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4:24 PM  August 26, 2021

TSU to buy equipment for Arctic research for 150 mln rub in 3 years

© РИА Томск. Павел СтефанскийTSU to buy equipment for Arctic research for 150 mln rub in 3 years

TOMSK, Aug 26 – RIA Tomsk. Tomsk State University (TSU) won a grant of 150 million rubles from the Russian Minobrnauki to purchase equipment for the Megafacility, a network of research stations across Siberia studying climate change; the purchase will take place over three years, the university's press service said on Thursday.

Earlier it was reported that TSU is the coordinator of a scientific consortium to study the Arctic in the context of climate change and its effects on the shelf and Siberian rivers. In particular, the issue in question is the release of large amounts of methane into the atmosphere caused by the degradation of permafrost. Experts estimate that the consortium will raise at least 100 million rubles a year for interdisciplinary research.

Ice melting, millions needed

"TSU won a tender from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation and won a major grant of 150 million rubles. The funding is intended to equip the unique Megafacility research infrastructure used by the university to study Siberia and the Arctic", – the press service said.

According to the press service, the grant money will be used to purchase state-of-the-art equipment that will provide the most accurate and detailed data on glacier melting, volumes of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere and their transport into the world's oceans. The development of research infrastructure will allow TSU to strengthen its status of a leader in the study of Siberia and the Arctic.

"(Siberia and the Arctic) are now experiencing the most dynamic environmental changes due to global warming. Melting glaciers, rising greenhouse gas emissions and a number of other factors have the potential to fundamentally change the habitual way of life of the population and the socio-economic situation", – executive director of the Trans-Siberian Scientific Way Lyudmila Borilo is quoted.

According to her assessment, the knowledge obtained with the new equipment about the processes taking place in these areas will be relevant for all mankind.

© сайт Томского государственного университета
Research equipment at Aktru station

Research in three ecosystems

© РИА Томск. Элеонора Черная
The TSU press service specifies that the new equipment will make it possible to build a network of scientific stations located along 3.5 thousand kilometres in the direction from south to north, thus retrofitting the university's Megafacility.

"For example, in the floodplain of the Ob River, where TSU with its SecNet partners intends to establish a carbon polygon, the installation of pulsation systems to measure greenhouse gases is planned. Availability of such equipment and equipment of mobile laboratories will open up possibilities for conducting experiments on measurement of emission and absorption of greenhouse gases and assess temporal variability of these flows", – says the report.

According to SecNet coordinator Olga Shaduiko, the new equipment will improve the accuracy of studies and obtain more scientific data.

"There are only two such installations for the whole of Siberia: one of them in Krasnoyarsk Krai monitors greenhouse gases over forests, the second one is in Yakutia, where it is involved in the study of permafrost. The appearance of the third unit, in the Ob floodplain, will be very significant event because then all the most important ecosystems – permafrost, forest and water bodies – will be covered by studies", – Shaduiko is quoted.

The equipment procured with the grant will be deployed not only stationary at research stations, but also on vehicles, water vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

"Scientists will have at their disposal an unmanned helicopter equipped with a lidar – a laser scanner that "captures" data on the topography of land and glaciers. The availability of such equipment will enable glaciologists to obtain more information on the scale and dynamics of glacier melting", – specifies the press service.

It is planned to purchase the equipment for the Megafacility over three years. In addition to the use of public funds, co-financing from TSU and university partners interested in conducting research at its scientific bases is envisaged. It is worth noting that the university's research stations are already in stable demand from Russian and foreign scientists.

© сайт Томского государственного университета
TSU Kajbasovo research station in the Ob floodplain
International interests

It was previously reported that TSU stations Aktru in the Altai Republic, Kajbasovo in the Ob floodplain and Khanymei in Yamal are part of a large-scale European project to study the Arctic INTERACT II. Experts from Sweden, Norway, Great Britain, the USA and other countries conduct research there. The same stations are involved in a large European project on creation of a unified observation system – Arctic Passion.

According to Borilo, the extremely high interest in the study of Siberia and the Arctic is due, on the one hand, to the changes that are taking place here, and on the other hand, to the fact that the vast territory is still poorly explored.

"There is enormous scope for scientific discovery here. Of great importance is the fact that the TSU network of stations makes it possible to conduct research all year round, while many of our colleagues from other research centers have a very short field season: they work only in warm months, which greatly limits research in the northern territories", – she says.

The press office emphasizes that with the expansion of the Megafacility infrastructure, the research capabilities of TSU scientists will seriously increase. This will allow them to implement large-scale interdisciplinary projects, obtain new data on climate transformation and the impact of these changes on natural systems and humans.

"At the same time, the TSU network of research stations will be able to attract even more Russian and foreign projects, which will not only increase TSU's visibility globally, but will also bring additional financial benefits to the university... Tomsk State University was able to win the Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education contest due to the large scientific potential created earlier", – the report stresses.

In particular, under the leadership of leading researcher of Pic du Midi Observatory, TSU scientist Oleg Pokrovsky won a government megagrant and a major project to study the features of biogeochemical cycles of lakes and swamps in Siberia and the Arctic was implemented.

In addition, as previously reported, under the auspices of Tomsk State University and at the initiative of one of the world's most recognized experts in Arctic ecology, Professor at University of Sheffield and TSU Terry Callaghan, an international network for the study of Siberia and the Arctic – SecNet – was created. It now brings together dozens of leading research centers in Russia and abroad, specializing in the study of northern territories.

© сайт Томского государственного университета
Glaciers research at Aktru station





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