Jessica Sieff | April 17, 2020
Spread of the coronavirus has halted critical field studies related to climate change, and many researchers have been left to wonder when they’ll start up again.
But climate scientists at the University of Notre Dame say despite the challenge to collecting data, the current crisis is already spurring new proposals for research and revealing interesting parallels to the climate crisis that could provide valuable lessons for the future.
Adrian Rocha, associate professor of ecosystem ecology in the department of biological sciences at Notre Dame, was to begin collecting data from the Toolik Lake field station at Alaska’s North Slope in May. Rocha studies environmental and ecological change in the Arctic in order to develop and implement tools for better understanding and predicting how ecosystems will respond to future changes in climate.
The station announced it would essentially shut down in response to the coronavirus pandemic and would provide no on-site services, therefore suspending research. Even with field operations coming to a standstill, Rocha said the global health crisis is generating proposals for research and that he expects to see a variety of related studies such as analysis of satellite data that could provide insight into how shutdowns are impacting carbon emissions.
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