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SSF-Svalbard Science Forum

Impact of cryospheric melt-down on submarine slope stability and carbon release in a warmer Arctic (CRYOCARB)

Awarded: NOK 0.50 mill.

CRYOCARB will establish an inter-disciplinary network of experts to address our overarching goal of maximizing knowledge of the impact of cryospheric melt-down on Arctic slope stability and release of old carbon storages to the atmosphere in a warm climate. To achieve this, the CRYOCARB group have identified the time prior to intensification of the last glaciation, ca. 30-40.000 years ago. This was a period of significantly reduced ice extent, where one of the uncertainties relates to the extent and thickness of ice across Svalbard and the northern Barents Sea. It was likely corroborated by a megaslide event along the northern Svalbard margin implying a direct response of melting glacial ice on slope stability and thus the potential release of submarine stored old carbon reservoirs to the atmosphere. CRYOCARB combines marine and terrestrial expertise from various institutions with permanent research stations on Svalbard in one research project. With an initial (virtual) workshop in 2021 we will stimulate a baseline discussion on the overall topic and research questions. During a planned field reconnaissance on Nordaustlandet in 2022 we will inspect pre-Late Weichselian raised shorelines and sediment sections to establish an ownership of the group to start planning a large-scale research programme. The novelty of CRYOCARB lies in its overarching inter-disciplinary approach. We are bringing together experts of various disciplines (geo-bio, marine, terrestrial, chronology) for discussing not only theoretically (virtual meetings), but more importantly, practically in the field to create an ownership to the scientific problem and to define the key questions to be addressed during the planned full research proposal.

Funding scheme:

SSF-Svalbard Science Forum