Eran Hood, AK CASC scientist

Eran is an Associate Professor at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) where he teaches undergraduate courses in environmental science, hydrology, and biogeochemistry. We talked about some of his projects and the upcoming field season. 

Of all the things you are working on, what is your favorite project right now?

Most of my work is focused on glacier change, and how loss of glacier volume impacts the hydrology of rivers and the transport of nutrients, such as carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. I have a number of projects going on right now. My favorite projects right now are two related projects that look at icefield to ocean interactions. One is National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded and the other is Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center (AK CASC)-funded. We are trying to trace water from glaciers and see how it impacts the biogeochemistry and ecology of downstream ecosystems. An interesting aspect of these projects is working with people from different disciplines and trying to study unique these unique ecosystems in a holistic way.

What kind of fieldwork or conferences do you have coming up?

I’ll be leaving soon for a survey of the Juneau Icefield. We’ll fly around with a ski plane and take snow samples to look at atmospheric deposition of carbon and a number of contaminants as you move from the marine side of the icefield to more interior, continental regions. There will be a lot of other field work this summer. I’ll continue looking at glacial rivers and nutrient fluxes. We will put out sensors to have some continuous observations of hydrology and other physical stream properties.

I’m also really excited about a workshop at the end of the summer in England. We’ll be meeting to design a global protocol for monitoring ongoing changes glacier rivers. This effort will ensure that that we can have methodology is consistent and results are comparable between glacier rivers in different regions of the world. I’ll be bringing data from my work on Alaskan rivers to that meeting.

What types of things excite you most about the Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center?

The exciting thing about the Climate Science Center is that it is really catalyzing research across disciplines, across universities (UAF, UAA, UAS), and across agencies to address climate change issues in Alaska. Certainly on the issues I work on, I am now working with a more extensive group of people in an increasingly interdisciplinary way. The Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center funding has been critical to this effort and overall I think this approach will lead to a lot more breakthroughs rather than the traditional approach that everyone works on their own little piece of the puzzle.