Session Chair: Gerlis Fugmann (APECS / Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research)
Technical Support: Adrian Dahood (George Mason University, United States)
GEOLOGICAL / ENVIRONMENTAL / TERRESTRIAL CRYOSPHERIC ENVIRONMENTS
Hernan E. Sala, Instituto Antartico Argentino, Argentina
Abstract: Science communication and outreach is usually not an easy task for scientists, and the challenge is even greater if we are trying to depict structures and phenomena that are present or take place only in polar regions. The structure and the behavior of the Antarctic ice sheet offers several difficulties to be communicated to broad audiences. Its huge extension and volume along with the multiplicity of the involved processes (including some complex issues) defy the comprehension of it to a non specialized audience. The Antarctic ice sheet is made up by different components including ice streams, outlet glaciers, ice shelves, etc. that are strange to the general public, and it also includes several dynamic processes that act in different spatial and temporal scales (e.g. daily, seasonal, multiannual, etc.). By another hand, as a consequence of the lack of data about its components and their mutual interactions, some uncertainty persists with regard its current and future stability. In this presentation the basics of the interactions and feedbacks between the fundamental different components of the Antarctic ice sheet will be identified, and the main difficulties in communicating the involved processes to the public will be analyzed. Several recommendations and approaches in order to spread to the broadest audience the future of the Antarctic ice sheet will be presented and discussed.
Christel Hansen, Knox, JT and Wilmot, NF, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
Abstract: Communicating your research is integral to any research project. Thus, the use of multiple and innovative approaches of bringing your research to the public has become a requirement for any researcher and scientist. South Africa, located at the tip of Africa, is not known for its ice caps and glaciers but rather for its plethora of wild life (the Big Five), warm summer climes and unique flora, such as the Cape Floral Kingdom. The country receives very little snowfall annually and most citizens have never seen snow. While sub-zero temperatures are not uncommon, 15C will make most South Africans reach for a jacket. Yet South Africa, one of the original signatories to the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), has had a continuous presence in Antarctic research since the ATS was signed. The country has a permanent base in the Antarctic (SANAE IV) and sub-Antarctic (Marion Island), yet few people outside of the academic field in South Africa know of SANAP – the South African National Antarctic Program. Communicating polar research to the public has thus become a focus for researchers and funders alike. A variety of methods are employed, ranging from open days aimed at scholars and other members of the public, such as the S.A. Agulhas II Open Day where anyone can visit the South African state-of-the-art research vessel, to using online mapping platforms, such as ArcGIS Online, to disseminate geographical research data. Furthermore, websites utilizing blog posts and personal experiences of research trips and research outputs, as well as short videos of your research are crucial to ‘personalise’ research whose topics are alien to most South African citizens.
Sasiri Bandara, University of Alberta, Canada
Abstract: Lake sediments, peatlands, tree rings, and ice cores are often used to estimate the influence of recent human activities such as coal burning and climate change on the biogeochemical cycling of Hg. Over thousands of years, sub-arctic and arctic yedoma and peat permafrost sequestered atmospherically deposited Hg prior to human impacts. However, with continued climate warming, it is hypothesized that these northern cryosols will shift from stable carbon/Hg sinks to carbon/Hg sources through permafrost degradation. Accelerated loss of Hg from yedoma silts and peat bogs to adjacent aquatic environments may pose a threat to both wildlife and humans. Here, we reconstruct natural fluxes of atmospheric Hg deposition during the Holocene (last 10,000 years) through the drilling, recovery, and analysis of permafrost from peatlands along the Dempster Highway and the Old Crow and Bluefish basins in northern Yukon, Canada. Based on our analyses, we quantify the natural variability in atmospherically deposited Hg fluxes in light of millennial-scale climate as derived by pore-ice stable isotope (δ18O and δ2H) trends over the last 10,000 years, from which we will be able to compare current rates of deposition due to human activities and quantify potential fluxes of Hg to downstream freshwater systems.
Dana Church, Gabrielle Alix, Frank Lauritzen, David Friddell, Yunwei Dong, Julie E. Friddell, Ellsworth F. LeDrew, The Canadian Cryospheric Information Network and Polar Data Catalogue, University of Waterloo, Canada
Abstract: Are your raw research data sitting on the hard drive of your laptop? Stuffed in a file folder in a dusty cabinet in an office? Resting on a flash drive the size of your pinky finger? All your hard work and scientific contributions could be much more safely stored if submitted to a data repository such as the Polar Data Catalogue (PDC: https://polardata.ca). The PDC is Canada’s primary publicly accessible repository for metadata and data from Arctic and Antarctic research in the natural, health, and social sciences. The PDC was also recently named Canada’s National Antarctic Data Centre and is a member of the International Council for Science World Data System. With multiple layers of security and back-up systems, data repositories such as the PDC can archive your data in perpetuity. In addition, your data are automatically made searchable by students, researchers, government, and the public, including northern and Indigenous peoples. The PDC also has the capability to assign a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to your data set: a unique alphanumeric string assigned to particular content, providing a persistent link to its location on the Internet. This means that data sets are citable and the authors of the cited data set receive credit for their contributions. The PDC has recently assigned DOIs to more than 300 datasets comprising nearly 2.7 million individual data files. Thus, archiving your data in a repository such as the PDC allows you to not only safely and securely store your data, but it also gives you the opportunity to communicate your data, make your data more visible, and potentially receive publication credit.
