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Climate Change Under the Microscope

glacier

Through a National Geographic Society grant, Dickinson students to launch research project across the lakes of Iceland

by Tony Moore

(Listen to The Good podcast episode 5 about this research trip.)

Methane has 34 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide, so to study the gas’s influence on climate change, Dickinson Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Kristin Strock and three students will go to Iceland in July to study methane emissions in the country’s lakes.

Funded by a grant awarded to Strock by the National Geographic Society, and supported by the Churchill Discretionary Fund, the research excursion will pair the Dickinson team with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Bridget Deemer and the University of Minnesota’s Nicole Hayes.

“Having the opportunity to work alongside three scientists who all specialize in different aspects of aquatic science is going to be an incredible experience,” says Madie Ritter ’19 (environmental science, religion), who will return to Iceland after documenting modern and ancient climate change there last year with Strock and Professor of Earth Sciences Ben Edwards. “The fact that the three lead scientists are all women also means a lot, as I'm sure they will become role models for me as I formulate my plans for the future.” 

Contributing upward of 10 percent of all emissions, lake emissions are increasingly recognized as an important global source of atmospheric methane. So working on one of the many moving parts of climate change, the group will develop predictive models that will relate methane cycling in Iceland’s lakes to key environmental variables, including temperature.

“This is a unique opportunity to develop laboratory field experience while attempting to scientifically answer questions about the environment I am passionate about,” says Rachel Krewson ’20 (physics, environmental science), who rounds out the student contingent with Josie Verter '19 (biology). “I cannot wait to ‘get my feet wet’—quite literally and figuratively—while collecting data in my first field research escapade.”

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Published April 20, 2018