Airborne surveys examine water levels of lakes perched on permafrost

Jennifer Leman, December 14, 2017

Northern Canada is speckled with lakes. And those lakes tell stories, according to Tamlin Pavelsky, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Pavelsky and other researchers are using data from a series of flights flown for NASA’s Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) to understand how permafrost—which rests beneath roughly 50% of Canada and 80% of Alaska—affects the lakes that lie above it.

The goal is to understand “whether there’s a relationship to water levels in lakes and whether or not there’s permafrost underneath them,” said Pavelsky. He presented the team’s research methods in a poster session on 12 December at the American Geophysical Union’s 2017 Fall Meeting in New Orleans, La.

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