The first climate scientist to head the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science, Dr. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, visited a long-time NGEE Arctic study site at the Barrow Environmental Observatory.
During Climate Week 2023 (September 17-24, 2023), the first climate scientist to head the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science, Dr. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, visited a long-time NGEE Arctic study site at the Barrow Environmental Observatory (BEO) located just outside of Utqiaġvik, Alaska. The BEO is stewarded by the Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation (UIC) Native Corporation, and UIC Science has logistically supported NGEE Arctic science for many years. Dr. Berhe was able to experience firsthand the environmental and societal complexities currently being experienced by arctic communities and ecosystems. One of the many highlights of the trip was providing Dr. Berhe, a soil scientist by training, the opportunity to ‘hug’ organic soils and touch cold permafrost for the first time. She was also able to gain a greater appreciation of where and how NGEE Arctic scientists have been working in close collaboration with the local community to carefully gather information about how the arctic environment is rapidly changing and how communities are adapting to those changes. While in Utqiaġvik, Dr. Berhe also visited with representatives of Native communities, toured DOE’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement North Slope of Alaska facility, and conducted an interview on the local KBRW radio station with Colleen Iversen, Director of NGEE Arctic.