Camill To Begin New Arctic Soil-Carbon Research

Story posted September 07, 2011

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Camill in the field in Manitoba.

Phil Camill, Bowdoin's Rusack Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Earth and Oceanographic Science, recently was awarded a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation for a new Arctic soil-carbon project.

"Collaborative Research: RUI: Sensitivity of Circum-Arctic Peatland Carbon to Holocene Warm Climates and Climate Seasonality," will involve a pan-Arctic collection and synthesis of peat core carbon accumulation records in Alaska, Northwest Territories, Manitoba, Labrador, Scandinavia, Western and Eastern Siberia and Kamchatka.

"The idea," explained Camill, "is that we can examine known past warm events and see how wetlands in the Arctic stored carbon during those times. This will help us better understand how current and future warming might release or store soil carbon in high latitudes, which could amplify or slow global climate warming, respectively.

"Because the Arctic is so cold and is covered by extensive peatlands, soils there store vast quantities of soil carbon that could impact climate should it be released," Camill added.

The grant includes funding for student researchers to fly to the Arctic with Camill in 2012 (Manitoba) and in 2013 (Labrador).

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