Caroline Björnerås

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I am a member of a research group interested in the environmental impacts of major volcanic eruptions in the past. While volcanic eruptions are known to have severe human impacts, less in known about how sulfur emissions associated with these events affect aquatic and terrestrial ecology, as well as the biogeochemistry of freshwater environments. By analyzing annually laminated (varved) lake sediments we aim at estimating the extent, duration, and effects of volcanic sulfate deposition using established paleolimnological and geochemical methods.

I have a background in aquatic biogeochemistry and my PhD thesis concerns what is driving widespread increases in iron concentrations in freshwaters. Since iron is contributing to the ongoing browning of freshwaters, which may have serious ecological consequences and implications for ecosystem services, understanding what is driving the iron trends is important. My research point to the importance of increased catchment export of iron in response to afforestation, and climate change that may enhance iron mobilization from boreal soils.

In my research I use various spectroscopic techniques to study mainly iron and sulfur biogeochemistry in lakes, including X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and synchrotron based techniques (XAS) to gain high-resolution information on the chemical speciation of iron and sulfur.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land


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