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Sample records for high arctic tundra

  1. Diversification of Nitrogen Sources in Various Tundra Vegetation Types in the High Arctic

    PubMed Central

    Skrzypek, Grzegorz; Wojtuń, Bronisław; Richter, Dorota; Jakubas, Dariusz; Wojczulanis-Jakubas, Katarzyna; Samecka-Cymerman, Aleksandra

    2015-01-01

    Low nitrogen availability in the high Arctic represents a major constraint for plant growth, which limits the tundra capacity for carbon retention and determines tundra vegetation types. The limited terrestrial nitrogen (N) pool in the tundra is augmented significantly by nesting seabirds, such as the planktivorous Little Auk (Alle alle). Therefore, N delivered by these birds may significantly influence the N cycling in the tundra locally and the carbon budget more globally. Moreover, should these birds experience substantial negative environmental pressure associated with climate change, this will adversely influence the tundra N-budget. Hence, assessment of bird-originated N-input to the tundra is important for understanding biological cycles in polar regions. This study analyzed the stable nitrogen composition of the three main N-sources in the High Arctic and in numerous plants that access different N-pools in ten tundra vegetation types in an experimental catchment in Hornsund (Svalbard). The percentage of the total tundra N-pool provided by birds, ranged from 0–21% in Patterned-ground tundra to 100% in Ornithocoprophilous tundra. The total N-pool utilized by tundra plants in the studied catchment was built in 36% by birds, 38% by atmospheric deposition, and 26% by atmospheric N2-fixation. The stable nitrogen isotope mixing mass balance, in contrast to direct methods that measure actual deposition, indicates the ratio between the actual N-loads acquired by plants from different N-sources. Our results enhance our understanding of the importance of different N-sources in the Arctic tundra and the used methodological approach can be applied elsewhere. PMID:26376204

  2. Importance of Marine-Derived Nutrients Supplied by Planktivorous Seabirds to High Arctic Tundra Plant Communities

    PubMed Central

    Zwolicki, Adrian; Zmudczyńska-Skarbek, Katarzyna; Richard, Pierre; Stempniewicz, Lech

    2016-01-01

    We studied the relative importance of several environmental factors for tundra plant communities in five locations across Svalbard (High Arctic) that differed in geographical location, oceanographic and climatic influence, and soil characteristics. The amount of marine-derived nitrogen in the soil supplied by seabirds was locally the most important of the studied environmental factors influencing the tundra plant community. We found a strong positive correlation between δ15N isotopic values and total N content in the soil, confirming the fundamental role of marine-derived matter to the generally nutrient-poor Arctic tundra ecosystem. We also recorded a strong correlation between the δ15N values of soil and of the tissues of vascular plants and mosses, but not of lichens. The relationship between soil δ15N values and vascular plant cover was linear. In the case of mosses, the percentage ground cover reached maximum around a soil δ 15N value of 8‰, as did plant community diversity. This soil δ15N value clearly separated the occurrence of plants with low nitrogen tolerance (e.g. Salix polaris) from those predominating on high N content soils (e.g. Cerastium arcticum, Poa alpina). Large colonies of planktivorous little auks have a great influence on Arctic tundra vegetation, either through enhancing plant abundance or in shaping plant community composition at a local scale. PMID:27149113

  3. Importance of Marine-Derived Nutrients Supplied by Planktivorous Seabirds to High Arctic Tundra Plant Communities.

    PubMed

    Zwolicki, Adrian; Zmudczyńska-Skarbek, Katarzyna; Richard, Pierre; Stempniewicz, Lech

    2016-01-01

    We studied the relative importance of several environmental factors for tundra plant communities in five locations across Svalbard (High Arctic) that differed in geographical location, oceanographic and climatic influence, and soil characteristics. The amount of marine-derived nitrogen in the soil supplied by seabirds was locally the most important of the studied environmental factors influencing the tundra plant community. We found a strong positive correlation between δ15N isotopic values and total N content in the soil, confirming the fundamental role of marine-derived matter to the generally nutrient-poor Arctic tundra ecosystem. We also recorded a strong correlation between the δ15N values of soil and of the tissues of vascular plants and mosses, but not of lichens. The relationship between soil δ15N values and vascular plant cover was linear. In the case of mosses, the percentage ground cover reached maximum around a soil δ 15N value of 8‰, as did plant community diversity. This soil δ15N value clearly separated the occurrence of plants with low nitrogen tolerance (e.g. Salix polaris) from those predominating on high N content soils (e.g. Cerastium arcticum, Poa alpina). Large colonies of planktivorous little auks have a great influence on Arctic tundra vegetation, either through enhancing plant abundance or in shaping plant community composition at a local scale. PMID:27149113

  4. Nitrogen Accumulation and Partitioning in High Arctic Tundra from Extreme Atmospheric N Deposition Events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Phoenix, G. K.; Osborn, A.; Blaud, A.; Press, M. C.; Choudhary, S.

    2013-12-01

    Arctic ecosystems are threatened by pollution from extreme atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition events. These events occur from the long-range transport of reactive N from pollution sources at lower latitudes and can deposit up to 80% of the annual N deposition in just a few days. To date, the fate and impacts of these extreme pollutant events has remained unknown. Using a field simulation study, we undertook the first assessment of the fate of acutely deposited N on arctic tundra. Extreme N deposition events were simulated on field plots at Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard (79oN) at rates of 0, 0.04, 0.4 and 1.2 g N m-2 yr-1 applied as NH4NO3 solution over 4 days, with 15N tracers used in the second year to quantify the fate of the deposited N in the plant, soil, microbial and leachate pools. Separate applications of 15NO3- and 15NH4+ were also made to determine the importance of N form in the fate of N. Recovery of the 15N tracer at the end of the first growing season approached 100% of the 15N applied irrespective of treatment level, demonstrating the considerable capacity of High Arctic tundra to capture pollutant N from extreme deposition events. Most incorporation of the 15N was found in bryophytes, followed by the dominant vascular plant (Salix polaris) and the microbial biomass of the soil organic layer. Total recovery remained high in the second growing season (average of 90%), indicating highly conservative N retention. Between the two N forms, recovery of 15NO3- and 15NH4+ were equal in the non-vascular plants, whereas in the vascular plants (particularly Salix polaris) recovery of 15NO3- was four times higher than of 15NH4+. Overall, these findings show that High Arctic tundra has considerable capacity to capture and retain the pollutant N deposited in acute extreme deposition events. Given they can represent much of the annual N deposition, extreme deposition events may be more important than increased chronic N deposition as a pollution source. Furthermore

  5. Variation in bird's originating nitrogen availability limits High Arctic tundra development over last 2000 year (Hornsund, Svalbard)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Skrzypek, Grzegorz; Wojtuń, Bronisław; Hua, Quan; Richter, Dorota; Jakubas, Dariusz; Wojczulanis-Jakubas, Katarzyna; Samecka-Cymerman, Aleksandra

    2016-04-01

    Arctic and subarctic regions play important roles in the global carbon balance. However, nitrogen (N) deficiency is a major constraint for organic carbon sequestration in the High Arctic. Hence, the identification of the relative contributions from different N-sources is critical for understanding the constraints that limit tundra growth. The stable nitrogen composition of the three main N-sources and numerous plants were analyzed in ten tundra types (including those influenced by seabirds) in the Fuglebekken catchment (Hornsund, Svalbard, 77°N 15°E). The percentage of the total tundra N-pool provided by seabirds' feces (from planktivorous colonially breeding little auks Alle alle), ranged from 0-21% in Patterned-ground tundra to 100% in Ornithocoprophilous tundra. The total N-pool utilized by tundra plants in the studied catchment originated from birds (36%), atmospheric deposition (38%), and N2-fixation (26%). The results clearly show that N-pool in the tundra is significantly supplemented by nesting seabirds. Thus, if they experienced climate change induced substantial negative environmental pressure, it would adversely influence the tundra N-budget (Skrzypek et al. 2015). The growth rates and the sediment thickness (<15cm) in different tundra types varied considerably but the tundra age was similar in the whole area, <450 cal BP. The only exception was Ornithocoprophilous bird-N rich tundra with very diverse ages ranging from 235 to 2300 cal BP and thickness up to 110 cm. The growth rates for this tundra (62 cm core, 18 AMS 14C dates) were high (1.5-3.0 mm/yr) between 1568 and 1804 AD and then substantially declined for the period between 1804 and 1929 AD (0.2 mm/yr). These findings deliver an additional argument, that the organic matter accumulation is driven not only directly by climatic conditions but also by birds' contribution to the tundra N-pool. Skrzypek G, Wojtuń B, Richter D, Jakubas D, Wojczulanis-Jakubas K, Samecka-Cymerman A, 2015

  6. Nitrogen accumulation and partitioning in a High Arctic tundra ecosystem from extreme atmospheric N deposition events.

    PubMed

    Choudhary, Sonal; Blaud, Aimeric; Osborn, A Mark; Press, Malcolm C; Phoenix, Gareth K

    2016-06-01

    Arctic ecosystems are threatened by pollution from recently detected extreme atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition events in which up to 90% of the annual N deposition can occur in just a few days. We undertook the first assessment of the fate of N from extreme deposition in High Arctic tundra and are presenting the results from the whole ecosystem (15)N labelling experiment. In 2010, we simulated N depositions at rates of 0, 0.04, 0.4 and 1.2 g Nm(-2)yr(-1), applied as (15)NH4(15)NO3 in Svalbard (79(°)N), during the summer. Separate applications of (15)NO3(-) and (15)NH4(+) were also made to determine the importance of N form in their retention. More than 95% of the total (15)N applied was recovered after one growing season (~90% after two), demonstrating a considerable capacity of Arctic tundra to retain N from these deposition events. Important sinks for the deposited N, regardless of its application rate or form, were non-vascular plants>vascular plants>organic soil>litter>mineral soil, suggesting that non-vascular plants could be the primary component of this ecosystem to undergo measurable changes due to N enrichment from extreme deposition events. Substantial retention of N by soil microbial biomass (70% and 39% of (15)N in organic and mineral horizon, respectively) during the initial partitioning demonstrated their capacity to act as effective buffers for N leaching. Between the two N forms, vascular plants (Salix polaris) in particular showed difference in their N recovery, incorporating four times greater (15)NO3(-) than (15)NH4(+), suggesting deposition rich in nitrate will impact them more. Overall, these findings show that despite the deposition rates being extreme in statistical terms, biologically they do not exceed the capacity of tundra to sequester pollutant N during the growing season. Therefore, current and future extreme events may represent a major source of eutrophication. PMID:26956177

  7. The effect of a permafrost disturbance on growing-season carbon-dioxide fluxes in a high Arctic tundra ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cassidy, A. E.; Christen, A.; Henry, G. H. R.

    2015-12-01

    Soil carbon stored in high-latitude permafrost landscapes is threatened by warming, and could contribute significant amounts of carbon to the atmosphere and hydrosphere as permafrost thaws. Permafrost disturbances, especially active layer detachments and retrogressive thaw slumps, have increased in frequency and magnitude across the Fosheim Peninsula, Ellesmere Island, Canada. To determine the effects of retrogressive thaw slumps on net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of CO2 in high Arctic tundra, we used two eddy covariance (EC) tower systems to simultaneously and continuously measure CO2 fluxes from a disturbed site and the surrounding undisturbed tundra. During the 32-day measurement period in the 2014 growing season the undisturbed tundra was a small net sink (NEE = -0.12 g C m-2 d-1); however, the disturbed terrain of the retrogressive thaw slump was a net source (NEE = +0.39 g C m-2 d-1). Over the measurement period, the undisturbed tundra sequestered 3.84 g C m-2, while the disturbed tundra released 12.48 g C m-2. Before full leaf out in early July, the undisturbed tundra was a small source of CO2, but shifted to a sink for the remainder of the sampling season (July), whereas the disturbed tundra remained a source of CO2 throughout the season. A static chamber system was also used to measure fluxes in the footprints of the two towers, in both disturbed and undisturbed tundra, and fluxes were partitioned into ecosystem respiration (Re) and gross primary production (GPP). Average GPP and Re found in disturbed tundra were smaller (+0.41 μmol m-2 s-1 and +0.50 μmol m-2 s-1, respectively) than those found in undisturbed tundra (+1.21 μmol m-2 s-1 and +1.00 μmol m-2 s-1, respectively). Our measurements indicated clearly that the permafrost disturbance changed the high Arctic tundra system from a sink to a source for CO2 during the growing season.

  8. The effect of a permafrost disturbance on growing-season carbon-dioxide fluxes in a high Arctic tundra ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cassidy, Alison E.; Christen, Andreas; Henry, Gregory H. R.

    2016-04-01

    Soil carbon stored in high-latitude permafrost landscapes is threatened by warming and could contribute significant amounts of carbon to the atmosphere and hydrosphere as permafrost thaws. Thermokarst and permafrost disturbances, especially active layer detachments and retrogressive thaw slumps, are present across the Fosheim Peninsula, Ellesmere Island, Canada. To determine the effects of retrogressive thaw slumps on net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of CO2 in high Arctic tundra, we used two eddy covariance (EC) tower systems to simultaneously and continuously measure CO2 fluxes from a disturbed site and the surrounding undisturbed tundra. During the 32-day measurement period in the 2014 growing season, the undisturbed tundra was a small net sink (NEE = -0.1 g C m-2 d-1); however, the disturbed terrain of the retrogressive thaw slump was a net source (NEE = +0.4 g C m-2 d-1). Over the measurement period, the undisturbed tundra sequestered 3.8 g C m-2, while the disturbed tundra released 12.5 g C m-2. Before full leaf-out in early July, the undisturbed tundra was a small source of CO2 but shifted to a sink for the remainder of the sampling season (July), whereas the disturbed tundra remained a source of CO2 throughout the season. A static chamber system was also used to measure daytime fluxes in the footprints of the two towers, in both disturbed and undisturbed tundra, and fluxes were partitioned into ecosystem respiration (Re) and gross primary production (GPP). Average GPP and Re found in disturbed tundra were smaller (+0.40 µmol m-2 s-1 and +0.55 µmol m-2 s-1, respectively) than those found in undisturbed tundra (+1.19 µmol m-2 s-1 and +1.04 µmol m-2 s-1, respectively). Our measurements indicated clearly that the permafrost disturbance changed the high Arctic tundra system from a sink to a source for CO2 during the majority of the growing season (late June and July).

  9. 100% Retention of Snowpack Derived Nitrogen Over 10 Years in High Arctic Tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Choudhary, S.; Tye, A. M.; Young, S. D.; West, H. M.; Phoenix, G. K.

    2013-12-01

    ecosystem sinks for the 15N tracer in the long-term were organic humus soil, followed by bryophytes and then vascular plants, it is concluded that greater N deposition resulting in greater released of N from melting snowpack could significantly enrich the plant N pool and possibly enhance plant growth (with a potential to increase C storage) in the future. Overall, this study shows that high arctic tundra has considerable short- and long term- capacity for retention of snow-melt deposited N, with very tight internal recycling that allows 100% of the initially sequestered N to be retained over 10 years. Such capacity for pollutant N retention may exacerbate the impact that increased N deposition has on high arctic tundra.

  10. Impact of seabird activity on nitrous oxide and methane fluxes from High Arctic tundra in Svalbard, Norway

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhu, Renbin; Chen, Qingqing; Ding, Wei; Xu, Hua

    2012-12-01

    In this study, tundra N2O and CH4 fluxes were measured from one seabird sanctuary (SBT) and two non-seabird colonies (NST-I and NST-II) in Ny-Ålesund (79°55'N, 11°56'E), Svalbard during the summers of 2008 and 2009. N2O and CH4 fluxes from SBT showed large temporal and spatial variations depending on the intensity of seabird activity. High seabird activity sites showed large N2O and CH4 emissions while low N2O and CH4 emissions, even CH4 uptake occurred at medium and low seabird activity sites. Overall the mean fluxes were 18.3 ± 3.6 μg N2O m-2 h-1 and 53.5 ± 20.3 μg CH4 m-2 h-1 from tundra SBT whereas tundra NST-I and NST-II represented a relatively weak N2O source (8.3 ± 13.2 μg N2O m-2 h-1) and strong CH4 sink (-82.8 ± 22.3 μg CH4 m-2 h-1). Seabird activity was the strongest control of N2O and CH4 fluxes compared with soil temperature and moisture, and high N2O and CH4 emissions were created by soil physical and chemical processes (the sufficient supply of nutrients NH4+-N, NO3--N, total nitrogen, total phosphorus and total carbon from seabird guano, seabird tramp and appropriate water content) related to the seabird activity. Our work suggests that tundra ecosystems impacted by seabird activity are the potential "hotspots" for N2O and CH4 emissions although these sources have been largely neglected at present. Furthermore the combination of seabird activity and warming climate will likely further enhance N2O and CH4 emissions from the High Arctic tundra.

  11. Tundra Rehabilitation in Alaska's Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lynn, L. A.

    2012-12-01

    Oil exploration in Alaska's Arctic has been conducted for more than 40 years, resulting in over 3,640 ha of gravel fill placed for roads, pads, and airstrips to support the industry. Likewise, tundra disturbance from burying power lines and by tundra vehicle travel are also common. Rehabilitation of disturbed sites began around 2002, with well over 150 ha that has been previously treated or is currently being rehabilitated. Two primary goals of rehabilitation efforts have been 1) revegetation by indigenous species, and 2) limiting thermokarst. Early efforts were concerned that removing gravel and having exposed bare ground would lead to extensive subsidence and eolian erosion. Native grass cultivars (e.g. Poa glauca, Arctagrostis latifolia, and Festuca rubra) were seeded to create vegetation cover quickly with the expectation that these grasses would survive only temporarily. The root masses and leaf litter were also expected to trap indigenous seed to enhance natural recolonization by indigenous plants. Due to the remote location of these sites, many of which are only accessible by helicopter, most are visited only two to three times following cultivation treatments, providing a limited data pool. At many sites, the total live seeded grass cover declined about 15% over the first 5¬-6 years (from around 30% to 15% cover), while total live indigenous vascular cover increased from no or trace cover to an average of 10% cover in that time. Cover of indigenous vascular plants at sites that were not seeded with native grass cultivars averaged just less than 10% after 10 years, showing no appreciable difference between the two approaches. Final surface elevations at the sites affect local hydrology and soil moisture. Other factors that influence the success of vegetation cover are proximity to the Arctic coast (salt effects), depth of remaining gravel, and changes in characteristics of the near-surface soil. Further development of rehabilitation techniques and the

  12. Timing, Magnitude and Sources of Ecosystem Respiration in High Arctic Tundra of NW Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lupascu, M.; Xu, X.; Lett, C.; Maseyk, K. S.; Lindsey, D. S.; Thomas, J. S.; Welker, J. M.; Czimczik, C. I.

    2011-12-01

    High arctic ecosystems with low vegetation density contain significant stocks of organic carbon (C) in the form of soil organic matter that range in age from modern to ancient. How rapidly these C pools can be mineralized and lost to the atmosphere as CO2 (ecosystem respiration, ER) as a consequence of warming and, or changes in precipitation is a major uncertainty in our understanding of current and future arctic biogeochemistry and for predicting future levels of atmospheric CO2. In a 2-year study (2010-2011), we monitored seasonal changes in the magnitude, timing and sources of ER and soil pore space CO2 in the High Arctic of NW Greenland under current and simulated, future climate conditions. Measurements were taken from May to August at a multi-factorial, long-term climate change experiment in prostrate dwarf-shrub tundra on patterned ground with 5 treatments: (T1) +2oC warming, (T2) +4oC warming, (W) +50% summer precipitation, (T2W) +4oC + 50% summer precipitation, and (C) control. ER (using opaque chambers) and soil CO2 concentrations (wells) were monitored daily via infrared spectroscopy (LI-COR 800 & 840). The source of CO2 was inferred from its radiocarbon (14C) content analyzed at the AMS facility in UCI. CO2 was sampled monthly using molecular sieve traps (chambers) or evacuated canisters (wells). Highest rates of ER are observed on vegetated ground with a maximum in mid summer - reflecting a peak in plant productivity and soil temperature. Respiration rates from bare ground remain similar throughout the summer. Additional soil moisture, administered or due to precipitation events, strongly enhances ER from both vegetated and bare ground. Daily ER budget for the sampling period was of 53.1 mmol C m-2 day-1 for the (C) vegetated areas compared to the 60.0 for the (T2), 68.1 for the (T2W) or the 79.9 for the (W) treatment. ER was highly correlated to temperature (eg. C = 0.8; T2W = 0.8) until middle of July, when heavy precipitation started to occur. In

  13. Soil carbon content and CO2 flux along a hydrologic gradient in a High-Arctic tundra lake basin, Northwest Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McKnight, J.; Klein, E. S.; Welker, J. M.; Schaeffer, S. M.; Franklin, M.

    2015-12-01

    High Arctic landscapes are composed of watershed basins that vary in size and ecohydrology, but typically have a plant community complex that ranges from dry tundra to moist tundra to wet sedge systems along water body shorelines. The spatial extent of these plant communities reflects mean annual soil moisture and temperature, and is vulnerable to changes in climate conditions. Soil moisture and temperature significantly influence organic matter microbial activity and decomposition, and can affect the fate of soil carbon in tundra soils. Consequently, due to the unique soil carbon differences between tundra plant communities, shifts in their spatial extent may drive future High Arctic biosphere-atmosphere interactions. Understanding this terrestrial-atmosphere trace gas feedback, however, requires quantification of the rates and patterns of CO2 exchange along soil moisture gradients and the associated soil properties. In summer of 2015, soil CO2 flux rate, soil moisture and temperature were measured along a soil moisture gradient spanning three vegetation zones (dry tundra, wet tundra, and wet grassland) in a snow melt-fed lake basin near Thule Greenland. Mean soil temperature during the 2015 growing season was greater in dry tundra than in wet tundra and wet grassland (13.0 ± 1.2, 7.8 ± 0.8, and 5.5 ± 0.9°C, respectively). Mean volumetric soil moisture differed among all three vegetation zones where the soil moisture gradient ranged from 9 % (dry tundra) to 34 % (wet tundra) to 51 % (wet grassland). Mean soil CO2 flux was significantly greater in the wet grassland (1.7 ± 0.1 μmol m-2 s-1) compared to wet tundra (0.9 ± 0.2 μmol m-2 s-1) and dry tundra (1.2 ± 0.2 μmol m-2 s-1). Soil CO2 flux increased and decreased with seasonal warming and cooling of soil temperature. Although soil temperature was an important seasonal driver of soil CO2 flux rates, differences in mean seasonal soil CO2 flux rates among vegetation zones appeared to be a function of the

  14. Long-term experimentally deepened snow decreases growing-season respiration in a low- and high-arctic tundra ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Semenchuk, Philipp R.; Christiansen, Casper T.; Grogan, Paul; Elberling, Bo; Cooper, Elisabeth J.

    2016-05-01

    Tundra soils store large amounts of carbon (C) that could be released through enhanced ecosystem respiration (ER) as the arctic warms. Over time, this may change the quantity and quality of available soil C pools, which in-turn may feedback and regulate ER responses to climate warming. Therefore, short-term increases in ER rates due to experimental warming may not be sustained over longer periods, as observed in other studies. One important aspect, which is often overlooked, is how climatic changes affecting ER in one season may carry-over and determine ER in following seasons. Using snow fences, we increased snow depth and thereby winter soil temperatures in a high-arctic site in Svalbard (78°N) and a low-arctic site in the Northwest Territories, Canada (64°N), for 5 and 9 years, respectively. Deepened snow enhanced winter ER while having negligible effect on growing-season soil temperatures and soil moisture. Growing-season ER at the high-arctic site was not affected by the snow treatment after 2 years. However, surprisingly, the deepened snow treatments significantly reduced growing-season ER rates after 5 years at the high-arctic site and after 8-9 years at the low-arctic site. We speculate that the reduction in ER rates, that became apparent only after several years of experimental manipulation, may, at least in part, be due to prolonged depletion of labile C substrate as a result of warmer soils over multiple cold seasons. Long-term changes in winter climate may therefore significantly influence annual net C balance not just because of increased wintertime C loss but also because of "legacy" effects on ER rates during the following growing seasons.

  15. Effects of increased snow cover on the rates and sources of ecosystem respiration from high arctic tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lupascu, M.; Welker, J. M.; Cooper, E.; Xu, X.; Czimczik, C. I.

    2013-12-01

    A key driver of carbon (C) cycling in arctic ecosystems is the amount, onset and duration of snow cover. Arctic tundra is covered in snow for 8-10 months of the year, although spatial and internannual variability of snow cover is high. Anticipated changes in the amount and timing of snow cover as a consequence of climate warming and their implications for regional C budget and biogeochemistry are highly uncertain. Here, we investigated the effects of increased winter snow depth on the rates and sources of ecosystem respiration (Reco) of a polar semi-desert and mesic meadow at two long-term snowpack manipulation experiments in NW Greenland and Svalbard, Norway. We monitored Reco, the concentrations of CO2 in the soil pore space and their radiocarbon (14C) contents (as an age proxy) over the course of three summers in Greenland and one winter in Svalbard. Preliminary results show that wintertime Reco fluxes were 45% higher in areas of deep as compared to ambient snow. Summertime Reco fluxes were positively correlated to total water-year precipitation (summer rain plus winter snow). However, due to the shorter, snow-free vegetation period, cumulative summertime Reco fluxes under increased snow cover were reduced by up to -34.1×5.4% compared to the control. The mean age of soil CO2 was always older during both the winter- and summertime under increased snow cover. Similarly, the mean age of Reco was older under increased snowpack during the wintertime. However, summertime Reco was dominated by decomposition of younger C and plant respiration, and we found no effect of snow cover. Our results demonstrate the vulnerability of permafrost C to increasing snow cover and the strong potential to serve as a positive feedback to global climate change.

  16. Dynamics of Aboveground Phytomass of the Circumpolar Arctic Tundra During the Past Three Decades

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Epstein, Howard E.; Raynolds, Martha K.; Walker, Donald A.; Bhatt, Uma S.; Tucker, Compton J.; Pinzon, Jorge E.

    2012-01-01

    Numerous studies have evaluated the dynamics of Arctic tundra vegetation throughout the past few decades, using remotely sensed proxies of vegetation, such as the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). While extremely useful, these coarse-scale satellite-derived measurements give us minimal information with regard to how these changes are being expressed on the ground, in terms of tundra structure and function. In this analysis, we used a strong regression model between NDVI and aboveground tundra phytomass, developed from extensive field-harvested measurements of vegetation biomass, to estimate the biomass dynamics of the circumpolar Arctic tundra over the period of continuous satellite records (1982-2010). We found that the southernmost tundra subzones (C-E) dominate the increases in biomass, ranging from 20 to 26%, although there was a high degree of heterogeneity across regions, floristic provinces, and vegetation types. The estimated increase in carbon of the aboveground live vegetation of 0.40 Pg C over the past three decades is substantial, although quite small relative to anthropogenic C emissions. However, a 19.8% average increase in aboveground biomass has major implications for nearly all aspects of tundra ecosystems including hydrology, active layer depths, permafrost regimes, wildlife and human use of Arctic landscapes. While spatially extensive on-the-ground measurements of tundra biomass were conducted in the development of this analysis, validation is still impossible without more repeated, long-term monitoring of Arctic tundra biomass in the field.

  17. CO2, CH4, and DOC Flux During Long Term Thaw of High Arctic Tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stackhouse, B. T.; Vishnivetskaya, T. A.; Layton, A.; Bennett, P.; Mykytczuk, N.; Lau, C. M.; Whyte, L.; Onstott, T. C.

    2013-12-01

    Arctic regions are expected to experience temperature increases of >4° C by the end of this century. This warming is projected to cause a drastic reduction in the extent of permafrost at high northern latitudes, affecting an estimated 1000 Pg of SOC in the top 3 m. Determining the effects of this temperature change on CO2 and CH4 emissions is critical for defining source constraints to global climate models. To investigate this problem, 18 cores of 1 m length were collected in late spring 2011 before the thawing of the seasonal active layer from an ice-wedge polygon near the McGill Arctic Research Station (MARS) on Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, Canada (N79°24, W90°45). Cores were collected from acidic soil (pH 5.5) with low SOC (~1%), summertime active layer depth between 40-70 cm (2010-2013), and sparse vegetation consisting primarily of small shrubs and sedges. Cores were progressively thawed from the surface over the course of 14 weeks to a final temperature of 4.5° C and held at that temperature for 15 months under the following conditions: in situ water saturation conditions versus fully water saturated conditions using artificial rain fall, surface light versus no surface light, cores from the polygon edge, and control cores with a permafrost table maintained at 70 cm depth. Core headspaces were measured weekly for CO2, CH4, H2, CO, and O2 flux during the 18 month thaw experiment. After ~20 weeks of thawing maximum, CO2 flux for the polygon edge and dark treatment cores were 3.0×0.7 and 1.7×0.4 mmol CO2 m-2 hr-1, respectively. The CO2 flux for the control, saturated, and in situ saturation cores reached maximums of 0.6×0.2, 0.9×0.5, and 0.9×0.1 mmol CO2 m-2 hr-1, respectively. Field measurements of CO2 flux from an adjacent polygon during the mid-summer of 2011 to 2013 ranged from 0.3 to 3.7 mmol CO2 m-2 hr-1. Cores from all treatments except water saturated were found to consistently oxidize CH4 at ~atmospheric concentrations (2 ppmv) with a maximum

  18. Two years with extreme and little snowfall: effects on energy partitioning and surface energy exchange in a high-Arctic tundra ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stiegler, Christian; Lund, Magnus; Røjle Christensen, Torben; Mastepanov, Mikhail; Lindroth, Anders

    2016-07-01

    Snow cover is one of the key factors controlling Arctic ecosystem functioning and productivity. In this study we assess the impact of strong variability in snow accumulation during 2 subsequent years (2013-2014) on the land-atmosphere interactions and surface energy exchange in two high-Arctic tundra ecosystems (wet fen and dry heath) in Zackenberg, Northeast Greenland. We observed that record-low snow cover during the winter 2012/2013 resulted in a strong response of the heath ecosystem towards low evaporative capacity and substantial surface heat loss by sensible heat fluxes (H) during the subsequent snowmelt period and growing season. Above-average snow accumulation during the winter 2013/2014 promoted summertime ground heat fluxes (G) and latent heat fluxes (LE) at the cost of H. At the fen ecosystem a more muted response of LE, H and G was observed in response to the variability in snow accumulation. Overall, the differences in flux partitioning and in the length of the snowmelt periods and growing seasons during the 2 years had a strong impact on the total accumulation of the surface energy balance components. We suggest that in a changing climate with higher temperature and more precipitation the surface energy balance of this high-Arctic tundra ecosystem may experience a further increase in the variability of energy accumulation, partitioning and redistribution.

  19. Determining Regional Arctic Tundra Carbon Exchange: A Bottom-Up Approach

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Huemmrich, Fred

    2006-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation reviews the carbon atmospheric exchange with Arctic tundra. In the Arctic the ecosystem has been a net carbon sink. The project investigates the question of how might climate warming effect high latitude ecosystems and the Earth ecosystems and how to measure the changes.

