The Arctic is warming rapidly, with unknown consequences for tundra ecosystems and the Earth’s climate. Although far away from the UK, what is happening in the tundra can be an early warning signal of things to come for the rest of the world. In this talk, I explored recent evidence for how vegetation in the northern-most areas of our planet is already showing signs of climate change. How are tundra ecosystems changing? Are they becoming greener? How can we use the latest drone technology to understand this change? How does the humble tea bag allow us to understand the tundra carbon cycle? And what will these changes mean for the future of the flora and fauna living in tundra landscapes and for the planet as a whole?
We present photographs of Arctic tundra landscapes and the plants and wildlife that inhabit them, captured as a part of scientific research expeditions to the rapidly warming Arctic. Images are captured from above using drones, helicopters or planes and on the ground as we hike out to our research sites. Some of these images are part of scientific datasets used to model the 3D structure of the tundra environment.
This work represents the interface between science and art, where the process of data collection has produced imagery that communicates the reality of global change and captures the patterns and beauty of remote Arctic ecosystems.
GeoScience Outreach Course coordinator
School of GeoScience, University of Edinburgh
Geoscience Outreach is an innovative 4th year undergraduate course in the School of GeoSciences aiming to provide students with the opportunity to develop their own science communication and engagement project.
Check out our blog post about the course on the Teaching Matters website.
Check out some of our outreach and engagement events at the Edinburgh Science Festival:
Arctic from Above – Saturday 1 April – Friday 12 May 2017
Contemporary Connections: Exploring the Art in Data – Saturday 1 April – Friday 12 May 2017
Tundra shrubs – Arctic time machines, with Sandra Angers-Blondin – Wednesday 12 April 2017 11:00 and 14:30
Researching with Drones: Meet the Experts – Saturday 15 April 2017 10:00 AM
See our TeamShrub outreach event at Our Dynamic Earth on 16 and 17 October 2016: Inspiring Young Scientists Event ‘The Universe is Your Oyster’. There were 2201 guests at the event including youth of all ages and their parents.
I have conducted school visits in over 20 classrooms, working with programs such as Let’s Talk Science (University of Alberta), Scientists and Innovators in Schools (Vancouver), Innovators in the Schools (Yukon). I acted as the outreach coordinator for the International Polar Year Canadian Youth Steering Committee and the ArcticNet Students Association. I was a workshop facilitator for the 2012 Polar Educators Workshop.
- Myers-Smith IH. 2010. Optimal foraging classroom activity. IPY Polar Resouce Book.
- Myers-Smith IH, S Trefry, and C Robichaud. Ecology Up North: Scientific Fun Under the Midnight Sun. Children’s Book/Presentation.
- Myers-Smith IH, N Lisuzzo. Thermokarst the Dragon and the Climate Conundrum. Children’s Book.