Clyde River Outreach (Image 14)
University at Buffalo (UB) graduate student Elizabeth Thomas with the gear she took on an expedition to study climate change in the Arctic, including polycarbonate tubes for lake sediment coring. While she was there, Thomas led an outreach program for children from an Inuit village at Clyde River, Baffin Island. [Image 14 of 14 related images. Back to Image 1.]
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Elizabeth Thomas, a graduate student in the University at Buffalo (UB) Department of Geology, traveled to Baffin Island in the northeast Canadian Arctic with a research team funded by the National Science Foundation and led by Jason Briner, Ph.D., assistant professor of geology in the UB College of Arts and Sciences. Based in Clyde River, a Nunavut town of about 800 residents, UB scientists studied fjords in an effort to determine how fast the glaciers are retreating, gather data to reconstruct temperature changes over the past 2,000 years, and study other phenomena that may help them better predict how climate change will affect the rest of the planet. Briner and his students sampled Arctic lake sediments and analyzed them to reconstruct past climates. Arctic regions show strong seasonality, so it's relatively easy to correlate changes with very fine layers in sediments.
This was Thomas' fourth trip to the Arctic and she wanted to give something back to the local community who had assisted her group with logistical support--helping to fix equipment, freeing their snowbound vehicles, acting as guides, and generally providing guidance only a local resident could give--on each visit. She particularly wanted to communicate to the local community, what their research team was doing and what global warming may mean for them. The greatest threat from climate change to the Inuit is the loss of their traditional way of life, particularly their ability to hunt seals and other animals on the edge of the sea ice.
Thomas, with the assistance of other team members, created the outreach program which in addition to classroom discussions and activities included taking local school children on a sediment-coring field trip. Thomas performed lake sediment coring as part of her expedition, and later, used the samples to help teach the children. (Date of Image: May 15, 2007)