Geography and Environmental Studies WLU
Isotope hydrology and paleohydrology of the Old Crow Flats, northern Yukon Territory
The Old Crow Flats (OCF), northern Yukon Territory, is homeland to the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (VGFN) and is a Ramsar Wetland of International Significance. Members of the VGFN have reported rapidly lowering lake water levels over recent decades and are concerned that these changes will have a negative impact on wildlife and their traditional lifestyles. This led to the initiation of the Government of Canada International Polar Year project “Environmental change and traditional use of the Old Crow Flats in northern Canada”. My research focuses on using water isotope tracers to identify the hydrological processes that control the water balances of lakes in the OCF. Results have identified diverse lake water balance types, which provide the basis for anticipating how they will respond to ongoing climate change (Turner et al. 2010; Journal of Hydrology). Multi-proxy paleolimnological methods are also being employed to investigate the evolution of thermokarst lakes over the past several hundred years.