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Profile photo of Ronny Berndtsson

Ronny Berndtsson

Professor, Dep Director, MECW Dep Scientific Coordinator

Profile photo of Ronny Berndtsson

Substantial carbon sequestration by peatlands in temperate areas revealed by InSAR


  • Behshid Khodaei
  • Hossein Hashemi
  • Shokoufeh Salimi
  • Ronny Berndtsson

Summary, in English

Peatlands are unique ecosystems that contain massive amounts of carbon. These ecosystems are incredibly vulnerable to human disturbance and climate change. This may cause the peatland carbon sink to shift to a carbon source. A change in the carbon storage of peatlands may result in surface deformation. This research uses the interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) technique to measure the deformation of the peatland's surface in south Sweden in response to the seasonal and extreme weather conditions in recent years, including the unprecedented severe drought in the summer of 2018. The deformation map of the study area is generated through a time-series analysis of InSAR from June 2017 to November 2020. Monitoring the peatland areas in this region is very important as agricultural and human activities have already caused many peatlands to disappear. This further emphasizes the importance of preserving the remaining peat sites in this region. Based on the InSAR results, a method for calculating the carbon flux of the peat areas is proposed, which can be utilized as a regular monitoring approach for other remote areas. Despite the severe drought in the summer of 2018, our findings reveal a significant uplift in most of the investigated peat areas during the study period. Based on our estimations, 86% of the peatlands in the study area experienced an uplift corresponding to about 47 000 tons of carbon uptake per year. In comparison, the remaining 14% showed either subsidence or stable conditions corresponding to about 2300 tons of carbon emission per year during the study period. This emphasizes the importance of InSAR as an efficient and accurate technique to monitor the deformation rate of peatlands, which have a vital role in the global carbon cycle.


  • Centre for Advanced Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)
  • Division of Water Resources Engineering
  • LTH Profile Area: Water
  • MECW: The Middle East in the Contemporary World

Publishing year





Environmental Research Letters





Document type

Journal article (letter)


IOP Publishing


  • Climate Research


  • InSAR
  • peatland
  • carbon sequestration
  • deformation
  • Sweden




  • ISSN: 1748-9326