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Sample records for beaufort sea

  1. Beaufort Sea: information update

    SciTech Connect

    Becker, P.R.

    1988-04-01

    The report is based on a multi-disciplinary meeting held March 6-7, 1985, as part of preparations for the Beaufort Sea Sale 97. The chapters are based on presentations given: The causeway effect: Modification of nearshore thermal regime resulting from causeways; Summertime sea ice intrusions in the Chukchi Sea; The deepwater limit of ice gouging on the Beaufort Sea shelf; Distribution, abundance, migration, harvest, and stock identity of Belukha Whales in the Beaufort Sea; Ringed seals in the Beaufort Sea; Beaufort Sea socioeconomics; The Baffin Island Oil Spill, (BIOS) Project.

  2. Submarine pingos in the beaufort sea.

    PubMed

    Shearer, J M; Macnab, R F; Pelletier, B R; Smith, T B

    1971-11-19

    Numerous underwater mounds found on the continental shelf of the Beaufort Sea are thought to be pingos (hills that have a central core of ice) which have formed in the marine environment subsequent to oceanic transgression. PMID:17759389

  3. Sea bottom scouring in the Canadian Beaufort Sea

    SciTech Connect

    Hnatiuk, J.; Wright, B.D.

    1983-05-01

    Echo sounding, side scan sonar and seismic profiling records have shown that the continental shelf of the Canadian Beaufort Sea has been subjected to extensive scouring by ice features. The scouring phenomena is extremely important in the design and protection of offshore wells and future pipelines. Analyses of records collected by industry and government in the early 1970's and reported by Hnatiuk and Brown in 1977 have been refined with the inclusion of additional data collected by industry and government in 1975 and 1976. Here, the results of the information synthesis are presented in terms of regional maps showing relevant scouring parameters and their variation with location and water depth. A quantitative evaluation of scour return period is also presented on the basis of sedimentation assumptions. This information is compared with a recent analysis of side scan scour mosaics collected repetitively over four areas ranging in water depths from 45 to 150 feet and with time intervals ranging from 2 to 7 years between the repetitive seafloor maps. The rate of addition of new scours determined from the repetitive mosaic approach supports the regional assessment of Beaufort Sea scour but suggests more episodic and areally frequent scour events along with more active scouring in water depths approaching 150 feet. This information is discussed in terms of the Beaufort Sea ice regime.

  4. Deglacial floods in the Beaufort Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keigwin, L. D.; Driscoll, N. W.

    2014-12-01

    During summer 2013 USCGC Healy cruise 1302 surveyed and cored between Barrow, AK and the mouth of Amundsen Gulf, far to the east in the Beaufort Sea. Holocene deposition rates on the continental slope are high in the eastern Chukchi Sea and are lower farther east where deglacial sediments dominate. This is evident in CHIRP seismic data that trace two groups of reflectors as the sub-bottom depth between them increases. On the slope, at ~700 m w.d. near the mouth of the Mackenzie River, a pair of piston cores make a composite sequence 17 m long. The lower 4 m are sandy and capped by a maximum in magnetic susceptibility (ms) and a prominent reflector. N. pachyderma is too rare in this interval for 14C dates, but the d18-O of this species is as low as late Holocene. Above the reflector, counts of IRD are low, d18-O continues low, and the sediment is an acoustically transparent 7 m thick unit. The deepest date is 12.8 conv. 14C kyr at 13 m, and 3 overlying dates indicate the transparent unit accumulated at 8 m/14C kyr. The top of this unit is marked by the upper reflector that is in detail a triplet that corresponds to triple peaks in ms, grainsize, and IRD abundance. Between the two oldest sub-peaks of this reflector, d18-O reaches minimum values of ~1‰, or about 0.5‰ lower than late Holocene. In contrast to the deeper interval, this event is only 0.5 m thick and is dated to 11,050 conv. 14C kyr. Following this event, d18-O increases abruptly and then gradually decreases within the Holocene, more like a typical isotope stratigraphy. Overall, 9 dates indicate a gradual down-core increase in sedimentation rates from 9 cm/kyr in the late Holocene to the extreme of the deeper transparent unit with no age reversals. Using the modern Beaufort Sea Delta R (DR; 436 yrs), our oldest date calibrates to 13.8 ka, a little too old to be the cause of the Younger Dryas. However, the combined seismic, isotope, and sedimentological data suggest that at least the older transparent

  5. Gray whale sightings in the Canadian Beaufort Sea, September 2014

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iwahara, Yuka; Fujiwara, Amane; Ito, Keizo; Miyashita, Kazushi; Mitani, Yoko

    2016-06-01

    Gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) are distributed within the productive neritic and estuarine waters of the North Pacific Ocean, the Bering Sea, and adjacent waters of the Arctic Ocean. They migrate to high-latitude feeding grounds each spring. Their main feeding grounds in the Arctic include the Chirikov Basin, the northeastern Chukchi Sea from Pt. Hope to Cape Lisburne and Pt. Lay to Pt. Barrow, and the northwestern Chukchi Sea along the Chukotka coast. Although sightings are rare in the Canadian Beaufort Sea, we observed three gray whales in two groups in this area in September 2014. A mud plume was observed near one of the whales, suggesting the animal had been feeding. In the Alaskan Beaufort Sea, large-scale monitoring of the distributions of marine mammals has been continuously conducted since 1979; however, there has been less monitoring in the Canadian Beaufort Sea. Therefore, it is necessary to record opportunistic sightings, such as those described here.

  6. 75 FR 18404 - Safety Zone; FRONTIER DISCOVERER, Outer Continental Shelf Drillship, Chukchi and Beaufort Sea...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-04-12

    ... Continental Shelf Drillship, Chukchi and Beaufort Sea, Alaska'' in the Federal Register (75 FR 803). The NPRM... various prospects located in the Chukchi and Beaufort Sea Outer Continental Shelf, Alaska, during the 2010... off the northern coast in the Beaufort Sea Outer Continental Shelf, Alaska, during the 2010...

  7. Contrasts in Arctic shelf sea-ice regimes and some implications: Beaufort Sea versus Laptev Sea

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reimnitz, E.; Dethleff, D.; Nurnberg, D.

    1994-01-01

    The winter ice-regime of the 500 km) from the mainland than in the Beaufort Sea. As a result, the annual freeze-up does not incorporate old, deep-draft ice, and with a lack of compression, such deep-draft ice is not generated in situ, as on the Beaufort Sea shelf. The Laptev Sea has as much as 1000 km of fetch at the end of summer, when freezing storms move in and large (6 m) waves can form. Also, for the first three winter months, the polynya lies inshore at a water depth of only 10 m. Turbulence and freezing are excellent conditions for sediment entrainment by frazil and anchor ice, when compared to conditions in the short-fetched Beaufort Sea. We expect entrainment to occur yearly. Different from the intensely ice-gouged Beaufort Sea shelf, hydraulic bedforms probably dominate in the Laptev Sea. Corresponding with the large volume of ice produced, more dense water is generated in the Laptev Sea, possibly accompanied by downslope sediment transport. Thermohaline convection at the midshelf polynya, together with the reduced rate of bottom disruption by ice keels, may enhance benthic productivity and permit establishment of open-shelf benthic communities which in the Beaufort Sea can thrive only in the protection of barrier islands. Indirect evidence for high benthic productivity is found in the presence of walrus, who also require year-round open water. By contrast, lack of a suitable environment restricts walrus from the Beaufort Sea, although over 700 km farther to the south. We could speculate on other consequences of the different ice regimes in the Beaufort and Laptev Seas, but these few examples serve to point out the dangers of exptrapolating from knowledge gained in the North American Arctic to other shallow Arctic shelf settings. ?? 1994.

  8. Beaufort Sea storm and resuspension modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lintern, D. Gwyn; Macdonald, Robie W.; Solomon, Steven M.; Jakes, Hunter

    2013-11-01

    Along the shallow Beaufort Sea coast of the Arctic Ocean, storm events during the summer are responsible for significant sediment resuspension and transport. Given the paucity of data in this difficult field area, a model has been developed to be used as a tool towards investigation of these processes. Two contrasting set of conditions are modeled; one simulation for a relatively quiescent period and a second simulation for a period that included a moderate and typical northwesterly storm. Results for these two periods are compared with shallow-water current and wave data collected by instrumented moorings. For the calm period, the model did not predict specific events very well, whereas for the period with a strong storm, the model performed very well in predicting wave height and wave period, and less well in predicting currents. However, under both calm and stormy conditions, mean current speeds and mean current directions were predicted with sufficient accuracy to proceed to calculations of sediment transport. Sensitivity analysis showed that currents contribute very little to the wave dominated resuspension, but mean currents could be used for computing sediment transport quantities and directions. Measurements of storm surge were represented well by the model output, aligning perfecting with the building and waning storm, but with a slight overprediction at the peak of the storm. The reasonable reproduction of wave heights and periods, and of storm surge indicate that the model is responding well to the input parameters. The modeling suggests that the most significant sediment erosion occurs at the northern tips of the Mackenzie Delta and the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula, and around the area of Herschal Island. The model also indicates that waves are not fully developed during a storm for the present day ice limited fetch, and that extending the fetch a further 100 km to simulate ice retreat led to wave heights at the coast being increased by 20 cm.

  9. Allocating harvests among polar bear stocks in the Beaufort Sea

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Amstrup, Steven C.; Durner, G.M.; Stirling, I.; McDonald, T.L.

    2005-01-01

    Recognition that polar bears are shared by hunters in Canada and Alaska prompted development of the 'Polar Bear Management Agreement for the Southern Beaufort Sea.' Under this Agreement, the harvest of polar bears from the southern Beaufort Sea (SBS) is shared between Inupiat hunters of Alaska and Inuvialuit hunters of Canada. Quotas for each jurisdiction are to be reviewed annually in light of the best available scientific information. Ideal implementation of the Agreement has been hampered by the inability to quantify geographic overlap among bears from adjacent populations. We applied new analytical procedures to a more extensive radiotelemetry data set than has previously been available to quantify that overlap and thereby improve the efficacy of the Agreement. We constructed a grid over the eastern Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea and used two-dimensional kernel smoothing to assign probabilities to the distributions of all instrumented bears. A cluster analysis of radio relocation data identified three relatively discrete groups or 'populations' of polar bears: the SBS, Chukchi Sea (CS), and northern Beaufort Sea (NBS) populations. With kernel smoothing, we calculated relative probabilities of occurrence for individual members of each population in each cell of our grid. We estimated the uncertainty in probabilities by bootstrapping. Availability of polar bears from each population varied geographically. Near Barrow, Alaska, 50% of harvested bears are from the CS population and 50% from the SBS population. Nearly 99% of the bears taken by Kaktovik hunters are from the SBS. At Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, Canada, 50% are from the SBS and 50% from the NBS population. We displayed the occurrence of bears from each population as probabilities for each cell in our grid and as maps with contour lines delineating changes in relative probability. This new analytical approach will greatly improve the accuracy of allocating harvest quotas among hunting communities

  10. Movements and distribution of polar bears in the Beaufort sea

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Amstrup, Steven C.; Durner, G.M.; Stirling, I.; Lunn, N.J.; Messier, F.

    2000-01-01

    We fitted 173 satellite radio collars (platform transmitter terminals) to 121 adult female polar bears in the Beaufort Sea and relocated the bears 44 736 times between 1985 and 1995. We regularly resighted many instrumented bears so that we could ascertain whether changes in movements or distribution were related to reproductive status. Mean short-term movement rates were less than 2 km/h for all classes of bears. Maximum movement rates occurred in winter and early summer. In the southern Beaufort Sea (SBS), net geographic movements from the beginning to the end of each month were smaller for females with cubs of the year than for solitary females, and larger in November than in April, May, or July. In May, June, July, and August, radio-collared bears in the SBS moved north. They moved south in October. In the northern Beaufort Sea (NBS), bears moved north in June and south in March and September. Total annual movements ranged from 1406 to 6203 km. Mean total distances moved each month ranged from 79 to 420 km. Total monthly movements by SBS bears were largest in early winter and smallest in early spring. In the NBS, movements were largest in summer and smallest in winter. In the SBS, females with cubs moved less each month than other females. Annual activity areas ranged from 7264 to 596 800 km2. Monthly activity areas ranged from 88 to 9760 km2. Seasonal fidelity to activity areas of bears captured in all parts of the Beaufort Sea was strongest in summer and weakest in spring.

  11. Recent changes in sea ice area flux through the Beaufort Sea during the summer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Howell, Stephen E. L.; Brady, Michael; Derksen, Chris; Kelly, Richard E. J.

    2016-04-01

    Over the annual cycle, sea ice is sequestered from the Canadian Basin and transported through the Beaufort Sea toward the Chukchi Sea. In recent years, the Beaufort Sea has experienced considerable ice loss during the summer, which may be indicative of recent changes to this process. In order to investigate this, we quantify the sea ice area flux using RADARSAT from 1997 to 2014 at three gates in Beaufort Sea: the Canadian Basin (entrance), mid-Beaufort (midpoint), and Chukchi (exit). There was a mean annual flux of 42 ± 56 × 103 km2 at the Canadian Basin gate, 94 ± 92 × 103 km2 at the mid-Beaufort gate and -83 ± 68 × 103 km2 at the Chukchi gate (positive and negative flux signs correspond to ice inflow and outflow, respectively). The majority of ice transport in Beaufort Sea was found to occur from October to May providing replenishment for ice lost during the summer months. The cross-strait gradient in sea level pressure explains ˜40% of the variance in the ice area flux at the gates. Remarkably, the mean July-October net sea ice area flux at the Chukchi gate decreased by ˜80% from 2008 to 2014 relative to 1997-2007 and became virtually ice-free every year since 2008. This reduction was associated with younger (thinner) ice that was unable to survive the summer melt season when either being sequestered from the Canadian Basin and transported through Beaufort Sea during the melt season (2008-2011) or remaining immobile and present in the vicinity of the Chukchi gate during the melt season (2012-2014).

  12. Polar bear maternity denning in the Beaufort Sea

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Amstrup, S.; Gardner, C.

    1994-01-01

    The distribution of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) is circumpolar in the NOrthern Hemisphere, but known locations of maternal dens are concentrated in relatively few, widely scattered locations. Denning is either uncommon or unknown within gaps. To understand effects of industrial development and propose increases in hunting, the temporal and spatial distribution of denning in the Beaufort Sea must be known. We caputred and radiocollared polar bears between 1981 and 1991 and determined tht denning in the Beaufort Sea region was sufficient to account for the estimated population there. Of 90 dend, 48 were on drifting pack ice, 38 on land, and 4 on land-fast ice. The portions of dens on land was higher (P= 0.029) in later compared with earlier years of the study. Bears denning on pack ice drifting as far as 997 km (x=385km) while in dens. there was no difference in cun production by bears denning on land and pack ice (P =0.66). Mean entry and exit dates were 11 November and 5 April for land dens and 22 November and 26 March for pack-ice dens. Female polar bears captured in the Beaufort Sea appeared to be isolated from those caught eat of Cape Bathurst in Canada. Of 35 polar bears that denned along the mainland coast of Alaska and Canada 80% denned between 137 00'W snf 146 59'W. Bears followed to >1 den did not reuse sites and consecutive dens were 20-1,304 km apart. However radio-collared bears are largely faithful to substrate (pack-ice, land, and land-fast ice) and the general geographic area of previous dens. Bears denning on land may be vunerable to human activities such as hunting and industrial development. However, predictable denning chronology and alck of site fidelity indicate that many potential impacts on denning polar bears could be mitigated.

  13. Ice gouge processes in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rearic, Douglas M.; Ticken, Edward J.

    1988-01-01

    A generalized picture of ice gouge characteristics from shallow inshore depths to the outer shelf at about 60 m of water is presented. Data from recent studies show that the size and quantity of gouging increases in an offshore direction to depths of about 45 m where this trend then reverses and the features decrease in size and quantity as the shelf break is approached. Ice gouges are oriented east-west and this suggests that most gouging is caused by ice approaching from the east, possibly driven by the Beaufort Sea gyre. The most intense gouging occurs in the stamukhi zone, between 20 and 40 m of water, and is caused by a high rate of ice keel production owing to shearing forces between mobile and stable sea ice. Inshore of the stamukhi zone, ice gouging still presents a significant hazard but their greatly decreased size and number make it possible to design against this hazard.

  14. Effects of Mackenzie River Discharge and Bathymetry on Sea Ice in the Beaufort Sea

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nghiem, S. V.; Hall, D. K.; Rigor, I. G; Li, P.; Neumann, G.

    2014-01-01

    Mackenzie River discharge and bathymetry effects on sea ice in the Beaufort Sea are examined in 2012 when Arctic sea ice extent hit a record low. Satellite-derived sea surface temperature revealed warmer waters closer to river mouths. By 5 July 2012, Mackenzie warm waters occupied most of an open water area about 316,000 sq km. Surface temperature in a common open water area increased by 6.5 C between 14 June and 5 July 2012, before and after the river waters broke through a recurrent landfast ice barrier formed over the shallow seafloor offshore the Mackenzie Delta. In 2012, melting by warm river waters was especially effective when the strong Beaufort Gyre fragmented sea ice into unconsolidated floes. The Mackenzie and other large rivers can transport an enormous amount of heat across immense continental watersheds into the Arctic Ocean, constituting a stark contrast to the Antarctic that has no such rivers to affect sea ice.

  15. MIZMAS Forecast of Sea Ice Thickness and Drift in the Beaufort Sea Marginal Ice Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, J.; Schweiger, A. J. B.; Steele, M.; Stern, H. L., III

    2014-12-01

    A significant decline of Arctic sea ice has been observed in recent years. The decline was particularly steep during summers 2007-2013, when the arctic sea ice extent decreased to the lowest levels observed in the satellite era. The summer melt back was most severe in the Pacific sector including the Beaufort Sea where increasing areas of warming open water and marginal ice zone (MIZ) have been observed. To enhance our understanding of MIZ processes, an Office of Naval Research MIZ initiative is under way, which is an integrated program of observations and numerical simulations to investigate ice-ocean-atmosphere dynamics in and around the Beaufort Sea MIZ. In early 2014, the observation team of this program deployed 4 clusters of instruments of various platforms in the Beaufort Sea in order to capture the processes that affect MIZ evolution during the ice melt season. To assist the field work, we have developed a numerical framework for 48-hour forecast of sea ice thickness and drift in and around the Beaufort Sea MIZ using the Marginal Ice Zone ice/ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (MIZMAS). MIZMAS is a variant of the Pan-arctic Ice/Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS), with a high-resolution focus of the Chukchi, Beaufort, and Bering seas. The 48-hour sea ice forecast system is forced by the forecast atmospheric data from the NCEP (National Center for Environmental Prediction) Climate Forecast System version 2 (CFSv2). The CFSv2 forecast ranges from hours to months and the forecast atmospheric data are widely accessible, thus ideal for forcing our sea ice forecast over a range of time scales. The sea ice forecast system has been used to predict sea ice thickness in the Beaufort Sea MIZ 48 hours in advance, focusing on the areas around the 4 clusters. It has also been used to predict the movement of these clusters. In this presentation, we will assess MIZMAS' forecast skills by comparing available ice thickness observations and the actual cluster

  16. Pressure Ridge Keel Shapes in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Valenti, V. A.; Mahoney, A. R.; Metzger, A.; Eicken, H.

    2014-12-01

    Abstract: Recent aspirations for offshore development in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, off the North Slope of Alaska, have precipitated the need of additional information for various sea-ice parameters. Of specific interest to engineers and regulatory agencies are the magnitudes of parameters representative of major hazards with a low expectation of occurring over some timeframe. The thickness and width of large pressure ridges that may impact offshore structures is of particular interest. Here, we analyze an extensive dataset from moored ice profiling sonars (IPSs) and acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs) deployed in the vicinity of offshore oil-and-gas lease areas in the US portions of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. In all, we examine 16 annual time series of ice draft and velocity from six different mooring locations over five years. Using an automated algorithm, we identify individual pressure ridge keels based on deviations in ice draft from surrounding level ice and derive measurements of the maximum depth and shape of each. Of particular note, and contrary to many idealized ridges portrayed in the literature, we find that flat-bottomed keels are rare in this region. Since the orientation of each ridge as it passes over the mooring is unknown it is not possible to directly measure the precise width. Instead we bin the keels by maximum depth and find the modal width value for each depth bin. Finding that most keels have broadly the same triangular cross-section, we assume the modal width value corresponds to cases when the ridge passes over the mooring approximately perpendicular to its axis. Using this approach, we find a constant ratio between maximum keel depth and width, corresponding to a mean keel slope of around 33 degrees. This is somewhat steeper than is commonly found in literature. We also analyze the relationship between keel depth and drift speed, but find no statistically significant dependence.

  17. Shelfbreak current over the Canadian Beaufort Sea continental slope: Wind-driven events in January 2005

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dmitrenko, Igor A.; Kirillov, Sergei A.; Forest, Alexandre; Gratton, Yves; Volkov, Denis L.; Williams, William J.; Lukovich, Jennifer V.; Belanger, Claude; Barber, David G.

    2016-04-01

    The shelfbreak current over the Beaufort Sea continental slope is known to be one of the most energetic features of the Beaufort Sea hydrography. In January 2005, three oceanographic moorings deployed over the Canadian (eastern) Beaufort Sea continental slope simultaneously recorded two consecutive shelfbreak current events with along-slope eastward bottom-intensified flow up to 120 cm s-1. Both events were generated by the local wind forcing associated with two Pacific-born cyclones passing north of the Beaufort Sea continental slope toward the Canadian Archipelago. Over the mooring array, the associated westerly wind exceeded 15 m s-1. These two cyclones generated storm surges along the Beaufort Sea coast with sea surface height (SSH) rising up to 1.4 m following the two westerly wind maxima. We suggest that the westerly along-slope wind generated a surface Ekman onshore transport. The associated SSH increase over the shelf produced a cross-slope pressure gradient that drove an along-slope eastward geostrophic current, in the same direction as the wind. This wind-driven barotropic flow was superimposed on the background baroclinic bottom-intensified shelfbreak current that consequently amplified. Summer-fall satellite altimetry data for 1992-2013 show that the SSH gradient in the southeastern Beaufort Sea is enhanced over the upper continental slope in response to frequent storm surge events. Because the local wind forcing and/or sea-ice drift could not explain the reduction of sea-ice concentration over the Beaufort Sea continental slope in January 2005, we speculate that wind-driven sea level fluctuations may impact the sea-ice cover in winter.

  18. Sea Ice Floe Size Distribution in the Beaufort Sea Measured by ERS-1 SAR (abstract)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Holt, B.; Martin, S.

    1996-01-01

    Model results indicate that understanding summer heat balance and freshwater balance in the polar oceans requires knowledge of how much goes into vertical and lateral sea ice melt. In addition to thickness, two of the key ice parameters that affect melt rate are ice concentration and floe size. Smaller ice floes and more open water enables more heat to go into lateral melt preferentially to vertical melt, thereby enhancing warming up the upper ocean and increasing stratification. Using ERS-1 SAR imagery along two areas, one in the Beaufort Sea and another in the Chukchi Sea, floe size distributions were obtained during the summer period in 1992. Comparisons will be made of floe distributions, together with meteorological and buoy measurements, to examine the differences between an ice sink region (Chukchi) and a multiyear ice region (Beaufort) in the summer melt process.

  19. Role of ice dynamics in anomalous ice conditions in the Beaufort Sea during 2006 and 2007

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hutchings, J. K.; Rigor, I. G.

    2012-05-01

    A new record minimum in summer sea ice extent was set in 2007 and an unusual polynya formed in the Beaufort Sea ice cover during the summer of 2006. Using a combination of visual observations from cruises, ice drift, and satellite passive microwave sea ice concentration, we show that ice dynamics during preceding years included events that preconditioned the Beaufort ice pack for the unusual patterns of opening observed in both summers. Intrusions of first year ice from the Chukchi Sea to the Northern Beaufort, and increased pole-ward ice transport from the western Arctic during summer has led to reduced replenishment of multiyear ice, older than five years, in the western Beaufort, resulting in a younger, thinner ice pack in most of the Beaufort. We find ice younger than five years melts out completely by the end of summer, south of 76N. The 2006 unusual polynya was bounded to the south by an ice tongue composed of sea ice older than 5 years, and formed when first year and second year ice melted between 76N and the older ice to the south. In this paper we demonstrate that a recent shift in ice circulation patterns in the western Arctic preconditions the Beaufort ice pack for increased seasonal ice zone extent.

  20. Pigment signatures of phytoplankton communities in the Beaufort Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coupel, P.; Matsuoka, A.; Ruiz-Pino, D.; Gosselin, M.; Marie, D.; Tremblay, J.-É.; Babin, M.

    2015-02-01

    Phytoplankton are expected to respond to recent environmental changes of the Arctic Ocean. In terms of bottom-up control, modifying the phytoplankton distribution will ultimately affect the entire food web and carbon export. However, detecting and quantifying changes in phytoplankton communities in the Arctic Ocean remains difficult because of the lack of data and the inconsistent identification methods used. Based on pigment and microscopy data sampled in the Beaufort Sea during summer 2009, we optimized the chemotaxonomic tool CHEMTAX (CHEMical TAXonomy) for the assessment of phytoplankton community composition in an Arctic setting. The geographical distribution of the main phytoplankton groups was determined with clustering methods. Four phytoplankton assemblages were determined and related to bathymetry, nutrients and light availability. Surface waters across the whole survey region were dominated by prasinophytes and chlorophytes, whereas the subsurface chlorophyll maximum was dominated by the centric diatoms Chaetoceros socialis on the shelf and by two populations of nanoflagellates in the deep basin. Microscopic counts showed a high contribution of the heterotrophic dinoflagellates Gymnodinium and Gyrodinium spp. to total carbon biomass, suggesting high grazing activity at this time of the year. However, CHEMTAX was unable to detect these dinoflagellates because they lack peridinin. In heterotrophic dinoflagellates, the inclusion of the pigments of their prey potentially leads to incorrect group assignments and some misinterpretation of CHEMTAX. Thanks to the high reproducibility of pigment analysis, our results can serve as a baseline to assess change and spatial or temporal variability in several phytoplankton populations that are not affected by these misinterpretations.

  1. Pigment signatures of phytoplankton communities in the Beaufort Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coupel, P.; Matsuoka, A.; Ruiz-Pino, D.; Gosselin, M.; Claustre, H.; Marie, D.; Tremblay, J.-É.; Babin, M.

    2014-10-01

    Phytoplankton are expected to respond to recent environmental changes of the Arctic Ocean. In terms of bottom-up control, modifying the phytoplankton distribution will ultimately affect the entire food web and carbon export. However, detecting and quantifying change in phytoplankton communities in the Arctic Ocean remains difficult because of the lack of data and the inconsistent identification methods used. Based on pigment and microscopy data sampled in the Beaufort Sea during summer 2009, we optimized the chemotaxonomic tool CHEMTAX for the assessment of phytoplankton community composition in an Arctic setting. The geographical distribution of the main phytoplankton groups was determined with clustering methods. Four phytoplankton assemblages were determined and related to bathymetry, nutrients and light availability. Surface waters across the whole survey region were dominated by prasinophytes and chlorophytes, whereas the subsurface chlorophyll maximum was dominated by the centric diatoms Chaetoceros socialis on the shelf and by two populations of nanoflagellates in the deep basin. Microscopic count showed a high contribution of the heterotrophic dinoflagellates Gymnodinium and Gyrodinium spp. to total carbon biomass, suggesting high grazing activity at this time of the year. However, CHEMTAX was unable to detect these dinoflagellates because they lack peridinin. The inclusion in heterotrophic dinoflagellates of the pigments of their prey potentially leads to incorrect group assignments and some misinterpretation of CHEMTAX. Thanks to the high reproducibility of pigment analysis, our results can serve as a baseline to assess change and spatial or temporal variability in phytoplankton populations.

  2. Spatial and temporal variability of sea-surface temperature fronts in the coastal Beaufort Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mustapha, Sélima Ben; Larouche, Pierre; Dubois, Jean-Marie

    2016-08-01

    An analysis of 11 years of sea surface temperatures images allowed the determination of the frontal occurrence probability in the southeastern Beaufort Sea using the single-image edge detection method. Results showed that, as the season progresses, fronts become more detectable due to solar heating of the surface layer. Some recurrent features can be identified in the summer time frontal climatology such as the Mackenzie River plume front, the Cape Bathurst front, the Mackenzie Trough front and the Amundsen Gulf front. These areas may be playing an important role in the biological processes acting as drivers to local enhanced biological productivity.

  3. Divergent patterns of recent sea ice cover across the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas of the Pacific Arctic Region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frey, Karen E.; Moore, G. W. K.; Cooper, Lee W.; Grebmeier, Jacqueline M.

    2015-08-01

    Over the past three decades of the observed satellite record, there have been significant changes in sea ice cover across the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas of the Pacific Arctic Region (PAR). Satellite data reveal that patterns in sea ice cover have been spatially heterogeneous, with significant declines in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, yet more complex multi-year variability in the Bering Sea south of St. Lawrence Island. These patterns in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas have intensified since 2000, indicating a regime shift in sea ice cover across the northern portion of the PAR. In particular, satellite data over 1979-2012 reveal localized decreases in sea ice presence of up to -1.64 days/year (Canada Basin) and -1.24 days/year (Beaufort Sea), which accelerated to up to -6.57 days/year (Canada Basin) and -12.84 days/year (Beaufort Sea) over the 2000-2012 time period. In contrast, sea ice in the Bering Sea shows more complex multi-year variability with localized increases in sea ice presence of up to +8.41 days/year since 2000. The observed increases in sea ice cover since 2000 in the southern Bering Sea shelf region are observed in wintertime, whereas sea ice losses in the Canada Basin and Beaufort Sea have occurred during summer. We further compare sea ice variability across the region with the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) wind and air temperature fields to determine the extent to which this recent variability is driven by thermal vs. wind-driven processes. Results suggest that for these localized areas that are experiencing the most rapid shifts in sea ice cover, those in the Beaufort Sea are primarily wind driven, those offshore in the Canada Basin are primarily thermally driven, and those in the Bering Sea are influenced by elements of both. Sea ice variability (and its drivers) across the PAR provides critical insight into the forcing effects of recent shifts in climate and its likely

  4. Behavior, disturbance responses and distribution of bowhead whales Balaena mysticetus in the eastern Beaufort Sea, 1980-84: a summary

    SciTech Connect

    Richardson, W.J.; Greene, C.R.; Wuersig, B.

    1985-06-01

    The behavior of bowhead whales summering in the eastern (Canadian) Beaufort Sea, and their reactions to industrial activities, were studied during five summers in the report. The objective was to provide data needed to assess the possible effects of offshore oil exploration and development in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea on this endangered species.

  5. Model of inner shelf shoal development, Beaufort Sea, Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Lowry, P.; Nummedal, D.; Reimnitz, E.

    1985-01-01

    At least two types of inner shelf shoals exist in the Beaufort Sea, Alaska. One type is located up to 40 km from the shoreline in an average water depth of 20m and oriented obliquely to the coast. A second type of shoals occur adjacent to existing barrier islands where minimum water depth over the shoal crest may be as little as 30-50cm. The development of shallow water shoals is believed to be a result of barrier island submergence. Dinkum Sands is an example of a shallow water shoal. This linear sand body is located between Cross and Narwhal Islands, 25km northeast of Prudhoe Bay. The shoal complex is 8 km long and less than 2 km wide and has a maximum relief of 5m. Historical data reveal submergence of an island over at least a 25 year period. The proposed initial stage of shoal development occurs when longshore sediment transport between barrier islands is disrupted by numerous events of downdrift tidal inlet breaching. Reduction in the amount of available sediment to each island results in significant coastal erosion (stage 2), manifest as a landward migration of the shoreline and a reduction in barrier elevation. The final stage of the model is barrier submergence. At present the greatest accumulation of sediment on Dinkum Sands occur at the distal extremities of the shoal. These are believed to represent the location of recurved spits at either end of the island prior to submergence. Application of the submergence model to explain deepwater shoal development must await the collection of shallow (10m) whole core data.

  6. Vertical heat fluxes through the Beaufort Sea Thermohaline staircase

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Padman, Laurie; Dillon, Thomas M.

    1987-09-01

    Microstructure profiles of temperature, conductivity, and velocity shear during the Arctic Internal Wave Experiment (AIWEX) in March-April 1985 in the Beaufort Sea are used to investigate the thermodynamic processes in a diffusive thermohaline staircase. The staircase occurs between depths of about 320 and 430 m, above the core of the relatively warm, salty Atlantic water, where the mean temperature and salinity are increasing with depth. Individual isothermal layers can be tracked for at least several hours, suggesting a horizontal length scale of several hundred meters or more, assuming a typical relative velocity of 0.01 m s-1 at this time. Over the depth range 320-430 m the mean (average over several steps) density ratio = β varies between 4 and 6, while the typical temperature difference between layers decreases from 0.012° to 0.004°C. The mean thickness of the layers also varies, from 1 m at 320 m depth to 2 m at 430 m. The relationship proposed by Kelley (1984), relating layer height to , , and molecular properties of the fluid, overestimates the mean layer thickness by about a factor of 2. The variability of staircase characteristics suggests that oceanic staircases may rarely, if ever, be steady state, but in general be slowly evolving from previous perturbations. Heat fluxes estimated from laboratory-based flux laws, involving Rρ and ΔT, are in the range 0.02

  7. On the characteristics of sea ice divergence/convergence in the Southern Beaufort Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lukovich, J. V.; Babb, D. G.; Galley, R. J.; Raddatz, R. L.; Barber, D. G.

    2014-07-01

    An understanding of spatial gradients in sea ice motion, or deformation, is essential to understanding of ocean-sea-ice-atmosphere interactions and realistic representations of sea ice in models used for the purposes of prediction. This is particularly true for the southern Beaufort Sea, where significant offshore hydrocarbon resource development increases the risk of oil and other contaminants dispersing into the marginal ice zone. In this study, sea ice deformation is examined through evaluation of ice beacon triplets from September to November 2009 in the southern Beaufort Sea (SBS), defined according to distance from the coastline on deployment. Results from this analysis illustrate that ice beacon triplets in the SBS demonstrate spatiotemporal differences in their evolution at the periphery and interior of the ice pack. The time rate of change in triplet area highlights two intervals of enhanced divergence and convergence in fall, 2009. Investigation of sea ice and atmospheric conditions during these intervals shows that until mid-September, all triplets respond to northerly flow, while during the second interval of enhanced divergence/convergence in October only one triplet responds to persistent northeasterly flow due to its proximity to the ice edge, in contrast to triplets located at the interior of the pack. Differences in sea ice deformation and dispersion near the pack ice edge and interior are further demonstrated in the behavior of triplets B and C in late October/early November. The results from this analysis highlight differences in dispersion and deformation characteristics based on triplet proximity to the southernmost ice edge and coastline, with implications for modeling studies pertaining to sea ice dynamics and dispersion.

  8. Mud Volcanoes from the Beaufort Sea to the South China Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lundsten, E. M.; Paull, C. K.; Caress, D. W.; Dallimore, S.; Melling, H.; Liu, C. S.; Anderson, K.; Gwiazda, R.

    2015-12-01

    The detailed morphology of five submarine mud volcanoes were surveyed using an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) developed at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Mud volcanoes are constructional features built by extrusion of gas, subsurface fluids and fine-grained sediment. Two surveys covering four submarine mud volcanoes were conducted on the CCGS Sir Wilfred Laurier in the Beaufort Sea in the Canadian Arctic. A survey of one mud volcano was conducted on the Taiwanese Ocean Research V in the South China Sea, SE of Taiwan. The AUV carried a multibeam sonar, a 1-6 kHz chirp sub-bottom profiler, and a110 kHz sidescan, and obtained overlapping multibeam bathymetric coverage at a vertical resolution of 0.15 m with a horizontal footprint of 0.9 m and chirp seismic-reflection profiles with a vertical resolution of 0.11 m. Mud volcanoes were either flat topped or conical. The conical mud volcano off Taiwan had a diameter of ~2 km and 10° side slopes; the conical feature in the Beaufort Sea had a diameter of ~1.5 km and 4° side slopes. The sides of the conical mud volcanoes were smooth, suggesting they were formed by sediment flows that emanate from a vent on their crests. The flanks of the conical mud volcanoes characteristically had very low acoustic reflectivity, but one single high reflectivity trail from the crest of the Beaufort Sea mud volcano indicates a recent flow. Three mud volcanoes in the Beaufort Sea formed circular, flat-topped plateaus that are up to ~1.1 km in diameter and elevated up to 30 m from the surrounding seafloor. The fine scale morphology and reflectivity on these plateaus show low relief, concentric, and ovoid circles that appear to be mud boils probably associated with eruptive events of varying ages at shifting vent sites. The different mud volcano shapes are attributed to variations in the viscosity of the erupting sediment slurries and may represent a sequential morphology, which is altered by shifts in venting position over

  9. Polar bear population dynamics in the southern Beaufort Sea during a period of sea ice decline.

    PubMed

    Bromaghin, Jeffrey F; Mcdonald, Trent L; Stirling, Ian; Derocher, Andrew E; Richardson, Evan S; Regehr, Eric V; Douglas, David C; Durner, George M; Atwood, Todd; Amstrup, Steven C

    2015-04-01

    In the southern Beaufort Sea of the United States and Canada, prior investigations have linked declines in summer sea ice to reduced physical condition, growth, and survival of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Combined with projections of population decline due to continued climate warming and the ensuing loss of sea ice habitat, those findings contributed to the 2008 decision to list the species as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Here, we used mark-recapture models to investigate the population dynamics of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea from 2001 to 2010, years during which the spatial and temporal extent of summer sea ice generally declined. Low survival from 2004 through 2006 led to a 25-50% decline in abundance. We hypothesize that low survival during this period resulted from (1) unfavorable ice conditions that limited access to prey during multiple seasons; and possibly, (2) low prey abundance. For reasons that are not clear, survival of adults and cubs began to improve in 2007 and abundance was comparatively stable from 2008 to 2010, with ~900 bears in 2010 (90% CI 606-1212). However, survival of subadult bears declined throughout the entire period. Reduced spatial and temporal availability of sea ice is expected to increasingly force population dynamics of polar bears as the climate continues to warm. However, in the short term, our findings suggest that factors other than sea ice can influence survival. A refined understanding of the ecological mechanisms underlying polar bear population dynamics is necessary to improve projections of their future status and facilitate development of management strategies. PMID:26214910

  10. Polar bear population dynamics in the southern Beaufort Sea during a period of sea ice decline

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bromaghin, Jeffrey F.; McDonald, Trent L.; Stirling, Ian; Derocher, Andrew E.; Richardson, Evan S.; Regehr, Eric V.; Douglas, David C.; Durner, George M.; Atwood, Todd C.; Amstrup, Steven C.

    2015-01-01

    In the southern Beaufort Sea of the United States and Canada, prior investigations have linked declines in summer sea ice to reduced physical condition, growth, and survival of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Combined with projections of population decline due to continued climate warming and the ensuing loss of sea ice habitat, those findings contributed to the 2008 decision to list the species as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Here, we used mark–recapture models to investigate the population dynamics of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea from 2001 to 2010, years during which the spatial and temporal extent of summer sea ice generally declined. Low survival from 2004 through 2006 led to a 25–50% decline in abundance. We hypothesize that low survival during this period resulted from (1) unfavorable ice conditions that limited access to prey during multiple seasons; and possibly, (2) low prey abundance. For reasons that are not clear, survival of adults and cubs began to improve in 2007 and abundance was comparatively stable from 2008 to 2010, with ~900 bears in 2010 (90% CI 606–1212). However, survival of subadult bears declined throughout the entire period. Reduced spatial and temporal availability of sea ice is expected to increasingly force population dynamics of polar bears as the climate continues to warm. However, in the short term, our findings suggest that factors other than sea ice can influence survival. A refined understanding of the ecological mechanisms underlying polar bear population dynamics is necessary to improve projections of their future status and facilitate development of management strategies.

  11. Polar Bear Population Status in the Southern Beaufort Sea

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Regehr, Eric V.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Stirling, Ian

    2006-01-01

    Polar bears depend entirely on sea ice for survival. In recent years, a warming climate has caused major changes in the Arctic sea ice environment, leading to concerns regarding the status of polar bear populations. Here we present findings from long-term studies of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea (SBS) region of the U.S. and Canada, which are relevant to these concerns. We applied open population capture-recapture models to data collected from 2001 to 2006, and estimated there were 1,526 (95% CI = 1,211; 1,841) polar bears in the SBS region in 2006. The number of polar bears in this region was previously estimated to be approximately 1,800. Because precision of earlier estimates was low, our current estimate of population size and the earlier ones cannot be statistically differentiated. For the 2001-06 period, the best fitting capture-recapture model provided estimates of total apparent survival of 0.43 for cubs of the year (COYs), and 0.92 for all polar bears older than COYs. Because the survival rates for older polar bears included multiple sex and age strata, they could not be compared to previous estimates. Survival rates for COYs, however, were significantly lower than estimates derived in earlier studies (P = 0.03). The lower survival of COYs was corroborated by a comparison of the number of COYs per adult female for periods before (1967-89) and after (1990-2006) the winter of 1989-90, when warming temperatures and altered atmospheric circulation caused an abrupt change in sea ice conditions in the Arctic basin. In the latter period, there were significantly more COYs per adult female in the spring (P = 0.02), and significantly fewer COYs per adult female in the autumn (P < 0.001). Apparently, cub production was higher in the latter period, but fewer cubs survived beyond the first 6 months of life. Parallel with declining survival, skull measurements suggested that COYs captured from 1990 to 2006 were smaller than those captured before 1990

  12. Bowhead whale body condition and links to summer sea ice and upwelling in the Beaufort Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    George, John C.; Druckenmiller, Matthew L.; Laidre, Kristin L.; Suydam, Robert; Person, Brian

    2015-08-01

    We examined the response of bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) body condition to summer sea ice conditions and upwelling-favorable winds. We used a long-term dataset collected from whales of the Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort Seas (BCB) stock to estimate various body condition indices (BCI's) for individual whales that were harvested by Alaskan Eskimos. A series of offshore regions frequented by bowhead whales in summer were delineated and used to quantify interannual summertime environmental conditions including: (a) mean open water fraction, (b) duration of melt season, (c) date of continuous freeze-up, and (d) mean upwelling-favorable wind stress. Body condition was analyzed relative to these metrics for both the preceding summer feeding season and the previous three seasons combined. Our analysis indicates a significant increase in the long-term trend in an axillary girth-based body condition index (BCIG) over the study period (1989-2011). The increase in BCIG is likely associated with the trend in overall reduction of sea ice, including increased duration of open water, changes in upwelling potential (wind stress), and possibly higher primary production in the Pacific Arctic marine ecosystem favoring water-column invertebrates. We found strong significant positive correlations between BCIG and late summer open water fraction in the Beaufort Sea and smaller nearshore areas off the Mackenzie Delta and west of Banks Island. Additionally, BCIG was positively and significantly correlated with duration of melt season, later date of freeze-up in the Beaufort Sea, and upwelling-favorable winds on the Mackenzie shelf and west of Banks Island. A strong seasonal difference in BCI's was noted for subadult bowheads, presumably associated with summer feeding; however, yearlings were found to drop in BCI over at least the first summer after weaning. Our results indicate an overall increase in bowhead whale body condition and a positive correlation with summer sea ice loss over the

  13. Physical processes contributing to an ice free Beaufort Sea during September 2012

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Babb, D. G.; Galley, R. J.; Barber, D. G.; Rysgaard, S.

