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Sarah Chan (M.Sc Candidate)


Office: SN-2005

Telephone: (709) 737-8998

Fax: (709) 737-3119


I received my BSc from McGill University in 2006 in Biology, and started my MSc in Geography at Memorial in May 2007.

Investigations of climatic variability in Northern Labrador; climatological modeling and analyses.
Background and Objectives
Ecosystems are largely constrained by climatic factors, and to fully understand how changes will unfold, a comprehensive look at the climate system, alongside other long-term studies and modeling, is needed for realistic predictions. Climatological observations are an integral part of the LHRG’s ecosystem monitoring program; climate data produced from our research sites provide baseline information that will be used in modeling, as well as for comparison with past and future signals of climate change. My project will focus on Northern Labrador, and will link the climatological analyses to the ecosystem to assess its vulnerability in a changing climate.

This study will use a variety of methods to investigate the climate system. Using established reanalysis datasets from NCEP/NCAR, software programs will be used to model the regional climate for a fixed time period. Using statistical methods, regional climate downscaling from GCMs will be done to increase the spatial resolution of climate models relevant to our work. Also, on-site climatological data acquired in Northern Labrador will be used for localized bio-climatological analyses.

2007 Field Season
This past field season was spent in both the Mealy Mountains and the Torngat Mountains National Park. Fieldwork in the Mealys consisted mainly in continuing the established climate-monitoring program; work involved maintenance and data collection from the three automated climate stations. In the Torngat Mountains, the major accomplishment was the setup of new climate station, which measures air temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, wind direction and speed, and ground temperature, in proximity to our field camp. We also set up a network of snowsticks to monitor the arrival and departure of snowfall, and an altitudinal gradient of ground temperature loggers.

Preliminary Findings and comments
A year’s worth of climate data was retrieved in the Mealys, and four days worth from the Torngat Mountains. For the latter location, data collected assured us that the climate station was functioning properly, however there are uncontrollable environmental and logistical factors that restrict our knowledge of its status until we return in 2008.

Further Work
The summer 2008 field season will involve retrieval of data spanning the year from the Torngats, with the possibility of repositioning the actual climate station to a location that will be used in tundra ecosystem monitoring programs connected to the IPY CiCAT project. On-site data collection will be completed by the end of the 2008 summer season in the Torngat Mountains. In the meantime, work will focus on modeling and analysis of available data.