Biogeochemical cycles and climate

Research area 4

We study interactions between climate and carbon-nutrient cycles through Earth system modeling, experimental, and observational studies. Questions include: How much carbon dioxide and methane will be released from thawing permafrost on land and under the sea? How efficiently are carbon and nutrients used at the organism level to the global scale and across environmental and climatic gradients?
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Photo: Björn Eriksson

Studies of biogeochemical cycles from microscales to global scales are an important part of climate research and have both strong legacy and presence in the Bolin Centre. The processes and rates of biogeochemical cycling are affected by climate change, and involve interactions between and within the different components of the Earth system. These interactions are generally nonlinear, but climate models that include the dynamics of the carbon cycle suggest that the overall effect of carbon-climate interactions is generally a positive feedback. An important aspect of climate research is thus to identify potential biogeochemical feedbacks and assess if such feedbacks could produce large and undesired responses to perturbations resulting from human activities.  

Current research within the Bolin Centre addresses these key aspects using field, experimental, and modelling studies. Only few mechanisms in the Earth system may cause a net redistribution of carbon from land and ocean to the atmosphere on the centennial time scale. The key candidate is a positive feedback to climate warming on permafrost thawing, carbon release and greenhouse gas additions to the atmosphere. A particular focus of biogeochemical research within the Bolin Centre is therefore the study of the fate of the large amount of organic carbon and methane stored in terrestrial and sub-sea permafrost. This work is being addressed through large-scale collaborative research expeditions on the Siberian Arctic shelf, microbial process regulation studies, and  studies of soil organic matter dynamics. Another focal area is the study of climate-forcing aerosols and their emissions using observational-based inverse approaches. Future aspects of the research will include intensified modeling activities with the purpose to attempt reliable projections of future climate changes. These models will account explicitly for the feedbacks between climate and the processes that determine the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, reactive gases and aerosol particles.


Research Area 4 Co-Leader
Volker Brüchert
Senior Lecturer, Biogeochemistry

Department of Geological Sciences (IGV)
Stockholm University
106 91 Stockholm

Tel. +46 8 16 47 55
Volker Brüchert, Bolin Centre, Photo: Eva Dalin

Research Area 4 Co-Leader
Gustaf Hugelius 
Senior Lecturer

Department of Physical Geography (NG)
Stockholm University
106 91 Stockholm

Tel. +46 8 674 78 73
Gustaf Hugelius, Bolin Centre, Photo: Eva Dalin
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Bolin Centre for Climate Research
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