• image code: TB149
• Kytalyk Field Station in Sakha Republic
• exposure time 47 days
• GPS location 70°28’00.0″N 147°22’60.0″E
In Sakha Republic in Russia climate change is very noticeable. While the winters are cold the summers are warm, however the further north you go the more permafrost is still part of the landscape. A large part of Siberia is threatened to melt in accelerating speed because of climate change. The landscape is subject to forest fires more each year and houses start to shift because of the melting underground. In several stations in Siberia forest fire, permafrost melt, and methane emissions are studied to give us a better idea of what to expect in the short and long term. These studies have become increasingly important as the public opinion realises more and more what a dangerous flow of events the melting permafrost can spark.
In this image created in collaboration with Rúna Magnússon we see a building connected to the tundra station of Kytalyk. Rúna studies permafrost-shrub interactions on the Siberian lowland tundra. Her overarching aim is to determine whether lowland tundra ecosystems show a net decline or expanse of shrub vegetation, how this is related to abrupt permafrost thaw and to what extent this is caused by extreme summer precipitation.
A quote from Rúna’s blog
I try to determine how these ecosystems will develop under global change; will we see a greener tundra, or will we see extensive wetland development due to permafrost degradation? To answer such questions I roam about in thaw ponds, stinky little depressions formed by local collapse of permafost. We study their development in terms of thaw depth and water levels over time and try to relate this to vegetation succession mechanisms. Apart from that I use remote sensing data and dendrochronology on Arctic dwarf shrubs. This will tell us whether there is a net trend of shrubification or wetland formation in this area, and on what timescales.
It is incredibly interesting to read about the circumstances she and her team mates perform their research and aim for the highest quality possible. Kytalyk is very difficult to reach and they are pretty much cut off from everything and everyone. The stories tickle my imagination and sound as if people landed on the moon and use a great deal of improvisation skills to perform their work and arrange their daily life.
This image was created for the project Touch base, arctic solargraphy. A global ‘science meets art’ photography project I conducted during 2019-2020.
If you buy a fine art print or limited edition of this image, 10% of the profit will be donated to APECS. This is an organisation which supports early career scientists in their research. Many members of APECS helped me in creating the images in the Touch base project. We all depend on future science. By donating some of my earnings I can do something back to support them.