Lesack Research team featured via Smithsonian.com

October 02, 2017

Lance Lesack and his research team were featured in a recent article published online via Smithsonian.com.  The article, With Federal Funds Dwindling, Climate Scientists Turn to Unusual Partnerships to Study Methane in a Warming Arctic, was authored by Laura Poppick, a freelance writer for Smithsonian.com.

Lesack and his research team have been working on the Mackenzie Delta as members of a larger international collaboration, in part trying to measure the quantity of methane (greenhouse gas) fizzing out of the lakes.  The team is taking a uniquely collaborative approach that includes U.S. and Canadian researchers in geology, microbiology, limnology (the study of lakes) and oceanography. All of these researchers are in close connection with native communities within the Canadian Northwest Territories.

Trevor Fournier (right) and graduate students Mitchell Bergstresser (left) and Hadley McIntosh (middle) work together to lift an OsmoSampler out of a lake it has been sitting in for a year. (Photo credit: Laura Poppick)

In the Canadian Arctic, methane builds up in the lakes each winter beneath a thick lid of ice. Come spring, that lid melts and the gas escapes into the air above. Multiply this effect over the astonishing 55,000 lakes within this massive delta—one of the largest in the Arctic—and the weight of the greenhouse gas burbling out each year could balloon to as much as 10 teragrams.

“That would be a very significant part of the global methane flux to the atmosphere just coming from this one delta,” says Beth Orcutt, an oceanographer at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, Maine.

Read the full article HERE.