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Climate Change

Climate Change at the Arctic’s Edge

Scientists expect to observe the greatest effects of global warming in the Arctic. But what, exactly, will these effects be?


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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

Permafrost—ground that remains below 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) for more than a year—holds crucial clues about global warming.

Over the next few decades, scientists expect to observe the greatest effects of global warming at high latitudes.

Permafrost underlies 24% of the land surface of the Earth and holds about 50% of the world’s terrestrial carbon (the carbon stored in soil and plants). As temperatures rise and the permafrost thaws, organic compounds begin to decompose, producing carbon dioxide and methane. The release of these greenhouse gases amplifies the effects of global warming. Arctic landscapes will change, and the current plant and animal residents may find themselves unable to adapt.

The tree line—the line beyond which trees don’t grow—is the other major focus of this research. Warmer temperatures could mean that more trees can grow farther north, into the tundra. Good for the trees, right? But it’s more complicated: in the tundra, trees are exposed to harsher temperatures and winds, which make it harder for them to survive and reproduce.

Climate change researchers in the arctic

What do climate-related changes mean for the Arctic?

These shifts in the Arctic will change life for every species there—including humans. That’s why researchers at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre (CNSC) are working hard to understand exactly how these northern Canadian lands and species work together now. By joining forces with the scientists, you’ll help gather lots of data over a short time period. You’ll contribute to a trove of information that will help locals and people everywhere make the future a little less uncertain.

About the research area

Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, North America & Arctic

Daily life in the field

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The Scientists

MEET THE LEAD SCIENTIST

LeeAnn
Fishback
Scientific Coordinator, Churchill Northern Studies Centre

ABOUT LeeAnn Fishback

LeeAnn Fishback is an environmental geochemist focusing on freshwater lake and pond water chemistry in Arctic and Subarctic regions. She has been the scientific coordinator at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre for the past 10 years.

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MEET THE OTHER SCIENTISTS

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Accommodations and Food

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