Simone Stünzi

Table of contents

Link to Research Group page (Dr. Gabriela Schaepman-Strub)

Research Interests

In my Master’s thesis I am interested in boreal forests in Siberia, Russia that are vast and little discovered. With changing natural regimes and human induced stressors the biome has constantly diminished in size over the past centuries. Boreal forests are known to have a big warming effect on the climate, due to the reduced albedo in wintertime, because the snow is not as white and bright on the forest canopy, as on open or shrubby grounds. Consequently, the loss of forest would cause a negative feedback and cool the Earth’s temperature. This assumption might be too shortsighted because there is no research on what the decreasing forest patches develop into. Obviously, burned or cut down lots could have a higher albedo than with the previous forest cover, but if the areas would gradually change into wetlands as a result of thawing permafrost, the albedo would be even lower than with the original forest cover. To assess this, the global forest assessment map by Hansen et al. will be analyzed for the chosen study area around Yakutsk, Siberia. With the help of flux tower measurements from two local sites and satellite data it will then be validated and the radiative forcing trends will be calculated from the albedo measurements and the irradiance data retrieved by satellites. I expect that some areas will have oversaturated soils, especially in the warm summer months when the irradiance is highest. Therefore, the feedback of forest loss could become positive overall and further warm the global climate.


Education and Professional Positions

2016 - present M.Sc. student at the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, Switzerland
2013 - 2016 B.Sc. in Geography at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, with a Minor in Environmental Sciences