We descended down the road onto the tundra that occurs in and around the Council area. Larry had worked in this area for many years and was familiar with the general landscape and how the area was dotted with a mix of short and tall shrubs, open woodlands, boreal forests, and then tundra. We spent the morning and into the afternoon looking at various features in the area including thermokarst, areas that form due in part to thawing permafrost. These are interesting features in that the tundra undergoes local subsidence, ponding of water, and then (with time) networks form and water moves laterally across the landscape. This process is poorly understood and not well, if at all, represented in models. We hope to add that level of understanding to models and it was, as a result, great to have the modelers on our team see these areas. There was a great deal of discussion and I believe that everyone came away with a much better appreciation for how dynamic these landscapes can be, especially in a climate that is characterized by warming temperatures.
It was a demanding schedule, but nonetheless one that allowed us to see and do a lot of different things. Saturday we continue the learning experience as our team of modelers and Martin travel from Nome to Barrow. Should be an equally great day!