Characterized by vast amounts of carbon stored in permafrost and a rapidly evolving landscape, the Arctic is an important focal point for the study of climate change. These are sensitive systems, yet the mechanisms responsible for those sensitivities remain poorly understood and inadequately represented in Earth System Models. The NGEE Arctic project seeks to reduce uncertainty in climate prediction by better understanding critical land-atmosphere feedbacks in terrestrial ecosystems of Alaska.
Monday, July 23, 2012
NGEE Arctic project gains visibility in Barrow
Our team has been setting up field sites and conducting
research for almost 9 months in the North Slope village of Barrow. We have met
with the local community to talk about our research and given two Saturday
Schoolyard presentations, thanks to Nok Ackers with the Barrow Arctic Science
Consortium. We have given field tours to students from the high school and met
with third graders from the Fred Ipalook Elementary School, thanks to an
invitation from their teacher Ms. Wallace. These are all important educational
and outreach opportunities for our project, especially in the close-knit community
like Barrow. Many of us enjoy the interactions we have had with the local
Inupiat people and others, we look forward to more of this in the coming
In the spirit of community outreach, several members of
the NGEE Arctic team who (for now) will remain nameless, found a creative way to
heighten the visibility of our project while driving around town this week.
Such grassroots publicity might explain why I started to
be greeted by name at the AC grocery store and NAPA Auto Parts upon exiting the
van. It might also explain why one sweet woman asked "What's an
But in all seriousness, we are enjoying visibility in the
larger community; especially as more and more people begin to appreciate the
unique role that the Arctic plays in climate and climate change. Just this week,
we were approached by two individuals who wanted to learn more about our
research. Sara Reardon, a reporter with New Scientist, learned about our
project through BASC and asked about meeting with members of our team in
Barrow during early August. A similar request came from Gary Braasch (Braasch
Environmental), who hosts several highly visible websites on climate and climate
change. He will also be in Barrow and asked about talking to us regarding our goal
of integrating process knowledge of terrestrial ecosystems into Earth System
Models. Our team will do what we can to honor these requests.
In closing, we had a great field research trip to Barrow
and my thanks to Alistair, Victoria, Anna, Jonathan, John, Yuxin, and Ken for
all their hard work during the past 7 to 10 days. Cheers...