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Amanda Booth

amy
tidwell

civil engineering

Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

Postdoctoral Research

Integrated climate change impact assessment of water resources and the use of climate modeling in water resource planning and management for cold regions

Mentor

Daniel White
UAF, Institute of Northern Engineering

Hometown

Portland, OR

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

"Maybe landscaping. There's a science component to that."

Amy TidwellUAF photo by Todd Paris.

Tidwell

Tidwell

Tidwell

When Amy Tidwell flew into Dutch Harbor with her husband 10 years ago, she feared for her life. After several tries at landing, the wobbly plane fought against the wind and finally made its way to the runway, surrounded on either side by water. As the young couple disembarked for an adventure of a lifetime, they quickly discovered there was no milk in the entire town. Turns out that the crate holding all the milk had been blown off the deck of the delivery barge.

"Every year in Dutch Harbor there is a period of time when the winds are over 100 miles an hour," reflects Tidwell. "This is an extreme environment. If you were in Florida, people would be running from a hurricane, but this is just normal for the Aleutian Islands."

"IPY is a nice opportunity for folks in the Arctic. It turns the world's attention toward us and brings resources together."

Dutch Harbor was Tidwell's first stop in Alaska, but she eventually made her way to Fairbanks after taking several classes via correspondence at UAF. Since finishing an engineering degree and going on to complete graduate work at Georgia Tech, Tidwell is delighted to have found her way back to Fairbanks.

"I really consider myself an Alaskan now," Tidwell notes. "I was very excited about the opportunity to come back up here because it really feels like home. There's a lot about Fairbanks that you can just come to love. Alaska in general, but Fairbanks for sure. It's the people, it's the places, it's the activities, the way people relate to the world, and more importantly the way people relate to each other."

Tidwell's passion for community spills over into her research on water resource and management issues. Her project is investigating the impact of climate change on water resources in the Arctic and the use of climate modeling in water resource planning and management for cold regions.

"There are different issues here in the Arctic, and so there are somewhat different questions," says Tidwell. "I mean, do you have piped water? If you have piped water is it good quality? Do you have a small watershed that feeds your village? Do you have enough water year-round? What would it mean for your village if you had water year-round? Some of these villages, they may run out of water in the winter but when the ice melts there is water again. So if we have some shifts in the climate, what's that going to mean for stream flow? It's the same problem as in other parts of the world but with a different face to it."

Tidwell's work will help to fill in some of the gaps in information about water quality and availability in rural Alaska, gaps that have traditionally come from a lack of resources focusing on the problem.

Images courtesy Amy Tidwell unless otherwise noted

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