  20. Fourfold higher tundra volatile emissions due to arctic summer warming

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lindwall, Frida; Schollert, Michelle; Michelsen, Anders; Blok, Daan; Rinnan, Riikka

    2016-03-01

    Biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs), which are mainly emitted by vegetation, may create either positive or negative climate forcing feedbacks. In the Subarctic, BVOC emissions are highly responsive to temperature, but the effects of climatic warming on BVOC emissions have not been assessed in more extreme arctic ecosystems. The Arctic undergoes rapid climate change, with air temperatures increasing at twice the rate of the global mean. Also, the amount of winter precipitation is projected to increase in large areas of the Arctic, and it is unknown how winter snow depth affects BVOC emissions during summer. Here we examine the responses of BVOC emissions to experimental summer warming and winter snow addition—each treatment alone and in combination—in an arctic heath during two growing seasons. We observed a 280% increase relative to ambient in BVOC emissions in response to a 4°C summer warming. Snow addition had minor effects on growing season BVOC emissions after one winter but decreased BVOC emissions after the second winter. We also examined differences between canopy and air temperatures and found that the tundra canopy surface was on average 7.7°C and maximum 21.6°C warmer than air. This large difference suggests that the tundra surface temperature is an important driver for emissions of BVOCs, which are temperature dependent. Our results demonstrate a strong response of BVOC emissions to increasing temperatures in the Arctic, suggesting that emission rates will increase with climate warming and thereby feed back to regional climate change.

  1. Recent Arctic tundra fire initiates widespread thermokarst development.

    PubMed

    Jones, Benjamin M; Grosse, Guido; Arp, Christopher D; Miller, Eric; Liu, Lin; Hayes, Daniel J; Larsen, Christopher F

    2015-01-01

    Fire-induced permafrost degradation is well documented in boreal forests, but the role of fires in initiating thermokarst development in Arctic tundra is less well understood. Here we show that Arctic tundra fires may induce widespread thaw subsidence of permafrost terrain in the first seven years following the disturbance. Quantitative analysis of airborne LiDAR data acquired two and seven years post-fire, detected permafrost thaw subsidence across 34% of the burned tundra area studied, compared to less than 1% in similar undisturbed, ice-rich tundra terrain units. The variability in thermokarst development appears to be influenced by the interaction of tundra fire burn severity and near-surface, ground-ice content. Subsidence was greatest in severely burned, ice-rich upland terrain (yedoma), accounting for ~50% of the detected subsidence, despite representing only 30% of the fire disturbed study area. Microtopography increased by 340% in this terrain unit as a result of ice wedge degradation. Increases in the frequency, magnitude, and severity of tundra fires will contribute to future thermokarst development and associated landscape change in Arctic tundra regions. PMID:26511650

  2. Recent Arctic tundra fire initiates widespread thermokarst development

    PubMed Central

    Jones, Benjamin M.; Grosse, Guido; Arp, Christopher D.; Miller, Eric; Liu, Lin; Hayes, Daniel J.; Larsen, Christopher F.

    2015-01-01

    Fire-induced permafrost degradation is well documented in boreal forests, but the role of fires in initiating thermokarst development in Arctic tundra is less well understood. Here we show that Arctic tundra fires may induce widespread thaw subsidence of permafrost terrain in the first seven years following the disturbance. Quantitative analysis of airborne LiDAR data acquired two and seven years post-fire, detected permafrost thaw subsidence across 34% of the burned tundra area studied, compared to less than 1% in similar undisturbed, ice-rich tundra terrain units. The variability in thermokarst development appears to be influenced by the interaction of tundra fire burn severity and near-surface, ground-ice content. Subsidence was greatest in severely burned, ice-rich upland terrain (yedoma), accounting for ~50% of the detected subsidence, despite representing only 30% of the fire disturbed study area. Microtopography increased by 340% in this terrain unit as a result of ice wedge degradation. Increases in the frequency, magnitude, and severity of tundra fires will contribute to future thermokarst development and associated landscape change in Arctic tundra regions. PMID:26511650

  3. The unseen iceberg: Plant roots in arctic tundra

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Iversen, Colleen M; Sloan, Victoria L; Sullivan, Patrick F.; Euskirchen, Eugenie S; McGuire, A. David; Norby, Richard J; Walker, Anthony P; Warren, Jeffrey; Wullschleger, Stan D

    2015-01-01

    Arctic tundra is characterized by short-statured plant communities underlain by carbon (C)-rich soils and permafrost. Ecosystem C and nutrient cycles in tundra are driven by complex interactions between plants and their environment. However, root dynamics are one of the least understood aspects of plant growth in the Arctic. We synthesized available literature on tundra roots and discussed their representation in terrestrial biosphere models. Belowground biomass in tundra ecosystems can be an order of magnitude larger than aboveground biomass. Data on root production and turnover in tundra is sparse, limiting our understanding of the controls over root dynamics in these systems.more » Roots are shallowly distributed in the thin layer of soil that thaws each year, and are often found in the organic horizon at the soil surface. Species-specific differences in root distribution, mycorrhizal colonization, and resource partitioning may affect plant species competition under changing climatic conditions. Model representation of belowground processes has increased in complexity over recent years, but data are desperately needed to fill the gaps in model treatment of tundra roots. Future research should focus on estimates of root production and lifespan, and interactions between roots and the surrounding soil across the diversity of tundra ecosystems in the Arctic.« less

  4. The unseen iceberg: Plant roots in arctic tundra

    SciTech Connect

    Iversen, Colleen M; Sloan, Victoria L; Sullivan, Patrick F.; Euskirchen, Eugenie S; McGuire, A. David; Norby, Richard J; Walker, Anthony P; Warren, Jeffrey; Wullschleger, Stan D

    2015-01-01

    Arctic tundra is characterized by short-statured plant communities underlain by carbon (C)-rich soils and permafrost. Ecosystem C and nutrient cycles in tundra are driven by complex interactions between plants and their environment. However, root dynamics are one of the least understood aspects of plant growth in the Arctic. We synthesized available literature on tundra roots and discussed their representation in terrestrial biosphere models. Belowground biomass in tundra ecosystems can be an order of magnitude larger than aboveground biomass. Data on root production and turnover in tundra is sparse, limiting our understanding of the controls over root dynamics in these systems. Roots are shallowly distributed in the thin layer of soil that thaws each year, and are often found in the organic horizon at the soil surface. Species-specific differences in root distribution, mycorrhizal colonization, and resource partitioning may affect plant species competition under changing climatic conditions. Model representation of belowground processes has increased in complexity over recent years, but data are desperately needed to fill the gaps in model treatment of tundra roots. Future research should focus on estimates of root production and lifespan, and interactions between roots and the surrounding soil across the diversity of tundra ecosystems in the Arctic.

  5. Airborne Spectral Measurements of Surface-Atmosphere Anisotropy for Arctic Sea Ice and Tundra

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Arnold, G. Thomas; Tsay, Si-Chee; King, Michael D.; Li, Jason Y.; Soulen, Peter F.

    1999-01-01

    Angular distributions of spectral reflectance for four common arctic surfaces: snow-covered sea ice, melt-season sea ice, snow-covered tundra, and tundra shortly after snowmelt were measured using an aircraft based, high angular resolution (1-degree) multispectral radiometer. Results indicate bidirectional reflectance is higher for snow-covered sea ice than melt-season sea ice at all wavelengths between 0.47 and 2.3 pm, with the difference increasing with wavelength. Bidirectional reflectance of snow-covered tundra is higher than for snow-free tundra for measurements less than 1.64 pm, with the difference decreasing with wavelength. Bidirectional reflectance patterns of all measured surfaces show maximum reflectance in the forward scattering direction of the principal plane, with identifiable specular reflection for the melt-season sea ice and snow-free tundra cases. The snow-free tundra had the most significant backscatter, and the melt-season sea ice the least. For sea ice, bidirectional reflectance changes due to snowmelt were more significant than differences among the different types of melt-season sea ice. Also the spectral-hemispherical (plane) albedo of each measured arctic surface was computed. Comparing measured nadir reflectance to albedo for sea ice and snow-covered tundra shows albedo underestimated 5-40%, with the largest bias at wavelengths beyond 1 pm. For snow-free tundra, nadir reflectance underestimates plane albedo by about 30-50%.

  6. The unseen iceberg: Plant roots in arctic tundra

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Iverson, Colleen M.; Sloan, Victoria L.; Sullivan, Patrick F.; Euskirchen, E.S.; McGuire, Anthony; Norby, Richard J.; Walker, Anthony P.; Warren, Jeffrey M.; Wullschleger, Stan D.

    2015-01-01

    Plant roots play a critical role in ecosystem function in arctic tundra, but root dynamics in these ecosystems are poorly understood. To address this knowledge gap, we synthesized available literature on tundra roots, including their distribution, dynamics and contribution to ecosystem carbon and nutrient fluxes, and highlighted key aspects of their representation in terrestrial biosphere models. Across all tundra ecosystems, belowground plant biomass exceeded aboveground biomass, with the exception of polar desert tundra. Roots were shallowly distributed in the thin layer of soil that thaws annually, and were often found in surface organic soil horizons. Root traits – including distribution, chemistry, anatomy and resource partitioning – play an important role in controlling plant species competition, and therefore ecosystem carbon and nutrient fluxes, under changing climatic conditions, but have only been quantified for a small fraction of tundra plants. Further, the annual production and mortality of fine roots are key components of ecosystem processes in tundra, but extant data are sparse. Tundra root traits and dynamics should be the focus of future research efforts. Better representation of the dynamics and characteristics of tundra roots will improve the utility of models for the evaluation of the responses of tundra ecosystems to changing environmental conditions.

  7. Critical review of mercury fates and contamination in the Arctic tundra ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Poissant, Laurier; Zhang, Hong H; Canário, João; Constant, Philippe

    2008-08-01

    Mercury (Hg) contamination in tundra region has raised substantial concerns, especially since the first report of atmospheric mercury depletion events (AMDEs) in the Polar Regions. During the past decade, steady progress has been made in the research of Hg cycling in the Polar Regions. This has generated a unique opportunity to survey the whole Arctic in respect to Hg issue and to find out new discoveries. However, there are still considerable knowledge gaps and debates on the fate of Hg in the Arctic and Antarctica, especially regarding the importance and significance of AMDEs vs. net Hg loadings and other processes that burden Hg in the Arctic. Some studies argued that climate warming since the last century has exerted profound effects on the limnology of High Arctic lakes, including substantial increases in autochthonous primary productivity which increased in sedimentary Hg, whereas some others pointed out the importance of the formation and postdeposition crystallographic history of the snow and ice crystals in determining the fate and concentration of mercury in the cryosphere in addition to AMDEs. Is mercury re-emitted back to the atmosphere after AMDEs? Is Hg methylation effective in the Arctic tundra? Where the sources of MeHg are? What is its fate? Is this stimulated by human made? This paper presents a critical review about the fate of Hg in the Arctic tundra, such as pathways and process of Hg delivery into the Arctic ecosystem; Hg concentrations in freshwater and marine ecosystems; Hg concentrations in terrestrial biota; trophic transfer of Hg and bioaccumulation of Hg through food chain. This critical review of mercury fates and contamination in the Arctic tundra ecosystem is assessing the impacts and potential risks of Hg contamination on the health of Arctic people and the global northern environment by highlighting and "perspectiving" the various mercury processes and concentrations found in the Arctic tundra. PMID:18707754

  8. Identifying nitrogen limitations to organic sediments accumulation in various vegetation types of arctic tundra (Hornsund, Svalbard)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Skrzypek, G.; Wojtuń, B.; Hua, Q.; Richter, D.; Jakubas, D.; Wojczulanis-Jakubas, K.; Samecka-Cymerman, A.

    2015-12-01

    Arctic and subarctic regions play important roles in the global carbon balance. However, nitrogen (N) deficiency is a major constraint for organic carbon sequestration in the High Arctic. Hence, the identification of the relative contributions from different N-sources is critical for understanding the constraints that limit tundra growth. The stable nitrogen composition of the three main N-sources and numerous plants were analyzed in ten tundra types in the Fuglebekken catchment (Hornsund Fjord, Svalbard, 77°N 15°E). The percentage of the total tundra N-pool provided by seabirds' feces (colonially breeding, planktivorous Alle alle), ranged from 0-21% in Patterned-ground tundra to 100% in Ornithocoprophilous tundra. The total N-pool utilized by tundra plants in the studied catchment was built in 36% by birds, 38% by atmospheric deposition, and 26% by N2-fixation. The results clearly show that N-pool in the tundra is significantly supplemented by nesting seabirds. Thus, if they experienced substantial negative environmental pressure associated with climate change, it would adversely influence the tundra N-budget [1]. The growth rates and the sediment thickness (<15 cm) in different tundra types varied considerably but the tundra age was similar, <450 cal BP. The only exception was Ornithocoprophilous tundra with very diverse ages ranging from 235 to 2300 cal BP and thickness up to 110cm. The growth rates for this tundra (62 cm core, 18 AMS 14C dates) were high (1.5-3.0 mm/yr) between 1568 and 1804 AD and then substantially declined for the period between 1804 and 1929 AD (0.2 mm/yr). These findings deliver an additional argument, that the organic matter accumulation is driven not only directly by climatic conditions but also by birds' contribution to the tundra N-pool. [1] Skrzypek G, Wojtuń B, Richter D, Jakubas D, Wojczulanis-Jakubas K, Samecka-Cymerman A, 2015. Diversification of nitrogen sources in various tundra vegetation types in the high Arctic. PLoS ONE

  9. Willow Shrub Expansion Following Tundra Fires in Arctic Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Racine, C.

    2010-12-01

    Climate warming in the Arctic is predicted to result in the expansion of woody shrubs and increased frequency and size of tundra fires. How will fire influence this shrub expansion? Over a period of 32 years, following a 1977 tundra fire in the central Seward Peninsula, we sampled seven times the post-fire vegetation at eight permanently marked sites on a long (2 Km) hillslope (Nimrod Hill). We had previously sampled vegetation here in 1973 prior to the fire. By 2001, 24 years post-fire conspicuous willow shrubs (mostly Salix pulchra) had increased in numbers, size and cover over the entire slope in moist tussock-shrub tundra, well-drained heath, and wet meadow. Prior to fire, willow on this slope was largely restricted to small drainages or watertracks. Willows here have originated from both seed and vegetative resprouting - the latter mostly in moist tussock-shrub tundra from willows resprouting within one to three years post-fire. With fire-induced removal of vascular plant competition and Spagnum moss cover and litter in tussock-shrub tundra, both seedling and resprouting willows have grown rapidly to overtop tussocks by 30-40 cm. Similar rapid post-fire resprouting of willows has been observed in tussock-shrub tundra after the 2007 Anaktuvuk River tundra fire and after the 1977 tundra fires in the Noatak River basin. On Nimrod Hill the most striking willow expansion has occurred on the severely burned and well-drained backslope where willow establishment from seed 5-10 years after fire has resulted in up to 40% cover of rapidly growing willows of both upright and spreading growth form. At several sites along the slope there is evidence of continuing willow expansion from seedlings 24 to 32 years post-fire, when we might expect the effects of fire on seedbeds would have ceased. We conclude that tundra fire may promote shrub expansion in the Arctic.

  10. Assessing the Utility of Alternate Digital Image Color Space for Deriving Phenological Dynamics in a High-Arctic Tundra Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vargas, S. A., Jr.; Oberbauer, S. F.; Ramirez, G.; Ramirez, G. A.; Tweedie, C. E.; Hollister, R. D.; Escarzaga, S. M.; Ochoa, E.

    2015-12-01

    The need to improve the spatial and temporal scaling and extrapolation of plot level ecosystem properties and processes to the landscape level remains a persistent research challenge in the Arctic. Plant and landscape phenology is sensitive to a number of spatiotemporally variable environmental factors such as soil moisture, temperature, and radiation. Seasonal and inter-annual differences in phenology can affect surface energy balance and land-atmosphere carbon flux. Considering the relative importance of the Arctic to global carbon balance, improved scaling and extrapolation of phenological dynamics from the plot level to the landscape level is important for advancing our understanding of the impact of climate and other environmental change in arctic terrestrial ecosystems. Seasonal and interannual landscape phenology was observed over the Mobile Instrumented Sensor Platform (MISP) grid (2 x 50 meters) located in Barrow and Atqasuk, Alaska using imagery acquired from kite aerial photography (KAP), a hyperspectral ground-based spectrometer, and a phenocam. These data were analyzed in RGB and non-traditional HSV and l*a*b*color spaces to determine site, plant community seasonal, and inter annual phenological dynamics. Results were also compared to high spatial resolution satellite imagery to determine optimal indices for scaling vegetation dynamics from plot to landscape level. These results show that greenness indices similar to those acquired from hyperspectral remote sensing platforms can be derived using low-cost and low-tech techniques that could be deployed at multiple sites at low cost.

  11. Geochemical drivers of organic matter decomposition in Arctic tundra soils

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Herndon, Elizabeth M.; Yang, Ziming; Graham, David E.; Wullschleger, Stan D.; Gu, Baohua; Liang, Liyuan; Bargar, John; Janot, Noemie; Regier, Tom Z.

    2015-12-07

    Climate change is warming tundra ecosystems in the Arctic, resulting in the decomposition of previously-frozen soil organic matter (SOM) and release of carbon (C) to the atmosphere; however, the processes that control SOM decomposition and C emissions remain highly uncertain. In this study, we evaluate geochemical factors that influence anaerobic production of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) in the active layers of four ice-wedge polygons. Surface and soil pore waters were collected during the annual thaw season over a two-year period in an area containing waterlogged, low-centered polygons and well-drained, high-centered polygons. We report spatial and seasonal patterns ofmore » dissolved gases in relation to the geochemical properties of Fe and organic C as determined using spectroscopic and chromatographic techniques. Iron was present as Fe(II) in soil solution near the permafrost boundary but enriched as Fe(III) in the middle of the active layer, similar to dissolved aromatic-C and organic acids. Dissolved CH4 increased relative to dissolved CO2 with depth and varied with soil moisture in the middle of the active layer in patterns that were positively correlated with the proportion of dissolved Fe(III) in transitional and low-centered polygon soils but negatively correlated in the drier flat- and high-centered polygons. These results suggest that microbial-mediated Fe oxidation and reduction influence respiration/fermentation of SOM and production of substrates (e.g., low-molecular-weight organic acids) for methanogenesis. As a result, we infer that geochemical differences induced by water saturation dictate microbial products of SOM decomposition, and Fe geochemistry is an important factor regulating methanogenesis in anoxic tundra soils.« less

  12. Geochemical drivers of organic matter decomposition in Arctic tundra soils

    SciTech Connect

    Herndon, Elizabeth M.; Yang, Ziming; Graham, David E.; Wullschleger, Stan D.; Gu, Baohua; Liang, Liyuan; Bargar, John; Janot, Noemie; Regier, Tom Z.

    2015-12-07

    Climate change is warming tundra ecosystems in the Arctic, resulting in the decomposition of previously-frozen soil organic matter (SOM) and release of carbon (C) to the atmosphere; however, the processes that control SOM decomposition and C emissions remain highly uncertain. In this study, we evaluate geochemical factors that influence anaerobic production of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) in the active layers of four ice-wedge polygons. Surface and soil pore waters were collected during the annual thaw season over a two-year period in an area containing waterlogged, low-centered polygons and well-drained, high-centered polygons. We report spatial and seasonal patterns of dissolved gases in relation to the geochemical properties of Fe and organic C as determined using spectroscopic and chromatographic techniques. Iron was present as Fe(II) in soil solution near the permafrost boundary but enriched as Fe(III) in the middle of the active layer, similar to dissolved aromatic-C and organic acids. Dissolved CH4 increased relative to dissolved CO2 with depth and varied with soil moisture in the middle of the active layer in patterns that were positively correlated with the proportion of dissolved Fe(III) in transitional and low-centered polygon soils but negatively correlated in the drier flat- and high-centered polygons. These results suggest that microbial-mediated Fe oxidation and reduction influence respiration/fermentation of SOM and production of substrates (e.g., low-molecular-weight organic acids) for methanogenesis. As a result, we infer that geochemical differences induced by water saturation dictate microbial products of SOM decomposition, and Fe geochemistry is an important factor regulating methanogenesis in anoxic tundra soils.

  13. Shrub expansion and climate feedbacks in Arctic tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Loranty, Michael M.; Goetz, Scott J.

    2012-03-01

    Arctic tundra ecosystems stand to play a substantial role in both the magnitude and rate of global climate warming over the coming decades and centuries. The exact nature of this role will be determined by the combined effects of currently amplified rates of climate warming in the Arctic (Serreze et al 2000) and a series of related positive climate feedbacks that include mobilization of permafrost carbon (Schuur et al 2008), decreases in surface albedo (Chapin et al 2005) and evapotranspiration (ET) mediated increases in atmospheric water vapor (Swann et al 2010). Conceptually, these feedback mechanisms are intuitive and readily comprehensible: warming-induced permafrost thaw will make new soil carbon pools accessible for microbial respiration, and increased vegetation productivity, expansion of shrubs in particular, will lower surface reflectance and increase ET. However, our current understanding of these feedback mechanisms relies largely on limited and local field studies and, as such, the quantitative estimates of feedback effects on regional and global climate require spatial upscaling and uncertainty estimates derived from models. Moreover, the feedback mechanisms interact and their combined net effect on climate is highly variable and not well characterized. A recent study by Bonfils et al (2012) is among the first to explicitly examine how shrub expansion in tundra ecosystems will impact regional climate. Using an Earth system model, Bonfils et al find that an idealized 20% increase in shrub cover north of 60°N latitude will lead to annual temperature increases of 0.66 °C and 1.84 °C, respectively, when the shrubs are 0.5 m and 2 m tall. The modeled temperature increases arise from atmospheric heating as a combined consequence of decreased albedo and increased ET. The primary difference between the two cases is associated with the fact that tall shrubs protrude above the snow, thus reducing albedo year round, whereas short shrubs are completely

  14. Impact of permafrost thaw on Arctic tundra pond geochemistry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reyes, F.; Lougheed, V.

    2012-12-01

    Increasing evidence indicates the arctic tundra is changing physically, biologically, and chemically due to climate warming. With a warmer climate, permafrost is expected to thaw and influence the chemistry of arctic aquatic ecosystems. However, knowledge is limited on how geochemistry of arctic tundra pond ecosystems will respond. By re-sampling historical IBP ponds in Barrow, AK first sampled in the 1970s, previous studies have shown an increase in water temperature, nutrients and algal biomass through time. Results from this study indicate an increase of Ca, Mg, and Na in the water column, and a decrease in pH relative to the 1970s, suggesting an increased rate and magnitude of carbonate and Mg release. Seasonal trends were also examined to understand what processes, such as mineral weathering, peat decomposition and evaporation, were currently most influential in determining pond geochemistry. An increase in Ca/Na molar ratios, and carbonate and magnesium concentrations indicates that these tundra ponds are experiencing greater carbonate weathering compared to the 1970s and the rate of carbonate weathering increases in ponds as the summer progresses. However, increasing dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations originating from peat decomposition are likely neutralizing additional inputs of carbonate, causing pond pH to decrease and exacerbating mineral weathering. A strong positive relationship between element concentrations and active layer pond thaw depth suggests that the origin of these additional solutes is likely from permafrost thaw. Active layer thaw depth has increased substantially over the past 40 years in the IBP ponds. Chloride/Bromide molar ratios and Deuterium/ 18-Oxygen isotope ratios will be used to determine the degree of evaporation occurring in tundra ponds. Ultimately, this study provides evidence for how geochemistry can identify the sources of chemical inputs to Arctic ponds affected by climate change and permafrost thaw.

  15. Cold season emissions dominate the Arctic tundra methane budget

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zona, Donatella; Gioli, Beniamino; Commane, Róisín; Lindaas, Jakob; Wofsy, Steven C.; Miller, Charles E.; Dinardo, Steven J.; Dengel, Sigrid; Sweeney, Colm; Karion, Anna; Chang, Rachel Y.-W.; Henderson, John M.; Murphy, Patrick C.; Goodrich, Jordan P.; Moreaux, Virginie; Liljedahl, Anna; Watts, Jennifer D.; Kimball, John S.; Lipson, David A.; Oechel, Walter C.

    2016-01-01

    Arctic terrestrial ecosystems are major global sources of methane (CH4); hence, it is important to understand the seasonal and climatic controls on CH4 emissions from these systems. Here, we report year-round CH4 emissions from Alaskan Arctic tundra eddy flux sites and regional fluxes derived from aircraft data. We find that emissions during the cold season (September to May) account for ≥50% of the annual CH4 flux, with the highest emissions from noninundated upland tundra. A major fraction of cold season emissions occur during the "zero curtain" period, when subsurface soil temperatures are poised near 0 °C. The zero curtain may persist longer than the growing season, and CH4 emissions are enhanced when the duration is extended by a deep thawed layer as can occur with thick snow cover. Regional scale fluxes of CH4 derived from aircraft data demonstrate the large spatial extent of late season CH4 emissions. Scaled to the circumpolar Arctic, cold season fluxes from tundra total 12 ± 5 (95% confidence interval) Tg CH4 y-1, ∼25% of global emissions from extratropical wetlands, or ∼6% of total global wetland methane emissions. The dominance of late-season emissions, sensitivity to soil environmental conditions, and importance of dry tundra are not currently simulated in most global climate models. Because Arctic warming disproportionally impacts the cold season, our results suggest that higher cold-season CH4 emissions will result from observed and predicted increases in snow thickness, active layer depth, and soil temperature, representing important positive feedbacks on climate warming.

  16. Cold season emissions dominate the Arctic tundra methane budget.

    PubMed

    Zona, Donatella; Gioli, Beniamino; Commane, Róisín; Lindaas, Jakob; Wofsy, Steven C; Miller, Charles E; Dinardo, Steven J; Dengel, Sigrid; Sweeney, Colm; Karion, Anna; Chang, Rachel Y-W; Henderson, John M; Murphy, Patrick C; Goodrich, Jordan P; Moreaux, Virginie; Liljedahl, Anna; Watts, Jennifer D; Kimball, John S; Lipson, David A; Oechel, Walter C

    2016-01-01

    Arctic terrestrial ecosystems are major global sources of methane (CH4); hence, it is important to understand the seasonal and climatic controls on CH4 emissions from these systems. Here, we report year-round CH4 emissions from Alaskan Arctic tundra eddy flux sites and regional fluxes derived from aircraft data. We find that emissions during the cold season (September to May) account for ≥ 50% of the annual CH4 flux, with the highest emissions from noninundated upland tundra. A major fraction of cold season emissions occur during the "zero curtain" period, when subsurface soil temperatures are poised near 0 °C. The zero curtain may persist longer than the growing season, and CH4 emissions are enhanced when the duration is extended by a deep thawed layer as can occur with thick snow cover. Regional scale fluxes of CH4 derived from aircraft data demonstrate the large spatial extent of late season CH4 emissions. Scaled to the circumpolar Arctic, cold season fluxes from tundra total 12 ± 5 (95% confidence interval) Tg CH4 y(-1), ∼ 25% of global emissions from extratropical wetlands, or ∼ 6% of total global wetland methane emissions. The dominance of late-season emissions, sensitivity to soil environmental conditions, and importance of dry tundra are not currently simulated in most global climate models. Because Arctic warming disproportionally impacts the cold season, our results suggest that higher cold-season CH4 emissions will result from observed and predicted increases in snow thickness, active layer depth, and soil temperature, representing important positive feedbacks on climate warming. PMID:26699476

  17. Cold season emissions dominate the Arctic tundra methane budget

    PubMed Central

    Zona, Donatella; Gioli, Beniamino; Lindaas, Jakob; Wofsy, Steven C.; Miller, Charles E.; Dinardo, Steven J.; Dengel, Sigrid; Sweeney, Colm; Karion, Anna; Chang, Rachel Y.-W.; Henderson, John M.; Murphy, Patrick C.; Goodrich, Jordan P.; Moreaux, Virginie; Liljedahl, Anna; Watts, Jennifer D.; Kimball, John S.; Lipson, David A.; Oechel, Walter C.

    2016-01-01

    Arctic terrestrial ecosystems are major global sources of methane (CH4); hence, it is important to understand the seasonal and climatic controls on CH4 emissions from these systems. Here, we report year-round CH4 emissions from Alaskan Arctic tundra eddy flux sites and regional fluxes derived from aircraft data. We find that emissions during the cold season (September to May) account for ≥50% of the annual CH4 flux, with the highest emissions from noninundated upland tundra. A major fraction of cold season emissions occur during the “zero curtain” period, when subsurface soil temperatures are poised near 0 °C. The zero curtain may persist longer than the growing season, and CH4 emissions are enhanced when the duration is extended by a deep thawed layer as can occur with thick snow cover. Regional scale fluxes of CH4 derived from aircraft data demonstrate the large spatial extent of late season CH4 emissions. Scaled to the circumpolar Arctic, cold season fluxes from tundra total 12 ± 5 (95% confidence interval) Tg CH4 y−1, ∼25% of global emissions from extratropical wetlands, or ∼6% of total global wetland methane emissions. The dominance of late-season emissions, sensitivity to soil environmental conditions, and importance of dry tundra are not currently simulated in most global climate models. Because Arctic warming disproportionally impacts the cold season, our results suggest that higher cold-season CH4 emissions will result from observed and predicted increases in snow thickness, active layer depth, and soil temperature, representing important positive feedbacks on climate warming. PMID:26699476

  18. Circumpolar Dynamics of Arctic Tundra Vegetation in Relation to Temperature Trends

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Epstein, H. E.; Bhatt, U. S.; Raynolds, M. K.; Walker, D. A.; Reichle, L.

    2015-12-01

    Arctic tundra vegetation has generally exhibited a "greening" trend for at least the past three decades. However, these temporal trends in tundra vegetation are highly heterogeneous in space across different arctic regions, as well as showing variability over time. The factors controlling this variability are likely numerous with complex interactions, however, a first approach is to examine how vegetation dynamics relate to trends in temperature. We used a 32-year record (1982-2013) of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Land Surface Temperatures from Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) sensors onboard NOAA satellites (GIMMS 3g dataset) to analyze observed changes in both aboveground tundra vegetation and surface temperatures. We divided the circumpolar dataset into two continental regions (North America and Eurasia), as well as by tundra subzone (A-E) sensu the Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map (CAVM). We 1) compared temporal trends in both MaxNDVI (peak values) and TI-NDVI (seasonally integrated values) with those of the Summer Warmth Index (SWI - sum of mean monthly temperatures > 0 °C); 2) assessed how the detrended interannual variabilities in NDVI compared to those of SWI; and 3) analyzed current and prior year SWI, as well as prior year NDVI, as controls on current year NDVI. Interannual coefficients of variation for SWI were 2.0 - 2.5 times greater than those for NDVI, and the temporal trendlines for NDVI were much "tighter" with greater r² values than those for SWI. Interannual variability in NDVI was greatest in the "Mid-Low" Arctic, whereas interannual variability in SWI was greatest in the most southern Arctic. Surprisingly, the observed relative rates of change in NDVI were greater than those of SWI for the warmer subzones for both North America and Eurasia. Finally, the change in NDVI from one year to the next was only weakly correlated with current year SWI. These results suggest that 1) there are clearly factors

  19. Impacts of Arctic Climate Change on Tundra Fire Regimes at Interannual to Millennial Timescales

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, F.; Young, A. M.; Chipman, M. L.; Duffy, P.; Higuera, P. E.