    2016-01-01

    During the record September 2012 sea ice minimum, the Beaufort Sea became ice free for the first time during the observational record. Increased dynamic activity during late winter enabled increased open water and seasonal ice coverage that contributed to negative sea ice anomalies and positive solar absorption anomalies which drove rapid bottom melt and sea ice loss. As had happened in the Beaufort Sea during previous years of exceptionally low September sea ice extent, anomalous solar absorption developed during May, increased during June, peaked during July, and persisted into October. However in situ observations from a single floe reveal less than 78% of the energy required for bottom melt during 2012 was available from solar absorption. We show that the 2012 sea ice minimum in the Beaufort was the result of anomalously large solar absorption that was compounded by an arctic cyclone and other sources of heat such as solar transmission, oceanic upwelling, and riverine inputs, but was ultimately made possible through years of preconditioning toward a younger, thinner ice pack. Significant negative trends in sea ice concentration between 1979 and 2012 from June to October, coupled with a tendency toward earlier sea ice reductions have fostered a significant trend of +12.9 MJ m-2 yr-1 in cumulative solar absorption, sufficient to melt an additional 4.3 cm m-2 yr-1. Overall through preconditioning toward a younger, thinner ice pack the Beaufort Sea has become increasingly susceptible to increased sea ice loss that may render it ice free more frequently in coming years.

  14. Fish communities across a spectrum of habitats in the western Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Logerwell, E.; Busby, M.; Carothers, C.; Cotton, S.; Duffy-Anderson, J.; Farley, E.; Goddard, P.; Heintz, R.; Holladay, B.; Horne, J.; Johnson, S.; Lauth, B.; Moulton, L.; Neff, D.; Norcross, B.; Parker-Stetter, S.; Seigle, J.; Sformo, T.

    2015-08-01

    The increased scientific interest in the Arctic due to climate change and potential oil and gas development has resulted in numerous surveys of Arctic marine fish communities since the mid-2000s. Surveys have been conducted in nearly all Arctic marine fish habitats: from lagoons, beaches and across the continental shelf and slope. This provides an opportunity only recently available to study Arctic fish communities across a spectrum of habitats. We examined fish survey data from lagoon, beach, nearshore benthic, shelf pelagic and shelf benthic habitats in the western Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea. Specifically, we compare and contrast relative fish abundance and length (a proxy for age) among habitats and seas. We also examined ichthyoplankton presence/absence and abundance of dominant taxa in the shelf habitat. Our synthesis revealed more similarities than differences between the two seas. For example, our results show that the nearshore habitat is utilized by forage fish across age classes, and is also a nursery area for other species. Our results also indicated that some species may be expanding their range to the north, for example, Chinook Salmon. In addition, we documented the presence of commercially important taxa such as Walleye Pollock and flatfishes (Pleuronectidae). Our synthesis of information on relative abundance and age allowed us to propose detailed conceptual models for the life history distribution of key gadids in Arctic food webs: Arctic and Saffron Cod. Finally, we identify research gaps, such as the need for surveys of the surface waters of the Beaufort Sea, surveys of the lagoons of the Chukchi Sea, and winter season surveys in all areas. We recommend field studies on fish life history that sample multiple age classes in multiple habitats throughout the year to confirm, resolve and interpret the patterns in fish habitat use that we observed.

  15. 77 FR 10707 - Safety Zone; NOBLE DISCOVERER, Outer Continental Shelf Drillship, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, Alaska

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-02-23

    ... SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 147 RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; NOBLE DISCOVERER, Outer Continental Shelf... prospects located in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas Outer Continental Shelf, Alaska, from 12:01 a.m. on July... Federal Register (73 FR 3316). Public Meeting The Coast Guard does not plan to hold a public meeting....

  16. 75 FR 803 - Safety Zone; FRONTIER DISCOVERER, Outer Continental Shelf Drillship, Chukchi and Beaufort Sea...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-01-06

    ... the Chukchi and Beaufort Sea Outer Continental Shelf, Alaska, from 12:01 a.m. on July 1, 2010 through..., 2008 issue of the Federal Register (73 FR 3316). Public Meeting We do not now plan to hold a public... Continental Shelf, Alaska. Shell Exploration & Production Company has five proposed drill sites within...

  17. Microsatellite DNA and mitochondrial DNA variation in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cronin, M.A.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Scribner, K.T.

    2006-01-01

    Radiotelemetry data have shown that polar bears (Ursus maritimus Phipps, 1774) occur in separate subpopulations in the Chukchi Sea and the southern Beaufort Sea. However, segregation is not absolute, and there is overlap of ranges of animals in each subpopulation. We used genetic variation at eight microsatellite DNA loci and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to further assess the degree of spatial structure of polar bears from the Chukchi and southern Beaufort seas. Microsatellite allele frequencies and mtDNA haplotype frequencies of bears from the southern Beaufort and Chukchi seas did not differ significantly. Lack of differentiation at both maternally inherited mtDNA and bi-parentally inherited microsatellite loci suggests that gene flow between the two areas is mediated by both sexes. The genetic data indicate that polar bears in the southern Beaufort and Chukchi seas compose one interbreeding population. However, there is considerable fidelity to ranges in each area, particularly by adult females. The combined genetic and movement data suggest that polar bears could be managed as Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea subpopulations of a combined southern Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea population. ?? 2006 NRC.

  18. Survival and breeding of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea in relation to sea ice

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Regehr, E.V.; Hunter, C.M.; Caswell, H.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Stirling, I.

    2010-01-01

    1. Observed and predicted declines in Arctic sea ice have raised concerns about marine mammals. In May 2008, the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed polar bears (Ursus maritimus) - one of the most ice-dependent marine mammals - as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. 2. We evaluated the effects of sea ice conditions on vital rates (survival and breeding probabilities) for polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea. Although sea ice declines in this and other regions of the polar basin have been among the greatest in the Arctic, to date population-level effects of sea ice loss on polar bears have only been identified in western Hudson Bay, near the southern limit of the species' range. 3. We estimated vital rates using multistate capture-recapture models that classified individuals by sex, age and reproductive category. We used multimodel inference to evaluate a range of statistical models, all of which were structurally based on the polar bear life cycle. We estimated parameters by model averaging, and developed a parametric bootstrap procedure to quantify parameter uncertainty. 4. In the most supported models, polar bear survival declined with an increasing number of days per year that waters over the continental shelf were ice free. In 2001-2003, the ice-free period was relatively short (mean 101 days) and adult female survival was high (0 ∙ 96-0 ∙ 99, depending on reproductive state). In 2004 and 2005, the ice-free period was longer (mean 135 days) and adult female survival was low (0 ∙ 73-0 ∙ 79, depending on reproductive state). Breeding rates and cub litter survival also declined with increasing duration of the ice-free period. Confidence intervals on vital rate estimates were wide. 5. The effects of sea ice loss on polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea may apply to polar bear populations in other portions of the polar basin that have similar sea ice dynamics and have experienced similar, or more severe, sea ice declines. Our findings

  19. Survival and breeding of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea in relation to sea ice.

    PubMed

    Regehr, Eric V; Hunter, Christine M; Caswell, Hal; Amstrup, Steven C; Stirling, Ian

    2010-01-01

    1. Observed and predicted declines in Arctic sea ice have raised concerns about marine mammals. In May 2008, the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed polar bears (Ursus maritimus) - one of the most ice-dependent marine mammals - as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. 2. We evaluated the effects of sea ice conditions on vital rates (survival and breeding probabilities) for polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea. Although sea ice declines in this and other regions of the polar basin have been among the greatest in the Arctic, to date population-level effects of sea ice loss on polar bears have only been identified in western Hudson Bay, near the southern limit of the species' range. 3. We estimated vital rates using multistate capture-recapture models that classified individuals by sex, age and reproductive category. We used multimodel inference to evaluate a range of statistical models, all of which were structurally based on the polar bear life cycle. We estimated parameters by model averaging, and developed a parametric bootstrap procedure to quantify parameter uncertainty. 4. In the most supported models, polar bear survival declined with an increasing number of days per year that waters over the continental shelf were ice free. In 2001-2003, the ice-free period was relatively short (mean 101 days) and adult female survival was high (0.96-0.99, depending on reproductive state). In 2004 and 2005, the ice-free period was longer (mean 135 days) and adult female survival was low (0.73-0.79, depending on reproductive state). Breeding rates and cub litter survival also declined with increasing duration of the ice-free period. Confidence intervals on vital rate estimates were wide. 5. The effects of sea ice loss on polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea may apply to polar bear populations in other portions of the polar basin that have similar sea ice dynamics and have experienced similar, or more severe, sea ice declines. Our findings therefore are

  20. Emerging trends in the sea state of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomson, Jim; Fan, Yalin; Stammerjohn, Sharon; Stopa, Justin; Rogers, W. Erick; Girard-Ardhuin, Fanny; Ardhuin, Fabrice; Shen, Hayley; Perrie, Will; Shen, Hui; Ackley, Steve; Babanin, Alex; Liu, Qingxiang; Guest, Peter; Maksym, Ted; Wadhams, Peter; Fairall, Chris; Persson, Ola; Doble, Martin; Graber, Hans; Lund, Bjoern; Squire, Vernon; Gemmrich, Johannes; Lehner, Susanne; Holt, Benjamin; Meylan, Mike; Brozena, John; Bidlot, Jean-Raymond

    2016-09-01

    The sea state of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas is controlled by the wind forcing and the amount of ice-free water available to generate surface waves. Clear trends in the annual duration of the open water season and in the extent of the seasonal sea ice minimum suggest that the sea state should be increasing, independent of changes in the wind forcing. Wave model hindcasts from four selected years spanning recent conditions are consistent with this expectation. In particular, larger waves are more common in years with less summer sea ice and/or a longer open water season, and peak wave periods are generally longer. The increase in wave energy may affect both the coastal zones and the remaining summer ice pack, as well as delay the autumn ice-edge advance. However, trends in the amount of wave energy impinging on the ice-edge are inconclusive, and the associated processes, especially in the autumn period of new ice formation, have yet to be well-described by in situ observations. There is an implicit trend and evidence for increasing wave energy along the coast of northern Alaska, and this coastal signal is corroborated by satellite altimeter estimates of wave energy.

  1. Seasonal Ice loss in the Beaufort Sea: Toward Synchronicity and Prediction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steele, M.; Dickinson, S.; Zhang, J.; Lindsay, R. W.

    2014-12-01

    The seasonal evolution of sea ice loss in the Beaufort Sea during 1979-2012 is examined, focusing on spatial differences between eastern and western sectors. Two stages in ice loss are identified: "opening" is defined as the spring decrease in ice concentration from its winter maximum below a value of 80% areal concentration; "retreat" is the summer decrease below 15% concentration. We consider three aspects of the problem, i.e. (i) the long-term mean, (ii) long-term linear trends, and (iii) year-to-year variability. We find that in the mean, ice opening occurs earliest in the southeast Beaufort Sea (SEB), forced by atmospheric heating acting on particularly thin ice relative to the southwestern Beaufort Sea (SWB). This thin SEB ice arises from divergence forced by easterly winds in fall and spring. There is no significant long-term trend in the date of SEB ice opening, although ice opening in the SWB is in fact trending toward earlier dates. This means that spatial differences in opening dates across the Beaufort Sea have been shrinking over the past 33 years, i.e., these dates are becoming more synchronous, a situation which may impact human and marine mammal activity in the area. Synchronicity in ice retreat dates is also increasing, although with no statistical significance at this time. Finally, we find that in any given year, an increase in monthly mean easterly winds of ~ 1 m/s during spring is associated with earlier summer retreat of 9-15 days, offering predictive capability with 1-2 months lead time.

  2. Seasonal ice loss in the Beaufort Sea: Toward synchrony and prediction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steele, Michael; Dickinson, Suzanne; Zhang, Jinlun; W. Lindsay, Ron

    2015-02-01

    The seasonal evolution of sea ice loss in the Beaufort Sea during 1979-2012 is examined, focusing on differences between eastern and western sectors. Two stages in ice loss are identified: the Day of Opening (DOO) is defined as the spring decrease in ice concentration from its winter maximum below a value of 0.8 areal concentration; the Day of Retreat (DOR) is the summer decrease below 0.15 concentration. We consider three aspects of the subject, i.e., (i) the long-term mean, (ii) long-term linear trends, and (iii) interannual variability. We find that in the mean, DOO occurs earliest in the eastern Beaufort Sea (EBS) owing to easterly winds which act to thin the ice there, relative to the western Beaufort Sea (WBS) where ice has been generally thicker. There is no significant long-term trend in EBS DOO, although WBS DOO is in fact trending toward earlier dates. This means that spatial differences in DOO across the Beaufort Sea have been shrinking over the past 33 years, i.e., these dates are becoming more synchronous, a situation which may impact human and marine mammal activity in the area. Retreat dates are also becoming more synchronous, although with no statistical significance over the studied time period. Finally, we find that in any given year, an increase in monthly mean easterly winds of ˜1 m/s during spring is associated with earlier summer DOR of 6-15 days, offering predictive capability with 2-4 months lead time.

  3. Ecosystem regime shifts have not affected growth and survivorship of eastern Beaufort Sea belugas.

    PubMed

    Luque, Sebastián P; Ferguson, Steven H

    2009-05-01

    Large-scale ocean-atmosphere physical dynamics can have profound impacts on the structure and organization of marine ecosystems. These changes have been termed "regime shifts", and five different episodes have been detected in the North Pacific Ocean, with concurrent changes also occurring in the Bering and Beaufort Seas. Belugas from the Eastern Beaufort Sea (EBS) use the Bering Sea during winter and the Beaufort Sea during summer, yet the potential effects of regime shifts on belugas have not been assessed. We investigated whether body size and survivorship of EBS belugas harvested in the Mackenzie River delta region between 1993 and 2003 have been affected by previous purported regime shifts in the North Pacific. Residuals from the relationship between body length and age were calculated and compared among belugas born between 1932 and 1989. Residual body size was not significantly related to birth year for any regime, nor to the age group individuals belonged to during any regime. The percentage deviation in number of belugas born in any given year that survived to be included in the hunt (survivorship) did not show any significant trend within or between regimes. Accounting for lags of 1-5 years did not reveal any evidence of delayed effects. Furthermore, neither population index was significantly related to changes in major climatic variables that precede regime shifts. Our results suggest that EBS beluga body size and survivorship have not been affected by the major regime shifts of the North Pacific and the adjacent Bering and Beaufort Seas. EBS belugas may have been able to modify their diet without compromising their growth and survivorship. Diet and reproductive analyses over large and small time scales can help understand the mechanisms enabling belugas to avoid significant growth and reproductive effects of past regime shifts. PMID:19229560

  4. Benthic foraminifera in the surface sediments of the Beaufort Shelf and slope, Beaufort Sea, Canada: Applications and implications for past sea-ice conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scott, David B.; Schell, Trecia; Rochon, André; Blasco, Steve

    2008-12-01

    This paper presents new data on distribution patterns of modern benthic foraminifera and other microfossils from the Canadian Arctic, specifically the Beaufort Shelf and slope. The material was collected in June to August of 2004 and is the first of its kind in this area to be collected since 1970. We examined the smaller sizes (45-63µm) as well as > 63µm and discovered that many species had been severely underrepresented in previous studies. Deep sea forms, that had been overlooked previously, were common on the shelf; two species ( Elphidiella arctica and Ammotium cassis) appeared in preliminary results to be indicators of methane seepage; and it was possible to make determinations of sea-ice coverage using a combination of foraminifera and tintinnids (planktic ciliates). Our data indicated the presence of many of the same species as previous studies from this area, but improved techniques of sample processing greatly increased the number of specimens and species found (particularly the small deep sea arctic species Buliminella hensoni and Bolivina arctica) which provide much more reliable data for paleoceanographic determinations. One of the primary objectives for this work was to provide baseline data to help determine paleo-ice cover; these data cover a broad range of conditions on the Beaufort Shelf that make it possible to achieve this objective as well as improving what it is known about the assemblages on this shelf as compared to other arctic shelf areas, such as the Siberian Shelf).

  5. Recent observations of intraspecific predation and cannibalism among polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Amstrup, Steven C.; Stirling, I.; Smith, T.S.; Perham, C.; Thiemann, G.W.

    2006-01-01

    Intraspecific killing has been reported among polar bears (Ursus maritimus), brown bears (U. arctos), and black bears (U. americanus). Although cannibalism is one motivation for such killings, the ecological factors mediating such events are poorly understood. Between 24 January and 10 April 2004, we confirmed three instances of intraspecific predation and cannibalism in the Beaufort Sea. One of these, the first of this type ever reported for polar bears, was a parturient female killed at her maternal den. The predating bear was hunting in a known maternal denning area and apparently discovered the den by scent. A second predation event involved an adult female and cub recently emerged from their den, and the third involved a yearling male. During 24 years of research on polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea region of northern Alaska and 34 years in northwestern Canada, we have not seen other incidents of polar bears stalking, killing, and eating other polar bears. We hypothesize that nutritional stresses related to the longer ice-free seasons that have occurred in the Beaufort Sea in recent years may have led to the cannibalism incidents we observed in 2004. ?? Springer-Verlag 2006.

  6. Observed sea ice thickness changes in the Beaufort Gyre through synthesis of Eulerian and Lagrangian data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mahoney, A. R.; Hutchings, J. K.; Haas, C.; Eicken, H.

    2014-12-01

    In-situ and satellite observations have shown significant reductions in the extent and thickness of Arctic sea ice, which are considered by many to be evidence of major cryospheric changes amplifying global climate change. Multiyear (MY) sea ice thinning and retreat of the oldest and thickest ice, will accelerate further ice loss. MY sea ice also represents the greatest impediment to navigation in the Arctic and greatest hazard to marine infrastructure. Recirculation of sea ice within the Beaufort Gyre is critical to the replenishment of MY ice lost from the Arctic through either melt or export. Here we analyze thickness changes of sea ice as it drifts in different regions of the Gyre. Using a combined Eulerian-Lagrangian approach we identify satellite-tracked buoys that made repeat overpasses within 30 km of four moored ice profiling sonars (IPSs), which comprise part of the Beaufort Gyre Exploration Program (BGEP). Using the IPS data, we derive ice draft distributions corresponding to each of these overpasses, which allows tracking of changes in the ice thickness in vicinity of each buoy. Changes in modal values of ice thickness during winter agree with simple models of thermodynamic growth.In the case of one buoy that made a total of four overpasses (see figure below), a dramatic shift in a secondary modal thickness during the summer of 2007 agrees well the magnitude of melt recorded by a nearby ice mass balance buoy (IMB). To extend the number of repeat passes, we generate pseudo-Langrangian ice drift tracks using daily gridded fields of satellite-derived ice velocity. This allows us to deploy "numerical buoys" every day anywhere in the Arctic. Using this approach we identify numerous cases where sea ice observed over one mooring persistently drifts over another. Such inter-mooring ice advection events allow us to examine how sea ice thickness distribution in the Beaufort Gyre is influenced by dynamic and thermodynamic processes processes.

  7. Seasonal to interannual variability of the Pacific water boundary current in the Beaufort Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brugler, Eric T.; Pickart, Robert S.; Moore, G. W. K.; Roberts, Steven; Weingartner, Thomas J.; Statscewich, Hank

    2014-09-01

    Between 2002 and 2011 a single mooring was maintained at the core of the Pacific water boundary current in the Beaufort Sea, approximately 150 km east of Pt. Barrow, Alaska. Using velocity and hydrographic data from six year-long deployments, we examine the variability of the current on seasonal to interannual timescales. The seasonal signal is characterized by enhanced values of volume, heat, and freshwater transport during the summer months associated with the presence of two summertime Pacific water masses, Alaskan Coastal Water and Chukchi Summer Water. Strikingly, over the decade the volume transport of the current has decreased by more than 80%, with comparable reductions in the heat and freshwater transports, despite the fact that the flow through Bering Strait has increased over this time period. The largest changes in the boundary current have occurred in the summer months. Using atmospheric reanalysis fields and weather station data, we demonstrate that an increase in summer easterly winds along the Beaufort slope is the primary cause for the reduction in transport. The stronger winds are due to an intensification of the summer Beaufort High and deepening of the summer Aleutian Low. Using additional mooring and shipboard data in conjunction with satellite fields, we investigate the implications of the reduction in transport of the boundary current. We argue that a significant portion of the mass and heat passing through Bering Strait in recent years has been advected out of Barrow Canyon into the interior Canada Basin - rather than entering the boundary current in the Beaufort Sea - where it is responsible for a significant portion of the increased sea ice melt in the basin.

  8. Sediment transport by sea ice in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas: Increasing importance due to changing ice conditions?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eicken, H.; Gradinger, R.; Gaylord, A.; Mahoney, A.; Rigor, I.; Melling, H.

    2005-12-01

    Sediment-laden sea ice is widespread over the shallow, wide Siberian Arctic shelves, with off-shelf export from the Laptev and East Siberian Seas contributing substantially to the Arctic Ocean's sediment budget. By contrast, the North American shelves, owing to their narrow width and greater water depths, have not been deemed as important for basin-wide sediment transport by sea ice. Observations over the Chukchi and Beaufort shelves in 2001/02 revealed the widespread occurrence of sediment-laden ice over an area of more than 100,000 km 2 between 68 and 74°N and 155 and 170°W. Ice stratigraphic studies indicate that sediment inclusions were associated with entrainment of frazil ice into deformed, multiple layers of rafted nilas, indicative of a flaw-lead environment adjacent to the landfast ice of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. This is corroborated by buoy trajectories and satellite imagery indicating entrainment in a coastal polynya in the eastern Chukchi Sea in February of 2002 as well as formation of sediment-laden ice along the Beaufort Sea coast as far eastward as the Mackenzie shelf. Moored upward-looking sonar on the Mackenzie shelf provides further insight into the ice growth and deformation regime governing sediment entrainment. Analysis of Radarsat Synthetic Aperture (SAR) imagery in conjunction with bathymetric data help constrain the water depth of sediment resuspension and subsequent ice entrainment (>20 m for the Chukchi Sea). Sediment loads averaged at 128 t km -2, with sediment occurring in layers of roughly 0.5 m thickness, mostly in the lower ice layers. The total amount of sediment transported by sea ice (mostly out of the narrow zone between the landfast ice edge and waters too deep for resuspension and entrainment) is at minimum 4×10 6 t in the sampling area and is estimated at 5-8×10 6 t over the entire Chukchi and Beaufort shelves in 2001/02, representing a significant term in the sediment budget of the western Arctic Ocean. Recent

  9. Submarine slope failures in the Beaufort Sea; Influence of gas hydrate decomposition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grozic, J. L.; Dallimore, S.

    2012-12-01

    The continental shelf of the Beaufort Sea is composed of complex of marine and non-marine sequences of clay, silt, and sand. In many areas of the shelf these sediments contain occurrences of ice-bonded permafrost and associated pressure and temperature conditions that are conducive to the occurrence of methane gas hydrates. This complex environment is undergoing dramatic warming, where changes in sea level, ocean bottom temperatures, and geothermal regimes are inducing permafrost thawing and gas hydrate decomposition. Decomposition is inferred to be occurring at the base and top of the gas hydrate stability zone, which will cause sediment weakening and the generation of excess water and free gas. In such settings, the overlying permafrost cap may act as a permeability barrier, which could result in significant excess pore pressures and reduction in sediment stability. The shelf to slope transition is thought to be an area of extensive regional instability with acoustic records indicating there is upwards of 500 km of slumps and glides extending over the entire Beaufort margin. Some of these slide regions are coincident with up-dip limit of the permafrost gas hydrate stability zone. In this paper, a two dimensional model of the Beaufort shelf was constructed to examine the influence of gas hydrate decomposition on slope stability. The model relies on available data on the Beaufort sediments generated from offshore hydrocarbon exploration in the 1980s and 90s, as well as knowledge available from multidisciplinary marine research programs conducted in the outer shelf area. The slope stability model investigates the influence of marine transgression and ocean bottom warming by coupling soil deformation with hydrate dissociation during undrained conditions. By combining mechanical and thermal loading of the sediment, a more accurate indication of slope stability was obtained. The stability analysis results indicate a relatively low factor of safety for the Beaufort

  10. Sea ice circulation around the Beaufort Gyre: The changing role of wind forcing and the sea ice state

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Petty, Alek A.; Hutchings, Jennifer K.; Richter-Menge, Jacqueline A.; Tschudi, Mark A.

    2016-05-01

    Sea ice drift estimates from feature tracking of satellite passive microwave data are used to investigate seasonal trends and variability in the ice circulation around the Beaufort Gyre, over the multidecadal period 1980-2013. Our results suggest an amplified response of the Beaufort Gyre ice circulation to wind forcing, especially during the late 2000s. We find increasing anticyclonic ice drift across all seasons, with the strongest trend in autumn, associated with increased ice export out of the southern Beaufort Sea (into the Chukchi Sea). A flux gate analysis highlights consistency across a suite of drift products. Despite these seasonal anticyclonic ice drift trends, a significant anticyclonic wind trend occurs in summer only, driven, in-part, by anomalously anticyclonic winds in 2007. Across all seasons, the ice drift curl is more anticyclonic than predicted from a linear relationship to the wind curl in the 2000s, compared to the 1980s/1990s. The strength of this anticyclonic ice drift curl amplification is strongest in autumn and appears to have increased since the 1980s (up to 2010). In spring and summer, the ice drift curl amplification occurs mainly between 2007 and 2010. These results suggest nonlinear ice interaction feedbacks (e.g., a weaker, more mobile sea ice pack), enhanced atmospheric drag, and/or an increased role of the ocean. The results also show a weakening of the anticyclonic wind and ice circulation since 2010.

  11. Ice rafting of fine-grained sediment, a sorting and transport mechanism, Beaufort Sea, Alaska.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Barnes, P.W.; Reimnitz, E.; Fox, D.

    1982-01-01

    The presence of turbid, sediment-rich fast ice in the Arctic is a major factor affecting transport of fine-grained sediment. Observers have documented the widespread, sporadic occurrence of sediment- rich fast ice in both the Beaufort and Bering Seas. The occurrence of sediment in only the upper part of the seasonal fast ice indicates that sediment-rich ice forms early during ice growth. The most likely mechanism requires resuspension of nearshore bottom sediment during storms, accompanied by formation of frazil ice and subsequent lateral advection before the fast ice is stabilized. We estimate that the sediment incorporated in the Beaufort ice canopy formed a significant proportion of the seasonal influx of terrigenous fine-grained sediment. The dominance of fine-grained sediment suggests that in the Arctic and sub-Arctic these size fractions may be ice rafted in greater volumes than the coarse fraction of traditionally recognized ice-rafted sediment. -from Authors

  12. Air--Sea CO2 Cycling in the Southeastern Beaufort Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Else, Brent Gordon Thomas

    During the fourth International Polar Year, an interdisciplinary study was conducted to examine the couplings between sea ice, ocean, atmosphere, and ecosystem in the southeastern Beaufort Sea. This thesis examines components of the system that control the air-sea exchange of carbon dioxide. Using eddy covariance measurements, we found enhanced CO2 exchange associated with new ice formation in winter flaw leads. This exchange was typically directed towards the surface, although we also measured one instance of outgassing. Sea surface dissolved CO2 measurements (pCO 2sw) in Amundsen Gulf showed significant undersaturation with respect to the atmosphere at freeze-up, followed by a slow increase over the winter until spring phytoplankton blooms caused strong undersaturation at break-up. Over the summer, pCO2sw increased until becoming slightly supersaturated due to surface warming. Along the southern margins of Amundsen Gulf and on the Mackenzie Shelf we found pCO2sw supersaturations in the fall due to wind-driven coastal upwelling. In the spring, this upwelling occurred along the landfast ice edges of Amundsen Gulf. By combining observations of enhanced winter gas exchange with observations of pCO 2sw in Amundsen Gulf, we derived an annual budget of air-sea CO2 exchange for the region. This exercise showed that uptake through the winter season was as important as the open water season, making the overall annual uptake of CO2 about double what had previously been calculated. Prior to this work, the prevailing paradigm of airsea CO2 cycling in Arctic polynya regions posited that strong CO2 absorption occurs in the open water seasons, and that a potential outgassing during the winter is inhibited by the sea ice cover. As a new paradigm, we propose that the spatial and temporal variability of many processes---including phytoplankton blooms, sea surface temperature and salinity changes, upwelling, river input, continental shelf processes, and the potential for high rates

  13. A year in the acoustic world of bowhead whales in the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clark, Christopher W.; Berchok, Catherine L.; Blackwell, Susanna B.; Hannay, David E.; Jones, Josh; Ponirakis, Dimitri; Stafford, Kathleen M.

    2015-08-01

    Bowhead whales, Balaena mysticetus, in the Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort (BCB) population, experience a variable acoustic environment among the regions they inhabit throughout the year. A total of 41,698 h of acoustic data were recorded from 1 August 2009 through 4 October 2010 at 20 sites spread along a 2300 km transect from the Bering Sea to the southeast Beaufort Sea. These data represent the combined output from six research teams using four recorder types. Recorders sampled areas in which bowheads occur and in which there are natural and anthropogenic sources producing varying amounts of underwater noise. We describe and quantify the occurrence of bowheads throughout their range in the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas over a 14-month period by aggregating our acoustic detections of bowhead whale sounds. We also describe the spatial-temporal variability in the bowhead acoustic environment using sound level measurements within a frequency band in which their sounds occur, by dividing a year into three, 4-month seasons (Summer-Fall 2009, August-November 2009: Winter 2009-2010, December 2009-March 2010: and Spring-Summer 2010, April-July 2010) and their home range into five zones. Statistical analyses revealed no significant relationship between acoustic occurrence, distance offshore, and water depth during Summer-Fall 2009, but there was a significant relationship during Spring-Summer 2010. A continuous period with elevated broadband sound levels lasting ca. 38 days occurred in the Bering Sea during the Winter 2009-2010 season as a result of singing bowheads, while a second period of elevated levels lasting at least 30 days occurred during the early spring-summer season as a result of singing bearded seals. The lowest noise levels occurred in the Chukchi Sea from the latter part of November into May. In late summer 2009 very faint sounds from a seismic airgun survey approximately 700 km away in the eastern Beaufort Sea were detected on Chukchi recorders. Throughout

  14. Arctic continental shelf morphology related to sea-ice zonation, Beaufort Sea, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reimnitz, E.; Toimil, L.; Barnes, P.

    1978-01-01

    Landsat-1 and NOAA satellite imagery for the winter 1972-1973, and a variety of ice and sea-floor data were used to study sea-ice zonation and dynamics and their relation to bottom morphology and geology on the Beaufort Sea continental shelf of arctic Alaska. In early winter the location of the boundary between undeformed fast ice and westward-drifting pack ice of the Pacific Gyre is controlled by major coastal promontories. Pronounced linear pressure- and shear-ridges, as well as hummock fields, form along this boundary and are stabilized by grounding, generally between the 10- and 20-m isobaths. Slippage along this boundary occurs intermittently at or seaward of the grounded ridges, forming new grounded ridges in a widening zone, the stamukhi zone, which by late winter extends out to the 40-m isobath. Between intermittent events along the stamukhi zone, pack-ice drift and slippage is continuous along the shelf edge, at average rates of 3-10 km/day. Whether slippage occurs along the stamukhi zone or along the shelf edge, it is restricted to a zone several hundred meters wide, and ice seaward of the slip face moves at uniform rates without discernible drag effects. A causal relationship is seen between the spatial distribution of major ice-ridge systems and offshore shoals downdrift of major coastal promontories. The shoals appear to have migrated shoreward under the influence of ice up to 400 m in the last 25 years. The sea floor seaward of these shoals within the stamukhi zone shows high ice-gouge density, large incision depths, and a high degree of disruption of internal sedimentary structures. The concentration of large ice ridges and our sea floor data in the stamukhi zone indicate that much of the available marine energy is expended here, while the inner shelf and coast, where the relatively undeformed fast ice grows, are sheltered. There is evidence that anomalies in the overall arctic shelf profile are related to sea-ice zonation, ice dynamics, and bottom

  15. 77 FR 38718 - Safety Zone; NOBLE DISCOVERER, Outer Continental Shelf Drillship, Chukchi and/or Beaufort Seas, AK

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-06-29

    ... SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 147 RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; NOBLE DISCOVERER, Outer Continental Shelf... Seas Outer Continental Shelf, Alaska, on or about July 1, 2012 through November 30, 2012. See TABLE 1...; NOBLE DISCOVERER, Outer Continental Shelf Drillship, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, Alaska'' in the...

  16. Phytoplankton in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas: Distributions, Dynamics and Environmental Forcing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wang, Jian; Cota, Glenn F.; Comiso, Josefino C.

    2005-01-01

    Time-series of remotely sensed distributions of phytoplankton, sea ice, surface temperature, albedo, and clouds were examined to evaluate the impact of the variability of environmental conditions and physical forcing on the phytoplankton distribution in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. Large-scale distributions of these parameters were studied for the first time using weekly and monthly composites from April 1998 through September 2002. The basic data set used in this study are phytoplankton pigment concentration derived from the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS), ice concentration obtained from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) and surface temperature, cloud cover, and albedo derived from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR). Seasonal variations of the sea ice cover was observed to be the dominant environmental factor as the ice edge blooms followed the retreating marginal ice zones northward. Blooms were most prominent in the southwestern Chukchi Sea, and were especially persistent immediately north of the Bering Strait in nutrient- rich Anadyr water and in some fronts. Chlorophyll concentrations are shown to increase from a nominal value during onset of melt in April to a maximum value in mid-spring or summer depending on location. Large interannual variability of ice cover and phytoplankton distributions was observed with the year 1998 being uniquely associated with an early season occurrence of a massive bloom. This is postulated to be caused in part by a rapid response of phytoplankton to an early retreat of the sea ice cover in the Beaufort Sea region. Correlation analyses showed relatively high negative correlation between chlorophyll and ice concentration with the correlation being highest in May, the correlation coefficient being -0.45. 1998 was also the warmest among the five years globally and the sea ice cover was least extensive in the Beaufort-Khukchi Sea region, partly because of the 1997-98 El Nino. Strong

  17. Modeling erosion of ice-rich permafrost bluffs along the Alaskan Beaufort Sea coast

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barnhart, Katherine R.; Anderson, Robert S.; Overeem, Irina; Wobus, Cameron; Clow, Gary D.; Urban, Frank E.

    2014-05-01

    The Arctic climate is changing, inducing accelerating retreat of ice-rich permafrost coastal bluffs. Along Alaska's Beaufort Sea coast, erosion rates have increased roughly threefold from 6.8 to 19 m yr-1 since 1955 while the sea ice-free season has increased roughly twofold from 45 to 100 days since 1979. We develop a numerical model of bluff retreat to assess the relative roles of the length of sea ice-free season, sea level, water temperature, nearshore wavefield, and permafrost temperature in controlling erosion rates in this setting. The model captures the processes of erosion observed in short-term monitoring experiments along the Beaufort Sea coast, including evolution of melt notches, topple of ice wedge-bounded blocks, and degradation of these blocks. Model results agree with time-lapse imagery of bluff evolution and time series of ocean-based instrumentation. Erosion is highly episodic with 40% of erosion is accomplished during less than 5% of the sea ice-free season. Among the formulations of the submarine erosion rate we assessed, we advocate those that employ both water temperature and nearshore wavefield. As high water levels are a prerequisite for erosion, any future changes that increase the frequency with which water levels exceed the base of the bluffs will increase rates of coastal erosion. The certain increases in sea level and potential changes in storminess will both contribute to this effect. As water temperature also influences erosion rates, any further expansion of the sea ice-free season into the midsummer period of greatest insolation is likely to result in an additional increase in coastal retreat rates.

  18. Apparent optical properties of the Canadian Beaufort Sea - Part 1: Observational overview and water column relationships

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Antoine, D.; Hooker, S. B.; Belanger, S.; Matsuoka, A.; Babin, M.

    2013-03-01

    A data set of radiometric measurements collected in the Beaufort Sea (Canadian Arctic) in August 2009 (MALINA project) is analysed in order to describe apparent optical properties (AOPs) in this sea, which is subject to dramatic environmental changes for several decades. The two properties derived from the measurements are the spectral diffuse attenuation coefficient for downward irradiance, Kd, and the spectral remote sensing reflectance, Rrs. The former controls light propagation in the upper water column. The latter determines how light is backscattered out of the water and becomes eventually observable from a satellite ocean colour sensor. The data set includes offshore clear waters of the Beaufort basin as well as highly turbid waters of the Mackenzie River plumes. In the clear waters, we show Kd values that are much larger in the ultraviolet and blue parts of the spectrum than what could be anticipated considering the chlorophyll concentration. A larger contribution of absorption by coloured dissolved organic matter (CDOM) is responsible for this high Kd values, as compared to other oligotrophic areas. In turbid waters, attenuation reaches extremely high values, driven by high loads of particulate materials and also by a large CDOM content. In these two extreme types of waters, current satellite chlorophyll algorithms fail. This is questioning the role of ocean colour remote sensing in the Arctic when Rrs from only the blue and green bands are used. Therefore, other parts of the spectrum (e.g. the red) should be explored if one aims at quantifying interannual changes in chlorophyll in the Arctic from space. The very peculiar AOPs in the Beaufort Sea also advocate for developing specific light propagation models when attempting to predict light availability for photosynthesis at depth.

  19. Apparent optical properties of the Canadian Beaufort Sea - Part 1: Observational overview and water column relationships

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Antoine, D.; Hooker, S. B.; Bélanger, S.; Matsuoka, A.; Babin, M.

    2013-07-01

    A data set of radiometric measurements collected in the Beaufort Sea (Canadian Arctic) in August 2009 (Malina project) is analyzed in order to describe apparent optical properties (AOPs) in this sea, which has been subject to dramatic environmental changes for several decades. The two properties derived from the measurements are the spectral diffuse attenuation coefficient for downward irradiance, Kd, and the spectral remote sensing reflectance, Rrs. The former controls light propagation in the upper water column. The latter determines how light is backscattered out of the water and becomes eventually observable from a satellite ocean color sensor. The data set includes offshore clear waters of the Beaufort Basin as well as highly turbid waters of the Mackenzie River plumes. In the clear waters, we show Kd values that are much larger in the ultraviolet and blue parts of the spectrum than what could be anticipated considering the chlorophyll concentration. A larger contribution of absorption by colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) is responsible for these high Kd values, as compared to other oligotrophic areas. In turbid waters, attenuation reaches extremely high values, driven by high loads of particulate materials and also by a large CDOM content. In these two extreme types of waters, current satellite chlorophyll algorithms fail. This questions the role of ocean color remote sensing in the Arctic when Rrs from only the blue and green bands are used. Therefore, other parts of the spectrum (e.g., the red) should be explored if one aims at quantifying interannual changes in chlorophyll in the Arctic from space. The very peculiar AOPs in the Beaufort Sea also advocate for developing specific light propagation models when attempting to predict light availability for photosynthesis at depth.

  20. A new genus and species of Thyasiridae (Mollusca, Bivalvia) from deep-water, Beaufort Sea, northern Alaska.

    PubMed

    Valentich-Scott, Paul; Powell, Charles L; Ii; Lorenson, Thomas D; Edwards, Brian E

    2014-01-01

    Bivalve mollusk shells were collected in 2350 m depth in the Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean off northern Alaska. Initial identification suggested the specimens were a member of the bivalve family Thyasiridae, but no known eastern Pacific or Arctic living or fossil thyasirid resembled these deep-water specimens. Comparisons were made with the type of the genera Maorithyas Fleming, 1950, Spinaxinus Oliver & Holmes, 2006, Axinus Sowerby, 1821, and Parathyasira Iredale, 1930. We determined the Beaufort Sea species represents a new genus, herein described as Wallerconcha. These specimens also represent a new species, herein named Wallerconchasarae. These new taxa are compared with known modern and fossil genera and species of thyasirds. PMID:25589851

  1. Pleistocene slope instability of gas hydrate-laden sediment on the Beaufort Sea margin

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kayen, R.E.; Lee, H.J.

