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Available Expert - Study finds Arctic ice melting earlier

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Queen's University climate change expert John Smol is available to comment on climate change impacts on the north, in light of a new study which found that lakes across the Arctic are melting earlier in the season. The study, published by researchers at the University of Southampton, examined nearly 3,000 Canadian arctic lakes and found the lakes' ice coverage cleared approximately .3 days earlier each year over a period of 14 years. Fifty-three lakes showed a particularly early ice break-up - being clear on average one day earlier each year.

"The Arctic is often referred to as the 'miner’s canary' of the planet, as climatic changes here often happen first and to the greatest degree," says Dr. Smol. "Decreasing lake ice cover and other associated changes have already had profound effects on Arctic ecosystems. The Arctic is a bellwether of changes to come farther south. We are seeing similar changes happening in temperate regions, with marked ecological consequences."

Dr. Smol is a professor in the Queen's University Department of Biology and one of Canada's leading experts in climate change. He has been working on the effects of long-term changes in climate and lake ice for over 30 years in the Arctic and elsewhere. He has previously shown striking lake changes linked to ice cover changes, such as increased evaporation of shallow lakes. He holds the Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change.

Dr. Smol is available for interviews on January 11, 2017.

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Chris Armes (613-533-6000 ext. 77513 or chris.armes@queensu.ca) or Anne Craig (613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca) in the Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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