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Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus) have a life-history strategy specifically adapted to the extreme climate of the North. These fish migrate to spawning grounds just after breakup in the spring, then migrate to feeding sites in early summer, and finally in the fall migrate back to their overwintering sites. The Kuparuk River is a perennial stream originating in the northern foothills of the Brooks Range on the North Slope of Alaska. Sections of the Kuparuk are periodically intermittent in that, during low flows in the system, these channel reaches appear dry. The flow varies between surface and subsurface in this permafrost-dominated environment, with subsurface flow being limited to the unfrozen thaw bulb around...
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Watersheds draining the Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) of Alaska are dominated by permafrostand snowmelt runoff that create abundant surface storage in the form of lakes, wetlands, and beaded streams. These surface water elements compose complex drainage networks that affect aquatic ecosystem connectivity and hydrologic behavior. The 4676 km2 Fishand Creek drainage basin is composed of three watersheds that represent a gradient of theACP landscape with varying extents of eolian, lacustrine, and fluvial landforms. In each watershed, we analyzed 2.5-m-resolution aerial photography, a 5-m digital elevationmodel, and river gauging and climate records to better understand ACP watershed structureand processes. We show that...
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There is a great deal of interest in whether and how Alaska’s precipitation is changing but little agreement in the existing peer-reviewed literature. To provide insight on this question, we have selected three commonly used 0.5° resolution gridded precipitation products that have long-term monthly data coverage (Climatic Research Unit TS3.10.1, Global Precipitation Climatology Centre Full Data Reanalysis version 5, and University of Delaware version 2.01) and evaluated their homogeneity and trends with multiple methods over two periods, 1950–2008 and 1980–2008. All three data sets displayed common broadscale features of Alaska’s precipitation climatology, but there were substantial differences between them in terms...
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Interactions and feedbacks between abundant surface waters and permafrost fundamentally shapelowland Arctic landscapes. Sublake permafrost is maintained when the maximum ice thickness (MIT) exceedslake depth and mean annual bed temperatures (MABTs) remain below freezing. However, decliningMIT since the1970s is likely causing talik development below shallow lakes. Here we show high-temperature sensitivity towinter ice growth at the water-sediment interface of shallow lakes based on year-round lake sensor data.Empirical model experiments suggest that shallow (1m depth) lakes have warmed substantially over the last30years (2.4°C), withMABT above freezing5 of the last 7years.This is incomparison to slower ratesofwarming...
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The Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) of Alaska is an important region for millions of migrating and nesting shorebirds. However, this region is threatened by climate change and increased human development (e.g., oil and gas production) that have the potential to greatly impact shorebird populations and breeding habitat in the near future. Because historic data on shorebird distributions in the ACP are very coarse and incomplete, we sought to develop detailed, contemporary distribution maps so that the potential impacts of climate-mediated changes and development could be ascertained. To do this, we developed and mapped habitat suitability indices for eight species of shorebirds (Black-bellied Plover [Pluvialis squatarola],...
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Many Arctic shorebird populations are declining, and quantifying adult survival and the effects of anthropogenic factorsis a crucial step toward a better understanding of population dynamics. We used a recently developed, spatially explicitCormack–Jolly–Seber model in a Bayesian framework to obtain broad-scale estimates of true annual survival rates for 6species of shorebirds at 9 breeding sites across the North American Arctic in 2010–2014. We tested for effects ofenvironmental and ecological variables, study site, nest fate, and sex on annual survival rates of each species in thespatially explicit framework, which allowed us to distinguish between effects of variables on site fidelity versus truesurvival. Our...
The Adapt Alaska Collaborative grew out of a set of initiatives to promote climate resilience and adaptation in Alaska. On May 24 and 25, 2017 a group of participants (including representatives of Alaska regional, state and federal agencies and organizations) gathered at a work session to identify next steps to build on the momentum generated by these initiatives toward a more resilient Alaska. At the work session, three working groups formed around specific areas of effort, including a Planning Working Group with the task of identifying ways to streamline the many planning requirements associated with implementing climate resilience and adaptation strategies.The Adapt Alaska Planning Working Group looked at a range...
