Polish-Norwegian Research Programme WICLAP

The Project “Ecosystem stress from the combined effects of winter climate change and air pollution - how do the impacts differ between biomes?” is funded from Polish-Norwegian Research Programme (http://www.ncbir.pl/en/norwaygrants) operated by the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR).

Duration of the project: December 1, 2013 – November 30, 2016 (3 years).
Acronym of the project: WICLAP

Project contact:
Zbigniew Bochenek, email: zbigniew.bochenek@igik.edu.pl tel: +48 22 3291977

Project objectives:

The main objective of WICLAP research project is to elucidate the impacts of recent winter warming events and air pollution on northern European ecosystems. This will be achieved by gathering information from several sources and analyzing these data using non-linear trend analyses. Vital data sets used within the project are daily meteorological observations of temperature, precipitation, snow depth and soil frost depth from official weather stations, air pollution deposition data along gradients from relevant point emission centres, field observations of ecosystem health as well as remote sensing data (satellite, airborne, ground) characterizing vegetation status and ecosystem change.

Two different areas of northern Europe, namely parts of Poland as a representative of the temperate zone (forested areas), and Svalbard as a representative of the Arctic zone (tundra) will be used in the research work. By studying and comparing two such highly contrasting areas, enhanced knowledge on contrasting impacts to these perturbations will be elucidated. In Poland, coniferous, deciduous forests and lichens /mosses existing within forests will be examined. This will enable comparisons between the impact of winter warming events and air pollution for different types of vegetation in the same environmental conditions. Studying lichens and mosses in Svalbard will enable analyses of those impacts for similar types of vegetation at different latitudes (Arctic – temperate).

Project research areas are:

  • To determine how recent winters with temperatures and snow cover deviating from standard normal values have affected ecosystem health, as determined using remote sensing analyses of different vegetation indices and other methods.
  • To determine how vegetation condition (expressed through vegetation spectral indices) vary with distance from point source emissions and between years.
  • To assess heavy metals deposition on the basis of analyte concentrations accumulated in plants (needles, leaves, mosses and lichens) in a temporal profile.
  • To identify possible interaction or antagonistic effects of winter warming and air pollution on different vegetation indices
  • To compare the tolerance of various ecosystems and functional types to winter warming and air pollution perturbations.
  • To render reliable projections for future ecosystem health and potential changes under standard climate change scenarios.

Project partners:
Institute of Geodesy and Cartography (IGiK) – Remote Sensing Centre - Project Coordinator
The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA)
The Norwegian Meteorological Institute (MET Norway)
University of Warsaw, Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies, Department of Geoinformatics and Remote Sensing (WURSEL)
Opole University, Faculty of Natural and Technical Sciences, Independent Department of Biotechnology and Molecular Biology (IDBMB)