Topic: "The Current and Projected Future State of Permafrost in the North with a focus on the Carbon Cycle"
Speaker: Thomas A. Douglas, U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory Alaska
Permafrost underlies a quarter of the northern hemisphere and roughly 17 percent of all lands on earth. These frozen soils contain twice as much carbon as is currently in earth’s atmosphere. Permafrost terrains are increasingly vulnerable to thaw degradation and potential carbon loss due to a variety of disturbances as well as climate warming. Multidisciplinary research throughout the Arctic has focused on the main causes of permafrost stability and instability and some consistent themes have emerged. For example, the main drivers of permafrost degradation are fire, vegetation characteristics, and changing meteorological conditions. However, these occur across varied spatial and temporal scales. Projections of a warming future climate and the resulting degradation of permafrost could lead to major landscape and carbon cycle changes over the next 20 to 50 years. This presentation will introduce the challenges in our assessment of the permafrost carbon cycle and will provide examples of field based and remotely sensed measurements that are used to identify hotpots of permafrost change.
Dr. Thomas A. Douglas of Fairbanks, Alaska is a Senior Scientist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL). He has worked at CRREL since 2001 after receiving his Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from Dartmouth College. His research is focused on the environmental characterization of permafrost, snow, and ice to support infrastructure development and understand the response of Arctic and sub-arctic terrains to climate warming. He has participated in multiple 500-1,000 mile wintertime traverses across the Alaskan Arctic and has worked at remote field sites in Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. Dr. Douglas is an author or co-author of more than 100 scientific papers and book chapters.
Because of Physical Distancing May's meeting with be online only.
DATE: Thursday, May 21, 2020 - Virtual Meeting Online TIME: 12-1 pm LOCATION: Your home. Cost: Free. Bring your lunch to your computer.