    2014-12-01

    Tundra burning is emerging as a key process in the rapidly changing Arctic, and knowledge of tundra fire-regime responses to climate change is essential for projecting Earth system dynamics. This presentation will focus on climate-fire relationships in the Arctic, spatiotemporal patterns of Holocene tundra burning, and the effects of tundra burning on carbon cycling. Analysis of historical records reveals that across the Arctic, tundra burning occurred primarily in areas where mean summer temperature exceeded 9 °C and total summer precipitation was below 115 mm. In Alaska, summer temperature and precipitation explain >90% of the interannual variability in tundra area burned from AD 1950-2009, with thresholds of 10.5 °C and 140 mm. These patterns imply tipping points in tundra fire-regime responses to climate change. The frequency of tundra fires has varied greatly across space and through time. Approximately 1.0% of the circum-Arctic tundra burned from AD 2002-2013, and 4.5% of the Alaskan tundra burned from AD 1950-2009. The latter encompassed ecoregions with fire rotation periods ranging from ~400 to 13,640 years. Charcoal analysis of lake sediments also shows that Arctic tundra can sustain a wide range of fire regimes. Fires were rare on the Alaskan North Slope throughout the Holocene, implying that the climate thresholds evident in the historical records have seldom been crossed. In contrast, in areas of NW Alaska, tundra has burned regularly at 100-250 year intervals during the late Holocene. Tundra burning may cause sudden releases of the enormous amount of Arctic soil C. Charcoal particles from recent burns yielded 14C ages of AD 1952-2006. Thus the C consumed in recent fires may recover through vegetation succession. However, our results suggest that in areas that have burned multiple times in recent decades, old soil C is vulnerable to future fires.

  20. Boundary layer O3 dynamics and deposition to tundra during a summer in the Alaskan Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Van Dam, B. A.; Helmig, D.; Doskey, P. V.; Oltmans, S. J.; Boylan, P.

    2014-12-01

    Atmospheric turbulence quantities, boundary layer O3 levels and deposition to the tundra surface were investigated at Toolik Lake, AK during the 2011 summer season. Beginning immediately after snowmelt a diurnal cycle in ambient O3 developed, and O3 values measured over tundra throughout the summer varied significantly between nighttime minima of 5 ppbv and daytime maxima of 50 ppbv. The mean amplitude of the diurnal cycle in surface O3 following snowmelt was 13 ppbv, far larger than observed at other high Arctic locations. The diurnal cycle is attributed to a combination of surface deposition to the tundra and stable boundary layer conditions at night, and the entrainment of O3 from higher in the atmosphere during increased daytime mixing. The mean O3 deposition velocity during the month of June was 0.11 cm s-1. O3 deposition to tundra exhibited a diurnal cycle, with daytime mean of 0.2 cm s-1 and nighttime mean of 0.08 cm s-1. These values are slightly lower than previously reported summertime deposition velocities in the northern latitudes over tundra or fen, although measurements for comparison were limited.

  1. Will Arctic ground squirrels impede or accelerate climate-induced vegetation changes to the Arctic tundra?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dalton, J.; Flower, C. E.; Brown, J.; Gonzalez-Meler, M. A.; Whelan, C.

    2014-12-01

    Considerable attention has been given to the climate feedbacks associated with predicted vegetation shifts in the Arctic tundra in response to global environmental change. However, little is known regarding the extent to which consumers can facilitate or respond to shrub expansion. Arctic ground squirrels, the largest and most northern ground squirrel, are abundant and widespread throughout the North American tundra. Their broad diet of seeds, flowers, herbage, bird's eggs and meat speaks to the need to breed, feed, and fatten in a span of some 12-16 weeks that separate their 8-9 month bouts of hibernation with the potential consequence to impact ecosystem dynamics. Therefore Arctic ground squirrels are a good candidate to evaluate whether consumers are mere responders (bottom-up effects) or drivers (top-down) of the observed and predicted vegetation changes. As a start towards this question, we measured the foraging intensity (giving-up densities) of Arctic ground squirrels in experimental food patches within which the squirrels experience diminishing returns as they seek the raisins and peanuts that we provided at the Toolik Lake field station in northern Alaska. If the squirrels show their highest feeding intensity in the shrubs, they may impede vegetation shifts by slowing the establishment and expansion of shrubs in the tundra. Conversely, if they show their lowest feeding intensity within shrub dominated areas, they may accelerate vegetation shifts. We found neither. Feeding intensity varied most among transects and times of day, and least along a tundra-to-shrub vegetation gradient. This suggests that the impacts of squirrels will be heterogeneous - in places responders and in others drivers. We should not be surprised then to see patches of accelerated and impeded vegetation changes in the tundra ecosystem. Some of these patterns may be predictable from the foraging behavior of Arctic ground squirrels.

  2. Vegetation shifts observed in arctic tundra 17 years after fire

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Barrett, Kirsten; Rocha, Adrian V.; van de Weg, Martine Janet; Shaver, Gaius

    2012-01-01

    With anticipated climate change, tundra fires are expected to occur more frequently in the future, but data on the long-term effects of fire on tundra vegetation composition are scarce. This study addresses changes in vegetation structure that have persisted for 17 years after a tundra fire on the North Slope of Alaska. Fire-related shifts in vegetation composition were assessed from remote-sensing imagery and ground observations of the burn scar and an adjacent control site. Early-season remotely sensed imagery from the burn scar exhibits a low vegetation index compared with the control site, whereas the late-season signal is slightly higher. The range and maximum vegetation index are greater in the burn scar, although the mean annual values do not differ among the sites. Ground observations revealed a greater abundance of moss in the unburned site, which may account for the high early growing season normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) anomaly relative to the burn. The abundance of graminoid species and an absence of Betula nana in the post-fire tundra sites may also be responsible for the spectral differences observed in the remotely sensed imagery. The partial replacement of tundra by graminoid-dominated ecosystems has been predicted by the ALFRESCO model of disturbance, climate and vegetation succession.

  3. Shrub Abundance Mapping in Arctic Tundra with Misr

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Duchesne, R.; Chopping, M. J.; Wang, Z.; Schaaf, C.; Tape, K. D.

    2013-12-01

    Over the last 60 years an increase in shrub abundance has been observed in the Arctic tundra in connection with a rapid surface warming trend. Rapid shrub expansion may have consequences in terms of ecosystem structure and function, albedo, and feedbacks to climate; however, its rate is not yet known. The goal of this research effort is thus to map large scale changes in Arctic tundra vegetation by exploiting the structural signal in moderate resolution satellite remote sensing images from NASA's Multiangle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR), mapped onto a 250m Albers Conic Equal Area grid. We present here large area shrub mapping supported by reference data collated using extensive field inventory data and high resolution panchromatic imagery. MISR Level 1B2 Terrain radiance scenes from the Terra satellite from 15 June-31 July, 2000 - 2010 were converted to surface bidirectional reflectance factors (BRF) using MISR Toolkit routines and the MISR 1 km LAND product BRFs. The red band data in all available cameras were used to invert the RossThick-LiSparse-Reciprocal BRDF model to retrieve kernel weights, model-fitting RMSE, and Weights of Determination. The reference database was constructed using aerial survey, three field campaigns (field inventory for shrub count, cover, mean radius and height), and high resolution imagery. Tall shrub number, mean crown radius, cover, and mean height estimates were obtained from QuickBird and GeoEye panchromatic image chips using the CANAPI algorithm, and calibrated using field-based estimates, thus extending the database to over eight hundred locations. Tall shrub fractional cover maps for the North Slope of Alaska were constructed using the bootstrap forest machine learning algorithm that exploits the surface information provided by MISR. The reference database was divided into two datasets for training and validation. The model derived used a set of 19 independent variables(the three kernel weights, ratios and interaction terms

  4. Modelling tundra vegetation response to recent arctic warming.

    PubMed

    Miller, Paul A; Smith, Benjamin

    2012-01-01

    The Arctic land area has warmed by > 1 °C in the last 30 years and there is evidence that this has led to increased productivity and stature of tundra vegetation and reduced albedo, effecting a positive (amplifying) feedback to climate warming. We applied an individual-based dynamic vegetation model over the Arctic forced by observed climate and atmospheric CO(2) for 1980-2006. Averaged over the study area, the model simulated increases in primary production and leaf area index, and an increasing representation of shrubs and trees in vegetation. The main underlying mechanism was a warming-driven increase in growing season length, enhancing the production of shrubs and trees to the detriment of shaded ground-level vegetation. The simulated vegetation changes were estimated to correspond to a 1.75 % decline in snow-season albedo. Implications for modelling future climate impacts on Arctic ecosystems and for the incorporation of biogeophysical feedback mechanisms in Arctic system models are discussed. PMID:22864701

  5. Modeling dynamics of circum-arctic tundra plant communities in response to climate warming and grazing pressure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yu, Q.; Epstein, H. E.; Walker, D. A.; Forbes, B. C.; Vors, L. S.

    2011-12-01

    The Arctic is a complex system with strong interconnectedness among system components. Understanding the responses of the arctic tundra biome to a changing climate requires knowledge of the complex interactions among climate, soils, and the biological system. In this study, we investigate the individual and interactive effects of projected climate change and reindeer/caribou grazing across a variety of climate zones and soil nutrient levels on tundra plant community dynamics using an arctic vegetation model - ArcVeg. Our research questions include: 1) How does soil nutrient availability affect tundra vegetation responses to projected climate warming? 2) How does grazing affect tundra vegetation responses? 3) How do interactions of soil nutrients, climate warming and grazing affect tundra vegetation? We based our simulations on A1B scenario temperature data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), soil organic nitrogen data from Terrestrial Ecosystem Model (TEM) simulations and grazing pressure derived from reindeer/caribou population data from the CircumArctic Rangifer Monitoring and Assessment Network (CARMA). We found that in general tundra communities responded to warming with increased plant biomass, but the magnitude of the response is affected by the bioclimate zones, warming magnitude, available soil nutrients and grazing pressures. Regions with greater soil organic nitrogen responded to warming with greater biomass increase, Low Arctic tundra tended to have greater biomass increase than High Arctic tundra due to greater shrub abundance. However, such responses are mitigated by grazing. Regions with greater reindeer population and thus greater grazing intensity tended to have stronger negative effects on plant responses to warming than regions with less grazing. For example, in Subzone D, total biomass and NPP increases due to warming were about 71% and 43% in an Alaskan low grazing-intensity region, but 63% and 36% in a northwestern Canada

  6. Remote sensing of vegetation and land-cover change in Arctic Tundra Ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stow, D.A.; Hope, A.; McGuire, D.; Verbyla, D.; Gamon, J.; Huemmrich, F.; Houston, S.; Racine, C.; Sturm, M.; Tape, K.; Hinzman, L.; Yoshikawa, K.; Tweedie, C.; Noyle, B.; Silapaswan, C.; Douglas, D.; Griffith, B.; Jia, G.; Epstein, H.; Walker, D.; Daeschner, S.; Petersen, A.; Zhou, L.; Myneni, R.

    2004-01-01

    The objective of this paper is to review research conducted over the past decade on the application of multi-temporal remote sensing for monitoring changes of Arctic tundra lands. Emphasis is placed on results from the National Science Foundation Land-Air-Ice Interactions (LAII) program and on optical remote sensing techniques. Case studies demonstrate that ground-level sensors on stationary or moving track platforms and wide-swath imaging sensors on polar orbiting satellites are particularly useful for capturing optical remote sensing data at sufficient frequency to study tundra vegetation dynamics and changes for the cloud prone Arctic. Less frequent imaging with high spatial resolution instruments on aircraft and lower orbiting satellites enable more detailed analyses of land cover change and calibration/validation of coarser resolution observations. The strongest signals of ecosystem change detected thus far appear to correspond to expansion of tundra shrubs and changes in the amount and extent of thaw lakes and ponds. Changes in shrub cover and extent have been documented by modern repeat imaging that matches archived historical aerial photography. NOAA Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) time series provide a 20-year record for determining changes in greenness that relates to photosynthetic activity, net primary production, and growing season length. The strong contrast between land materials and surface waters enables changes in lake and pond extent to be readily measured and monitored. ?? 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  7. Remote sensing of vegetation and land-cover change in Arctic tundra ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Checkstow, D.A.; Hope, A.; McGuire, D.; Verbyla, D.; Gamon, J.; Huemmrich, F.; Houston, S.; Racine, C.; Sturm, M.; Tape, K.; Hinzman, L.; Yoshikawa, K.; Tweedie, C.

    2004-01-01

    The objective of this paper is to review research conducted over the past decade on the application of multi-temporal remote sensing for monitoring changes of Arctic tundra lands. Emphasis is placed on results from the National Science Foundation Land-Air-Ice Interactions (LAII) program and on optical remote sensing techniques. Case studies demonstrate that ground-level sensors on stationary or moving track platforms and wide-swath imaging sensors on polar orbiting satellites are particularly useful for capturing optical remote sensing data at sufficient frequency to study tundra vegetation dynamics and changes for the cloud prone Arctic. Less frequent imaging with high spatial resolution instruments on aircraft and lower orbiting satellites enable more detailed analyses of land cover change and calibration/validation of coarser resolution observations. The strongest signals of ecosystem change detected thus far appear to correspond to expansion of tundra shrubs and changes in the amount and extent of thaw lakes and ponds. Changes in shrub cover and extent have been documented by modern repeat imaging that matches archived historical aerial photography. NOAA Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) time series provide a 20-year record for determining changes in greenness that relates to photosynthetic activity, net primary production, and growing season length. The strong contrast between land materials and surface waters enables changes in lake and pond extent to be readily measured and monitored.

  8. Long-term recovery patterns of arctic tundra after winter seismic exploration.

    PubMed

    Jorgenson, Janet C; Ver Hoef, Jay M; Jorgenson, M T

    2010-01-01

    In response to the increasing global demand for energy, oil exploration and development are expanding into frontier areas of the Arctic, where slow-growing tundra vegetation and the underlying permafrost soils are very sensitive to disturbance. The creation of vehicle trails on the tundra from seismic exploration for oil has accelerated in the past decade, and the cumulative impact represents a geographic footprint that covers a greater extent of Alaska's North Slope tundra than all other direct human impacts combined. Seismic exploration for oil and gas was conducted on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, USA, in the winters of 1984 and 1985. This study documents recovery of vegetation and permafrost soils over a two-decade period after vehicle traffic on snow-covered tundra. Paired permanent vegetation plots (disturbed vs. reference) were monitored six times from 1984 to 2002. Data were collected on percent vegetative cover by plant species and on soil and ground ice characteristics. We developed Bayesian hierarchical models, with temporally and spatially autocorrelated errors, to analyze the effects of vegetation type and initial disturbance levels on recovery patterns of the different plant growth forms as well as soil thaw depth. Plant community composition was altered on the trails by species-specific responses to initial disturbance and subsequent changes in substrate. Long-term changes included increased cover of graminoids and decreased cover of evergreen shrubs and mosses. Trails with low levels of initial disturbance usually improved well over time, whereas those with medium to high levels of initial disturbance recovered slowly. Trails on ice-poor, gravel substrates of riparian areas recovered better than those on ice-rich loamy soils of the uplands, even after severe initial damage. Recovery to pre-disturbance communities was not possible where trail subsidence occurred due to thawing of ground ice. Previous studies of

  9. Controls over nutrient flow through plants and microbes in Arctic tundra. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Schimel, J.

    1994-02-01

    Ecosystem productivity in the Arctic is strongly controlled by N availability to plants. Thus, disturbances to the Arctic system are likely to have their greatest impacts by altering the supply of nutrients to plants. Thus, to understand the dynamics of Arctic tundra, a complete understanding of the controls on N cycling in tundra soils is necessary. This project focused on understanding nutrient dynamics in arctic tussock tundra, specifically evaluating the role of microbial uptake and competition for nutrients as a control on plant N-uptake. The project consisted of several major components: Short- and long-term partitioning of NH{sub 4}{sup +} in tussock tundra (1990--1991); Measurement of NH{sub 4}{sup +} uptake rates by Eriophorum vaginatum and by soil microbes; Determination of microbial NH{sub 4}{sup +} and NO{sub 3}{minus} uptake kinetics; and Determination of the partitioning of NH{sub 4}{sup +} and amino acids between E. vaginatum and soil microbes.

  10. Rough-legged buzzards, Arctic foxes and red foxes in a tundra ecosystem without rodents.

    PubMed

    Pokrovsky, Ivan; Ehrich, Dorothée; Ims, Rolf A; Kondratyev, Alexander V; Kruckenberg, Helmut; Kulikova, Olga; Mihnevich, Julia; Pokrovskaya, Liya; Shienok, Alexander

    2015-01-01

    Small rodents with multi-annual population cycles strongly influence the dynamics of food webs, and in particular predator-prey interactions, across most of the tundra biome. Rodents are however absent from some arctic islands, and studies on performance of arctic predators under such circumstances may be very instructive since rodent cycles have been predicted to collapse in a warming Arctic. Here we document for the first time how three normally rodent-dependent predator species-rough-legged buzzard, arctic fox and red fox - perform in a low-arctic ecosystem with no rodents. During six years (in 2006-2008 and 2011-2013) we studied diet and breeding performance of these predators in the rodent-free Kolguev Island in Arctic Russia. The rough-legged buzzards, previously known to be a small rodent specialist, have only during the last two decades become established on Kolguev Island. The buzzards successfully breed on the island at stable low density, but with high productivity based on goslings and willow ptarmigan as their main prey - altogether representing a novel ecological situation for this species. Breeding density of arctic fox varied from year to year, but with stable productivity based on mainly geese as prey. The density dynamic of the arctic fox appeared to be correlated with the date of spring arrival of the geese. Red foxes breed regularly on the island but in very low numbers that appear to have been unchanged over a long period - a situation that resemble what has been recently documented from Arctic America. Our study suggests that the three predators found breeding on Kolguev Island possess capacities for shifting to changing circumstances in low-arctic ecosystem as long as other small - medium sized terrestrial herbivores are present in good numbers. PMID:25692786

  11. Rough-Legged Buzzards, Arctic Foxes and Red Foxes in a Tundra Ecosystem without Rodents

    PubMed Central

    Pokrovsky, Ivan; Ehrich, Dorothée; Ims, Rolf A.; Kondratyev, Alexander V.; Kruckenberg, Helmut; Kulikova, Olga; Mihnevich, Julia; Pokrovskaya, Liya; Shienok, Alexander

    2015-01-01

    Small rodents with multi-annual population cycles strongly influence the dynamics of food webs, and in particular predator-prey interactions, across most of the tundra biome. Rodents are however absent from some arctic islands, and studies on performance of arctic predators under such circumstances may be very instructive since rodent cycles have been predicted to collapse in a warming Arctic. Here we document for the first time how three normally rodent-dependent predator species—rough-legged buzzard, arctic fox and red fox – perform in a low-arctic ecosystem with no rodents. During six years (in 2006-2008 and 2011-2013) we studied diet and breeding performance of these predators in the rodent-free Kolguev Island in Arctic Russia. The rough-legged buzzards, previously known to be a small rodent specialist, have only during the last two decades become established on Kolguev Island. The buzzards successfully breed on the island at stable low density, but with high productivity based on goslings and willow ptarmigan as their main prey – altogether representing a novel ecological situation for this species. Breeding density of arctic fox varied from year to year, but with stable productivity based on mainly geese as prey. The density dynamic of the arctic fox appeared to be correlated with the date of spring arrival of the geese. Red foxes breed regularly on the island but in very low numbers that appear to have been unchanged over a long period – a situation that resemble what has been recently documented from Arctic America. Our study suggests that the three predators found breeding on Kolguev Island possess capacities for shifting to changing circumstances in low-arctic ecosystem as long as other small - medium sized terrestrial herbivores are present in good numbers. PMID:25692786

  12. Vegetation biomass, leaf area index, and NDVI patterns and relationships along two latitudinal transects in arctic tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Epstein, H. E.; Walker, D. A.; Raynolds, M. K.; Kelley, A. M.; Jia, G.; Ping, C.; Michaelson, G.; Leibman, M. O.; Kaarlejärvi, E.; Khomutov, A.; Kuss, P.; Moskalenko, N.; Orekhov, P.; Matyshak, G.; Forbes, B. C.; Yu, Q.

    2009-12-01

    Analyses of vegetation properties along climatic gradients provide first order approximations as to how vegetation might respond to a temporally dynamic climate. Until recently, no systematic study of tundra vegetation had been conducted along bioclimatic transects that represent the full latitudinal extent of the arctic tundra biome. Since 1999, we have been collecting data on arctic tundra vegetation and soil properties along two such transects, the North American Arctic Transect (NAAT) and the Yamal Arctic Transect (YAT). The NAAT spans the arctic tundra from the Low Arctic of the North Slope of Alaska to the polar desert of Cape Isachsen on Ellef Ringnes Island in the Canadian Archipelago. The Yamal Arctic Transect located in northwest Siberia, Russia, presently ranges from the forest-tundra transition at Nadym to the High Arctic tundra on Belyy Ostrov off the north coast of the Yamal Peninsula. The summer warmth indices (SWI - sum of mean monthly temperatures greater than 0°C) range from approximately 40 °C months to 3 °C months from south to north. For largely zonal sites along these transects, we systematically collected leaf area index (LAI-2000 Plant Canopy Analyzer), normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI - PSII hand-held spectro-radiometer), and vegetation biomass (clip harvests). Site-averaged LAI ranges from 1.08 to 0 along the transects, yet can be highly variable at the landscape scale. Site-averaged NDVI ranges from 0.67 to 0.26 along the transects, and is less variable than LAI at the landscape scale. Total aboveground live biomass ranges from approximately 700 g m-2 to < 50 g m-2 along the NAAT, and from approximately 1100 g m-2 to < 400 g m-2 along the YAT (not including tree biomass at Nadym). LAI and NDVI are highly correlated logarithmically (r = 0.80) for the entire dataset. LAI is significantly related to total aboveground (live plus dead) vascular plant biomass, although there is some variability in the data (r = 0.63). NDVI is

  13. Russian Arctic warming and ‘greening’ are closely tracked by tundra shrub willows

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forbes, B. C.; Macias Fauria, M.; Zetterberg, P.

    2009-12-01

    Growth in arctic vegetation is generally expected to increase under a warming climate, particularly among deciduous shrubs. We analyzed annual ring growth for an abundant and nearly circumpolar erect willow (Salix lanata L.) from the coastal zone of the northwest Russian Arctic (Nenets Autonomous Okrug). The resulting chronology is strongly related to summer temperature for the period 1942-2005. Remarkably high correlations occur at long distances (>1600 km) across the tundra and taiga zones of West Siberia and Eastern Europe. We also found a clear relationship with photosynthetic activity for upland vegetation at a regional scale for the period 1981-2005, confirming a parallel ‘greening’ trend reported for similarly warming North American portions of the tundra biome. The standardized growth curve suggests a significant increase in shrub willow growth over the last six decades. These findings are in line with field and remote sensing studies that have assigned a strong shrub component to the reported greening signal since the early 1980s. Furthermore, the growth trend agrees with qualitative observations by nomadic Nenets reindeer herders of recent increases in willow size in the region. The quality of the chronology as a climate proxy is exceptional. Given its wide geographic distribution and the ready preservation of wood in permafrost, S. lanata L. has great potential for extended temperature reconstructions in remote areas across the Arctic.

  14. Migration potential of tundra plant species in a warming Arctic: Responses of southern ecotypes of three species to experimental warming in the High Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bjorkman, Anne; Henry, Greg; Vellend, Mark

    2013-04-01

    Climatic changes due to anthropogenic activity are predicted to have a profound effect on the world's biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. The response of natural communities to climate change will depend primarily on two factors: 1) the ability of species to adapt quickly to changing temperatures and precipitation trends, and 2) the ability of species and populations from southern latitudes to migrate northward and establish in new environments. The assumption is often made that species and populations will track their optimal climate northward as the earth warms, but this assumption ignores a host of other potentially important factors, including the lack of adaptation to photoperiod, soil moisture, and biotic interactions at higher latitudes. In this study, we aim to better understand the ability of southern populations to establish and grow at northern latitudes under warmer temperatures. We collected seeds or ramets of three Arctic plant species (Papaver radicatum, Oxyria digyna, and Arctagrostis latifolia) from Alexandra Fiord on Ellesmere Island, Canada and from southern populations at Cornwallis Island, Canada, Barrow, Alaska, and Latnjajaure, Sweden. These seeds were planted into experimentally warmed and control plots at Alexandra Fiord in 2011. We have tracked their survival, phenology, and growth over two growing seasons. Here, we will present the preliminary results of these experiments. In particular, we will discuss whether individuals originating from southern latitudes exhibit higher growth rates in warm plots than control plots, and whether southern populations survive and grow as well as or better than individuals from Alexandra Fiord in the warmed plots. In both cases, a positive response would indicate that a warming climate may facilitate a migration northward of more southerly species or populations, and that the lack of adaptation to local conditions (soil chemistry, microhabitat, etc.) will not limit this migration. Alternately, a

  15. Phytomass patterns across a temperature gradient of the North American arctic tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Epstein, Howard E.; Walker, Donald A.; Raynolds, Martha K.; Jia, Gensuo J.; Kelley, Alexia M.

    2008-09-01

    Only a few studies to date have collectively examined the vegetation biomass and production of arctic tundra ecosystems and their relationships to broadly ranging climate variables. An additional complicating factor for studying vegetation of arctic tundra is the high spatial variability associated with small patterned-ground features, resulting from intense freeze-thaw processes. In this study, we sampled and analyzed the aboveground plant biomass components of patterned-ground ecosystems in the Arctic of northern Alaska and Canada along an 1800-km north-south gradient that spans approximately 11°C of mean July temperatures. Vegetation biomass was analyzed as functions of the summer warmth index (SWI-sum of mean monthly temperatures > 0°C). The total absolute biomass (g m-2) and biomass of shrubs increased monotonically with SWI, however, biomass of nonvascular species (mosses and lichens), were a parabolic function of SWI, with greatest values at the ends of the gradient. The components of plant biomass on patterned-ground features (i.e., on nonsorted circles or within small polygons) were constrained to a greater degree with colder climate than undisturbed tundra, likely due to the effect of frost heave disturbances on the vegetation. There were also clear differences in the relative abundances of vascular versus nonvascular plants on and off patterned-ground features along the SWI gradient. The spatial patterns of biomass differ among plant functional groups and suggest that plant community responses to temperature, and land-surface processes that produce patterned-ground features, are quite complex.

  16. Long-Term Release of Carbon Dioxide from Arctic Tundra Ecosystems in Northern Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Euskirchen, E. S.; Bret-Harte, M. S.; Edgar, C.; Shaver, G. R.

    2014-12-01

    Recent data syntheses and modeling studies of arctic tundra carbon dioxide (CO2) balance have suggested that the tundra is a CO2 sink, a source or neutral. Much of this uncertainty arises from a lack of data pertaining to winter CO2 flux, as well as how these ecosystems have responded to recent warming trends. Due to a harsh, remote environment, long-term, continuous measurements of arctic tundra CO2 fluxes over the full annual cycle have been non-existent. In September 2007, we began eddy covariance measurements of net ecosystem exchange (NEE, where a negative value denotes a sink) of CO2 in northern Alaska at two ecosystems, heath and wet sedge tundra. These measurements continue to the present, and represent the longest continuous record of arctic tundra NEE currently available. From January 2008 - December 2013, the ecosystems were annual sources of CO2, with the wet sedge tundra acting as a greater source (mean ± standard deviation of 50 ± 30 g C m-2 y-1) than the heath tundra (16 ± 6 g C m-2 y-1). During these same years, the ecosystems were sinks of CO2 in the summer (June - August), with less variability between the ecosystems, -77 ± 15 g C m-2 in the wet sedge tundra, and -70 ± 12 g C m-2 in the heath. Environmental controls over NEE differed between ecosystems and seasons, with the wet sedge tundra acting particularly responsive in terms of CO2 release during periods with warm air temperatures from fall to early winter. During cold winter periods, CO2 release from the snowpack in both ecosystems was related to increases in wind speed and drops in atmospheric pressure. Overall, the measured differences in the annual versus summer NEE illustrate how the sink strength of the tundra can be overestimated if data are only collected during the growing season. Furthermore, eddy covariance measurements of methane (CH4) in the wet sedge tundra during late spring to early fall from 2012 to present show that this ecosystem releases 0.34 ± 11 mg CH4 m-2 d-1

  17. Can antibrowsing defense regulate the spread of woody vegetation in arctic tundra?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bryant, John P.; Joly, Kyle; Chapin, F. Stuart, III; DeAngelis, Donald L.; Kielland, Knut

    2014-01-01

    Global climate warming is projected to promote the increase of woody plants, especially shrubs, in arctic tundra. Many factors may affect the extent of this increase, including browsing by mammals. We hypothesize that across the Arctic the effect of browsing will vary because of regional variation in antibrowsing chemical defense. Using birch (Betula) as a case study, we propose that browsing is unlikely to retard birch expansion in the region extending eastward from the Lena River in central Siberia across Beringia and the continental tundra of central and eastern Canada where the more effectively defended resin birches predominate. Browsing is more likely to retard birch expansion in tundra west of the Lena to Fennoscandia, Iceland, Greenland and South Baffin Island where the less effectively defended non-resin birches predominate. Evidence from the literature supports this hypothesis. We further suggest that the effect of warming on the supply of plant-available nitrogen will not significantly change either this pan-Arctic pattern of variation in antibrowsing defense or the resultant effect that browsing has on birch expansion in tundra. However, within central and east Beringia warming-caused increases in plant-available nitrogen combined with wildfire could initiate amplifying feedback loops that could accelerate shrubification of tundra by the more effectively defended resin birches. This accelerated shrubification of tundra by resin birch, if extensive, could reduce the food supply of caribou causing population declines. We conclude with a brief discussion of modeling methods that show promise in projecting invasion of tundra by woody plants.

  18. Estimating carbon and energy fluxes in arctic tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gokkaya, K.; Jiang, Y.; Rastetter, E.; Shaver, G. R.; Rocha, A. V.

    2013-12-01

    Arctic ecosystems are undergoing a very rapid change due to climate change and their response to climate change has important implications for the global energy budget and carbon (C) cycling. Therefore, it is important to understand how (C) and energy fluxes in the Arctic will respond to climate change. However, attribution of these responses to climate is challenging because measured fluxes are the sum of multiple processes that respond differently to environmental factors. For example, net ecosystem exchange of CO2 (NEE) is the net result of gross (C) uptake by plant photosynthesis (GPP) and (C) loss by ecosystem respiration (ER) and similarly, evapotranspiration (i.e. latent energy, LE) is the sum of transpiration and evaporation. Partitioning of NEE into GPP and ER requires nighttime measurements of NEE, when photosynthesis does not take place, to be extrapolated to daytime. This is challenging in the Arctic because of the long photoperiod during the growing season and the errors involved during the extrapolation. Transpiration (energy), photosynthesis (carbon), and vegetation phenology are inherently coupled because leaf stomata are the primary regulators of gas exchange. Our objectives in this study are to i) estimate canopy resistance (Rc) based on a light use efficiency model, ii) utilize the estimated Rc to predict GPP and transpiration using a coupled C and energy model and thus improve the partitioning of NEE and LE, and iii) to test ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) to estimate model parameters and improve model predictions. Results from one growing season showed that the model predictions can explain 75 and 71% of the variance in GPP and LE in the Arctic tundra ecosystem, respectively. When the model was embedded within the EnKF for estimating Rc, the amount of variance explained for GPP increased to 81% but there was no improvement for the prediction of LE. This suggests that the factors controlling LE are not fully integrated in the model such as the

  19. Spatial Heterogeneity in Arctic Tundra Snow: Processes, Patterns, and Problems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sturm, M.; Liston, G. E.; Wagner, A. M.; Hiemstra, C. A.

