September 10, 2017

Climate Change at the Arctic’s Edge – Sep 10th-16th, 2017 Alcoa team – Day 1


Great news! Today, the Earthwatch Institute welcomed the Alcoa team to the Churchill Northern Studies Center (CNSC).

After a long trip, 8 Alcoans joined the CNSC for one week of study with Dr. LeeAnn Fishback and her team (Kenzie and Evan). We got a warm welcome! (From the people as the external temperature was 8° C.).

The first thing we did were the safety recommendations, which we are used to at Alcoa. No surprise there.

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This was followed by a tour of the Center, where we visited the main rooms for living and studying. The Center looks very comfortable and provides good conditions for studying.

Looking around outside from the Centre roof, we were able to see the tundra wetlands. Lots of ponds, small trees and grass.

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Seeing this, you understand why one part of the preparation is essential: choosing the right size of waterproof trousers, which will be worn when we chase fish in the ponds surrounding the Center.

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But before going outside, facing the wild nature and avoid meeting with polar bears (Alcoans are allowed to chase small fish only), we needed to receive some additional instructions.

Earthwatch representatives (Gitte and Michelle) explained how the week would be organized, showing the agenda, explaining the homework and setting expectations for this week in the Center.

LeeAnn did the first scientific lesson on the aim of the research (Climate Change at the Arctic’s Edge) and why we need to chase fish.

You know what? All these ponds you can see in the picture freeze in winter. No liquid water below the ice.

Then, what about the fish? They cannot freeze or hibernate, but some of them are still alive the following year. How can they survive after a strong winter?

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This is what we will try to find out as well as figuring out the impacts of climate change.

By Patrick Lotteau, from Alcoa in Geneva, Switzerland