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Lund University Centre for studies of Carbon Cycle and Climate Interactions

LUCCI was a Linnaeus granted research environment 2008-2018 at Lund University. It is now finished as a funded research environment, but the science continues.

Read the final evaluation report of the Linnaeus centres, compiled by the Swedish Research council.


LUCCI was a research centre at Lund University devoted to studies of the carbon cycle and how it interacts with the climate system. The centre was financed for a ten-year period (2008-2018) by a Linnaeus grant from the Swedish Research Council VR. It was coordinated by Anders Lindroth (Dept. of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science), followed by Vivi Vajda (Dept. of Geology) and the last years by Lena Ström (Dept. of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science).

The centre involved about 120 researchers from geology, physical geography, climatology, atmospheric physics and chemistry, ecology, plant physiology, soil science and microbiology. Five Lund university departments are represented: Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Geology, Biology, Physics and Chemistry.

Working together in a creative cross-disciplinary environment, our goals are to increase the understanding of how the carbon cycle and climate system function and interact, and to disseminate our findings to society. Detailed knowledge about how climate and human activities influence the sources and sinks of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane is needed in order to make the informed and effective decisions needed for combating climate change.


Although progress has been made in our understanding of the carbon cycle and climate there are several fundamental science questions that remain unanswered and that are pivotal for an increased understanding of the Earth System as well as for our ability to predict future changes through modeling. Three important questions/problems are for example:

  • What controls the atmospheric CO2 and CH4 variations and the partitioning of emissions between the atmosphere, the ocean and sinks in the biosphere? Are there important ecosystem and ocean feedback effects already in action?
  • Can we distinguish between natural and man-made climate change, and how much of the current climate change is due to greenhouse gases (GHGs) versus other components affecting climate (aerosol particles etc)?
  • How will strengthened greenhouse conditions affect climate in different regions? How do possible increased extreme events such as devastating storms and flooding affect carbon cycle processes and do we already see such perturbations?

These and many other related questions was central to the research at the Linnaeus centre LUCCI.

LUCCI Science

Climate change dynamics in atmosphere and space

Aurora borrealis over measurement equipment.
Photo: Norbert Pirk

The atmosphere of the Earth protects us and all life on the planet from cosmic rays, solar ultraviolet radiation and solar winds. It keeps the temperature relatively stable between day and night and makes life possible for the inhabitants of the planet. Now greenhouse gases and particles are rapidly added by human activities, altering the atmospheric composition and therefore also the climate conditions.

The global climate has gone through strong changes before anthropogenic influence. Investigating such periods that have not been influenced by human activities helps us to improve the understanding of the climate system and how it will act now and in the future. Equally interesting is to see how natural system dynamics such as the solar activities affects the climate variations on Earth. In particular, it provides estimates of the natural climate variability.

An altered greenhouse gas balance as we see in the past, and now today due to human activities, alters the global temperature which in turn alters vegetation, precipitation, ice cover and ocean circulation. Airborne particles (a few nanometers to a few micrometers in diameter) like aerosols play an important role in the atmosphere. On the one hand, they can interact with solar radiation or cloud formation, and thus play a significant role in the Earth's climate. On the other hand, they can be breathed into human airways, thus being responsible for several adverse health effects.

  • Aerosol-cloud interactions
  • Carbon cycle and solar changes at the end of the last Ice Age
  • Past Solar Activity Variations and Sun-Climate links
  • Source apportionment of carbonaceous aerosols
  • The HACIDYS project

Oceans, lakes and streams

Researchers at sea collectiong water samples.
Photo: Helena Filipsson

To understand present- and past aquatic environments we can use the sediment as an environmental archive. In aquatic environments you will find a range of different organisms. For instance one important group single celled organisms are foraminifera, they exist in all marine environments and have often a shell of calcium carbonate. The calcite shells make the foraminifera excellent environmental records as shell is preserved in the sediment and we can use the shell to perform various geochemical analyses.

Another important group is the diatoms which are siliceous phytoplankton at the base of the food web. Diatoms exist both in fresh and marine environments and can tell us about changes in pH, nutrients, light conditions, temperature and so on.

