The Arctic Ocean plays an important role in the global climate system by acting as a sink for atmospheric CO2. But the Arctic marine system is changing rapidly as the climate warms. Unfortunately, our understanding of the influences of these changes is still limited in certain geographic areas, including the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. This lack of knowledge is hindering our ability to assess the present and future impacts of climate change on the coastal ecosystem.
As Canada Research Chair in Arctic Marine Biogeochemistry, Dr. Kristina Brown is investigating the influences of freshwater sources (sea ice melt, rivers), location (regional variability), and timing (seasonal and inter-annual variability) on carbon cycle processes along the Canadian Arctic Archipelago coastline. She and her research team are working with northern communities to track freshwater along the land-to-sea mixing gradient in the archipelago. Their findings will support the development and application of ecosystem models that can predict future ocean acidification and changes to the CO2 sink-source status of Arctic coastal seas.