17:45 - 18:00 GMT: Modeling Suspended Sediment at Lake Peters, Brooks Range, Alaska using a Dual-Method Approach
Lorna Louise Thurston, Erik Schiefer, Northern Arizona University, United States
Abstract: The Arctic is experiencing environmental change greater than most other places on earth, yet the physical processes driving this change are little understood. Fluvial sediment transfer from glacier to lake is one important physical process, and the focus of our research in Lake Peters’ catchment, Brooks Range, Alaska. The problem is that fluvial sediment transfer is inherently difficult to model. The majority of a catchment’s annual sediment yield is often transported during a single flood event. Accurate sediment modeling, therefore, requires data throughout the entire melt-season capturing flood peaks, which presents the first challenge for modeling sediment transfer in the remote Arctic. Furthermore, once sediment models are developed they are usually based on less than one to three seasons of data, which is not a good reflection of inter-annual sediment variability and the processes driving this. Overcoming these challenges requires an “outside the box” approach. Firstly, continuously recording hydrological and climatological instruments were fixed in Lake Peters’ catchment for the 2015 and 2016 melt-seasons. Discharge in Carnivore Creek (the main tributary) peaked on the 8/3/2015 at 1542 m3s-1 over a 24 hour period, and on the 7/8/16 at 1572 m3s-1 over a 24 hour period. Manual sediment samples and continuous turbidity recordings reached maximums of 1434 mgL-1 and 2617 NTU, respectively. Preliminary statistical sediment models based on the continuous data have returned interesting results. Turbidity, diurnal cycles and ground temperature are all included in the best model of suspended sediment concentration in Carnivore Creek. In Chamberlin Creek, turbidity alone is the best predictor of suspended sediment concentration. Secondly, inter-annual to decade scale sediment deposition is being investigated by analyzing short-cores taken from Lake Peters. Short-core results will be compared with the statistical sediment models that are based on only two seasons of field-data. It is proposed that this dual-method approach can overcome the main challenges associated with modeling sediment transfer in Arctic Alaska.
POLICY / EDUCATION / COMMUNICATION
Sarah Bouckoms, Miss Porters School, United States
Abstract: Now in its 4th year, I've developed a semester long Climate Change elective. It is open from 10th to 12th grade students. This course focuses on Earth systems, key environmental issues, political actions, social and cultural impacts as well as developing science literacy skills. Ideas are presented from both sides of the spectrum and students are able to arrive at the facts on their own. This method allows students to take ownership of their opinions and thus they can defend their own side. Debate is encouraged. There are great discussions but also hands on labs, field trips and group projects. Students read through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report learning how to read a graph with multiple figures or axis. For students, seeing the long term studies enforces the difference between weather and climate and how far back we need to look to know what our future might look like. The variation in potential outcomes shows how the difficulties of modeling cause discrepancies in future scenarios. The difference between good and bad references is widely discussed. Beyond reading technical papers, students also follow scientists, expeditions and latest news through various social media platforms. Using multiple forms of media and developing their research skills helps them gain confidence in their abilities to interpret science. A longer term project is to have students craft a local project on campus that will last longer than their enrollment in the class. This is necessary to leave the students empowered as often when they become savvy to these dire issues there is an overwhelming sense of urgency and powerlessness. For the youth, having a real but hopeful take away message is imperative. This course has been highly successful, encouraging students to take further Environmental courses or pursuit higher studies in the field during college.
18:15 - 18:30 GMT: “Let me tell you a story”: Communicating Indigenous Knowledge Research in a Digital World
Heidi McCann, Colleen Strawhacker, Chris McNeave, Betsy Sheffield, Peter Pulsifer, Univ. of Colorado Boulder
Abstract: Up until a decade ago, communicating Indigenous Knowledge (IK) and community-based monitoring (CBM) data of the Arctic was challenging. Scientists accustomed to working with quantitative data became interested in IK and began incorporating it into their research; however, they had no means of sharing it with the world due to the lack of data management tools. What was missing was an effective and appropriate way of recording, storing, managing, and ethically sharing data and information for quantitative and qualitative data. A platform needed to be developed that would enable creative use now and over the long term. It was important then as it is now that the data be not only available, but useful, to Arctic residents and researchers, other interested groups such as teachers, students, other scientists and policy makers. During the International Polar Year of 2007-2008, several projects emerged addressing the issues of lack of data management tools and services for IK and CBM. One project, The Exchange for Local Observations and Knowledge of the Arctic (ELOKA), has taken a leadership role in initiating IK and CBM data management research and services. Its mission is to provide data management services and user support to facilitate the collection, preservation, exchange, and use of local observations and Indigenous Knowledge of the Arctic. Housed at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) located at the University of Colorado Boulder, ELOKA currently manages and curates IK products from communities in Alaska, Nunavut, and Russia that can be found at the ELOKA website. Although located outside of the Arctic, ELOKA still maintains close connections to Arctic communities and projects and provides prompt response to the needs of the communities.
In this presentation, we will show polar researchers working with Indigenous communities exploring how their data can be managed in a way that provides a product for the community and other interested people that will tell a story of environmental change to worldwide audiences.
John Walsh, Chief Scientist and President's Professor of Global Change, International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, United States