Both types of thaw facilitate decomposition of OC (generating GHG) but also re-bury OC into sediments (sequestering OC). The relative importance of decomposition versus burial is unknown.

For THAWSOME, I have developed a multi-scale approach combining detailed process-based field studies with up-scaling techniques on multiple levels: (i) observational, using large Arctic rivers as natural integrators, (ii) numerical, using a coupled hydrological-biogeochemical model, and (iii) spatial, using GIS-based analysis. For the first time, decomposition of particulate OC from permafrost will be quantified with a recently developed incubation method. Burial rates of permafrost OC will be assessed through molecular isotope analyses of both sources (river OC) and sinks (sediment OC) across the land-to-shelf route.

THAWSOME will generate critically needed quantitative data on the amount of decomposition versus burial of permafrost OC, as well as qualitative insights into the processes that control this. This will allow a true coupling of the carbon and hydrological cycle into the 'boundless Arctic carbon cycle', and integration of horizontal OC release into estimates of the impact of the permafrost carbon feedback on global climate.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2020 Lisa Bröder, Anya Davydova, Sergey Davydov, Nikita Zimov, Negar Haghipour, Timothy I. Eglinton, Jorien E. Vonk
Particulate Organic Matter Dynamics in a Permafrost Headwater Stream and the Kolyma River Mainstem
published pages: , ISSN: 2169-8953, DOI: 10.1029/2019jg005511
Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 125/2 2020-03-05
2019 Birgit Wild, August Andersson, Lisa Bröder, Jorien Vonk, Gustaf Hugelius, James W. McClelland, Wenjun Song, Peter A. Raymond, Örjan Gustafsson
Rivers across the Siberian Arctic unearth the patterns of carbon release from thawing permafrost
published pages: 10280-10285, ISSN: 0027-8424, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1811797116
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116/21 2019-11-13

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The information about "THAWSOME" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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