  • Carbon dynamics of past terrestrial and marine ecosystems
  • Diatom analyses of lake sediments from the South Atlantic
  • Drivers and Impacts of Coastal Ocean Acidification
  • Tracing hypoxia during warm periods in the Baltic Sea region using synchrotron X-ray spectroscopy and plasma analytical methods

Paleoclimate and paleoecology

Understanding ecology, geology and climate variabilities in the past from thousands to millions of years ago can increse our understanding in what is going on with the climate today.

Crinkeled mountain.
Photo: Anders Cronholm

Commonly known traces from the past are the ones from dinosaurs and other life that has become fossils. Why did 50-70 percent of all life go extinct 70 million years ago, including the dinosaurs? By reading the natural archives and proxys such as bedrock layers, isotopes, pollen and fossils, researchers are adding detailed information to the history of mass extinctions as well as information about past climate variations.

  • Atmospheric circulation patterns in the Southern Ocean during the Holocene
  • Marine ecosystem response and restitutions across the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary
  • The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum
  • The role of fire in the terrestrial biosphere and identification of major drivers of biomass burning during the Holocene
  • Unmasking a mid-Campanian marine extinction event

Terrestrial ecosystems

Land-based ecosystems all over the globe are going through important changes, and hence the carbon cycle in these systems. LUCCI researchers are studying the drivers and processes in vegetation and soils connected to the carbon cycle, and where the sources and sinks are in the global carbon budget.

Chanterells in forest.
Photo: Adam Bahr

In LUCCI, we want to make a detailed understanding of how external factors such as temperature, moisture and radiation regulate the carbon balance of boreal and sub-arctic ecosystems from local to regional scales. An important part is to study the role that vegetation has in the carbon cycle and production of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and how these feedback to the climate system. The processes involved will be studied at different spatial scales from the microbial to regional scales using flux measurements by chambers, towers and aircrafts, experiments under controlled conditions in laboratory, as well as models for upscaling to larger regions.

  • Climate change in the sub-Arctic
  • How nitrogen deposition affects the flow of carbon from trees to fungi
  • Inclusion of a Model of Dynamic Global Vegetation into an Earth System Model
  • Land atmosphere exchange of carbon dioxide and methane in a high-Arctic wet tundra ecosystem
  • Plant-soil-herbivore interactions in the Arctic
  • Potential offsets between the 14C-calibration curve and tree ring chronologies
  • The Effects of Forest Management and Natural Disturbance on Greenhouse Gas Exchange in Boreal Forests
  • Water use efficiency - upscaling carbon fluxes from leaf to stand




Research Integration, Innovation and Inspiration

The R3I group is intended to be a forum where all LUCCI PhD students and Post Docs can meet and discuss their work and have workshops and courses, as well as social events.

To enhance the communication between the young scientists and the steering group,  the R3I group have one  (+ one replacement) or two persons that coordinate the activities of R3I, and attend the LUCCI core group as a full member. This representative will act as the link between the R3I group and the administration office of the environment and the work package leaders.



LUCCI is devoted to studies of the carbon cycle and how it interacts with the climate system. The centre involves about 120 researchers from five Lund University departments:

Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science

Combines multidisciplinary fields of climate and environmental change in the study of the Earth and the processes connected to it in the natural environment - in the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere and the distribution and functioning of ecosystems. Field studies and modelling are used to increase the understanding of Earth and its systems.


Department of Geology at Lund is a melting pot of broad geoscientific research and teaching, based on the two units Bedrock Geology and Quaternary Geology.  It aims a studing our planet's structure and history, and research has a lot of focus on biogeochemical cycles and paleoecology and paleoclimatology.


The Department of Biology cover the broad field of biology, with LUCCI working mainly with the ecology scientists. The department works with many topics from molecular and protein production, to ecosystems and the genetic code of behavior, and work with applied research in several areas.


The Department of Chemistry has research covering all fields of chemistry, and works within the broad range of basic research to advanced applied research. It puts a lot of effort in innovation and solutions within technology, medicin, food, enery and environment.


LUCCI participants from the Physics department are involved in Nuclear physics, with a broad range of reserach all the way from aerosol research to nuclear structure physics.


Contact LUCCI

If you have questions about LUCCI, please contact:

LUCCI coordinator: Lena Ström

Communication and admin: Susanna Olsson