Black Guillemots, David Tipling, UIG
Black Guillemots, David Tipling, UIG

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.