Minutes of the March 18, 2013 Meeting
Smoky Mountain AMS Chapter
Around eight people met first for dinner at Tupelo Honey Cafe on Market Square in downtown Knoxville. Afterwards, around 17 people met in the Ellington Plant Sciences Building on the University of Tennessee Agricultural Campus to hear Dr. Stan D. Wullschleger (of the Environmental Sciences Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory) speak about "Arctic Landscapes in a Warming Climate – Witnessing the Big Thaw." The following was a synopsis of his talk: "While society debates the causes of mankind’s most recent fingerprint on the planet, rising temperatures threaten ice-rich ecosystems in the Arctic. Microbes are poised to feast on labile organic matter long frozen in permafrost. Landscapes, once held together by a matrix of soil and ice, are also being transformed, further contributing to carbon cycle feedbacks to climate. The Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE Arctic) project will address critical climate feedbacks in high-latitude ecosystems by quantifying the physical, chemical, and biological behavior of terrestrial ecosystems in Alaska. Initial research will focus on the highly dynamic landscapes of the North Slope where thaw lakes, drained thaw lake basins, and ice-rich polygonal ground offer distinct land units for investigation and modeling. The project will focus on interactions that drive critical climate feedbacks within these environments through greenhouse gas fluxes and changes in surface energy balance associated with permafrost thaw and degradation, and the many processes that arise as a result of these landscape dynamics."
Some chapter business items were also discussed at this meeting, including nominations for new officers and the chapter's continued financial support for the Southern Appalachian Science and Engineering Fair (SASEF) to be held April 1-4 at the Thompson Boling Arena on the University of Tennessee campus. The members at the meeting approved contributing $100 to support SASEF itself, and giving our judges the discretion to award prizes of $100 to up to 3 projects (for a maximum of $300 in prize money). The attendees also discussed broadening the chapter's online presence by establishing an AMS-SMC Facebook page. The main goals were to help more people learn about the chapter's activities, grow the chapter's membership, and provide a fun thing to follow with people adding posts about interesting weather/climate-related matters and local weather-related photos.
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