CarbonBridge is a multidisciplinary research project funded by the Norwegian Research Council. The project addresses how Atlantic water inflow impacts productivity and carbon cycling in an area where future projections identify potential substantial changes in productivity due to ice retreat.
The project positions itself in the inflow of Atlantic water (AW) along the shelf break region and Arctic Ocean (AO) north of Svalbard. New knowledge on Arctic marine ecosystems will be obtained through a multidisciplinary Earth System Science (ESS) approach including the hydrosphere, cryosphere, biosphere, atmosphere, geosphere and antroposphere.
More specifically, the project investigates how the hydrosphere (AW inflow, water column stability and vertical structure) and the cryosphere (influencing stratification, light) act as drivers for the biosphere through changes in productivity and flow of energy through the so-called classical and microbial foodwebs, and consequences for vertical carbon export. Productivity during the last 300 to 400 years will be addressed through sediment cores, which are past accumulations in the geosphere. The fate of primary production is a key to understand the role of the warming AO as CO2 sink or link through carbon export, alkalinity and ocean-atmosphere exchange.
Integrated data obtained in CarbonBridge will be used for improved future projections of productivity to identify high- or low productive regions, and evaluate the ecosystem services and the value of the region for the antroposphere. This new knowledge will be highly relevant for management and risk assessment necessary for future activities.
CarbonBridge will contribute to increased understanding of physical-biological coupled processes, built around long term observational data and physical-biological coupled modelling, to better evaluate the present state, and future perspectives of ecosystem functioning and carbon cycling.