“Changing Northern Lands – Thawing Ground and Expanding Use” with Annett Bartsch (b geos, Austria)

Pronounced impacts of climate change are observed across the entire Arctic – ocean as well as on land – and they are expected to intensify. As permafrost thaws ground destabilizes and microbes are activated with local and global implications respectively. Soil carbon release into the atmosphere is amplified. High latitude permafrost regions are thus considered a tipping element in the Earth’s climate system. Several million people live on permafrost and the exploitation of natural resources has been continuously expanding across the Arctic for many decades. Earth Observation provides the means to monitor both, the relevant essential climate variables and the expanding land use. Specifically recent satellite missions in the framework of Copernicus offer the necessary level of detail. The presentation will provide insight into the potential of Earth Observation to reveal patterns of permafrost thaw as well as expanding direct human impact across the Arctic.

Annett Bartsch works in the fields of remote sensing, cryosphere and hydrology with focus on the Arctic. Her major interests are in observing climate change impacts on Earth from space, specifically understanding of impacts of permafrost thaw on carbon release and people. Her published works provide insight into remote sensing techniques suitable to efficiently monitor the land surface across large regions such as the Arctic, including novel applications and approaches. Annett received her MSc in Geography from FSU Jena, Germany (2000), her PhD from The University of Reading, UK (2004) and her venia docenti for ‚Applied Remote Sensing’ from Technical University Vienna, Austria (2011). She was a visiting professor at University of Salzburg and at LMU Munich. In 2017, she founded the Earth Observation company b.geos GmbH (Korneuburg/Vienna, Austria), which contributes to climate change related basic and applied research funded through ESA and Horizon 2020. It currently hosts Annett’s team of the ERC Synergy Grant project Q-Arctic. b.geos is a member of the Austrian Polar Research Institute which is a research consortium that promotes and coordinates research and education in the area of polar sciences.

Webinar was recorded on May 12, 2022