    1991-01-01

    In oceanic areas underlain by sediment with gas hydrate, reduction of sea level initiates disassociation along the base of the gas hydrate, which, in turn, causes the release of large volumes of gas into the sediment and creates excess pore-fluid pressures and reduced slope stability. Fluid diffusion properties dominate the disassociation process in fine-grained marine sediment. Slope failure appears likely for this sediment type on moderate slopes unless pressures can be adequately vented away from the gas hydrate base. Pleistocene eustatic-sea level regressions, likely triggered seafloor landslides on the continental slope of the Beaufort Sea and other margins where gas hydrate is present in seafloor sediment. -from Authors

  2. Bowhead whale acoustic activity in the southeast Beaufort Sea during late summer 2008-2010.

    PubMed

    Charif, Russell A; Rahaman, Ashakur; Muirhead, Charles A; Pitzrick, Michael S; Warde, Ann M; Hall, James; Pyć, Cynthia; Clark, Christopher W

    2013-12-01

    Autonomous passive acoustic recorders were deployed to record sounds of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) in the southeast Beaufort Sea for periods of 30-55 days during the late summer, open-water seasons of 2008-2010. Recordings were made in three areas licensed for hydrocarbon exploration, spanning the continental slope and adjacent outer shelf, and in a shallow inner-shelf area where bowheads have been observed congregating to feed in recent decades. Bowhead sounds were counted in samples comprising 10% of each recorded hour. In mid-August and September in all 3 years, the rate of bowhead calling at outer shelf sites exceeded that at adjacent continental slope sites by one to two orders of magnitude. Higher rates of calling occurred on the slope in late July and early August than at later dates. Calling rates varied by an order of magnitude between years in the one area that was monitored in different years. The highest rates of calling occurred on the inner shelf, offshore of the northern Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula. These trends are consistent with patterns of habitat use previously reported from aerial surveys in this and nearby areas of the Beaufort Sea and with the results of satellite tagging studies. PMID:25669244

  3. Organohalogen concentrations in blood and adipose tissue of Southern Beaufort Sea polar bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bentzen, T.W.; Muir, D.C.G.; Amstrup, Steven C.; O'Hara, T. M.

    2008-01-01

    We analyzed 151 organohalogen chemicals (OHCs) in whole blood and subcutaneous fat of 57 polar bears sampled along the Alaskan Beaufort Sea coast in spring, 2003. All major organochlorine pesticides, PCBs, PBDEs and their congeners were assessed. Concentrations of most OHCs continue to be lower among Southern Beaufort Sea polar bears than reported for other populations. Additionally, toxaphenes and related compounds were assessed in adipose tissue, and 8 perflourinated compounds (PFCs) were examined in blood. Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) concentrations exceeded those of any other contaminant measured in blood. ??Chlordane concentrations were higher in females, and both ??PCBs and ??Chlordane concentrations in adipose tissue decreased significantly with age. The rank order of OHC mean concentrations; ??PCB > ??10PCB > PCB153 > ??Chlordane > Oxychlordane > PCB180 > ??HCH > ??-HCH > ??DDT > p,p-DDE > ??PBDE > HCB > Toxaphene was similar for compounds above detection limits in both fat and blood. Although correlation between OHC concentrations in blood and adipose tissue was examined, the predictability of concentrations in one matrix for the other was limited. ?? 2008 Elsevier B.V.

  4. Environmental influences of oil and gas development in the Arctic Slope and Beaufort Sea

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brooks, J.W.; Bartonek, J.C.; Klein, D.R.; Spencer, D.

    1971-01-01

    This report describes the environmental characteristics and renewable resources of the Arctic Slope and the Beaufort Sea in relation to oil and gas development. Problems associated with industrial activities are identified, and recommendations for avoiding or minimizing environmental and resource damage are advanced. It is noted that the simplicity of the ecosystems, the slow rate of organic processes, and the presence of permafrost create unique problems in connection with pollution, waste disposal, restoration of vegetation, and all activities which disturb the vegetated surface. In the Beaufort Sea, the shallowness of the continental shelf and the presence of pack ice represent serious physical obstacles to oil development and transportation and heighten the probability of potentially harmful accidents. The risk of serious environmental and resource damage in the Arctic will be greatly lessened by the imposition of high operational and safety standards. There is need for strengthening legal authority to promulgate essential regulations. As an interim substitute, close and effective cooperation between Government and industry must be developed. Both Government and industry have an obligation to support research aimed at providing an adequate understanding of numerous environmental and technical questions.

  5. Beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) vocalizations and call classification from the eastern Beaufort Sea population.

    PubMed

    Garland, Ellen C; Castellote, Manuel; Berchok, Catherine L

    2015-06-01

    Beluga whales, Delphinapterus leucas, have a graded call system; call types exist on a continuum making classification challenging. A description of vocalizations from the eastern Beaufort Sea beluga population during its spring migration are presented here, using both a non-parametric classification tree analysis (CART), and a Random Forest analysis. Twelve frequency and duration measurements were made on 1019 calls recorded over 14 days off Icy Cape, Alaska, resulting in 34 identifiable call types with 83% agreement in classification for both CART and Random Forest analyses. This high level of agreement in classification, with an initial subjective classification of calls into 36 categories, demonstrates that the methods applied here provide a quantitative analysis of a graded call dataset. Further, as calls cannot be attributed to individuals using single sensor passive acoustic monitoring efforts, these methods provide a comprehensive analysis of data where the influence of pseudo-replication of calls from individuals is unknown. This study is the first to describe the vocal repertoire of a beluga population using a robust and repeatable methodology. A baseline eastern Beaufort Sea beluga population repertoire is presented here, against which the call repertoire of other seasonally sympatric Alaskan beluga populations can be compared. PMID:26093397

  6. Behavior, disturbance responses, and distribution of bowhead whales Balaena mysticetus in the eastern Beaufort Sea. 1980-84. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Richardson, W.J.

    1985-06-01

    The reactions of bowhead whales to industrial activities were studied during five summers in the report. The objective was to provide data needed to assess the possible effects of offshore oil exploration and development in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea on this endangered species.

  7. 77 FR 39164 - Safety Zone; KULLUK, Outer Continental Shelf Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU), Beaufort Sea, AK

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-07-02

    ... SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 147 RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; KULLUK, Outer Continental Shelf Mobile...; KULLUK, Outer Continental Shelf Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU), Beaufort Sea, Alaska'' in the Federal Register (77 FR 10711). The NPRM included a 30- day comment period. We received 2...

  8. 77 FR 10711 - Safety Zone; KULLUK, Outer Continental Shelf Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU), Beaufort Sea, AK

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-02-23

    ... SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 147 RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; KULLUK, Outer Continental Shelf Mobile... prospects located in the Beaufort Sea Outer Continental Shelf, Alaska, from 12:01 a.m. on July 1, 2012... Federal Register (73 FR 3316). Public Meeting The Coast Guard does not plan to hold a public meeting....

  9. Subsea Permafrost Mapped Across the U.S. Beaufort Sea Using Multichannel Seismic Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brothers, L.; Hart, P. E.; Ruppel, C. D.

    2011-12-01

    Circum-Arctic continental shelves at water depths less than ~100 m were subaerial permafrost prior to the onset of sea-level rise starting in the late Pleistocene. Rapid transgression and the resulting temperature increase at the sediment surface have led to thawing of the inundated permafrost, landward retreat of the leading edge of the permafrost, and dissociation of permafrost-associated gas hydrates. Past numerical modeling has shown that gas hydrate dissociation is particularly pronounced at the permafrost-to-no permafrost transition offshore. On the U.S. Beaufort margin, subsea permafrost has never been systematically mapped, and the best insights about permafrost and associated gas hydrate have been based on a limited number of offshore boreholes and numerical studies, with sometimes contrasting predictions of the permafrost's seaward extent. We bring together 5370 km of multichannel seismic (MCS) data acquired during various proprietary exploration industry and public domain government surveys between 1977 and 1992 to map a velocity anomaly diagnostic of submerged permafrost along 500 km of the US Beaufort coastline. These high-velocity (>~2.8 km/s) refractions (HVR), which are evident in prestack MCS shot records, reveal laterally continuous layers of shallow, ice-bonded, coarse-grained sediments beneath the inner continental shelf. The HVR occur in less than 5% of the tracklines, and calculated HVR depths range from 60 to 350 m below seafloor. The velocity anomaly is not observed seaward of the 20 m isobath, and is only found within 30 km of the current shoreline. These results can be used to: 1) create a map of the minimum distribution of remaining US Beaufort shelf subsea permafrost; 2) reconcile discrepancies between model-predicted and borehole-verified offshore permafrost distribution; and 3) constrain where to expect hydrate dissociation.

  10. 76 FR 79764 - Use of Foreign-Flag Anchor Handling Vessels in the Beaufort Sea or Chukchi Sea Adjacent to Alaska

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-12-22

    ... Maritime Administration Use of Foreign-Flag Anchor Handling Vessels in the Beaufort Sea or Chukchi Sea...-flag anchor handling vessels in certain cases (and for a limited period of time) if no U.S.-flag... the Maritime Administration determines that U.S.- flag vessels are not suitable and...

  11. The nearshore western Beaufort Sea ecosystem: Circulation and importance of terrestrial carbon in arctic coastal food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dunton, Kenneth H.; Weingartner, Thomas; Carmack, Eddy C.

    2006-10-01

    The nearshore shelf of the Beaufort Sea is defined by extreme physical and biological gradients that have a distinctive influence on its productivity and trophic structure. Massive freshwater discharge from the Mackenzie River, along with numerous smaller rivers and streams elsewhere along the coast, produce an environment that is decidedly estuarine in character, especially in late spring and summer. Consequently, the Beaufort coast provides a critical habitat for several species of amphidromous fishes, some of which are essential to the subsistence lifestyle of arctic native populations. Because of its low in situ productivity, allochthonous inputs of organic carbon, identifiable on the basis of isotopic composition, are important to the functioning of this arctic estuarine system. Coastal erosion and river discharge are largely responsible for introducing high concentrations of suspended sediment from upland regions into the nearshore zone. The depletion in the 13C content of invertebrate and vertebrate consumers, which drops about 4-5‰ eastward along the eastern Alaskan Beaufort Sea coast, may reflect the assimilation of this terrestrial organic matter into local food webs. In addition, the large range in 13C values of fauna collected in the eastern Beaufort (nearly 8‰) compared to the same species in the northeastern Chukchi (3‰), indicate a lower efficiency of carbon transfer between trophic levels in the eastern Beaufort. The wider spread in stable isotope values in the eastern Beaufort may also reflect a decoupling between benthic and pelagic components. Isotopic tracer studies of amphidromous fishes in the Simpson Island barrier island lagoon revealed that terrestrial (peat) carbon may contribute as much as 30-50% of their total dietary requirements. On the eastern Alaska Beaufort Sea coast, the δ13C values of arctic cod collected in semi-enclosed lagoons were more depleted, by 3-4‰, compared to fish collected in the coastal Beaufort Sea

  12. Perennial pack ice in the southern Beaufort Sea was not as it appeared in the summer of 2009

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barber, David G.; Galley, Ryan; Asplin, Matthew G.; De Abreu, Roger; Warner, Kerri-Ann; Pućko, Monika; Gupta, Mukesh; Prinsenberg, Simon; Julien, Stéphane

    2009-12-01

    In September 2009 we observed a much different sea icescape in the Southern Beaufort Sea than anticipated, based on remotely sensed products. Radarsat derived ice charts predicted 7 to 9 tenths multi-year (MY) or thick first-year (FY) sea ice throughout most of the Southern Beaufort Sea in the deep water of the Canada Basin. In situ observations found heavily decayed, very small remnant MY and FY floes interspersed with new ice between floes, in melt ponds, thaw holes and growing over negative freeboard older ice. This icescape contained approximately 25% open water, predominantly distributed in between floes or in thaw holes connected to the ocean below. Although this rotten ice regime was quite different that the expected MY regime in terms of ice volume and strength, their near-surface physical properties were found to be sufficiently alike that their radiometric and scattering characteristics were almost identical.

  13. Pedological Properties of the Eroding Coastline along the Beaufort Sea, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ping, C.; Dou, F.; Fortier, D.; Jorgenson, T.; Kanevskiy, M.; Lynn, L. A.; Michaelson, G. J.; Shur, Y. L.

    2006-12-01

    The objectives of this National Science Foundation project are to monitor erosion rates, estimate the amount and fate of the organic carbon in the tundra soils and underlying permafrost eroded into the Arctic Ocean along the arctic coastline of Alaska. Five major types of coastline were identified along the Beaufort Sea coast; bay/inlet, delta, exposed bluffs, lagoon, and tapped basins. The lagoon coastal type is the major coastal type and accounts more than half of the coastline of the Beaufort Sea, followed by exposed bluffs, and delta. Both bay/inlet and tapped basins are of minor distribution. A total of fifty study sites were selected from detailed study and sampling to represent the major coastline types along the Beaufort Sea coast. At each site, pedological study was carried out along with geocryological study. In addition, the physiographic characteristics, coastal bluff elevation, and vegetation community were recorded. The coastal bluffs are 1 to 3 meters high in the western half of the coastline and reach 12 meters on the eastern half of the coastline. Descriptions of soil stratigraphy along the coast from Barrow to the Canadian boundary have confirmed the general classification of marine silts, eolian sands, and slightly pebbly sand deposits. The active layers along the bluffs ranged from few cm to over one meter deep as compared to soils 1 to 5 meters inland. Generally there was an organic horizon of 2-8 cm thick overlying an organic rich mineral horizon of eolian origin of 15-20 cm thick. Below this A and B horizon sequence there was a buried organic horizon that resulted from thaw-lake sequences from the early- middle Holocene. Below this buried organics there was a mixed organic and mineral horizon due to cryoturbation; organic materials were frost-churned into the underlying gleyed horizons. The cryoturbated organic matter reaches to 2 - 3 meters depths and all of Holocene age with C-14 dates younger than 8000 years. The basal dates of the peat

  14. Organic geochemical signatures controlling methane outgassing at active mud volcanoes in the Canadian Beaufort Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DongHun, Lee; YoungKeun, Jin; JungHyun, Kim; Heldge, Niemann; JongKu, Gal; BoHyung, Choi

    2016-04-01

    Based on the water column acoustic anomalies related to active methane (CH4) venting, numerous active Mud Volcanoes (MVs) were recently identified at ~282, ~420, and ~740 m water depths on the continental slope of the Canadian Beaufort Sea (Paull et al., 2015). While geophysical aspects such as the multibeam bathymetric mapping are thoroughly investigated, biogeochemical processes controlling outgassing CH4 at the active MVs are not well constrained. Here, we investigated three sediment cores from the active MVs and one sediment core from a non-methane influenced reference site recovered during the ARA-05C expedition with the R/V ARAON in 2014. We analyzed lipid biomarkers and their stable carbon isotopic values (δ13C) in order to determine key biogeochemical processes involved in CH4 cycling in the MV sediments. Downcore CH4 and sulphate (SO42-) concentration measurements revealed a distinct sulfate-methane transition zone (SMTZ) at the shallow sections of the cores (15 - 45 cm below seafloor (cm bsf) at 282 m MV, 420 m MV, and 740 m MV). The most abundant diagnostic lipid biomarkers in the SMTZ were sn-2-hydroxyarchaeol (-94‰) and archaeol (-66‰) with the sn-2-hydroxyarchaeol: archaeol ratio of 1.1 to 5, indicating the presence of ANME-2 or -3. However, we also found substantial amounts of monocyclic biphytane-1 (BP-1, -118‰), which is rather indicative for ANME-1. Nevertheless, the concentration of sn-2-hydroxyarchaeol was 2-fold higher than any other archaeal lipids, suggesting a predominant ANME-2 or -3 rather than ANME-1 as a driving force for the anaerobic methane oxidation (AOM) in these systems. We will further investigate the microbial community at the active MVs using nucleic acid (RNA and DNA) sequence analyses in near future. Our study provides first biogeochemical data set of the active MVs in the Canadian Beaufort Sea, which helps to better understand CH4 cycling mediated in these systems. Reference Paull, C.K., et al. (2015), Active mud

  15. Arctic underwater noise transients from sea ice deformation: Characteristics, annual time series, and forcing in Beaufort Sea.

    PubMed

    Kinda, G Bazile; Simard, Yvan; Gervaise, Cédric; Mars, Jérôme I; Fortier, Louis

    2015-10-01

    A 13-month time series of Arctic Ocean noise from the marginal ice zone of the Eastern Beaufort Sea is analyzed to detect under-ice acoustic transients isolated from ambient noise with a dedicated algorithm. Noise transients due to ice cracking, fracturing, shearing, and ridging are sorted out into three categories: broadband impulses, frequency modulated (FM) tones, and high-frequency broadband noise. Their temporal and acoustic characteristics over the 8-month ice covered period, from November 2005 to mid-June 2006, are presented and their generation mechanisms are discussed. Correlations analyses showed that the occurrence of these ice transients responded to large-scale ice motion and deformation rates forced by meteorological events, often leading to opening of large-scale leads at main discontinuities in the ice cover. Such a sequence, resulting in the opening of a large lead, hundreds by tens of kilometers in size, along the margin of landfast ice and multiyear ice plume in the Beaufort-Chukchi seas is detailed. These ice transients largely contribute to the soundscape properties of the Arctic Ocean, for both its ambient and total noise components. Some FM tonal transients can be confounded with marine mammal songs, especially when they are repeated, with periods similar to wind generated waves. PMID:26520287

  16. Bowhead whale behavior in relation to seismic exploration, Alaskan Beaufort Sea, Autumn 1981. Study report (Final)

    SciTech Connect

    Fraker, M.A.; Ljungblad, D.K.; Richardson, W.J.; Van Schoik, D.R.

    1985-10-01

    Behavior of bowhead whales (Balsena mysticetus) in the eastern part of the Alaskan Beaufort Sea or near the Alaska/Yukon border was observed from a circling turbine-powered Goose aircraft on 10 dates from 12 September to 5 October 1981. On three of these dates, the whales were exposed t, noise impulses from seismic vessels 13 km or more away. Some behavioral data were acquired. In both the presence and the absence of seismic impulses, most bowheads appeared to be feeding in the water column, although slow travel and active socializing were sometimes detected. Sonobuoys detected bowhead calls both in the presence and the absence of seismic impulses. There was no clear evidence of unusual behavior in the presence of seismic impulses.

  17. Polar bears in the Beaufort Sea: A 30-year mark-recapture case history

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Amstrup, Steven C.; McDonald, T.L.; Stirling, I.

    2001-01-01

    Knowledge of population size and trend is necessary to manage anthropogenic risks to polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Despite capturing over 1,025 females between 1967 and 1998, previously calculated estimates of the size of the southern Beaufort Sea (SBS) population have been unreliable. We improved estimates of numbers of polar bears by modeling heterogeneity in capture probability with covariates. Important covariates referred to the year of the study, age of the bear, capture effort, and geographic location. Our choice of best approximating model was based on the inverse relationship between variance in parameter estimates and likelihood of the fit and suggested a growth from ~500 to over 1,000 females during this study. The mean coefficient of variation on estimates for the last decade of the study was 0.16-the smallest yet derived. A similar model selection approach is recommended for other projects where a best model is not identified by likelihood criteria alone.

  18. Active mud volcanoes on the continental slope of the Canadian Beaufort Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paull, C. K.; Dallimore, S. R.; Caress, D. W.; Gwiazda, R.; Melling, H.; Riedel, M.; Jin, Y. K.; Hong, J. K.; Kim, Y.-G.; Graves, D.; Sherman, A.; Lundsten, E.; Anderson, K.; Lundsten, L.; Villinger, H.; Kopf, A.; Johnson, S. B.; Hughes Clarke, J.; Blasco, S.; Conway, K.; Neelands, P.; Thomas, H.; Côté, M.

    2015-09-01

    Morphologic features, 600-1100 m across and elevated up to 30 m above the surrounding seafloor, interpreted to be mud volcanoes were investigated on the continental slope in the Beaufort Sea in the Canadian Arctic. Sediment cores, detailed mapping with an autonomous underwater vehicle, and exploration with a remotely operated vehicle show that these are young and actively forming features experiencing ongoing eruptions. Biogenic methane and low-chloride, sodium-bicarbonate-rich waters are extruded with warm sediment that accumulates to form cones and low-relief circular plateaus. The chemical and isotopic compositions of the ascending water indicate that a mixture of meteoric water, seawater, and water from clay dehydration has played a significant role in the evolution of these fluids. The venting methane supports extensive siboglinid tubeworms communities and forms some gas hydrates within the near seafloor. We believe that these are the first documented living chemosynthetic biological communities in the continental slope of the western Arctic Ocean.

  19. Stock origins of Dolly Varden collected from Beaufort Sea coastal sites of Arctic Alaska and Canada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Krueger, C.C.; Wilmot, R.L.; Everett, R.J.

    1999-01-01

    Anadromous northern Dolly Varden Salvelinus malma support a summer subsistence fishery in Beaufort Sea coastal waters. These same waters coincide with areas of oil and gas exploration and development. The purpose of this study was to assess variation in stock origins of Dolly Varden collected from sites along 400 km of Beaufort Sea coast. Mixed-stock analyses (MSA) of allozyme data were used to compare collections from four sites (Endicolt near Prudhoe Bay, Mikkelsen Bay, and Kaktovik in Alaska and Phillips Bay in Canada) and to assess variation in stock contributions among summer months and between 1987 and 1988. The MSA estimates for individual stocks were summed into estimates for three stock groups: western stocks from the area near Sagavarnirktok River and Prudhoe Bay (SAG), Arctic National Wildlife Refuge stocks (Arctic Refuge), and Canadian stocks. The MSA of Endicott samples taken in 1987 and 1988 did not differ among months in terms of contributions from local SAG stocks (range, 71-95%). Contributions from nonlocal (>100 km distant) Canadian and Arctic Refuge stocks were not different from zero in 1987, but contributions from Canadian stocks were so in July (17%) and August (20%) but not in September of 1988. Thus, stock contributions to Endicott collections were different between 1987 and 1988. Samples from the Kaktovik area in 1988 were different between months in terms of contributions from nonlocal SAG stocks (July, 7%; August, 27%). Significant contributions to these samples were made both months by Canadian (25% and 17%) and local Arctic Refuge stocks (68% and 56%). Among the four coastal sites, local stocks typically contributed most to collections; however, every site had collections that contained significant contributions from nonlocal stocks. The MSA estimates clearly revealed the movement of Dolly Varden between U.S. and Canada coastal waters. If local stocks are affected by oil and gas development activities, distant subsistence fisheries

  20. Linking mercury exposure to habitat and feeding behaviour in Beaufort Sea beluga whales

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Loseto, L. L.; Stern, G. A.; Deibel, D.; Connelly, T. L.; Prokopowicz, A.; Lean, D. R. S.; Fortier, L.; Ferguson, S. H.

    2008-12-01

    Mercury (Hg) levels in the Beaufort Sea beluga population have been increasing since the 1990's. Ultimately, it is the Hg content of prey that determines beluga Hg levels. However, the Beaufort Sea beluga diet is not understood, and little is known about the diet Hg sources in their summer habitat. During the summer, they segregate into social groups based on habitat use leading to the hypothesis that they may feed in different food webs explaining Hg dietary sources. Methyl mercury (MeHg) and total mercury (THg) levels were measured in the estuarine-shelf, Amundsen Gulf and epibenthic food webs in the western Canadian Arctic collected during the Canadian Arctic Shelf Exchange Study (CASES) to assess their dietary Hg contribution. To our knowledge, this is the first study to report MeHg levels in estuarine fish and epibenthic invertebrates from the Arctic Ocean. Although the Mackenzie River is a large source of Hg, the estuarine-shelf prey items had the lowest MeHg levels, ranging from 0.1 to 0.27 μg/g dry weight (dw) in arctic cisco ( Coregonus autumnalis) and saffron cod ( Eleginus gracilis) respectively. Highest MeHg levels occurred in fourhorn sculpin ( Myoxocephalus quadricornis) (0.5 μg/g dw) from the epibenthic food web. Beluga hypothesized to feed in the epibenthic and Amundsen Gulf food webs had the highest Hg levels matching with high Hg levels in associated food webs, and estuarine-shelf belugas had the lowest Hg levels (2.6 μg/g dw), corresponding with the low food web Hg levels, supporting the variation in dietary Hg uptake. The trophic level transfer of Hg was similar among the food webs, highlighting the importance of Hg sources at the bottom of the food web as well as food web length. We propose that future biomagnification studies incorporate predator behaviour with food web structure to assist in the evaluation of dietary Hg sources.

  1. Replacement of multiyear sea ice and changes in the open water season duration in the Beaufort Sea since 2004

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Galley, R. J.; Babb, D.; Ogi, M.; Else, B. G. T.; Geilfus, N.-X.; Crabeck, O.; Barber, D. G.; Rysgaard, S.

    2016-03-01

    The last decade has witnessed the nine lowest Arctic September sea ice extents in the observational record. It also forms the most recent third of the long-term trend in that record, which reached -13.4% decade-1 in 2015. While hemispheric analyses paint a compelling picture of sea ice loss across the Arctic, the situation with multiyear ice in the Beaufort Sea is particularly dire. This study was undertaken in light of substantial changes that have occurred in the extent of summer multiyear sea ice in the Arctic inferred from the passive microwave record. To better elucidate these changes at a sub-regional scale, we use data from the Canadian Ice Service archive, the most direct observations of sea ice stage-of-development available. We also build upon the only previous sea ice climatological analysis for Canada's western Arctic region by sea ice stage-of-development that ended in 2004. The annual evolution of sea ice by stage of development in Canada's western Arctic changed dramatically between 1983 and 2014. The rate of these changes and their spatial prevalence were most prominent in the last decade. In summer, total sea ice loss occurred via reductions in old and first-year sea ice over increasingly large areas and over more months per year. Resultant delay of thermodynamic freeze up has increased the annual open water duration in the study region. The winter sea ice cover was increasingly composed of first-year sea ice at the expense of old ice. Breakup timing has not significantly changed in the region.

  2. Evolution of Melt Pond Cover in the Beaufort/Chukchi Sea Region During Summer 2004

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tschudi, M. A.; Maslanik, J. A.; Perovich, D. K.

    2005-12-01

    Melt ponds appear during the onset of summer melt on Arctic sea ice, and their coverage evolves through the course of the melt season. Ponds play a critical role in the absorption of solar radiation by the ice pack, and hence the ice melt rate. The fractional coverage of melt ponds on sea ice is thus an important parameter when determining sea ice surface energy balance. A NASA-funded study examines the evolution of ponds in the Beaufort/Chukchi Sea region through the summer of 2004. Pond cover within this region is derived daily utilizing satellite (MODIS) visible and near-infrared observations. The technique to derive pond cover is augmented by comparing results of UAV digital image classification and with on-ice spectral reflectance measurements, both acquired near Barrow, Alaska during June 2004. The technique to derive the evolution of pond cover in the area of interest through summer 2004 is described, as well as spatial and temporal trends in this region.

  3. Sounds and vibrations in the frozen Beaufort Sea during gravel island construction.

    PubMed

    Greene, Charles R; Blackwell, Susanna B; McLennan, Miles Wm

    2008-02-01

    Underwater and airborne sounds and ice-borne vibrations were recorded from sea-ice near an artificial gravel island during its initial construction in the Beaufort Sea near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Such measurements are needed for characterizing the properties of island construction sounds to assess their possible impacts on wildlife. Recordings were made in February-May 2000 when BP Exploration (Alaska) began constructing Northstar Island about 5 km offshore, at 12 m depth. Activities recorded included ice augering, pumping sea water to flood the ice and build an ice road, a bulldozer plowing snow, a Ditchwitch cutting ice, trucks hauling gravel over an ice road to the island site, a backhoe trenching the sea bottom for a pipeline, and both vibratory and impact sheet pile driving. For all but one sound source (underwater measurements of pumping) the strongest one-third octave band was under 300 Hz. Vibratory and impact pile driving created the strongest sounds. Received levels of sound and vibration, as measured in the strongest one-third octave band for different construction activities, reached median background levels <7.5 km away for underwater sounds, <3 km away for airborne sounds, and <10 km away for in-ice vibrations. PMID:18247873

  4. Fall Freeze-up of Sea Ice in the Beaufort-Chukchi Seas Using ERS-1 SAR and Buoy Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Holt, B.; Winebrenner, B.; D., Nelson E.

    1993-01-01

    The lowering of air temperatures below freezing in the fall indicates the end of summer melt and the onset of steady sea ice growth. The thickness and condition of ice that remains at the end of summer has ramifications for the thickness that that ice will attain at the end of the following winter. This period also designates a shifting of key fluxes from upper ocean freshening from ice melt to increased salinity from brine extraction during ice growth. This transitional period has been examined in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas using ERS-1 SAR imagery and air temperatures from drifting buoys during 1991 and 1992. The SAR imagery is used to examine the condition and types of ice present in this period. Much of the surface melt water has drained off at this time. Air temperatures from drifting buoys coincident in time and within 100 km radius of the SAR imagery have been obtained...

  5. Polar bear population status in the northern Beaufort Sea, Canada, 1971-2006

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stirling, I.; McDonald, T.L.; Richardson, E.S.; Regehr, E.V.; Amstrup, Steven C.

    2011-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the northern Beaufort Sea (NB) population occur on the perimeter of the polar basin adjacent to the northwestern islands of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Sea ice converges on the islands through most of the year. We used open-population capture–recapture models to estimate population size and vital rates of polar bears between 1971 and 2006 to: (1) assess relationships between survival, sex and age, and time period; (2) evaluate the long-term importance of sea ice quality and availability in relation to climate warming; and (3) note future management and conservation concerns. The highest-ranking models suggested that survival of polar bears varied by age class and with changes in the sea ice habitat. Model-averaged estimates of survival (which include harvest mortality) for senescent adults ranged from 0.37 to 0.62, from 0.22 to 0.68 for cubs of the year (COY) and yearlings, and from 0.77 to 0.92 for 2–4 year-olds and adults. Horvtiz-Thompson (HT) estimates of population size were not significantly different among the decades of our study. The population size estimated for the 2000s was 980 ± 155 (mean and 95% CI). These estimates apply primarily to that segment of the NB population residing west and south of Banks Island. The NB polar bear population appears to have been stable or possibly increasing slightly during the period of our study. This suggests that ice conditions have remained suitable and similar for feeding in summer and fall during most years and that the traditional and legal Inuvialuit harvest has not exceeded sustainable levels. However, the amount of ice remaining in the study area at the end of summer, and the proportion that continues to lie over the biologically productive continental shelf (<300 m water depth) has declined over the 35-year period of this study. If the climate continues to warm as predicted, we predict that the polar bear population in the northern Beaufort Sea will eventually decline

  6. The ice fauna in the shallow southwestern Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carey, Andrew G.

    1992-06-01

    Sympagic fauna were studied in seasonal fast ice adjacent to Narwhal Island during the spring of 1979 and 1980, with emphasis on the origin of the fauna and its relationship to contiguous pelagic and benthic communities. The results of five subprojects are reviewed and compared with recent literature. Within Stefansson Sound, inshore of Narwhal Island, total sympagic meiofaunal densities and species diversity were low. In March 1979, the dominant taxa were polychaete larvae and crustacean nauplii, while in May the dominant group was Nematoda. Total numerical densities were low, ranging from 4500 to 8000 per m 2. During the spring of 1980 large numbers of invertebrate fauna concentrated at the undersurface of seasonal sea ice on the inner western Beaufort Sea continental shelf, seaward of Narwhal Island. The sympagic meiofauna were comprised primarily of benthic harpacticoid and cyclopoid copepods, turbellarians, nematode worms, and polychaete worm larvae. Total meiofaunal densities increased from about 6000 per m 2 in April to about 482,000 per m 2 in June. All life stages of Cyclopina gracilis (Copepoda: Cyclopoida) were present in the ice. This species appeared to reproduce continuously from early April to early June during the study period. The Harpacticus sp. (Copepoda: Harpaticoida) population consisted of one cohort whose individuals grew in size from April to early June. The sympagic macrofauna consisted entirely of amphipod crustaceans, primarily comprised of benthic species. Population size structure of the amphipod Pseudalibrotus (= Onisimus) litoralis was bimodal and there was a lack of intermediate growth stages. These characteristics indicate that this species has a two-year life cycle in the Beaufort Sea. The highest growth rate for P. litoralis coincided with maximal ice algal production. P. litoralis fed largely on meiofaunal Crustacea and amphipod fragments in April, but its diet switched to ice algae during the height of the bloom in late May

  7. The application of ERTS imagery to monitoring Arctic sea ice. [mapping ice in Bering Sea, Beaufort Sea, Canadian Archipelago, and Greenland Sea

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Barnes, J. C. (Principal Investigator); Bowley, C. J.

    1974-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. Because of the effect of sea ice on the heat balance of the Arctic and because of the expanding economic interest in arctic oil and minerals, extensive monitoring and further study of sea ice is required. The application of ERTS data for mapping ice is evaluated for several arctic areas, including the Bering Sea, the eastern Beaufort Sea, parts of the Canadian Archipelago, and the Greenland Sea. Interpretive techniques are discussed, and the scales and types of ice features that can be detected are described. For the Bering Sea, a sample of ERTS-1 imagery is compared with visual ice reports and aerial photography from the NASA CV-990 aircraft. The results of the investigation demonstrate that ERTS-1 imagery has substantial practical application for monitoring arctic sea ice. Ice features as small as 80-100 m in width can be detected, and the combined use of the visible and near-IR imagery is a powerful tool for identifying ice types. Sequential ERTS-1 observations at high latitudes enable ice deformations and movements to be mapped. Ice conditions in the Bering Sea during early March depicted in ERTS-1 images are in close agreement with aerial ice observations and photographs.

  8. Sea ice and the onshore offshore gradient in pre-winter zooplankton assemblages in southeastern Beaufort Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Darnis, Gérald; Barber, David G.; Fortier, Louis

    2008-12-01

    Zooplankton communities were studied in southeastern Beaufort Sea (Arctic Ocean) in September-October 2002. Cluster analysis and non-metric multidimensional scaling revealed three distinct mesozooplankton assemblages. A neritic assemblage occurred on the Mackenzie Shelf and in Franklin Bay, while distinct off-shelf assemblages prevailed in the Cape Bathurst Polynya and on the Beaufort Slope respectively. Over 95% of the mesozooplankton was comprised of eight copepod taxa. Pseudocalanus spp. contributed predominantly to the discrimination of the three assemblages and was the only significant indicator of the Shelf assemblage. Oithona similis, Oncaea borealis, Metridia longa and Calanus hyperboreus were indicators of the Polynya assemblage. Cyclopina sp. and Microcalanus pygmaeus were indicative of the overall off-shelf community (Polynya and Slope assemblages). The importance of omnivores and carnivores increased from the shelf to the polynya and the slope. Station depth and duration of reduced ice conditions during summer (< 50% ice concentration) underpinned the distribution of the assemblages ( r2 = 0.71 and 0.45 respectively). The abundance of Pseudocalanus spp. was independent of depth and increased with the duration of reduced ice conditions ( rs = 0.438). The abundance of Cyclopina sp., M. pygmaeus and other indicators of the offshore assemblages followed the opposite trend ( rs = - 0.467 and - 0.5 respectively). Under continued climate warming, a reduction of the ice cover will affect the biogeography of mesozooplankton on and around the Mackenzie Shelf, to the potential advantage of Pseudocalanus spp. and other calanoid herbivores.

  9. Minimum distribution of subsea ice-bearing permafrost on the US Beaufort Sea continental shelf

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brothers, Laura L.; Hart, Patrick E.; Ruppel, Carolyn D.

    2012-01-01

    Starting in Late Pleistocene time (~19 ka), sea level rise inundated coastal zones worldwide. On some parts of the present-day circum-Arctic continental shelf, this led to flooding and thawing of formerly subaerial permafrost and probable dissociation of associated gas hydrates. Relict permafrost has never been systematically mapped along the 700-km-long U.S. Beaufort Sea continental shelf and is often assumed to extend to ~120 m water depth, the approximate amount of sea level rise since the Late Pleistocene. Here, 5,000 km of multichannel seismic (MCS) data acquired between 1977 and 1992 were examined for high-velocity (>2.3 km s−1) refractions consistent with ice-bearing, coarse-grained sediments. Permafrost refractions were identified along <5% of the tracklines at depths of ~5 to 470 m below the seafloor. The resulting map reveals the minimum extent of subsea ice-bearing permafrost, which does not extend seaward of 30 km offshore or beyond the 20 m isobath.

  10. Coastal environment of the Beaufort Sea from field data and ERTS-1 imagery, summer 1972

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Reimnitz, E. (Principal Investigator); Barnes, P. W.

    1972-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. An extensive field program during the spring and summer in the coastal Beaufort Sea test site has been completed using a wide variety of sensing techniques. Reduction of field data and ERTS-1 image analysis have shown the coastal environment to be complexly influenced by unique processes, most of which involve or are related to sea ice. Active sedimentologic processes along the Arctic coast are set in motion by the melting, flooding, and eventual overflow of rivers onto the sea ice. It is now apparent that only minor amounts of sediment are transported offshore at this stage; however, scouring of the bottom is significant beneath the strudels (drain holes) which develop in the fast ice canopy in the region of overflow. Areal salinity and turbidity patterns together with ERTS-1 imagery confirm a consistent influx of colder, clearer, saltier water towards the coast just east of the Colville River. Strong (up to 3 knots) bidirectional but intermittent currents often manifest themselves in imagery and aerial photographs as wakes behind grounded ice. Ice movement vectors generated from repetitive images indicate that ice drift is closely associated with wind direction, especially in shallow bays, and displacements of 4-22 kilometers were noted in 24 hours.

  11. Patterns in bacterial and archaeal community structure and diversity in western Beaufort Sea sediments and waters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hamdan, L. J.; Sikaroodi, M.; Coffin, R. B.; Gillevet, P. M.

    2010-12-01

    A culture-independent phylogenetic study of microbial communities in water samples and sediment cores recovered from the Beaufort Sea slope east of Point Barrow, Alaska was conducted. The goal of the work was to describe community composition in sediment and water samples and determine the influence of local environmental conditions on microbial populations. Archaeal and bacterial community composition was studied using length heterogeneity-polymerase chain reaction (LH-PCR) and multitag pyrosequencing (MTPS). Sediment samples were obtained from three piston cores on the slope (~1000m depth) arrayed along an east-west transect and one core from a depth of approximately 2000m. Discrete water samples were obtained using a CTD-rosette from three locations adjacent to piston core sites. Water sample were selected at three discrete depths within a vertically stratified (density) water column. The microbial community in near surface waters was distinct from the community observed in deeper stratified layers of the water column. Multidimensional scaling analysis (MDS) revealed that water samples from mid and deep stratified layers bore high similarity to communities in cores collected in close proximity. Overall, the highest diversity (bacteria and archaea) was observed in a core which had elevated methane concentration relative to other locations. Geochemical (e.g., bulk organic and inorganic carbon pools, nutrients, metabolites) and physical data (e.g. depth, water content) were used to reveal the abiotic factors structuring microbial communities. The analysis indicates that sediment water content (porosity) and inorganic carbon concentration are the most significant structuring elements on Beaufort shelf sedimentary microbial communities.

  12. A new genus and species of Thyasiridae (Mollusca, Bivalvia) from deep-water, Beaufort Sea, northern Alaska

    PubMed Central

    Valentich-Scott, Paul; Powell, Charles L.; II; Lorenson, Thomas D.; Edwards, Brian E.

    2014-01-01

    Abstract Bivalve mollusk shells were collected in 2350 m depth in the Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean off northern Alaska. Initial identification suggested the specimens were a member of the bivalve family Thyasiridae, but no known eastern Pacific or Arctic living or fossil thyasirid resembled these deep-water specimens. Comparisons were made with the type of the genera Maorithyas Fleming, 1950, Spinaxinus Oliver & Holmes, 2006, Axinus Sowerby, 1821, and Parathyasira Iredale, 1930. We determined the Beaufort Sea species represents a new genus, herein described as Wallerconcha. These specimens also represent a new species, herein named Wallerconcha sarae. These new taxa are compared with known modern and fossil genera and species of thyasirds. PMID:25589851

  13. Upper Ocean Evolution Across the Beaufort Sea Marginal Ice Zone from Autonomous Gliders

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Craig; Rainville, Luc; Perry, Mary Jane

    2016-04-01

    The observed reduction of Arctic summertime sea ice extent and expansion of the marginal ice zone (MIZ) have profound impacts on the balance of processes controlling sea ice evolution, including the introduction of several positive feedback mechanisms that may act to accelerate melting. Examples of such feedbacks include increased upper ocean warming though absorption of solar radiation, elevated internal wave energy and mixing that may entrain heat stored in subsurface watermasses (e.g., the relatively warm Pacific Summer (PSW) and Atlantic (AW) waters), and elevated surface wave energy that acts to deform and fracture sea ice. Spatial and temporal variability in ice properties and open water fraction impact these processes. To investigate how upper ocean structure varies with changing ice cover, and how the balance of processes shift as a function of ice fraction and distance from open water, four long-endurance autonomous Seagliders occupied sections that extended from open water, through the marginal ice zone, deep into the pack during summer 2014 in the Beaufort Sea. Sections reveal strong fronts where cold, ice-covered waters meet waters that have been exposed to solar warming, and O(10 km) scale eddies near the ice edge. In the pack, Pacific Summer Water and a deep chlorophyll maximum form distinct layers at roughly 60 m and 80 m, respectively, which become increasingly diffuse as they progress through the MIZ and into open water. The isopynal layer between 1023 and 1024 kgm‑3, just above the PSW, consistently thickens near the ice edge, likely due to mixing or energetic vertical exchange associated with strong lateral gradients in this region. This presentation will discuss the upper ocean variability, its relationship to sea ice extent, and evolution over the summer to the start of freeze up.

  14. Evidence for the Incorporation of Terrestrial Carbon in Arctic Coastal Food Webs in the Western Beaufort Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dunton, K.; Weingartner, T.; Carmack, E.