    2014-12-01

    Tundra snow (exclusive of drifts) tends to be a thin veneer (<1 m) modified by extensive aeolian features like dunes and barchans. These features are on the order of 0.2 to 1.0 m high, and the substrate beneath the veneer snow (often various types of tundra) can have similar local relief. Consequently, veneer snow depths exhibit a high degree of spatial heterogeneity. Lateral variations of depth as high as 50% or more can be observed over a few meters. Even greater depth variations occur where the topography creates traps that hold drifts as thick as 5 m. We have been measuring and modeling the tundra snow in a nested series of basins ranging from 1 to 200 km in northern Alaska for 30 years. These efforts show that while modeling can produce reasonably accurate simulations of the deeper drifts, in many cases it does not do a good job in capturing the more subtle aspects of the snow distribution, being hampered by limited precipitation and wind data. More accurate and detailed patterns of snow distribution can be revealed through direct measurement or through melt period sequential imagery. These can improve the accuracy of weather-driven model depth distributions, but producing pattern maps remains labor- and time-intensive. Both approaches tend to do poorly at scales of 100-m or less where surface features like sastrugi and dunes alter the snow depth. These small-scale variations in depth and snow water equivalent might not seem important, but comparison of point values of snow depth from observing stations with spatial maps of the snow surrounding the stations suggests that significant differences can exist. A more comprehensive understanding of drifting and drift features is needed in order to improve our ability to model and understand this dynamic and fascinating class of snow.

  20. Summertime surface O3 behavior and deposition to tundra in the Alaskan Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Van Dam, Brie; Helmig, Detlev; Doskey, Paul V.; Oltmans, Samuel J.

    2016-07-01

    Atmospheric turbulence quantities, boundary layer ozone (O3) levels, and O3 deposition to the tundra surface were investigated at Toolik Lake, AK, during the 2011 summer season. Beginning immediately after snowmelt, a diurnal cycle of O3 in the atmospheric surface layer developed with daytime O3 maxima, and minima during low-light hours, resulting in a mean amplitude of 13 ppbv. This diurnal O3 cycle is far larger than observed at other high Arctic locations during the snow-free season. During the snow-free months of June, July, and August, O3 deposition velocities were ˜3 to 5 times faster than during May, when snow covered the ground most of the month. The overall mean O3 deposition velocity between June and August was 0.10 cm s-1. The month of June had the highest diurnal variation, with a median O3 deposition velocity of 0.2 cm s-1 during the daytime and 0.08 cm s-1 during low-light conditions. These values are slightly lower than previously reported summertime deposition velocities in northern latitudes over tundra or fen. O3 loss during low-light periods was attributed to a combination of surface deposition to the tundra and stable boundary layer conditions. We also hypothesize that emissions of reactive biogenic volatile organic compounds into the shallow boundary layer may contribute to nighttime O3 loss.

  1. Simulating the effects of soil organic nitrogen and grazing on arctic tundra vegetation dynamics on the Yamal Peninsula, Russia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yu, Qin; Epstein, Howard; Walker, Donald

    2009-10-01

    Sustainability of tundra vegetation under changing climate on the Yamal Peninsula, northwestern Siberia, home to the world's largest area of reindeer husbandry, is of crucial importance to the local native community. An integrated investigation is needed for better understanding of the effects of soils, climate change and grazing on tundra vegetation in the Yamal region. In this study we applied a nutrient-based plant community model—ArcVeg—to evaluate how two factors (soil organic nitrogen (SON) levels and grazing) interact to affect tundra responses to climate warming across a latitudinal climatic gradient on the Yamal Peninsula. Model simulations were driven by field-collected soil data and expected grazing patterns along the Yamal Arctic Transect (YAT), within bioclimate subzones C (high arctic), D (northern low arctic) and E (southern low arctic). Plant biomass and NPP (net primary productivity) were significantly increased with warmer bioclimate subzones, greater soil nutrient levels and temporal climate warming, while they declined with higher grazing frequency. Temporal climate warming of 2 °C caused an increase of 665 g m-2 in total biomass at the high SON site in subzone E, but only 298 g m-2 at the low SON site. When grazing frequency was also increased, total biomass increased by only 369 g m-2 at the high SON site in contrast to 184 g m-2 at the low SON site in subzone E. Our results suggest that high SON can support greater plant biomass and plant responses to climate warming, while low SON and grazing may limit plant response to climate change. In addition to the first order factors (SON, bioclimate subzones, grazing and temporal climate warming), interactions among these significantly affect plant biomass and productivity in the arctic tundra and should not be ignored in regional scale studies.

  2. Phenological dynamics of arctic tundra vegetation and its implications on satellite imagery interpretation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Juutinen, Sari; Aurela, Mika; Mikola, Juha; Räsänen, Aleksi; Virtanen, Tarmo

    2016-04-01

    Remote sensing is a key methodology when monitoring the responses of arctic ecosystems to climatic warming. The short growing season and rapid vegetation development, however, set demands to the timing of image acquisition in the arctic. We used multispectral very high spatial resolution satellite images to study the effect of vegetation phenology on the spectral reflectance and image interpretation in the low arctic tundra in coastal Siberia (Tiksi, 71°35'39"N, 128°53'17"E). The study site mainly consists of peatlands, tussock, dwarf shrub, and grass tundra, and stony areas with some lichen and shrub patches. We tested the hypotheses that (1) plant phenology is responsive to the interannual weather variation and (2) the phenological state of vegetation has an impact on satellite image interpretation and the ability to distinguish between the plant communities. We used an empirical transfer function with temperature sums as drivers to reconstruct daily leaf area index (LAI) for the different plant communities for years 2005, and 2010-2014 based on measured LAI development in summer 2014. Satellite images, taken during growing seasons, were acquired for two years having late and early spring, and short and long growing season, respectively. LAI dynamics showed considerable interannual variation due to weather variation, and particularly the relative contribution of graminoid dominated communities was sensitive to these phenology shifts. We have also analyzed the differences in the reflectance values between the two satellite images taking account the LAI dynamics. These results will increase our understanding of the pitfalls that may arise from the timing of image acquisition when interpreting the vegetation structure in a heterogeneous tundra landscape. Very high spatial resolution multispectral images are available at reasonable cost, but not in high temporal resolution, which may lead to compromises when matching ground truth and the imagery. On the other hand

  3. Mycorrhizal colonization mediated by species interactions in arctic tundra.

    PubMed

    Urcelay, Carlos; Bret-Harte, M Syndonia; Díaz, Sandra; Chapin, F Stuart

    2003-11-01

    The Alaskan tussock tundra is a strongly nutrient-limited ecosystem, where almost all vascular plant species are mycorrhizal. We established a long-term removal experiment to document effects of arctic plant species on ecto- and ericoid mycorrhizal fungi and to investigate whether species interactions and/or nutrient availability affect mycorrhizal colonization. The treatments applied were removal of Betula nana ( Betulaceae, dominant deciduous shrub species), removal of Ledum palustre ( Ericaceae, dominant evergreen shrub species), control (no removal), and each of these three treatments with the addition of fertilizer. After 3 years of Ledum removal and fertilization, we found that overall ectomycorrhizal colonization in Betula was significantly reduced. Changes in ectomycorrhizal morphotype composition in removal and fertilized treatments were also observed. These results suggest that the effect of Ledum on Betula's mycorrhizal roots is due to sequestration of nutrients by Ledum, leading to reduced nutrient availability in the soil. In contrast, ericoid mycorrhizal colonization was not affected by fertilization, but the removal of Betula and to a lower degree of Ledum resulted in a reduction of ericoid mycorrhizal colonization suggesting a direct effect of these species on ericoid mycorrhizal colonization. Nutrient availability was only higher in fertilized treatments, but caution should be taken with the interpretation of these data as soil microbes may effectively compete with the ion exchange resins for the nutrients released by plant removal in these nutrient-limited soils. PMID:12905060

  4. Changing snow cover in tundra ecosystems tips the Arctic carbon balance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zona, D.; Hufkens, K.; Gioli, B.; Kalhori, A. A. M.; Oechel, W. C.

    2014-12-01

    The Arctic environment has witnessed important changes due to global warming, resulting in increased surface air temperatures and rain events which both exacerbate snow cover deterioration (Semmens et al, 2013; Rennert et al, 2009; White et al, 2007; Min et al, 2008; Sharp et al, 2013; Schaeffer et al, 2013). Snow cover duration is declining by almost 20% per decade, a far higher rate than model estimates (Derksen and Brown, 2012). Concomitant with increasing temperatures and decreasing snow cover duration, the length of the arctic growing season is reported to have increased by 1.1 - 4.9 days per decade since 1951 (Menzel et al, 2006), and, plant productivity and CO2 uptake from arctic vegetation are strongly influenced by changes in growing season length (Myneni et al., 1997; Schaefer et al., 2005; Euskirchen et al., 2006). Based on more than a decade of eddy flux measurements in Arctic tundra ecosystems across the North slope of Alaska, and remotely sensed snow cover data, we show that earlier snow melt in the spring increase C uptake while an extended snow free period in autumn is associated with a higher C loss. Here we present the impacts of changes in snow cover dynamics between spring and autumn in arctic tundra ecosystems on the carbon dynamics and net C balance of the Alaskan Arctic. ReferencesDerksen, C., Brown R. (2012) Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2012GL053387 Euskirchen, E.S., et al. (2006) Glob. Change Biol., 12, 731-750. Menzel, A., et al. 2006. Glob. Change Biol., 12, 1969-1976. Min SK, Zhang X, Zweirs F (2008) Science 320: 518-520. Rennert K J, Roe G, Putkonen J and Bitz C M (2009) J. Clim. 22 2302-15. Schaefer, K., Denning A.S., Leonard O. (2005) Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 19, GB3017. Schaeffer, S. M., Sharp, E., Schimel, J. P. & Welker, J. M. (2013). Soil- plant N processes in a High Arctic ecosystem, NW Greenland are altered by long-term experimental warming and higher rainfall. Glob. Change Biol., 11, 3529-39. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12318

  5. Frequent fires in ancient shrub tundra: implications of paleorecords for arctic environmental change.

    PubMed

    Higuera, Philip E; Brubaker, Linda B; Anderson, Patricia M; Brown, Thomas A; Kennedy, Alison T; Hu, Feng Sheng

    2008-01-01

    Understanding feedbacks between terrestrial and atmospheric systems is vital for predicting the consequences of global change, particularly in the rapidly changing Arctic. Fire is a key process in this context, but the consequences of altered fire regimes in tundra ecosystems are rarely considered, largely because tundra fires occur infrequently on the modern landscape. We present paleoecological data that indicate frequent tundra fires in northcentral Alaska between 14,000 and 10,000 years ago. Charcoal and pollen from lake sediments reveal that ancient birch-dominated shrub tundra burned as often as modern boreal forests in the region, every 144 years on average (+/- 90 s.d.; n = 44). Although paleoclimate interpretations and data from modern tundra fires suggest that increased burning was aided by low effective moisture, vegetation cover clearly played a critical role in facilitating the paleofires by creating an abundance of fine fuels. These records suggest that greater fire activity will likely accompany temperature-related increases in shrub-dominated tundra predicted for the 21(st) century and beyond. Increased tundra burning will have broad impacts on physical and biological systems as well as on land-atmosphere interactions in the Arctic, including the potential to release stored organic carbon to the atmosphere. PMID:18320025

  6. Effects of experimentally-warmed tundra on diurnal gas exchange in Salix-, Carex, and Eriophorum in a high-arctic lowland oasis

    SciTech Connect

    Jones, M.H.; MacDonald, S.E. ); Henry, G.H.R. )

    1994-06-01

    Gas exchange was measured for the willow Salix arctica and two sede species. Carex qauatilus stans and Eriophorum angustifolium triste, at Alexandra Fiord, Ellesmere Island (78[degrees]52'N) in an experiment designed to stimulate climate change. The tundra was warmed using passive, open-topped experimental chambers that raised daily mean temperatures approx. 2[degrees] over two seasons. The chambers are part of the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX), the objective of which is to assess potential impacts of global warming on tundra plant communities. Salix arctica was measured in dry tundra and on adjacent wet meadow hummocks. The sedges were measured on hummocks and in hollows in the wet meadow only. Gas exchange was measured every four hours for 48 hours for each species. For S arctica, experimental warming had no effect in the dry tundra, but appeared to depress net assimilation (NA) in the wet meadow. Gas exchange parameters were slightly higher overall in the dry tundra for this species. For the sedges, the warming treatment had no major effect, although it caused some reduction of NA for Eriophorum on the hummocks. Gas exchange parameters were generally higher for Carex than for Eriophorum. No regular diurnal patterns of gas exchange were observed for any species.

  7. Succession Stages of Tundra Plant Communities Following Wildfire Disturbance in Arctic Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Breen, A. L.; Hollingsworth, T. N.; Mack, M. C.; Jones, B. M.

    2015-12-01

    Rapid climate change is affecting climate-sensitive disturbance regimes throughout the world. In particular, the impacts of climate change on Arctic disturbance regimes are poorly understood because landscape-scale disturbances are infrequent or occur in remote localities. Wildfire in Arctic Alaska is presently limited by ignition source and favorable burn weather. With rapid climate change, a lengthening growing season, and subsequent increase in plant biomass and productivity, wildfire frequency and annual area burned in tundra ecosystems is expected to increase over the next century. Yet, post-fire tundra vegetation succession is inadequately characterized except at a few point locations. We identify succession stages of tussock tundra communities following wildfire using a chronosequence of 65 relevés in 10 tundra fire scars (1971-2011) and nearby unburned tundra from sites on the Seward Peninsula and northern foothills of the Brooks Range. We used the Braun-Blanquét approach to classify plant communities, and applied nonmetric multidimentional scaling (NMDS) to identify ecological gradients underlying community differentiation. The ordination revealed a clear differentiation between unburned and burned tundra communities. Ecological gradients, reflected by ordination axes, correspond to fire history (e.g., time since last fire, number of times burned, burn severity) and a complex productivity gradient. Post-fire species richness is less than unburned tundra; primarily reflected as a decrease in lichen species and turnover of bryophyte species immediately post-fire. Species richness of grasses increases post-fire and is greatest in communities that burned more than once in the past 30 years. Shrub cover and total aboveground biomass are greatest in repeat burn sites. We review and discuss our results focusing on the implications of a changing tundra fire regime, its effect on vegetation succession trajectories, and subsequent rates of carbon sequestration and

  8. Regional-Scale Vegetation Dynamics in Patterned-Ground Ecosystems of Arctic Tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Epstein, H. E.; Kelley, A. M.; Walker, D. A.; Jia, G. J.; Raynolds, M. K.

    2006-12-01

    Regional-scale patterns of vegetation have been analyzed along a number of climate gradients throughout the world; these spatial dynamics provide important insights into the controlling factors of vegetation and the potential plant responses to environmental change. Only a few studies to date have collectively examined the vegetation biomass and production of arctic tundra ecosystems and their relationships to broadly ranging climate variables. No prior study has taken a systematic and consistent approach to examining vegetation biomass patterns along the full temperature gradient of the arctic biome. An additional complicating factor for studying vegetation of arctic tundra is the high spatial variability associated with small patterned-ground features (e.g. non-sorted circles and small non-sorted polygons), resulting from intense freeze-thaw processes. In this study, we sampled and analyzed the aboveground plant biomass components of patterned-ground ecosystems in the Arctic of northern Alaska and Canada along an 1800-km north-south gradient that spans approximately 11 degrees C of mean July temperatures. At each of ten locations along the regional temperature gradient, we ran several 50-m transects and harvested the aboveground biomass of three 20 x 50 cm plots for each transect. Vegetation biomass was dried, sorted by plant functional groups and tissue types, weighed, and analyzed as functions of the summer warmth index (SWI sum of mean monthly temperatures > 0). The absolute biomass (g/m2) of shrubs and graminoids increased exponentially with SWI, whereas forb and lichen biomass showed no change along the gradient. Moss biomass increased linearly with SWI, but with greater variabiliy than the other types. Relative aboveground biomass (% of total) of shrubs and graminoids increased with SWI, whereas percent lichen biomass decreased, and forbs again exhibited no significant change. Percentage of moss biomass was a parabolic function of SWI, with high relative

  9. Assessing the spatial variability in peak season CO2 exchange characteristics across the Arctic tundra using a~light response curve parameterization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mbufong, H. N.; Lund, M.; Aurela, M.; Christensen, T. R.; Eugster, W.; Friborg, T.; Hansen, B. U.; Humphreys, E. R.; Jackowicz-Korczynski, M.; Kutzbach, L.; Lafleur, P. M.; Oechel, W. C.; Parmentier, F. J. W.; Rasse, D. P.; Rocha, A. V.; Sachs, T.; van der Molen, M. M.; Tamstorf, M. P.

    2014-05-01

    This paper aims to assess the functional and spatial variability in the response of CO2 exchange to irradiance across the Arctic tundra during peak season using light response curve (LRC) parameters. This investigation allows us to better understand the future response of Arctic tundra under climatic change. Data was collected using the micrometeorological eddy covariance technique from 12 circumpolar Arctic tundra sites, in the range of 64-74° N. The LRCs were generated for 14 days with peak net ecosystem exchange (NEE) using an NEE -irradiance model. Parameters from LRCs represent site specific traits and characteristics describing: (a) NEE at light saturation (Fcsat), (b) dark respiration (Rd), (c) light use efficiency (α), (d) NEE when light is at 1000 μmol m-2 s-1 (Fc1000), (e) potential photosynthesis at light saturation (Psat) and (f) the light compensation point (LCP). Parameterization of LRCs was successful in predicting CO2 flux dynamics across the Arctic tundra. Yet we did not find any trends in LRC parameters across the whole Arctic tundra but there were indications for temperature and latitudinal differences within sub-regions like Russia and Greenland. Together, LAI and July temperature had a high explanatory power of the variance in assimilation parameters (Fcsat, Fc1000 and Psat), thus illustrating the potential for upscaling CO2 exchange for the whole Arctic tundra. Dark respiration was more variable and less correlated to environmental drivers than was assimilation parameters. Thus, indicating the inherent need to include other parameters such as nutrient availability, substrate quantity and quality in flux monitoring activities.

  10. Assessing the spatial variability in peak season CO2 exchange characteristics across the Arctic tundra using a light response curve parameterization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mbufong, H. N.; Lund, M.; Aurela, M.; Christensen, T. R.; Eugster, W.; Friborg, T.; Hansen, B. U.; Humphreys, E. R.; Jackowicz-Korczynski, M.; Kutzbach, L.; Lafleur, P. M.; Oechel, W. C.; Parmentier, F. J. W.; Rasse, D. P.; Rocha, A. V.; Sachs, T.; van der Molen, M. K.; Tamstorf, M. P.

    2014-09-01

    This paper aims to assess the spatial variability in the response of CO2 exchange to irradiance across the Arctic tundra during peak season using light response curve (LRC) parameters. This investigation allows us to better understand the future response of Arctic tundra under climatic change. Peak season data were collected during different years (between 1998 and 2010) using the micrometeorological eddy covariance technique from 12 circumpolar Arctic tundra sites, in the range of 64-74° N. The LRCs were generated for 14 days with peak net ecosystem exchange (NEE) using an NEE-irradiance model. Parameters from LRCs represent site-specific traits and characteristics describing the following: (a) NEE at light saturation (Fcsat), (b) dark respiration (Rd), (c) light use efficiency (α), (d) NEE when light is at 1000 μmol m-2 s-1 (Fc1000), (e) potential photosynthesis at light saturation (Psat) and (f) the light compensation point (LCP). Parameterization of LRCs was successful in predicting CO2 flux dynamics across the Arctic tundra. We did not find any trends in LRC parameters across the whole Arctic tundra but there were indications for temperature and latitudinal differences within sub-regions like Russia and Greenland. Together, leaf area index (LAI) and July temperature had a high explanatory power of the variance in assimilation parameters (Fcsat, Fc1000 and Psat, thus illustrating the potential for upscaling CO2 exchange for the whole Arctic tundra. Dark respiration was more variable and less correlated to environmental drivers than were assimilation parameters. This indicates the inherent need to include other parameters such as nutrient availability, substrate quantity and quality in flux monitoring activities.

  11. Winter precipitation and snow accumulation drive the methane sink or source strength of Arctic tussock tundra.

    PubMed

    Blanc-Betes, Elena; Welker, Jeffrey M; Sturchio, Neil C; Chanton, Jeffrey P; Gonzalez-Meler, Miquel A

    2016-08-01

    Arctic winter precipitation is projected to increase with global warming, but some areas will experience decreases in snow accumulation. Although Arctic CH4 emissions may represent a significant climate forcing feedback, long-term impacts of changes in snow accumulation on CH4 fluxes remain uncertain. We measured ecosystem CH4 fluxes and soil CH4 and CO2 concentrations and (13) C composition to investigate the metabolic pathways and transport mechanisms driving moist acidic tundra CH4 flux over the growing season (Jun-Aug) after 18 years of experimental snow depth increases and decreases. Deeper snow increased soil wetness and warming, reducing soil %O2 levels and increasing thaw depth. Soil moisture, through changes in soil %O2 saturation, determined predominance of methanotrophy or methanogenesis, with soil temperature regulating the ecosystem CH4 sink or source strength. Reduced snow (RS) increased the fraction of oxidized CH4 (Fox) by 75-120% compared to Ambient, switching the system from a small source to a net CH4 sink (21 ± 2 and -31 ± 1 mg CH4  m(-2)  season(-1) at Ambient and RS). Deeper snow reduced Fox by 35-40% and 90-100% in medium- (MS) and high- (HS) snow additions relative to Ambient, contributing to increasing the CH4 source strength of moist acidic tundra (464 ± 15 and 3561 ± 97 mg CH4  m(-2)  season(-1) at MS and HS). Decreases in Fox with deeper snow were partly due to increases in plant-mediated CH4 transport associated with the expansion of tall graminoids. Deeper snow enhanced CH4 production within newly thawed soils, responding mainly to soil warming rather than to increases in acetate fermentation expected from thaw-induced increases in SOC availability. Our results suggest that increased winter precipitation will increase the CH4 source strength of Arctic tundra, but the resulting positive feedback on climate change will depend on the balance between areas with more or less snow accumulation than they are currently

  12. Isotopic insights into methane production, oxidation, and emissions in Arctic polygon tundra.

    PubMed

    Vaughn, Lydia J S; Conrad, Mark E; Bill, Markus; Torn, Margaret S

    2016-10-01

    Arctic wetlands are currently net sources of atmospheric CH4 . Due to their complex biogeochemical controls and high spatial and temporal variability, current net CH4 emissions and gross CH4 processes have been difficult to quantify, and their predicted responses to climate change remain uncertain. We investigated CH4 production, oxidation, and surface emissions in Arctic polygon tundra, across a wet-to-dry permafrost degradation gradient from low-centered (intact) to flat- and high-centered (degraded) polygons. From 3 microtopographic positions (polygon centers, rims, and troughs) along the permafrost degradation gradient, we measured surface CH4 and CO2 fluxes, concentrations and stable isotope compositions of CH4 and DIC at three depths in the soil, and soil moisture and temperature. More degraded sites had lower CH4 emissions, a different primary methanogenic pathway, and greater CH4 oxidation than did intact permafrost sites, to a greater degree than soil moisture or temperature could explain. Surface CH4 flux decreased from 64 nmol m(-2)  s(-1) in intact polygons to 7 nmol m(-2)  s(-1) in degraded polygons, and stable isotope signatures of CH4 and DIC showed that acetate cleavage dominated CH4 production in low-centered polygons, while CO2 reduction was the primary pathway in degraded polygons. We see evidence that differences in water flow and vegetation between intact and degraded polygons contributed to these observations. In contrast to many previous studies, these findings document a mechanism whereby permafrost degradation can lead to local decreases in tundra CH4 emissions. PMID:26990225

  13. Initial Conceptualization and Simulation of Arctic Tundra Landscape Evolution Using the Alaska Thermokarst Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bolton, W. R.; Romanovsky, V. E.; McGuire, A. D.; Grosse, G.; Lara, M. J.

    2014-12-01

    Thermokarst topography forms whenever ice-rich permafrost thaws and the ground subsides due to the volume loss when excess ground ice transitions to water. The Alaska Thermokarst Model (ATM) is a large-scale, state-and-transition model designed to simulate transitions between [non-]thermokarst landscape units, or cohorts. The ATM uses a frame-based methodology to track transitions and proportion of cohorts within a 1-km2 grid cell. In the arctic tundra environment, the ATM tracks thermokarst-related transitions between wetland tundra, graminoid tundra, shrub tundra, and thermokarst lakes. The transition from one cohort to another due to thermokarst processes can take place if thaw reaches ice-rich ground layers either due to pulse disturbance events such as a large precipitation event or fires or due to gradual active layer deepening that eventually results in penetration of the protective layer. The protective layer buffers the ice-rich soils from the land surface and is critical to determine how susceptible an area is to thermokarst degradation. The rate of terrain transition in our model is determined by the ice-content of the soil, the drainage efficiency (or ability of the landscape to store or transport water), and a cumulative probability of thermokarst initiation. Tundra types are allowed to transition from one type to another (ie wetland tundra to a graminoid tundra) under favorable climatic conditions. In this study, we present our conceptualization and initial simulation results from the ATM model for an 1792 km2 area on the Barrow Peninsula, Alaska. The area selected for simulation is located in a polygonal tundra landscape under varying degrees of thermokarst degradation. The goal of this modeling study is to simulate landscape evolution in response to thermokarst disturbance as a result of climate change. The ATM will eventually be incorporated into the Integrated Ecosystem Model (IEM) for Alaska and Northwest Canada for use in management decisions

  14. Simulating the effects of soil organic nitrogen and grazing on arctic tundra vegetation dynamics on the Yamal Peninsula, Russia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yu, Q.; Epstein, H. E.; Walker, D. A.

    2009-12-01

    Sustainability of tundra vegetation under changing climate on the Yamal Peninsula, northwestern Siberia, home to the world’s largest area of reindeer husbandry, is of crucial importance to the local native community. An integrated investigation is needed for better understanding of the effects of soils, climate change and grazing on tundra vegetation in the Yamal region. In this study we applied a nutrient-based plant community model (ArcVeg) to evaluate how two factors (soil organic nitrogen [SON] levels and grazing) interact to affect tundra responses to climate warming across a latitudinal climatic gradient on the Yamal Peninsula. Model simulations were driven by field-collected soil data and expected grazing patterns along the Yamal Arctic Transect (YAT), within bioclimate subzones C (High Arctic), D (northern Low Arctic) and E (southern Low Arctic). Plant biomass and NPP (net primary productivity) were significantly increased with warmer bioclimate subzones, greater soil nutrient levels and temporal climate warming, while they declined with higher grazing frequency. Temporal climate warming of 2 °C caused an increase of 665 g/m2 in total biomass at the high SON site in subzone E, while only 298 g/m2 in the low SON site. When grazing frequency was also increased, total biomass increased by only 369 g/m2 in the high SON site in contrast to 184 g/m2 in the low SON site in subzone E. When comparing low grazing to high grazing effects on soil organic nitrogen pools over time (Figure 1), higher grazing frequency led to either slower SON accumulation rates or more rapid SON depletion rates. Warming accentuated these differences caused by grazing, suggesting the interaction between grazing and warming may yield greater differences in SON levels across sites. Our results suggest that low SON and grazing may limit plant response to climate change. Interactions among bioclimate subzones, soils, grazing and warming significantly affect plant biomass and productivity in

  15. The temperature response of methane emission in Arctic wet sedge tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lim, Edward; Zona, Donatella

    2015-04-01

    Since the last glacial maximum Arctic tundra soils have acted as an important carbon sink, having accumulated carbon under cold, anaerobic conditions (Zona et al. 2009). Several studies indicate that recent climate warming has altered this balance, with the Arctic tundra now posited to be a significant annual source of atmospheric methane (CH4) (McGuire et al. 2012). Nonetheless, the response of Arctic tundra CH4 fluxes to continued climate warming remains uncertain. Laboratory and field studies indicate that CH4 fluxes are temperature sensitive, thus accurate calculation of the temperature sensitivity is vital for the prediction of future CH4 emission. For this, the increase in reaction rate over a 10°C range (Q10) is frequently used, with single fixed Q10 values (between 2 and 4) commonly incorporated into climate-carbon cycle models. However, the temperature sensitivity of CH4 emission can vary considerably depending on factors such as vegetation composition, water table and season. This promotes the use of spatially and seasonally variable Q10 values for accurate CH4 flux estimation under different future climate change scenarios. This study investigates the temperature sensitivity (Q10) of Arctic tundra methane fluxes, using an extensive number of soil cores (48) extracted from wet sedge polygonal tundra (Barrow Experimental Observatory, Alaska). 'Wet' and 'dry' cores were taken from the centre and raised perimeter of ice-wedge polygons, where the water tables are 0cm and -15cm respectively. Cores were incubated in two controlled environment chambers (University of Sheffield, UK) for 12 weeks under different thaw depth treatments (control and control + 6.8cm), water tables (surface and -15cm), and CO2 concentrations (400ppm and 850ppm) in a multifactorial manner. Chamber temperature was gradually increased from -5°C to 20°C, then gradually decreased to -5°C, with each temperature stage lasting one week. Average CH4 fluxes from 'dry' cores were consistently

  16. Estimated storage of amorphous silica in soils of the circum-Arctic tundra region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alfredsson, H.; Clymans, W.; Hugelius, G.; Kuhry, P.; Conley, D. J.

    2016-03-01

    We investigated the vertical distribution, storage, landscape partitioning, and spatial variability of soil amorphous silica (ASi) at four different sites underlain by continuous permafrost and representative of mountainous and lowland tundra, in the circum-Arctic region. Based on a larger set of data, we present the first estimate of the ASi soil reservoir (0-1 m depth) in circum-Arctic tundra terrain. At all sites, the vertical distribution of ASi concentrations followed the pattern of either (1) declining concentrations with depth (most common) or (2) increasing/maximum concentrations with depth. Our results suggest that a set of processes, including biological control, solifluction and other slope processes, cryoturbation, and formation of inorganic precipitates influence vertical distributions of ASi in permafrost terrain, with the capacity to retain stored ASi on millennial timescales. At the four study sites, areal ASi storage (0-1 m) is generally higher in graminoid tundra compared to wetlands. Our circum-Arctic upscaling estimates, based on both vegetation and soil classification separately, suggest a storage amounting to 219 ± 28 and 274 ± 33 Tmol Si, respectively, of which at least 30% is stored in permafrost. This estimate would account for about 3% of the global soil ASi storage while occupying an equal portion of the global land area. This result does not support the hypothesis that the circum-Arctic tundra soil ASi reservoir contains relatively higher amounts of ASi than other biomes globally as demonstrated for carbon. Nevertheless, climate warming has the potential to significantly alter ASi storage and terrestrial Si cycling in the Arctic.

  17. Sea Ice, Hydrocarbon Extraction, Rain-on-Snow and Tundra Reindeer Nomadism in Arctic Russia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forbes, B. C.; Kumpula, T.; Meschtyb, N.; Laptander, R.; Macias-Fauria, M.; Zetterberg, P.; Verdonen, M.

