The centre involves about 120 researchers from geology, physical geography, climatology, atmospheric physics and chemistry, ecology, plant physiology, soil science and microbiology. Five Lund university departments are represented: Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Geology, Biology, Physics and Chemistry.
Working together in a creative cross-disciplinary environment, our goals are to increase the understanding of how the carbon cycle and climate system function and interact, and to disseminate our findings to society. Detailed knowledge about how climate and human activities influence the sources and sinks of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane is needed in order to make the informed and effective decisions needed for combating climate change.
Although progress has been made in our understanding of the carbon cycle and climate there are several fundamental science questions that remain unanswered and that are pivotal for an increased understanding of the Earth System as well as for our ability to predict future changes through modeling. Three important questions/problems are for example:
- What controls the atmospheric CO2 and CH4 variations and the partitioning of emissions between the atmosphere, the ocean and sinks in the biosphere? Are there important ecosystem and ocean feedback effects already in action?
- Can we distinguish between natural and man-made climate change, and how much of the current climate change is due to greenhouse gases (GHGs) versus other components affecting climate (aerosol particles etc)?
- How will strengthened greenhouse conditions affect climate in different regions? How do possible increased extreme events such as devastating storms and flooding affect carbon cycle processes and do we already see such perturbations?
These and many other related questions will be central to future research at the new Linnaeus centre envisioned here.
Promotion of scientific excellence
An important part of developing scientific excellence is to actively seek collaboration with the best research institutions in the world. Joint PhD-projects, post-doc exchanges, visiting professorships are important tools in such collaborations and we will actively work to stimulate and create such opportunities. Publication strategy is another important aspect; each publication should be published in the best possible journal in its respective field. Training our young researchers in such strategies will be an important part of the graduate syllabus. To some extent we must also be prepared to take risks when developing new challenging projects and particularly those who are in the crossings between different disciplines. It is often in these areas where new knowledge emerges.
Renewal of research
Input of new ideas is crucial for a successful research environment. New ideas are often generated by young researchers and here PhD-students and post-docs play a key role. Postdoctoral fellowships (4 years) are also ideal for bringing new ideas into an existing environment. Depending on resources provided, we will use a substantial part of the funding for such positions. All positions will be advertised internationally in order to attract the best young scientists. Renewal of research also comes from an active debate and discussion among the researchers involved. Such discussions are often best stimulated by having high-level seminars with invited top researchers, which will help to encourage all scientists to be totally updated within their research fields. Here senior scientists play an important role by becoming good role models.
Training of researchers
Today at the Department of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences we have a joint graduate program in Geobiosphere Science between the Divisions of Geology and the Division of Physical Geography and Ecosystems Analysis, which facilitates sharing of resources, joint supervision, common courses etc. Depending on topic, the graduate programs in Microbial Ecology and/or Physics are also open for our PhD-students. Much effort will be put on PhD training since this is crucial for renewal of research and for development of a dynamic research environment. The PhD students will be part of the Geobiosphere Science PhD programme and with LUCCI our capability to develop a high-class syllabus and provide top-level supervision in order to attract the best students increases greatly.
National and international collaboration
All of the researchers in LUCCI are involved in international collaboration projects both within the EU framework and the European Science Foundation programs, and numerous other international partners. The international aspect of our work is also clearly shown by the wide array of publication partners. At national level there are active collaboration primarily with Stockholm University (Meteorology and Earth Science), Göteborg University (Botany & Earth Science), the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (Abisko Scientific Research Station), and with Swedish Agricultural University (SLU) departments in Uppsala (Soil Science & Ecology) and Umeå (Forest Ecology). An important national collaboration partner is also the Rossby Centre at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) where the main part of the regional climate modeling work in Sweden is being carried out. The Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystems Science (INES) and SMHI are currently developing a strategy aiming at developing an Earth Systems modeling framework to improve future climate modeling and impact assessments.