    2006-12-01

    The nearshore shelf of the Beaufort Sea is defined by extreme physical and biological gradients that have a distinctive influence on its productivity and trophic structure. Massive freshwater discharge from the Mackenzie River, along with numerous smaller rivers and streams elsewhere along the coast, produce an environment that is decidedly estuarine in character, especially in late spring and summer. Because of its low in situ productivity, allochthonous inputs of organic carbon, identifiable on the basis of isotopic values, are important to the functioning of this arctic estuarine system. Coastal erosion and river discharge are largely responsible for introducing high concentrations of suspended sediment from upland regions into the nearshore zone. The depletion in the 13C content of invertebrate and vertebrate consumers, which drops about 4-5 ppt eastward along the eastern Alaskan Beaufort Sea coast, may reflect the assimilation of this terrestrial organic matter into local food webs. Isotopic tracer studies of amphidromous fishes in the Simpson Island barrier island lagoon ecosystem revealed that terrestrial (peat) carbon may contribute as much as 30 to 50% of their total dietary requirements. On the eastern Alaska Beaufort Sea coast, carbon isotopic values of arctic cod collected in semi-enclosed lagoons were more depleted by 3-4 ppt compared to fish collected in the coastal Beaufort Sea. Calculations from isotopic mixing equations indicate cod from lagoons may derive 70% of their carbon from terrestrial sources. Nitrogen isotopic values of lagoon fish were also 4 ppt lower than coastal specimens, reflective of the lower del 15N values of terrestrial derived nitrogen (0-1.5 ppt compared to 5-7 ppt for phytoplankton). The possible role of terrestrially derived carbon to arctic estuarine food webs is especially important in view of the current warming trend in the arctic environment and the role of advective processes that transport carbon along the nearshore

  15. Effects of capturing and collaring on polar bears: findings from long-term research on the southern Beaufort Sea population

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rode, Karyn D.; Pagano, Anthony M.; Bromaghin, Jeffrey F.; Atwood, Todd C.; Durner, George M.; Simac, Kristin; Amstrup, Steven C.

    2014-01-01

    Implications: This study provides empirical evidence that current capture-based research methods do not have long-term implications, and are not contributing to observed changes in body condition, reproduction or survival in the southern Beaufort Sea. Continued refinement of capture protocols, such as the use of low-impact dart rifles and reversible drug combinations, might improve polar bear response to capture and abate short-term reductions in activity and movement post-capture.

  16. Aerial Surveys of the Beaufort Sea Seasonal Ice Zone in 2012-2014

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dewey, S.; Morison, J.; Andersen, R.; Zhang, J.

    2014-12-01

    Seasonal Ice Zone Reconnaissance Surveys (SIZRS) of the Beaufort Sea aboard U.S. Coast Guard Arctic Domain Awareness flights were made monthly from May 2012 to October 2012, June 2013 to August 2013, and June 2014 to October 2014. In 2012 sea ice extent reached a record minimum and the SIZRS sampling ranged from complete ice cover to open water; in addition to its large spatial coverage, the SIZRS program extends temporal coverage of the seasonal ice zone (SIZ) beyond the traditional season for ship-based observations, and is a good set of measurements for model validation and climatological comparison. The SIZ, where ice melts and reforms annually, encompasses the marginal ice zone (MIZ). Thus SIZRS tracks interannual MIZ conditions, providing a regional context for smaller-scale MIZ processes. Observations with Air eXpendable CTDs (AXCTDs) reveal two near-surface warm layers: a locally-formed surface seasonal mixed layer and a layer of Pacific origin at 50-60m. Temperatures in the latter differ from the freezing point by up to 2°C more than climatologies. To distinguish vertical processes of mixed layer formation from Pacific advection, vertical heat and salt fluxes are quantified using a 1-D Price-Weller-Pinkel (PWP) model adapted for ice-covered seas. This PWP simulates mixing processes in the top 100m of the ocean. Surface forcing fluxes are taken from the Marginal Ice Zone Modeling and Assimilation System MIZMAS. Comparison of SIZRS observations with PWP output shows that the ocean behaves one-dimensionally above the Pacific layer of the Beaufort Gyre. Despite agreement with the MIZMAS-forced PWP, SIZRS observations remain fresher to 100m than do outputs from MIZMAS and ECCO.2. The shapes of seasonal cycles in SIZRS salinity and temperature agree with MIZMAS and ECCO.2 model outputs despite differences in the values of each. However, the seasonal change of surface albedo is not high enough resolution to accurately drive the PWP. Use of ice albedo

  17. Upwelling on the continental slope of the Alaskan Beaufort Sea: Storms, ice, and oceanographic response

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pickart, Robert S.; Moore, G. W. K.; Torres, Daniel J.; Fratantoni, Paula S.; Goldsmith, Roger A.; Yang, Jiayan

    2009-01-01

    The characteristics of Pacific-born storms that cause upwelling along the Beaufort Sea continental slope, the oceanographic response, and the modulation of the response due to sea ice are investigated. In fall 2002 a mooring array located near 152°W measured 11 significant upwelling events that brought warm and salty Atlantic water to shallow depths. When comparing the storms that caused these events to other Aleutian lows that did not induce upwelling, interesting trends emerged. Upwelling occurred most frequently when storms were located in a region near the eastern end of the Aleutian Island Arc and Alaskan Peninsula. Not only were these storms deep but they generally had northward-tending trajectories. While the steering flow aloft aided this northward progression, the occurrence of lee cyclogenesis due to the orography of Alaska seems to play a role as well in expanding the meridional influence of the storms. In late fall and early winter both the intensity and frequency of the upwelling diminished significantly at the array site. It is argued that the reduction in amplitude was due to the onset of heavy pack ice, while the decreased frequency was due to two different upper-level atmospheric blocking patterns inhibiting the far field influence of the storms.

  18. Erosional history of Cape Halkett and contemporary monitoring of bluff retreat, Beaufort Sea coast, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jones, Benjamin M.; Arp, Christopher D.; Beck, Richard A.; Grosse, Guido; Webster, James M.; Urban, Frank E.

    2009-01-01

    Cape Halkett is located along the Beaufort Sea at the end of a low-lying tundra landscape. The area has been subject to major modifications over the last century as a result of erosion and migration of the coastline inland. Long-term mean annual erosion rates (1955-2009) for the entire cape are 7.6 m/yr, with a gradual increase in rates over the first five time periods of remotely sensed imagery analyzed and a large increase during the most recent time period. Division of the cape into three distinct coastal zones shows very different erosional patterns: the northeast-facing segment (Zone 1) showing a consistent and large increase; the southeast-facing segment (Zone 3) showing a gradual increase with recent, heightened erosion rates; and the east-facing segment (Zone 2) showing decreased rates due to the reformation of a sand and gravel spit. Monitoring of bluff erosion with time-lapse photography, differential GPS surveys, terrestrial and bathymetric surveys, and water level, sea and permafrost temperature data provide insights into the processes driving contemporary patterns of erosion and will provide valuable information for the prediction of future shoreline positions.

  19. Estuarine Nitrogen Dynamics Along the Alaskan Beaufort Sea Coast: Seasonal Patterns and Potential Climate Change Effects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McClelland, J. W.; Connelly, T. L.; Crump, B. C.; Kellogg, C.; Dunton, K. H.

    2014-12-01

    Seasonal runoff and sea-ice cover create highly dynamic estuarine conditions in the Arctic. Studies focusing on major systems such as the Mackenzie have demonstrated how these variables interact to influence nutrient supply and uptake dynamics. Far less is known about the seasonality of smaller estuarine systems in the Arctic. Data collected from lagoons along the eastern Alaska Beaufort Sea coast show that salinities range from near zero in the spring to as high as 50 in the winter. Runoff and sea-ice thaw in the spring create highly stratified conditions, with hyper-saline bottom waters persisting through the summer in some locations. These variations in physical conditions are accompanied by variations in nitrogen availability within the lagoons. High concentrations of ammonium, and to a lesser extent nitrate, build up under the ice during the winter months. These nutrients are rapidly depleted during the ice break-up period and remain low throughout the summer. Concentrations of organic nitrogen, on the other hand, peak during the ice break-up period. While river inputs contribute directly to this nitrogen peak through the supply of land-derived organic matter, fatty acid markers also show that locally produced organic matter (primarily diatoms) peaks during the ice break-up period. Seasonal changes in nitrogen are accompanied by distinct shifts in microbial community composition as well as changes in stable isotope values of metazoan consumers. Changes in climate that are altering both runoff and sea-ice have the potential to influence the quantity and timing of nutrient availability and associated biological production in arctic coastal waters.

  20. The Floe Size Distribution in the Marginal Ice Zone of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schweiger, A. J. B.; Stern, H. L., III; Stark, M.; Zhang, J.; Steele, M.; Hwang, P. B.

    2014-12-01

    Several key processes in the Marginal Ice Zone (MIZ) of the Arctic Ocean are related to the size of the ice floes, whose diameters range from meters to tens of kilometers. The floe size distribution (FSD) influences the mechanical properties of the ice cover, air-sea momentum and heat transfer, lateral melting, and light penetration. However, no existing sea-ice/ocean models currently simulate the FSD in the MIZ. Model development depends on observations of the FSD for parameterization, calibration, and validation. To support the development and implementation of the FSD in the Marginal Ice Zone Modeling and Assimilation System (MIZMAS), we have analyzed the FSD in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas using multiple sources of satellite imagery: NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra and Aqua satellites (250 m pixel size), the USGS Landsat 8 satellite (80 m pixel size), the Canadian Space Agency's synthetic aperture radar (SAR) on RADARSAT (50 meter pixel size), and declassified National Technical Means imagery from the Global Fiducials Library (GFL) of the USGS (1 m pixel size). The procedure for identifying ice floes in the imagery begins with manually delineating cloud-free regions (if necessary). A threshold is then chosen to separate ice from water. Morphological operations and other semi-automated techniques are used to identify individual floes, whose properties are then easily calculated. We use the mean caliper diameter as the measure of floe size. The FSD is adequately described by a power-law in which the exponent characterizes the relative number of large and small floes. Changes in the exponent over time and space reflect changes in physical processes in the MIZ, such as sea-ice deformation, fracturing, and melting. We report results of FSD analysis for the spring and summer of 2013 and 2014, and show how the FSD will be incorporated into the MIZMAS model.

  1. Climatology of Extreme Winds in the Chukchi/Beaufort Seas/Alaska Region Using the North American Regional Reanalysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stegall, S. T.; Zhang, J.

    2009-12-01

    The high-resolution (32km, 3-hourly) North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) surface winds were used to examine the detailed structures of the distribution and evolution of the surface wind across the Chukchi/Beaufort Seas/Alaska region. First the NARR surface winds were verified against the station observations over the study area and the comparisons indicate that NARR essentially captures the distribution of the observed winds in summer. However, an obvious bias exists in winter, when the easterly component of the bimodal pattern is overestimated, while the westerly component is underestimated, particularly in January. Then we used the NARR surface wind data to examine the wind field climatological features, interannual variability and long-term change over the study area by analyzing the monthly maximums, 99th, 95th, 90th, and 50th percentile wind speeds (m/s) for each month of the year from 1979-2006. Decadal differences (i.e. the difference from 2000-2006 and 1990-1999 and 1990-1999 and 1980-1989) were also investigated to understand the long-term change in the area's surface winds. The results indicated that the maximum wind speeds in the Chukchi/Beaufort Seas have lower values from January through May. Then there is a progression northward of the higher wind speeds beginning in the Bering Strait in June and continuing into the Chukchi/Beaufort Seas during July-October; in November and December the maximum winds in the area start to decrease with a southward migration into the Chukchi Sea and eventually back through the Bering Strait into the Bering Sea, which is coincident with the sea ice retreat and advance in the area. The yearly variance of the wind speeds follow a similar northward and southward migration while the highest variance happened in October. The decadal differences mainly show a large increase in the maximum winds speeds in September and October in the Chukchi Sea.

  2. Age and Sex Composition of Seals Killed by Polar Bears in the Eastern Beaufort Sea

    PubMed Central

    Pilfold, Nicholas W.; Derocher, Andrew E.; Stirling, Ian; Richardson, Evan; Andriashek, Dennis

    2012-01-01

    Background Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the Beaufort Sea enter hyperphagia in spring and gain fat reserves to survive periods of low prey availability. We collected information on seals killed by polar bears (n = 650) and hunting attempts on ringed seal (Pusa hispida) lairs (n = 1396) observed from a helicopter during polar bear mark-recapture studies in the eastern Beaufort Sea in spring in 1985–2011. We investigated how temporal shifts in ringed seal reproduction affect kill composition and the intraspecific vulnerabilities of ringed seals to polar bear predation. Principal Findings Polar bears primarily preyed on ringed seals (90.2%) while bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus) only comprised 9.8% of the kills, but 33% of the biomass. Adults comprised 43.6% (150/344) of the ringed seals killed, while their pups comprised 38.4% (132/344). Juvenile ringed seals were killed at the lowest proportion, comprising 18.0% (62/344) of the ringed seal kills. The proportion of ringed seal pups was highest between 2007–2011, in association with high ringed seal productivity. Half of the adult ringed seal kills were ≥21 years (60/121), and kill rates of adults increased following the peak of parturition. Determination of sex from DNA revealed that polar bears killed adult male and adult female ringed seals equally (0.50, n = 78). The number of hunting attempts at ringed seal subnivean lair sites was positively correlated with the number of pup kills (r2 = 0.30, P = 0.04), but was not correlated with the number of adult kills (P = 0.37). Conclusions/Significance Results are consistent with decadal trends in ringed seal productivity, with low numbers of pups killed by polar bears in spring in years of low pup productivity, and conversely when pup productivity was high. Vulnerability of adult ringed seals to predation increased in relation to reproductive activities and age, but not gender. PMID:22829949

  3. Dramatic Weakening of the Pacific Water Boundary Current in the Beaufort Sea during the First Decade of the 2000s.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pickart, R. S.; Brugler, E.; Moore, K.; Roberts, S.; Weingartner, T.; Statscewich, H.

    2014-12-01

    Pacific-origin water has profound impacts on the physical state andecosystem of the Western Arctic Ocean. The cold winter waterventilates the upper halocline and supplies nutrients that fuelprimary productivity, while the warm summer waters melt sea ice andsupply freshwater to the Beaufort Gyre. Here we use mooring datacollected as part of the Arctic Observing Network (AON) to examine theinterannual trends in the current over the period 2002-2011.Strikingly, the volume transport of the current has decreased by morethan 80%, despite the fact that the flow through Bering Strait hasincreased over this time period. The largest changes have occurred inthe summer months. Using atmospheric reanalysis fields and weatherstation data, we demonstrate that an increase in summer easterly windsis the primary cause for the reduction in transport, which is largelydictated by the behavior of the two atmospheric centers of action, theBeaufort High and Aleutian Low. Using additional mooring and shipboarddata, together with satellite fields, we argue that a significantportion of the mass and heat passing through Bering Strait in recentyears has been advected out of Barrow Canyon into the interior CanadaBasin - rather than entering the boundary current in the Beaufort Sea- where it is responsible for a significant portion of the increasedsea ice melt in the basin.

  4. A modeling study of coastal circulation and landfast ice in the nearshore Beaufort and Chukchi seas using CIOM

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Jia; Mizobata, Kohei; Bai, Xuezhi; Hu, Haoguo; Jin, Meibing; Yu, Yanling; Ikeda, Moto; Johnson, Walter; Perie, William; Fujisaki, Ayumi

    2014-06-01

    This study investigates sea ice and ocean circulation using a 3-D, 3.8 km CIOM (Coupled Ice-Ocean Model) under daily atmospheric forcing for the period 1990-2008. The CIOM was validated using both in situ observations and satellite measurements. The CIOM successfully reproduces some observed dynamical processes in the region, including the Bering-inflow-originated coastal current that splits into three branches: Alaska Coastal Water (ACW), Central Channel branch, and Herald Valley branch. In addition, the Beaufort Slope Current (BSC), the Beaufort Gyre, the East Siberian Current (ESC), mesoscale eddies, and seasonal landfast ice are well simulated. The CIOM also reproduces reasonable interannual variability in sea ice, such as landfast ice, and anomalous open water (less sea ice) during the positive Dipole Anomaly (DA) years, vice versa during the negative DA years. Sensitivity experiments were conducted with regard to the impacts of the Bering Strait inflow (heat transport), onshore wind stress, and sea ice advection on sea ice change, in particular on the landfast ice. It is found that coastal landfast ice is controlled by the following processes: wind forcing, Bering Strait inflow, and sea ice dynamics.

  5. Holocene History of the Bering Sea Bowhead Whale ( Balaena mysticetus) in Its Beaufort Sea Summer Grounds off Southwestern Victoria Island, Western Canadian Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dyke, Arthur S.; Savelle, James M.

    2001-05-01

    The fossil remains of 43 bowhead whales were mapped on the raised beaches of western Wollaston Peninsula, Victoria Island, Canadian Arctic, near the historic summer range limit of the Bering Sea stock in the Beaufort Sea. The elevations and radiocarbon ages of the remains demonstrate that the bowhead ranged commonly into the region following the submergence of Bering Strait at ca. 10,000 14C yr B.P. until ca. 8500 14C yr B.P. During the same interval, bowheads ranged widely from the Beaufort Sea to Baffin Bay. Subsequently, no whales reached Wollaston Peninsula until ca. 1500 14C yr B.P. Late Holocene populations evidently were small, or occupations were brief, in comparison to those of the early Holocene. Although the late Holocene recurrence may relate to the expansion of pioneering Thule whalers eastward from Alaska, there are few Thule sites and limited evidence of Thule whaling in the area surveyed to support this suggestion.

  6. Modeling the rate and style of Arctic coastal retreat along the Beaufort Sea, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barnhart, K. R.; Anderson, R. S.; Overeem, I.; Wobus, C. W.; Clow, G. D.; Urban, F. E.; Lewinter, A. L.; Stanton, T. P.

    2011-12-01

    In Arctic landscapes, modern surface warming has significantly altered geomorphic process rates. Along the Beaufort Sea coastline bounding Alaska's North Slope, the mean annual coastal erosion rate has doubled from ~7 m/yr for 1955-1979 to ~14 m/yr for 2002-2007. Locally the erosion rate reaches 30 m/yr. A robust understanding of the processes that govern the rate of erosion is required in order to predict the response of the coast and its adjacent landscape to a rapidly changing climate, with implications for sediment and carbon fluxes, oilfield infrastructure, and animal habitat. On the Beaufort Sea coast, bluffs in regions of ice-rich silt-dominated permafrost are abundant. This type of coast is vulnerable to rapid erosion due to its high ice content and the small grain size of bluff sediment. The bluff material at our study site near Drew Point is 64% ice, making the bluff susceptible to thermal erosion. Liberated sediment is removed from the system in suspension and does not form sheltering beaches or barrier islands which would provide a negative feedback to erosion. During the sea ice-free season, relatively warm waters abut the bluff and ocean water melts a notch into the 4-m tall bluffs. The bluffs ultimately fail by the toppling of polygonal blocks bounded by mechanically weak ice-wedges that are spaced roughly 10-20 m apart. The blocks then temporarily armor the coast against further attack. We document the style and the drivers of coastal erosion in this region through simultaneous measurements of the oceanic and atmospheric conditions, and time-lapse imagery. We extract proxies for erosion rate from time-lapse imagery of both a degrading block and a retreating bluff from the summer of 2010, and compare the proxy record with environmental conditions and melt rate models. These observations verify that the dominant process by which erosion occurs is thermal insertion of a notch, toppling of blocks, and subsequent melting of the ice in the block. The

  7. Modeling the rate and style of Arctic coastal retreat along the Beaufort Sea, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barnhart, K. R.; Anderson, R. S.; Overeem, I.; Wobus, C. W.; Clow, G. D.; Urban, F. E.; Stanton, T. P.

    2010-12-01

    In Arctic landscapes, modern surface warming has significantly altered geomorphic process rates. Along the Beaufort Sea coastline bounding Alaska’s North Slope, the mean annual coastal erosion rate has doubled from ~7 m/yr for 1955-1979 to ~14 m/yr for 2002-2007 (Mars and Houseknecht, 2007). Locally the erosion rate can reach 30 m/yr, with short-term rates that are far greater than this. A robust understanding of the processes that govern the rate of coastal erosion is required in order to predict the response of the coast and its adjacent landscape to a rapidly changing climate, with implications for sediment and carbon fluxes, oilfield infrastructure, and animal habitat. Constrained by time-lapse imagery, and by measurements of both the oceanic and atmospheric conditions, we have developed a numerical model to capture the evolution of the permafrost bluffs on the North Slope. During the sea ice-free season, relatively warm waters melt a notch into the ice-rich silt that comprises the 4-m tall bluffs. The bluffs ultimately fail by toppling of polygonal blocks bounded by mechanically weak ice-wedges that are spaced roughly 10-20 m apart. The toppled blocks then temporarily armor the coast against further attack. The annual retreat rate is controlled by the length of the sea ice-free season, water and air temperatures, and the wave history. Honoring the high ice content of the bluff materials, we employ a positive degree day algorithm to govern subaerial melt, and an iceberg melting algorithm to determine rate of notch incision. In the iceberg melting algorithm, the local instantaneous melt rate goes as the product of the temperature difference between seawater and bluff material, the sea state, captured by the ratio of wave height to wave period, and the ratio of ice surface roughness to wave height to the 0.2 power (Kubat et al., 2007). The calculated instantaneous melt rate is adjusted to account for the ambient temperature of the permafrost and the presence of

  8. The Beaufort Sea fold-and-thrust belt, northwestern Canada: Implications for thrust-belt evolution

    SciTech Connect

    Root, K.G. )

    1991-06-01

    The northeasternmost segment of the Cordilleran thrust belt of western North American underlies the Beaufort Sea continental margin. Folds and associated northesat-directed thrusts in this region formed synchronously with Tertiary sedimentation. As a result, the times of fold development can be determined from reflection seismic data by analyzing lateral thickness changes in stratigraphic sequences of known ages, and onlap and truncation relationships at unconformities. Thrust faulting occurred throughout the late Paleocene-Pliocene. The abundant temporal data indicate the deformational seuqence was significantly differet from the simple, steplike, foreland-propagating model formulated in other less well-dated thrust belts. Many thrusts were active simultaneously, especially during the late Eocnee, when the region of active thrusting had an across-strike width of greater than 200 km. This observation calls into question the popular concept that only one thrust moves at a time as a thrust belt develops. The thrust belt propagated along, as well as across, strike. During the late Paleocene-middle Eocene, the area of active thrusting was bounded on the southeast by poorly imaged zones of right-lateral strike-slip faults that apparently are the northern offshore continuation of the Rapid fault array. The change in the age of thrusting along strike results in no obvious geometrical anomalies and could not be deduced without timing information. This has an important implication: temporal data cannot necessarily be projected along strike in a thrust belt.

  9. Aerial surveys of endangered whales in the Beaufort Sea, Fall 1989. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Treacy, S.D.

    1990-11-01

    The OCSLA Amendments of 1978 (43 U.S.C. 1802) established a policy for the management of oil and natural gas in the OCS and for protection of the marine and coastal environments. The amended OCSLA authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to conduct studies in areas or regions of sales to ascertain the environmental impacts on the marine and coastal environments of the outer Continental Shelf and the coastal areas which may be affected by oil and gas development (43 U.S.C. 1346). The report describes field activities and data analyses for aerial surveys of bowhead whales conducted between 1 September 1989 and 20 October 1989 in the Beaufort Sea, primarily between 140 W. and 154 W. longitudes south of 72 N. latitude. Ice cover during September and October 1989 was exceptionally light. A total of 215 bowhead whales, 104 belukha whales, 9 bearded seals, 84 ringed seals, and 32 unidentified pinnipeds were observed in 1989 during 98.70 hours of survey effort that included 38.10 hours on randomized transects. The last sighting of a bowhead whale made during the survey occurred in open water on 19 October 1989. No whales were sighted during a subsequent flight on 20 October 1989. Estimated median and mean water depths were shallower than for previous surveys (1982-1989). This is consistent with a trend for whales to be located in shallower water during years of generally light ice cover.

  10. Drilling and operational sounds from an oil production island in the ice-covered Beaufort sea.

    PubMed

    Blackwell, Susanna B; Greene, Charles R; Richardson, W John

    2004-11-01

    Recordings of sounds underwater and in air, and of iceborne vibrations, were obtained at Northstar Island, an artificial gravel island in the Beaufort Sea near Prudhoe Bay (Alaska). The aim was to document the levels, characteristics, and range dependence of sounds and vibrations produced by drilling and oil production during the winter, when the island was surrounded by shore-fast ice. Drilling produced the highest underwater broadband (10-10,000 Hz) levels (maximum= 124 dB re: 1 microPa at 1 km), and mainly affected 700-1400 Hz frequencies. In contrast, drilling did not increase broadband levels in air or ice relative to levels during other island activities. Production did not increase broadband levels for any of the sensors. In all media, broadband levels decreased by approximately 20 dB/tenfold change in distance. Background levels underwater were reached by 9.4 km during drilling and 3-4 km without. In the air and ice, background levels were reached 5-10 km and 2-10 km from Northstar, respectively, depending on the wind but irrespective of drilling. A comparison of the recorded sounds with harbor and ringed seal audiograms showed that Northstar sounds were probably audible to seals, at least intermittently, out to approximately 1.5 km in water and approximately 5 km in air. PMID:15603166

  11. Acoustic and visual surveys for bowhead whales in the western Beaufort and far northeastern Chukchi seas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moore, Sue E.; Stafford, Kathleen M.; Munger, Lisa M.

    2010-01-01

    Two types of passive-acoustic survey were conducted to investigate the seasonal occurrence of bowhead whales ( Balaena mysticetus) in the western Beaufort and far northeastern Chukchi seas: (1) an over-winter (2003-04) survey using autonomous recorders deployed northeast of Barrow, Alaska, and (2) a summertime dipping-hydrophone survey along the 2005 NOAA Ocean Exploration (OE) cruise track northwest of Barrow. The longest continuous sampling period from the over-winter survey was 3 October 2003 to 12 May 2004. During that period, bowhead whale calls were recorded from 3 to 23 October, intermittently on 6-7 and 22-23 November, then not again until 25 March 2004. Bowhead calls were recorded almost every hour from 19 April to 12 May 2004, with a call rate peak on 30 April ( ca. 9400 calls) and a few instances of patterned calling (or, "song") detected in early May. Bowhead whale calls were never detected during the NOAA OE cruise, but calls of beluga whales ( Delphinapterus leucas) were recorded at 3 of 16 acoustic stations. Opportunistic visual surveys for marine mammals were also conducted during the NOAA OE cruise from the ship (65 h) and helicopter (7.8 h), resulting in single sightings of bowhead whales (3-5 whales), beluga (16-20 whales), walrus (1), polar bear (2=sow/cub), and 17 sightings of 87 ringed seals from the ship and 15 sightings of 67 ringed seals from the helicopter.

  12. Drilling and operational sounds from an oil production island in the ice-covered Beaufort Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blackwell, Susanna B.; Greene, Charles R.; Richardson, W. John

    2004-11-01

    Recordings of sounds underwater and in air, and of iceborne vibrations, were obtained at Northstar Island, an artificial gravel island in the Beaufort Sea near Prudhoe Bay (Alaska). The aim was to document the levels, characteristics, and range dependence of sounds and vibrations produced by drilling and oil production during the winter, when the island was surrounded by shore-fast ice. Drilling produced the highest underwater broadband (10-10 000 Hz) levels (maximum=124 dB re: 1 μPa at 1 km), and mainly affected 700-1400 Hz frequencies. In contrast, drilling did not increase broadband levels in air or ice relative to levels during other island activities. Production did not increase broadband levels for any of the sensors. In all media, broadband levels decreased by ~20 dB/tenfold change in distance. Background levels underwater were reached by 9.4 km during drilling and 3-4 km without. In the air and ice, background levels were reached 5-10 km and 2-10 km from Northstar, respectively, depending on the wind but irrespective of drilling. A comparison of the recorded sounds with harbor and ringed seal audiograms showed that Northstar sounds were probably audible to seals, at least intermittently, out to ~1.5 km in water and ~5 km in air. .

  13. Marine heat flow measurements across subsea permafrost limit in the eastern Mackenzie Trough, Canadian Beaufort Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Y. G.; Hong, J. K.; Jin, Y. K.; Riedel, M.; Melling, H.; Kang, S. G.; Dallimore, S.

    2015-12-01

    Marine heat flow measurements using a 5 m-long Ewing-type heat probe were made during Korean icebreaker R/V Araon's Arctic expeditions (ARA04C in 2013 and ARA05B in 2014) to better know the shallow subsurface thermal structure in the eastern slope of Mackenzie Trough, the Canadian Beaufort Sea, in which associative geological processes of permafrost degradation and gas hydrate dissociation occur because of long-term warming since the Last Glacial Maximum. Heat flow in the continental slope was collected for the first time and is rather higher than those from deep boreholes (up to a few km below the seafloor) in the continental shelf. However, the smaller geothermal gradient and thermal conductivity were observed from sites along a transect line across permafrost limit on the eastern slope of the trough. It is noted that geothermal gradients are relatively constant in the vicinity of permafrost limit but are much smaller (even minus) only at deeper depths with positive bottom water temperature. Reason for such distribution is unclear yet. Based on observed geothermal gradient and bottom water temperature, permafrost table shown in subbottom profile seems to be controlled not by temperature. On the other hand, our finding of permafrost evidence on the other subbottom profile located landward may support that permafrost limit in the trough is along with ~100 m isobath.

  14. Zones of impact around icebreakers affecting beluga whales in the Beaufort Sea.

    PubMed

    Erbe, C; Farmer, D M

    2000-09-01

    A software model estimating zones of impact on marine mammals around man-made noise [C. Erbe and D. M. Farmer, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 108, 1327-1331 (2000)] is applied to the case of icebreakers affecting beluga whales in the Beaufort Sea. Two types of noise emitted by the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Henry Larsen are analyzed: bubbler system noise and propeller cavitation noise. Effects on beluga whales are modeled both in a deep-water environment and a near-shore environment. The model estimates that the Henry Larsen is audible to beluga whales over ranges of 35-78 km, depending on location. The zone of behavioral disturbance is only slightly smaller. Masking of beluga communication signals is predicted within 14-71-km range. Temporary hearing damage can occur if a beluga stays within 1-4 km of the Henry Larsen for at least 20 min. Bubbler noise impacts over the short ranges quoted; propeller cavitation noise accounts for all the long-range effects. Serious problems can arise in heavily industrialized areas where animals are exposed to ongoing noise and where anthropogenic noise from a variety of sources adds up. PMID:11008834

  15. Downward particle flux and carbon export in the Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean; the role of zooplankton

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miquel, J.-C.; Gasser, B.; Martín, J.; Marec, C.; Babin, M.; Fortier, L.; Forest, A.

    2015-08-01

    As part of the international, multidisciplinary project Malina, downward particle fluxes were investigated by means of a drifting multi-sediment trap mooring deployed at three sites in the Canadian Beaufort Sea in late summer 2009. Mooring deployments lasted between 28 and 50 h and targeted the shelf-break and the slope along the Beaufort-Mackenzie continental margin, as well as the edge between the Mackenzie Shelf and the Amundsen Gulf. Besides analyses of C and N, the collected material was investigated for pigments, phyto- and microzooplankton, faecal pellets and swimmers. The measured fluxes were relatively low, in the range of 11-54 mg m-2 d-1 for the total mass, 1-15 mg C m-2 d-1 for organic carbon and 0.2-2.5 mg N m-2 d-1 for nitrogen. Comparison with a long-term trap data set from the same sampling area showed that the short-term measurements were at the lower end of the high variability characterizing a rather high flux regime during the study period. The sinking material consisted of aggregates and particles that were characterized by the presence of hetero- and autotrophic microzooplankters and diatoms and by the corresponding pigment signatures. Faecal pellets contribution to sinking carbon flux was important, especially at depths below 100 m, where they represented up to 25 % of the total carbon flux. The vertical distribution of different morphotypes of pellets showed a marked pattern with cylindrical faeces (produced by calanoid copepods) present mainly within the euphotic zone, whereas elliptical pellets (produced mainly by smaller copepods) were more abundant at mesopelagic depths. These features, together with the density of matter within the pellets, highlighted the role of the zooplankton community in the transformation of carbon issued from the primary production and the transition of that carbon from the productive surface zone to the Arctic Ocean's interior. Our data indicate that sinking carbon flux in this late summer period is primarily

  16. Downward particle flux and carbon export in the Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean; the Malina experiment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miquel, J.-C.; Gasser, B.; Martín, J.; Marec, C.; Babin, M.; Fortier, L.; Forest, A.

    2015-01-01

    As part of the international, multidisciplinary project Malina, downward particle fluxes were investigated by means of a drifting multi-sediment trap mooring deployed at three sites in the Canadian Beaufort Sea in late summer 2009. Mooring deployments lasted for 28-50 h and targeted the shelf-break and the slope along the Beaufort-Mackenzie continental margin, as well as the edge between the Mackenzie Shelf and the Amundsen Gulf. Besides analyses of C and N, the collected material was investigated for pigments, phyto- and microzooplankton, faecal pellets and swimmers. The measured fluxes were relatively low, in the range of 11-54 mg m-2 d-1 for the total mass, 1-15 mg C m-2 d-1 for organic carbon and 0.2-2.5 mg N m-2 d-1 for nitrogen. Comparison with a long-term trap dataset from the same sampling area showed that the short-term measurements were at the lower end of the high variability characterizing a rather high flux regime during the study period. The sinking material consisted of aggregates and particles that were characterized by the presence of hetero- and autotrophic microzooplankters and diatoms and by the corresponding pigment signatures. Faecal pellets contribution to sinking carbon flux was important, especially at depth where they represented up to 25% of the total carbon flux. The vertical distribution of different morphotypes of pellets showed a marked pattern with cylindrical faeces (produced by calanoid copepods) present mainly within the euphotic zone, whereas elliptical pellets (produced mainly by smaller copepods) were more abundant at mesopelagic depths. These features, together with the density of matter within the pellets, highlighted the role of the zooplankton community in the transformation of carbon issued from the primary production and the transition of that carbon from the productive surface zone to the Arctic Ocean's interior. Our data indicate that sinking carbon flux in this late summer period is primarily the result of a

  17. Degradation state of organic matter in surface sediments from the Southern Beaufort Sea: a lipid approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rontani, J.-F.; Charriere, B.; Petit, M.; Vaultier, F.; Heipieper, H. J.; Link, H.; Chaillou, G.; Sempéré, R.

    2012-09-01

    For the next decades significant climatic changes should occur in the Arctic zone. The expected destabilisation of permafrost and its consequences for hydrology and plant cover should increase the input of terrigenous carbon to coastal seas. Consequently, the relative importance of the fluxes of terrestrial and marine organic carbon to the seafloor will likely change, strongly impacting the preservation of organic carbon in Arctic marine sediments. Here, we investigated the lipid content of surface sediments collected on the Mackenzie basin in the Beaufort Sea. Particular attention was given to biotic and abiotic degradation products of sterols and monounsaturated fatty acids. By using sitosterol and campesterol degradation products as tracers of the degradation of terrestrial higher plant inputs and brassicasterol degradation products as tracers of degradation of phytoplanktonic organisms, it could be observed that autoxidation, photooxidation and biodegradation processes act much more intensively on higher plant debris than on phytoplanktonic organisms. Examination of oxidation products of monounsaturated fatty acids showed that photo- and autoxidation processes act more intensively on bacteria than on phytodetritus. Enhanced damages induced by singlet oxygen (transferred from senescent phytoplanktonic cells) in bacteria were attributed to the lack of an adapted antioxidant system in these microorganisms. The strong oxidative stress observed in the sampled sediments resulted in the production of significant amounts of epoxy acids and unusually high proportions of monounsaturated fatty acids with a trans double bond. The formation of epoxy acids was attributed to peroxygenases (enzymes playing a protective role against the deleterious effects of fatty acid hydroperoxides in vivo), while cis/trans isomerisation was probably induced by thiyl radicals produced during the reaction of thiols with hydroperoxides. Our results confirm the important role played by abiotic

  18. Remote sensing of erosion along ice-rich permafrost bluffs, Beaufort Sea coast, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jones, B. M.; Arp, C. D.; Jorgenson, M. T.; Hinkel, K. M.; Wobus, C.; Anderson, R.

    2008-12-01

    Rates of shoreline erosion along Arctic coastlines have traditionally been among the highest in the world. However, recent studies of erosion along the Beaufort Sea coast in Alaska have found that rates are increasing relative to these historically high rates. Using a combination of high-resolution historic and contemporary aerial photography and satellite imagery we have also found an interesting shift in the pattern of erosion along a 60km segment of north facing coastline within the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska. Roughly 30 percent of the study coastline is subject to thermo-mechanical erosional niche formation and block collapse. Mean annual erosion rates for coastline types subject to this type of erosion have increased from 8 m/yr (1955-1979) to nearly 18 m/yr (2002-2007). Ice-poor permafrost bluffs had historically eroded at nearly twice the rate of ice-rich permafrost bluffs, however between 2002 and 2007 these bluff types eroded at nearly identical rates. Further, during the remainder of the 2007 ice-free season nearly 25 m of erosion occurred locally along ice-rich permafrost bluffs. The size of blocks that had collapsed during this time ranged from 6 to 12 m wide. This suggests that some areas potentially experienced 2 to 4 episodes of niche formation, block collapse, and block degradation within a single year. This process of erosion is believed to occur during westerly or northwesterly wind events that elevate sea level, removing slumped materials from the bluff toe, and attacking the base of the bluff creating the niche that leads to block collapse. However, during the 2007 ice-free season, an effective wind event of this sort did not occur.

  19. Beaufort-Chukchi Seas summer and fall ice margin data from Seasat - Conditions with similarities to the Labrador Sea

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Carsey, Frank D.; Pihos, Greg

    1989-01-01

    The margin of the sea-ice pack of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas is examined using the microwave data from Seasat taken during the summer to early fall, July 4 through October 8, 1978, and the observations are compared to the analogous observations taken in LIMEX'87. The sensors used are synthetic-aperture radar (SAR), the Seasat-A scatterometer system, and the Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer. The examination indicates that the ice edge in summer and early fall is compact; that is, in most cases the pack undergoes an abrupt change in ice concentration from zero over open water to a substantial value (over 70 percent) in the marginal ice zone. This change takes place over the space of a few kilometers. Adjacent to the edge there is a zone of intermediate ice concentration 50-100-km wide. In late summer there is a band of ice at the edge which is largely featureless in the 25-m resolution of the Seasat SAR and is taken to be ice cakes with diameters less than 100 m. Eddylike structures seem to be present in the margin on scales from 5-200 km; bands and tadpole streamers are also observable. All three instruments locate the ice edge with varying degrees of precision.

  20. Changes in Soils and Permafrost as a Function of Distance to the Beaufort Sea Coast, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lynn, L. A.; Ping, C.; Jorgenson, T.; Fortier, D.; Dou, F.

    2006-12-01

    Observed increases in the rate of coastal erosion have raised concerns about long term effects along the Beaufort Sea coast, Alaska. The objective of this study is to examine changes in soil and permafrost along three transects from the coastal bluff to 100 meters inland along the Beaufort Sea coast at three sites. The specific objectives are to determine site stratigraphy, cryogenic structure of the permafrost, and properties of the active layer as well as determine the effects of distance on the soil drainage, morphology, physical and biochemical properties, and fungal activity. Three sites on the north coast of Alaska were selected: Barrow, Prudhoe Bay, and Kaktovik. At each site three transects were laid perpendicular to the coast along which five points were designated: the bluff exposure at zero meters, one meter, five, 25, and 100 meters from the bluff. Elevations along transects were recorded as well as water depth and active layer thaw depth. Vegetative species and distribution data were recorded as well as physiographic descriptions. Soil samples for analysis were collected from each horizon of the active layer. The permafrost was sampled to a maximum depth of 2.5 meters in order to determine soil stratigraphy and ice content and to understand soil disturbances related to ice wedge growth in the polygons. Thermokarst trough expansion and changes in water ponding will be evaluated using historical photographs and GIS analysis. On polygonal terrain along the coast, soil properties including the type of sediment, cryoturbations, and ice content are strongly related to the dynamics of ice-wedge polygon development during the Holocene. This situation complicates the stratigraphy and the dynamics of the active layer and renders the systematic interpretation of the soils along a gradient perpendicular to the coast a challenge. Based on the first-year study, preliminary observations indicate that coastal erosion may propagate a substantial distance inland

  1. Stopover ecology of Semipalmated Sandpipers (Calidris pusilla) at coastal deltas of the Beaufort Sea, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Churchwell, Roy T.

    Avian migration is one of the wonders of the natural world. Stored fats are the main source of nutrients and fuel for avian migration and it is assumed the fat deposition at stopover sites is a critical component of a successful migration. Stopover sites are crucial in the successful migration of many birds, but particularly for arctic-breeding shorebirds that migrate long distances from breeding to wintering grounds. Despite the importance of stopover sites, it is often difficult to determine the importance of these sites to migrating shorebirds. I investigated three aspects of stopover ecology of Semipalmated Sandpipers (Calidris pusilla) foraging at coastal deltas on the Beaufort Sea coast, Alaska. First, I quantified the spatial and temporal distribution and abundance of the benthic macroinvertebrate community living within the mudflats. I found that there were two ecological groups of macroinvertebrates using river deltas, one originated in terrestrial freshwater habitats and most importantly could withstand freezing in delta sediments over the winter, and the other originated from the marine environment, could not withstand freezing and had to migrate to intertidal habitats each summer from deeper water areas that did not freeze over the winter. Stable isotope analysis allowed me to describe the origin of carbon consumed by invertebrates in intertidal habitats. I predicted freshwater invertebrates would consume terrestrial carbon, and marine invertebrates would consume marine carbon, but I found that both groups utilized the same carbon, which was a mixture of terrestrial and marine sources. My second research question determined the importance of delta foraging habitat for fall migrating Semipalmated Sandpipers. I mapped the temporal distribution and abundance of birds and quantified this relationship to invertebrate distribution and abundance. I researched fattening rates of shorebirds by measuring triglycerides in the blood of shorebirds I captured. I

  2. Tracking Changes in Coastal and Nearshore Morphology in the Southern Beaufort Sea Using Synthetic Aperture Radar

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Solomon, S. M.; Fraser, P.; Whalen, D.

