Climate Change at the Arctic’s Edge: Day 1

We arrived in Churchill, Canada today. After 2 delays we made it to our destination around 3pm. I didn’t know I had a fear of airplanes until we got on a small jet that used a propellar for flying. Unfortunately, for me I was also sitting and staring at this propellar the entire flight just imagining all the ways it could possibly bring about my demise. Needless to say, I’ll try to avoid sitting next to the propellar on my return flight.

Due to our late arrival we didn’t do much in term of research, study and exploration today. However, our Principal Investogator (PI), LeAnn, did give us a brief summary of our location and upcoming research projects.

Our location here in Churchill is part of the sub arctic. She showed us an image similar to the one below and explained that Churchill is in the “armpit” of the sub arctic. She reminded us that even though we may not see the snow and ice currently we are still in a winter environment and it’s the northwestern winds that bring the cold to this area.

We also learned about something called isostatic rebounding. Which, is when there used to be a glacial sheet that used to be pushing down on the Earth, the sheet has melted and the Earth is rebounding from these effects.

Our job during this journey will be to study wetlands, their biodiversity and the differences in each. Due to this isostatic rebounding there are new portions of earth’s crust making their appearance at our top level. This means that the wetlands near the Hudson Bay. On which our facility sits are much younger than those further inland. We are going to compare the biodiversity in each region. We are also going to help a grad student with his studies in hepatology, or frogs, there are 2 different types of frogs we will be looking at Woodland frogs and the other I can’t remember and will update tomorrow.

The facilities here are gorgeous. Everything is lush and green. A huge change from the Arizona summer. I love waking up and looking out my window with the view of the water. There are safety precautions because this is polar bear territory. We cannot wander outside alone and must also be very careful in our water use. More on that later when I explain the facility. I am so excited to be here and get out into the wetlands and see what we can discover!

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