I thought I would take some time to talk about what it is we will be doing during the Arctic Safari Expedition with Adventure Canada!
Methane is an important greenhouse gas, accounting for over a third of anthropogenic driven climate warming and has risen by a factor of 2.5 since the early 1800s. Methane is far more destructive in our atmosphere than carbon dioxide as it effectively absorbs 36 times more heat. It is widely agreed upon that atmospheric methane concentrations have undergone significant increases, and it is also widely accepted that this has occurred in conjunction with shifts in the global climate that is causing coastal permafrost to thaw. Critically, it seems likely that coastal Arctic methane emissions may have a major role to play in modern methane emissions, however, methane released from Arctic coastal regions is not well constrained and the fate of sub-seafloor methane in the Arctic oceans in a warming Arctic is far from certain. Coastal areas remain critically under sampled with all data coming from eastern Siberia and Svalbard, Norway. Numerical models of the Arctic methane budget are in desperate need of data points from the Canadian high Arctic, namely the areas in which this voyage travels. Having the opportunity to take part in this expedition would provide highly sought after data for global methane models. Furthermore, given the diversity of locations visited as part of this voyage it would allow for further investigation in to how sources of methane differs across the diverse Arctic environments. Not only would conducting research on this voyage support research efforts, it would also provide an excellent educational opportunity for participants about to learn about a critical but often overlooked climate warming pathway.
Check out my interview on CBC to learn more about this experience: http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/996546627726 (clip begins at 19:35)