More than methane

Funded by the EU under the Joint Planning Initiative, LowPerm was launched in 2015 with the aim of understanding nutrient transport within permafrost landscapes that may lead to changes in greenhouse gas production and fertilization of the Arctic Ocean. LowPerm is led by Andy Hodson (Sheffield, UNIS) with co-investigators Hanne Christiansen (UNIS), Kai Finster (Aarhus), Jacob Yde (Sogn og Fjordane), and Steve Thornton (Sheffield).

The main objects of LowPerm are to quantify microbial processes, changes in microbial populations and their functional potential, as well as to understand the physical process dynamics of permafrost soils at field observatories in West Spitsbergen. Seasonal microbial-driven greenhouse gas production and fjord fertilization, due to runoff export of nutrients and organic matter, are being quantified, and responses of microbial communities to different temperatures, water, oxygen, and nutrient substrate conditions will be determined. Semi-empirical tuning parameters will be developed for integrating these biogeochemical processes into biophysical models, while taking sub-grid heterogeneity into account.



May 2017
The LowPerm project will be hosting an international workshop on permafrost carbon dynamics at UNIS in Longyearbyen, Svalbard from 26-28 September 2017. The meeting will bring together scientists from the modelling and process communities with decision makers to foster discussions and promote future collabrations. The emphasis of the meeting will be CO2 and CH4 dynamics in a permafrost landscape. If you would like to apply to take part or would like further information, please contact Dr. Gunnar Mallon at


August 2016
The LowPerm project welcomes two new team members this summer, Brendan O'Neill and Sarah Strand. Both Brendan and Sarah will be based at UNIS and carry out vital in-situ work throughout the year. Brendan will focus on defining the variation in ground ice characteristics within ice-wedge polygons in Adventdalen, while Sarah will mainly assist with field- and mapping-work.


April 2016
A film crew from Matobo Films accompanied the LowPerm team on fieldwork in April this year documenting the Spring fieldwork and engaging with the science behind the LowPerm project. You can watch the full video here here.


February 22nd, 2016
Under the supervision of Prof. Hanne Christiansen, Ph.D. candidate Graham Gilbert and colleagues have successfully cored Adventdalen using the Boring Betty rig. Permafrost cores of 20 m length were extracted and are expected to yield exciting information from marine, fluvial, and aeolian deposits. Watch a time-lapse video of the coring here.

Slide 2
Slide 1
Slide 3
Slide 3
Slide 3
Slide 3