    2015-12-01

    It is assumed that retreating sea ice in the Eurasian Arctic will accelerate hydrocarbon development and associated tanker traffic along Russia's Northern Sea Route. However, oil and gas extraction along the Kara and Barents Sea coasts will likely keep developing rapidly regardless of whether the Northwest Eurasian climate continues to warm. Less certain are the real and potential linkages to regional biota and social-ecological systems. Reindeer nomadism continues to be a vitally important livelihood for indigenous tundra Nenets and their large herds of semi-domestic reindeer. Warming summer air temperatures over the NW Russian Arctic have been linked to increases in tundra productivity, longer growing seasons, and accelerated growth of tall deciduous shrubs. These temperature increases have, in turn, been linked to more frequent and sustained summer high-pressure systems over West Siberia, but not to sea ice retreat. At the same time, winters have been warming and rain-on-snow (ROS) events have become more frequent and intense, leading to record-breaking winter and spring mortality of reindeer. What is driving this increase in ROS frequency and intensity is not clear. Recent modelling and simulation have found statistically significant near-surface atmospheric warming and precipitation increases during autumn and winter over Arctic coastal lands in proximity to regions of sea-ice loss. During the winter of 2013-14 an extensive and lasting ROS event led to the starvation of 61,000 reindeer out of a population of ca. 300,000 animals on Yamal Peninsula, West Siberia. Historically, this is the region's largest recorded mortality episode. More than a year later, participatory fieldwork with nomadic herders during spring-summer 2015 revealed that the ecological and socio-economic impacts from this extreme event will unfold for years to come. There is an urgent need to understand whether and how ongoing Barents and Kara Sea ice retreat may affect the region's ancient

  18. Analysis of state of vehicular scars on Arctic Tundra, Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lathram, E. H.

    1974-01-01

    Identification on ERTS images of severe vehicular scars in the northern Alaska tundra suggests that, if such scars are of an intensity or have spread to a dimension such that they can be resolved by ERTS sensors (20 meters), they can be identified and their state monitored by the use of ERTS images. Field review of the state of vehicular scars in the Umiat area indicates that all are revegetating at varying rates and are approaching a stable state.

  19. Long-term Nutrient Fertilization Increases CO2 Loss in Arctic Tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Graham, L. M.; Natali, S.; Rastetter, E. B.; Shaver, G. R.; Risk, D. A.; Loranty, M. M.; Jastrow, J. D.

    2015-12-01

    As anthropogenic climate change warms the Arctic, organic carbon (C) trapped in permafrost is at an increased risk of being released to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (CO2). At the same time, higher rates of decomposition may increase nutrient availability and enhance plant growth, leading to an uptake of C that may offset respiratory losses. Arctic tundra ecosystems are highly nitrogen (N) limited, and the indirect effects of warming on nutrient availability will be the most likely outcome of increased temperature on plant productivity. This study aims to understand the effects of nutrient addition on arctic CO2 and H2O exchange in a tundra ecosystem at Toolik Lake Field Station, Alaska. The nutrient addition experiment, which began in 2006, is comprised of 7 fertilization treatments: 0.5, 1, 2, 5, and 10 g m-2 of N as NO3- and NH4+ (1:1) with 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2.5, and 5 g m-2 of phosphorus as PO43-; 5 g m-2 of N as NO3-; 5 g m-2 of N as NH4+, and one control plot. Plot-level CO2 and H2O exchange was measured at 5 light levels 7 times over a four-week period in June and July 2015. We measured ecosystem CO2 and H2O exchange using a rectangular plexiglass chamber (0.49 m2) that was connected to an infrared gas analyzer (LI-840). Other ecosystem variables measured include thaw depth, soil moisture and temperature, and normalized difference vegetation index. After 10 years of nutrient addition, fertilization significantly altered ecosystem C cycling. Soil respiration was greatest in the highest fertilization treatment (2.97 μmol m-2 s-1), increasing linearly with nutrient level at a rate of 0.133 μmol m-2 s-1 per g m-2 of N added (R2=0.914). Net CO2 uptake was greatest under highest fertilization (-2.06 μmol m-2 s-1), decreasing linearly with nutrient addition at a rate of -0.068 μmol m-2 s-1 per g m-2 of N added (R2=0.687). These results suggest that as nutrients become more available under a warmer climate, plant productivity increases may not offset respiratory

  20. Disappearing Arctic Tundra Ponds: Assessing 60 Years of Change in the Barrow Peninsula, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andresen, C.; Lougheed, V.

    2012-12-01

    Decadal hydrological changes of closed-basin tundra ponds in continuous permafrost fills a missing gap in arctic fresh water research. Furthermore, the lack of historic datasets and high resolution historical imagery adds to the challenge of understanding the long-term trends of these ecosystems. Given the dominance of these aquatic ecosystems in the Arctic landscape, documenting hydrological changes is important to understand carbon and energy balance, trophic energy flow, and biodiversity. We utilized historic aerial imagery from USGS archives of 1948 and modern high-resolution Quickbird imagery from 2008 to assess areal changes in arctic ponds over the past 60 years. Object-oriented classification was used to extract the areal extent of ponds and validated using a combination of ground-based measurements such as Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) and Differential Geographic Positioning System (DGPS). A total of 1120 ponds in different drained thaw lake basins (DTLB) distributed across the Barrow Peninsula were assessed. Analysis indicated a decline in total pond area and a decrease of 36% in the number of ponds, with change more pronounced in smaller ponds (<100m2). Aquatic plant cover data collected over a 40 year period (1970-2012) indicate that expansion of vegetation into the ponds may be a primary mechanism whereby ponds may experience infilling. Other mechanisms may include increased evaporation due to warmer and longer summers, transpiration from encroaching aquatic grasses and changes in precipitation patterns. However, images from additional years will be analyzed to separate out the roles of these variables on inter- versus intra-annual variability in pond surface area.

  1. Modelling carbon responses of tundra ecosystems to historical and projected climate: Sensitivity of pan-Arctic carbon storage to temporal and spatial variation in climate

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McGuire, A.D.; Clein, J.S.; Melillo, J.M.; Kicklighter, D.W.; Meier, R.A.; Vorosmarty, C.J.; Serreze, M.C.

    2000-01-01

    Historical and projected climate trends for high latitudes show substantial temporal and spatial variability. To identify uncertainties in simulating carbon (C) dynamics for pan-Arctic tundra, we compare the historical and projected responses of tundra C storage from 1921 to 2100 between simulations by the Terrestrial Ecosystem Model (TEM) for the pan-Arctic and the Kuparuk River Basin, which was the focus of an integrated study of C dynamics from 1994 to 1996. In the historical period from 1921 to 1994, the responses of net primary production (NPP) and heterotrophic respiration (RH) simulated for the Kuparuk River Basin and the pan-Arctic are correlated with the same factors; NPP is positively correlated with net nitrogen mineralization (NMIN) and RH is negatively correlated with mean annual soil moisture. In comparison to the historical period, the spatially aggregated responses of NPP and RH for the Kuparuk River Basin and the pan-Arctic in our simulations for the projected period have different sensitivities to temperature, soil moisture and NMIN. In addition to being sensitive to soil moisture during the projected period, RH is also sensitive to temperature and there is a significant correlation between RH and NMIN. We interpret the increases in NPP during the projected period as being driven primarily by increases in NMIN, and that the correlation between NPP and temperature in the projected period is a result primarily of the causal linkage between temperature, RH, and NMIN. Although similar factors appear to be controlling simulated regional-and biome-scale C dynamics, simulated C dynamics at the two scales differ in magnitude with higher increases in C storage simulated for the Kuparuk River Basin than for the pan-Arctic at the end of the historical period and throughout the projected period. Also, the results of the simulations indicate that responses of C storage show different climate sensitivities at regional and pan-Arctic spatial scales and that

  2. Geochemical drivers of organic matter decomposition in the active layer of Arctic tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Herndon, E.; Roy Chowdhury, T.; Mann, B.; Graham, D. E.; Wullschleger, S. D.; Gu, B.; Liang, L.

    2014-12-01

    Arctic tundra soils store large quantities of organic carbon that are susceptible to decomposition and release to the atmosphere as CO2 and CH4. Decomposition rates are limited by cold temperatures and widespread anoxia; however, ongoing changes in soil temperature, thaw depth, and water saturation are expected to influence rates and pathways of organic matter decomposition. In order to predict greenhouse gas releases from high-latitude ecosystems, it is necessary to identify how geochemical factors (e.g. terminal electron acceptors, carbon substrates) influence CO2 and CH4 production in tundra soils. This study evaluates spatial patterns of aqueous geochemistry in the active layer of low- to high-centered polygons located at the Barrow Environmental Observatory in northern Alaska. Pore waters from saturated soils were low in sulfate and nitrate but contained abundant Fe which may serve a major terminal electron acceptor for anaerobic microbial metabolism. Relatively high concentrations of soluble Fe accumulated in the middle of the active layer near the boundary between the organic and mineral horizon, and we infer that Fe-oxide reduction and dissolution in the mineral horizon produced soluble Fe that diffused upwards and was stabilized by complexation with dissolved organic matter. Fe concentrations in the bulk soil were higher in organic than mineral horizons due to the presence of these organic-Fe complexes and Fe-oxide precipitates. Dissolved CH4 increased with increasing proportions of dissolved Fe(III) in saturated soils from transitional and low-centered polygons. The opposite trend was observed in drier soils from flat- and high-centered polygons where deeper oxidation fronts may inhibit methanogenesis. Using multiple spectroscopic and molecular methods (e.g. UV-Vis, Fourier transform infrared, ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry), we also observed that pore waters from the middle of the active layer contained more aromatic organics than in mineral

  3. InSAR detects increase in surface subsidence caused by an Arctic tundra fire

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Lin; Jafarov, Elchin E.; Schaefer, Kevin M.; Jones, Benjamin M.; Zebker, Howard A.; Williams, Christopher A.; Rogan, John; Zhang, Tingjun

    2014-06-01

    Wildfire is a major disturbance in the Arctic tundra and boreal forests, having a significant impact on soil hydrology, carbon cycling, and permafrost dynamics. This study explores the use of the microwave Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) technique to map and quantify ground surface subsidence caused by the Anaktuvuk River fire on the North Slope of Alaska. We detected an increase of up to 8 cm of thaw-season ground subsidence after the fire, which is due to a combination of thickened active layer and permafrost thaw subsidence. Our results illustrate the effectiveness and potential of using InSAR to quantify fire impacts on the Arctic tundra, especially in regions underlain by ice-rich permafrost. Our study also suggests that surface subsidence is a more comprehensive indicator of fire impacts on ice-rich permafrost terrain than changes in active layer thickness alone.

  4. InSAR detects increase in surface subsidence caused by an Arctic tundra fire

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Liu, Lin; Jafarov, Elchin E.; Schaefer, Kevin M.; Jones, Benjamin M.; Zebker, Howard A.; Williams, Christopher A.; Rogan, John; Zhang, Tingjun

    2014-01-01

    Wildfire is a major disturbance in the Arctic tundra and boreal forests, having a significant impact on soil hydrology, carbon cycling, and permafrost dynamics. This study explores the use of the microwave Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) technique to map and quantify ground surface subsidence caused by the Anaktuvuk River fire on the North Slope of Alaska. We detected an increase of up to 8 cm of thaw-season ground subsidence after the fire, which is due to a combination of thickened active layer and permafrost thaw subsidence. Our results illustrate the effectiveness and potential of using InSAR to quantify fire impacts on the Arctic tundra, especially in regions underlain by ice-rich permafrost. Our study also suggests that surface subsidence is a more comprehensive indicator of fire impacts on ice-rich permafrost terrain than changes in active layer thickness alone.

  5. [The processes of methane formation and oxidation in the soils of the Russian arctic tundra].

    PubMed

    Berestovskaia, Iu Iu; Rusanov, I I; Vasil'eva, L V; Pimenov, N V

    2005-01-01

    Methane emission from the following types of tundra soils was studied: coarse humic gleyey loamy cryo soil, peaty gley soil, and peaty gleyey midloamy cryo soil of the arctic tundra. All the soils studied were found to be potential sources of atmospheric methane. The highest values of methane emission were recorded in August at a soil temperature of 8-10 degrees C. Flooded parcels were the sources of atmospheric methane throughout the observation period. The rates of methane production and oxidation in tundra soils of various types at 5 and 15 degrees C were studied by the radioisotope method. Methane oxidation was found to occur in bog water, in the green part of peat moss, and in all the soil horizons studied. Methane formation was recorded in the horizons of peat, in clay with plant roots, and in peaty moss dust of the bogey parcels. At both temperatures, the methane oxidation rate exceeded the rate of methane formation in all the horizons of the mossy-lichen tundra and of the bumpy sinkhole complex. Methanogenesis prevailed only in a sedge-peat moss bog at 15 degrees C. Enrichment bacterial cultures oxidizing methane at 5 and 15 degrees C were obtained. Different types of methanotrophic bacteria were shown to be responsible for methane oxidation under these conditions. A representative of type I methylotrophs oxidized methane at 5 degrees C, and Methylocella tundrae, a psychroactive representative of an acidophilic methanotrophic genus Methylocella, at 15 degrees C. PMID:15938404

  6. Community Land Model (CLM) Assessment on Simulating and Analyzing Water, Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles in Arctic Coastal Tundra at Barrow, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yuan, F.; Thornton, P. E.; King, A. W.; Ricciuto, D. M.; Post, W. M.

    2012-12-01

    Recent climate warming has been widely hypothesized to be one of primary contributors to shifting both biophysical and biological conditions of Arctic tundra ecosystem and thus water, carbon and nitrogen cycles. Both constrains on integrating multiple-scale observations scattered in various sources and comprehensive process-based model assessments on those may hinder our further and/or deepen understanding of climate impacts on Arctic tundra and their feedbacks. This preliminary study is to assess and improve, as needed, the Community Land Model (CLM-CN mode) on simulating soil water, temperature, nitrogen nutrient and other factors and their effects on soil-plant C stocks and/or fluxes in Arctic tundra at Barrow, Alaska. The model assessment is carried out by exploring and using data compiled from various researches, e.g., AmeriFlux, US/IBP, ITEX and others during past few decades in the area. We add a simple N emission subroutine in the current released CLM4 (in CESM1.0.4) and modify soil water drainage boundary conditions so that model can partially capture the landscape position effects of hydrological process on thermal and biogeochemical processes. We initially parameterize and initialize the model for Arctic tundra at Barrow, AK with 4 new plant functional types (PFTs): mosses, forbs, graminoids, and shrubs, based on literature study. It shows strong inter-annual variance of C fluxes, which tightly coupled with water, temperature and N nutrient dynamics. We then conduct a factory model experiments with drainage classes and varying PFT compositions in order to understand possible water, C and N cycle variations if vegetation changes over landscape. This preliminary analysis is of importance to apply for CLM model in this highly heterogeneous coastal Arctic tundra region under historical and projected climate changes.

  7. Mapping wildfire burn severity in the Arctic Tundra from downsampled MODIS data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kolden, Crystal A.; Rogan, John

    2013-01-01

    Wildfires are historically infrequent in the arctic tundra, but are projected to increase with climate warming. Fire effects on tundra ecosystems are poorly understood and difficult to quantify in a remote region where a short growing season severely limits ground data collection. Remote sensing has been widely utilized to characterize wildfire regimes, but primarily from the Landsat sensor, which has limited data acquisition in the Arctic. Here, coarse-resolution remotely sensed data are assessed as a means to quantify wildfire burn severity of the 2007 Anaktuvuk River Fire in Alaska, the largest tundra wildfire ever recorded on Alaska's North Slope. Data from Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and downsampled Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) were processed to spectral indices and correlated to observed metrics of surface, subsurface, and comprehensive burn severity. Spectral indices were strongly correlated to surface severity (maximum R2 = 0.88) and slightly less strongly correlated to substrate severity. Downsampled MODIS data showed a decrease in severity one year post-fire, corroborating rapid vegetation regeneration observed on the burned site. These results indicate that widely-used spectral indices and downsampled coarse-resolution data provide a reasonable supplement to often-limited ground data collection for analysis and long-term monitoring of wildfire effects in arctic ecosystems.

  8. The impact of vegetation type on the shortwave radiation balance of the Arctic tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Juszak, Inge; Schaepman-Strub, Gabriela

    2015-04-01

    Profound changes in vegetation composition in the Arctic tundra have been observed and are predicted in a warmer future climate. Shrub expansion may positively feed back to climate warming by decreasing the shortwave albedo. On the other hand, permafrost protection through soil shading by shrubs has been discussed in literature. Several studies compared the average radiation balance across vegetation zones. However, variation within vegetation zones may be as important as differences between vegetation zones. The lowland tundra ecosystem at the Kytalyk research site (NE Siberia) is dominated by two vegetation types (dwarf shrub (Betula nana) and wet sedge (Eriophorum angustifolium)) organised in patches at a scale of about 10m. We investigated the shortwave radiation balance of both types separately and related it to the 11 year data set of the fluxtower with a mixed footprint. In addition to canopy albedo, we measured canopy transmittance below dwarf shrubs and wet sedges to quantify the often discussed effect of soil shading. Our results show that at our field site, wet sedge vegetation is shading the soil more efficiently than dwarf shrubs due to multi-year standing litter. While we measured an average transmission of 36% of the incoming shortwave radiation below dwarf shrubs, the transmission of wet sedge was 28%. Wet sedge summer albedo was on average 16% higher than dwarf shrub albedo. Additionally, the snow melted 10 days later in the sedge patches, leading to large albedo differences in the second half of May 2014. Our analysis shows, that cloud cover is the second most important control on albedo and transmittance of both vegetation types. Clouds reduced the summer albedo of both vegetation types across all zenith angles. On average, the growing season albedo was about 11% higher on clear sky days as compared to overcast days whereas the transmittance was about 23% lower. As cloud cover is expected to change with climate change, field studies of the cloud

  9. Greater shrub dominance alters breeding habitat and food resources for migratory songbirds in Alaskan arctic tundra.

    PubMed

    Boelman, Natalie T; Gough, Laura; Wingfield, John; Goetz, Scott; Asmus, Ashley; Chmura, Helen E; Krause, Jesse S; Perez, Jonathan H; Sweet, Shannan K; Guay, Kevin C

    2015-04-01

    Climate warming is affecting the Arctic in multiple ways, including via increased dominance of deciduous shrubs. Although many studies have focused on how this vegetation shift is altering nutrient cycling and energy balance, few have explicitly considered effects on tundra fauna, such as the millions of migratory songbirds that breed in northern regions every year. To understand how increasing deciduous shrub dominance may alter breeding songbird habitat, we quantified vegetation and arthropod community characteristics in both graminoid and shrub dominated tundra. We combined measurements of preferred nest site characteristics for Lapland longspurs (Calcarius lapponicus) and Gambel's White-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii) with modeled predictions for the distribution of plant community types in the Alaskan arctic foothills region for the year 2050. Lapland longspur nests were found in sedge-dominated tussock tundra where shrub height does not exceed 20 cm, whereas White-crowned sparrows nested only under shrubs between 20 cm and 1 m in height, with no preference for shrub species. Shrub canopies had higher canopy-dwelling arthropod availability (i.e. small flies and spiders) but lower ground-dwelling arthropod availability (i.e. large spiders and beetles). Since flies are the birds' preferred prey, increasing shrubs may result in a net enhancement in preferred prey availability. Acknowledging the coarse resolution of existing tundra vegetation models, we predict that by 2050 there will be a northward shift in current White-crowned sparrow habitat range and a 20-60% increase in their preferred habitat extent, while Lapland longspur habitat extent will be equivalently reduced. Our findings can be used to make first approximations of future habitat change for species with similar nesting requirements. However, we contend that as exemplified by this study's findings, existing tundra modeling tools cannot yet simulate the fine-scale habitat

  10. EnMAP Specific BRDF Measurements and Vegetation Indices for Low-Growing Biomes in the Arctic Tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buchhorn, M.; Heim, B.; van der Linden, S.

    2011-12-01

    Global warming is highest in the Arctic where the tundra regions are expected to undergo pronounced changes. Remote sensing can provide spatial and temporal data on variables linked to vegetation and ecosystem processes on global scale. Specifically, hyperspectral remote sensing data can relate to Vegetation Indices (VIs), Leaf Area Index (LAI) and the fraction of Photosynthetically active Radiation (fPAR). Currently, spaceborne hyperspectral imaging data is provided by the CHRIS/PROBA and the Hyperion programs. The Environmental Mapping and Analysis Program (EnMAP), a German hyperspectral mission, is the next step in this line and will provide high spectral resolution observations with a ground sampling distance of 30 meter. The continuous spectral sampling provided by imaging spectroscopy offers the possibility to develop robust algorithms for vegetation indices in low-growing tundra biomes. Since the EnMAP sensor has pointing capabilities, both spectral and directional reflection characteristics need to be taken into account. In order to examine the influence of the bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) on spectral variables such as the Vegetation Indices, LAI and fPAR, we developed the EnMAP specific field goniospectrometer, EyeSight. We took part at the summer field campaign of the Earth Cryosphere Institute (RU) in 2011 on the Yamal Peninsula, Western Siberia, Russia. Field spectroscopy, vegetation and biomass analysis, and field goniometer measurements under varying sun zenith angles and moisture conditions have been conducted. The spectral measurements and BRDF measurements of the low-growing tundra are presented and discussed.

  11. Soil bacterial community composition altered by increased nutrient availability in Arctic tundra soils

    PubMed Central

    Koyama, Akihiro; Wallenstein, Matthew D.; Simpson, Rodney T.; Moore, John C.

    2014-01-01

    The pool of soil organic carbon (SOC) in the Arctic is disproportionally large compared to those in other biomes. This large quantity of SOC accumulated over millennia due to slow rates of decomposition relative to net primary productivity. Decomposition is constrained by low temperatures and nutrient concentrations, which limit soil microbial activity. We investigated how nutrients limit bacterial and fungal biomass and community composition in organic and mineral soils within moist acidic tussock tundra ecosystems. We sampled two experimental arrays of moist acidic tussock tundra that included fertilized and non-fertilized control plots. One array included plots that had been fertilized annually since 1989 and the other since 2006. Fertilization significantly altered overall bacterial community composition and reduced evenness, to a greater degree in organic than mineral soils, and in the 1989 compared to the 2006 site. The relative abundance of copiotrophic α-Proteobacteria and β-Proteobacteria was higher in fertilized than control soils, and oligotrophic Acidobacteria were less abundant in fertilized than control soils at the 1989 site. Fungal community composition was less sensitive to increased nutrient availability, and fungal responses to fertilization were not consistent between soil horizons and sites. We detected two ectomycorrhizal genera, Russula and Cortinarius spp., associated with shrubs. Their relative abundance was not affected by fertilization despite increased dominance of their host plants in the fertilized plots. Our results indicate that fertilization, which has been commonly used to simulate warming in Arctic tundra, has limited applicability for investigating fungal dynamics under warming. PMID:25324836

  12. Use of a cable-based system for observing the heterogeneity of vegetation communities in arctic tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ahrends, H. E.; Oberbauer, S. F.; Tweedie, C.; Hollister, R. D.

    2010-12-01

    Knowledge of changing tundra vegetation and its response to climate variability is critical for understanding the land-atmosphere-interactions for the Arctic and the global system. However, vegetation characteristics, such as phenology, structure and species composition, are characterized by an extreme heterogeneity at a small scale. Manual observations of these variables are highly time-consuming, labor intensive, subjective, and disturbing to the vegetation. In contrast, recently developed robotic systems (networked infomechanical systems, NIMS) allow for performing non-intrusive spatially integrated measurements of vegetation communities. Within the ITEX (International Tundra Experiment) AON (Arctic Observation Network) project we installed a cable-based sensor system, running over a transect of approximately 50 m length and 2 m width, at two long-term arctic research sites in Alaska. The trolley was initially equipped with instruments recording the distance to vegetation canopy, up- and downwelling short- and longwave radiation, air and surface temperature and spectral reflection. We aim to study the thermal and spectral response of the vegetation communities over a wide range of ecosystem types. We expect that automated observations, covering the spatial heterogeneity of vegetation and surface characteristics, can give a deeper insight in ecosystem functioning and vegetation response to climate. The data can be used for scaling up vegetation characteristics derived from manual measurements and for linking them to aircraft and satellite data and to carbon, water and surface energy budgets measured at the ecosystem scale. Sampling errors due to cable sag are correctable and effects of wind-driven movements can be offset by repeat measurements. First hand-pulled test measurements during summer 2010 show strong heterogeneity of the observation parameters and a variable spectral and thermal response of the plants within the transects. Differences support the

  13. Automatic monitoring of the effective thermal conductivity of snow in a low Arctic shrub tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Domine, F.; Barrere, M.; Sarrazin, D.; Morin, S.

    2015-03-01

    The effective thermal conductivity of snow, keff, is a critical variable which determines the temperature gradient in the snowpack and heat exchanges between the ground and the atmosphere through the snow. Its accurate knowledge is therefore required to simulate snow metamorphism, the ground thermal regime, permafrost stability, nutrient recycling and vegetation growth. Yet, few data are available on the seasonal evolution of snow thermal conductivity in the Arctic. We have deployed heated needle probes on low Arctic shrub tundra near Umiujaq, Quebec, (56°34´ N; 76°29´ W) and monitored automatically the evolution of keff for two consecutive winters, 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, at 4 heights in the snowpack. Shrubs are 20 cm high dwarf birch. Here, we develop an algorithm for the automatic determination of keff from the heating curves and obtain 404 keff values. We evaluate possible errors and biases associated with the use of the heated needles. The time-evolution of keff is very different for both winters. This is explained by comparing the meteorological conditions in both winters, which induced different conditions for snow metamorphism. In particular, important melting events the second year increased snow hardness, impeding subsequent densification and increase in thermal conductivity. Shrubs are observed to have very important impacts on snow physical evolution: (1) shrubs absorb light and facilitate snow melt under intense radiation; (2) the dense twig network of dwarf birch prevents snow compaction and therefore keff increase; (3) the low density depth hoar that forms within shrubs collapsed in late winter, leaving a void that was not filled by snow.

  14. Automatic monitoring of the effective thermal conductivity of snow in a low-Arctic shrub tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Domine, F.; Barrere, M.; Sarrazin, D.; Morin, S.; Arnaud, L.

    2015-06-01

    The effective thermal conductivity of snow, keff, is a critical variable which determines the temperature gradient in the snowpack and heat exchanges between the ground and the atmosphere through the snow. Its accurate knowledge is therefore required to simulate snow metamorphism, the ground thermal regime, permafrost stability, nutrient recycling and vegetation growth. Yet, few data are available on the seasonal evolution of snow thermal conductivity in the Arctic. We have deployed heated needle probes on low-Arctic shrub tundra near Umiujaq, Quebec, (N56°34'; W76°29') and monitored automatically the evolution of keff for two consecutive winters, 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, at four heights in the snowpack. Shrubs are 20 cm high dwarf birch. Here, we develop an algorithm for the automatic determination of keff from the heating curves and obtain 404 keff values. We evaluate possible errors and biases associated with the use of the heated needles. The time evolution of keff is very different for both winters. This is explained by comparing the meteorological conditions in both winters, which induced different conditions for snow metamorphism. In particular, important melting events in the second year increased snow hardness, impeding subsequent densification and increase in thermal conductivity. We conclude that shrubs have very important impacts on snow physical evolution: (1) shrubs absorb light and facilitate snow melt under intense radiation; (2) the dense twig network of dwarf birch prevent snow compaction, and therefore keff increase; (3) the low density depth hoar that forms within shrubs collapsed in late winter, leaving a void that was not filled by snow.

  15. Long-term warming restructures Arctic tundra without changing net soil carbon storage.

    PubMed

    Sistla, Seeta A; Moore, John C; Simpson, Rodney T; Gough, Laura; Shaver, Gaius R; Schimel, Joshua P

    2013-05-30

    High latitudes contain nearly half of global soil carbon, prompting interest in understanding how the Arctic terrestrial carbon balance will respond to rising temperatures. Low temperatures suppress the activity of soil biota, retarding decomposition and nitrogen release, which limits plant and microbial growth. Warming initially accelerates decomposition, increasing nitrogen availability, productivity and woody-plant dominance. However, these responses may be transitory, because coupled abiotic-biotic feedback loops that alter soil-temperature dynamics and change the structure and activity of soil communities, can develop. Here we report the results of a two-decade summer warming experiment in an Alaskan tundra ecosystem. Warming increased plant biomass and woody dominance, indirectly increased winter soil temperature, homogenized the soil trophic structure across horizons and suppressed surface-soil-decomposer activity, but did not change total soil carbon or nitrogen stocks, thereby increasing net ecosystem carbon storage. Notably, the strongest effects were in the mineral horizon, where warming increased decomposer activity and carbon stock: a 'biotic awakening' at depth. PMID:23676669

  16. Changes in microbial communities along redox gradients in polygonized Arctic wet tundra soils

    SciTech Connect

    Lipson, David A.; Raab, Theodore K.; Parker, Melanie; Kelley, Scott T.; Brislawn, Colin J.; Jansson, Janet K.

    2015-08-01

    Summary This study investigated how microbial community structure and diversity varied with depth and topography in ice wedge polygons of wet tundra of the Arctic Coastal Plain in northern Alaska and what soil variables explain these patterns. We observed strong changes in community structure and diversity with depth, and more subtle changes between areas of high and low topography, with the largest differences apparent near the soil surface. These patterns are most strongly correlated with redox gradients (measured using the ratio of reduced Fe to total Fe in acid extracts as a proxy): conditions grew more reducing with depth and were most oxidized in shallow regions of polygon rims. Organic matter and pH also changed with depth and topography but were less effective predictors of the microbial community structure and relative abundance of specific taxa. Of all other measured variables, lactic acid concentration was the best, in combination with redox, for describing the microbial community. We conclude that redox conditions are the dominant force in shaping microbial communities in this landscape. Oxygen and other electron acceptors allowed for the greatest diversity of microbes: at depth the community was reduced to a simpler core of anaerobes,

  17. Changes in microbial communities along redox gradients in polygonized Arctic wet tundra soils

    SciTech Connect

    Lipson, David A.; Raab, Theodore K.; Parker, Melanie; Kelley, Scott T.; Brislawn, Colin J.; Jansson, Janet K.

    2015-07-21

    This study investigated how microbial community structure and diversity varied with depth and topography in ice wedge polygons of wet tundra of the Arctic Coastal Plain in northern Alaska, and what soil variables explain these patterns. We observed strong changes in community structure and diversity with depth, and more subtle changes between areas of high and low topography, with the largest differences apparent near the soil surface. These patterns are most strongly correlated with redox gradients (measured using the ratio of reduced Fe to total Fe in acid extracts as a proxy): conditions grew more reducing with depth and were most oxidized in shallow regions of polygon rims. Organic matter and pH also changed with depth and topography, but were less effective predictors of the microbial community structure and relative abundance of specific taxa. Of all other measured variables, lactic acid concentration was the best, in combination with redox, for describing the microbial community. We conclude that redox conditions are the dominant force in shaping microbial communities in this landscape. Oxygen and other electron acceptors allowed for the greatest diversity of microbes: at depth the community was reduced to a simpler core of anaerobes, dominated by fermenters (Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes).

  18. Changes in microbial communities along redox gradients in polygonized Arctic wet tundra soils.

    PubMed

    Lipson, David A; Raab, Theodore K; Parker, Melanie; Kelley, Scott T; Brislawn, Colin J; Jansson, Janet

    2015-08-01

    This study investigated how microbial community structure and diversity varied with depth and topography in ice wedge polygons of wet tundra of the Arctic Coastal Plain in northern Alaska and what soil variables explain these patterns. We observed strong changes in community structure and diversity with depth, and more subtle changes between areas of high and low topography, with the largest differences apparent near the soil surface. These patterns are most strongly correlated with redox gradients (measured using the ratio of reduced Fe to total Fe in acid extracts as a proxy): conditions grew more reducing with depth and were most oxidized in shallow regions of polygon rims. Organic matter and pH also changed with depth and topography but were less effective predictors of the microbial community structure and relative abundance of specific taxa. Of all other measured variables, lactic acid concentration was the best, in combination with redox, for describing the microbial community. We conclude that redox conditions are the dominant force in shaping microbial communities in this landscape. Oxygen and other electron acceptors allowed for the greatest diversity of microbes: at depth the community was reduced to a simpler core of anaerobes, dominated by fermenters (Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes). PMID:26034016

  19. Using Image Segmentation to Identify Tundra Vegetation Variability in High Resolution Satellite Images

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lazow, Z.; Roemke, L.; Loranty, M. M.

