Søren Rysgaard

Søren Rysgaard

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Arctic Geomicrobiology and Climate Change

University of Manitoba

“The addition of renowned researcher Dr. Søren Rysgaard to our already excellent faculty will set the University of Manitoba apart and further cement our reputation as the top climate change research facility in the world.”

― David Barnard, president and vice-chancellor, University of Manitoba


Before becoming Canada Excellence Research Chair at the University of Manitoba, Søren Rysgaard was a professor at the University of Southern Denmark and head of Greenland's Climate Research Center. He also served as a professor at the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources. He is involved in a number of ongoing projects, including several European International Polar Year projects, and Networks of Centres of Excellence such as FreshNor (for the preservation of fresh water in the Nordic Sea), NetICE (the Nordic European sea ice research network) and DEFROST (Nordic collaborative venture for studies of climate, energy and the environment).

Rysgaard also established the Greenland Climate Research Centre and the Arctic Science Centre at University of Aarhus in Denmark. These centres and the University of Manitoba will, through Rysgaard's Canada Excellence Research Chair, be co-operating closely to further strengthen research into the waters between Canada, Denmark and Greenland.

Rysgaard holds a PhD in biology from Aarhus University in Denmark. He has numerous publications on sea ice and sediments to his credit, and has revolutionized the study of the global nitrogen cycle in the oceans by developing new measuring techniques now used worldwide.

Arctic Geomicrobiology and Climate Change

Warming in the Arctic—which has been predicted for decades—is happening more rapidly than anticipated. And the resulting widespread loss of ice is expected to have massive implications for the entire planet, altering its physical and chemical nature, and transforming the biosphere.

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Arctic Geomicrobiology and Climate Change Søren Rysgaard leads a research team at the very forefront of knowledge about the causes and consequences of global warming. An expert in sea ice and benthos (organisms living in or around the seabed), Rysgaard, along with fellow University of Manitoba scientists at the Centre for Earth Observation Science, is exploring microbial activity and chemical transformations within sea ice and ocean sediments as they occur. His team will be the first to intensely investigate the Arctic at the micro-scale.

Although it was once thought that nothing happened in the cold sea ice, research is now showing many processes at work, and that these activities appear to be increasing as the ice warms. Rysgaard is particularly interested in the chemistry between newly discovered minerals found in sea ice, salts and carbon dioxide. His recent research suggests sea ice is the key to removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

In co-operation with ArcticNet, Canada's umbrella organization of arctic study groups, Rysgaard's research promises to position Canada as the global leader in understanding changing Arctic ecosystems. His study of biogeochemical transformations of carbon in sea ice will have a direct impact on the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and, therefore, the rate of climate change.

Besides offering new insights into current and future Arctic marine ecosystems and their changing sea ice habitats, Rysgaard's work is also providing tools for assessing Arctic resource development, sustainable development of these resources, and impacts on northern peoples.



Release date

October 11, 2011

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Søren Rysgaard, University of Manitoba

My goal in the research is to figure out sea ice in the climate system, how it interacts with the climate system. And that includes new results in other fields as well. Both the melting of an ice cap and how that relates to putting more fresh water into the sea. Potentially, that can build more sea ice, but potentially, it can alter the circulation of things to a completely different situation than what we see today.

I hope we can get much more clever in sea ice's role in the climate system. But I also hope that we discover a lot of new things on the way.

If we knew exactly what we were doing, it would not be called research, and I think many times, when you try to do something, and you think this is the way it's going to be, the most interesting part is if it turns out not to be the same, it opens up a lot of new questions.

The University of Manitoba is attractive for many reasons. One of the reasons is they are good at thinking big and integrative. They know, and have shown that through the work, both in the Arctic Net and the CFL and cases and former projects that I also attended, just as a scientist at that time.

Of course, I'm very proud of the CERC also, but that's been a long way and one of the things that I've had most fun with at the beginning was establishing a research station and a research environment in far northeast Greenland.