Understanding the climate - one tree, bog and bird at a time
The changing climate is one of our most pressing problems, and innovative approaches are crucial to our continued survival. The holistic, interdisciplinary approaches needed to address these challenges often concentrate on a single, smaller phenomenon to spark broader insights. Drs Britta Sannel, Ilona Riipinen, and Henrik Österblom all discuss the power of one organism to change our view of the world.
Researchers from the profile area of Climate, Seas and Environment immerse themselves in two goals: a better insight into ecosystems and climate alongside a full understanding of human impacts even though the environmental issues facing us can seem, at times, overwhelming. These scientists approach their endeavour holistically, using a wide range of methodologies and techniques from the natural and social sciences.
Three of Stockholm University’s researchers explain how they are studying one piece of the puzzle – peat, trees, and seabirds – to show how decoding one piece of the mystery could lead to better insights, better action plans, better policies and a hopefully a better tomorrow.
How bogs tell their stories
Britta Sannel, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Physical Geography, shows what a lump of peat can reveal about the climate’s history to make future predictions. Because peat bogs are the most efficient reservoirs of sequestered carbon on the planet, melting permafrost would have wide environmental impact.
How trees influence global climate
|Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry (ACES), Ilona Riipinen researches the suspension of small particles in the air (aka aerosols) and their impact on local weather and global climate. Computer modelling, experiments and observation help to isolate and understand natural and anthropogenic phenomena.|
As Drs Sannel and Riipinen demonstrate, the biggest questions about climate are being addressed by examining singular phenomena and extrapolating outward using every tool in the scientists’ box, from the microscopic to the planetary scale.
How seabirds show the path to stewardship
|Henrik Österblom, Associate Professor in Environmental Science and Deputy Science Director at Stockholm Resilience Centre, describes the depth of knowledge that a single guillemot can reveal – the health of the fishing stock, the impact of environmental contaminants, and a wealth of other factors|
Assembling these pieces – the bog, the tree, the bird – leads to a systemic understanding of how social systems impact ecological systems, and vice versa. The knowledge is then shared and distributed to many constituencies: individuals educating themselves, communities leading grassroots efforts, and policy makers searching for the solutions that improve life for us and the planet.
Stockholm University supports a number of research centres and programmes tackling these issues: Bolin Centre tor Climate Research, Stockholm Resilience Centre, and the Baltic Sea Centre, among many other collaborations.
January 4, 2017
Page editor: Kimberly M Parke
- Guillemots add knowledge about the ecosystem puzzle Henrik Österblom, Associate Professor in Environmental Sciences at Stockholm Resilience Centre.
- How does the composition of the atmosphere affect cloud formation? Ilona Riipinen, Associate Professor in Atmospheric Science
- Effects on peatland permafrost by climate change Britta Sannel, Associate Professor in Physical Geography.
- The challenges that lie ahead after leg 1, SWERUS-C3 Örjan Gustafsson, professor in Biogeochemistry Stockholm University.
- From permafrost thawing to the venting of greenhouse gases Martin Jakobsson, Professor at the Department for Geological Sciences.
- Rotation in Barrow, Swerus-C3 Leg 2 The second leg, which starts from Barrow, is led by Martin Jakobsson, Professor at the Department for Geological Sciences (IGV), Stockholm University.
- Collapsing Ice Martin Jakobsson, Professor at the Department for Geological Sciences.
- Storglaciären- the end-of-year account At Tarfala Research Station, we carry out the the world's most detailed study of how a glacier changes. In this film we follow the work in September, just before the first snow falls.
- Sweden and International Polar Research Stockholm University Researchers have played leading roles in a number of Polar expeditions that have taken place as part of the International Polar Year (IPY - spans 2007-2009).
- Arctic foxes Tomas Meijer