    2014-12-01

    Arctic tundra ecosystems will play an important role in the global carbon cycle in coming decades and centuries. Amplified climate warming at high northern latitudes has stimulated carbon uptake via plant productivity, while thawing permafrost is releasing carbon to the atmosphere. Accurately quantifying the effect of changing tundra ecosystems on global climate will require detailed understanding of both of these processes. In this context, accounting for the spatial variation of landscape features is critical to creating carbon budgets for ecosystems and regions, and for forecasting the effects of climate change in the tundra. Water tracks and other areas that feature channelized subsurface water flow are landscape features with distinct differences in carbon stocks and fluxes relative to adjacent upland tundra areas. Numerous studies have shown that water tracks and flowpaths have greater water and nutrient availability that leads relatively high carbon stocks and rates of carbon uptake. However a clear understanding of the relative proportion of tundra ecosystems that are comprised of these landscape features is lacking. Recently developed fine-scale remote sensing technology allows for the spatial analysis of tundra landscapes and specifically water tracks. This study automates process of distinguishing water tracks through the use of image classification and segmentation techniques on high-resolution satellite imagery. Both supervised and unsupervised classification techniques identify water tracks as distinctive and tundra landscape features. Unlike the unsupervised classification, edge detection and region-thresholding algorithms in the supervised classification differentiates water tracks from locations with high productivity by assessing connectivity shape. Depending on the area of inquiry, water tracks comprise roughly 10%-25% of the landscape. Field observations indicate that water tracks have greater plant productivity, and rates of carbon cycling

  20. Understanding Pan-Arctic Tundra Vegetation Change Through Long-term Remotely Sensed Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bhatt, U.; Walker, D. A.; Bieniek, P.; Raynolds, M. K.; Epstein, H. E.; Comiso, J. C.; Pinzon, J. E.; Tucker, C. J.

    2012-12-01

    The goal of this paper is to present an analysis of the seasonality of tundra vegetation variability and change using long-term remotely sensed data as well as ground based measurements and reanalyses. An increase of Pan-Arctic tundra vegetation greenness has been documented using the remotely sensed Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). Coherent variability between NDVI, springtime coastal sea ice (passive microwave) and land surface temperatures (AVHRR) has also been established. Satellite based snow and cloud cover data sets are being incorporated into this analysis. The Arctic tundra is divided into domains based on Treshnikov divisions that are modified based on floristic provinces. There is notable heterogeneity in Pan-Arctic vegetation and climate trends, which necessitates a regional analysis. This study uses remotely sensed weekly 25-km sea ice concentration, weekly surface temperature, and bi-weekly NDVI from 1982 to 2010. The GIMMS NDVI3g data has been corrected for biases during the spring and fall, with special focus on the Arctic. Trends of Maximum NDVI (MaxNDVI), Time Integrated NDVI (TI-NDVI), Summer Warmth Index (SWI, sum of degree months above freezing during May-August), and open water area are calculated for the Pan Arctic. Remotely sensed snow data trends suggest varying patterns throughout the Arctic and may in part explain the heterogeneous MaxNDVI trends. Standard climate data (station, reanalysis, and model data) and ground observations are used in the analysis to provide additional support for hypothesized mechanisms. Overall, we find that trends over the 30-year record are changing as evidenced by the following examples from recent years. The sea ice decline has increased in Eurasia and slowed in North America. The weekly AVHRR landsurface temperatures reveal that there has been summer cooling over Eurasia and that the warming over North America has slowed. The MaxNDVI rates of change have diverged between N. America and Eurasia

  1. The effects of climate changes on soil methane oxidation in a dry Arctic tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Imperio, Ludovica

    2014-05-01

    The effects of climate changes on soil methane oxidation in a dry Arctic tundra. Ludovica D'Imperio1, Anders Michelsen1, Christian J. Jørgensen1, Bo Elberling1 1Center for Permafrost (CENPERM), Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen, Denmark At Northern latitudes climatic changes are predicted to be most pronounced resulting in increasing active layer depth and changes in growing season length, vegetation cover and nutrient cycling. As a consequence of increased temperature, large stocks of carbon stored in the permafrost-affected soils could become available for microbial transformations and under anoxic conditions result in increasing methane production affecting net methane (CH4) budget. Arctic tundra soils also serves as an important sink of atmospheric CH4 by microbial oxidation under aerobic conditions. While several process studies have documented the mechanisms behind both production and emissions of CH4 in arctic ecosystems, an important knowledge gap exists with respect to the in situ dynamics of microbial-driven uptake of CH4 in arctic dry lands which may be enhanced as a consequence of global warming and thereby counterbalancing CH4 emissions from Arctic wetlands. In-situ methane measurements were made in a dry Arctic tundra in Disko Island, Western Greenland, during the summer 2013 to assess the role of seasonal and inter-annual variations in temperatures and snow cover. The experimental set-up included snow fences installed in 2012, allowed investigations of the emissions of GHGs from soil under increased winter snow deposition and ambient field conditions. The soil fluxes of CH4 and CO2 were measured using closed chambers in manipulated plots with increased summer temperatures and shrub removal with or without increased winter precipitation. At the control plots, the averaged seasonal CH4 oxidation rates ranged between -0.05 mg CH4 m-2 hr-1 (end of August) and -0.32 mg CH4 m-2 hr-1 (end of June). In the

  2. Pan-Arctic ice-wedge degradation in warming permafrost and its influence on tundra hydrology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liljedahl, Anna K.; Boike, Julia; Daanen, Ronald P.; Fedorov, Alexander N.; Frost, Gerald V.; Grosse, Guido; Hinzman, Larry D.; Iijma, Yoshihiro; Jorgenson, Janet C.; Matveyeva, Nadya; Necsoiu, Marius; Raynolds, Martha K.; Romanovsky, Vladimir E.; Schulla, Jörg; Tape, Ken D.; Walker, Donald A.; Wilson, Cathy J.; Yabuki, Hironori; Zona, Donatella

    2016-04-01

    Ice wedges are common features of the subsurface in permafrost regions. They develop by repeated frost cracking and ice vein growth over hundreds to thousands of years. Ice-wedge formation causes the archetypal polygonal patterns seen in tundra across the Arctic landscape. Here we use field and remote sensing observations to document polygon succession due to ice-wedge degradation and trough development in ten Arctic localities over sub-decadal timescales. Initial thaw drains polygon centres and forms disconnected troughs that hold isolated ponds. Continued ice-wedge melting leads to increased trough connectivity and an overall draining of the landscape. We find that melting at the tops of ice wedges over recent decades and subsequent decimetre-scale ground subsidence is a widespread Arctic phenomenon. Although permafrost temperatures have been increasing gradually, we find that ice-wedge degradation is occurring on sub-decadal timescales. Our hydrological model simulations show that advanced ice-wedge degradation can significantly alter the water balance of lowland tundra by reducing inundation and increasing runoff, in particular due to changes in snow distribution as troughs form. We predict that ice-wedge degradation and the hydrological changes associated with the resulting differential ground subsidence will expand and amplify in rapidly warming permafrost regions.

  3. Terrimonas arctica sp. nov., isolated from Arctic tundra soil.

    PubMed

    Jiang, Fan; Qiu, Xia; Chang, Xulu; Qu, Zhihao; Ren, Lvzhi; Kan, Wenjing; Guo, Youhao; Fang, Chengxiang; Peng, Fang

    2014-11-01

    A novel, Gram-stain-negative, aerobic, non-motile and rod-shaped bacterium, designated R9-86(T), was isolated from tundra soil collected near Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard Archipelago, Norway (78° N). Growth occurred at 4-28 °C (optimum, 22-25 °C) and at pH 6.0-9.0 (optimum, pH 7.0). Flexirubin-type pigments were absent. Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequences indicated that strain R9-86(T) belonged to the genus Terrimonas in the family Chitinophagaceae. 16S rRNA gene sequence similarities between strain R9-86(T) and the type strains of species of the genus Terrimonas with validly published names ranged from 93.7 to 95.0%. Strain R9-86(T) contained iso-C(15:1)-G (25.7%), iso-C(15:0) (24.5%), iso-C(17:0)-3OH (18.3%) and summed feature 3 (C(16:1)ω7c and/or C(16:1)ω6c, 8.7%) as its major cellular fatty acids; phosphatidylethanolamine and an unknown polar lipid as its main polar lipids, and MK-7 as its predominant respiratory quinone. The DNA G+C content was 48.4 mol%. On the basis of phenotypic, chemotaxonomic and phylogenetic data, strain R9-86(T) is considered to represent a novel species of the genus Terrimonas, for which the name Terrimonas arctica sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is R9-86(T) ( =CCTCC AB 2011004(T) =NRRL B-59114(T)). PMID:25142212

  4. Isotopic Identification of Nitrate Sources and Cycling in Arctic Tundra Active Layer Soils and Permafrost

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heikoop, J. M.; Throckmorton, H.; Newman, B. D.; Perkins, G.; Gard, M.; Iversen, C. M.; Wilson, C. J.; Wullschleger, S. D.

    2014-12-01

    The effect of nitrogen cycling on release of carbon from tundra ecosystems is being studied as part of the US Department of Energy Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment - Arctic project. Sampling and analysis of active layer soil water at the Barrow Environmental Observatory (Alaska, USA) was performed in ancient drained thaw lake basins (DTLBs), drainages, and in polygonal terrain associated with inter-DTLB tundra. Within active layer soils, nitrate was most commonly found above analytical limits of detection in pore water from the unsaturated centers of high-centered polygons. Nitrate has also been detected, though less frequently, in soil water immediately above the frost table of an ancient (14C age of 2000 - 5500 BP) DTLB and in a small drainage adjacent to high-centered polygonal terrain. Nitrate from high-centered polygons had δ15N ranging from -9.2 to +8.5 ‰ and δ18O ranging from -8.4 to +1.4 ‰. The δ15N isotopic range is consistent with microbial mineralization and nitrification of reduced nitrogen sources including ammonium, dissolved organic nitrogen, and soil organic nitrogen. The range in δ18O of nitrate is also consistent with nitrification based on the δ18O of site waters. No evidence for an atmospheric nitrate signal, as defined by δ15N and δ18O of nitrate in snow and snowmelt, is seen. In contrast, nitrate in permafrost appears to be a mixture of pre-industrial atmospheric nitrate (with higher δ15N than modern atmospheric nitrate) and nitrate that is microbial in origin. Massive ice wedges appear to contain larger proportions of snowmelt (based on δ18O of ice) and atmospheric nitrate, whereas textural ice appears to contain a greater proportion of summer precipitation and microbially-derived nitrate. Nitrate from the ancient DTLB and drainage samples also has isotopic signatures that appear to represent a mixture of pre-industrial atmospheric nitrate and nitrate from microbial nitrification, and may, at least in part, be derived from

  5. Increasing Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC) in Arctic tundra ponds over the past 40 years

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lougheed, V.; Contreras, G.; Andresen, C. G.; Miller, N. A.; Reyes, F. R.

    2013-12-01

    With a warming Arctic, permafrost is expected to thaw and active layer depth to increase, thus releasing organic material and nutrients into aquatic environments; however, there are few long-term datasets with which to test these predictions in aquatic ecosystems. The Arctic tundra ponds at the International Biological Program (IBP) site in Barrow, Alaska, studied for the first time in the 1970s, represent one of the very few locations in the Arctic where long-term data are available on freshwater ecosystem structure and function. The objective of this study was to determine whether Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC) concentrations in Arctic tundra ponds had changed over time, how changes in thaw depth and temperature have impacted DOC quantity, and what the consequences of any changes have been for aquatic ecosystems. Over the summers of 2010-13 we collected water samples and measured thaw depth from 5 IBP ponds and compared these with data from the 1970s. Ponds were 2°C warmer and thaw depth was up to 19cm deeper in the 2000s as compared to the 1970s. Release of organic (e.g. DOC) and inorganic compounds (e.g.nitrogen) from formerly frozen organic ground into the ponds was associated with the increased thaw depth. For example, DOC was significantly higher in 2009-2012 compared to the 1970s; this was most notable later in the growing season. Similarly, incubations experiments indicate a steady rise in DOC released from permafrost with warming. DOC is likely a relatively conservative tracer of permafrost thaw in aquatic systems, and thus was a better predictor of increased phytoplankton levels than inorganic nutrients. This study will add to our understanding of the changes that warmer temperatures and altered aquatic environments bring to the Arctic and the consequences for carbon budgets in northern latitudes.

  6. Carbon Fluxes in a sub-arctic tundra undergoing permafrost degradation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bracho, R. G.; Webb, E.; Mauritz, M.; Schuur, E. A. G.

    2014-12-01

    As an effect of climate change, temperatures in high latitude regions are increasing faster than in the rest of the world and future projections indicate it will increase between 7°C and 8°C by the end of the 21st century. Permafrost soils store around 1700 Pg of Carbon (C), which is approximately the amount of C stored in terrestrial vegetation and in the atmosphere combined. Sustained warming induces permafrost thaw, leads to a thicker seasonal active layer, and creates subsided patches in the landscape. Carbon that was previously inaccessible to decomposition is thus exposed, increasing the likelihood of positive feedback of CO2 to the atmosphere. We measured C fluxes (Net ecosystem carbon flux, NEE, and Ecosystem respiration, Re) using the eddy covariance approach in a tundra landscape (Eight Mile Lake Watershed, Alaska) undergoing permafrost degradation from the beginning of the growing season in 2008 and throughout most winters until May 2014. This interval encompassed a range of climatic variability that included a deviation of ± 50% from the long term average in growing season precipitation. Active layer depth (thaw depth at the end of the growing season) and subsidence in the footprint were used as indicators of permafrost degradation. Results indicate that annual NEE ranged from a sink of 0.76 MgC ha-1 yr-1 to a source of 0.55 MgC ha-1 yr-1. NEE during the growing seasons fluctuated from 1.1 to 1.8 MgC ha-1 season-1 in net C uptake. Annual NEE was strongly affected by winter Re, which represented between 33% and 45% of the annual value regardless of of the large drop in both air and soil temperature. Parameters from the light response curve (optimum NEE, NEEopt and quantum yield, α) showed a seasonal and interannual variability and were different between the most and least degraded sites in the footprint, which affected the magnitude of the carbon cycle and may have implications for landscape C balance in sub-arctic tundra.

  7. Long-Term Hydrological Changes of Coastal Arctic Tundra Ponds in Drained Thaw Lake Basins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andresen, C. G.; Lougheed, V.

    2013-12-01

    Given the dominance of these ponds in the tundra landscape, documenting long-term changes in these aquatic systems is essential to understand carbon and energy balance, trophic energy flow, and biodiversity for the Arctic. The combination of remote sensing using historical imagery, as well as rare historical data from the International Biological Program, provides a unique opportunity for understanding long-term changes in hydrology, chemistry and biology of these significant freshwater environments. To assess the changes in pond area and abundance in 22 drained thaw-lake basins (DTLB) across the Barrow Peninsula over the past 60 years, we utilized historic aerial imagery from USGS archives (1948) and modern high-resolution Quickbird (2002, 2008, 2010). Age classification of DTLB was based on Hinkel et al 2003. We compared water temperature, active layer thickness, and aboveground biomass of these systems to historical datasets compiled in the Limnology of Tundra Ponds' by Hobbie et al 1975. We observed an overall decrease of 28% in pond area and 19% decrease in pond number, where smaller ponds (<100m2) had the highest change. These losses were coincident with significantly higher air and water temperature and reduced annual rainfall, which has decreased by 2.5 cm over the past 62 years (-0.4mm/yr). Active layer in ponds increased on average by 15cm. Aquatic grasses increased in density and cover in ponds over the past 40 years. Area and number of ponds loss was independent of DTLB age; however, medium-age DTLBs had significantly higher number of new ponds over old and ancient-age basins. While we observe new ponds due to thaw lake processes, climate seems to be having a stronger effect on these systems by reducing the overall inundated area and pond number in these basins. Increased evaporation due to warmer and longer summers, permafrost degradation, transpiration from encroaching aquatic grasses and changes in precipitation patterns are likely the current major

  8. The response of Arctic vegetation and soils following an unusually severe tundra fire

    PubMed Central

    Bret-Harte, M. Syndonia; Mack, Michelle C.; Shaver, Gaius R.; Huebner, Diane C.; Johnston, Miriam; Mojica, Camilo A.; Pizano, Camila; Reiskind, Julia A.

    2013-01-01

    Fire causes dramatic short-term changes in vegetation and ecosystem function, and may promote rapid vegetation change by creating recruitment opportunities. Climate warming likely will increase the frequency of wildfire in the Arctic, where it is not common now. In 2007, the unusually severe Anaktuvuk River fire burned 1039 km2 of tundra on Alaska's North Slope. Four years later, we harvested plant biomass and soils across a gradient of burn severity, to assess recovery. In burned areas, above-ground net primary productivity of vascular plants equalled that in unburned areas, though total live biomass was less. Graminoid biomass had recovered to unburned levels, but shrubs had not. Virtually all vascular plant biomass had resprouted from surviving underground parts; no non-native species were seen. However, bryophytes were mostly disturbance-adapted species, and non-vascular biomass had recovered less than vascular plant biomass. Soil nitrogen availability did not differ between burned and unburned sites. Graminoids showed allocation changes consistent with nitrogen stress. These patterns are similar to those seen following other, smaller tundra fires. Soil nitrogen limitation and the persistence of resprouters will likely lead to recovery of mixed shrub–sedge tussock tundra, unless permafrost thaws, as climate warms, more extensively than has yet occurred. PMID:23836794

  9. CO2 dynamics of tundra ponds in the low-Arctic, Northwest Territories, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buell, Mary-Claire

    Extensive research has gone into measuring changes to the carbon storage capacity of Arctic terrestrial environments as well as large water bodies in order to determine a carbon budget for many regions across the Arctic. Inland Arctic waters such as small lakes and ponds are often excluded from these carbon budgets, however a handful of studies have demonstrated that they can often be significant sources of carbon to the atmosphere. This study investigated the CO2 cycling of tundra ponds in the Daring Lake area, Northwest Territories, Canada (64°52'N, 111°35'W), to determine the role ponds have in the local carbon cycle. Floating chambers, nondispersive infrared (NDIR) sensors and headspace samples were used to estimate carbon fluxes from four selected local ponds. Multiple environmental, chemical and meteorological parameters were also monitored for the duration of the study, which took place during the snow free season of 2013. Average CO2 emissions for the two-month growing season ranged from approximately -0.0035 g CO2-C m-2 d -1 to 0.12 g CO2-C m-2 d-1. The losses of CO2 from the water bodies in the Daring Lake area were approximately 2-7% of the CO2 uptake over vegetated terrestrial tundra during the same two-month period. Results from this study indicated that the production of CO2 in tundra ponds was positively influenced by both increases in air temperature, and the delivery of carbon from their catchments. The relationship found between temperature and carbon emissions suggests that warming Arctic temperatures have the potential to increase carbon emissions from ponds in the future. The findings in this study did not include ebullition gas emissions nor plant mediated transport, therefore these findings are likely underestimates of the total carbon emissions from water bodies in the Daring Lake area. This study emphasizes the need for more research on inland waters in order to improve our understanding of the total impact these waters may have on the

  10. Biomarkers as Indicators of Respiration During Laboratory Incubations of Alaskan Arctic Tundra Permafrost Soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hutchings, J.; Schuur, E.; Bianchi, T. S.; Bracho, R. G.

    2015-12-01

    High latitude permafrost soils are estimated to store 1,330 - 1,580 Pg C, which account for ca. 40% of global soil C and nearly twice that of atmospheric C. Disproportionate heating of high latitude regions during climate warming potentially results in permafrost thaw and degradation of surficial and previously-frozen soil C. Understanding how newly-thawed soils respond to microbial degradation is essential to predicting C emissions from this region. Laboratory incubations have been a key tool in understanding potential respiration rates from high latitude soils. A recent study found that among the common soil measurements, C:N was the best predictor of C losses. Here, we analyzed Alaskan Arctic tundra soils from before and after a nearly 3-year laboratory incubation. Bulk geochemical values as well as the following biomarkers were measured: lignin, amino acids, n-alkanes, and glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGT). We found that initial C:N did not predict C losses and no significant change in C:N between initial and final samples. The lignin acid to aldehyde (Ad:Al) degradation index showed the same results with a lack of C loss prediction and no significant change during the experiment. However, we did find that C:N and Ad:Al had a significant negative correlation suggesting behavior consistent with expectations. The failure to predict C losses was likely influenced by a number of factors, including the possibility that biomarkers were tracking a smaller fraction of slower cycling components of soil C. To better interpret these results, we also used a hydroxyproline-based amino acid degradation index and n-alkanes to estimate the contribution Sphagnum mosses to soil samples - known to have slower turnover times than vascular plants. Finally, we applied a GDGT soil temperature proxy to estimate the growing season soil temperatures before each incubation, as well as investigating the effects of incubation temperature on the index's temperature estimate.

  11. Vegetation-Associated Impacts on Arctic Tundra Bacterial and Microeukaryotic Communities

    PubMed Central

    Shi, Yu; Xiang, Xingjia; Shen, Congcong; Neufeld, Josh D.; Walker, Virginia K.

    2014-01-01

    The Arctic is experiencing rapid vegetation changes, such as shrub and tree line expansion, due to climate warming, as well as increased wetland variability due to hydrological changes associated with permafrost thawing. These changes are of global concern because changes in vegetation may increase tundra soil biogeochemical processes that would significantly enhance atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Predicting the latter will at least partly depend on knowing the structure, functional activities, and distributions of soil microbes among the vegetation types across Arctic landscapes. Here we investigated the bacterial and microeukaryotic community structures in soils from the four principal low Arctic tundra vegetation types: wet sedge, birch hummock, tall birch, and dry heath. Sequencing of rRNA gene fragments indicated that the wet sedge and tall birch communities differed significantly from each other and from those associated with the other two dominant vegetation types. Distinct microbial communities were associated with soil pH, ammonium concentration, carbon/nitrogen (C/N) ratio, and moisture content. In soils with similar moisture contents and pHs (excluding wet sedge), bacterial, fungal, and total eukaryotic communities were correlated with the ammonium concentration, dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) content, and C/N ratio. Operational taxonomic unit (OTU) richness, Faith's phylogenetic diversity, and the Shannon species-level index (H′) were generally lower in the tall birch soil than in soil from the other vegetation types, with pH being strongly correlated with bacterial richness and Faith's phylogenetic diversity. Together, these results suggest that Arctic soil feedback responses to climate change will be vegetation specific not just because of distinctive substrates and environmental characteristics but also, potentially, because of inherent differences in microbial community structure. PMID:25362064

  12. Arctic biodiversity: Increasing richness accompanies shrinking refugia for a cold-associated tundra fauna

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hope, Andrew; Waltari, Eric; Malaney, Jason L.; Payer, David C.; Cook, J.A.; Talbot, Sandra

    2015-01-01

    As ancestral biodiversity responded dynamically to late-Quaternary climate changes, so are extant organisms responding to the warming trajectory of the Anthropocene. Ecological predictive modeling, statistical hypothesis tests, and genetic signatures of demographic change can provide a powerful integrated toolset for investigating these biodiversity responses to climate change, and relative resiliency across different communities. Within the biotic province of Beringia, we analyzed specimen localities and DNA sequences from 28 mammal species associated with boreal forest and Arctic tundra biomes to assess both historical distributional and evolutionary responses and then forecasted future changes based on statistical assessments of past and present trajectories, and quantified distributional and demographic changes in relation to major management regions within the study area. We addressed three sets of hypotheses associated with aspects of methodological, biological, and socio-political importance by asking (1) what is the consistency among implications of predicted changes based on the results of both ecological and evolutionary analyses; (2) what are the ecological and evolutionary implications of climate change considering either total regional diversity or distinct communities associated with major biomes; and (3) are there differences in management implications across regions? Our results indicate increasing Arctic richness through time that highlights a potential state shift across the Arctic landscape. However, within distinct ecological communities, we found a predicted decline in the range and effective population size of tundra species into several discrete refugial areas. Consistency in results based on a combination of both ecological and evolutionary approaches demonstrates increased statistical confidence by applying cross-discipline comparative analyses to conservation of biodiversity, particularly considering variable management regimes that seek

  13. Vegetation-associated impacts on arctic tundra bacterial and microeukaryotic communities.

    PubMed

    Shi, Yu; Xiang, Xingjia; Shen, Congcong; Chu, Haiyan; Neufeld, Josh D; Walker, Virginia K; Grogan, Paul

    2015-01-01

    The Arctic is experiencing rapid vegetation changes, such as shrub and tree line expansion, due to climate warming, as well as increased wetland variability due to hydrological changes associated with permafrost thawing. These changes are of global concern because changes in vegetation may increase tundra soil biogeochemical processes that would significantly enhance atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Predicting the latter will at least partly depend on knowing the structure, functional activities, and distributions of soil microbes among the vegetation types across Arctic landscapes. Here we investigated the bacterial and microeukaryotic community structures in soils from the four principal low Arctic tundra vegetation types: wet sedge, birch hummock, tall birch, and dry heath. Sequencing of rRNA gene fragments indicated that the wet sedge and tall birch communities differed significantly from each other and from those associated with the other two dominant vegetation types. Distinct microbial communities were associated with soil pH, ammonium concentration, carbon/nitrogen (C/N) ratio, and moisture content. In soils with similar moisture contents and pHs (excluding wet sedge), bacterial, fungal, and total eukaryotic communities were correlated with the ammonium concentration, dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) content, and C/N ratio. Operational taxonomic unit (OTU) richness, Faith's phylogenetic diversity, and the Shannon species-level index (H') were generally lower in the tall birch soil than in soil from the other vegetation types, with pH being strongly correlated with bacterial richness and Faith's phylogenetic diversity. Together, these results suggest that Arctic soil feedback responses to climate change will be vegetation specific not just because of distinctive substrates and environmental characteristics but also, potentially, because of inherent differences in microbial community structure. PMID:25362064

  14. Ecosystem Respiration Rates of Arctic Tundra Mesocosms in Response to Cold-Season Temperatures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oberbauer, S. F.; Moser, J. G.; Olivas, P. C.; Starr, G.; Mortazavi, B.

    2013-12-01

    The cold season in the Arctic extends over 8 to 9 mo, during which air temperatures often reach as low as -40 °C. However, as a result of the insulating layer created by snow cover, temperatures seldom fall below -15 °C, and are likely warm enough to support some metabolism. Little research has been conducted on arctic plants and tundra during the cold season, despite its length and the fact that warming is predicted to be greatest during this period. The primary focus of cold-season research has been on rates of winter ecosystem respiration (ER) for estimates of annual carbon balance. The majority of these measurements during the winter or at winter temperatures indicate that some respiration is occurring. Although rates are low, they may contribute substantially to the annual carbon balance because of the length of the cold season. However, estimates of respiration at low temperatures differ substantially, have been taken at different temperatures using different methodologies, and importantly almost none provide quantitative relationships across a range of temperatures. We measured respiration rates of intact arctic tundra monoliths from 15 to -15 °C at 5 °C steps to facilitate improved model estimates of tundra respiration. Six tundra monoliths (~900 cm2) taken from Toolik Field Station, Alaska were conditioned for the cold season in growth chambers at shortened photoperiods and low, but above-freezing temperatures. Desired temperatures were obtained with a combination of growth chambers and a modified freezer. The average of five samplings of [CO2] at each temperature step was used to estimate the ER rates. Measurements were conducted with a closed system using incubation periods of 30 to 180 min, depending on the temperature. Carbon dioxide concentrations were measured by syringe samples injected into a N2 gas stream flowing through an infrared gas analyzer. Rates of ER calculated on an area basis were close to zero at -15 °C, but increased steadily with

  15. Methane emissions from Alaska Arctic tundra - An assessment of local spatial variability

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morrissey, L. A.; Livingston, G. P.

    1992-01-01

    The findings of an extensive midsummer survey of CH4 emissions measurements representing the Alaska Arctic tundra are presented. Variability in rates of emissions was similar in magnitude on local and regional scales, ranging from 0 to 286.5 mg/sq m/d overall and often varying across two orders of magnitude within 0.5 m distances. Primary control on rates of emission was determined by the substrate and position of the water table relative to the surface. Emission rates in the Arctic Foothills ranged from 0.2 mg/sq m/d for tussock tundra to 55.53 mg/sq m/d over wet meadows. Plant-mediated release of CH4 to the atmosphere was directly proportional to green leaf area and represented 92-98 percent of the total emission rates over vegetated sites. The results suggest the current published emission rates may have overestimated the contribution of boreal ecosystems to the global CH4 budget by several fold.

  16. Radiation budget and soil heat fluxes in different Arctic tundra vegetation types

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Juszak, Inge; Iturrate Garcia, Maitane; Gastellu-Etchegorry, Jean-Philippe; Schaepman, Michael E.; Schaepman-Strub, Gabriela

    2016-04-01

    While solar radiation is one of the primary energy sources for warming and thawing permafrost soil, the amount of shortwave radiation reaching the soil is reduced by vegetation shading. Climate change has led to greening, shrub expansion and encroachment in many Arctic tundra regions and further changes are anticipated. These vegetation changes feed back to the atmosphere and permafrost as they modify the surface energy budget. However, canopy transmittance of solar radiation has rarely been measured or modelled for a variety of tundra vegetation types. We assessed the radiation budget of the most common vegetation types at the Kytalyk field site in North-East Siberia (70.8°N, 147.5°E) with field measurements and 3D radiative transfer modelling and linked it to soil heat fluxes. Our results show that Arctic tundra vegetation types differ in canopy albedo and transmittance as well as in soil heat flux and active layer thickness. Tussock sedges transmitted on average 56% of the incoming light and dwarf shrubs 27%. For wet sedges we found that the litter layer was very important as it reduced the average transmittance to only 6%. Model output indicated that both, albedo and transmittance, also depend on the spatial aggregation of vegetation types. We found that permafrost thaw was more strongly related to soil properties than to canopy shading. The presented radiative transfer model allows quantifying effects of the vegetation layer on the surface radiation budget in permafrost areas. The parametrised model can account for diverse vegetation types and variation of properties within types. Our results highlight small scale radiation budget and permafrost thaw variability which are indicated and partly caused by vegetation. As changes in species composition and biomass increase can influence thaw rates, small scale patterns should be considered in assessments of climate-vegetation-permafrost feedbacks.

  17. Structural complexity and land-surface energy exchange along a gradient from arctic tundra to boreal forest

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Thompson, C.; Beringer, J.; Chapin, F. S., III; McGuire, A.D.

    2004-01-01

    Question: Current climate changes in the Alaskan Arctic, which are characterized by increases in temperature and length of growing season, could alter vegetation structure, especially through increases in shrub cover or the movement of treeline. These changes in vegetation structure have consequences for the climate system. What is the relationship between structural complexity and partitioning of surface energy along a gradient from tundra through shrub tundra to closed canopy forest? Location: Arctic tundra-boreal forest transition in the Alaskan Arctic. Methods: Along this gradient of increasing canopy complexity, we measured key vegetation characteristics, including community composition, biomass, cover, height, leaf area index and stem area index. We relate these vegetation characteristics to albedo and the partitioning of net radiation into ground, latent, and sensible heating fluxes. Results: Canopy complexity increased along the sequence from tundra to forest due to the addition of new plant functional types. This led to non-linear changes in biomass, cover, and height in the understory. The increased canopy complexity resulted in reduced ground heat fluxes, relatively conserved latent heat fluxes and increased sensible heat fluxes. The localized warming associated with increased sensible heating over more complex canopies may amplify regional warming, causing further vegetation change in the Alaskan Arctic.

