Queen's University

Biologists awarded prestigious Cowles geography prize

 
2012-03-14
Queen's researchers investigated the impact of a destructive salt-water storm surge in the Mackenzie Delta region in the Northwest Territories.

Queen’s researchers have received the prestigious Henry Cowles Award for their paper revealing new evidence of the destructive impact of global climate change on North America’s largest Arctic delta.

“All of us are really excited that we were recognized with this award,” says graduate student Joshua Thienpont (PhD ’13), who is also the team’s co-leader. “There have been many excellent papers recognized by the Cowles Award.”

The group focused on the Mackenzie Delta region in the Northwest Territories, an area hit by a widespread and ecologically destructive storm surge in 1999. The research into the impact of this salt-water surge is significant because one of the most ominous threats of global warming today is from rising sea levels, causing marine waters to inundate the land. The threat is especially acute in polar regions, where shrinking sea ice increases the risk of storm surges.

The prize is awarded annually for excellence in publication, either as a book or journal article, by the Biogeography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers.

Other members of the team include biology professor John P. Smol, who is also the Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change, undergraduate student Holly Nesbitt, Michael Pisaric (Carleton University), Trevor Lantz (University of Victoria), Steven Kokelj (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada), and Steven Solomon (Geological Survey of Canada).

Read their paper in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 

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