    2007-12-01

    Nearshore morphology in the Mackenzie Delta region of the Beaufort Sea is poorly known because much of the region is very shallow (< 2 m) and the water is highly turbid. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) has been used to map nearshore morphology of lakes in Alaska by taking advantage of the ability of radar waves to penetrate freshwater ice. This technique has been extended to the Mackenzie Delta nearshore region where winter ice forms from river water that is sufficiently fresh so as to be transparent at SAR frequencies. SAR allows the delineation of sea ice that freezes to the seabed (bottom-fast ice or BFI). A time series of imagery throughout a winter depicts the progressive growth of areas where BFI occurs and if sea ice thickness is known at the time of imaging, the delineation of BFI zones represents a proxy for bathymetry. Progressive development of BFI was mapped through the winters of 2003-07 and isolated images from other years are available. The nearshore morphology of the region as revealed by BFI mapping is characterized by extensive nearshore shoals that form at the mouths of active distributaries and are separated by wide, slightly deeper embayments. Narrow channels can be seen to transect the shoals both aligned with and orthogonal to the river outflow. Detailed images from thick ice years depict channels fanning out to feed distributary mouth bars. Comparison of images acquired over more than 10 years suggest that shoal migration can exceed 100 m per year and channel incision of the shoals to depths of >5 m has occurred. The BFI imagery suggests that there is sufficient room beneath the sea ice cover to permit river discharge to reach the shelf without requiring extensive networks of sub- ice channels. The distribution of bottomfast ice also constrains discharge during winter and spring. High inflows occurring during winter surges may lift the ice canopy or over flow onto the surface of the ice disrupting transportation networks. Negative surges in

  3. Plankton ecosystem functioning and nitrogen fluxes in the most oligotrophic waters of the Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean: a modeling study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Le Fouest, V.; Zakardjian, B.; Xie, H.; Raimbault, P.; Joux, F.; Babin, M.

    2012-10-01

    The Arctic Ocean (AO) undergoes profound changes of its physical and biotic environments due to climate change. The greater light exposure and stratification alter its plankton ecosystem structure, functioning and productivity promoting oligotrophy in some areas as the Beaufort Sea. A one-dimension (1-D) physical-biological coupled model based on the large multiparametric database of the Malina project in the Beaufort Sea was used (i) to infer the functioning and nitrogen fluxes within the summer plankton ecosystem and (ii) to assess the model sensitivity to key light-associated processes involved in nutrient recycling and phytoplankton growth. The coupled model suggested that ammonium photochemically produced from photosensitive dissolved organic nitrogen (i.e. photoammonification process) was a necessary nitrogen source to achieve the observed levels of microbial biomass and production. It contributed to ca. two-thirds and one-third of the simulated surface (0-10 m) and depth-integrated primary and bacterial production, respectively. The model also suggested that carbon to chlorophyll ratios for small (< 5 μm) phytoplankton (ca. 15-45 g g-1) lower than those commonly used in biogeochemical models applied to the AO were required to simulate the observed herbivorous versus microbial food web competition and realistic nitrogen fluxes in the Beaufort Sea oligotrophic waters. In face of accelerating Arctic warming, more attention should be paid in the future to the mechanistic processes involved in food webs and functional groups competition, nutrient recycling and primary production in poorly productive waters of the AO as they are expected to expand rapidly.

  4. Benthic Gouge Marks in the Canadian Beaufort Sea: Associations Between Whales and Methane Seeps?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smalls, P. T.; Paull, C. K.; Dallimore, S.

    2015-12-01

    Numerous distinctive depressions were observed on the seafloor during twenty-eight remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dives conducted on the shelf edge and upper slope of the Canadian Beaufort Sea. Surface ship and autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) multibeam bathymetric maps were used to identify potential methane seepage sites, such as areas with persistent water column acoustic anomalies and the tops of mud volcanoes. ROV dives were conducted at these sites and at background sites for stratigraphic sampling. The high abundance of these distinctive depressions stimulated an analysis of the video observations made on these ROV dives. Depressions were analyzed to document their characteristics, to help determine their origin, and to establish whether their frequency varies with bottom type. One hundred fifty-two of the depressions observed had shared characteristics consisting of an "oval-shaped" depression with raised ridged edges that extended laterally along the flanks, and traces of uplifted sediment either in or around the depression. Similar depressions have been called "gouge marks" and attributed to bottom feeding beaked whales in previous studies. The size and water depth of the measured depressions matched well with beak sizes and feeding depths of beaked whale species known to exist in this area. This supports the conclusion that beaked whales created the depressions. The occurrence of these gouge marks and the estimates of the total area observed on these ROV dives (~45,000 m2), suggests they are common (e.g., ~4,000 per km2) features on the seafloor in this area of the Arctic. Gouges were also found 2.25 times more often at suspected methane seep-sites when normalized for depth and area. This suggests that the whales are preferentially attracted to seepage sites. While the reason for this possible preferential feeding behavior is unknown, it provides an intriguing avenue for further research.

  5. Modern erosion rates and loss of coastal features and sites, Beaufort Sea coastline, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jones, Benjamin M.; Hinkel, Kenneth M.; Arp, C.D.; Eisner, Wendy R.

    2008-01-01

    This study presents modern erosion rate measurements based upon vertical aerial photography captured in 1955, 1979, and 2002 for a 100 km segment of the Beaufort Sea coastline. Annual erosion rates from 1955 to 2002 averaged 5.6 m a-1. However, mean erosion rates increased from 5.0 m a-1 in 1955-79 to 6.2 m a-1 in 1979-2002. Furthermore, from the first period to the second, erosion rates increased at 60% (598) of the 992 sites analyzed, decreased at 31% (307), and changed less than ?? 30 cm at 9% (87). Historical observations and quantitative studies over the past 175 years allowed us to place our erosion rate measurements into a longer-term context. Several of the coastal features along this stretch of coastline received Western place names during the Dease and Simpson expedition in 1837, and the majority of those features had been lost by the early 1900s as a result of coastline erosion, suggesting that erosion has been active over at least the historical record. Incorporation of historical and modern observations also allowed us to detect the loss of both cultural and historical sites and modern infrastructure. U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps reveal a number of known cultural and historical sites, as well as sites with modern infrastructure constructed as recently as the 1950s, that had disappeared by the early 2000s as a result of coastal erosion. We were also able to identify sites that are currently being threatened by an encroaching coastline. Our modern erosion rate measurements can potentially be used to predict when a historical site or modern infrastructure will be affected if such erosion rates persist. ?? The Arctic Institute of North America.

  6. Importance of the eastern Alaskan Beaufort Sea to feeding bowhead whales, 1985. Final report, June 1985-May 1986

    SciTech Connect

    Richardson, W.J.

    1986-05-01

    The two-year project is designed to quantify what proportion of the energy requirements of Western Arctic bowheads is provided by food acquired in the Eastern part of the Alaskan Beaufort Sea. The report describes results from Year 1 fieldwork in September and early October 1985. Water masses were studied by boat-based sampling and by airborne and satellite remote sensing. Zooplankton composition, biomass, distribution, patchiness, and energy content were documented by boat-based sampling. The distribution, numbers and activities of bowheads were determined by aerial surveys and behavioral observations. Bowheads probably consume several times more food there in some other years.

  7. A Summary Comparison of Active Acoustic Detections and Visual Observations of Marine Mammals in the Canadian Beaufort Sea.

    PubMed

    Pyć, Cynthia D; Geoffroy, Maxime; Knudsen, Frank R

    2016-01-01

    Fisheries sonar was used to determine the applicability of active acoustic monitoring (AAM) for marine mammal detection in the Canadian Beaufort Sea. During 170 h of simultaneous observation by marine mammal observers and active acoustic observation, 119 Balaena mysticetus (bowheads) and 4 Delphinapterus leucas (belugas) were visually sighted, while 59 acoustic signals of bowheads were detected by AAM operators. Observations and detection of seals were also recorded. Comparative results indicate that commercially available active acoustic systems can detect seals at distances up to 500 m and large baleen whales at distances up to 2 km. PMID:26611045

  8. Hierarchy and sea ice mechanics: A case study from the Beaufort Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Overland, James E.; Walter, Bernard A.; Curtin, Thomas B.; Turet, Philip

    1995-03-01

    Hierarchy implies that the study of sea ice can be divided into analysis of subsets of processes based on scale and their interaction with adjacent scales. We apply these concepts to regional sea ice dynamics. The apparent self-similar property of ice floes seen in aircraft or satellite images argues for an aggregate nature of sea ice, that viscouslike regional behavior arises from discrete floe interactions. However, for some regions and some times, characteristic behavior, where lead patterns seen in basin-wide advanced very high resolution radiometer images appear to be related to coastal orientation hundreds of kilometers away, suggests that small regional scale processes O(10 km) and discontinuities in the velocity or stress state along boundaries can affect the larger-scale sea ice distribution and dynamics O(500 km). Thus sea ice displays both aggregate type behavior and discontinuous type behavior based on the history of forcing and shape of the enclosing basin. The appropriate matching of atmospheric processes to sea ice processes in air-ice interaction is through the sea ice deformation field rather than the response of ice velocity to the local wind. This is because atmospheric forcing and sea ice deformation have matching energetic scales at several hundred kilometers and timescales of days. An example of northerly winds during the April 1992 Arctic Leads Experiment period suggests discontinuous type behavior upwind of the Alaska coast followed by a general opening behavior with easterly winds. There appear to be natural scale divisions between climate scale sea ice processes of O(100-300 km) which resolve aggregate behavior, regional scale O(10-50 km) which is necessary to resolve observed shearing behavior, and the floe scale O(1 km). Because the climate scale is two levels removed from the floe scale, care must be exercised in using ice properties from the floe scale in climate scale models; ice strength is an example of such a scale dependent

  9. Sea-ice algae: Major contributors to primary production and algal biomass in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas during May/June 2002

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gradinger, Rolf

    2009-08-01

    Sea-ice and water samples were collected at 14 stations on the shelves and slope regions of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas during the spring 2002 expedition as part of the Shelf-Basin Interaction Studies. Algal pigment content, particulate organic carbon and nitrogen, and primary productivity were estimated for both habitats based on ice cores, brine collection and water samples from 5-m depth. The pigment content (0.2-304.3 mg pigments m -2) and primary productivity (0.1-23.0 mg C m -3 h -1) of the sea-ice algae significantly exceeded water-column parameters (0.2 and 1.0 mg pigments m -3; <0.1-0.4 mg C m -3 h -1), making sea ice the habitat with the highest food availability for herbivores in early spring in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Stable isotope signatures for ice and water samples did not differ significantly for δ 15N, but for δ 13C (ice: -25.1‰ to -14.2‰; water: -26.1‰ to -22.4‰). The analysis of nutrient concentrations and the pulse-amplitude-modulated fluorescence signal of ice algae and phytoplankton indicate that nutrients were the prime limiting factor for sea-ice algal productivity. The estimated spring primary production of about 1-2 g C m -2 of sea-ice algae on the shelves requires the use of substantial nutrient reservoirs from the water column.

  10. Prediction of drilling site-specific interaction of industrial acoustic stimuli and endangered whales: Beaufort Sea (1985). Final report, July 1985-March 1986

    SciTech Connect

    Miles, P.R.; Malme, C.I.; Shepard, G.W.; Richardson, W.J.; Bird, J.E.

    1986-10-01

    Research was performed during the first year (1985) of the two-year project investigating potential responsiveness of bowhead and gray whales to underwater sounds associated with offshore oil-drilling sites in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea. The underwater acoustic environment and sound propagation characteristics of five offshore sites were determined. Estimates of industrial noise levels versus distance from those sites are provided. LGL Ltd. (bowhead) and BBN (gray whale) jointly present zones of responsiveness of these whales to typical underwater sounds (drillship, dredge, tugs, drilling at gravel island). An annotated bibliography regarding the potential effects of offshore industrial noise on bowhead whales in the Beaufort Sea is included.

  11. Catalogue of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) maternal den locations in the Beaufort Sea and neighboring regions, Alaska, 1910-2010

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Durner, George M.; Fischbach, Anthony S.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Douglas, David C.

    2010-01-01

    This report presents data on the approximate locations and methods of discovery of 392 polar bear (Ursus maritimus) maternal dens found in the Beaufort Sea and neighboring regions between 1910 and 2010 that are archived by the U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, Alaska. A description of data collection methods, biases associated with collection method, primary time periods, and spatial resolution are provided. Polar bears in the Beaufort Sea and nearby regions den on both the sea ice and on land. Standardized VHF surveys and satellite radio telemetry data provide a general understanding of where polar bears have denned in this region over the past 3 decades. Den observations made during other research activities and anecdotal reports from other government agencies, coastal residents, and industry personnel also are reported. Data on past polar bear maternal den locations are provided to inform the public and to provide information for natural resource agencies in planning activities to avoid or minimize interference with polar bear maternity dens.

  12. Rapid coastal erosion on the Beaufort Sea coast: A triple whammy induced by climate change (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, R. S.; Wobus, C. W.; Overeem, I.; Clow, G. D.; Urban, F. E.; Stanton, T. P.

    2009-12-01

    The effects of climate change on landscape evolution can be pronounced in polar regions due to amplification of warming at high latitudes and sensitivity of ice-rich landscapes to warming. Documented coastal erosion rates exceeding 20-30 m/yr suggest that the effects of climate change are already being felt along northern coastlines. We seek to combine direct observational evidence of coastal retreat with relevant environmental information to generate predictive models capable of describing how these erosion processes respond to climate change. We study a section of the Beaufort Sea coastline roughly midway between Point Barrow and Prudhoe Bay. Three-to five-meter high, ice-rich silty bluffs have been eroding at a consistent rate of 15-25 m/yr through two years of direct monitoring. Our onshore data includes time-lapse photography, GPS-located flag lines, meteorological observations, bluff substrate properties, and size distributions of eroded blocks. Offshore, we use models and measurements of sea-ice coverage, bathymetry, sea surface temperature, and wave dynamics. Time-lapse films collected during the summers of 2008 and 2009 indicate that episodic block failure during storm events is superimposed on a slow, steady notching of the base of the ice-rich bluffs, which appears to be driven primarily by melting from relatively warm seawater. Block failure occurs preferentially along ice wedges. Once the blocks have toppled, thermal disintegration by warm nearshore waters occurs within days. The nearshore water responsible for melting the permafrost-rich coastline is very shallow; the local shelf slopes at less than 1 m/km. The water is commonly opaque due to suspended silt: light extinction depth scales of decimeters suggest that solar radiation should be efficiently absorbed in surface waters. Nearshore temperatures display distinct diurnal histories, and are vertically uniform, implying that they are well mixed. Variations in water level are dominated by storm

  13. Intra-seasonal variability of the Beaufort Gyre and its impact on the fate of Arctic Sea ice in the Pacific Sector of the Arctic Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mizobata, Kohei; Kimura, Noriaki

    2015-04-01

    Decades of satellite observation have revealed drastic reduction of sea ice over the Chukchi Borderland (hereafter CBL) area in the Arctic Ocean. One of the triggers for this reduction is the Pacific Summer Water (hereafter PSW), which enters in the Arctic Basin via the Chukchi Sea. After intruding the Arctic Ocean, the PSW is transported by the clockwise Beaufort Gyre (hereafter, BG) and is delivered to CBL region during wintertime. It is thought that the increase in ocean heat content due to PSW will delay sea ice formation. However, there is an inter-annual variability of sea ice distribution in the Pacific sector of the Arctic Ocean, indicating the temporal and spatial variability of the PSW. To understand where and when the PSW arrives in the Pacific sector of the Arctic Ocean, we need to elucidate the distribution and strength of the BG during wintertime. Hydrographic observations by the drifting/ice-mounted buoy and mooring are quite helpful to obtain in-situ measurements, however, it is hard to elucidate changing spatial and temporal distribution patterns of BG and PSW. In this study, we investigated monthly DOT field derived from the measurements of the Synthetic Aperture Interferometric Radar Altimeter (SIRAL), which is mounted on the Cryosphere Satellite-2 (CryoSat-2). Moreover, we employed 1) the ice concentration and ice velocity datasets derived from the data observed by the satellite microwave sensors, the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for EOS (AMSR-E, mounted on the earth observing satellite AQUA) and AMSR2 (mounted on the satellite, Global Change Observation Mission 1st - Water (GCOM-W1)), 2) the NCEP-DOE Reanalysis 2 sea level pressure, to examine sea surface stress field and 3) CryoSat-2 sea ice thickness distributed by the AWI. DOTs derived from the Cryosat-2/SIRAL measurements show both inter-annual and intra-seasonal variability of the Beaufort Gyre during wintertime. Actually, the Beaufort Gyre responds to changing sea ice motion

  14. Methane Seepage From the Arctic Shelf; 20 Years of Research on the Beaufort Sea Margin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lorenson, T. D.; Paull, C. K.; Collett, T. S.; Dallimore, S. R.

    2008-12-01

    The U. S. Geological Survey has lead or played major roles in several efforts over the past 20 years to find geochemical evidence for gas hydrate dissociation on the Beaufort Sea shelf, a region of complex and varied geologic features that include: 1) several river deltas entering the Arctic Ocean, the largest of which is the Mackenzie River, 2) submerged continental shelf underlain by permafrost, 3) known petroleum systems of northern Alaska and the Mackenzie River Delta - Canada, 4), submerged pingo-like features (PLF's ) and, 5) pockmark fields. The results of these studies show that gas hydrate is present and that methane source can be both microbial and thermogenic. In light of our rapidly changing climate, the instability and potential methane release from Arctic gas hydrate deposits are reemerging as pivotal uncertainties. On the Alaskan Beaufort Shelf in water depths or about 10 m or less, methane concentrations in seawater are elevated relative to atmosphere. This methane likely originates from microbial degradation of organic matter deposited by rivers or coastal currents, and may be associated with organics in destabilized from recently thawed submerged shelf permafrost. In deeper water, north and west of the Prudhoe Bay area, some exceptionally high bottom water methane concentrations were measured with carbon isotopic signatures very similar (about -46 to -48‰) to gas hydrate sampled from the Mount Elbert 01 gas hydrate test well drilled in 2007 in the same area. This methane is presumably associated with the Prudhoe Bay gas hydrate and petroleum system, and likely from either gas hydrate dissociation or simple gas migration. Gas venting in and around the Mackenzie River delta is associated with offshore Pingo-like features (PLF's) and pockmarks. These PLF's resemble onshore pingos, but with an unknown origin. The region is underlain by an active petroleum system, submerged shelf permaforst, and gas hydrate. Methane concentrations are elevated in

  15. Beaufort Sea deep-water gas hydrate recovery from a seafloor mound in a region of widespread BSR occurrence

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hart, Patrick E.; Pohlman, John W.; Lorenson, T.D.; Edwards, Brian D.

    2011-01-01

    Gas hydrate was recovered from the Alaskan Beaufort Sea slope north of Camden Bay in August 2010 during a U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy expedition (USCG cruise ID HLY1002) under the direction of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Interpretation of multichannel seismic (MCS) reflection data collected in 1977 by the USGS across the Beaufort Sea continental margin identified a regional bottom simulating reflection (BSR), indicating that a large segment of the Beaufort Sea slope is underlain by gas hydrate. During HLY1002, gas hydrate was sampled by serendipity with a piston core targeting a steep-sided bathymetric high originally thought to be an outcrop of older, exposed strata. The feature cored is an approximately 1100m diameter, 130 m high conical mound, referred to here as the Canning Seafloor Mound (CSM), which overlies the crest of a buried anticline in a region of sub-parallel compressional folds beneath the eastern Beaufort outer slope. An MCS profile shows a prominent BSR upslope and downslope from the mound. The absence of a BSR beneath the CSM and occurrence of gas hydrate near the summit indicates that free gas has migrated via deep-rooted thrust faults or by structural focusing up the flanks of the anticline to the seafloor. Gas hydrate recovered from near the CSM summit at a subbottom depth of about 5.7 meters in a water depth of 2538 m was of nodular and vein-filling morphology. Although the hydrate was not preserved, residual gas from the core liner contained >95% methane by volume when corrected for atmospheric contamination. The presence of trace C4+hydrocarbons (<0.1% by volume) confirms at least a minor thermogenic component. Authigenic carbonates and mollusk shells found throughout the core indicate sustained methane-rich fluid advection and possible sediment extrusion contributing to the development of the mound. Blister-like inflation of the seafloor caused by formation and accumulation of shallow hydrate lenses is also a likely factor in CSM

  16. Hematology of southern Beaufort Sea polar bears (2005-2007): Biomarker for an arctic ecosystem health sentinel

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kirk, Cassandra M.; Amstrup, S.; Swor, Rhonda; Holcomb, Darce; O'Hara, T. M.

    2010-01-01

    Declines in sea-ice habitats have resulted in declining stature, productivity, and survival of polar bears in some regions. With continuing sea-ice declines, negative population effects are projected to expand throughout the polar bear's range. Precise causes of diminished polar bear life history performance are unknown, however, climate and sea-ice condition change are expected to adversely impact polar bear (Ursus maritimus) health and population dynamics. As apex predators in the Arctic, polar bears integrate the status of lower trophic levels and are therefore sentinels of ecosystem health. Arctic residents feed at the apex of the ecosystem, thus polar bears can serve as indicators of human health in the Arctic. Despite their value as indicators of ecosystem welfare, population-level health data for U.S. polar bears are lacking. We present hematological reference ranges for southern Beaufort Sea polar bears. Hematological parameters in southern Beaufort Sea polar bears varied by age, geographic location, and reproductive status. Total leukocytes, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and serum immunoglobulin G were significantly greater in males than females. These measures were greater in nonlactating females ages ???5, than lactating adult females ages ???5, suggesting that females encumbered by young may be less resilient to new immune system challenges that may accompany ongoing climate change. Hematological values established here provide a necessary baseline for anticipated changes in health as arctic temperatures warm and sea-ice declines accelerate. Data suggest that females with dependent young may be most vulnerable to these changes and should therefore be a targeted cohort for monitoring in this sentinel. ?? 2010 International Association for Ecology and Health.

  17. Long-distance swimming by polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the southern Beaufort Sea during years of extensive open water

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    2014-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus Phipps, 1774) depend on sea ice for catching marine mammal prey. Recent sea-ice declines have been linked to reductions in body condition, survival, and population size. Reduced foraging opportunity is hypothesized to be the primary cause of sea-ice-linked declines, but the costs of travel through a deteriorated sea-ice environment also may be a factor. We used movement data from 52 adult female polar bears wearing Global Positioning System (GPS) collars, including some with dependent young, to document long-distance swimming (>50 km) by polar bears in the southern Beaufort and Chukchi seas. During 6 years (2004-2009), we identified 50 long-distance swims by 20 bears. Swim duration and distance ranged from 0.7 to 9.7 days (mean = 3.4 days) and 53.7 to 687.1 km (mean = 154.2 km), respectively. Frequency of swimming appeared to increase over the course of the study. We show that adult female polar bears and their cubs are capable of swimming long distances during periods when extensive areas of open water are present. However, long-distance swimming appears to have higher energetic demands than moving over sea ice. Our observations suggest long-distance swimming is a behavioral response to declining summer sea-ice conditions.

  18. Sharing Remote and Local Information for Tracking Spring Breakup in the Mackenzie Delta and Beaufort Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forbes, D. L.; Whalen, D.; Fraser, P.

    2015-12-01

    The Mackenzie Delta is the second largest on the Arctic Ocean, covering 13 000 km2. The annual flood regime in the delta is dominated by the spring snowmelt freshet and associated ice breakup, as water from the south arrives in the ice-covered delta and spreads over bottomfast and adjacent floating sea ice at the delta front. The complex processes of water-ice interaction, flow partitioning, and overbank flooding to replenish waters in 43 000 delta lakes threaten community, transportation, subsistence, and energy infrastructure in the delta. The annual breakup season is a time of rejuvenation, excitement, and anxiety for delta residents and stakeholders. To track the progress of breakup and meet the need for knowledge dissemination to the local communities, a Mackenzie-Beaufort breakup newsletter has been produced by Natural Resources Canada on a quasi-daily basis during the May-June spring flood season for 10 years, and distributed to an e-mail list that grew to over 300 subscribers. This provides near real-time tracking of water levels and breakup using on-line gauges (Environment Canada), daily MODIS satellite imagery (NASA), Landsat imagery (USGS) and intermittent radar imagery (various sources). In earlier years, information was also supplied from field programs operating in the delta during breakup, but changing priorities and funding have reduced the number of outside researchers present during these critical weeks. Meanwhile the number of local contributors has grown, providing observations and photographs to share with the local, regional and global readership. In this way the newsletter evolved into a two-way communication tool and community portal. The newsletter is a chronicle of each breakup season and a key resource for territorial and municipal managers, subsistence organizations, and emergency response agencies, with routine requests for specific imagery in areas of concern. With the completion of 10 years under the present model, we are exploring

  19. Slope Edge Deformation and Permafrost Dynamics Along the Arctic Shelf Edge, Beaufort Sea, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paull, C. K.; Dallimore, S.; Caress, D. W.; Gwiazda, R.; Lundsten, E. M.; Anderson, K.; Riedel, M.; Melling, H.

    2015-12-01

    The shelf of the Canadian Beaufort Sea is underlain by relict offshore permafrost that formed in the long intervals of terrestrial exposure during glacial periods. At the shelf edge the permafrost thins rapidly and also warms. This area has a very distinct morphology that we attribute to both the formation and degradation of ice bearing permafrost. Positive relief features include circular to oval shaped topographic mounds, up to 10 m high and ~50 m in diameter which occur at a density of ~6 per km2. Intermixed are circular topographic depressions up to 20 m deep. This topography was investigated using an autonomous underwater vehicle that provides 1 m horizontal resolution bathymetry and chirp profiles, a remotely operated vehicle to document seafloor textures, and sediment cores to sample pore waters. A consistent down-core freshening at rates of 14 to 96 mM Cl- per meter was found in these pore waters near the shelf edge. Downward extrapolation of these trends indicates water with ≤335 mM Cl- should occur at 2.3 to 22.4 m sub-seafloor depths within this shelf edge deformation band. Pore water with 335 mM Cl- or less freezes at -1.4°C. As bottom water temperatures in this area are persistently (<-1.4°C) cold and ground ice was observed in some core samples, we interpret the volume changes associated with mound formation are in part due to pore water freezing. Thermal models (Taylor et al., 2014) predict brackish water along the shelf edge may be sourced in relict permafrost melting under the adjacent continental shelf. Buoyant brackish water is hypothesized to migrate along the base of the relict permafrost, to emerge at the shelf edge and then refreeze when it encounters the colder seafloor. Expansion generated by the formation of ice-bearing permafrost generates the positive relief mounds and ridges. The associated negative relief features may be related to permafrost dynamics also. Permafrost dynamics may have geohazard implications that are unique to the

  20. Origin of pingo-like features on the Beaufort Sea shelf and their possible relationship to decomposing methane gas hydrates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paull, Charles K.; Ussler, William; Dallimore, Scott R.; Blasco, Steve M.; Lorenson, Thomas D.; Melling, Humfrey; Medioli, Barbara E.; Nixon, F. Mark; McLaughlin, Fiona A.

    2007-01-01

    The Arctic shelf is currently undergoing dramatic thermal changes caused by the continued warming associated with Holocene sea level rise. During this transgression, comparatively warm waters have flooded over cold permafrost areas of the Arctic Shelf. A thermal pulse of more than 10°C is still propagating down into the submerged sediment and may be decomposing gas hydrate as well as permafrost. A search for gas venting on the Arctic seafloor focused on pingo-like-features (PLFs) on the Beaufort Sea Shelf because they may be a direct consequence of gas hydrate decomposition at depth. Vibracores collected from eight PLFs had systematically elevated methane concentrations. ROV observations revealed streams of methane-rich gas bubbles coming from the crests of PLFs. We offer a scenario of how PLFs may be growing offshore as a result of gas pressure associated with gas hydrate decomposition.

  1. Origin of pingo-like features on the Beaufort Sea shelf and their possible relationship to decomposing methane gas hydrates

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Paull, C.K.; Ussler, W., III; Dallimore, S.R.; Blasco, S.M.; Lorenson, T.D.; Melling, H.; Medioli, B.E.; Nixon, F.M.; McLaughlin, F.A.

    2007-01-01

    The Arctic shelf is currently undergoing dramatic thermal changes caused by the continued warming associated with Holocene sea level rise. During this transgression, comparatively warm waters have flooded over cold permafrost areas of the Arctic Shelf. A thermal pulse of more than 10??C is still propagating down into the submerged sediment and may be decomposing gas hydrate as well as permafrost. A search for gas venting on the Arctic seafloor focused on pingo-like-features (PLFs) on the Beaufort Sea Shelf because they may be a direct consequence of gas hydrate decomposition at depth. Vibracores collected from eight PLFs had systematically elevated methane concentrations. ROV observations revealed streams of methane-rich gas bubbles coming from the crests of PLFs. We offer a scenario of how PLFs may be growing offshore as a result of gas pressure associated with gas hydrate decomposition. Copyright 2007 by the American Geophysical Union.

  2. 33 CFR 147.T17-0024 - Safety Zone; NOBLE DISCOVERER, Outer Continental Shelf Drillship, Chukchi and/or Beaufort Seas...

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ..., Outer Continental Shelf Drillship, Chukchi and/or Beaufort Seas, Alaska. 147.T17-0024 Section 147.T17... CONTINENTAL SHELF ACTIVITIES SAFETY ZONES § 147.T17-0024 Safety Zone; NOBLE DISCOVERER, Outer Continental..., June 29, 2012, temporary § 147.T17-0024 was added, effective from July 1, 2012 to Dec. 1, 2012. 33...

  3. Sea Ice Floe Distribution in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas Measured by ERS-1 SAR

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Holt, Benjamin; Rio, Marie-Hne

    1996-01-01

    This study examines the spatial and temporal character of sea ice floe size distribution during summer melt, important variables for understanding the summer heat and mass budgets and the distribution of heat between the vertical and horizontal ice melt. Preliminary results are presented that indicate the gradual decrease in medium size floes (1-5 km diameters) and a fairly steady maintenance of floes smaller than 1 km in diameter over the primary summer months within the central pack ice region. The latter result indicates that smaller floes continue to melt or decay rather than accumulate, indicating the importance of dynamics in affecting ice melt.

  4. Spectral albedos of sea ice and incident solar irradiance in the southern Beaufort Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grenfell, Thomas C.; Perovich, Donald K.

    1984-01-01

    Spectral albedos and incident spectral irradiances have been measured over the wavelength range 400 to 2400 nm on the sea ice near the Naval Arctic Research Laboratory (NARL) at Pt. Barrow, Alaska. The observation interval extended from mid-May, when the ice was still relatively cold, until mid-June, when summer melting was fully established. The temporal dependence of albedo for the available surface types was obtained over this time interval showing a general decrease from snow and snow-covered ice to blue ice and melt ponds. Data were also obtained for glacier ice on the Athabasca glacier, for melting lake ice, and for certain other nonice surfaces in the vicinity of NARL. Snow and ice albedos are characteristically highest at visible wavelengths, decreasing strongly in the infrared because of the increase in absorption by ice and water. Local maxima in the spectra correspond to minima in the ice and water absorption. Variations in albedo are due primarily to differences in the vapor bubble density, crystal structure, and free water content of the upper layers of the ice. Incident spectral shortwave radiation was measured as a function of cloudiness, and the optical thickness of arctic clouds is significantly less than the thickest clouds at lower latitudes. The decrease of the infrared component relatiave to the visible portion of the irradiance with increasing cloud cover is determined. This can give rise to an increase in wavelength-integrated albedos of as much as 15%. Using the present data, a graphical method is outlined by which visible near-infrared satellite imagery can be used to distinguish among melt ponds, open leads, and other spring and summer sea ice surface types.

  5. Surface and basal sea ice melt from autonomous buoy arrays during the 2014 sea ice retreat in the Beaufort/Chukchi Seas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maksym, T. L.; Wilkinson, J.; Hwang, P. B.

    2014-12-01

    As the Arctic continues its transition to a seasonal ice cover, the nature and role of the processes driving sea ice retreat are expected to change. Key questions revolve around how the coupling between dynamics and thermodynamic processes and potential changes in the role of melt ponds contribute to an accelerated seasonal ice retreat. To address these issues, 44 autonomous platforms were deployed in four arrays in the Beaufort Sea in March, 2014, with an additional array deployed in August in the Chukchi Sea to monitor the evolution of ice conditions during the seasonal sea ice retreat. Each "5-dice" array included four or five co-sited ice mass balance buoys (IMB) and wave buoys with digital cameras, and one automatic weather station (AWS) at the array center. The sensors on these buoys, combined with satellite imagery monitoring the large-scale evolution of the ice cover, provide a near-complete history of the processes involved in the seasonal melt of sea ice. We present a preliminary analysis of the contributions of several key processes to the seasonal ice decay. The evolution of surface ponding was observed at several sites with differing ice types and surface morphologies. The records of surface melt and ice thickness demonstrate a key role of ice type in driving the evolution of the ice cover. Analysis of the surface forcing and estimates of solar energy partitioning between the surface and upper ocean is compared to the surface and basal mass balance from the IMBs. The role of ice divergence and deformation in driving sea ice decay - in particular its role in accelerating thermodynamic melt processes - is discussed.

  6. Importance of the eastern Alaskan Beaufort Sea to feeding bowhead whales, 1985-86. Final report, June 1985-August 1987

    SciTech Connect

    Richardson, W.J.

    1987-08-01

    The 2-year project was designed to quantify what proportion of the energy requirements of Western Arctic bowheads is provided by food acquired in the eastern part of the Alaskan Beaufort Sea. This final report presents the results from fieldwork in September - early October of 1985 and 1986. Water masses were studied by boat-based sampling and remote sensing. Zooplankton composition, biomass, distribution, patchiness and energy content were documented with nets and echosounders (a) over the continental shelf generally, and (b) near feeding bowheads. Whale distribution, numbers and activities were determined by aerial surveys and behavioral observations. Size segregation and residence times were studied by photogrammetry; five bowheads were radio tagged. Analyses of carbon-isotope ratios helped in tracing energy sources for bowheads.

  7. Dose Estimates from Ingestion of Marine and Terrestrial Animals Harvested in the Beaufort Sea and Northwestern Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    W. C. T. Inkret; M. E. Schillaci; D. W. Efurd; M. E. Ennis; M. J. Hameedi; J. M. Inkret; T. H. T. Little; G. Miller

    2000-11-01

    Between 1993 and 1995, marine and terrestrial animal samples were collected from the Beaufort Sea and northwest Alaska. These samples were analyzed at Los Alamos National Laboratory for the presence of the anthropogenic radionuclides, {sup 90}Sr, {sup 137}Cs, {sup 238}Pu, {sup 239+240}Pu, and {sup 241}Am. The measurement data were combined with food consumption rates based on survey results for populations residing in three northwest Alaskan communities and published age-dependent ingestion dose coefficients to estimate potential radiological impacts from the consumption of traditional animal foods harvested in this region. The results of this study indicate that committed equivalent doses to adults from {sup 90}Sr and {sup 137}Cs, due to consumption of traditional food sources are consistent with currently accepted estimates of average doses to adults in North America due to atmospheric nuclear weapons testing fallout.

  8. Evaluation of the anthropogenic radionuclide concentrations in sediments and fauna collected in the Beaufort Sea and northern Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Efurd, D.W.; Miller, G.G.; Rokop, D.J.

    1997-07-01

    This study was performed to establish a quality controlled data set about the levels of radio nuclide activity in the environment and in selected biota in the U.S. Arctic. Sediment and biota samples were collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Biological Service, and the North Slope Borough`s Department of Wildlife Management to determine the impact of anthropogenic radionuclides in the Arctic. The results summarized in this report are derived from samples collected in northwest Alaska with emphasis on species harvested for subsistence in Barrow, Alaska. Samples were analyzed for the anthropogenic radionuclides {sup 90}Sr, {sup 137}Cs, {sup 238}Pu, {sup 239}Pu, {sup 240}Pu and {sup 241}Am. The naturally occurring radionuclides {sup 40}K, {sup 212}Pb and {sup 214}Pb were also measured. One goal of this study was to determine the amounts of anthropogenic radionuclides present in the Beaufort Sea. Sediment samples were isotopically fingerprinted to determine the sources of radio nuclide activities. Biota samples of subsistence and ecological value were analyzed to search for evidence of bio-accumulation of radionuclides and to determine the radiation exposures associated with subsistence living in northern Alaska. The anthropogenic radio nuclide content of sediments collected in the Beaufort Sea was predominantly the result of the deposition of global fallout. No other sources of anthropogenic radionuclides could be conclusively identified in the sediments. The anthropogenic radio nuclide concentrations in fish, birds and mammals were very low. Assuming that ingestion of food is an important pathway leading to human contact with radioactive contaminants and given the dietary patterns in coastal Arctic communities, it can be surmised that marine food chains are presently not significantly affected.

  9. Distribution of Phytoplankton and Particulate Organic Carbon in the Beaufort Sea during the 2014 Marginal Ice Zone Experiment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perry, M. J.; Lee, C.; Yang, E. J.; Cetinic, I.; Kang, S. H.

    2014-12-01

    Spatial and temporal distributions of phytoplankton and particulate organic carbon in the newly emerging marginal ice zone in the Beaufort Sea are assessed from autonomous Seaglider surveys in summer 2014 as part of the Marginal Ice Zone (MIZ) Experiment, an international project sponsored by ONR. In late July 2014 four Seagliders were deployed in the Beaufort Sea to follow the retreat of the MIZ. Sampling in open water, through the MIZ and under the ice is expected through mid-September, with gliders navigating under ice from moored acoustic sound sources embedded in the MIZ autonomous observing array. The sensor suite carried by Seagliders include temperature, temperature microstructure, salinity, oxygen, chlorophyll fluorescence, optical backscatter, and multi-spectral downwelling irradiance. A rigorous sensor inter-calibration program with simultaneous ship CTD and glider profiles is an essential component of glider deployment and recovery protocol, as well as during opportunistic glider encounters with the IBRV Araon during August. Ship-based water sampling will allow construction of regional libraries of optical proxies for chlorophyll, pigment spectral absorption coefficient, and particulate organic carbon. Since irradiance under the ice is dependent on ice thickness and presence of melt ponds and leads, phytoplankton distribution is expected to vary spatially. Both the vertical and horizontal distributions of pigment spectral absorption coefficients are expected to play a role in the feedback between phytoplankton and ice melt. Glider data will allow us to apply a light and chlorophyll primary productivity model to estimate and compare phytoplankton productivity under various ice-cover and ice-free conditions.

  10. Shifts in biological productivity inferred from nutrient drawdown in the southern Beaufort Sea (2003-2011) and northern Baffin Bay (1997-2011), Canadian Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bergeron, Myriam; Tremblay, Jean-Éric

    2014-06-01

    This paper reports the first in situ evidence of change in the net biological productivity of high-latitude western Arctic seas. Estimates of seasonal drawdown for major plant nutrients show that net community production (NCP) shifted differently in two contrasted Canadian oceanographic settings. In the stratified southeast Beaufort Sea, seasonal nitrate consumption increased 1.6-fold between 2003-2004 and 2010-2011. The concomitant thickening of the nitrate-depleted layer in summer/fall implies that subsurface chlorophyll maxima now consume nutrients over a larger extent of the water column. Meanwhile, nitrate consumption in the once productive North Water Polynya declined by 65% and is now nearly on par with the oligotrophic coastal Beaufort Sea. This decline is attributed to freshening and increased stratification. Commensurate changes in silicate and phosphate drawdown in the two regions indicate that diatoms drove the spatial and temporal shifts in NCP.

  11. On the scaling laws derived from ice beacon trajectories in the southern Beaufort Sea during the International Polar Year - Circumpolar Flaw Lead study, 2007-2008

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lukovich, J. V.; Babb, D. G.; Barber, D. G.

    2011-09-01

    Sea ice motion is an important element in mass balance calculations, ice thermodynamic modeling, ice management plans for industry, and ecosystems studies. In the historical literature, sea ice motion in the Beaufort Sea was characterized by a predominantly anticyclonic motion during winter months, with episodic reversals to cyclonic activity during summer. However, recent studies have shown an increase in cyclonic activity throughout the annual cycle. In this paper we examine circulation in the Beaufort Sea based on the trajectories of 22 ice beacons launched in the Franklin Bay area during the International Polar Year - Circumpolar Flaw Lead (IPY-CFL) study during an over-wintering experiment in 2007-2008. Dispersion characteristics of ice motion show that absolute zonal dispersion follows a t2 scaling law characteristic of advection associated with Beaufort Gyre circulation, whereas absolute meridional dispersion follows a scaling law of t5/4 characteristic of floaters and dispersion in 2-D turbulence. Temporal autocorrelations of ice velocity fluctuations highlight definitive timescales with values of 1.2 (0.7) days in the zonal (meridional) direction. Near-Gaussian behavior is reflected in higher-order moments for ice velocity fluctuation probability density functions (pdfs). Non-Gaussian behavior for absolute displacement pdfs indicates spatial heterogeneity in the ice motion fields. Atmospheric forcing of sea ice is explored through analysis of daily North American Regional Reanalysis and in situ wind data, where it is shown that ice in the CFL study region travels with an average speed of approximately 0.2% and an average angle of 51.5° to the right of the surface winds during the 2007-2008 winter. The results from this analysis further demonstrate seasonality in ice drift to wind ratios and angles that corresponds to stress buoy data indicative of increases in internal ice stress and connectivity due to consolidation of the seasonal ice zone to the coast

  12. Minimum distribution of subsea ice-bearing permafrost on the U.S. Beaufort Sea continental shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brothers, Laura L.; Hart, Patrick E.; Ruppel, Carolyn D.

    2012-08-01

    Starting in Late Pleistocene time (˜19 ka), sea level rise inundated coastal zones worldwide. On some parts of the present-day circum-Arctic continental shelf, this led to flooding and thawing of formerly subaerial permafrost and probable dissociation of associated gas hydrates. Relict permafrost has never been systematically mapped along the 700-km-long U.S. Beaufort Sea continental shelf and is often assumed to extend to ˜120 m water depth, the approximate amount of sea level rise since the Late Pleistocene. Here, 5,000 km of multichannel seismic (MCS) data acquired between 1977 and 1992 were examined for high-velocity (>2.3 km s-1) refractions consistent with ice-bearing, coarse-grained sediments. Permafrost refractions were identified along <5% of the tracklines at depths of ˜5 to 470 m below the seafloor. The resulting map reveals the minimum extent of subsea ice-bearing permafrost, which does not extend seaward of 30 km offshore or beyond the 20 m isobath.

