Center for Permafrost (CENPERM)


Center leader:

Professor Bo Elberling


2012 - 2022

Application round:

7th Round

Host institution(s)

University of Copenhagen


99.5M DKK

In large areas of the Arctic permafrost is thawing due to global warming. This affects the interactions between microorganisms, plants and the soil environment. Center for Permafrost (CENPERM) at Copenhagen University focuses on permafrost thawing in Greenland.

19 million km2 of the Arctic are covered with permafrost; soil frozen for at least two consecutive years. Permafrost stores almost half of all global soil carbon and thawing will affect microbial decomposition of the enormous amounts of organic matter. During decomposition carbon dioxide and methane among other gasses are released to the atmosphere, potentially increasing global warming.

CENPERM takes a multidisciplinary approach and investigates the biological, geographical and physical effects of permafrost thawing in Greenland – in the short and the long term. Our investigations combine field experiments in Greenland under extreme conditions with experiments under controlled conditions in the laboratory, and will provide new insight into the complex interactions between microorganisms, plants and soil when permafrost thaws.

Watch videos from CENPERM here


Annual highlights

Highlights 2018

Highlights 2017

Latest news

Rising temperatures in the Arctic cause plants to release more volatiles; this is bad news for the climate and the plants themselves

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Head of Center Bo Elberling receives the Hans Egede Medal

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Post-doc Mette Bendixen from CENPERM publishes article in Nature about the link between global warming and growing deltas on Greenland

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