Abstract (from PLOS One): Declining natural resources have led to a cultural renaissance across the Pacific that seeks to revive customary ridge-to-reef management approaches to protect freshwater and restore abundant coral reef fisheries. Effective ridge-to-reef management requires improved understanding of land-sea linkages and decision-support tools to simultaneously evaluate the effects of terrestrial and marine drivers on coral reefs, mediated by anthropogenic activities. Although a few applications have linked the effects of land cover to coral reefs, these are too coarse in resolution to inform watershed-scale management for Pacific Islands. To address this gap, we developed a novel linked land-sea modeling...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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Lakes are dominant and diverse landscapefeatures in the Arctic, but conventional land coverclassification schemes typically map them as a singleuniform class. Here, we present a detailed lake-centricgeospatial database for an Arctic watershed in northernAlaska. We developed a GIS dataset consisting of 4362lakes that provides information on lake morphometry,hydrologic connectivity, surface area dynamics,surrounding terrestrial ecotypes, and other importantconditions describing Arctic lakes. Analyzing thegeospatial database relative to fish and bird survey datashows relations to lake depth and hydrologic connectivity,which are being used to guide research and aid in themanagement of aquatic resources in the NationalPetroleum...
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Numerous studies have evaluated precipitation trends in Alaska and come to different conclusions. These studies differ in analysis period and methodology and do not address the issue of temporal homogeneity. To reconcile these conflicting results, we selected 29 stations with largely complete monthly records, screened them for homogeneity, and then evaluated trend over two analysis periods (1950–2010 and 1980–2010) using three methods: least absolute deviation regression, ordinary least squares regression (with and without transformation), and Mann-Kendall trend testing following removal of first-order autocorrelation. We found that differences in analytical period had a significant impact on trends and that the...
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This paper explores the impacts of shrinking glaciers on downstream ecosystems in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Glaciers here are losing mass at an accelerating rate and will largely disappear in the next 50–100 years if current trends continue. We believe this will have a measurable and possibly important impact on the terrestrial and estuarine ecosystems and the associated bird and fish species within these glaciated watersheds.
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The Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) of northern Alaskaconsists of an extremely low gradient, lake-richlandscape that is characterized by a complex networkof aquatic habitats and surface features stronglyinfluenced by permafrost dynamics. Much is unknownabout the form, function, and ecological conditions inthis unique hydrologic setting. Amplified climatechange and landscape responses in the Arctic furthercomplicate the capacity to separate natural variabilityfrom land use effects that may occur with petroleumdevelopment. A comprehensive, multi-disciplinaryreview and analysis of recent studies and initialinventory and monitoring in the Fish Creek watershedon the ACP provided guidance to develop a frameworkfor future aquatic...
Abstract (from PLOS One): Conversion of wild habitats to human dominated landscape is a major cause of biodiversity loss. An approach to mitigate the impact of habitat loss consists of designating reserves where habitat is preserved and managed. Determining the most valuable areas to preserve in a landscape is called the reserve design problem. There exists several possible formulations of the reserve design problem, depending on the objectives and the constraints. In this article, we considered the dynamic problem of designing a reserve that contains a desired area of several key habitats. The dynamic case implies that the reserve cannot be designed in one time step, due to budget constraints, and that habitats...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
Abstract (from Springer): Globally, changing fire regimes due to climate is one of the greatest threats to ecosystems and society. In this paper, we present projections of future fire probability for the southcentral USA using downscaled climate projections and the Physical Chemistry Fire Frequency Model (PC2FM). Future fire probability is projected to both increase and decrease across the study region of Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas. Among all end-of-century projections, change in fire probabilities (CFPs) range from − 51 to + 240%. Greatest absolute increases in fire probability are shown for areas within the range of approximately 75 to 160 cm mean annual precipitation (MAP), regardless of climate model. Although...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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Throughout the Arctic most pregnant polar bears (Ursus maritimus) construct maternity dens in seasonal snowdrifts that form in wind-shadowed areas. We developed and verified a spatial snowdrift polar bearden habitat model (SnowDens-3D) that predicts snowdrift locations and depths along Alaska’s Beaufort Sea coast. SnowDens-3D integrated snow physics, weather data, and a high-resolution digital elevation model (DEM) to produce predictions of the timing, distribution, and growth of snowdrifts suitable for polar bear dens. SnowDens-3D assimilated 18 winters (1995 through 2012) of observed daily meteorological data and a 2.5 m grid-increment DEM covering 337.5 km2 of the Beaufort Sea coast, and described the snowdrift...
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ire-induced permafrost degradation is well documented in boreal forests, but the role of fires in initiating thermokarst development in Arctic tundra is less well understood. Here we show that Arctic tundra fires may induce widespread thaw subsidence of permafrost terrain in the first seven years following the disturbance. Quantitative analysis of airborne LiDAR data acquired two and seven years post-fire, detected permafrost thaw subsidence across 34% of the burned tundra area studied, compared to less than 1% in similar undisturbed, ice-rich tundra terrain units. The variability in thermokarst development appears to be influenced by the interaction of tundra fire burn severity and near-surface, ground-ice content....