  13. Preliminary results of marine heat flow measurements in the Canadian Beaufort Sea and its implications for intermittent methane fluid expulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Young-Gyun; Jin, Young Keun; Kuk Hong, Jong; Riedel, Michael; Lee, Sang-Mook

    2014-05-01

    Marine heat flow measured at subsurface interval of a few meters using a heat probe is one of useful approaches to show the status of fluid circulation within the marine sediments, even though it can show only a snapshot of long-term variation caused by the fluid circulation. Expedition ARA04C using IBRV Araon was carried out in the Canadian Beaufort Sea during 6-24 September 2013 as Korea/Canada/USA international cooperative research. During the expedition, multidisciplinary programs including multichannel seismic survey, sediment coring, water sampling, atmospheric observation, and heat flow measurement were carried out over the continental shelf and slope area. In particular, Beaufort Shelf, one of regions experiencing fast ocean warming in the past several decades, shows characteristic features associated with degradation of permafrost reaching at the continental shelf. In this context, 8 sites for marine heat flow measurements were chosen: 1) in/outside of the flat-topped mud volcano located in the continental slope as one of fluid expulsion features, 2) along a transect line on the eastern slope of MacKenzie Trough where degradation of permafrost may occur, and 3) at a site closed to IODP pre-proposal #753 as reference. Unfortunately, attempts to measure in-situ thermal conductivity of sediments were failed due to instrument problem. Geothermal gradient observed on the mud volcano flat-top is much higher than ones from the reference site and outside of the volcano, indicating that there occur intermittent fluid expulsions restricted within the volcano. High methane concentration detected in bottom water column by 10 meters above the volcano top is indicative of methane fluid expulsion. Further detailed heat flow study in association with analysis of physical properties of sediment cores through all sites would increase our understanding of nature of methane expulsion emitted from sediments in linkage with degradation of permafrost over the arctic shelf.

  14. Monitoring coastal erosion on the Beaufort Sea coast: Erosion process and the relative roles of thermal and wave energy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wobus, C. W.; Anderson, R. S.; Overeem, I.; Matell, N.; Urban, F. E.; Clow, G. D.; Holmes, C. D.; Jones, B. M.

    2008-12-01

    While coastal erosion rates along the Beaufort Sea coast in northern Alaska have been locally observed to exceed 30 meters/year over the past decade, few observational data exist to characterize how this erosion proceeds or why these rates are so high. We have begun a new monitoring project along a section of coastline in the northeastern National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), approximately halfway between Barrow and Prudhoe Bay. In this setting, three-to five-meter high, ice-rich bluffs largely comprising silt and organic material are currently eroding at a rate of approximately 20 meters/year. Our study combines time- lapse photography and meteorological observations with historical observations of coastal erosion rates, measurements of substrate properties from intact bluffs, and size distributions of eroded blocks to support physically-based models of coastal erosion in this environment. Our observations indicate that this erosion is initiated by the topple-failure of large blocks, and is driven by a combination of thermal and mechanical processes. Episodic block failure during storm events is superimposed on a slow, steady notching at the base of the ice-rich bluffs which appears to be driven largely by melting from relatively warm seawater. Thermal degradation of bluffs through the summer months also appears to play a role in weakening the substrate, which increases the impact of late summer storm events. Once eroded blocks have toppled into the Beaufort Sea, rapid thermal disintegration of these blocks by warm nearshore waters, combined with the lack of coarse clastic material within the substrate, limits their ability to protect the coastline from wave attack. This observation suggests that there may be no strong negative feedback on these rapid erosion rates. Using time-lapse photography collected during the summer of 2008, we can begin to quantify the relative roles of thermal and mechanical degradation of Arctic coastlines. These new data will inform

  15. Modeling plankton ecosystem functioning and nitrogen fluxes in the oligotrophic waters of the Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean: a focus on light-driven processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Le Fouest, V.; Zakardjian, B.; Xie, H.; Raimbault, P.; Joux, F.; Babin, M.

    2013-07-01

    The Arctic Ocean (AO) undergoes profound changes of its physical and biotic environments due to climate change. In some areas of the Beaufort Sea, the stronger haline stratification observed in summer alters the plankton ecosystem structure, functioning and productivity, promoting oligotrophy. A one-dimension (1-D) physical-biological coupled model based on the large multiparametric database of the Malina project in the Beaufort Sea was used (i) to infer the plankton ecosystem functioning and related nitrogen fluxes and (ii) to assess the model sensitivity to key light-driven processes involved in nutrient recycling and phytoplankton growth. The coupled model suggested that ammonium photochemically produced from photosensitive dissolved organic nitrogen (i.e., photoammonification process) was a necessary nitrogen source to achieve the observed levels of microbial biomass and production. Photoammonification directly and indirectly (by stimulating the microbial food web activity) contributed to 70% and 18.5% of the 0-10 m and whole water column, respectively, simulated primary production (respectively 66% and 16% for the bacterial production). The model also suggested that variable carbon to chlorophyll ratios were required to simulate the observed herbivorous versus microbial food web competition and realistic nitrogen fluxes in the Beaufort Sea oligotrophic waters. In face of accelerating Arctic warming, more attention should be paid in the future to the mechanistic processes involved in food webs and functional group competition, nutrient recycling and primary production in poorly productive waters of the AO, as they are expected to expand rapidly.

  16. Aerial surveys of endangered whales in the Alaskan Chukchi and western Beaufort Seas, 1990. Final report, Oct-Nov 90

    SciTech Connect

    Moore, S.E.; Clarke, J.T.

    1991-06-01

    In keeping with the National Environmental Policy Act (1969), the Marine Mammal Protection Act (1972) and the Endangered Species Act (1973), the OCS Lands Act Amendments (1978) established a management policy that included studies in OCS lease sale areas to ascertain potential environmental impacts of oil and gas development on OCS marine coastal environments. The Minerals Management Service (MMS) is the agency responsible for these studies and for the leasing of submerged Federal lands. The report summarizes the 1990 investigations of the distribution, abundance, migration, behavior and habitat relationships of endangered whales in the Alaskan Chukchi and western Beaufort Seas (hereafter, study area); 1990 was the second of a three year (1989-91) study. The Bering Sea stock of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) was the principal species studied, with incidental sightings of all other marine mammals routinely recorded. The 1990 season was compromised by circumstances that restricted the availability of the survey aircraft (Grumman Goose, model G21G) to the period 26 October - 7 November; opportunistic surveys were flown in the study area from 3-25 October. In 1990, there were 14 sightings of 19 bowheads from 9-29 October; 5 whales, including 2 calves, were seen north of the study area. One gray whale, 110 belukhas and 53 polar bears were also seen. Over nine survey seasons (1982-90), there were 240 sightings of 520 bowhead whales and 148 sightings of 398 gray whales.

  17. Change in the Beaufort Sea ecosystem: Diverging trends in body condition and/or production in five marine vertebrate species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harwood, L. A.; Smith, T. G.; George, J. C.; Sandstrom, S. J.; Walkusz, W.; Divoky, G. J.

    2015-08-01

    Studies of the body condition of five marine vertebrate predators in the Beaufort Sea, conducted independently during the past 2-4 decades, suggest each has been affected by biophysical changes in the marine ecosystem. We summarize a temporal trend of increasing body condition in two species (bowhead whale subadults, Arctic char), in both cases influenced by the extent and persistence of annual sea ice. Three other species (ringed seal, beluga, black guillemot chicks), consumers with a dietary preference for Arctic cod, experienced declines in condition, growth and/or production during the same time period. The proximate causes of these observed changes remain unknown, but may reflect an upward trend in secondary productivity, and a concurrent downward trend in the availability of forage fishes, such as the preferred Arctic cod. To further our understanding of these apparent ecosystem shifts, we urge the use of multiple marine vertebrate species in the design of biophysical sampling studies to identify causes of these changes. Continued long-term, standardized monitoring of vertebrate body condition should be paired with concurrent direct (stomach contents) or indirect (isotopes, fatty acids) monitoring of diet, detailed study of movements and seasonal ranges to establish and refine baselines, and identification of critical habitats of the marine vertebrates being monitored. This would be coordinated with biophysical and oceanographic sampling, at spatial and temporal scales, and geographic locations, that are relevant to the home range, critical habitats and prey of the vertebrate indicator species showing changes in condition and related parameters.

  18. Prevalence and spatio-temporal variation of an alopecia syndrome in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the southern Beaufort Sea.

    PubMed

    Atwood, Todd; Peacock, Elizabeth; Burek-Huntington, Kathy; Shearn-Bochsler, Valerie; Bodenstein, Barbara; Beckmen, Kimberlee; Durner, George

    2015-01-01

    Alopecia (hair loss) has been observed in several marine mammal species and has potential energetic consequences for sustaining a normal core body temperature, especially for Arctic marine mammals routinely exposed to harsh environmental conditions. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) rely on a thick layer of adipose tissue and a dense pelage to ameliorate convective heat loss while moving between sea ice and open water. From 1998 to 2012, we observed an alopecia syndrome in polar bears from the southern Beaufort Sea of Alaska that presented as bilaterally asymmetrical loss of guard hairs and thinning of the undercoat around the head, neck, and shoulders, which, in severe cases, was accompanied by exudation and crusted skin lesions. Alopecia was observed in 49 (3.45%) of the bears sampled during 1,421 captures, and the apparent prevalence varied by years with peaks occurring in 1999 (16%) and 2012 (28%). The probability that a bear had alopecia was greatest for subadults and for bears captured in the Prudhoe Bay region, and alopecic individuals had a lower body condition score than unaffected individuals. The cause of the syndrome remains unknown and future work should focus on identifying the causative agent and potential effects on population vital rates. PMID:25375943

  19. Prevalence and spatio-temporal variation of an alopecia syndrome in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the southern Beaufort Sea

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Atwood, Todd C.; Peacock, Elizabeth; Burek, K.A.; Shearn-Bochsler, Valerie I.; Bodenstein, Barbara L.; Beckmen, Kimberlee B.; Durner, George M.

    2015-01-01

    Alopecia (hair loss) has been observed in several marine mammal species and has potential energetic consequences for sustaining a normal core body temperature, especially for Arctic marine mammals routinely exposed to harsh environmental conditions. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) rely on a thick layer of adipose tissue and a dense pelage to ameliorate convective heat loss while moving between sea ice and open water. From 1998 to 2012, we observed an alopecia syndrome in polar bears from the southern Beaufort Sea of Alaska that presented as bilaterally asymmetrical loss of guard hairs and thinning of the undercoat around the head, neck, and shoulders, which, in severe cases, was accompanied by exudation and crusted skin lesions. Alopecia was observed in 49 (3.45%) of the bears sampled during 1,421 captures, and the apparent prevalence varied by years with peaks occurring in 1999 (16%) and 2012 (28%). The probability that a bear had alopecia was greatest for subadults and for bears captured in the Prudhoe Bay region, and alopecic individuals had a lower body condition score than unaffected individuals. The cause of the syndrome remains unknown and future work should focus on identifying the causative agent and potential effects on population vital rates.

  20. Philinidae, Laonidae and Philinorbidae (Gastropoda: Cephalaspidea: Philinoidea) from the northeastern Pacific Ocean and the Beaufort Sea (Arctic Ocean).

    PubMed

    Valdés, Ángel; Cadien, Donald B; Gosliner, Terrence M

    2016-01-01

    Based on morphological data a total of nine native species of Philinidae are recognized from the northeastern Pacific including the Bering Sea and the adjacent Arctic Ocean (Beaufort Sea). Four of them have been previously described: Philine ornatissima Yokoyama, 1927, Philine bakeri Dall, 1919, Philine polystrigma (Dall, 1908), and Philine hemphilli Dall, 1919. Five of them are new and described herein: Philine mcleani sp. nov., Philine baxteri sp. nov., Philine malaquiasi sp. nov., Philine wareni sp. nov., and Philine harrisae sp. nov. These species display a substantial degree of variation in internal and external morphological traits (i.e., presence/absence of gizzard plates, different radular structure and tooth morphology, various reproductive anatomical features) and it is likely that they belong to different clades (genera). However, in the absence of a comprehensive phylogeny for Philine, they are here provisionally regarded as Philine sensu lato. In addition to the nine native species, two introduced species: Philine orientalis A. Adams, 1854 and Philine auriformis Suter, 1909 are here illustrated and compared to the native species to facilitate identification. Finally, two species previously considered members of Philinidae are examined anatomically and confirmed as members of Laonidae, Laona californica (Willett, 1944) and Philinorbidae, Philinorbis albus (Mattox, 1958), based on morphological data. PMID:27515632

  1. Genetic variation, relatedness, and effective population size of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the southern Beaufort Sea, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cronin, M.A.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Talbot, S.L.; Sage, G.K.; Amstrup, K.S.

    2009-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are unique among bears in that they are adapted to the Arctic sea ice environment. Genetic data are useful for understanding their evolution and can contribute to management. We assessed parentage and relatedness of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea, Alaska, with genetic data and field observations of age, sex, and mother-offspring and sibling relationships. Genotypes at 14 microsatellite DNA loci for 226 bears indicate that genetic variation is comparable to other populations of polar bears with mean number of alleles per locus of 7.9 and observed and expected heterozygosity of 0.71. The genetic data verified 60 field-identified mother-offspring pairs and identified 10 additional mother-cub pairs and 48 father-offspring pairs. The entire sample of related and unrelated bears had a mean pairwise relatedness index (rxy) of approximately zero, parent-offspring and siblings had rxy of approximately 0.5, and 5.2% of the samples had rxy values within the range expected for parent-offspring. Effective population size (Ne = 277) and the ratio of Ne to total population size (Ne/N = 0.182) were estimated from the numbers of reproducing males and females. Ne estimates with genetic methods gave variable results. Our results verify and expand field data on reproduction by females and provide new data on reproduction by males and estimates of relatedness and Ne in a polar bear population. ?? The American Genetic Association. 2009. All rights reserved.

  2. Snailfishes of the Careproctus rastrinus complex (Liparidae): redescriptions of seven species in the North Pacific Ocean region, with the description of a new species from the Beaufort Sea.

    PubMed

    Orr, James Wilder; Kai, Yoshiaki; Nakabo, Tetsuji

    2015-01-01

    Herein we review and recognize as valid all previously described species of the Careproctus rastrinus complex based on morphological evidence, provide diagnoses and descriptions of all species, describe a new species from the Beaufort Sea, and address the misapplication of several names throughout the area. In particular, the name C. rastrinus is restricted to populations of the western Pacific and is known conclusively only from the Sea of Okhotsk. Careproctus acanthodes, from the Sea of Japan and Sea of Okhotsk, and C. pellucidus, from the Pacific Ocean side of northern Japan, are resurrected from synonymy with C. rastrinus. Populations of the eastern Pacific previously routinely identified as C. rastrinus are recognized under two names: C. scottae, a name that is applied to deeper water Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands, and eastern Pacific populations having a postorbital pore, and Careproctus phasma, applied to shallow water populations of the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska lacking a postorbital pore. Although we consider Careproctus spectrum valid, the species has been routinely misidentified and is presently known only from the type series. Careproctus lerikimae is a new species described from the Beaufort Sea, diagnosed from other species of the C. rastrinus complex by the absence of the postorbital pore and higher median fin and vertebral counts. PMID:26624044

  3. Polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea III: Stature, mass, and cub recruitment in relationship to time and sea ice extent between 1982 and 2006

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rode, Karyn D.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Regehr, Eric V.

    2007-01-01

    Changes in individual stature and body mass can affect reproduction and survival and have been shown to be early indicators of changes in status and trends of polar bear populations. We recorded body length, skull size, and mass of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) during capture/recapture studies conducted in the southern Beaufort Sea of Alaska (SB) between 1982 and 2006. We calculated a body condition index (BCI) which reflects trends in mass relative to length. We also recorded the number of dependent young accompanying females in the spring and fall as an indicator of cub recruitment. Previous work suggested stature of some sex and age classes of bears in the SB had changed between early and latter portions of this study but did not investigate trends in or causes of those changes. Here, we investigate whether these measurements changed over time or in relation to sea ice extent. Because our study required bears to be repeatedly immobilized and captured, we tested whether frequency of capture could have affected these measurements. Mass, length, skull size, and BCI of growing males (aged 3-10), mass and skull size of cubs-of-the year, and the number of yearlings per female in the spring and fall were all positively related to the percent of days in which sea ice covered the continental shelf. Skull sizes and/or lengths of adult and subadult males and females decreased over time during the study. Adult body mass was not related to sea ice cover and did not show a trend with time. BCI of adult females exhibited a positive trend over time reflecting a decline in length without a parallel trend in mass. Though cub production increased over time, the number of cubs-of-the-year (COYs) per female in the fall and yearlings per female in the spring declined suggesting reduced cub survival. Bears with prior capture history were either larger or similar in stature and mass to bears captured for the first time, indicating that research activities did not influence trends in

  4. Benthic Food Webs of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas: Relative Importance of Ultimate Carbon Sources in a Changing Climate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dunton, K. H.; Schonberg, S. V.; Mctigue, N.; Bucolo, P. A.; Connelly, T. L.; McClelland, J. W.

    2014-12-01

    Changes in sea-ice cover, coastal erosion, and freshwater run-off have the potential to greatly influence carbon assimilation pathways and affect trophic structure in benthic communities across the western Arctic. In the Chukchi Sea, variations in the duration and timing of ice cover affect the delivery of ice algae to a relatively shallow (40-50 m) shelf benthos. Although ice algae are known as an important spring carbon subsidy for marine benthic fauna, ice algal contributions may also help initiate productivity of an active microphytobenthos. Recent studies provide clear evidence that the microphytobenthos are photosynthetically active, and have sufficient light and nutrients for in situ growth. The assimilation of benthic diatoms from both sources may explain the 13C enrichment observed in benthic primary consumers throughout the northern Chukchi. On the eastern Beaufort Sea coast, shallow (2-4 m) estuarine lagoon systems receive massive subsidies of terrestrial carbon that is assimilated by a benthic fauna of significant importance to upper trophic level species, but again, distinct 13C enrichment in benthic primary consumers suggests the existence of an uncharacterized food source. Since ice algae are absent, we believe the 13C enrichment in benthic fauna is caused by the assimilation of benthic microalgae, as reflected in seasonally high benthic chlorophyll in spring under replete light and nutrient conditions. Our observations suggest that changes in ice cover, on both temporal and spatial scales, are likely to have significant effects on the magnitude and timing of organic matter delivery to both shelf and nearshore systems, and that locally produced organic matter may become an increasingly important carbon subsidy that affects trophic assimilation and secondary ecosystem productivity.

  5. Depredation of common eider, Somateria mollissima, nests on a central Beaufort Sea barrier island: A case where no one wins

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reed, J.A.; Lacroix, D.L.; Flint, P.L.

    2007-01-01

    Along the central Beaufort Sea, Pacific Common Eiders (Somateria mollissima v-nigra) nest on unvegetated, barrier islands; often near nesting Glaucous Gulls (Larus hyperboreus). Nest-site choice likely reflects a strategy of predator avoidance: nesting on islands to avoid mammalian predators and near territorial gulls to avoid other avian predators. We observed a nesting colony of Common Eiders from first nest initiation through nesting termination on Egg Island near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska (2002 - 2003). Resident gulls depredated many eider nests, mostly during initiation. All nests failed when an Arctic Fox (Alopex lagopus) visited the island and flushed hens from their nests, exposing the eggs to depredation by the fox and gulls (resident and non-resident). Common Eiders actively defended nests from gulls, but not from foxes. Likely all three species (i.e., eiders, gulls, and foxes) ultimately achieved negligible benefit from their nest-site selection or predatory activity: (a) island nesting provided no safety from mammalian predators for eiders or gulls, (b) for Common Eiders, nesting near gulls increased egg loss, (c) for Glaucous Gulls, nesting near colonial eiders may have reduced nest success by attracting the fox, and (d) for Arctic Foxes, the depredation was of questionable value, as most eggs were cached and probably not recoverable (due to damage from fall storms). Thus, the predator-prey interactions we observed appear to be a case where little or no fitness advantage was realized by any of the species involved.

  6. Habitat use and foraging patterns of molting male Long-tailed Ducks in lagoons of the central Beaufort Sea, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Flint, Paul L.; Reed, John; Deborah Lacroix; Richard Lanctot

    2016-01-01

    From mid-July through September, 10 000 to 30 000 Long-tailed Ducks (Clangula hyemalis) use the lagoon systems of the central Beaufort Sea for remigial molt. Little is known about their foraging behavior and patterns of habitat use during this flightless period. We used radio transmitters to track male Long-tailed Ducks through the molt period from 2000 to 2002 in three lagoons: one adjacent to industrial oil field development and activity and two in areas without industrial activity. We found that an index to time spent foraging generally increased through the molt period. Foraging, habitat use, and home range size showed similar patterns, but those patterns were highly variable among lagoons and across years. Even with continuous daylight during the study period, birds tended to use offshore areas during the day for feeding and roosted in protected nearshore waters at night. We suspect that variability in behaviors associated with foraging, habitat use, and home range size are likely influenced by availability of invertebrate prey. Proximity to oil field activity did not appear to affect foraging behaviors of molting Long-tailed Ducks.

  7. Larval and early juvenile fish distribution and assemblage structure in the Canadian Beaufort Sea during July-August, 2005

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paulic, Joclyn E.; Papst, Michael H.

    2013-11-01

    The distribution and composition of marine larval and early juvenile fish were investigated during a multidisciplinary project conducted in the nearshore Canadian Beaufort Sea in July and August, 2005. Larvae were sampled using replicate bongo net (500 μm) tows within 50 m water depth. A total of 458 larval fish representing seven families were captured.Multivariate statistical analyses revealed two distinct larval assemblages that were closely correlated to water mass category. The two larval fish assemblages were defined as coastal and estuarine. The coastal assemblage was dominated by Pacific Herring (Clupea pallasii) and was found in the shallow intense plume water mass. This area is greatly influenced by the Mackenzie River outflow. The estuarine assemblage was dominated by Arctic Cod (Boreogadus saida) and was typically found within the diffuse plume and oceanic water masses. Other larval fish families that were represented in the estuarine assemblage were Cottidae, Stichaeidae, Liparidae and Agonidae. Species richness and abundance was greater along the Toker transect in Kugmallit Bay than the Paktoa transect northwest of Garry Island in the Mackenzie Bay.

  8. Seasonal variation in benthic community oxygen demand: A response to an ice algal bloom in the Beaufort Sea, Canadian Arctic?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Renaud, Paul E.; Riedel, Andrea; Michel, Christine; Morata, Nathalie; Gosselin, Michel; Juul-Pedersen, Thomas; Chiuchiolo, Amy

    2007-08-01

    Understanding pathways of carbon cycling on Arctic shelves is critical if we are to evaluate the potential effects of climate change on these systems. We investigated the relationship between ice algal standing stock and benthic respiration between January and July 2004 at a time series station in the southeastern Beaufort Sea. Both ice algal chlorophyll a and benthic sediment oxygen demand showed > 10-fold increases from between March and April. While some of the increase in oxygen demand can be attributed to bacteria and meio-fauna, most was due to the activities of macroinfauna. We also observed a trend toward lower sediment pigment content during the pulse in benthic carbon remineralization. While chl a sedimentation also increased by a factor of 7 during this period, fluxes were not sufficient to provide for the increased carbon demand. We suggest that sedimenting ice algae provided a cue for increased benthic activity, and that direct consumption of ice algae and increased oxygen availability in the sediment due to bioturbation by epifaunal organisms led to the enhancement in respiration rates. Seasonal patterns in primary productivity and the activity of resident epifaunal and infaunal communities are, thus, important factors in determining carbon cycling patterns on Arctic shelves.

  9. Genetic variation, relatedness, and effective population size of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the southern Beaufort Sea, Alaska.

    PubMed

    Cronin, Matthew A; Amstrup, Steven C; Talbot, Sandra L; Sage, George K; Amstrup, Kristin S

    2009-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are unique among bears in that they are adapted to the Arctic sea ice environment. Genetic data are useful for understanding their evolution and can contribute to management. We assessed parentage and relatedness of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea, Alaska, with genetic data and field observations of age, sex, and mother-offspring and sibling relationships. Genotypes at 14 microsatellite DNA loci for 226 bears indicate that genetic variation is comparable to other populations of polar bears with mean number of alleles per locus of 7.9 and observed and expected heterozygosity of 0.71. The genetic data verified 60 field-identified mother-offspring pairs and identified 10 additional mother-cub pairs and 48 father-offspring pairs. The entire sample of related and unrelated bears had a mean pairwise relatedness index (r(xy)) of approximately zero, parent-offspring and siblings had r(xy) of approximately 0.5, and 5.2% of the samples had r(xy) values within the range expected for parent-offspring. Effective population size (N(e) = 277) and the ratio of N(e) to total population size (N(e)/N = 0.182) were estimated from the numbers of reproducing males and females. N(e) estimates with genetic methods gave variable results. Our results verify and expand field data on reproduction by females and provide new data on reproduction by males and estimates of relatedness and N(e) in a polar bear population. PMID:19633212

  10. Seasonal spatial patterns in seabird and marine mammal distribution in the eastern Chukchi and western Beaufort seas: Identifying biologically important pelagic areas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuletz, Kathy J.; Ferguson, Megan C.; Hurley, Brendan; Gall, Adrian E.; Labunski, Elizabeth A.; Morgan, Tawna C.

    2015-08-01

    The Chukchi and Beaufort seas are undergoing rapid climate change and increased human activity. Conservation efforts for upper trophic level predators such as seabirds and marine mammals require information on species' distributions and identification of important marine areas. Here we describe broad-scale distributions of seabirds and marine mammals. We examined spatial patterns of relative abundance of seabirds and marine mammals in the eastern Chukchi and western Beaufort seas during summer (15 June-31 August) and fall (1 September-20 November) from 2007 to 2012. We summarized 49,206 km of shipboard surveys for seabirds and 183,157 km of aerial surveys for marine mammals into a grid of 40-km × 40-km cells. We used Getis-Ord Gi∗ hotspot analysis to test for cells with higher relative abundance than expected when compared to all cells within the study area. We identified cells representing single species and taxonomic group hotspots, cells representing hotspots for multiple species, and cells representing hotspots for both seabirds and marine mammals. The locations of hotspots varied among species but often were located near underwater canyons or over continental shelf features and slopes. Hotspots for seabirds, walrus, and gray whales occurred primarily in the Chukchi Sea. Hotspots for bowhead whales and other pinnipeds (i.e., seals) occurred near Barrow Canyon and along the Beaufort Sea shelf and slope. Hotspots for belugas occurred in both the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. There were three hotspots shared by both seabirds and marine mammals in summer: off Wainwright in the eastern Chukchi Sea, south of Hanna Shoal, and at the mouth of Barrow Canyon. In fall, the only identified shared hotspot occurred at the mouth of Barrow Canyon. Shared hotspots are characterized by strong fronts caused by upwelling and currents, and these areas can have high densities of euphausiids in summer and fall. Due to the high relative abundance of animals and diversity of taxa

  11. Velocity models and images using full waveform inversion and reverse time migration for the offshore permafrost in the Canadian shelf of Beaufort Sea, Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kang, S. G.; Hong, J. K.; Jin, Y. K.; Kim, S.; Kim, Y. G.; Dallimore, S.; Riedel, M.; Shin, C.

    2015-12-01

    During Expedition ARA05C (from Aug 26 to Sep 19, 2014) on the Korean icebreaker RV ARAON, the multi-channel seismic (MCS) data were acquired on the outer shelf and slope of the Canadian Beaufort Sea to investigate distribution and internal geological structures of the offshore ice-bonded permafrost and gas hydrates, totaling 998 km L-km with 19,962 shots. The MCS data were recorded using a 1500 m long solid-type streamer with 120 channels. Shot and group spacing were 50 m and 12.5 m, respectively. Most MCS survey lines were designed perpendicular and parallel to the strike of the shelf break. Ice-bonded permafrost or ice-bearing sediments are widely distributed under the Beaufort Sea shelf, which have formed during periods of lower sea level when portions of the shelf less than ~100m water depth were an emergent coastal plain exposed to very cold surface. The seismic P-wave velocity is an important geophysical parameter for identifying the distribution of ice-bonded permafrost with high velocity in this area. Recently, full waveform inversion (FWI) and reverse time migration (RTM) are commonly used to delineate detailed seismic velocity information and seismic image of geological structures. FWI is a data fitting procedure based on wave field modeling and numerical analysis to extract quantitative geophysical parameters such as P-, S-wave velocities and density from seismic data. RTM based on 2-way wave equation is a useful technique to construct accurate seismic image with amplitude preserving of field data. In this study, we suggest two-dimensional P-wave velocity model (Figure.1) using the FWI algorithm to delineate the top and bottom boundaries of ice-bonded permafrost in the Canadian shelf of Beaufort Sea. In addition, we construct amplitude preserving migrated seismic image using RTM to interpret the geological history involved with the evolution of permafrost.

  12. Sources and Reactivity of Terrestrial Organic Carbon to the Colville River Delta, Beaufort Sea, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schreiner, K. M.; Bianchi, T. S.; Rosenheim, B. E.

    2014-12-01

    relatively thermochemically reactive and sourced from Pleistocene-aged yedoma-like deposits, and could contribute to increased OC mineralization in the Beaufort shelf. These results are the first to combine biomarker and ramped pyrolysis-14C analyses in an Arctic setting.

  13. Assimilating QuikSCAT Ocean Surface Winds with the Weather Research and Forecasting Model for Surface Wind-Field Simulation over the Chukchi/Beaufort Seas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fan, Xingang; Krieger, Jeremy R.; Zhang, Jing; Zhang, Xiangdong

    2013-07-01

    To achieve a high-quality simulation of the surface wind field in the Chukchi/Beaufort Sea region, quick scatterometer (QuikSCAT) ocean surface winds were assimilated into the mesoscale Weather Research and Forecasting model by using its three-dimensional variational data assimilation system. The SeaWinds instrument on board the polar-orbiting QuikSCAT satellite is a specialized radar that measures ice-free ocean surface wind speed and direction at a horizontal resolution of 12.5 km. A total of eight assimilation case studies over two five-day periods, 1-5 October 2002 and 20-24 September 2004, were performed. The simulation results with and without the assimilation of QuikSCAT winds were then compared with QuikSCAT data available during the subsequent free-forecast period, coastal station observations, and North American Regional Reanalysis data. It was found that QuikSCAT winds are a potentially valuable resource for improving the simulation of ocean near-surface winds in the Chukchi/Beaufort Seas region. Specifically, the assimilation of QuikSCAT winds improved, (1) offshore surface winds as compared to unassimilated QuikSCAT winds, (2) sea-level pressure, planetary boundary-layer height, as well as surface heat fluxes, and (3) low-level wind fields and geopotential height. Verification against QuikSCAT data also demonstrated the temporal consistency and good quality of QuikSCAT observations.

  14. Constraints on the Origin of Sedimentary Organic Carbon in the Beaufort Sea from Coupled Molecular 13C and 14C Measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Drenzek, N.; Montlucon, D.; Yunker, M.; MacDonald, R.; Eglinton, T.

    2005-12-01

    The type and flux of organic carbon (OC) delivered from the continents to the sea can both influence, and be influenced by, climate change on regional and global scales. In order to develop a more complete view of OC delivery in the climatically sensitive Arctic region, we measured the stable carbon and radiocarbon isotopic signatures of individual lipid biomarkers and products of kerogen pyrolysis from the surficial sediments of several sites on the Mackenzie Shelf and adjacent slope of the Beaufort Sea. Even carbon numbered fatty acids exhibit a trend of increasing radiocarbon age with increasing chain length, from modern values for shorter homologues (nC18 or below) to several thousand years old for their longer counterparts (nC24 or greater). Such depleted Δ14C values for longer-chain fatty acids likely reflect supply of vascular plant OC that has been `pre-' on the continents for several millennia prior to delivery to the Beaufort Sea. Their concomitant stable carbon isotopic compositions support a C3 land plant source. The molecular distributions and corresponding δ13C and Δ14C signatures of solvent-extractable alkanes point to at least two sources: higher plant leaf waxes and a 14C-`dead' component likely derived from erosion of organic-rich sedimentary rocks exposed within the Mackenzie River drainage basin. The stable carbon and radiocarbon compositions of straight chain n-hydrocarbon pyrolysis products from the corresponding demineralized sediments suggest their vascular plant-derived precursor structures also spent several millennia in continental reservoirs before being delivered to the Beaufort Sea. On a bulk level, the trend in sedimentary organic carbon contents, C/N ratios, and δ13C values point to an overall decrease in the terrigenous input (mainly from the Mackenzie river) with distance offshore, whereas bulk Δ14C measurements exhibit no trend suggesting a somewhat constant pre-aged component. A dual molecular isotopic mass balance approach

  15. Vertical stability and the annual dynamics of nutrients and chlorophyll fluorescence in the coastal, southeast Beaufort Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tremblay, Jean-ÉRic; Simpson, Kyle; Martin, Johannie; Miller, Lisa; Gratton, Yves; Barber, David; Price, Neil M.

    2008-07-01

    The first quasi-annual time series of nutrients and chlorophyll fluorescence in the southeast Beaufort Sea showed that mixing, whether driven by wind, local convection, or brine rejection, and the ensuing replenishment of nutrients at the surface were minimal during autumn and winter. Anomalously high inventories of nutrients were observed briefly in late December, coinciding with the passage of an eddy generated offshore. The concentrations of NO3- in the upper mixed layer were otherwise low and increased slowly from January to April. The coincident decline of NO2- suggested nitrification near the surface. The vernal drawdown of NO3- in 2004 began at the ice-water interface during May, leaving as little as 0.9 μM of NO3- when the ice broke up. A subsurface chlorophyll maximum (SCM) developed promptly and deepened with the nitracline until early August. The diatom-dominated SCM possibly mediated half of the seasonal NO3- consumption while generating the primary NO2- maximum. Dissolved inorganic carbon and soluble reactive phosphorus above the SCM continued to decline after NO3- was depleted, indicating that net community production (NCP) exceeded NO3- -based new production. These dynamics contrast with those of productive Arctic waters where nutrient replenishment in the upper euphotic zone is extensive and NCP is fueled primarily by allochthonous NO3-. The projected increase in the supply of heat and freshwater to the Arctic should bolster vertical stability, further reduce NO3- -based new production, and increase the relative contribution of the SCM. This trend might be reversed locally or regionally by the physical forcing events that episodically deliver nutrients to the upper euphotic zone.

  16. Current surges and seabed erosion near the shelf break in the Canadian Beaufort Sea: A response to wind and ice motion stress

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forest, Alexandre; Osborne, Philip D.; Curtiss, Gregory; Lowings, Malcolm G.

    2016-08-01

    Estimating the erosion potential of seabed sediments and the magnitude of the resulting suspended load in relation to current dynamics near the shelf break is a key issue for better understanding shelf-slope sediment transport. On the outer Mackenzie Shelf (Canadian Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean), a thin and discontinuous veneer of recent surficial clays overlie old glaciomarine sediments that further pinch out at the shelf edge. Gas and fluid venting is known to underlie part of sediment instability in the area, but recent mooring-based measurements also indicate that sediments near the shelf break are recurrently remobilized by strong subsurface currents. Here, we relate storms to the development of current surges that resulted in the abrupt resuspension of sediments at two locations along the shelf break. Near-bottom concentrations of suspended sediments were estimated using the acoustic backscatter of high-frequency acoustic Doppler current profilers deployed from September 2011 to September 2013 as part of the Beaufort Regional Environmental Assessment (BREA) program. Near-bottom currents near the shelf edge (140 to 150 m isobaths) were characterized by recurring episodes of elevated velocities (instantaneous speeds up to ~ 40-50 cm s-1) that were extensions of current surges (~ 60-80 cm s-1) occurring in the core of the shelfbreak jet located at ca. 90-120 m. Sudden peaks in suspended sediments (above 100 g m-3) corresponded closely with current surges in the near-bottom boundary layer (< 10 m) implying the local erosion of surficial sediments and the rapid advection or redeposition of the resuspended sediments. A range of apparent threshold velocities from 18 to 36 cm s-1 was calculated based on the relationship between suspended sediment concentrations and near-bottom current speeds. Two meteorological scenarios were identified to explain the current surges underlying these erosion events at the shelf edge: (1) Pacific or Arctic-born low pressure systems that

  17. An oilspill risk analysis for the Beaufort Sea, Alaska (proposed sale 71)outer continental shelf lease area

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Samuels, W.B.; Hopkins, Dorothy; Lanfear, K.J.

    1981-01-01

    An oilspill risk analysis was conducted to determine the relative environmental hazards of developing oil in different regions of the Beaufort Sea, Alaska, (Proposed Sale 71) Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) lease area. The probability of spill occurrences, likely movement of oil slicks, and locations of resources vulnerable to spilled oil were analyzed. The model predicted movement of the center of spill mass and estimated the times between spill occurrence and contact with various resources, to allow a qualitative assessment of oil characteristics at the time of contact; no direct computation was made of weathering and cleanup. The model also assumed that any oil spilled under ice would remain in place, unchanged, until spring breakup. Ice movements, or travel of oil under ice, if occurring, would affect the results in a manner not directly predictable at this time. The combined results of spill occurrence and spill movement predictions yielded estimates of the overall risks associated with development of the proposed lease area. Assuming that oil exists in the lease area (a 99.3-percent chance) it is estimated that the leasing of the tracts proposed for OCS Sale 71 will result in an expected 9.2 oilspills (of 1,000 barrels or larger) over the lease lifetime of 25 years. This estimate is based on historic oilspill accident data for platforms and pipelines on the U.S. OCS (Gulf of Mexico and California). The estimated probability that land will be contacted by one or more oilspills (of 1,000 barrels or larger) that have been at sea less than 30 days (not counting any time trapped under ice) is greater than 99.5 percent. If oilspill accident data for Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, is used in the analysis, it is estimated that 5.6 oilspills (1,000 barrels or larger) will occur over the lease lifetime. The estimated probability that one or more oilspills (1,000 barrels or larger)will occur and contact land is99 percent. The results of a recent experimental cleanup operation for

  18. High rates of bedload transport measured from infilling rate of large strudel-scour craters in the Beaufort Sea, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reimnitz, Erk; Kempema, E. W.

    1983-01-01

    Strudel scours are craters in the sea floor as much as 25 m wide and 6 m deep, that are excavated by vertical drainage flow during the yearly spring flooding of vast reaches of shorefast ice surrounding arctic deltas; they form at a rate of about 2.5 km -2 y -1. We monitored two such craters in the Beaufort Sea and found that in relatively unprotected sites they fill in by deposition from bedload in 2 to 3 years. Net westward sediment transport results in sand layers dipping at the angle of repose westward into the strudel-scour crater, whereas the west wall of the crater remains steep to vertical. At the bottom the crater traps almost all bedload: sand, pebbles, and organic detritus. As infilling progresses, the materials are increasingly winnowed, and bypassing must occur. Over a 20m wide sector, an exposed strudel scour trapped 360 m 3 of bedload during two seasons; this infilling represents a bedload transport rate of 9 m 3 y -1 m -1. This rate should be applicable to a 4.5-km wide zone with equal exposure and similar or shallower depth. Within this zone, the transport rate is 40,500 m 3 y -1, similar to estimated longshore transport rates on local barrier beaches. Based on the established rate of cut and fill, all the delta-front deposits should consist of strudel-scour fill. Vibracores typically show dipping interbedded sand and lenses of organic material draped over steep erosional contacts, and an absence of horizontal continuity of strata—criteria that should uniquely identify high-latitude deltaic deposits. Given a short 2- to 3-year lifespan, most strudel scours seen in surveys must be old and partially filled. The same holds true for ice gouges and other depressions not adjusted to summer waves and currents, and therefore such features record events of only the past few years. In view of such high rates of bottom reworking of the shallow shelf, any human activities causing turbidity, such as dredging, would have little effect on the environment

  19. Studies of the inner shelf and coastal sedimentation environment of the Beaufort Sea from ERTS-1

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Reimnitz, E. (Principal Investigator); Barnes, P. W.

    1973-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. Northward flowing rivers of Alaska inundate extensive areas of sea ice during spring breakup. This process has been studied under the ERTS-1 program. Drainage of large volumes of fresh water through the ice at holes and cracks (strudel) causes scour depressions, over 4 m deep, and up to 20 m across in the sea floor below. Strudel scours occur within 30 km of river mouths, generally in areas where ERTS-1 imagery shows less potential for drifting ice to scour the bottom than elsewhere. The shapes and distribution patterns of strudel scours correspond with those of strudel seen in the ice canopy. Densities of scours are highest in the inner areas of overlfow. But strudel scours also occur outside of overflow areas mapped during the last several years. These must be very old. One strudel scour investigated by diving is surrounded by a rim, has vertical walls exposing a tundra horizon, and terminates at a gravel layer 4 m below the lagoon floor. Another terminates at a semi-consolidated layer of silty clay. The gravel and silty clay are pre-Holocene deposits. Mixing of Holocene marine with older sediments by vertical strudel flow causes great variability in sediment types over small areas. These observations complicate interpretation of shallow water deposits of cold climates.

  20. Assessing the potential impacts of declining Arctic sea ice cover on the photochemical degradation of dissolved organic matter in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Logvinova, Christie L.; Frey, Karen E.; Mann, Paul J.; Stubbins, Aron; Spencer, Robert G. M.

