2015 IARC Summer School

Arctic in a warming climate: Connection to vegetation, permafrost and hydrology

  • Length: 26 May–9 June 2015 (14 days)
  • Location: Fairbanks and road-accessible sub-Arctic and Arctic regions
  • For: Students and early-career scientists in hydrology, permafrost, vegetation science, and/or ecosystem studies
  • Coordinator: IARC
  • Funding: National Science Foundation, UAF Institute of Arctic Biology, Alaska Climate Science Center

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Course will provide an overview of the controls of ecosystem variability in northern Alaska, from Alaska's Interior to the Arctic, and an illustration of the interplay between data collection and modeling. Students will experience first-hand the landscapes and research along one of the most remote and scenic highways in North America. Major themes will include permafrost and ecosystem variation along the Arctic climate gradient, hydrologic processes, and engineering solutions. 

Climate combines with topography and disturbance to produce a wide variety of ecosystems in this area, from boreal forest to coastal tundra. The ecosystems are changing and these changes can, in turn, affect climate through feedbacks involving changes in albedo, permafrost, hydrology, gas exchanges with the atmosphere, and other processes.


  • Lectures that describe the current state of knowledge, disciplinary linkages, and research gaps in the fields of:
    • Permafrost
    • Vegetation science
    • Hydrologic science
    • Related fields (engineering, biology, ecosystem modeling, disturbance, climate modeling, social sciences)
  • Fieldwork
  • Mini‐projects to be done in collaboration with summer school instructors. Interdisciplinary projects will explore topics in hydrology, permafrost and vegetation science. Student-conducted research will present their findings at the final meeting.