  18. THE HYDRAULIC CHARACTERISTICS AND GEOCHEMISTRY OF HYPORHEIC AND PARAFLUVIAL ZONES IN ARCTIC TUNDRA STREAMS, NORTH SLOPE, ALASKA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Sodium bromide and Rhodamine WT were used as conservative tracers to examine the hydrologic characteristics of seven tundra streams in Arctic Alaska, during the summers of 1994-1996. Continuous tracer additions were conducted in seven rivers ranging from 1st to 5th order with sam...

  19. An assessment of the carbon balance of arctic tundra: comparisons among observations, process models, and atmospheric inversions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McGuire, A.D.; Christensen, T.R.; Hayes, D.; Heroult, A.; Euskirchen, E.; Yi, Y.; Kimball, J.S.; Koven, C.; Lafleur, P.; Miller, P.A.; Oechel, W.; Peylin, P.; Williams, M.

    2012-01-01

    Although arctic tundra has been estimated to cover only 8% of the global land surface, the large and potentially labile carbon pools currently stored in tundra soils have the potential for large emissions of carbon (C) under a warming climate. These emissions as radiatively active greenhouse gases in the form of both CO2 and CH4 could amplify global warming. Given the potential sensitivity of these ecosystems to climate change and the expectation that the Arctic will experience appreciable warming over the next century, it is important to assess whether responses of C exchange in tundra regions are likely to enhance or mitigate warming. In this study we compared analyses of C exchange of Arctic tundra between 1990–1999 and 2000–2006 among observations, regional and global applications of process-based terrestrial biosphere models, and atmospheric inversion models. Syntheses of the compilation of flux observations and of inversion model results indicate that the annual exchange of CO2 between arctic tundra and the atmosphere has large uncertainties that cannot be distinguished from neutral balance. The mean estimate from an ensemble of process-based model simulations suggests that arctic tundra acted as a sink for atmospheric CO2 in recent decades, but based on the uncertainty estimates it cannot be determined with confidence whether these ecosystems represent a weak or a strong sink. Tundra was 0.6 °C warmer in the 2000s compared to the 1990s. The central estimates of the observations, process-based models, and inversion models each identify stronger sinks in the 2000s compared with the 1990s. Similarly, the observations and the applications of regional process-based models suggest that CH4 emissions from arctic tundra have increased from the 1990s to 2000s. Based on our analyses of the estimates from observations, process-based models, and inversion models, we estimate that arctic tundra was a sink for atmospheric CO2 of 110 Tg C yr-1 (uncertainty between a

  20. Shrub line advance in Arctic and alpine tundra of the Yukon Territory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Myers-Smith, I. H.; Hik, D.

    2010-12-01

    Growing evidence indicates an expansion of canopy-forming woody shrubs up mountain slopes and northward into Arctic tundra. The correlation between warming and greening has been used to link climate change with shrub expansion; however, the exact mechanisms driving observed increases in canopy-forming shrubs are probably more complex. Shrub expansion that results in a change in canopy cover may modify the ecology of tundra ecosystems by changing understory plant composition, soil thermal dynamics, surface albedo, nutrient turnover times and carbon storage. We surveyed the abundance of all tundra willow species (Salix spp.) growing at three sites in the Yukon Territory: the mountains of the Kluane Region, the Richardson Mountains, and on Qikiqtaruk - Herschel Island in the Beaufort Sea. At the two mountainous sites, we collected sections from the largest stem of willow shrubs at shrub line (the maximum elevation at which canopy-forming shrubs grow) and below shrub line (at approximately 50% shrub cover) in a total of 16 valleys. At the coastal site we collected samples from each of the 4 vegetation types: the alluvial fan, ridges, tussock tundra and disturbed terrain. Shrub stems were thin-sectioned using a microtome, photographed with a microscope and ring widths were measured from the digital images. We compared age distributions of willow individuals at and below shrub line and found younger populations at higher elevations, particularly on warm, south-facing aspects. Younger willows at shrub line and a lack of significant mortality in the field surveys indicate that shrubs have advanced up slope at the mountainous sites. Photographic and long-term plot data indicate increases in cover and height of willow shrub patches at the coastal site. We compared growth rings to regional weather data, and found positive correlations between annual growth and summer temperatures. Our results indicate that willows grew most in years with a warm June and July. This evidence of

  1. How is climate warming altering the carbon cycle of a tundra ecosystem in the Siberian Arctic?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Belelli Marchesini, Luca; (Ko) van Huissteden, Jacobus; van der Molen, Michiel; Parmentier, Frans-Jan W.; Maximov, Trofim; Budishchev, Artem; Gallagher, Angela; (Han) Dolman, Albertus J.

    2015-04-01

    Climate has been warming over the the Arctic region with the strongest anomalies taking place in autumn and winter for the period 2000-2010, particularly in northern Eurasia. The quantification of the impact on climate warming on the degradation of permafrost and the associated potential release to the atmosphere of carbon stocked in the soil under the form of greenhouse gases, thus further increasing the radiative forcing of the atmosphere, is currently a matter of scientific debate. The positive trend in primary productivity in the last decades inferred by vegetation indexes (NDVI) and confirmed by observations on the enhanced growth of shrub vegetation represents indeed a contrasting process that, if prevalent could offset GHG emissions or even strengthen the carbon sink over the Arctic tundra. At the site of Kytalyk, in north-eastern Siberia, net fluxes of CO2 at ecosystem scale (NEE) have been monitored by eddy covariance technique since 2003. While presenting the results of the seasonal (snow free period) and inter-annual variability of NEE, conceived as the interplay between meteorological drivers and ecosystem responses, we test the role of climate as the main source of NEE variability in the last decade using a data oriented statistical approach. The impact of the timing and duration of the snow free period on the seasonal carbon budget is also considered. Finally, by including the results of continuous micrometeorological observations of methane fluxes taken during summer 2012, corroborated with seasonal CH4 budgets from two previous shorter campaigns (2008, 2009), as well as an experimentally determined estimate of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) flux, we provide an assessment of the carbon budget and its stability over time. The examined tundra ecosystem was found to sequester CO2 during the snow free season with relatively small inter-annual variability (-97.9±12.1gC m-2) during the last decade and without any evident trend despite the carbon uptake

  2. Labile carbon concentrations are strongly linked to plant production in Arctic tussock tundra soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Darrouzet-Nardi, A.; Weintraub, M. N.; Euskirchen, E. S.; Steltzer, H.; Sullivan, P.

    2013-12-01

    The exchange of carbon and nutrients between plants and microbes is a key determinant of carbon balance in Arctic soils. Microbes rely on labile plant carbon for the energy they need to produce enzymes that can release nutrients and less energetically favorable carbon from soil organic matter. One of the main mechanisms of carbon transfer is rhizodeposition, the exudation of labile plant carbon such as sugars from roots into the rhizosphere. Despite the importance of this flow of energy and materials from plants to microbes, there have been few attempts to quantify labile carbon pools or fluxes in Arctic soils. To improve our knowledge of labile carbon dynamics in Arctic soils, we address two basic questions: (1) What are the seasonal patterns of labile carbon concentrations? and (2) How do seasonal patterns in labile carbon correlate with plant production, microbial biomass, and soil nutrients? We measured concentrations of total reducing sugars (TRS) in the soil solution of moist acidic tussock tundra on 28 dates during the 2012 growing season in 20 plots of an early snowmelt × warming experiment. We evaluated these total reducing sugar concentrations in the context of eddy flux carbon exchange data, plant NDVI, total dissolved carbon in soils, microbial biomass, and soil nutrients. Though we did not see treatment effects of the snowmelt × warming experiment, we did observe a clear seasonal pattern in TRS concentrations in which they started low at the time of thaw, then built to a maximum value around the time of peak plant physiology in July, followed by a decline as plants senesced. We observed a clear correlation between TRS and gross primary production (GPP). NDVI values also increased with TRS concentrations during the first half of the season and then leveled off as TRS began its decline. These relationships were in contrast to labile N concentrations, which remained at low concentrations all season. Our data suggest that rhizodeposition of labile carbon

  3. Geochemical characterization of Arctic tundra and implications for organic matter degradation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gu, B.; Herndon, E.; Graham, D. E.; Phelps, T. J.; Wullschleger, S. D.; Liang, L.

    2013-12-01

    Tundra soils are uniquely cold terrestrial environments that face irrevocable change under warming climate conditions. Specifically, many tundra soils store large quantities of organic carbon that may rapidly degrade with increasing temperature, releasing C into drainage systems or to the atmosphere as greenhouse gases (CH4, CO2). In order to predict rates of C release from tundra soils, it is necessary to quantify how biogeochemical factors such as pore water chemistry, terminal electron acceptor availability, and mineral adsorption regulate rates and pathways of soil organic carbon (SOC) degradation. In this study, we examine spatial and seasonal patterns of aqueous geochemistry and SOC characteristics from across an area of tundra landscape in the Arctic. We aim to identify factors that increase or decrease rates of SOC degradation, including: 1) the composition of organic substrates, 2) abundance of terminal electron acceptors, 3) vertical transport and spatial variability of both organic and inorganic compounds, and 4) adsorption to mineral surfaces. Soil and water samples were obtained from the Barrow Environmental Observatory (BEO) in northern Alaska as part of the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment (NGEE) Arctic project. Tundra at the BEO is characterized by permafrost below ~60 cm and polygonal features that induce topographic gradients of water saturation. Soils are organic-rich and store large amounts of slowly decomposing plant material. Chemical and physical extractions were used to obtain operationally-defined pools of SOC to evaluate their mineral associations. Water samples collected in early and late summers were analyzed for pH, electrical conductivity, and dissolved concentrations of anions, cations, organic carbon, inorganic carbon, and ferrous iron, as well as dissolved and soil gases (CH4 and CO2). We observe a steep pH gradient, with acidic pH in surface waters and near neutral pH in pore waters >20 cm below the surface. Dissolved organic

  4. Long-term experimental warming alters community composition of ascomycetes in Alaskan moist and dry arctic tundra.

    PubMed

    Semenova, Tatiana A; Morgado, Luis N; Welker, Jeffrey M; Walker, Marilyn D; Smets, Erik; Geml, József

    2015-01-01

    Arctic tundra regions have been responding to global warming with visible changes in plant community composition, including expansion of shrubs and declines in lichens and bryophytes. Even though it is well known that the majority of arctic plants are associated with their symbiotic fungi, how fungal community composition will be different with climate warming remains largely unknown. In this study, we addressed the effects of long-term (18 years) experimental warming on the community composition and taxonomic richness of soil ascomycetes in dry and moist tundra types. Using deep Ion Torrent sequencing, we quantified how OTU assemblage and richness of different orders of Ascomycota changed in response to summer warming. Experimental warming significantly altered ascomycete communities with stronger responses observed in the moist tundra compared with dry tundra. The proportion of several lichenized and moss-associated fungi decreased with warming, while the proportion of several plant and insect pathogens and saprotrophic species was higher in the warming treatment. The observed alterations in both taxonomic and ecological groups of ascomycetes are discussed in relation to previously reported warming-induced shifts in arctic plant communities, including decline in lichens and bryophytes and increase in coverage and biomass of shrubs. PMID:25522194

  5. Simulating the effects of climate change and climate variability on carbon dynamics in Arctic tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stieglitz, Marc; Giblin, Anne; Hobbie, John; Williams, Matthew; Kling, George

    2000-12-01

    Through a simple modeling exercise, three mechanisms have been identified, each operating at a different timescale, that may govern carbon dynamics in Arctic tundra regions and partially explain observed CO2 flux variability. At short timescales the biosphere reacts to meteorological forcing. Drier conditions are associated with aerobic soil decomposition, a large CO2efflux, and a net ecosystem loss of carbon. Cooler and moister conditions favor slower anaerobic decomposition in soils, good growing conditions, and terrestrial carbon sequestration. At intermediate timescales, periods of terrestrial carbon loss are directly linked to periods of carbon sequestration by the ability of the ecosystem to retain labile nitrogen. Labile nitrogen released to the soil during periods when the tundra is a source of carbon (soil respiration > net primary productivity) is retained within the ecosystem and accessed during periods when carbon sequestration is favored (net primary productivity > soil respiration). Finally, the ability of vegetation to respond to long-term changes in soil nutrient status via changes in leaf nitrogen and leaf area index modulates this dynamic at intermediate to long timescales.

  6. Measurements of NO(x) and NO(y) concentrations and fluxes over Arctic tundra

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bakwin, Peter S.; Wofsy, Steven C.; Fan, Song-Miao; Fitzjarrald, David R.

    1992-01-01

    Measurements of the atmospheric concentrations of NO, NO2, total NO(y), and O3 were made during the NASA Arctic Boundary Layer Expedition (ABLE 3A) at a remote location in a tundra bog ecosystem in southeastern Alaska during the growing season (July-August 1988). Concentrations of NO(x) and NO(y) were found to be very low compared to other remote continental sites, indicating that anthropogenic influences were small at this site during this time of year. The NO(y) emission rate from the soil were 0.13 +/- 0.05 x 10 exp 9 molecules/sq cm/s. Direct measurements of the flux of total NO(y) were made for the first time, indicating downward flux of NO(y) at all times of day, with maximum deposition of 2.5 +/- 0.9 x 10 exp 9 molecules/sq cm/s in the afternoon. Deposition of HNO3 appears to dominate the atmosphere/surface exchange of NO(y). The mean dry deposition rate of NO(y) to the tundra was 1.8 +/- 1.0 x 10 exp 9 molecules/sq cm/s.

  7. Could 4 degrees warming change Arctic tundra from carbon sink to carbon source?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Torn, M. S.; Abramoff, R. Z.; Chafe, O.; Curtis, J. B.; Smith, L. J.; Wullschleger, S. D.

    2015-12-01

    We have set up a controlled, active warming experiment in permafrost tundra on the North Slope of Alaska. The aim of this micro-warming experiment is to investigate the direct effect of soil warming on microbial decomposition of soil organic matter. We are testing the feasibility of small, short-term, in situ warming that can be run off batteries for distributed deployment and that preserves plant-soil relations and natural variability in wind, temperature, and precipitation. Based on preliminary results, the approach looks promising. One resistance heater cable per plot (25 cm diameter plots) was inserted vertically to 50 cm, spanning the full active layer (maximum thaw depth was 40 cm in 2014). Heaters were turned on August 1, 2015, and heated plots reached the 4ºC warming target within 1-3 days. We are measuring soil microclimate, thaw depth, CO2 and CH4 fluxes, and 14CO2, and microbial composition, as part of the DOE Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE-Arctic). Ecosystem respiration increased immediately in the heated plots, and net ecosystem exchange under clear chambers changed from net uptake to net CO2 source in two of the four plots. CH4 flux shifted toward reduced net emissions or greater net uptake in all plots. These rapid responses demonstrate direct changes in decomposition without complications from microbial acclimation, altered community structure or changes in substrate availability. However, future Arctic tundra carbon balance will depend on both short term and long term microbial responses, as well as the links between warming, decomposition, nitrogen mineralization, and plant growth. Thus, we envision that distributed micro-warming plots could be combined with new approaches to aboveground passive warming being developed in NGEE, gradient studies, and modeling.

  8. Carbon-Degrading Enzyme Activities Stimulated by Increased Nutrient Availability in Arctic Tundra Soils

    PubMed Central

    Koyama, Akihiro; Wallenstein, Matthew D.; Simpson, Rodney T.; Moore, John C.

    2013-01-01

    Climate-induced warming of the Arctic tundra is expected to increase nutrient availability to soil microbes, which in turn may accelerate soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition. We increased nutrient availability via fertilization to investigate the microbial response via soil enzyme activities. Specifically, we measured potential activities of seven enzymes at four temperatures in three soil profiles (organic, organic/mineral interface, and mineral) from untreated native soils and from soils which had been fertilized with nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) since 1989 (23 years) and 2006 (six years). Fertilized plots within the 1989 site received annual additions of 10 g N⋅m-2⋅year-1 and 5 g P⋅m-2⋅year-1. Within the 2006 site, two fertilizer regimes were established – one in which plots received 5 g N⋅m-2⋅year-1 and 2.5 g P⋅m-2⋅year-1 and one in which plots received 10 g N⋅m-2⋅year-1 and 5 g P⋅m-2⋅year-1. The fertilization treatments increased activities of enzymes hydrolyzing carbon (C)-rich compounds but decreased phosphatase activities, especially in the organic soils. Activities of two enzymes that degrade N-rich compounds were not affected by the fertilization treatments. The fertilization treatments increased ratios of enzyme activities degrading C-rich compounds to those for N-rich compounds or phosphate, which could lead to changes in SOM chemistry over the long term and to losses of soil C. Accelerated SOM decomposition caused by increased nutrient availability could significantly offset predicted increased C fixation via stimulated net primary productivity in Arctic tundra ecosystems. PMID:24204773

  9. Carbon-degrading enzyme activities stimulated by increased nutrient availability in Arctic tundra soils.

    PubMed

    Koyama, Akihiro; Wallenstein, Matthew D; Simpson, Rodney T; Moore, John C

    2013-01-01

    Climate-induced warming of the Arctic tundra is expected to increase nutrient availability to soil microbes, which in turn may accelerate soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition. We increased nutrient availability via fertilization to investigate the microbial response via soil enzyme activities. Specifically, we measured potential activities of seven enzymes at four temperatures in three soil profiles (organic, organic/mineral interface, and mineral) from untreated native soils and from soils which had been fertilized with nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) since 1989 (23 years) and 2006 (six years). Fertilized plots within the 1989 site received annual additions of 10 g N · m(-2) · year(-1) and 5 g P · m(-2) · year(-1). Within the 2006 site, two fertilizer regimes were established--one in which plots received 5 g N · m(-2) · year(-1) and 2.5 g P · m(-2) · year(-1) and one in which plots received 10 g N · m(-2) · year(-1) and 5 g P · m(-2) · year(-1). The fertilization treatments increased activities of enzymes hydrolyzing carbon (C)-rich compounds but decreased phosphatase activities, especially in the organic soils. Activities of two enzymes that degrade N-rich compounds were not affected by the fertilization treatments. The fertilization treatments increased ratios of enzyme activities degrading C-rich compounds to those for N-rich compounds or phosphate, which could lead to changes in SOM chemistry over the long term and to losses of soil C. Accelerated SOM decomposition caused by increased nutrient availability could significantly offset predicted increased C fixation via stimulated net primary productivity in Arctic tundra ecosystems. PMID:24204773

  10. Summer temperature increase has distinct effects on the ectomycorrhizal fungal communities of moist tussock and dry tundra in Arctic Alaska

    PubMed Central

    Morgado, Luis N; Semenova, Tatiana A; Welker, Jeffrey M; Walker, Marilyn D; Smets, Erik; Geml, József

    2015-01-01

    Arctic regions are experiencing the greatest rates of climate warming on the planet and marked changes have already been observed in terrestrial arctic ecosystems. While most studies have focused on the effects of warming on arctic vegetation and nutrient cycling, little is known about how belowground communities, such as fungi root-associated, respond to warming. Here, we investigate how long-term summer warming affects ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungal communities. We used Ion Torrent sequencing of the rDNA internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) region to compare ECM fungal communities in plots with and without long-term experimental warming in both dry and moist tussock tundra. Cortinarius was the most OTU-rich genus in the moist tundra, while the most diverse genus in the dry tundra was Tomentella. On the diversity level, in the moist tundra we found significant differences in community composition, and a sharp decrease in the richness of ECM fungi due to warming. On the functional level, our results indicate that warming induces shifts in the extramatrical properties of the communities, where the species with medium-distance exploration type seem to be favored with potential implications for the mobilization of different nutrient pools in the soil. In the dry tundra, neither community richness nor community composition was significantly altered by warming, similar to what had been observed in ECM host plants. There was, however, a marginally significant increase in OTUs identified as ECM fungi with the medium-distance exploration type in the warmed plots. Linking our findings of decreasing richness with previous results of increasing ECM fungal biomass suggests that certain ECM species are favored by warming and may become more abundant, while many other species may go locally extinct due to direct or indirect effects of warming. Such compositional shifts in the community might affect nutrient cycling and soil organic C storage. PMID:25156129

  11. Summer temperature increase has distinct effects on the ectomycorrhizal fungal communities of moist tussock and dry tundra in Arctic Alaska.

    PubMed

    Morgado, Luis N; Semenova, Tatiana A; Welker, Jeffrey M; Walker, Marilyn D; Smets, Erik; Geml, József

    2015-02-01

    Arctic regions are experiencing the greatest rates of climate warming on the planet and marked changes have already been observed in terrestrial arctic ecosystems. While most studies have focused on the effects of warming on arctic vegetation and nutrient cycling, little is known about how belowground communities, such as fungi root-associated, respond to warming. Here, we investigate how long-term summer warming affects ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungal communities. We used Ion Torrent sequencing of the rDNA internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) region to compare ECM fungal communities in plots with and without long-term experimental warming in both dry and moist tussock tundra. Cortinarius was the most OTU-rich genus in the moist tundra, while the most diverse genus in the dry tundra was Tomentella. On the diversity level, in the moist tundra we found significant differences in community composition, and a sharp decrease in the richness of ECM fungi due to warming. On the functional level, our results indicate that warming induces shifts in the extramatrical properties of the communities, where the species with medium-distance exploration type seem to be favored with potential implications for the mobilization of different nutrient pools in the soil. In the dry tundra, neither community richness nor community composition was significantly altered by warming, similar to what had been observed in ECM host plants. There was, however, a marginally significant increase in OTUs identified as ECM fungi with the medium-distance exploration type in the warmed plots. Linking our findings of decreasing richness with previous results of increasing ECM fungal biomass suggests that certain ECM species are favored by warming and may become more abundant, while many other species may go locally extinct due to direct or indirect effects of warming. Such compositional shifts in the community might affect nutrient cycling and soil organic C storage. PMID:25156129

  12. Deeper winter snow reduces ecosystem C losses but increases the global warming potential of Arctic tussock tundra over the growing season.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blanc-Betes, E.; Welker, J. M.; Gomez-Casanovas, N.; Gonzalez-Meler, M. A.

    2015-12-01

    Arctic winter precipitation is projected to increase globally over the next decades, spatial variability encompassing areas with increases and decreases in winter snow. Changes in winter precipitation strongly affect C dynamics in Arctic systems and may lead to major positive climate forcing feedbacks. However, impacts of predicted changes in snowfall and accumulation on the rate and form of C fluxes (CO2 and CH4) and associated forcing feedbacks from Arctic tundra remain uncertain. We investigated how changes in winter precipitation affect net ecosystem CO2 and CH4 fluxes and budgets of moist acidic tundra in an 18-yrs snow fence experiment over a complete growing season at Toolik Lake, AK. Arctic tundra under ambient winter precipitation (CTL) was a net source of CO2 and CH4, yielding net C losses over the growing season. Reduced snow (-15-30% snow depth; RS) switched the system to a net CO2 sink mostly by limiting SOC decomposition within colder soils. Snow additions progressively reduced net ecosystem CO2 losses compared to CTL, switching the system into a weaker net CO2 source with medium additions (+20-45% snow depth; MS) and into a small net CO2 sink with high additions (+70-100% snow depth; HS). Increasingly wetter soils with snow additions constrained the temperature sensitivity of aerobic decomposition and favored the anaerobic metabolism, buffering ecosystem CO2 losses despite substantial soil warming. Accordingly, Arctic tundra switched from a sustained CH4 sink at RS site to an increasingly stronger CH4 source with snow additions. Accounting for both CO2 and CH4, the RS site became a net C sink over the growing season, overall reducing the global warming potential (CO2 equiv.; GWP) of the system relative to CTL. Snow additions progressively reduced net C losses at the MS site compared to CTL and the system transitioned into a net C sink at HS plots, partly due to the slower metabolism of anaerobic decomposition. However, given the greater radiative

  13. Estimating Arctic Tundra Soil Water Content Variability and Relationship to Landscape Properties Using Above- and Below-Ground Imaging

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dafflon, B.; Hubbard, S. S.; Peterson, J.; Ulrich, C.; Oktem, R.; Curtis, J. B.; Tran, A. P.; Wu, Y.; Cable, W.; Romanovsky, V. E.

    2014-12-01

    Estimating the spatiotemporal distribution of soil water content is crucial for ecosystem understanding because of its strong influence on vegetation dynamics, surface-subsurface energy exchange, water and heat flux, microbial activity and biogeochemical mechanisms. In particular, quantifying Arctic ecosystem feedbacks to climate requires advances in monitoring soil moisture in sufficiently high resolution over modeling-relevant scales, and in understanding its coupling with landscape and soil characteristics. As part of the DOE Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE-Arctic) we investigated diverse strategies to estimate the soil water content spatial distribution in Arctic tundra using various proxies including electrical conductivity from electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) and from electromagnetic induction imaging, dielectric permittivity from time-domain reflectometery (TDR), and vegetation index from low-altitude multi-spectral imaging. In addition to occasional campaigns along a 500x40 m corridor, high temporal resolution is achieved through continuous monitoring of surface and subsurface dynamics along a 35 m transect using ERT, temperature loggers, TDR, and visible and NIR imaging from pole-based cameras. This was conducted at the NGEE Barrow, AK site. The results of this study inform on the complementary nature of and trade-offs between various approaches with regard to accuracy, resolution and coverage. In short, while point-scale measurements are relatively hard data, ERT data improves spatiotemporal monitoring of soil water content and state, and low-altitude aerial imaging can be used to extend predictions at larger scale using field-dependent relationships. Importantly, this study enables the identification of spatiotemporal links between soil and landscape properties (such as water inundation, vegetation, topography, thaw layer thickness, water content, temperature, and snow thickness). While some of these properties show strong co

  14. Increasing shrub abundance and N addition in Arctic tundra affect leaf and root litter decomposition differently

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McLaren, J.; van de Weg, M. J.; Shaver, G. R.; Gough, L.

    2013-12-01

    Changes in global climate have resulted in a ';greening' of the Arctic as the abundance of deciduous shrub species increases. Consequently, not only the living plant community, but also the litter composition changes, which in turn can affect carbon turnover patterns in the Arctic. We examined effects of changing litter composition (both root and leaf litter) on decomposition rates with a litter bag study, and specifically focused on the impact of deciduous shrub Betula nana litter on litter decomposition from two evergreen shrubs (Ledum palustre, and Vaccinium vitis-idaea) and one graminoid (Eriophorum vaginatum) species. Additionally, we investigated how decomposition was affected by nutrient availability by placing the litterbags in an ambient and a fertilized moist acidic tundra environment. Measurements were carried out seasonally over 2 years (after snow melt, mid-growing season, end growing season). We measured litter mass loss over time, as well as the respiration rates (standardized for temperature and moisture) and temperature sensitivity of litter respiration at the time of harvesting the litter bags. For leaves, Betula litter decomposed faster than the other three species, with Eriophorum leaves decomposing the slowest. This pattern was observed for both mass loss and litter respiration rates, although the differences in respiration became smaller over time. Surprisingly, combining Betula with any other species resulted in slower overall weight loss rates than would be predicted based on monoculture weight loss rates. This contrasted with litter respiration at the time of sampling, which showed a positive mixing effect of adding Betula leaf liter to the other species. Apparently, during the first winter months (September - May) Betula litter decomposition is negatively affected by mixing the species and this legacy can still be observed in the total mass loss results later in the year. For root litter there were fewer effects of species identity on root

  15. Improving understanding of controls on spatial variability in methane fluxes in Arctic tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davidson, Scott J.; Sloan, Victoria; Phoenix, Gareth; Wagner, Robert; Oechel, Walter; Zona, Donatella

    2015-04-01

    The Arctic is experiencing rapid climate change relative to the rest of the globe, and this increase in temperature has feedback effects across hydrological and thermal regimes, plant community distribution and carbon stocks within tundra soils. Arctic wetlands account for a significant amount of methane emissions from natural ecosystems to the atmosphere and with further permafrost degradation under a warming climate, these emissions are expected to increase. Methane (CH4) is an extremely important component of the global carbon cycle with a global warming potential 28.5 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 100 year time scale (IPCC, 2013). In order to validate carbon cycle models, modelling methane at broader landscape scales is needed. To date direct measurements of methane have been sporadic in time and space which, while capturing some key controls on the spatial heterogeneity, make it difficult to accurately upscale methane emissions to the landscape and regional scales. This study investigates what is controlling the spatial heterogeneity of methane fluxes across Arctic tundra. We combined over 300 portable chamber observations from 13 micro-topographic positions (with multiple vegetation types) across three locations spanning a 300km latitudinal gradient in Northern Alaska from Barrow to Ivotuk with synchronous measurements of environmental (soil temperature, soil moisture, water table, active layer thaw depth, pH) and vegetation (plant community composition, height, sedge tiller counts) variables to evaluate key controls on methane fluxes. To assess the diurnal variation in CH4 fluxes, we also performed automated chamber measurements in one study site (Barrow) location. Multiple statistical approaches (regression tree and multiple linear regression) were used to identify key controlling variables and their interactions. Methane emissions across all sites ranged from -0.08 to 15.3 mg C-CH4 m-2 hr-1. As expected, soil moisture was the main control

  16. Feedbacks between tall shrubland development and active layer temperatures in northwest Siberian arctic tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Epstein, H. E.; Frost, G. V.; Walker, D. A.; Matyshak, G.

    2013-12-01

    Permafrost soils are a globally significant carbon store, but changes in permafrost thermal regime observed in recent decades across much of the Arctic suggest that permafrost carbon balance is likely to change with continued climate warming. Critical to changes in permafrost carbon balance in a warmer world, however, are feedbacks between changes in the composition and density of surface vegetation, and the thermal state of permafrost. Shrub expansion has been widely observed in the northwest Siberian Low Arctic, but the magnitude and direction of shrub-induced impacts to permafrost temperature and stability remain poorly understood. Here we evaluate changes to active layer properties and thermal regime that occur during tall shrubland development (shrubs > 1.5 m height) within a northwest Siberian landscape dominated by well-developed, small-scale patterned ground features (e.g., non-sorted circles). We measured the annual time-series of soil temperature at 5 cm and 20 cm depth, and the structural attributes of vegetation at patterned-ground microsites across four stages of tall shrubland development: low-growing tundra lacking erect shrubs, newly-developed shrublands, mature shrublands, and paludified shrublands. Mean summer soil temperatures declined with increasing shrub cover and moss thickness, but winter soil temperatures increased with shrub development. Shrubland development strongly attenuated cryoturbation, promoting the establishment of complete vegetation cover and the development of a continuous organic mat. Increased vegetation cover, in turn, led to further reduced cryoturbation and an aggrading permafrost table. These observations indicate that tall shrub expansion that is now occurring in patterned-ground landscapes of the northwest Siberian Arctic may buffer permafrost from atmospheric warming, and increase carbon storage in these systems at least in the short term.

  17. Drivers of post-fire successional trajectories in arctic tundra: the importance of physical and biophysical interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rocha, A. V.; Jiang, Y.; Rastetter, E. B.; Drysdale, J.; Kremers, K.; Shaver, G. R.

