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The evolution of permafrost in cold regions is inextricably connected to hydrogeologic processes, climate, and ecosystems. Permafrost thawing has been linked to changes in wetland and lake areas, alteration of the groundwater contribution to streamflow, carbon release, and increased fire frequency. But detailed knowledge about the dynamic state of permafrost in relation to surface and groundwater systems remains an enigma. Here, we present the results of a pioneering 1,800 line-kilometer airborne electromagnetic survey that shows sediments deposited over the past 4 million years and the configuration of permafrost to depths of 100 meters in the Yukon Flats area near Fort Yukon, Alaska. The Yukon Flats is near the...
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This thesis is an investigation of the biophysical controls on the three modes of methane (CH4 ) release from a boreal peatland: diffusion, plant-mediated transport and ebullition. My objectives were to (1) quantify the total CH4 flux of a permafrost thaw-affected peatland, (2) establish the relative importance of the three modes of CH4 release in these systems, and (3) identify key biotic and abiotic controls on individual transport mechanisms. Results showed that ebullition and plant-mediated transport were the dominant pathways for CH4 release and that traditional approaches for measuring total CH4 flux from peatland soils underestimated total efflux by not capturing ebullition. Further, results from a laboratory...
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Issue Title: Special Issue: Science Results from the Canadian International Polar Year 2007-2008 Tundra and taiga ecosystems comprise nearly 40 % of the terrestrial landscapes of Canada. These permafrost ecosystems have supported humans for more than 4500 years, and are currently home to ca. 115,000 people, the majority of whom are First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The responses of these ecosystems to the regional warming over the past 30-50 years were the focus of four Canadian IPY projects. Northern residents and researchers reported changes in climate and weather patterns and noted shifts in vegetation and other environmental variables. In forest-tundra areas tree growth and reproductive effort correlated with...
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This paper examines changes in climate with respect to permafrost and engineering design in Arctic regions. Current understanding of climate changes, predictive modeling, and climate data were studied. Inconsistencies and differences were noted, discussed, and evaluated using comparisons of the resulting climate data and graphs. A graphical analysis was done to compare different methods of data analysis and different visual interpretations of historical climate trends. The graphical analyses in this paper should be used as a guide for determining the accuracy of thermal design parameters applied to current project designs. The methodology used to evaluate raw data can greatly affect the output values used in design....
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Permanent electrode arrays were set up at ten monitoring sites from Whitehorse, Yukon, to Fort St. John, British Columbia, in order to gain a clearer perspective of the effectiveness of electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) monitoring over an annual cycle of freezing and thawing. This research forms part of a longer-term project that is attempting to use ERT to examine changes in permafrost resulting from climate change. Inter-site and intra-site variability were examined by installing and maintaining data-loggers to monitor active layer and shallow permafrost temperatures, air temperatures, and snow depths at each site from August 2010-August 2011. Additional site information was collected on each ERT survey...
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We investigated spatial variability in the community structure of stream macroinvertebrates at six reaches within Caribou-Poker Creeks Research Watershed in the Alaskan taiga forest. Stream reaches differed most notably in river continuum position (stream orders 1–4) and influence of permafrost. Permafrost may underly much of an entire watershed or may be only locally present in valley bottoms. Permafrost distribution influences hydrology, water temperature, and riparian vegetation. We sampled benthic macroinvertebrates six times during the ice-free season between June 1995 and June 1996. Mean invertebrate abundance (range: 1160–14494 individuals/ m2) was significantly different among sites, the lower values occurring...
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Understanding the role of permafrost in controlling groundwater flow paths and fluxes is central in studies aimed at assessing potential climate change impacts on vegetation, species habitat, biogeochemical cycling, and biodiversity. Recent field studies in interior Alaska show evidence of hydrologic changes hypothesized to result from permafrost degradation. This study assesses the hydrologic control exerted by permafrost, elucidates modes of regional groundwater flow for various spatial permafrost patterns, and evaluates potential hydrologic consequences of permafrost degradation. The Yukon Flats Basin (YFB), a large (118,340 km super(2)) subbasin within the Yukon River Basin, provides the basis for this investigation....
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This study is the second attempt to use the Basal Temperature of Snow (BTS) method to map permafrost in mountainous regions of northwestern Canada. It differs from the first study which took place in Wolf Creek in terms of (1) the methodology used to evaluate BTS, (2) the strategy used to avoid spatial autocorrelation in residuals, and (3) the climatic regions investigated. Two study areas, part of the Ruby Range (61° 12' N, 138° 19' W) and Haines Summit (59° 37' N, 136° 27' W) were selected for BTS sampling based on differing climatic conditions and previous knowledge of permafrost elevations from active rock glaciers. A total of 30 BTS measurements were made in the Ruby Range in the winter of 2006 and a total...
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Pogo Mine Project: An Introduction The Project: The proposed Pogo Gold Mine would be located about 38 miles northeast of Delta Junction, Alaska, near the Goodpaster River (see figure 1). Teck-Pogo, Inc., the "applicant," plans to develop the mine on state-owned land. It would be an underground mine with a surface mill producing up to 500,000 ounces of gold each year. The applicant hopes to begin construction in 2002, and proposes to operate the mine 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for about 12 years. This predicted mine-life is based on existing information; on-going exploration could increase the life of the mine. The project would employ up to 385 employees. Workers would be housed on site. An airstrip would...
