Carbon dioxide is the dominant carbon bearing trace gas in the atmosphere, absorbing infra-red radiation and warming the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide sink/source and carbon compound storage estimations are essential in making future predictions of the climate change. Our group focuses on land carbon balance studies. Recent points of interest include derivation of climate change indicators, such as variation in northern regional soil and vegetation carbon storages and fluxes and their evolution in future, changes in seasonal patterns of carbon fluxes, effect of land cover change on carbon balances, transport of CO2 in the atmosphere, and comparison, evaluation and optimization of ecosystem model formulations and parameters. We have employed some large and small scale models for these studies. We also use a variety of surface in situ, atmospheric and space-borne observations in our studies, in close co-operation with FMI experimental research groups and collaborators outside FMI.
Whether being lesser than CO2 in number of molecules in the atmosphere, methane is a potent greenhouse gas absorbing more infra-red radiation per molecule than CO2. Therefore it is necessary to study the magnitude of the methane emissions and estimate their influence on climate change. Our target is estimation of global total methane balances, including emission trends in time and their differentiation by region and emission category, with specific interest on methane emissions from northern wetlands, and transport and chemical sink of methane in the atmosphere. Furthermore, we participate in process model studies for estimating wetland methane emissions. Regarding methane studies we collaborate with NOAA/ESRL, United States, and Wageningen University, Netherlands and University of Helsinki and MPI-Hamburg.
Methane and carbon dioxide balances are dependent on the water status of the soil and the CO2 and water vapor fluxes between vegetation and atmosphere are tightly coupled. Therefore consideration of water is essential in carbon cycle modeling. Specific points of interest include e.g. effect of land cover change on water cycling and climate, northern latitude water use efficiency and drought estimations and soil-vegetation hydrological model parameter optimization.