Huge amounts of greenhouse gases are locked up in the frozen ground—and Earthwatch scientist Dr. Peter Kershaw is helping the world prepare for their release.
Why focus on the Arctic’s edge?
The permafrost—ground that remains below 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) for more than a year—that undergirds the Arctic is critical to understand. "With almost a quarter of the Earth's landmass affected by permafrost, there are dire implications for everything from pipelines to hydroelectric dams to coastal communities and transport corridors," says Dr. Kershaw. "Add to this the impact on northern ecology—enhanced nutrient cycling, tree line migration, polar bear den sites, etc.—and we have a very interesting story that will probably play out in our lifetime."
Why work with Earthwatchers?
“I learn a lot from team members," says Dr. Kershaw. "Their insightful questions always give me pause and can force me to reconsider ideas I take for granted. I hear new things and am richer for the experience."
The feeling is mutual, as past team member Lisa A. reported on her blog about the Climate Change at the Arctic’s Edge experience: “Thanks to Dr. Peter Kershaw for his patience, his wisdom, his knowledge, and his humour, all of which he readily and willingly shared with a bunch of teachers, who although greatly out of our element, quickly adapted and succeeded (hopefully) in furthering his global climate change research efforts.”