    2015-11-01

    A warming and shifting climate in the Arctic has led to significant declines in sea ice over the last several decades. Although these changes in sea ice cover are well documented, large uncertainties remain in how associated increases in solar radiation transmitted to the underlying ocean water column will impact heating, biological, and biogeochemical processes in the Arctic Ocean. In this study, six under-ice marine, two ice-free marine, and two ice-free terrestrially influenced water samples were irradiated using a solar simulator for 72 h (representing ~10 days of ambient sunlight) to investigate dissolved organic matter (DOM) dynamics from the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Solar irradiation caused chromophoric DOM (CDOM) light absorption at 254 nm to decrease by 48 to 63%. An overall loss in total DOM fluorescence intensity was also observed at the end of all experiments, and each of six components identified by parallel factor (PARAFAC) analysis was shown to be photoreactive in at least one experiment. Fluorescent DOM (FDOM) also indicated that the majority of DOM in under-ice and ice-free marine waters was likely algal-derived. Measurable changes in dissolved organic carbon (DOC) were only observed for sites influenced by riverine runoff. Losses of CDOM absorbance at shorter wavelengths suggest that the beneficial UV protection currently received by marine organisms may decline with the increased light transmittance associated with sea ice melt ponding and overall reductions of sea ice. Our FDOM analyses demonstrate that DOM irrespective of source was susceptible to photobleaching. Additionally, our findings suggest that photodegradation of CDOM in under-ice waters is not currently a significant source of carbon dioxide (CO2) (i.e., we did not observe systematic DOC loss). However, increases in primary production and terrestrial freshwater export expected under future climate change scenarios may cause an increase in CDOM quantity and shift in quality

  1. The polar bear management agreement for the southern Beaufort Sea: an evaluation of the first ten years of a unique conservation agreement

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brower, C.D.; Carpenter, A.; Branigan, M.L.; Calvert, W.; Evans, T.; Fischbach, A.S.; Nagy, J.A.; Schliebe, S.; Stirling, I.

    2002-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the southern Beaufort Sea population, distributed from approximately Icy Cape, west of Point Barrow, to Pearce Point, east of Paulatuk in Canada, are harvested by hunters from both countries. In Canada, quotas to control polar bear hunting have been in place, with periodic modifications, since 1968. In Alaska, passage of the United State Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of 1972 banned polar bear hunting unless done by Alaska Natives for subsistence. However, the MMPA placed no restrictions on numbers or composition of the subsistence hunt, leaving open the potential for an overharvest with no possible legal management response until the population was declared depleted. Recognizing that as a threat to the conservation of the shared polar bear population, the Inuvialuit Game Council from Canada and the North Slop Borough from Alaska negotiated and signed a user-to-user agreement, the Polar Bear Management Agreement for the Southern Beaufort Sea, in 1988. We reviewed the functioning of the agreement through its first 10 years and concluded that, overall, it has been successful because both the total harvest and the proportion of females in the harvest have been contained within sustainable limits. However, harvest monitoring needs to be improved in Alaska, and awareness of the need to prevent overharvest of females needs to be increased in both countries. This agreement is a useful model for other user-to-user conservation agreements.

  2. Active seafloor gas vents on the Shelf and upper Slope in Canadian Beaufort Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paull, C. K.; Dallimore, S. R.; Hughes Clarke, J. E.; Blasco, S.; Taylor, A. E.; Melling, H.; Vagle, S.; Conway, K.; Riedel, M.; Lundsten, E.; Gwiazda, R.

    2012-12-01

    In the Canadian Arctic shelf and upper slope, a thermal disturbance caused by sea level rise at the end of the last glacial period, is still propagating into the subsurface and heating shelf sediments, where submerged terrestrial permafrost and gas hydrate, and marine gas hydrate are believed to occur in close proximity. On-going studies show evidence of gas venting in association with three distinct environments: Pingo-Like-Features (PLF) on the mid-shelf; along the shelf edge near the 100m contour; and ~1 km wide circular topographic features on the upper continental slope. Observations with a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) show that methane is venting vigorously over point sources on the PLF's on the mid-shelf, and diffusely along the shelf edge. The stable isotopic composition of methane emanating from these environments indicates a microbial origin for the venting gas. Their negligible radiocarbon content indicates a geological source, as opposed to methangenisis associated with modern sediments. This is consistent with the change in the thermal regime produced by the last transgression. During glacial periods lower sea level exposed the current shelf to frigid sub-aerial temperatures. As a result, some areas of the shelf are underlain by >600m of ice-bonded permafrost with the base of methane hydrate stability at >1000m depths. The marine transgression imposed a change in mean annual surface temperature from -15°C or lower, to mean annual sea bottom temperatures near 0°C. The thermal disturbance is still propagating into the subsurface, stimulating the decomposition of both terrestrial permafrost and gas hydrate at depth and liberating methane. The PLF vents are believed to be sourced from the top of the gas hydrate stability field, while the gas emanating along the shelf edge can be from the decomposition of gas trapped in the permafrost or gas-hydrate underneath the continental shelf. The occurrence of water column flares over the distinctive circular

  3. Studies of the inner shelf and coastal sedimentation environment of the Beaufort Sea from ERTS-1

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Reimnitz, E. (Principal Investigator)

    1972-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. Field studies of the initiation of river flow onto the frozen Arctic Ocean were made by a group of scientists from May 15 to June 10, 1972. A time lapse camera mounted on a 40-ft. tower near the mouth of the Kaparuk River, west of Prudhoe Bay, provided a detailed 10-day record (24 hours a day) of flow direction and water level. It is believed that wind build-up, discharge variance of the river, and through-ice drainage rates are the prime factors influencing overflow onto the sea ice. Current meter, transmissometer, temperature, salinity, and thermoprobe data were collected from holes drilled in the shorefast ice from seal holes and from the river water overflow. Depth and a real distribution of the overflow water were monitored from the ice using snowmobiles, and from the air using helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. Photographic records were made on 35mm KII, KX, Ektachrome IR, Plus X, and IR black and white film. A simple two camera frame permitted simultaneous exposures of two types of film. Preliminary comparisons of the IR and conventional films, both color and black and white, showed no advantage to using the infrared film. However, the low altitude photography taken during this study will be very helpful in the interpretation of ERTS-1 imagery.

  4. Distribution, abundance and behavior of endangered whales in the Alaskan Chukchi and Western Beaufort Seas, 1991: With a review 1982-91. Final report, September-November 1991

    SciTech Connect

    Moore, S.E.; Clarke, J.T.

    1992-09-01

    The report summarizes the 1991 investigations of the distribution, abundance, migration timing and route, behavior, and habitat relationships of endangered whales in the Alaskan Chukchi and western Beaufort seas (hereafter, study area); 1991 was the third year of a three year (1989-91) study. Data were collected during transect and search surveys flown in a specially modified Grumman Goose (model G21G) aircraft over the study area from 20 September through 7 November. The Bering Sea stock of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) was the principal species studied. Gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) were also studied, with incidental sightings of all other marine mammals routinely recorded. Data collected during the 1991 study were subsequently integrated with the results of surveys conducted from 1982-1990. In 1991, there were 27 sightings of 32 bowhead whales and 20 sightings of 26 gray whales in the study area from 20 September through October.

  5. A 50% increase in the amount of terrestrial particles delivered by the Mackenzie River into the Beaufort Sea (Canadian Arctic Ocean) over the last 10 years

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Doxaran, D.; Devred, E.; Babin, M.

    2015-01-01

    Global warming has a significant impact at the regional scale on the Arctic Ocean and surrounding coastal zones (i.e., Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Norway and Russia). The recent increase in air temperature has resulted in increased precipitations along the drainage basins of Arctic Rivers. It has also directly impacted land and seawater temperatures with the consequence of melting the permafrost and sea-ice. An increase in freshwater discharge by main Arctic rivers has been clearly identified in time series of field observations. The freshwater discharge of the Mackenzie River has increased by 25% since 2003. This may have increased the mobilization and transport of various dissolved and particulate substances, including organic carbon, as well as their export to the ocean. The release from land to the ocean of such organic material, which was sequestered as frozen since the last glacial maximum, may significantly impact the Arctic Ocean carbon cycle as well as marine ecosystems. In this study we use 11 years of ocean-colour satellite data and field observations collected in 2009 to estimate the amount of terrestrial suspended solids and particulate organic carbon delivered by the Mackenzie River into the Beaufort Sea (Arctic Ocean). Our results show that during the summer period the concentration of suspended solids at the river mouth, in the delta zone and in the river plume has increased by 46, 71 and 33%, respectively, since 2003. Combined with the variations observed in the freshwater discharge, this corresponds to a more than 50% increase in the particulate (terrestrial suspended particles and organic carbon) export from the Mackenzie River into the Beaufort Sea.

  6. A 50 % increase in the mass of terrestrial particles delivered by the Mackenzie River into the Beaufort Sea (Canadian Arctic Ocean) over the last 10 years

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Doxaran, D.; Devred, E.; Babin, M.

    2015-06-01

    Global warming has a significant impact on the regional scale on the Arctic Ocean and surrounding coastal zones (i.e., Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Norway and Russia). The recent increase in air temperature has resulted in increased precipitation along the drainage basins of Arctic rivers. It has also directly impacted land and seawater temperatures with the consequence of melting permafrost and sea ice. An increase in freshwater discharge by main Arctic rivers has been clearly identified in time series of field observations. The freshwater discharge of the Mackenzie River has increased by 25% since 2003. This may have increased the mobilization and transport of various dissolved and particulate substances, including organic carbon, as well as their export to the ocean. The release from land to the ocean of such organic material, which has been sequestered in a frozen state since the Last Glacial Maximum, may significantly impact the Arctic Ocean carbon cycle as well as marine ecosystems. In this study we use 11 years of ocean color satellite data and field observations collected in 2009 to estimate the mass of terrestrial suspended solids and particulate organic carbon delivered by the Mackenzie River into the Beaufort Sea (Arctic Ocean). Our results show that during the summer period, the concentration of suspended solids at the river mouth, in the delta zone and in the river plume has increased by 46, 71 and 33%, respectively, since 2003. Combined with the variations observed in the freshwater discharge, this corresponds to a more than 50% increase in the particulate (terrestrial suspended particles and organic carbon) export from the Mackenzie River into the Beaufort Sea.

  7. Hydroacoustic detection of large winter aggregations of Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) at depth in ice-covered Franklin Bay (Beaufort Sea)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Benoit, Delphine; Simard, Yvan; Fortier, Louis

    2008-06-01

    In the Canadian Arctic, the large biomass of Arctic cod that must exist to explain consumption by predators has eluded detection. From December 2003 to May 2004, acoustic estimates of Arctic cod biomass at a 225-m-deep station in central Franklin Bay (southeastern Beaufort Sea) increased progressively by 2 orders of magnitude, reaching maximum values of 2.7 and 55 kg m-2 in April. During accumulation in Franklin Bay, the fish occupied the lower part of the Pacific halocline (140 m to bottom), where the temperature-salinity signature (-1.4 to 0.3°C; 33 to 34.8 practical salinity units) corresponded to slope waters. Currents at 200 m along the western slope of Amundsen Gulf headed SSE in early winter, suggesting the passive advection of Arctic cod from Amundsen Gulf into Franklin Bay. Retention in Franklin Bay against the general circulation resulted from the fish keeping at depth to reduce predation by diving seals and/or to benefit from relatively warm temperatures in the lower halocline. Extrapolating a standing biomass of 11.23 kg m-2 at the station in April to the whole of Franklin Bay, the availability of polar cod would amply satisfy the requirements of predators. Dense accumulations of Arctic cod in embayments in winter likely play an important role in structuring the ecosystem of the Beaufort Sea. Understanding how climate change and the reduction of the sea ice cover will affect the stability of the oceanographic/behavioral accumulation process requires further research and modeling.

  8. Co-incident 3D mapping of sea ice surface elevation and ice draft in the Beaufort Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Doble, M. J.; Forsberg, R.; Haas, C.; Hanson, S.; Hendriks, S.; Martin, T.; Skourup, H.; Wadhams, P.

    2007-12-01

    Co-incident measurements of sea ice freeboard, thickness and draft were made during the Applied Physics Laboratory Ice Station (APLIS), in April 2007. The campaign was the first time that full three-dimensional mapping of sea ice freeboard and sea ice draft have been achieved simultaneously. Freeboard was measured across a swath width of 300 m at 1 m spatial resolution, using a laser profilometer flown aboard a Twin Otter aircraft. Ice draft was measured across a swath width of approximately 80 m at 0.5 m spatial resolution, using a Gavia AUV fitted with a GeoAcoustics phase-measuring swath sonar. Ice thickness was also measured along co-incident tracks using a helicopter-borne electromagnetic sounding instrument (HEM bird). The laser profilometer and AUV-mounted sonar rely on the assumption of isostatic balance when deriving ice thickness estimates from the ice surface and underside profiles, while the HEM bird records both surfaces simultaneously and independently, though averaging over a significant footprint (30 m) for the underside of the ice. Though the extent of the APLIS dataset was limited by the radius of AUV operations, the dataset will significantly improve our understanding of ice volume in deformed ice areas, particularly our understanding of the contribution of ridges and rubble fields to total Arctic ice volume, their isostatic balance and questions of block-scale porosity. The data will serve to better constrain the effects of porosity and footprint on the operational HEM measurements and, conversely, the HEM measurements will allow conclusions about the impact of the isostatic balance assumption on ice thickness estimates derived from mapping of one surface.

  9. Ice erosion of a sea-floor knickpoint at the inner edge of the stamukhi zone, Beaufort Sea, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Barnes, P.W.; Asbury, J.L.; Rearic, D.M.; Ross, C.R.

    1987-01-01

    In 1981 and 1982, detailed bathymetric and side-scan sonar surveys were made of an area of the sea floor north of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to study the changing characteristics of the seabed at the inner boundary of the stamukhi zone, the coast-parallel zone of grounded ice ridges that occurs in water depths between 15 and 50 m in the arctic. The fathograms and sonographs resolved 10-cm features and electronic navigation gave relocations accurate to about 10 m. Year after year an ice boundary develops at the inner edge of the stamukhi zone where major shear and pressure deformation occur in about the same location. Associated with this ice boundary, the bathymetry shows a pronounced break in slope - the knickpoint - on the shelf profile at about 20 m depth. The 2-3 m-high knickpoint is cut in a consolidated gravelly mud of pre-Holocene age. A well-defined gravel and cobble shoal a few meters high usually occurs at the inshore edge of the knickpoint. The sonograph mosaic shows that seaward of the knickpoint, ice gouges saturate the sea floor and are well defined; inshore the gouges are fewer in number and are poorly defined on the records. Few gouges can be traced from the seaward side of the knickpoint across the shoals to the inshore side of the knickpoint. Studies of ice gouging rates in two seabed corridors that cross the stamukhi zone reveal the highest rates of gouging seaward of the knickpoint. We believe that the knickpoint results from ice erosion at the inner boundary of the stamukhi zone. Intensified currents associated with this boundary winnow away fine sediments. Ice bulldozing and currents shape the shoals, which perch atop the knickpoint. The knickpoint helps to limit ice forces on the seabed inshore of the stamukhi zone. ?? 1987.

  10. Alaska: Beaufort Sea

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2014-05-15

    ... point to bright areas in which large, crystalline "frost flowers" have formed on young, thin ice, causing this young ice type to exhibit an increased radar backscatter. Frost flowers are strongly backscattering at radar wavelengths (cm) due to both ...

  11. Synoptic evaluation of carbon cycling in Beaufort Sea during summer: contrasting river inputs, ecosystem metabolism and air-sea CO2 fluxes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forest, A.; Coupel, P.; Else, B.; Nahavandian, S.; Lansard, B.; Raimbault, P.; Papakyriakou, T.; Gratton, Y.; Fortier, L.; Tremblay, J.-É.; Babin, M.

    2013-10-01

    The accelerated decline in Arctic sea ice combined with an ongoing trend toward a more dynamic atmosphere is modifying carbon cycling in the Arctic Ocean. A critical issue is to understand how net community production (NCP; the balance between gross primary production and community respiration) responds to changes and modulates air-sea CO2 fluxes. Using data collected as part of the ArcticNet-Malina 2009 expedition in southeastern Beaufort Sea (Arctic Ocean), we synthesize information on sea ice, wind, river, water column properties, metabolism of the planktonic food web, organic carbon fluxes and pools, as well as air-sea CO2 exchange, with the aim of identifying indices of ecosystem response to environmental changes. Data were analyzed to develop a non-steady-state carbon budget and an assessment of NCP against air-sea CO2 fluxes. The mean atmospheric forcing was a mild upwelling-favorable wind (~5 km h-1) blowing from the N-E and a decaying ice cover (<80% concentration) was observed beyond the shelf, the latter being fully exposed to the atmosphere. We detected some areas where the surface mixed layer was net autotrophic owing to high rates of primary production (PP), but the ecosystem was overall net heterotrophic. The region acted nonetheless as a sink for atmospheric CO2 with a mean uptake rate of -2.0 ± 3.3 mmol C m-2d-1. We attribute this discrepancy to: (1) elevated PP rates (>600 mg C m-2d-1) over the shelf prior to our survey, (2) freshwater dilution by river runoff and ice melt, and (3) the presence of cold surface waters offshore. Only the Mackenzie River delta and localized shelf areas directly affected by upwelling were identified as substantial sources of CO2 to the atmosphere (>10mmol C m-2d-1). Although generally <100 mg C m-2d-1, daily PP rates cumulated to a total PP of ~437.6 × 103 t C, which was roughly twice higher than the organic carbon delivery by river inputs (~241.2 × 103 t C). Subsurface PP represented 37.4% of total PP for the

  12. Bowhead whales in the Beaufort Sea: a summary of their seasonal distribution and activities, and potential disturbance by offshore oil and gas exploration and development

    SciTech Connect

    Fraker, M.A.; Richardson, W.J.

    1980-10-01

    A literature review was conducted to determine the status of information (as of 1980) on bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) behavior, potential sources of industrial disturbance during offshore oil and gas exploration and development, responses of bowheads to such disturbances and to identify data gaps. Approximately 102 references were reviewed in order to meet the goals of the literature summary. The spring and fall migration is described in terms of timing and distribution in the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Individual sources of potential disturbance to bowheads due to offshore oil industry activities are described. A general discussion of the response of cetaceans to marine traffic, stationary marine industrial activities and effluents/discharges is presented.

  13. Observations on the behavior of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) in the presence of operating seismic exploration vessels in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea

    SciTech Connect

    Ljungblad, D.K.; Wuersig, B.; Swartz, S.L.; Keene, J.M.

    1985-10-01

    The response of bowhead whales to active geophysical vessels was observed during the course of 4 field experiments conducted in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea, September 1984. Conspicuous short-term behavioral changes were observed when active vessels approached to within 10km of bowheads, with the strongest responses occurring when whales were within 5km of active vessels. Behavioral responses included shorter surfacing and dive times, fewer blows per surfacing, and longer blow intervals. Total avoidance responses occured at vessel distances of 1.25km, 7.2km, 3.5km and 3.5km with associated measured sound levels from the seismic airgun arrays of 152dB, 164dB, 178dB and 163dB, respectively.

  14. Beaufort Sea monitoring program: analysis of trace metals and hydrocarbons from Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) activities. Final report, 1983-1986

    SciTech Connect

    Boehm, P.D.; Crecelius, E.; Steinhauer, W.; Steinhauer, M.; Tuckfield, C.

    1986-08-13

    An environmental-monitoring program, designed to detect and quantify long-term changes in sediment and tissue concentrations of metals and hydrocarbons potentially due to oil and gas exploration and development on the U.S. Beaufort Sea continental shelf, was initiated in 1984. In Year-1 of the three-year study, a series of benthic stations was established in the nearshore area between Barter Island and Cape Halkett. In Year-2 of the study, areal coverage of the Study Area was increased to 39 marine stations and 10 shoreline and river stations. Analysis of six replicate sediment samples for trace metals, and saturated and aromatic hydrocarbons revealed a wide range of concentrations. Both trace metal and hydrocarbon analyses of bivalve and crustacean tissues indicated concentrations differences between species but no apparent relationship between animal body burdens and sediment concentrations.

  15. Synoptic evaluation of carbon cycling in the Beaufort Sea during summer: contrasting river inputs, ecosystem metabolism and air-sea CO2 fluxes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forest, A.; Coupel, P.; Else, B.; Nahavandian, S.; Lansard, B.; Raimbault, P.; Papakyriakou, T.; Gratton, Y.; Fortier, L.; Tremblay, J.-É.; Babin, M.

    2014-05-01

    The accelerated decline in Arctic sea ice and an ongoing trend toward more energetic atmospheric and oceanic forcings are modifying carbon cycling in the Arctic Ocean. A critical issue is to understand how net community production (NCP; the balance between gross primary production and community respiration) responds to changes and modulates air-sea CO2 fluxes. Using data collected as part of the ArcticNet-Malina 2009 expedition in the southeastern Beaufort Sea (Arctic Ocean), we synthesize information on sea ice, wind, river, water column properties, metabolism of the planktonic food web, organic carbon fluxes and pools, as well as air-sea CO2 exchange, with the aim of documenting the ecosystem response to environmental changes. Data were analyzed to develop a non-steady-state carbon budget and an assessment of NCP against air-sea CO2 fluxes. During the field campaign, the mean wind field was a mild upwelling-favorable wind (~ 5 km h-1) from the NE. A decaying ice cover (< 80% concentration) was observed beyond the shelf, the latter being fully exposed to the atmosphere. We detected some areas where the surface mixed layer was net autotrophic owing to high rates of primary production (PP), but the ecosystem was overall net heterotrophic. The region acted nonetheless as a sink for atmospheric CO2, with an uptake rate of -2.0 ± 3.3 mmol C m-2 d-1 (mean ± standard deviation associated with spatial variability). We attribute this discrepancy to (1) elevated PP rates (> 600 mg C m-2 d-1) over the shelf prior to our survey, (2) freshwater dilution by river runoff and ice melt, and (3) the presence of cold surface waters offshore. Only the Mackenzie River delta and localized shelf areas directly affected by upwelling were identified as substantial sources of CO2 to the atmosphere (> 10 mmol C m-2 d-1). Daily PP rates were generally < 100 mg C m-2 d-1 and cumulated to a total PP of ~ 437.6 × 103 t C for the region over a 35-day period. This amount was about twice the

  16. Spatial variability of particle-attached and free-living bacterial diversity in surface waters from the Mackenzie River to the Beaufort Sea (Canadian Arctic)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ortega-Retuerta, E.; Joux, F.; Jeffrey, W. H.; Ghiglione, J.-F.

    2012-12-01

    We explored the patterns of total and active bacterial community structure in a gradient covering surface waters from the Mackenzie River to the coastal Beaufort Sea, Canadian Arctic Ocean, with a particular focus on free-living vs. particle-attached communities. Capillary electrophoresis-single strand conformation polymorphism (CE-SSCP) showed significant differences when comparing river, coast and open sea bacterial community structures. In contrast to the river and coastal waters, total (16S rDNA-based) and active (16S rRNA-based) communities in the open sea samples were not significantly different, suggesting that most present bacterial groups were equally active in this area. Additionally, we observed significant differences between particle-attached (PA) and free-living (FL) bacterial communities in the open sea, but similar structure in the two fractions for coastal and river samples. Direct multivariate statistical analyses showed that total community structure was mainly driven by salinity (proxy of DOC and CDOM), suspended particles, amino acids and chlorophyll a. 16S rRNA genes pyrosequencing of selected samples confirmed these significant differences from river to sea and also between PA and FL fractions only in open sea samples, and PA samples generally showed higher diversity (Shannon, Simpson and Chao indices) than FL samples. At the class level, Opitutae was most abundant in the PA fraction of the sea sample, followed by Flavobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria, while the FL sea sample was dominated by Alphaproteobacteria. Finally, the coast and river samples, both PA and FL fractions, were dominated by Betaproteobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria and Actinobacteria. These results highlight the coexistence of particle specialists and generalists and the role of particle quality in structuring bacterial communities in the area. These results may also serve as a~basis to predict further changes in bacterial communities should climate change lead to further

  17. Spatial variability of particle-attached and free-living bacterial diversity in surface waters from the Mackenzie River to the Beaufort Sea (Canadian Arctic)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ortega-Retuerta, E.; Joux, F.; Jeffrey, W. H.; Ghiglione, J. F.

    2013-04-01

    We explored the patterns of total and active bacterial community structure in a gradient covering surface waters from the Mackenzie River to the coastal Beaufort Sea in the Canadian Arctic Ocean, with a particular focus on free-living (FL) vs. particle-attached (PA) communities. Capillary electrophoresis-single-strand conformation polymorphism (CE-SSCP) showed significant differences when comparing river, coast and open sea bacterial community structures. In contrast to the river and coastal waters, total (16S rDNA-based) and active (16S rRNA-based) communities in the open sea samples were not significantly different, suggesting that most present bacterial groups were equally active in this area. Additionally, we observed significant differences between PA and FL bacterial community structure in the open sea, but similar structure in the two fractions for coastal and river samples. Direct multivariate statistical analyses showed that total community structure was mainly driven by salinity (a proxy of dissolved organic carbon and chromophoric dissolved organic matter), suspended particles, amino acids and chlorophyll a. Pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA genes from selected samples confirmed significant differences between river, coastal and sea samples. The PA fraction was only different (15.7% similarity) from the FL one in the open sea sample. Furthermore, PA samples generally showed higher diversity (Shannon, Simpson and Chao indices) than FL samples. At the class level, Opitutae was most abundant in the PA fraction of the sea sample, followed by Flavobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria, while the FL sea sample was dominated by Alphaproteobacteria. Finally, for the coast and river samples and both PA and FL fractions, Betaproteobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria and Actinobacteria were dominant. These results highlight the coexistence of particle specialists and generalists and the role of particle quality in structuring bacterial communities in the area. These results may also

  18. Trophic interactions in the benthic boundary layer of the Beaufort Sea shelf, Arctic Ocean: Combining bulk stable isotope and fatty acid signatures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Connelly, Tara L.; Deibel, Don; Parrish, Christopher C.

    2014-01-01

    The food web structure and diets of 26 taxa of benthic boundary layer (BBL) zooplankton on the Beaufort Sea shelf were studied using carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes and fatty acids. Mean δ15N values ranged from 7.3‰ for the amphipod Melita formosa to 14.9‰ for an unidentified polychaete, suggesting that taxa sampled came from three trophic levels. For 8 taxa, the lightest carbon signature occurred near the mouth of the Mackenzie River. Stable isotope ratios helped clarify the origin of signature fatty acids. Levels of certain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) were negatively correlated with δ15N, with the exception of 22:6ω3, which was positively correlated with δ15N, suggesting that this essential PUFA was retained through the food web. Discriminant analysis proved to be a powerful tool, predicting taxa from fatty acid profiles with 99% accuracy, and revealing strong phylogenetic trends in fatty acid profiles. The amphipod Arrhis phyllonyx had higher levels of ω6 PUFA, especially 20:4ω6 with several possible sources, than other peracarid crustaceans. The holothurian had high levels of odd numbered and branched chain fatty acids, indicative of bacterial consumption, while fatty acids of phytoplankton origin were important discriminants for Calanus hyperboreus and the chaetognaths Eukrohnia hamata and Parasagitta elegans. This relationship indicates that the conventional phytoplankton-copepod-chaetognath food web found in the water column also exists in the BBL. This observation, as well as generally low δ15N and high levels of certain PUFA in samples with lower δ15N, strongly suggests that BBL zooplankton on the Beaufort Sea shelf have access to fresh material of phytoplankton origin either by feeding on sedimenting matter or by active migration to surface waters.

  19. The relationship between sea ice concentration and the spatio-temporal distribution of vocalizing bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus) in the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas from 2008 to 2011

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacIntyre, Kalyn Q.; Stafford, Kathleen M.; Conn, Paul B.; Laidre, Kristin L.; Boveng, Peter L.

    2015-08-01

    Bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus) are widely distributed in the Arctic and sub-Arctic; the Beringia population is found throughout the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas (BCB). Bearded seals are highly vocal, using underwater calls to advertise their breeding condition and maintain aquatic territories. They are also closely associated with pack ice for reproductive activities, molting, and resting. Sea ice habitat for this species varies spatially and temporally throughout the year due to differences in underlying physical and oceanographic features across its range. To test the hypothesis that the vocal activity of bearded seals is related to variations in sea ice, passive acoustic data were collected from nine locations throughout the BCB from 2008 to 2011. Recording instruments sampled on varying duty cycles ranging from 20% to 100% of each hour, and recorded frequencies up to 8192 Hz. Spectrograms of acoustic data were analyzed manually to calculate the daily proportion of hours with bearded seal calls at each sampling location, and these call activity proportions were correlated with daily satellite-derived estimates of sea ice concentration. Bearded seals were vocally active nearly year-round in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas with peak activity occurring from mid-March to late June during the mating season. The duration of call activity in the Bering Sea was shorter, lasting typically only five months, and peaked from mid-March to May at the northernmost recorders. In all areas, call activity was significantly correlated with higher sea ice concentrations (p < 0.01). These results suggest that losses in ice cover may negatively impact bearded seals, not just by loss of habitat but also by altering the behavioral ecology of the BCB population.

  20. Frontal structures associated with coastal upwelling and ice-edge subduction events in southern Beaufort Sea during the Canadian Arctic Shelf Exchange Study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sévigny, Caroline; Gratton, Yves; Galbraith, Peter S.

    2015-04-01

    The near-surface temperature structure in the southeastern Beaufort Sea is shown to have been largely dependent on frontal dynamics in spring 2004, which may be typical for the region. Easterly wind events generated coastal upwelling along the Cap Bathurst peninsula; a recurring event in that area. Further west, a large mesoscale anticyclone simultaneously developed and subsequently controlled the sea-surface circulation in the central Amundsen Gulf. Sharp temperature and density fronts were created at the surface at both eastern and western ends of the domain. Sampling north of Cape Bathurst and Cape Parry showed evidence of frontal intensification. Frontal features were detected near the 50-200 m isobaths, at the mouth of the gulf, where density-compensated near-surface intrusions driven by agesotrophic vertical circulation were identified. These warm water tongues intruded into the outcropping isopycnal layers, which dipped down between 5 and 25 m over the Mackenzie Shelf. They then crossed the density surfaces with an inverse slope consistent with N/f as predicted for quasi-geostrophic flows. The front event ended prior to the breakup of the landfast-ice bridge in late June with sea-surface temperature undergoing quick and widespread changes throughout the Amundsen Gulf.

  1. The distribution and timing of bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) vocalizations reflect changing environmental conditions in the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacIntyre, Kalyn Quintin

    The Arctic is experiencing dramatic shifts in climate that have led to changes in sea ice distribution, extent, and timing that pose adaptability challenges for Arctic species. Ice obligate species, such as the bearded seal, Erignathus barbatus, are inherently vulnerable to Arctic warming due to their reliance on seasonal sea ice as a platform for pupping and molting. Bearded seals are a highly vocal pan-Arctic species, in which males produce underwater vocal displays as part of courtship behavior during mating season. Bearded seal vocalizations were once believed to be a spring phenomenon, but results of this study have revealed year-round acoustic activity by bearded seals in the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas (BCB). This new insight suggests that passive acoustic monitoring can be employed as an effective method to examine bearded seal distribution, migration patterns, and population structure year-round. This study provides a more complete understanding of bearded seal behavior and ecology through the analysis of year-round passive acoustic data collected in the BCB between 2008 and 2011. The BCB comprises three ecologically distinct bodies of water connected by the currents that flow northward from the Pacific Ocean through the Bering Strait and into the Arctic. The fine- and broad-scale oceanographic and physiographic variability that exists among the BCB may directly or indirectly (through sea ice conditions) affect bearded seal distributions. Analysis of seal vocal presence relative to sea ice distribution helped to clarify the relationships between bearded seal vocal behavior, habitat preferences and sea ice conditions. Regional and recording-site variability in call activity was largely related to sea ice conditions and geography, however oceanographic variability may contribute to the fine-scale variability in call activity that was present between closely located sites. This research provides a contemporary baseline of bearded seal distributions

  2. An evaluation of the science needs to inform decisions on Outer Continental Shelf energy development in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Holland-Bartels, Leslie; Pierce, Brenda

    2011-01-01

    On March 31, 2010, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced a national strategy for Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas development. In that announcement, the Administration outlined a three-pronged approach (U.S. Department of the Interior, 2010a): Development: "...expand development and production throughout the Gulf of Mexico, including resource-rich areas of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico..." Exploration: "...expand oil and gas exploration in frontier areas, such as the Arctic Ocean and areas in the Atlantic Ocean, to gather the information necessary to develop resources in the right places and the right ways." Conservation: "...calls for the protection of special areas like Bristol Bay in Alaska...national treasure[s] that we must protect for future generations." In a companion announcement (U.S. Department of the Interior, 2010b), within the Administration's "Exploration" component, the Secretary asked the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to conduct an initial, independent evaluation of the science needs that would inform the Administration's consideration of the right places and the right ways in which to develop oil and gas resources in the Arctic OCS, particularly focused on the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas (fig. 1).

  3. Direct Observations of Heat and Salt Entrainment Fluxes Across the Base of the Ocean Mixing Layer Under Marginal Ice Conditions in the Beaufort Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gallaher, S.; Stanton, T. P.; Shaw, W. J.

    2014-12-01

    Measurements of turbulent fluxes of heat and salt across the base of the upper ocean mixed layer in summer marginal ice zone conditions in the Beaufort Sea were made using two eddy-correlation flux sensors with a vertical separation of 6m mounted on a depth-controlled frame. A third flux sensor measured fluxes 2m below the ice. A 16 element thermistor string measured finescale thermal gradients while a high resolution ADCP measured current profiles every 20cm across the frame to resolve finescale shear. Every hour the frame was profiled between 2m and 60m depth then re-positioned to span the base of the active mixing layer, determined primarily from the density profile, allowing the surface mixed layer entrainment fluxes to be determined. A range of wind conditions allowed mixed layer entrainment fluxes to be compared with several bulk entrainment formulations based on surface friction velocity values and the density jump across the base of the surface mixing layer.

  4. A numerical model simulation of a summer reversal of the Beaufort Gyre

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Preller, Ruth H.; Posey, Pamela G.

    1989-01-01

    Ice drift derived from the Polar Ice Prediction System (PIPS) is used to study the sea ice circulation of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in the late summer. Model simulations for the years 1983, 1986 and 1987 show that the anticyclonic Beaufort Gyre reverses to cyclonic circulation in the late summer. This result is due to a change in the mean atmospheric surface pressure. Drifting buoys from 1983 confirm this reversal of the Beaufort Gyre.

  5. An evaluation of the science needs to inform decisions on Outer Continental Shelf energy development in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Holland-Bartels, Leslie; Pierce, Brenda

    2011-01-01

    The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) was asked to conduct an initial, independent evaluation of the science needs that would inform the Administration's consideration of the right places and the right ways in which to develop oil and gas resources in the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), particularly focused on the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. Oil and gas potential is significant in Arctic Alaska. Beyond petroleum potential, this region supports unique fish and wildlife resources and ecosystems, and indigenous people who rely on these resources for subsistence. This report summarizes key existing scientific information and provides initial guidance of what new and (or) continued research could inform decision making. This report is presented in a series of topical chapters and various appendixes each written by a subset of the USGS OCS Team based on their areas of expertise. Three chapters (Chapters 2, 3, and 4) provide foundational information on geology; ecology and subsistence; and climate settings important to understanding the conditions pertinent to development in the Arctic OCS. These chapters are followed by three chapters that examine the scientific understanding, science gaps, and science sufficiency questions regarding oil-spill risk, response, and impact (Chapter 5), marine mammals and anthropogenic noise (Chapter 6), and cumulative impacts (Chapter 7). Lessons learned from the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill are included to identify valuable "pre-positioned" science and scientific approaches to improved response and reduced uncertainty in damage assessment and restoration efforts (appendix D). An appendix on Structured Decision Making (appendix C) is included to illustrate the value of such tools that go beyond, but incorporate, science in looking at what can/should be done about policy and implementation of Arctic development. The report provides a series of findings and recommendations for consideration developed during the independent examination of

  6. New insights into the influence of ice on the coastal marine environment of the Beaufort Sea, Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Barnes, P. W.; Reimnitz, E.

    1973-01-01

    Areal patterns from field data and ERTS-1 imagery have shown a close relationship between geologic processes and the influence of sea ice along Alaska's northern coast, perhaps the nation's least known continental margin. Ice acts as; (1) a bottom-gouging agent; (2) an influence on water circulation; (3) a carrier of sediments; and (4) an influence on water types.

  7. Megafauna recovered from a cold hydrocarbon seep in the deep Alaskan Beaufort Sea, including a new species of Axinus (Thracidae: Bivalvia: Mollusca)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Powell, C. L.; Valentich-Scott, P.; Lorenson, T. D.; Edwards, B. D.

    2011-12-01

    Several specimens of a new species of Axinus and a single well-worn gastropod columella provisionally assigned to the genus Neptunea (Buccinidae: Gastropoda: Mollusca) were recently recovered from at least two cores, the longest of which is 5.72 m long, from a large seafloor mound, informally named the Canning Seafloor Mound (CSM). The CSM is located at 2,530 m water depth on the Alaskan Beaufort Sea slope north of Camden Bay and is a fluid explosion feature containing methane hydrate and methane-saturated sediments overlying a folded and faulted deep basin. Only two modern species of Axinus are currently known. Axinus grandis (Verrill & Smith, 1885) is a northern Atlantic species and the recently described species, A. cascadiensis Oliver and Holmes (2007), is only known from Baby Bare Seamount, Cascadia Basin, northeastern Pacific Ocean. Common fragments, single valves, and a single articulated specimen represent this new Axinus species. These shells were distributed over nearly the entire length of the primary core. All specimens show wear and (or) dissolution. The age of these specimens is unknown and no living representatives were encountered. The genus Axinus has a fossil record back to the early Eocene in England and the Paleocene and Eocene in Egypt. Biogeographically the genus appears to have originated in the Tethys Sea and became established in the Atlantic Ocean during the Eocene, spreading across the Arctic Ocean in the late Tertiary. With the opening of the Bering Strait in the latest Miocene or early Pliocene the genus Axinus migrated southwest into the northeast Pacific. Interestingly, hydrocarbon seep deposits are also present on the adjacent North Slope of Alaska in the Marsh Anticline at Carter Creek, Camden Bay. These rocks, the Nuwok beds, contain abundant Thracidae bivalve of the genus Thracia, but not Axinus, however the rocks also represent cold seep deposits. These rocks have been variously dated from Oligocene to Pliocene and the exact age

  8. Snow Depth and Ice Thickness Measurements From the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas Collected During the AMSR-Ice03 Campaign

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sturm, M.; Holmgren, J.; Maslanik, J. A.; Perovich, D. K.; Richter-Menge, J.; Stroeve, J. C.; Markus, T.; Heinrichs, J. F.; Tape, K.

    2006-01-01

    In March 2003, a field validation campaign was conducted on the sea ice near Barrow, AK. The goal of this campaign was to produce an extensive dataset of sea ice thickness and snow properties (depth and stratigraphy) against which remote sensing products collected by aircraft and satellite could be compared. Chief among these were products from the Polarimetric Scanning Radiometer (PSR) flown aboard a NASA P-3B aircraft and the Aqua Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for the Earth Observing System (AMSR-E). The data were collected in four field areas: three on the coastal sea ice near Barrow, AK, and the fourth out on the open ice pack 175 km northeast of Barrow. The snow depth ranged from 9.4-20.8 cm in coastal areas (n = 9881 for three areas) with the thinnest snow on ice that had formed late in the winter. Out in the main pack ice, the snow was 20.6 cm deep (n = 1906). The ice in all four areas ranged from 138-219 cm thick (n = 1952), with the lower value again where the ice had formed late in the winter. Snow layer and grain characteristics observed in 118 snow pits indicated that 44% of observed snow layers were depth hoar; 46% were wind slab. Snow and ice measurements were keyed to photomosaics produced from low-altitude vertical aerial photographs. Using these, and a distinctive three-way relationship between ice roughness, snow surface characteristics, and snow depth, strip maps of snow depth, each about 2 km wide, were produced bracketing the traverse lines. These maps contain an unprecedented level of snow depth detail against which to compare remote sensing products. The maps are used in other papers in this special issue to examine the retrieval of snow properties from the PSR and AMSR-E sensors.

  9. Behavior, disturbance responses, and feeding of bowhead whales Balaena mysticetus in the Beaufort Sea, 1980-1981

    SciTech Connect

    Richardson, W.J.; Buchanan, R.A.; Clark, C.W.; Dorsey, E.M.; Fraker, M.A.

    1982-08-01

    In August and September of 1981, the second year, of a five-year study of bowhead whales was completed in the Canadian Beauford Sea. The purpose of the project was to (1) document the normal behavior of bowheads; (2) describe the characteristics of waterborne noise resulting from offshore oil industry activities; (3) quantify the behavioral responses of bowheads to various offshore oil-industry activities, and (4) characterize bowhead feeding areas. Field activities were based in Tuktoyoktuk N.W.T. and were carried out from aircraft, boats, and shore camps.

  10. Studies of the inner shelf and coastal sedimentation environment of the Beaufort Sea from ERTS-A

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Reimnitz, E. (Principal Investigator); Barnes, P. W.; Toimil, L. J.; Harden, D.

    1976-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. Shearing periodically occurs between the westward moving pack ice (3 to 10 km/d) within the Pacific Gyre and the fast ice along the coast, forming major grounded shear and pressure ridges between the 10 to 40 m isobaths. Ridges occur in patterns conforming to known shoals. The zone of grounded ridges, called stamukhi zone, protects the inner shelf and coast from marine energy and pack ice forces. Relatively undeformed fast ice grows inshore of the stamukhi zone. The boundary is explained in terms of pack ice drift and major promontories and shoals. Intense ice gaging, highly disrupted sediments, and landward migration of shoals suggest that much of the available marine energy is expended on the sea floor within the stamukhi zone. Naleds (products of river icings) on the North Slope are more abundant east than west of the Colville River. Their location, growth, and decay were studied from LANDSAT imagery.

  11. Ecosystem function and particle flux dynamics across the Mackenzie Shelf (Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean): an integrative analysis of spatial variability and biophysical forcings

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forest, A.; Babin, M.; Stemmann, L.; Picheral, M.; Sampei, M.; Fortier, L.; Gratton, Y.; Bélanger, S.; Devred, E.; Sahlin, J.; Doxaran, D.; Joux, F.; Ortega-Retuerta, E.; Jeffrey, W. H.; Martín, J.; Gasser, B.; Miquel, J. C.

