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Tomsk Polytechnic University is a renowned research center in the comprehensive study of the Arctic Shelf. The University is a co-founder of an international research group conducting studies in the field of biogeochemical consequences of permafrost degradation in the Arctic Ocean. These studies and significant experience allowed TPU to establish a special laboratory, supervised by professor Igor Semiletov, and even International Arctic Siberian Scientific Center (IASSC).

The center is aimed to increase the efficiency of complex and interdisciplinary research within the system Land-Shelf-Atmosphere in the Siberian Arctic. A resolution on the center establishment was signed following the results of the International Arctic Forum, held at TPU, November 2016. 

The Arctic researchers from all around the world signed a resolution to establish the International Arctic Siberian Scientific Center (IASSC).

The International Arctic Forum became a solid scientific platform for researchers from all over the world. The forum is dedicated to studying of biogeochemical consequences of the permafrost degradation in the Arctic Ocean with particular attention to the East Siberian shelf, the widest and shallowest shelf of the World Ocean. The forum brought together scientists from 12 universities and institutes of Russia, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Italy. It is the most active and cited scientists studying the Arctic. If we count all their papers, the sum will make up about half of all world publications, dedicated to studying of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf.

In general, the list of articles published by the TPU laboratory staff for only the last three years includes 50 publications in leading national scientific journals: Reports of the Academy of Sciences, Oceanology, and others, and international ones: Biogeosciences, Cryosphere, Deep-Sea Research, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Geophysical Research Letters, Journal Geophysical Research, Marine Chemistry, Permafrost Periglacial Processes, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, and others.

«Tomsk Polytechnic University is becoming the international center of excellence in the Arctic studies. It's not only excellent laboratory facilities, equipment, but qualified scientists. This Arctic Sea's Carbon Research International Laboratory is a platform for a powerful collaboration, including 15 universities and academic institutes of the world.
The project has been supported at the highest level and it is a good chance for this scientific community to have a breakthrough science in this area.»

Orjan Gustafsson, Professor of Stockholm University 

All the above mentioned allows TPU to become a venue of leading international researchers studying the problems of global climate changes in the light of the permafrost degradation, containing huge reserves of ancient organic carbon (OC) within the imbalance of the current carbon cycle. Nowadays, the researchers pay great attention to the transformation and transportation processes of OC in the arctic system Land-Shelf-Atmosphere and massive methane emissions from bottom sediments of the Eastern Arctic seas into water and atmosphere. In the climatic aspect, it is the most important to identify and calculate the scale of various processes responsible for the formation of maxima in the content of major greenhouse gases, which is carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) over the Arctic. In 2018, TPU will conduct a large expedition to figure out the key features of methane migration from the bottom sediments of the Eastern Arctic seas. It is necessary to further confirm the main hypothesis that degradation of underwater permafrost leads to massive emissions of greenhouse gas methane. It is worth mentioning, that in 2017 an article of the university scientists about this problem came in the TOP-10 of the most important studies by the Russian Science Foundation. The article was published in Nature Communications, IF 12,1; Q1.


Currently, TPU is considered by the researchers as the most convenient scientific platform for breakthrough international study in the Arctic.

The University Arctic story began back in 2014 when TPU research group, supervised by Igor Semiletov renowned corresponding member of the RAS, won a mega-grant for a research project - The Siberian Arctic Shelf as a Source of Greenhouse Gases of Planetary Significance. For three years, the research team conducted a number of expeditions to the Arctic. These expeditions allowed finding out the main processes causing emission of these greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and carrying out the first assessments of the impact of underwater permafrost degradation on the climate and the planet ecological situation. Recently the group of Igor Semiletov has received another grant for further research in these areas.

Igor Semiletov

 In 2015, another research group, headed by TPU professor Natalia Shakhova, received a grant for further research of the Arctic. Natalia is an author of a number publications, where for the first time she shows that anomalies in the methane, containing in the water column and in surface-atmosphere layer, indicate a significant degree of degradation of the underwater permafrost, previously considered to be continuous. These research papers were published in a number of national and international journals, such as Reports of the Academy of Sciences, Bulletin of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Geophysical Research Letters, Journal Marine Sciences, Journal Geophysical Research, and Science. It is these works that drew the attention of the world community to the problem of underwater permafrost as a factor in geological control of massive methane emission from the bottom sediments of the East Siberian shelf into the water and atmosphere.

For the last three years the University jointly with University of Stockholm have organized five full-scale summer and winter complex expeditions to the seas of the Eastern Arctic, including the 90-days expedition onboard the Swedish scientific icebreaker Oden (July-October 2014 ) and the 45-days expedition on board the Russian research vessel Academician M.V Lavrentiev (September-November 2016), two oceanographic expeditions in the Laptev Sea (March-April, 2014 and 2015), as well as a 30-day expedition from the Gulf of Ob upstream of the Ob River to Tomsk and back (June-July 2016).

Large-scale research projects and close international collaboration allowed the University to form a solid academic basis in the Arctic studies. Nowadays TPU trains a new generation of scientists, capable to conduct world-class research projects and integrated into the world scientific community.

One of the main goals of the forum is planning joint research within international multi-year programs International Siberian Shelf Study (ISSS) и the Swedish-Russian-US Investigation of Cryosphere Carbon Climate Interactions in the East Siberian Arctic Ocean (SWERUS C3). 

These programs bring together universities and research centers from Russia, USA, Sweden, the Netherlands, UK, and others. Among renowned national partners, there are V.I. Il`ichev Pacific Oceanological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), P. P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology RAS, A.M. Obukhov Institute of Atmospheric Physics RAS, Institute of Chemistry Far East Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (FEB RAS), Lomonosov Moscow State University, and European partners: Stockholm University, University of Gothenburg, University of Manchester, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Utrecht University, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, and Italian Institute of Marine Sciences in Bologna.

At the second Congress of the University of Arctic 2018 (UArctic) in Finland, TPU became a full-right member of the organization. UArctic unites 200 universities and research organization from all around the world. This membership will allow TPU to conduct large-scale research projects and build solid cooperation network.

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