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Changing Arctic Carbon cycle in the cOastal Ocean Near-shore (CACOON)

Svalbard. Photograph courtesy of Unsplash

Completed project

Project start: July 2018  |  Project end: June 2021
Funder: NERC
Principal Investigator: Dr Ricardo Torres
Other participants from PML: Dr Luca Polimene

The Arctic Ocean is a rapidly changing environment, with rising temperatures leading to an ongoing decline in sea ice and shifting conditions for marine life. Despite the presence of important and complex ecosystems in Arctic waters, there are knowledge gaps in how the Arctic Ocean and its inhabitants will be impacted upon and respond to global climate change.

CACOON (Changing Arctic Carbon cycle in the cOastal Ocean Near-shore) is a three year project funded as part of the NERC Changing Arctic Programme examining the impacts that increasing temperatures have on the transport and transformations of organic matter from the land to the ocean as a result of thawing of permafrost.

This process liberates carbon that has been sequestered for centuries and has the potential to contribute to our changing climate in ways that are still not fully understood. By focusing on two large Siberian rivers (The Lena and Kolyma rivers) the project will measure and model a very important component of the coastal Arctic ecosystem, one that is especially vulnerable to the changing climate.

The models created will then be used to identify key processes affecting transport of organic matter and to project how any future changes to freshwater runoff will alter influence the Arctic Ocean and the ecosystems that depend upon it.


CACOON will provide an improved understanding of how climate change and human activity is affecting Arctic ecosystems. This will provide evidence to underpin environmental policy in the region.