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2013 Hellman Fellow

Claudia Czimczik

Quantifying the sources of Arctic greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere (UCI)

Claudia Czimczik is an Associate Professor of Earth System Science at UC Irvine. Her research group aims to improve understanding of how land ecosystems are impacted by climate change, specifically the storage of carbon, in rapidly warming northern high latitude ecosystems.

During her 2013 Hellman Fellowship she and her team developed a new technology for extracting greenhouse gases from Arctic lakes bounded by permafrost. They measured the concentration and isotopic composition of carbon dioxide and methane in bodies of water affected by thaw. Their analysis found that most northern Alaskan lakes primarily emit carbon dioxide from relatively young carbon pools. The release of the stronger greenhouse gas methane and of ancient permafrost carbon, however, was restricted to lakes with a particular sediment type and less prevalent than predicted. The research highlighted the need for continued direct observation of the Arctic to document changing conditions and to evaluate their impact on global climate.

The Hellman Fellowship helped us launch and pilot a transformative method for collecting greenhouse gases from water in the field, saving both time and money and creating a new model for other researchers.

– Claudia Czimczik

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