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Detailed observations of stream, soil, and groundwater chemistry were used to determine the role of fire, permafrost and snowmelt processes on the fluxes of carbon, nitrogen and major solutes from interior Alaskan catchments. We examined an experimentally burned watershed and two reference watersheds that differ in permafrost coverage (high, 53%; medium-burn, 18%; and low, 4%) during the FROSTFIRE prescribed burn in July 1999. The fire elevated stream nitrate concentrations for a short period during the first post-fire storm, but nitrate declined thereafter, suggesting that less severe fires that leave an intact riparian zone may have only a short-term effect on stream chemistry. Nevertheless, we found fundamental...
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Boreal regions contain more than half of the carbon in forested regions of the world and over 60% of the world's surface freshwater. Carbon storage and the flood control and water filtration provided by freshwaters and wetlands have recently been identified as the most important ecosystem services provided by boreal regions, with a value many times greater than current resource exploitation. Ecosystem services and sensitive ways of detecting their impairment have so far not been fully included in boreal conservation planning. Climate warming, via its effect on permafrost melting, insect damage, and forest fire, threatens to trigger large positive carbon feedbacks that may enhance the concentrations of greenhouse...
Boreal soils in permafrost regions contain vast quantities of frozen organic material that is released to terrestrial and aquatic environments via subsurface flow paths as permafrost thaws. Longer flow paths may allow chemical reduction of solutes, nutrients, and contaminants, with implications for greenhouse gas emissions and aqueous export. Predicting boreal catchment runoff is complicated by soil heterogeneities related to variability in active layer thickness, soil type, fire history, and preferential flow potential. By coupling measurements of permeability, infiltration potential, and water chemistry with a stream chemistry end-member mixing model, we tested the hypothesis that organic soils and burned slopes...
To accurately represent subsurface flow in a hydrologic model of permafrost terrain during spring thaw, an understanding of soil thaw and soil thaw rates is required. Research was conducted on an organic-covered hillslope in Granger Basin, Yukon Territory, to quantify relationships between net radiation, snowmelt and soil thaw energy. The infiltration and freezing of meltwater into the soil may contribute to pre-thaw warming. When this energy (1.82 MJ·m -2 ·d-1 ) is taken into account, the daily mean contribution to soil thaw from net radiation is approximately 9%. Measured and estimated soil thaw depths compared well (R2 = 0.75) when energy was distributed across the hillslope. This research contributes to the...


map background search result map search result map Effects of observed and experimental climate change on terrestrial ecosystems in northern Canada: results from the Canadian IPY program Sensitivity of northern peatland carbon dynamics to Holocene climate change Seasonal ice and hydrologic controls on dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen concentrations in a boreal-rich fen Airborne electromagnetic imaging of discontinuous permafrost The effect of fire and permafrost interactions on soil carbon accumulation in an upland black spruce ecosystem of interior Alaska: implications for post-thaw carbon loss Influence of permafrost distribution on groundwater flow in the context of climate-driven permafrost thaw: Example from Yukon Flats Basin, Alaska, United States Physical and ecological controls on methane release from a boreal peatland in interior Alaska Exploring the sensitivity of soil carbon dynamics to climate change, fire disturbance and permafrost thaw in a black spruce ecosystem Seasonal cycling in electrical resistivities at ten thin permafrost sites, southern Yukon and northern British Columbia Validation of the Basal Temperature of Snow (BTS) method to map permafrost in complex mountainous terrain, Ruby Range, Yukon Territory and Haines Summit, British Columbia “The Worst Thing We Had To Contend With”: Permafrost and Construction of the Alcan Highway Geometry of oriented lakes in Old Crow Flats, northern Yukon Comprehensive conservation planning to protect biodiversity and ecosystem services in Canadian boreal regions under a warming climate and increasing exploitation Export of carbon, nitrogen and major solutes from a boreal forest watershed: The influence of fire and permafrost Landscape patterns and stream reaches in the Alaskan taiga forest: potential roles of permafrost in differentiating macroinvertebrate communities POGO Gold Mine EIS/NEPA Project Progress in space-borne studies of permafrost for climate science: Towards a multi-ECV approach Seasonal ice and hydrologic controls on dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen concentrations in a boreal-rich fen POGO Gold Mine EIS/NEPA Project Landscape patterns and stream reaches in the Alaskan taiga forest: potential roles of permafrost in differentiating macroinvertebrate communities Validation of the Basal Temperature of Snow (BTS) method to map permafrost in complex mountainous terrain, Ruby Range, Yukon Territory and Haines Summit, British Columbia Physical and ecological controls on methane release from a boreal peatland in interior Alaska Export of carbon, nitrogen and major solutes from a boreal forest watershed: The influence of fire and permafrost Exploring the sensitivity of soil carbon dynamics to climate change, fire disturbance and permafrost thaw in a black spruce ecosystem Geometry of oriented lakes in Old Crow Flats, northern Yukon Airborne electromagnetic imaging of discontinuous permafrost Influence of permafrost distribution on groundwater flow in the context of climate-driven permafrost thaw: Example from Yukon Flats Basin, Alaska, United States Seasonal cycling in electrical resistivities at ten thin permafrost sites, southern Yukon and northern British Columbia “The Worst Thing We Had To Contend With”: Permafrost and Construction of the Alcan Highway The effect of fire and permafrost interactions on soil carbon accumulation in an upland black spruce ecosystem of interior Alaska: implications for post-thaw carbon loss Effects of observed and experimental climate change on terrestrial ecosystems in northern Canada: results from the Canadian IPY program Sensitivity of northern peatland carbon dynamics to Holocene climate change Progress in space-borne studies of permafrost for climate science: Towards a multi-ECV approach Comprehensive conservation planning to protect biodiversity and ecosystem services in Canadian boreal regions under a warming climate and increasing exploitation