The Hub AU’s Dr. Scott Ketcheson talks impact of heat wave, wildfires on water ecosystems

AU’s Dr. Scott Ketcheson talks impact of heat wave, wildfires on water ecosystems

We’ve all felt the heat wave happening this summer. 

Dr. Scott Ketcheson, assistant professor and Canada Research Chair in Hydrological Sustainability at Athabasca University (AU), joined both CTV Morning Live Calgary and CTV Morning Live Edmonton to chat about the impact of the hot, dry conditions on the environment. 

Scott Ketcheson doing field research in a marsh

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.

scott ketcheson standing in front of a truck doing field research

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.

Watch Ketcheson’s interview with CTV Morning Live Calgary

Watch Ketcheson’s interview with CTV Morning Live Edmonton

Learn more about environmental science at AU by visiting the Faculty of Science and Technology webpage. To learn more about hydrology at AU, visit the hydrology research website.

  • September 7, 2021