Introduction to Field Data Collection - Overview
In the summer of 1997 I had the good fortune to work with a group of physical geographers on a study of tundra permafrost active layer depth. The active layer is the layer of thawed tundra; its depth and volume increases as temperatures go up. We were trying to map the changes in the area and depth of the active layer in the Kuparuk River Basin to provide accurate data to constrain the global change computer models being formulated today. To do this we have to know...... How do the extent and depth of thaw change during the year? Is the thaw different on steep slopes and flat regions? Is the depth and extent of thaw changing over several years?
Our investigation was a part of a much larger study looking at the flux, or transfer, of greenhouse gasses from the tundra into the atmosphere. The ARCSS/LAII Program (Arctic System Science/Land-Atmosphere-Ice Interactions) is looking at how changes in the extent and depth of tundra thaw could impact the release of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.
Some of the questions that need to be answered by the research teams studying the tundra environment include:
I have used the following activities to illustrate the methods of field data collection in several of my classes.
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