Snow & Cryosphere
Snow is a keystone feature of the Arctic and is very sensitive to changes in winter precipitation, increasingly frequent winter melt and rain events, warming winters and earlier spring melt events. We are monitoring changes in snow across the transect from Inuvik-TVC-Tuktoyaktuk.
Lakes & River Hydrology
The vast number of lakes in this region are sensitive to changes in snow and rainfall, evaporation, permafrost thaw and melting of ground ice. These changes may cause some lakes to increase in area, while others dry up. Thawing permafrost may increase catastrophic lake drainage events, which can pose hazards to people and infrastructure.
Climate and Greenhouse
The permafrost of the western Canadian Arctic, including TVC and HPC, contains large amounts of carbon. It is not clear how much of this carbon will be released from the permafrost as the climate warms. To help answer this question we are measuring the flux of carbon dioxide and methane between the permafrost and atmosphere. We also monitor long-term trends in climate.
Vegetation & Ecology
Trail Valley Creek (TVC) and Havikpak Creek (HPC) represent the transition from boreal forest to tundra at one of its most northerly locations in Canada. Shrub cover is expanding and rapidly transforming the tundra. Documenting the nature of this patchy transition zone, and its changes over the coming years, is important for understanding future changes.
Environmental Change & Disturbance
Our long-term research and monitoring program at TVC will provide exceptional knowledge to better understand any impacts of environmental (thaw slumps, forest fires) or human-induced landscape change (Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway) on the environment.
List of Recent Publications
Media and News
Collapsing Permafrost is Transforming Arctic Lakes, Ponds and Streams (2020). Philip Marsh, Evan Wilcox, Neils Weiss. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/collapsing-permafrost-is-transforming-arctic-lakes-ponds-and-streams-128519
How Thawing Permafrost Is Beginning to Transform the Arctic (2020). Ed Struzick. Yale 360. https://e360.yale.edu/features/how-melting-permafrost-is-beginning-to-transform-the-arctic
Observing Snow from the Sky: Breakthroughs in mapping tundra snow with drones (2020). Branden Walker & Philip Marsh. Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society Bulletin: https://bulletin.cmos.ca/snow-from-sky/
Wilcox, E.J., Keim, D., de Jong, T., Walker, B., Sonnentag, O., Sniderhan, A.E., Mann, P., Marsh, P., 2019. Tundra shrub expansion may amplify permafrost thaw by advancing snowmelt timing. Arct. Sci. 5.
Shi, X., Marsh, P., Yang, D., 2015. Warming spring air temperatures, but delayed spring streamflow in an Arctic headwater basin. Environ. Res. Lett. 10, 064003.
Lantz, T.C., Marsh, P., Kokelj, S. V., 2013. Recent Shrub Proliferation in the Mackenzie Delta Uplands and Microclimatic Implications. Ecosystems 16, 47–59.
Marsh, P., Bartlett, P., MacKay, M., Pohl, S., Lantz, T., 2010. Snowmelt energetics at a shrub tundra site in the western Canadian Arctic. Hydrol. Process. 24, 3603–3620.
Marsh, P., J. Pomeroy, S. Pohl, W. Quinton, C. Onclin, M. Russell, N. Neumann, A. Pietroniro, B. Davison, S. McCartney, 2008. Snowmelt processes and runoff at the Arctic treeline: Ten years of MAGS Research. Cold Reg. Atmos. Hydrol. Stud. Mackenzie GEWEX Exp. Volume 2:, 97–124.
Pohl, S., Marsh, P., Liston, G.E., P. Marsh, G. E. Liston, 2006. Spatial-temporal variability in turbulent fluxes during spring snowmelt. Arctic, Antarct. Alp. Res. 38, 136–146.