NGEE-ArcticApril 30, 2013
"...improving climate model predictions through advanced understanding of coupled processes in Arctic terrestrial ecosystems."
Increasing our confidence in climate projections for high-latitude regions of the world will require a coordinated set of investigations that target improved process understanding and model representation of important ecosystem-climate feedbacks. The Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE Arctic) seeks to address this challenge by quantifying the physical, chemical, and biological behavior of terrestrial ecosystems in Alaska. Initial research will focus on the highly dynamic landscapes of the North Slope (Barrow, Alaska) where thaw lakes, drained thaw lake basins, and ice-rich polygonal ground offer distinct land units for investigation and modeling. A focus on scaling based on investigations within these geomorphological units will allow us to deliver a process-rich ecosystem model, extending from bedrock to the top of the vegetative canopy, in which the evolution of Arctic ecosystems in a changing climate can be modeled at the scale of a high resolution Earth System Model grid cell (i.e., 30x30 km grid size). This vision includes mechanistic studies in the field and in the laboratory; modeling of critical and interrelated water, nitrogen, carbon, and energy dynamics; and characterization of important interactions from molecular to landscape scales that drive feedbacks to the climate system. A suite of fine-, intermediate-, and climate-scale models will be used to guide observations and interpret data, while process studies will serve to initialize state variables in models, provide new algorithms and process parameterizations, and evaluate model performance.
Research sponsored by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research within the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. The NGEE project is a collaboration among scientists and engineers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of Alaska Fairbanks and our partners at leading universities and other state and federal agencies. ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle, LLC.