The NSIDC Web site and data services are currently having intermittent problems and may be unavailable. We are working to restore these services as soon as possible and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Please contact NSIDC User Services for assistance.
Return to the Research Projects at NSIDC page
This project is funded by NASA
To understand the role of freeze-thaw processes in determining seasonal and interannual variability in terrestrial biomass, photosynthesis, respiration, and net CO2 fluxes over continental North America
Tingjun Zhang is the PI; and Kevin Schaefer and Lixin Lu (CIRES) are Co-Investigators.
We are investigating how winter snow cover, soil temperature, and soil freeze/thaw dynamics influence carbon fluxes and biomass. Understanding the potential fate of the large amount of frozen soil carbon in permafrost regions is essential to long-term climate predictions.
We will integrate remote sensing data sets, ground-based measurements, and numerical modeling to quantify the effects of soil temperature, soil freeze-thaw dynamics, and snow cover on seasonal to interannual variability in the North American terrestrial carbon cycle. Using remote sensing products, in situ observations, and a soil thermodynamic model, we will estimate soil temperatures and snow cover over North America at 25-kilometer resolution for North America from 1981 to 2003 (23 years). We will feed these estimated soil temperatures and snow cover, along with additional remote sensing data, into an ecosystem model to estimate biomass and net carbon fluxes. Both models will use the North American Regional Reanalysis, so the resulting estimates of soil thermodynamic properties, biomass, and carbon fluxes will be optimally consistent with each other and with actual weather conditions in North America. We will statistically analyze these optimal carbon fluxes to understand the environmental drivers and biophysical responses regulating the spatial patterns and temporal variability in the North American terrestrial carbon cycle. Using standard Monte Carlo techniques, we will quantify uncertainty in our estimated carbon fluxes. Lastly, we will perturb our input data to assess the sensitivity of our estimated fluxes to long-term climate change.
Our research addresses the North American Carbon Program (NACP) goals of reducing uncertainty about the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the dynamics of the carbon cycle. Specifically, we address the following NACP goals:
We will archive data products generated by this investigation at the National Snow and Ice Data Center's Frozen Ground Data Center (FGDC) for access by other NACP investigators and for general use by the scientific community.
Contact NSIDC User Services for more information.