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Student Research: Tiny Satellites Reveal Water Dynamics in Thousands of Northern Lakes

February 15, 2019

Using an army of small satellites, researchers, including Ph.D. student Sarah Cooley, have shown that water levels in small lakes across northern Canada and Alaska are far more variable during the summer than previously thought. The findings, published in Geophysical Research Letters, could have implications for how scientists calculate the natural greenhouse gas emissions from these northern lakes. “There’s been a lot of research on climate-driven changes in lake area, but it’s mainly focused on long-term changes,” said Sarah Cooley, a Ph.D. student at Brown University and the study’s lead author. “This is the first time that anyone has looked at fine-scale, short-term changes, and we found that there’s much more variability within a season than expected.” Read more