Low snow melt drying up Old Crow Flats, says researcher

Brent Wolfe, a professor of geological sciences at Wilfrid Laurier University, says some lakes in northern Canada appear to be drying out due to lower than usual snow melt.

Researchers say some lakes in northern Canada appear to be drying out due to lower than usual snow melt.

Brent Wolfe, a professor of geological sciences at Wilfrid Laurier University, says people in Old Crow, Yukon, requested research in the Old Crow Flats because they noticed some lakes on the Flats were changing.

"The community has relied on the landscape and the resources that landscape provides for generations, and that can certainly negatively affect a community's ability to live traditional lifestyles," said Wolfe.

Wolfe says water samples show there's been lots of evaporation from the lakes that seems to be linked to lower than usual snow melt.

He says it could be cyclical, but tests on a lake in northern Manitoba that's dried up suggest not.

"We analyzed the sediment going down the core, going back in time the last 200 years or so, and from all of our analyses there was no indication the lake had dried up in the past," he said.

Wolfe says that makes climate change a likely cause of the evaporation but he says the lakes will have to be monitored for a longer period to be sure.

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