Understanding and modeling of tundra gases escape mechanisms from the ground to the atmosphere and their consequences during global warming


Understanding and modeling trace gas emissions from tundra soils to the atmosphere is critical to predict surface-atmosphere feedbacks on current and future global warming. Tundra soils are underlain by permafrost, a thermal condition of the ground which remains at or below 0 °C for two or more years throughout the high latitudes. Climate warming is increasing the temperature of permafrost-affected soils and increasing rates of permafrost thaw. These warmer and thawed soils may promote the degassing of greenhouse gases, mainly methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, and probably more pollutant compounds. 

The main scientific objectives of this PhD project are to conduct field-based research towards an understanding of the following questions: (1) In addition to the main greenhouse gases (GHG), what other associated gases (odour? toxic?) are released from upland and lowland tundra soils?; (2) What are the descriptors for estimating the carbon stock in soils and the emissions of these gases at the scale of a plot or a territory? and (3) How do the transport properties of the soil affect the structure of soil organic matter (circulation of fluids, release of greenhouse gases, impact on soil formation / destruction, etc.)?

The environmental gas monitoring package, Flair® Box and Flair® Map will be mainly applied in this project to identify the gas source on the field and to develop predictive models of the soil respiration. 

At laboratory scale, the student will be also trained to perform geochemical characterization of gas and organic-rich soil/sediment samples using integrated analytical technologies such as thermal degradation (Rock-Eval®), kinetics, nanostructure, adsorption capacity, elemental analysis, isotopic signature, GC-C-IRMS, NMR techniques, among others. 

Results from field monitoring and experimental measurements will be also compared with existing soil respiration models. Finally, the student will be benefited from complimentary work environments in France (IFPEN) and Canada (Carleton University).


Keywords: monitoring, permafrost, geochemistry, gas, organic matter, soil respiration, Canada

  • Doctoral School    ED398 (France)  in collaboration with Carleton University (Canada)
  • IFPEN advisors    DR. Guillaume BERTHE, guillaume.berthe@ifpen.fr (advisor) & DR. Maria ROMERO-SARMIENTO, maria-fernanda.romero-sarmiento@ifpen.fr (director)
  • Carleton advisor    DR. Elyn Humphreys, ElynHumphreys@cunet.carleton.ca (advisor)
  • PhD location    IFP Energies Nouvelles, Rueil-Malmaison, France
  • Duration and start date    3 years, starting preferably on December 1, 2021
  • Employer    IFP Energies Nouvelles, Rueil-Malmaison - France
  • Academic requirements    University Master degree in Geochemistry, Geology, Hydrogeology
  • Language requirements    Fluency in English or French or, willingness to learn French
IFPEN supervisor
DR. Guillaume BERTHE
About IFP Energies nouvelles

IFP Energies nouvelles is a French public-sector research, innovation and training center. Its mission is to develop efficient, economical, clean and sustainable technologies in the fields of energy, transport and the environment. For more information, see our WEB site. 
IFPEN offers a stimulating research environment, with access to first in class laboratory infrastructures and computing facilities. IFPEN offers competitive salary and benefits packages. All PhD students have access to dedicated seminars and training sessions. For more information, please see our dedicated WEB pages.