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Page history:

September 5, 2008:
First release
March 4, 2011:
Minor update

The LUCCI research program

Mission statement

The goal of LUCCI is to develop a better understanding of the processes governing the carbon cycle and the climate system at a multitude of scales, temporal as well as spatial, by developing interdisciplinary research of the highest international standard, and, to foster a new generation of excellent scientists within this field.


Abrupt climatic changes, commonly found in geological records, point to a sensitive climate system, which is governed by so far largely unknown processes. Not least in this perspective, the climatic effects of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions can be considered a major threat to a prosperous future for mankind and to retaining such irreplaceable assets such as biodiversity and ecosystem services. The climate system, however, is very complex and much remains to be learned about the multitude of processes and feedback mechanisms that shape climate and drive the carbon cycle. The latter is of particular interest in a climate context since the active players in the carbon cycle are major greenhouse gases (CO2 and CH4) are pivotal in their influence on both natural and anthropogenically caused climate forcing, together with other compounds (like aerosols and volatile organic compounds) and processes.

An understanding of these processes is crucial for providing better future projections and scenarios underlying implementing realistic and cost-effective adaptation and mitigation actions. This proposal brings together top researchers with diverse but complementary experience within Lund University to an integrated approach at the study of geosphere-biosphere interactions and in particular, the relationship between the carbon cycle and climate change.

Research strategy

The basic strategy of LUCCI will be to integrate research in contemporary climate processes, such as land-atmosphere carbon exchange, with studies of natural driving factors behind climate change and carbon cycle dynamics as deduced from the geological record and from present-day measurements. Overall we will work at a range of scales, from soil microbe-plant interactions over small leaves and large trees to the global perspective, from diurnal to geological time, using observational, experimental and modeling approaches with a joint objective of improving the scientific understanding of the relationship between ecosystem-atmosphere-ocean interactions, the carbon cycle and climate.

New overview projects that assemble and analyze the enormous amounts of detailed research findings produced in this field will lead to new insights that can be used by society at large and in particular policy makers, ultimately helping to solve many of the questions emphasized in the latest IPCC report of 2007. In addition the LUCCI will also be ideally suited to interact with researchers in economics, law or philosophy, dealing with the societal implications of predicted climatic change and the economic aspects of different adaptation and mitigation strategies.

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Scientific infrastructure

LUCCI will have access to top modern lab facilities in the 'Geocentrum' building complex. It holds a new Single Spectrum AMS 14C facility with double preparation laboratories, a well-equipped and up-to-date geomagnetic/mineral magnetic laboratory, element analyzer (for carbon, nitrogen and sulphur), sedigraph analyzer, sediment laboratories, dendrochronology laboratory, a carbon cycling laboratory with controlled environment facilities (incl. growth chambers), gas chromatographs, HPLCs and gas analysers for measurement of CO2, CH4 and N2O.

A special laboratory is dedicated to the use of 14C labeling for tracing ecosystem carbon flow in ecosystems. We will have access to a state of the art stable isotopic laboratory for analyses of carbon and oxygen isotopes in carbonates and nitrogen and carbon isotopes in organic material. A new Scanning Electron Microscope with an attached EDS system for analysis of elements at micrometer resolution was installed in November 2005. In addition we have a 40Ar/39Ar geochronology laboratory.

LUCCI will also have access to several field sites from Abisko in the sub-arctic north to southern Sweden representing the most important biomes in the boreal and sub-arctic region namely forests and wetlands. These sites are all equipped with towers for eddy covariance flux measurements, meteorology, soil chambers etc. In addition, a fully equipped research aircraft, including flux measurement capability is also available. The geologists work from pole to pole; they study sites in varying settings with different temporal scales from Greenland to Antarctica.

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Work packages

For the coming two to three years we propose to organize the research in five different subprojects, or work packages (WPs). Four of these will cover topics organized along a time axis, ranging from the present time, through the "historical" period and the Quaternary, all the way back to the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary 70 million years ago. The fifth subproject will be a synthesis package, focused on modeling, that integrates over all time scales. Inherent in the temporal scale is also a spatial scale going from small to large along the time axis. Each work package will have two team leaders, who will be responsible for the scientific work within the work package.

The five work packages, together with the names of the respective team leaders, are listed below. More information, including specific aims for the coming 2-3 years, are available by following the links in the list. You can also find more general information on the "Work packages" page, easily reachable via the left menu sidebar.

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