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Beaded streams are widespread in permafrost regionsand are considered a common thermokarst landform.However, little is known about their distribution, how andunder what conditions they form, and how their intriguingmorphology translates to ecosystem functions and habitat.Here we report on a circum-Arctic survey of beaded streamsand a watershed-scale analysis in northern Alaska using remotesensing and field studies.We mapped over 400 channelnetworks with beaded morphology throughout the continuouspermafrost zone of northern Alaska, Canada, and Russiaand found the highest abundance associated with mediumto high ground-ice content permafrost in moderately slopingterrain. In one Arctic coastal plain watershed, beaded...
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Lakes are prevalent in the Arctic and thus play a key role in regional hydrology. Since manyArctic lakes are shallow and ice grows thick (historically 2 m or greater), seasonal ice commonly freezes tothe lake bed (bedfast ice) by winter’s end. Bedfast ice fundamentally alters lake energy balance and meltoutprocesses compared to deeper lakes that exceed the maximum ice thickness (floating ice) and maintainperennial liquid water below floating ice. Our analysis of lakes in northern Alaska indicated that ice-out ofbedfast ice lakes occurred on average 17 days earlier (22 June) than ice-out on adjacent floating ice lakes (9July). Earlier ice-free conditions in bedfast ice lakes caused higher open-water evaporation,...
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Numerous studies utilizing remote sensing imagery and other methods have documented that thermokarst lakes are undergoing varied hydrological transitions in response to recent climate changes, from surface area expansion to drainage and evaporative desiccation. Here, we provide a synthesis of hydrological conditions for 376 lakes of mainly thermokarst origin across high-latitude North America. We assemble surface water isotope compositions measured during the past decade at five lake-rich landscapes including Arctic Coastal Plain (Alaska), Yukon Flats (Alaska), Old Crow Flats (Yukon), northwestern Hudson Bay Lowlands (Manitoba), and Nunavik (Quebec). These landscapes represent the broad range of thermokarst environments...


map background search result map search result map Linking North Slope of Alaska climate, hydrology, and fish migration Environmental and ecological conditions at Arctic breeding sites have limited effects on true survival rates of adult shorebirds Distribution and biophysical processes of beaded streams in Arctic permafrost landscapes Depth, ice thickness, and ice-out timing cause divergent hydrologic responses among Arctic lakes Threshold sensitivity of shallow Arctic lakes and sublake permafrost to changing winter climate A lake-centric geospatial database to guide research and inform management decisions in an Arctic watershed in northern Alaska... Modeling snowdrift habitat for polar bear dens Reconciling precipitation trends in Alaska: 2. Gridded data analyses A synthesis of thermokarst lake water balance in high-latitude regions of North America from isotope tracers Predicting breeding shorebird distributions on the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska Drainage Network Structure and Hydrologic Behavior of Three Lake-Rich Watersheds on the Arctic Coastal Plain, Alaska Predicting the Impact of Glacier Loss Reconciling precipitation trends in Alaska: 1. Station-based analyses Recent Arctic tundra fire initiates widespread thermokarst development Developing a Long-term Aquatic Monitoring Network Developing a Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Network in a Complex Watershed of the Alaskan Arctic Coast Linking North Slope of Alaska climate, hydrology, and fish migration Predicting the Impact of Glacier Loss Distribution and biophysical processes of beaded streams in Arctic permafrost landscapes Depth, ice thickness, and ice-out timing cause divergent hydrologic responses among Arctic lakes Threshold sensitivity of shallow Arctic lakes and sublake permafrost to changing winter climate A lake-centric geospatial database to guide research and inform management decisions in an Arctic watershed in northern Alaska... A synthesis of thermokarst lake water balance in high-latitude regions of North America from isotope tracers Drainage Network Structure and Hydrologic Behavior of Three Lake-Rich Watersheds on the Arctic Coastal Plain, Alaska Developing a Long-term Aquatic Monitoring Network Developing a Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Network in a Complex Watershed of the Alaskan Arctic Coast Modeling snowdrift habitat for polar bear dens Predicting breeding shorebird distributions on the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska Recent Arctic tundra fire initiates widespread thermokarst development Reconciling precipitation trends in Alaska: 2. Gridded data analyses Reconciling precipitation trends in Alaska: 1. Station-based analyses Environmental and ecological conditions at Arctic breeding sites have limited effects on true survival rates of adult shorebirds