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Daniel H. Mann

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Continued warming of the Arctic may cause permafrost to thaw and speed the decomposition of large stores of soil organic carbon (OC), thereby accentuating global warming. However, it is unclear if recent warming has raised the current rates of permafrost OC release to anomalous levels or to what extent soil carbon release is sensitive to climate forcing. Here we use a time series of radiocarbon age-offsets (14C) between the bulk lake sediment and plant macrofossils deposited in an arctic lake as an archive for soil and permafrost OC release over the last 14,500 years. The lake traps and archives OC imported from the watershed and allows us to test whether prior warming events stimulated old carbon release and heightened...
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Oil stranded as a result of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill has persisted for >10 years at study sites on Gulf of Alaska shores distant from the spill's origin. These sites were contaminated by "oil mousse", which persists in these settings due to armoring of underlying sediments and their included oil beneath boulders. The boulder-armored beaches that we resampled in 1999 showed continued contamination by subsurface oil, despite their exposure to moderate to high wave energies. Significant declines in surface oil cover occurred at all study sites. In contrast, mousse has persisted under boulders in amounts similar to what was present in 1994 and probably in 1989. Especially striking is the general lack of weathering...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Marine Pollution Bulletin
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Stand-replacing wildfires are a keystone disturbance in the boreal forest, and they are becoming more common as the climate warms. Paleo-fire archives from the wildland–urban interface can quantify the prehistoric fire regime and assess how both human land-use and climate change impact ecosystem dynamics. Here, we use a combination of a sedimentary charcoal record preserved in varved lake sediments (annually layered) and fire scars in living trees to document changes in local fire return intervals (FRIs) and regional fire activity over the last 500 years. Ace Lake is within the boreal forest, located near the town of Fairbanks in interior Alaska, which was settled by gold miners in AD 1902. In the 400 years before...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: The Holocene
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Organic layers of living and dead vegetation cover the ground surface in many permafrost landscapes and play important roles in ecosystem processes. These soil surface organic layers (SSOLs) store large amounts of carbon and buffer the underlying permafrost and its contained carbon from changes in aboveground climate. Understanding the dynamics of SSOLs is a prerequisite for predicting how permafrost and carbon stocks will respond to warming climate. Here we ask three questions about SSOLs in a representative area of the Arctic Foothills region of northern Alaska: (1) What environmental factors control the thickness of SSOLs and the carbon they store? (2) How long do SSOLs take to develop on newly stabilized point...
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This study uses an airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) survey, historical aerial photography and historical climate data to describe the character and dynamics of the Nogahabara Sand Dunes, a sub-Arctic dune field in interior Alaska’s discontinuous permafrost zone. The Nogahabara Sand Dunes consist of a 43-km2 area of active transverse and barchanoid dunes within a 3200-km2 area of vegetated dune and sand sheet deposits. The average dune height in the active portion of the dune field is 5.8 m, with a maximum dune height of 28 m. Dune spacing is variable with average crest-to-crest distances for select transects ranging from 66–132 m. Between 1952 and 2015, dunes migrated at an average rate of 0.52 m a−1....
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Remote Sensing
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