    2012-08-01

    .26) and the high contribution (~94 %) of fast-sinking small aggregates (<1 mm; 20-30 m d-1) to the mass fluxes suggested that settling material across the region was overall fluffy, porous, and likely resulting from the aggregation of marine detritus, gel-like substances and ballast minerals. Our study demonstrates that vertical POC fluxes in Arctic shelf systems are spatially complex, sensitive to environmental forcings, and determined by both physicochemical mechanisms and food web functioning. In conclusion, we hypothesize that the incorporation of terrestrial matter into the Beaufort Sea food web could be catalyzed by bacteria via the incorporation of dissolved terrestrial carbon liberated through the photo-cleavage and/or hydrolysis of land-derived POC interweaved with marine aggregates.

  12. Apparent optical properties of the Canadian Beaufort Sea - Part 2: The 1% and 1 cm perspective in deriving and validating AOP data products

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hooker, S. B.; Morrow, J. H.; Matsuoka, A.

    2013-07-01

    A next-generation in-water profiler designed to measure the apparent optical properties (AOPs) of seawater was developed and validated across a wide dynamic range of in-water properties. The new free-falling instrument, the Compact-Optical Profiling System (C-OPS), was based on sensors built with a cluster of 19 state-of-the-art microradiometers spanning 320-780 nm and a novel kite-shaped backplane. The new backplane includes tunable ballast, a hydrobaric buoyancy chamber, plus pitch and roll adjustments, to provide unprecedented stability and vertical resolution in near-surface waters. A unique data set was collected as part of the development activity plus the first major field campaign that used the new instrument, the Malina expedition to the Beaufort Sea in the vicinity of the Mackenzie River outflow. The data were of sufficient resolution and quality to show that errors - more correctly, uncertainties - in the execution of data sampling protocols were measurable at the 1% and 1 cm level with C-OPS. A theoretical sensitivity analysis as a function of three water types established by the peak in the remote sensing reflectance spectrum, Rrs(λ), revealed which water types and which parts of the spectrum were the most sensitive to data acquisition uncertainties. Shallow riverine waters were the most sensitive water type, and the ultraviolet and near-infrared spectral end members, which are critical to next-generation satellite missions, were the most sensitive parts of the spectrum. The sensitivity analysis also showed how the use of data products based on band ratios significantly mitigated the influence of data acquisition uncertainties. The unprecedented vertical resolution provided high-quality data products, which supported an alternative classification capability based on the spectral diffuse attenuation coefficient, Kd(λ). The Kd(320) and Kd(780) data showed how complex coastal systems can be distinguished two-dimensionally and how near-ice water masses

  13. Size distribution of particles and zooplankton across the shelf-basin system in Southeast Beaufort Sea: combined results from an Underwater Vision Profiler and vertical net tows

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forest, A.; Stemmann, L.; Picheral, M.; Burdorf, L.; Robert, D.; Fortier, L.; Babin, M.

    2011-11-01

    The size distribution and mean spatial trends of large particles (>100 μm, in equivalent spherical diameter, ESD) and mesozooplankton were investigated across the Mackenzie Shelf (Southeast Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean) in July-August 2009. Our main objective was to combine results from an Underwater Vision Profiler 5 (UVP5) and traditional net tows (200 μm mesh size) to characterize the structural diversity and functioning of the Arctic shelf-basin ecosystem and to assess the large-scale correspondence between the two methodological approaches. The core dataset comprised 154 UVP5 profiles and 29 net tows conducted in the shelf (<100 m isobath), slope (100-1000 m) and basin (>1000 m) regions of the study area. The mean abundance of total particles and zooplankton in the upper water column (<75 m depth) declined exponentially with increasing distance from shore. Vertical and latitudinal patterns in total particle concentration followed those of chlorophyll-a (chl-a) concentration, with maximum values between 30 and 70 m depth. Based on the size-spectra derived from the UVP5 dataset, living organisms (0.1-10 mm ESD) accounted for an increasingly large proportion of total particle abundance (from 0.1% to > 50 %) when progressing offshore and as the ESD of particles was increasing. Both the UVP5 and net tows determined that copepods dominated the zooplankton community (~78-94 % by numbers) and that appendicularians were generally the second most abundant group (~1-11 %). The vertical distribution patterns of copepods and appendicularians indicated a close association between primary production and the main grazers. Manual taxonomic counts and ZooScan image analyses shed further light on the size-structure and composition of the copepod community - which was dominated at ~95 % by a guild of 10 typical taxa. The size distributions of copepods, as evaluated with the 3 methods (manual counts, ZooScan and UVP5), showed consistent patterns co-varying in the same order of

  14. Size distribution of particles and zooplankton across the shelf-basin system in southeast Beaufort Sea: combined results from an Underwater Vision Profiler and vertical net tows

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forest, A.; Stemmann, L.; Picheral, M.; Burdorf, L.; Robert, D.; Fortier, L.; Babin, M.

    2012-04-01

    The size distribution and mean spatial trends of large particles (>100 μm, in equivalent spherical diameter, ESD) and mesozooplankton were investigated across the Mackenzie Shelf (southeast Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean) in July-August 2009. Our main objective was to combine results from an Underwater Vision Profiler 5 (UVP5) and traditional net tows (200 μm mesh size) to characterize the structural diversity and functioning of the Arctic shelf-basin ecosystem and to assess the large-scale correspondence between the two methodological approaches. The core dataset comprised 154 UVP5 profiles and 29 net tows conducted in the shelf (<100 m isobath), slope (100-1000 m) and basin (>1000 m) regions of the study area. The mean abundance of total particles and zooplankton in the upper water column (<75 m depth) declined exponentially with increasing distance from shore. Vertical and latitudinal patterns in total particle concentration followed those of chlorophyll a (chl a) concentration, with maximum values between 30 and 70 m depth. Based on the size-spectra derived from the UVP5 dataset, living organisms (0.1-10 mm ESD) accounted for an increasingly large proportion of total particle abundance (from 0.1 % to >50 %) when progressing offshore and as the ESD of particles was increasing. Both the UVP5 and net tows determined that copepods dominated the zooplankton community (~78-94 % by numbers) and that appendicularians were generally the second most abundant group (~1-11 %). The vertical distribution patterns of copepods and appendicularians indicated a close association between primary production and the main grazers. Manual taxonomic counts and ZooScan image analyses shed further light on the size-structure and composition of the copepod community - which was dominated at ~95 % by a guild of 10 typical taxa. The size distributions of copepods, as evaluated with the 3 methods (manual counts, ZooScan and UVP5), showed consistent patterns co-varying in the same order of

  15. 76 FR 49664 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Beaufort Channel, Beaufort, NC

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-08-11

    ... Triathlon''. This deviation allows the bridge to remain in the closed position during the race to ensure the..., at Beaufort, NC. The bike route of the ``Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation Sprint Triathlon'' crosses...

  16. 76 FR 78820 - Safety Zone; City of Beaufort's Tricentennial New Year's Eve Fireworks Display, Beaufort River...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-12-20

    ... SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; City of Beaufort's Tricentennial New Year's... Beaufort, South Carolina, during the City of Beaufort's Tricentennial New Year's Eve Fireworks Display. The.... Add a temporary Sec. 165.T07-1112 to read as follows: Sec. 165.T07-1112 Safety Zone; City of...

  17. Formation and ridging of flaw leads in the eastern Canadian Beaufort Sea. Special Session C06 on: “Physical, biological and biogeochemical processes associated with young thin ice types”

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prinsenberg, S. J.

    2009-12-01

    Formation and ridging of flaw leads in the eastern Canadian Beaufort Sea. Simon Prinsenberg1 and Yves Graton2 1Bedford Inst. of Oceanography, Fisheries and Oceans Canada P.O. Box1006, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, B2Y 4A2, Canada prinsenbergs@mar.dfo-mpo.gc.ca 2Inst. National de la Recherche Scientifique-Eau, INRS-ETE University of Quebec at Quebec City, Quebec yvesgratton@eteinrs.ca During the winter of 2008, the flaw lead south of Banks Island repeatedly opened and closed representing an elongated region where periodically the large ice growth stimulates the densification of the surface layer due to salt rejection and instigates a local circulation pattern that will affect the biological processes of the region. Helicopter-borne sensors were available to monitor the aftermath of one of the rapid closing of the flaw lead into extensive elongated rubble field using a Canadian Ice breaker, CCGS Amundsen, as a logistic base. After the wind reversed a new open flaw lead 20km wide restarting a new flaw lead formation cycle. Ice thickness and surface roughness data were collected from the rubble field and adjacent open flaw lead with an Electromagnetic-Laser system. The strong wind event of April 4-5 2009 generated a large linear 1.5km wide ice rubble field up to 8-10m thick when the 60cm thick, 18km wide flaw lead was crunched into land-fast by the 1.5m thick offshore pack ice. It is expected that during rapid ice growth in a flaw lead, salt rejection increase the density of the surface water layer producing a surface depression (Low) and cyclonic circulation. In contrast at depth, the extra surface dense water produces a high in the horizontal pressure field and anti-cyclonic circulation which remains after the rapid ice growth within the flaw lead stops. One of such remnants may have been observed during the CFL-IPY winter survey.

  18. Morbillivirus and Toxoplasma exposure and association with hematological parameters for southern Beaufort Sea polar bears: potential response to infectious agents in a sentinel species

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kirk, Cassandra M.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Swor, Rhonda; Holcomb, Darce; O'Hara, Todd M.

    2010-01-01

    Arctic temperatures are increasing in response to greenhouse gas forcing and polar bears have already responded to changing conditions. Declines in body stature and vital rates have been linked to warming-induced loss of sea-ice. As food webs change and human activities respond to a milder Arctic, exposure of polar bears and other arctic marine organisms to infectious agents may increase. Because of the polar bear’s status as arctic ecosystem sentinel, polar bear health could provide an index of changing pathogen occurrence throughout the Arctic, however, exposure and monitoring protocols have yet to be established. We examine prevalence of antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii, and four morbilliviruses (canine distemper [CDV], phocine distemper [PDV], dolphin morbillivirus [DMV], porpoise morbillivirus [PMV]) including risk factors for exposure. We also examine the relationships between antibody levels and hematologic values established in the previous companion article. Antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii and morbilliviruses were found in both sample years. We found a significant inverse relationship between CDV titer and total leukocytes, neutrophils, monocytes, and eosinophils, and a significant positive relationship between eosinophils and Toxoplasma gondii antibodies. Morbilliviral prevalence varied significantly among age cohorts, with 1–2 year olds least likely to be seropositive and bears aged 5–7 most likely. Data suggest that the presence of CDV and Toxoplasma gondii antibodies is associated with polar bear hematologic values. We conclude that exposure to CDV-like antigen is not randomly distributed among age classes and suggest that differing behaviors among life history stages may drive probability of specific antibody presence.

  19. Ecosystem function and particle flux dynamics across the Mackenzie Shelf (Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean): an integrative analysis of spatial variability and biophysical forcings

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forest, A.; Babin, M.; Stemmann, L.; Picheral, M.; Sampei, M.; Fortier, L.; Gratton, Y.; Bélanger, S.; Devred, E.; Sahlin, J.; Doxaran, D.; Joux, F.; Ortega-Retuerta, E.; Martín, J.; Jeffrey, W. H.; Gasser, B.; Miquel, J. Carlos

    2013-05-01

    A better understanding of how environmental changes affect organic matter fluxes in Arctic marine ecosystems is sorely needed. Here we combine mooring times series, ship-based measurements and remote sensing to assess the variability and forcing factors of vertical fluxes of particulate organic carbon (POC) across the Mackenzie Shelf in 2009. We developed a geospatial model of these fluxes to proceed to an integrative analysis of their determinants in summer. Flux data were obtained with sediment traps moored around 125 m and via a regional empirical algorithm applied to particle size distributions (17 classes from 0.08-4.2 mm) measured by an Underwater Vision Profiler 5. The low fractal dimension (i.e., porous, fluffy particles) derived from the algorithm (1.26 ± 0.34) and the dominance (~ 77%) of rapidly sinking small aggregates (< 0.5 mm) in total fluxes suggested that settling material was the product of recent aggregation processes between marine detritus, gel-like substances, and ballast minerals. Modeled settling velocity of small and large aggregates was, respectively, higher and lower than in previous studies within which a high fractal dimension (i.e., more compact particles) was consequential of deep-trap collection (~400-1300 m). Redundancy analyses and forward selection of abiotic/biotic parameters, linear trends, and spatial structures (i.e., principal coordinates of neighbor matrices, PCNM) were conducted to partition the variation of the 17 POC flux size classes. Flux variability was explained at 69.5% by the addition of a temporal trend, 7 significant PCNM, and 9 biophysical variables. The first PCNM canonical axis (44.5% of spatial variance) reflected the total magnitude of POC fluxes through a shelf-basin gradient controlled by bottom depth and sea ice concentration (p < 0.01). The second most important spatial structure (5.0%) corresponded to areas where shelf break upwelling is known to occur under easterlies and where phytoplankton was

  20. From Tununak to Beaufort: Taking a Critical Inquiry Stance as a First Year Teacher

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fecho, Bob; Price, Kim; Read, Chris

    2004-01-01

    In this article, the authors show how two first year teachers a continent apart--Kim in the village of Tununak on the Bering Sea in Alaska and Chris in Beaufort, South Carolina, on the Atlantic Ocean--were able to take inquiry stances on their classrooms. In particular, through analysis of e-mails written in Chris' and Kim's first years of…

  1. 33 CFR 117.822 - Beaufort Channel, NC.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... 33 Navigation and Navigable Waters 1 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Beaufort Channel, NC. 117.822... DRAWBRIDGE OPERATION REGULATIONS Specific Requirements North Carolina § 117.822 Beaufort Channel, NC. The draw of the US 70 bridge, mile 0.1, at Beaufort, shall open as follows: (a) From 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.,...

  2. 33 CFR 117.822 - Beaufort Channel, NC.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 33 Navigation and Navigable Waters 1 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Beaufort Channel, NC. 117.822... DRAWBRIDGE OPERATION REGULATIONS Specific Requirements North Carolina § 117.822 Beaufort Channel, NC. The draw of the US 70 bridge, mile 0.1, at Beaufort, shall open as follows: (a) From 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.,...

  3. CDP seismic sections of the western Beaufort continental margin

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Eittreim, S.; Grantz, A.

    1979-01-01

    The continental rise, slope, and shelf in the Beaufort Sea off northern Alaska were surveyed with 5600 km of common-depth-point (CDP) seismic data by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1977. The lower continental rise consists of a wedge of at least 4.5 km of low-velocity, generally flat-lying, parallel-bedded sediments. Slump-related diapiric folds, probably cored by shale, occur on the upper rise and lower slope. The observed minimum depth to oceanic basement in the Canada Basin requires an age for this basin of at least 120 m.y., assuming it to be floored by oceanic crust with a subsidence history similar to that of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. ?? 1979.

  4. Evidence of chromosomal damage in common eiders (Somateria mollissima) from the Baltic Sea

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Matson, C.W.; Franson, J.C.; Hollmén, Tuula E.; Kilpi, Mikael; Hario, Martti; Flint, P.L.; Bickham, J.W.

    2004-01-01

    Common eiders nesting in the Baltic Sea are exposed to generally high levels of contaminants including potentially genotoxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and organochlorines. Blood samples were collected from eiders at eight sites in the Baltic Sea and two sites in the Beaufort Sea. DNA content variation was estimated using the flow cytometric method, and subsequently utilized as a biomarker of genetic damage. We observed no significant differences in genetic damage among populations within either the Baltic or Beaufort Seas. However, eider populations from the Baltic Sea had significantly elevated estimates of genetic damage compared to populations from the Beaufort Sea.

  5. Evidence of chromosomal damage in common eiders (Somateria mollissima) from the Baltic Sea.

    PubMed

    Matson, Cole W; Franson, J Christian; Hollmén, Tuula; Kilpi, Mikael; Hario, Martti; Flint, Paul L; Bickham, John W

    2004-12-01

    Common eiders nesting in the Baltic Sea are exposed to generally high levels of contaminants including potentially genotoxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and organochlorines. Blood samples were collected from eiders at eight sites in the Baltic Sea and two sites in the Beaufort Sea. DNA content variation was estimated using the flow cytometric method, and subsequently utilized as a biomarker of genetic damage. We observed no significant differences in genetic damage among populations within either the Baltic or Beaufort Seas. However, eider populations from the Baltic Sea had significantly elevated estimates of genetic damage compared to populations from the Beaufort Sea. PMID:15556194

  6. 75 FR 12688 - Safety Zone; Gallants Channel, Beaufort, NC

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-03-17

    ... establishes a temporary safety zone to protect the public from bridge maintenance operations. An environmental... SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; Gallants Channel, Beaufort, NC AGENCY... safety zone on the waters of Gallants Channel at Beaufort, North Carolina. The safety zone is...

  7. Annual Freshwater and Heat Content From 2003-2004: First Results from the Beaufort Gyre Observing System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Proshutinsky, A.; Krishfield, R.; Carmack, E.; McLaughlin, F.; Zimmerman, S.; Shimada, K.; Itoh, M.

    2004-12-01

    Seasonal variability of freshwater and heat content in the Beaufort Gyre will be presented, and causes of interannual changes will be discussed based on data from the Beaufort Gyre Freshwater Experiment (BGFE; http://www.whoi.edu/beaufortgyre), a prototype Ice-Tethered Profiler (ITP), and using CTD and XCTD data collected between 2001 and 2004. As part of the BGFE and in combination with the JWACS cruises on the CCGS Louis S. St. Laurent, three bottom-tethered moorings were deployed in August 2003 at coordinates 75N and 150W, 78N and 150W and 77N and 140W, and were recovered in August 2004. Year-long time series of sea ice draft (from upward looking sonars mounted at the top mooring float), temperature, salinity, and currents in the 50-2000m layer (from moored profilers), and bottom pressure (from pressure tide gauges) were retrieved from the instruments. Information in the upper ocean above 50 m, were also obtained from four drifting ice beacons which were also installed during the 2003 cruise and have telemetered temperature and salinity data at 10, 25, and 40 m for more than a full year. In order to continue collecting data from the Beaufort Gyre to study multiannual variability, the moorings were refurbished and redeployed in 2004 at the same locations and the buoy array was augmented with an ITP (providing CTD data with 1 meter vertical resolution and 6 hours temporal resolution down to 750 m) establishing the Beaufort Gyre Observing System (BGOS).

  8. 75 FR 69371 - Safety Zone; Beaufort River/Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Beaufort, SC

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-11-12

    ..., 2008, issue of the Federal Register (73 FR 3316). Public Meeting We do not now plan to hold a public... Waterway, Beaufort, SC AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking. SUMMARY: The Coast... Intracoastal Waterway, South Carolina during the construction and expansion of the J.E. McTeer Bridge,...

  9. 76 FR 5267 - Safety Zone; Beaufort River/Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Beaufort, SC

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-01-31

    ... the Federal Register (75 FR 69371). We received two comments on the proposed rule. No public meeting... Waterway, Beaufort, SC AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS. ACTION: Temporary final rule. ] SUMMARY: The Coast Guard... Waterway, South Carolina during construction and expansion of the J.E. McTeer Bridge, also referred to...

  10. Widespread gas hydrate instability on the upper U.S. Beaufort margin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Phrampus, Benjamin J.; Hornbach, Matthew J.; Ruppel, Carolyn D.; Hart, Patrick E.

    2014-12-01

    The most climate-sensitive methane hydrate deposits occur on upper continental slopes at depths close to the minimum pressure and maximum temperature for gas hydrate stability. At these water depths, small perturbations in intermediate ocean water temperatures can lead to gas hydrate dissociation. The Arctic Ocean has experienced more dramatic warming than lower latitudes, but observational data have not been used to study the interplay between upper slope gas hydrates and warming ocean waters. Here we use (a) legacy seismic data that constrain upper slope gas hydrate distributions on the U.S. Beaufort Sea margin, (b) Alaskan North Slope borehole data and offshore thermal gradients determined from gas hydrate stability zone thickness to infer regional heat flow, and (c) 1088 direct measurements to characterize multidecadal intermediate ocean warming in the U.S. Beaufort Sea. Combining these data with a three-dimensional thermal model shows that the observed gas hydrate stability zone is too deep by 100 to 250 m. The disparity can be partially attributed to several processes, but the most important is the reequilibration (thinning) of gas hydrates in response to significant (~0.5°C at 2σ certainty) warming of intermediate ocean temperatures over 39 years in a depth range that brackets the upper slope extent of the gas hydrate stability zone. Even in the absence of additional ocean warming, 0.44 to 2.2 Gt of methane could be released from reequilibrating gas hydrates into the sediments underlying an area of ~5-7.5 × 103 km2 on the U.S. Beaufort Sea upper slope during the next century.

  11. Beaufort/Bering 1979 microwave remote sensing data catalog report, 14-24 March 1979

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hirstein, W. S.; Hennigar, H. F.; Schaffner, S. K.; Delnore, V. E.; Grantham, W. L.

    1983-01-01

    The airborne microwave remote sending measurements obtained by the Langley Research Center in support of the 1979 Sea-Ice Radar Experiment (SIRE) in the Beaufort and Bering Seas are discussed. The remote sensing objective of SIRE was to define correlations between both active and passive microwave signatures and ice phenomena assocated with practical applications in the Arctic. The instruments used by Langley during SIRE include the stepped frequency microwave radiometer (SFMR), the airborne microwave scatterometer (AMSCAT), the precision radiation thermometer (PRT-5), and metric aerial photography. Remote sensing data are inventoried and cataloged in a user-friendly format. The data catalog is presented as time-history plots when and where data were obtained as well as the sensor configuration.

  12. 40 CFR 81.113 - Savannah (Georgia)-Beaufort (South Carolina) Interstate Air Quality Control Region.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 18 2012-07-01 2012-07-01 false Savannah (Georgia)-Beaufort (South... PLANNING PURPOSES Designation of Air Quality Control Regions § 81.113 Savannah (Georgia)-Beaufort (South Carolina) Interstate Air Quality Control Region. The Savannah (Georgia)-Beaufort (South...

  13. 40 CFR 81.113 - Savannah (Georgia)-Beaufort (South Carolina) Interstate Air Quality Control Region.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 18 2013-07-01 2013-07-01 false Savannah (Georgia)-Beaufort (South... PLANNING PURPOSES Designation of Air Quality Control Regions § 81.113 Savannah (Georgia)-Beaufort (South Carolina) Interstate Air Quality Control Region. The Savannah (Georgia)-Beaufort (South...

  14. 40 CFR 81.113 - Savannah (Georgia)-Beaufort (South Carolina) Interstate Air Quality Control Region.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 17 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Savannah (Georgia)-Beaufort (South... PLANNING PURPOSES Designation of Air Quality Control Regions § 81.113 Savannah (Georgia)-Beaufort (South Carolina) Interstate Air Quality Control Region. The Savannah (Georgia)-Beaufort (South...

  15. 40 CFR 81.113 - Savannah (Georgia)-Beaufort (South Carolina) Interstate Air Quality Control Region.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 17 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Savannah (Georgia)-Beaufort (South... PLANNING PURPOSES Designation of Air Quality Control Regions § 81.113 Savannah (Georgia)-Beaufort (South Carolina) Interstate Air Quality Control Region. The Savannah (Georgia)-Beaufort (South...

  16. 40 CFR 81.113 - Savannah (Georgia)-Beaufort (South Carolina) Interstate Air Quality Control Region.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 18 2014-07-01 2014-07-01 false Savannah (Georgia)-Beaufort (South... PLANNING PURPOSES Designation of Air Quality Control Regions § 81.113 Savannah (Georgia)-Beaufort (South Carolina) Interstate Air Quality Control Region. The Savannah (Georgia)-Beaufort (South...

  17. Crustal-scale geological and thermal models of the Beaufort-Mackenzie Basin, Arctic Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sippel, Judith; Scheck-Wenderoth, Magdalena; Kröger, Karsten; Lewerenz, Björn

    2010-05-01

    of Tertiary deltaic sequences, AAPG Bulletin, 92(2): 225-247. Kroeger, K.F., di Primio, R. and Horsfield, B., (2009). Hydrocarbon flow modeling in complex structures (Mackenzie Basin, Canada), AAPG Bulletin, 93(9): 1-25. O'Leary, D.M., Ellis, R.M., Stephenson, R.A., Lane, L.S. and Zelt, C.A., 1995. Crustal structure of the northern Yukon and Mackenzie Delta, northwestern Canada, Journal of Geophysical Research 100(B7): 9905-9920. Stephenson, R.A., Coflin, K.C., Lane, L.S. and Dietrich, J.R., 1994. Crustal structure and tectonics of the southeastern Beaufort Sea continental margin, Tectonics, 13(2): 389-400.

  18. Late Tectonic history of Beaufort Sea - North Pacific area

    SciTech Connect

    McWhae, J.R.H.

    1985-02-01

    The Kaltag fault (and its northern associated splay, the Rapid fault array) is the sheared suture between the Eurasian-Alaskan plate and the North American plate in the area between the Mackenzie Delta and the Alaskan Border. This condition has been maintained throughout considerable additional phases of faulting and folding from mid-Cretaceous to the present. Previously, the Alaskan plate had been the northwestern nose of the North America plate. The interplate suture was deflected to the north as the Canadian Shield was approached. The Kaltag fault continued northeastward 2000 km seaward of the Sverdrup rim, northwest of the Canadian Arctic Island, and north of Greenland. The driving force was directed from the southwest by the Eurasian plate after its collision in Early Cretaceous (Hauterivian) with the North American plate and the docking of north-moving exotic terranes from the Pacific. During the early Tertiary, perhaps in concert with the accretion of the Okhotsk block to the Asian plate north of Japan, the northern Pacific subduction zone jumped southward to the Aleutian Arc where it has persisted until today. A distance of 800 km separates the stable shelf of the Canadian craton, at the Alberta Foothills thrust belt, from the subduction zone off Vancouver Island. The foreland thrust belt and the accretion of exotic terranes in Mesozoic and Tertiary times extended the continental crust of the North American plate westward to the present active transform margin with the Pacific plate along the Queen Charlotte fault zone.

  19. Surface waves contribute to ice retreat in Beaufort Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wendel, JoAnna

    2014-08-01

    Surface waves, created by blowing wind, play a role in energy and nutrient transport and also shape coasts through erosion. Because the Arctic Ocean is usually covered by ice year-round, surface waves of the central Arctic Ocean have not been studied extensively.

  20. New sedimentological evidence supporting a catastrophic meltwater discharge event along the Beaufort margin, Arctic Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klotsko, S.; Driscoll, N. W.; Keigwin, L. D.; Mendenhall, B.

    2015-12-01

    In 2013, a cruise on the USCGC Healy mapped the Beaufort margin from Barrow, AK into the Amundsen Gulf using a towed CHIRP subbottom profiler and a hull-mounted Knudsen CHIRP subbottom profiler to study the deglaciation of the margin. Sediment cores were also acquired. New grain size analyses for three sediment cores will be presented. These records help constrain the flooding events captured in the existing grain size data from JPC 15, just east of the Mackenzie trough. This core shows evidence of multiple ice rafted debris events that were likely sourced from the retreat of the Amundsen ice stream. These layers have peaks in grain size around ~20 microns compared to the ~5 micron average for the rest of the core. The grain size peaks correlate to the high amplitude reflectors observed in the seismic CHIRP data. Similar reflectors are observed in the seismic data from two of the new core locations, one in the Mackenzie trough and one east of the trough. The seismic data from these stations also record a thick sediment package that is ~7 meters thick at its depocenter. This layer is interpreted to record a massive meltwater discharge event that entered the Arctic via the Mackenzie River. Oxygen isotope data from JPC 15 support an event at this location based on the covarying benthic and planktonic records. In our conceptual model, the pulses of freshwater from the Amundsen Gulf likely freshened the margin sufficiently that the major discharge event was then able to push the system over the edge. This catastrophic glacial lake draining out the Mackenzie River into the Beaufort Sea and export out of the Arctic into the North Atlantic caused diminished meridional overturning circulation - slowing of the conveyor belt thermohaline circulation - which, in turn, potentially caused the Younger Dryas cold period.

  1. Offshore Beaufort-Mackenzie basin and Amauligak oil discovery

    SciTech Connect

    Sharpe, R.J.; Gurba, G.J.; Sleumer, B.H.G.

    1988-01-01

    A variety of complex structural styles and depositional environments host hydrocarbon accumulations in the offshore Beaufort-Mackenzie basin. At present, only one of these, the Amauligak field, appears large enough to serve as a lead project to spur commercial development of the area. All offshore Beaufort discoveries to date occur in sandstones ranging from Paleocene to Oligocene in age. All occur in deltaic or delta-derived sediments ranging from delta-plain deposits to submarine fan/turbidites. In the western Beaufort, sediments are deformed into a series of linear diapiric features interpreted to be thrusted anticlines, possible associated with strike-slip faulting. Similarly, the Tarsiut area immediately to the east is dominated by diapiric anticlines crosscut by a major east-west-trending fault, also possibly a strike-slip fault. In contrast, the central and eastern portions of the offshore Beaufort, where Amauligak is located, are characterized by growth faulting in the sand-rich Oligocene depocenter. To the north, in a basinward direction, unfaulted diapiric anticlines are draped by submarine fans. These structures may in part be related to the gravitational faults to the south. The Amauligak field is located in the growth fault province. It is contained with a large, south-dipping, simple fault-bounded structure in which hydrocarbons are trapped against the north-bounding listric fault. Sediments penetrated at Amauligak include more than 1,500 m of interbedded Oligocene sandstones and shales, the sandstones representing primarily delta-front deposits. Distinctive shale markers are the probable result of the switching of major deltaic lobes.

  2. Behavior of bowhead whales of the Davis Strait and Bering/Beaufort stocks versus regional differences in human activities. Final report on Phase 2

    SciTech Connect

    Miller, G.W.; Davis, R.A.; Richardson, W.J.

    1991-07-01

    The objectives were to determine (1) whether there are differences in behavior between the Bering/Chukchi/Beaufort and the Davis Strait/Baffin Bay populations and (2), if so, whether the differences might be attributable to the long-term cumulative effects of exposure to the presumed greater amount of human activity in the former area. Phase 1 showed that there are some differences in behavior. The Phase 2 report documents the relative amounts of human activity in the two areas in 1974-86, and evaluates whether regional differences in whale behavior and in human activities may be related. Activities considered include bowhead hunting and other subsistence activities, commercial fishing and shipping, marine seismic exploration, offshore oil exploration, and low-level aircraft flights. Bering/Beaufort bowheads were subjected to at least 3-5 times as much human activity in 1974-86. Most differences in behavior between the two stocks were better explained by environmental or biological factors than by disturbance. However, for bowheads migrating in autumn, regional differences in behavior may be related to the whaling that occurs in the Beaufort Sea in autumn.

  3. Vertical Structure and Dynamics of the Beaufort Gyre Subsurface Layer from ADCP Obervations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Torres, D. J.; Krishfield, R. A.; Proshutinsky, A. Y.; Timmermans, M. L. E.

    2014-12-01

    As part of the Beaufort Gyre Observing System (BGOS), several Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs) have been maintained at moorings in different locations in the Canada Basin since 2005 to measure upper ocean velocities and sea ice motion. The ADCP data have been analyzed to better understand relationships among different components of forcing driving the sea ice and upper ocean layer including: winds, tides, and horizontal and vertical density gradients in the ocean. Specific attention is paid to data processing and analysis to separate inertial and tidal motions in these regions in the vicinity of the critical latitudes. In addition, we describe the dynamic characteristics of halocline eddies and estimate their kinetic energy and their role in the total energy balance in this region. Ice-Tethered Profiler (ITP) data are used in conjunction with the ADCP measurements to identify relationships between T-S and vertical velocity structures in the mixed layer and deeper. Seasonal and interannual variability in all parameters are also discussed and causes of observed changes are suggested.

  4. 75 FR 61094 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Beaufort, SC

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-10-04

    ... Waterway, Beaufort, SC AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS. ACTION: Temporary rule. SUMMARY: The Coast Guard is... the Beaufort River (Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway). This bridge is also known as the Lady's Island... Waterway at mile 539.0 in Port Royal, South Carolina, vehicle traffic is currently being rerouted from...

  5. Stratigraphic and geophysical evidence for a Tertiary intrusion near Beaufort, S. C

    SciTech Connect

    McCartan, L.; Gettings, M.E.

    1985-01-01

    A mafic intrusion about 10 km in diameter at 1.5 km depth is indicated by strong positive gravity and magnetic anomalies and a closed structural high is overlying upper Eocene limestone near Beaufort, S.C. Sediments of Oligocene age northeast of Beaufort and of Miocene age to the west and southwest indicate that the Beaufort high divided the Southeast Georgia Embayment into two sub-basins by late Oligocene time. The stratigraphic relations and elevated geothermal gradients suggest an age of 20-30 Ma for the intrusion. Maintenance of the Beaufort high through time despite several marine incursions implies continued uplift, probably due to effects of the intrusion and Tertiary compressional warping. Intrusions with similar geophysical signatures are commonest in the southeast but are also present elsewhere along the Atlantic continental margin. Seismic profiles across the anomalies at the Clubhouse Crossroads deep corehole, 60 km north of Beaufort, show a flat Jurassic reflector, so the intrusive rocks there are Jurassic or older. However, 175 km northeast of Beaufort, a seismic line crossing one of the offshore anomalies shows an intrusion doming up Cenozoic sediments. Substantiation of a Tertiary age for the Beaufort pluton would significantly change the current models of the Tertiary tectonic history of the Southeast Georgia Embayment.

  6. Diversity, Abundance and Community Structure of Benthic Macro- and Megafauna on the Beaufort Shelf and Slope

    PubMed Central

    Nephin, Jessica; Juniper, S. Kim; Archambault, Philippe

    2014-01-01

    Diversity and community patterns of macro- and megafauna were compared on the Canadian Beaufort shelf and slope. Faunal sampling collected 247 taxa from 48 stations with box core and trawl gear over the summers of 2009–2011 between 50 and 1,000 m in depth. Of the 80 macrofaunal and 167 megafaunal taxa, 23% were uniques, present at only one station. Rare taxa were found to increase proportional to total taxa richness and differ between the shelf ( 100 m) where they tended to be sparse and the slope where they were relatively abundant. The macrofauna principally comprised polychaetes with nephtyid polychaetes dominant on the shelf and maldanid polychaetes (up to 92% in relative abundance/station) dominant on the slope. The megafauna principally comprised echinoderms with Ophiocten sp. (up to 90% in relative abundance/station) dominant on the shelf and Ophiopleura sp. dominant on the slope. Macro- and megafauna had divergent patterns of abundance, taxa richness ( diversity) and diversity. A greater degree of macrofaunal than megafaunal variation in abundance, richness and diversity was explained by confounding factors: location (east-west), sampling year and the timing of sampling with respect to sea-ice conditions. Change in megafaunal abundance, richness and diversity was greatest across the depth gradient, with total abundance and richness elevated on the shelf compared to the slope. We conclude that megafaunal slope taxa were differentiated from shelf taxa, as faunal replacement not nestedness appears to be the main driver of megafaunal diversity across the depth gradient. PMID:25007347

  7. Wintertime variability of the Beaufort gyre in the Arctic Ocean derived from CryoSat-2/SIRAL observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mizobata, Kohei; Watanabe, Eiji; Kimura, Noriaki

    2016-03-01

    We processed the sea surface height measured by the SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar)/Interferometric Radar Altimeter (SIRAL) on board CryoSat-2 (CS-2) and successfully estimated the monthly dynamic ocean topography (DOT) of the Arctic Ocean. The CS-2 monthly DOT showed the interannual and monthly variability of the Beaufort Gyre (BG) during winter between 2010/2011 and 2014/2015. The northward flow at the western edge of the BG was primarily estimated over the Chukchi Borderland (CBL). However, the BG extended across the CBL, and the northward flow was estimated over the Mendeleev Ridge in the winter of 2012/2013. Our analyses revealed a significantly variable BG in response to changes in the sea surface stress field. Our analysis indicated that (1) sea ice motion, driven by wind fields, acts as a driving force for the BG when sea ice motion was intensified during winter and (2) sea ice motion can also act as an inhibiting force for the BG when sea ice motion is weakened during winter. In addition, the relationship between the DOT, steric height, and ocean bottom pressure implied that the DOT during winter responded to varying wind stresses through baroclinic and barotropic adjustments. According to a tracer experiment, we inferred that in the winter of 2012/2013, the Pacific-origin water carried into the BG through the Barrow Canyon was transported to the northern shelf and shelf break of the Chukchi Sea rather than the CBL, which is where the Pacific-origin water had been transported in the other years of the observation period.

  8. Ecological characteristics of core-use areas used by Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort (BCB) bowhead whales, 2006-2012

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Citta, John J.; Quakenbush, Lori T.; Okkonen, Stephen R.; Druckenmiller, Matthew L.; Maslowski, Wieslaw; Clement-Kinney, Jaclyn; George, John C.; Brower, Harry; Small, Robert J.; Ashjian, Carin J.; Harwood, Lois A.; Heide-Jørgensen, Mads Peter

    2015-08-01

    The Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort (BCB) population of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) ranges across the seasonally ice-covered waters of the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas. We used locations from 54 bowhead whales, obtained by satellite telemetry between 2006 and 2012, to define areas of concentrated use, termed "core-use areas". We identified six primary core-use areas and describe the timing of use and physical characteristics (oceanography, sea ice, and winds) associated with these areas. In spring, most whales migrated from wintering grounds in the Bering Sea to the Cape Bathurst polynya, Canada (Area 1), and spent the most time in the vicinity of the halocline at depths <75 m, which are within the euphotic zone, where calanoid copepods ascend following winter diapause. Peak use of the polynya occurred between 7 May and 5 July; whales generally left in July, when copepods are expected to descend to deeper depths. Between 12 July and 25 September, most tagged whales were located in shallow shelf waters adjacent to the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula, Canada (Area 2), where wind-driven upwelling promotes the concentration of calanoid copepods. Between 22 August and 2 November, whales also congregated near Point Barrow, Alaska (Area 3), where east winds promote upwelling that moves zooplankton onto the Beaufort shelf, and subsequent relaxation of these winds promoted zooplankton aggregations. Between 27 October and 8 January, whales congregated along the northern shore of Chukotka, Russia (Area 4), where zooplankton likely concentrated along a coastal front between the southeastward-flowing Siberian Coastal Current and northward-flowing Bering Sea waters. The two remaining core-use areas occurred in the Bering Sea: Anadyr Strait (Area 5), where peak use occurred between 29 November and 20 April, and the Gulf of Anadyr (Area 6), where peak use occurred between 4 December and 1 April; both areas exhibited highly fractured sea ice. Whales near the Gulf of Anadyr spent almost

  9. The role of water vapor and its associated latent heating in extreme Beaufort coastal storm surge events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gyakum, J. R.; Small, D. L.; Atallah, E.; Liu, N.; Kuo, Y.

    2009-12-01

    During the rather limited ice-free season that typically may occur from late July through early October, the Beaufort Sea region is susceptible to extreme windstorms, many of which produce damaging storm surges to low-lying coastal communities. During the most recent years, the ice-free season has lengthened, suggesting an increased vulnerability of coastal communities to cyclogenesis-related windstorms. Therefore, our research focuses on the dynamic and thermodynamic mechanisms responsible for significant surface wind events during the ice-free season in this region. We demonstrate that these storm surge events are often associated with the generation of large-scale atmospheric circulation regomes conducive to North American droughts. Our analysis methodology includes the detailed synoptic-dynamic analysis, including numerical experiments, on a case of an especially long-lived extreme storm surge that occurred in September 1999. We utilize conventional surface and upper-air station data, along with satellite and ground-based water vapor data. We also utilize global and regional reanalysis data to document the synoptic-scale and mesoscale environments associated with the cyclogenesis events. Our numerical experiments with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model include sensitivity testing with COSMIC-derived water vapor data, and sensitivity tests to illustrate the relative roles that latent heating plays in the storm surge event, at various stages in its lifecycle. A particularly important finding of our research on the devastating September 1999 storm surge event is that a relatively rare case of explosive cyclogenesis in the Gulf of Alaska is a key player in this Beaufort storm surge. The deep-tropospheric latent heating during the explosive cyclogenesis generates a dynamic tropopause ridge. This ridge in turn induces surface ridging that contributes to the strong west-northwesterlies associated with the storm surge. This generation of the dynamic

  10. Mapping Subsea Permafrost, Relict Methane Hydrate, and Gas Migration: New Cross-Shelf Multichannel Seismic Surveys on the Central US Beaufort Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ruppel, C. D.; Hart, P. E.; Moore, E.; Worley, C.; Brothers, L.

    2012-12-01

    In August 2012, the USGS Gas Hydrates Project, with support from DOE's Methane Hydrates R&D Program, conducted the first research-oriented multichannel seismic survey in 35 years across the Alaskan Beaufort Sea continental shelf. Our Central Beaufort margin study area stretches from Camden Bay on the west to Harrison Bay on the east and lies offshore some of the North Slope's most important petroleum systems. The new MCS data were collected in the eastern part of the Alaskan passive margin terrane, near the transition zone to the compressional Canning Mackenzie Deformed Margin described by Houseknecht and Bird. The Central Beaufort shelf was mostly exposed subaerially during Late Pleistocene time, leading to the formation of continuous permafrost and associated gas hydrates at depths greater than ~225 m. As Holocene sea level rise inundated the present-day shelf, the now-subsea permafrost began to thaw and associated gas hydrates would have begun to dissociate. The new surveys constitute the shelf component of site survey activities for Integrated Ocean Drilling pre-proposal 797, which outlines a multiplatform drilling program at 9 sites from the innermost shelf to the upper continental slope of the Alaskan Beaufort margin. The proposed drilling program will elucidate Late Pleistocene to contemporary climate history by accessing sediments currently or formerly hosting subsea permafrost and permafrost-associated methane hydrates on the shelf and sediments in which gas hydrate dynamics are driven by warming of impinging intermediate waters on the upper continental slope. Using a 24-channel digital streamer and a 2 kJ sparker source, the new MCS surveys provided up to several hundred meters of subseafloor penetration and were complemented by 4-24 kHz Chirp surveys for the shallowmost section, high frequency water column imaging for gas plumes, and Swathplus bathymetric mapping at water depths less than 60 to 80 m. The new MCS data, which in part reoccupy 30-year