AU’s Dr. Scott Ketcheson talks impact of heat wave, wildfires on water ecosystems
We’ve all felt the heat wave happening this summer.
“I’m very much a field-based hydrologist, which means I study the movement of water between forests, wetlands, and streams in northern Alberta,” Ketcheson told CTV.
“My research team and I are working on understanding the importance of water availability for ecosystem health. So, we’re studying the processes that control the movement of water and the environment and what that means for ecological sustainability. Ultimately the ability of these ecosystems to exist and endure, even under these extreme conditions that we’re seeing.”
With the wildfires raging across the country, Ketcheson weighed in on the impact the heat and lack of rainfall have had, explaining that the connection between water and fires is clear. The drier an area is, the more susceptible it is to burning.
He also explained that when storms do not produce much rainfall, they actually pose a threat by potentially igniting more wildfires through lightning strikes.
Ketcheson said he’s currently working with a network of Canadian scientists to address wildfire needs and priorities.