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North Slope Lakes get Artificial Warmth to Simulate Climate Change

Alaska Dispatch News,9/11/2017 Monday, Sep. 11, 2017


 Forty-eight propane tanks, three swimming pool heat pumps and three generators are key to studying climate change in one of the fastest-warming regions in the world. Scientists are using the equipment to warm two North Slope lakes. Led by Phaedra Budy, head of the Fish Ecology Lab at Utah State University, a team of researchers first identified four lakes populated by arctic char and slimy sculpin around Toolik Field Station, an Arctic research station run by the University of Alaska and one of only two of its kind in the world. ... One of the lakes in the experiment, known as Fog 1, is a short walk from the Dalton Highway, just past a small crest of green tundra. In early August, Nick Barrett, a doctoral student at Utah State University, stood on top of the hill and pointed out two white clumps close to the lake's shore — clusters of propane tanks, separated by hundreds of feet of choppy water. ... Budy devised the lake warming project after observing experiments at Toolik investigating how a warming climate will affect land ecosystems.  ... Both top layers in the two experimental lakes have warmed naturally over the summer. ... According to project's proposal, the experiment's findings are pertinent to Native communities in the Arctic, which rely on lakes like Fog 1 for subsistence fishing.



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