    2013-12-01

    Fires in arctic tundra are rare with return intervals in the hundreds to thousands of years, but these events have large implications for carbon and energy fluxes in an environmentally changing and sensitive ecosystem. Permafrost degradation, species composition shifts, and ecosystem function alterations are just a few of the potential consequences of fire that could feedback on future climate change. Here we describe remote sensing, eddy covariance, thaw depth, and biomass measurements along an arctic tundra chronosequence to understand long-term post-fire carbon and energy budgets. Historical remote sensing and fire perimeter data were used to choose sites that were representative of a 0-6, 18, and 36 year old fire scar, which were paired with a representative nearby unburned control. Fires caused successional changes to carbon and energy budgets through changes to the soil thermal regime, caused by decreased organic layer from combustion, and shifts from tussock to grass and shrub dominated systems. Measurements and modeling with the Multiple Element Limitation (MEL) model indicate that nutrients played a key role in these shifts and that these dynamics change are controlled by biophysical conditions immediately after fire (i.e. residual organic layer depth) and climate during early succession. Results highlight the importance of initial conditions in determining the successional trajectory of arctic tundra and yield important insights on how these systems will respond to future climate change.

  18. Microbial iron oxidation in the Arctic tundra and its implications for biogeochemical cycling.

    PubMed

    Emerson, David; Scott, Jarrod J; Benes, Joshua; Bowden, William B

    2015-12-01

    The role that neutrophilic iron-oxidizing bacteria play in the Arctic tundra is unknown. This study surveyed chemosynthetic iron-oxidizing communities at the North Slope of Alaska near Toolik Field Station (TFS) at Toolik Lake (lat 68.63, long -149.60). Microbial iron mats were common in submerged habitats with stationary or slowly flowing water, and their greatest areal extent is in coating plant stems and sediments in wet sedge meadows. Some Fe-oxidizing bacteria (FeOB) produce easily recognized sheath or stalk morphotypes that were present and dominant in all the mats we observed. The cool water temperatures (9 to 11°C) and reduced pH (5.0 to 6.6) at all sites kinetically favor microbial iron oxidation. A microbial survey of five sites based on 16S rRNA genes found a predominance of Proteobacteria, with Betaproteobacteria and members of the family Comamonadaceae being the most prevalent operational taxonomic units (OTUs). In relative abundance, clades of lithotrophic FeOB composed 5 to 10% of the communities. OTUs related to cyanobacteria and chloroplasts accounted for 3 to 25% of the communities. Oxygen profiles showed evidence for oxygenic photosynthesis at the surface of some mats, indicating the coexistence of photosynthetic and FeOB populations. The relative abundance of OTUs belonging to putative Fe-reducing bacteria (FeRB) averaged around 11% in the sampled iron mats. Mats incubated anaerobically with 10 mM acetate rapidly initiated Fe reduction, indicating that active iron cycling is likely. The prevalence of iron mats on the tundra might impact the carbon cycle through lithoautotrophic chemosynthesis, anaerobic respiration of organic carbon coupled to iron reduction, and the suppression of methanogenesis, and it potentially influences phosphorus dynamics through the adsorption of phosphorus to iron oxides. PMID:26386054

  19. Microbial Iron Oxidation in the Arctic Tundra and Its Implications for Biogeochemical Cycling

    PubMed Central

    Scott, Jarrod J.; Benes, Joshua; Bowden, William B.

    2015-01-01

    The role that neutrophilic iron-oxidizing bacteria play in the Arctic tundra is unknown. This study surveyed chemosynthetic iron-oxidizing communities at the North Slope of Alaska near Toolik Field Station (TFS) at Toolik Lake (lat 68.63, long −149.60). Microbial iron mats were common in submerged habitats with stationary or slowly flowing water, and their greatest areal extent is in coating plant stems and sediments in wet sedge meadows. Some Fe-oxidizing bacteria (FeOB) produce easily recognized sheath or stalk morphotypes that were present and dominant in all the mats we observed. The cool water temperatures (9 to 11°C) and reduced pH (5.0 to 6.6) at all sites kinetically favor microbial iron oxidation. A microbial survey of five sites based on 16S rRNA genes found a predominance of Proteobacteria, with Betaproteobacteria and members of the family Comamonadaceae being the most prevalent operational taxonomic units (OTUs). In relative abundance, clades of lithotrophic FeOB composed 5 to 10% of the communities. OTUs related to cyanobacteria and chloroplasts accounted for 3 to 25% of the communities. Oxygen profiles showed evidence for oxygenic photosynthesis at the surface of some mats, indicating the coexistence of photosynthetic and FeOB populations. The relative abundance of OTUs belonging to putative Fe-reducing bacteria (FeRB) averaged around 11% in the sampled iron mats. Mats incubated anaerobically with 10 mM acetate rapidly initiated Fe reduction, indicating that active iron cycling is likely. The prevalence of iron mats on the tundra might impact the carbon cycle through lithoautotrophic chemosynthesis, anaerobic respiration of organic carbon coupled to iron reduction, and the suppression of methanogenesis, and it potentially influences phosphorus dynamics through the adsorption of phosphorus to iron oxides. PMID:26386054

  20. Changing the seasonality of an Arctic tundra ecosystem: earlier snowmelt and warmer temperatures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steltzer, H.; Weintraub, M. N.; Darrouzet-Nardi, A.; Melle, C.; Segal, A.; Sullivan, P.; Landry, C.; Wallenstein, M. D.

    2010-12-01

    In the Arctic and around the world, earlier plant growth is an indication that warmer temperatures or other global changes are changing the seasonality of the Earth’s ecosystems. To determine how changes in seasonality affect plant life histories and biogeochemical cycles in tussock tundra, we established a factorial experiment that includes two approaches to changing the seasonality of this ecosystem. In early May, we placed radiation absorbing fabric on the snow surface to accelerate the timing of snowmelt. We monitored the rate of snowmelt over a 10 day period and removed the fabric on the 10th day when the accelerated plots were 80% snowfree. Instrument arrays placed in the plots collected daily data that characterize an increase in energy absorption in these snowfree areas over the 4 day period prior to when control areas were snowfree. In addition, when the plots became snowfree we placed open-top-chambers in areas with and without accelerated snowmelt. The chambers increased air temperatures especially during mid-day early in the growing season. The instrument arrays included light sensors to monitor the plant community life history by observing surface greenness. Our results suggest that the plant community initiated growth earlier when snowmelt occurred earlier and that warming speeded the development of the plant canopy. However, plant species’ life history responses to these changes in seasonality were variable. Experimental alteration of the timing of plant life history events will provide a useful tool to examine controls on the seasonality of biogeochemical processes, such as nutrient availability to plants and nutrient limitation of decomposition. Accelerated snowmelt and warmer temperatures in tussock tundra, AK.

  1. Greening of the Arctic: Spatial and temporal (1982-2009) variation of circumpolar tundra NDVI and aboveground biomass

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walker, D. A.; Epstein, H. E.; Bhatt, U. S.; Raynolds, M. K.; Jia, G.; Comiso, J. C.; Pinzon, J.; Tucker, C. J.

    2010-12-01

    The Greening of the Arctic project examined the spatial and temporal variability of tundra productivity during field studies along two transects in North America and Russia and in circumpolar remote-sensing studies. Aboveground biomass of zonal vegetation was strongly correlated with summer air temperature along the North America transect (r2 > 0.8), but on the Yamal Peninsula, Russia, there was a nearly flat relationship with air temperature in the central part of the climate gradient. The more homogeneous nature of the Russian transect is caused by more consistent soil conditions, warmer than expected temperatures along the central part of the Russian transect, and the homogenizing effect of various landscape-scale disturbances including reindeer grazing and disturbances related to permafrost thawing. We examined the circumpolar spatial variability of the NDVI with respect to land temperatures and a suite of vegetation/terrain variables in a circumpolar geographic information system (GIS). Tests of sensitivity of NDVI to increases in summer temperature showed the largest percentage increases in NDVI will likely occur in northern partially-vegetated areas. A temporal analysis of maximum summer NDVI from 1982-2008 also indicated the ongoing changes have been strongest in the Far North. The percentage changes in the annual maximum NDVI were highest in the Baffin Bay, Beaufort Sea, Canadian Archipelago and Davis Strait areas (10-15% changes). The NDVI trends for most Arctic regions were highly positively correlated with the changes in summer land temperatures and negatively correlated with temporal changes in the near-shore early-summer sea-ice concentrations. Trends from these and several other lines of evidence point to a general increase in biomass across the Arctic during the period of satellite observations. The most rapid changes are occurring in the Far North. The impact of shrubification on these trends is probably greatest in the southern parts of the Arctic

  2. Spectral determination of concentrations of functionally diverse pigments in increasingly complex arctic tundra canopies.

    PubMed

    Boelman, Natalie T; Magney, Troy S; Logan, Barry A; Griffin, Kevin L; Eitel, Jan U H; Greaves, Heather; Prager, Case M; Vierling, Lee A

    2016-09-01

    As the Arctic warms, tundra vegetation is becoming taller and more structurally complex, as tall deciduous shrubs become increasingly dominant. Emerging studies reveal that shrubs exhibit photosynthetic resource partitioning, akin to forests, that may need accounting for in the "big leaf" net ecosystem exchange models. We conducted a lab experiment on sun and shade leaves from S. pulchra shrubs to determine the influence of both constitutive (slowly changing bulk carotenoid and chlorophyll pools) and facultative (rapidly changing xanthophyll cycle) pigment pools on a suite of spectral vegetation indices, to devise a rapid means of estimating within canopy resource partitioning. We found that: (1) the PRI of dark-adapted shade leaves (PRIo) was double that of sun leaves, and that PRIo was sensitive to variation among sun and shade leaves in both xanthophyll cycle pool size (V + A + Z) (r (2) = 0.59) and Chla/b (r (2) = 0.64); (2) A corrected PRI (difference between dark and illuminated leaves, ΔPRI) was more sensitive to variation among sun and shade leaves in changes to the epoxidation state of their xanthophyll cycle pigments (dEPS) (r (2) = 0.78, RMSE = 0.007) compared to the uncorrected PRI of illuminated leaves (PRI) (r (2) = 0.34, RMSE = 0.02); and (3) the SR680 index was correlated with each of (V + A + Z), lutein, bulk carotenoids, (V + A + Z)/(Chla + b), and Chla/b (r (2) range = 0.52-0.69). We suggest that ΔPRI be employed as a proxy for facultative pigment dynamics, and the SR680 for the estimation of constitutive pigment pools. We contribute the first Arctic-specific information on disentangling PRI-pigment relationships, and offer insight into how spectral indices can assess resource partitioning within shrub tundra canopies. PMID:27193900

  3. Contrasting radiation and soil heat fluxes in Arctic shrub and wet sedge tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Juszak, Inge; Eugster, Werner; Heijmans, Monique M. P. D.; Schaepman-Strub, Gabriela

    2016-07-01

    Vegetation changes, such as shrub encroachment and wetland expansion, have been observed in many Arctic tundra regions. These changes feed back to permafrost and climate. Permafrost can be protected by soil shading through vegetation as it reduces the amount of solar energy available for thawing. Regional climate can be affected by a reduction in surface albedo as more energy is available for atmospheric and soil heating. Here, we compared the shortwave radiation budget of two common Arctic tundra vegetation types dominated by dwarf shrubs (Betula nana) and wet sedges (Eriophorum angustifolium) in North-East Siberia. We measured time series of the shortwave and longwave radiation budget above the canopy and transmitted radiation below the canopy. Additionally, we quantified soil temperature and heat flux as well as active layer thickness. The mean growing season albedo of dwarf shrubs was 0.15 ± 0.01, for sedges it was higher (0.17 ± 0.02). Dwarf shrub transmittance was 0.36 ± 0.07 on average, and sedge transmittance was 0.28 ± 0.08. The standing dead leaves contributed strongly to the soil shading of wet sedges. Despite a lower albedo and less soil shading, the soil below dwarf shrubs conducted less heat resulting in a 17 cm shallower active layer as compared to sedges. This result was supported by additional, spatially distributed measurements of both vegetation types. Clouds were a major influencing factor for albedo and transmittance, particularly in sedge vegetation. Cloud cover reduced the albedo by 0.01 in dwarf shrubs and by 0.03 in sedges, while transmittance was increased by 0.08 and 0.10 in dwarf shrubs and sedges, respectively. Our results suggest that the observed deeper active layer below wet sedges is not primarily a result of the summer canopy radiation budget. Soil properties, such as soil albedo, moisture, and thermal conductivity, may be more influential, at least in our comparison between dwarf shrub vegetation on relatively dry patches and

  4. Long-Term Perspectives of Shrub Expansions and Peat Initiation in Arctic Tundra on the North Slope of Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cleary, K.; Yu, Z.

    2014-12-01

    The ongoing climate warming in the Arctic has caused rapid terrestrial ecosystem changes, including shrub expansion and permafrost thaw. Here we used results from a peat-accumulating permafrost tundra in upper Imnavait Creek on the Arctic foothills of Alaska (68° 36' N, 149° 18' W) to investigate ecological responses to recent climate warming in the context of the last millennium. Six peat soil cores were collected from Sphagnum mosaics along an elevational gradient from 906 m to 950 m on a hillslope covered by Eriophorum-dominated tussock tundra. Macrofossil analysis documents a consistent development sequence among all cores from a mineral soil to a minerotrophic sedge peat and finally to an ombrotrophic Sphagnum peat. The 14C dating results show the ages of peat initiation range from about 900 to 140 cal BP, but do not follow the elevation gradient, suggesting the dominant control of local factors. The Sphagnum onset begins at 1820 AD near the ridge top, and subsequently propagates downslope to the floodplain at 2008 AD. This transition (ombrotrophication) was likely in response to Arctic warming, and subsequent permafrost thaw and active layer thickening, leading to drying initiating at the ridge top and facilitating Sphagnum colonization. Pollen analysis of the master core UIC13-3 at 916 m elevation (basal age 700 cal BP) shows that the vegetation was dominated by sedges (up to 84%) during the cool Little Ice Age until 1800 AD, followed by increases in shrubs first from dwarf birch (Betula nana) (up to 57%) and then willows (Salix spp.) up to 62% in the 1960s. These results indicate that shrub expansion of willows, due to accelerated warming in recent decades, was preceded by birch expansion over the last two centuries. Our new results provide a long-term perspective on ecological transformations in the Arctic, in particular the history of recent shrub expansions and the process of peatland initiation and expansion across Arctic tundra.

  5. How Spatial Variation in Areal Extent and Configuration of Labile Vegetation States Affect the Riparian Bird Community in Arctic Tundra

    PubMed Central

    Henden, John-André; Yoccoz, Nigel G.; Ims, Rolf A.; Langeland, Knut

    2013-01-01

    The Arctic tundra is currently experiencing an unprecedented combination of climate change, change in grazing pressure by large herbivores and growing human activity. Thickets of tall shrubs represent a conspicuous vegetation state in northern and temperate ecosystems, where it serves important ecological functions, including habitat for wildlife. Thickets are however labile, as tall shrubs respond rapidly to both abiotic and biotic environmental drivers. Our aim was to assess how large-scale spatial variation in willow thicket areal extent, configuration and habitat structure affected bird abundance, occupancy rates and species richness so as to provide an empirical basis for predicting the outcome of environmental change for riparian tundra bird communities. Based on a 4-year count data series, obtained through a large-scale study design in low arctic tundra in northern Norway, statistical hierarchical community models were deployed to assess relations between habitat configuration and bird species occupancy and community richness. We found that species abundance, occupancy and richness were greatly affected by willow areal extent and configuration, habitat features likely to be affected by intense ungulate browsing as well as climate warming. In sum, total species richness was maximized in large and tall willow patches of small to intermediate degree of fragmentation. These community effects were mainly driven by responses in the occupancy rates of species depending on tall willows for foraging and breeding, while species favouring other vegetation states were not affected. In light of the predicted climate driven willow shrub encroachment in riparian tundra habitats, our study predicts that many bird species would increase in abundance, and that the bird community as a whole could become enriched. Conversely, in tundra regions where overabundance of large herbivores leads to decreased areal extent, reduced height and increased fragmentation of willow thickets

  6. Evaluating CO2 and CH4 fluxes in Arctic peatland and tundra using a satellite remote sensing driven biophysical model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Watts, J.; Kimball, J. S.; Parmentier, F. W.; Sachs, T.; Rinne, J.; Zona, D.; Oechel, W. C.; Tagesson, T.

    2013-12-01

    The Arctic terrestrial carbon sink is contingent on the balance between vegetation gross primary productivity (GPP) and emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). With climate change, warming temperatures could increase GPP within high latitude systems but may also accelerate soil decomposition and CO2 loss. Regional wetting may also shift carbon emissions towards greater CH4 release, a greenhouse gas at least 25 times more potent than CO2. However, an effective framework for monitoring changes in the Arctic net ecosystem carbon balance (NECB) is lacking. Here we introduce an integrated terrestrial carbon flux (TCF) model approach to estimate CO2 and CH4 fluxes from northern peatland and tundra ecosystems at a daily time step. The TCF model framework uses a light-use efficiency (LUE) algorithm to estimate GPP according to satellite NDVI inputs and estimated moisture and temperature constraints. Ecosystem respiration is derived using a three-pool soil organic carbon decomposition model regulated by surface (< 10 cm depth) soil temperature and volumetric moisture inputs. A TCF-CH4 component simulates gas production according to near-surface temperature, anaerobic soil fractions and labile soil carbon inputs derived during model spin-up. Plant transport, soil diffusion and ebullition pathways are used to regulate CH4 emissions into the atmosphere. The combined TCF CO2 and CH4 model was evaluated against tower eddy covariance (EC) flux datasets from six peatland and tundra sites in North America, Eurasia and Greenland. TCF model simulations driven with site information explained on average > 70% (r^2; p < 0.05) of the respective EC record 8-day cumulative CO2 and CH4 fluxes. The TCF results from model simulations using coarser satellite (MODIS 250-m resolution) and reanalysis (MERRA; 1/2 x 2/3° resolution) inputs were more variable, but captured the overall seasonality and magnitude of ecosystem carbon exchange. Model simulations of annual carbon fluxes

  7. Soil Carbon Vulnerability in Arctic Coastal Tundra: Seasonal and Spatial Variations in 14C-CO2

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, L. J.; Torn, M. S.; Conrad, M. E.; Curtis, J. B.; Hahn, M. S.

    2013-12-01

    One reason permafrost soils contain large, old soil organic carbon stores is slow decomposition rates due to cold and waterlogged conditions. If climate change causes high latitude soils to warm and dry, carbon emissions from permafrost soils could be an important atmospheric greenhouse gas source. The vulnerability of global Arctic soil carbon stocks to increased decomposition due to thaw is hard to assess, due to environmental heterogeneity, complex controls on microbial processes, uncertain carbon stocks and flux rates, and poorly understood soil carbon stabilization mechanisms. To address these knowledge gaps, we are using radiocarbon measurements to estimate carbon turnover times in polygonal tundra in Barrow, Alaska. Specifically, we ask: (1) how do old versus recently fixed soil carbon pools contribute to total decomposition, (2) how does this vary seasonally, and (3) how does it vary across a permafrost degradation gradient? Old radiocarbon ages of soil organic matter in perennially frozen soils and deep portions of the seasonally thawed active layer reflect slow historic decomposition rates, and changes in the radiocarbon content of respired CO2 indicate relative mineralization rates of this old, stored carbon. At four time points from June-October 2013, we sample soil organic matter and respired CO2 from low-centered, transitional, and high-centered polygons characteristic of a permafrost degradation cycle. We measure the radiocarbon content of CO2 in surface fluxes and soil pore space from 3 depths in the soil profile, and concurrently incubate active layer soils to resolve the 14C-CO2 signatures of individual soil layers. Preliminary data from 2012 suggest that old soil carbon stores are vulnerable to decomposition. CO2 ages increase with depth in the profile from modern radiocarbon ages to as old as 3115 BP, and high incubation flux rates indicate availability to microbes. As part of the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment (NGEE-Arctic), we now study

  8. The Effect of Silver Nanoparticles on Seasonal Change in Arctic Tundra Bacterial and Fungal Assemblages

    PubMed Central

    Kumar, Niraj; Palmer, Gerald R.; Shah, Vishal; Walker, Virginia K.

    2014-01-01

    The impact of silver nanoparticles (NPs) and microparticles (MPs) on bacterial and fungal assemblages was studied in soils collected from a low arctic site. Two different concentrations (0.066% and 6.6%) of Ag NPs and Ag MPs were tested in microcosms that were exposed to temperatures mimicking a winter to summer transition. Toxicity was monitored by differential respiration, phospholipid fatty acid analysis, polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and DNA sequencing. Notwithstanding the effect of Ag MPs, nanosilver had an obvious, additional impact on the microbial community, underscoring the importance of particle size in toxicity. This impact was evidenced by levels of differential respiration in 0.066% Ag NP-treated soil that were only half that of control soils, a decrease in signature bacterial fatty acids, and changes in both richness and evenness in bacterial and fungal DNA sequence assemblages. Prominent after Ag NP-treatment were Hypocreales fungi, which increased to 70%, from only 1% of fungal sequences under control conditions. Genera within this Order known for their antioxidant properties (Cordyceps/Isaria) dominated the fungal assemblage after NP addition. In contrast, sequences attributed to the nitrogen-fixing Rhizobiales bacteria appeared vulnerable to Ag NP-mediated toxicity. This combination of physiological, biochemical and molecular studies clearly demonstrate that Ag NPs can severely disrupt the natural seasonal progression of tundra assemblages. PMID:24926877

  9. The effect of silver nanoparticles on seasonal change in arctic tundra bacterial and fungal assemblages.

    PubMed

    Kumar, Niraj; Palmer, Gerald R; Shah, Vishal; Walker, Virginia K

    2014-01-01

    The impact of silver nanoparticles (NPs) and microparticles (MPs) on bacterial and fungal assemblages was studied in soils collected from a low arctic site. Two different concentrations (0.066% and 6.6%) of Ag NPs and Ag MPs were tested in microcosms that were exposed to temperatures mimicking a winter to summer transition. Toxicity was monitored by differential respiration, phospholipid fatty acid analysis, polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and DNA sequencing. Notwithstanding the effect of Ag MPs, nanosilver had an obvious, additional impact on the microbial community, underscoring the importance of particle size in toxicity. This impact was evidenced by levels of differential respiration in 0.066% Ag NP-treated soil that were only half that of control soils, a decrease in signature bacterial fatty acids, and changes in both richness and evenness in bacterial and fungal DNA sequence assemblages. Prominent after Ag NP-treatment were Hypocreales fungi, which increased to 70%, from only 1% of fungal sequences under control conditions. Genera within this Order known for their antioxidant properties (Cordyceps/Isaria) dominated the fungal assemblage after NP addition. In contrast, sequences attributed to the nitrogen-fixing Rhizobiales bacteria appeared vulnerable to Ag NP-mediated toxicity. This combination of physiological, biochemical and molecular studies clearly demonstrate that Ag NPs can severely disrupt the natural seasonal progression of tundra assemblages. PMID:24926877

  10. Hydrocarbon contamination of arctic tundra soils of the Bol'shoi Lyakhovskii Island (the Novosibirskie Islands)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kachinskii, V. L.; Zavgorodnyaya, Yu. A.; Gennadiev, A. N.

    2014-02-01

    Data on the distribution of the components of oil products that have accumulated in the arctic tundra soils of the Bol'shoi Lyakhovskii Island (the Novosibirskie Islands) under the impact of technogenic loads are analyzed. The examined soils differ in the vertical and lateral distribution patterns of the methanenaphthenic and naphthenic hydrocarbons and in the degree of their transformation. This is determined by the position of particular soils in the catenas and by the sorption of particular hydrocarbon compounds in the soils. The portion of light molecular-weight hydrocarbons in the upper horizons decreases by two-ten times in comparison with the deeper soil layers. In the lateral direction, the twofold difference in the contents of the methane-naphthenic and naphthenic hydrocarbons in the upper horizons is seen. The degree of transformation of the hydrocarbons under the impact of microbiological processes depends on the aeration conditions, the depth of permafrost table, the composition of oil products, and the soil organic matter content.

  11. Diurnal patterns of gas-exchange and metabolic pools in tundra plants during three phases of the arctic growing season

    PubMed Central

    Patankar, Rajit; Mortazavi, Behzad; Oberbauer, Steven F; Starr, Gregory

    2013-01-01

    Arctic tundra plant communities are subject to a short growing season that is the primary period in which carbon is sequestered for growth and survival. This period is often characterized by 24-h photoperiods for several months a year. To compensate for the short growing season tundra plants may extend their carbon uptake capacity on a diurnal basis, but whether this is true remains unknown. Here, we examined in situ diurnal patterns of physiological activity and foliar metabolites during the early, mid, and late growing season in seven arctic species under light-saturated conditions. We found clear diurnal patterns in photosynthesis and respiration, with midday peaks and midnight lulls indicative of circadian regulation. Diurnal patterns in foliar metabolite concentrations were less distinct between the species and across seasons, suggesting that metabolic pools are likely governed by proximate external factors. This understanding of diurnal physiology will also enhance the parameterization of process-based models, which will aid in better predicting future carbon dynamics for the tundra. This becomes even more critical considering the rapid changes that are occurring circumpolarly that are altering plant community structure, function, and ultimately regional and global carbon budgets. PMID:23467719

  12. Long-term experimental manipulation of winter snow regime and summer temperature in arctic and alpine tundra

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walker, M.D.; Walker, D. A.; Welker, J.M.; Arft, A.M.; Bardsley, T.; Brooks, P.D.; Fahnestock, J.T.; Jones, M.H.; Losleben, M.; Parsons, A.N.; Seastedt, T.R.; Turner, P.L.

    1999-01-01

    Three 60 m long, 2.8 m high snowfences have been erected to study long-term effects of changing winter snow conditions on arctic and alpine tundra. This paper describes the experimental design and short-term effects. Open-top fiberglass warming chambers are placed along the experimental snow gradients and in controls areas outside the fences; each warming plot is paired with an unwarmed plot. The purpose of the experiment is to examine short- and long-term changes to the integrated physical-biological systems under simultaneous changes of winter snow regime and summer temperature, as part of the Long-Term Ecological Research network and the International Tundra Experiment. The sites were at Niwot Ridge, Colorado, a temperate high altitude site in the Colorado Rockies, and Toolik Lake, Alaska, a high-latitude site. Initial results indicate that although experimental designs are essentially identical at the arctic and alpine sites, experimental effects are different. The drift at Niwot Ridge lasts much longer than do the Toolik Lake drifts, so that the Niwot Ridge fence affects both summer and winter conditions, whereas the Toolik Lake fence affects primarily winter conditions. The temperature experiment also differs in effect between the sites. Although the average temperature increase at the two sites is similar (daily increase 1.5??C at Toolik and 1.9??C at Niwot Ridge), at Toolik Lake there is only minor diurnal variation, whereas at Niwot Ridge the daytime increases are extreme on sunny days (as much as 7-10??C), and minimum nighttime temperatures in the chambers are often slightly cooler than ambient (by about 1??C). The experimental drifts resulted in wintertime increases in temperature and CO2 flux. Temperatures under the deep drifts were much more consistent and warmer than in control areas, and at Niwot Ridge remained very close to 0??C all winter. These increased temperatures were likely responsible for observed increases in system carbon loss. Initial

  13. Canopy Spectral Imaging (NDVI) As A Proxy For Shrub Biomass And Ecosystem Carbon Fluxes Across Arctic Tundra Habitats

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flower, C. E.; Welker, J. M.; Gonzalez-Meler, M. A.

    2015-12-01

    There is widespread consensus that climate change is contributing to rapid vegetation shifts in the ecologically sensitive Arctic tundra. These tussock grass dominated systems are shifting to tussock/woody shrub communities leading to likely alterations in carbon (C) sequestration and ecosystem productivity, which in turn can manifest in "greening" and changes in normalized difference vegetation index values (NDVI). While the expansion of woody vegetation is well established, our understanding of the ecosystem dynamics associated with this new habitat remain largely unknown. To untangle how the Arctic tundra may be impacted by these vegetation shifts we paired vegetation measurements (i.e. shrub biomass, leaf area, and shrub canopy area) and ecosystem C fluxes (e.g. net ecosystem exchange, NEE, and ecosystem respiration) with ground-level measurements of NDVI. Measurements were conducted at the Toolik Field Station in dry heath and moist acidic tundra habitats which are two primary habitat types on the North Slope of Alaska. We found strong positive relationships between shrub leaf area and biomass as well as shrub canopy area and biomass, relationships that were corroborated with NDVI measurements. This lends support for the use of NDVI as a proxy measurement of leaf area and shrub biomass. Additionally, NDVI was negatively correlated with ecosystem respiration across habitats, with respiratory fluxes consistently higher in the moist acidic relative to the dry heath tundra. Finally, we observed a significant positive nonlinear relationship between NEE and NDVI (R2~0.8; P<0.01). Shrub removal revealed that NEE was strongly controlled by woody shrubs. The positive relationship between NDVI and NEE highlights the potential shifts in the C balance of the Arctic tundra associated with woody encroachment. This increased plant productivity may offset greenhouse gas losses from permafrost degradation contributing some resilience to this system otherwise considered a

  14. Changing Seasonality in the Arctic and its Influences on Biogeochemical Processing in Tundra River Networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bowden, W. B.; Gooseff, M. N.; Wollheim, W. M.; Herstand, M. R.; Treat, C. C.; Whittinghill, K. A.; Wlostowski, A. N.

    2011-12-01

    One of the primary expressions of climate change in the arctic is a change in "seasonality"; i.e., changes in the timing, duration, and characteristics of the traditional arctic seasons. These changes are most likely to affect temperature and precipitation patterns but will have relatively little effect on the annual light regime. Temperature, precipitation, and light are crucial drivers in any ecosystem and so the potential that the relationships between these three master environmental variables will change in the future has important consequences. Our research addresses how river networks process critical nutrients (C, N, and P) delivered from land as they are transported to coastal zones. We are currently focusing on land-water interactions in headwater streams. As in any ecosystem, temperature strongly influences microbial processing in soils and thus net mineralization of organic nutrients. Nutrients made available by microbial processing in the soil will be used by vegetation as long as the vegetation actively grows. However, active growth by vegetation is highly dependent on the annual light regime, which is not changing substantially. Thus, as arctic seasonality changes there is a growing asynchrony developing between production of nutrients by soil microbes and the demand for nutrients by vegetation, with greater production of nutrients by temperature-dependent microbes than demand by light-dependent vegetation. It is reasonable to expect that the "excess" nutrients produced in this way will migrate to streams and we hypothesize that this seasonal subsidy may strongly influence the structure and function of arctic stream ecosystems. Previous stream research in the arctic largely ignored the spring and fall tail seasons. Preliminary findings indicate that the seasonal asynchrony has profound influences on nutrient concentrations and autotrophic biomass in arctic streams. We expect this to have important influences on key processes such as primary

  15. Two-source energy balance model implementation in the Alaska Arctic tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cristóbal-Rosselló, J.; Prakash, A.; Anderson, M. C.; Kustas, W. P.; Kane, D. L.

    2014-12-01

    Evaporation and transpiration are the two main processes involved in water transfer from vegetated and non-vegetated areas to the atmosphere. Evapotranspiration (ET) from the Earth's vegetation constitutes 88% of the total terrestrial ET, and returns more than 50% of terrestrial precipitation to the atmosphere (Oki and Kane, 2006); therefore it plays a key role in both the hydrological cycle and the energy balance of the land surface. In Arctic regions, surface-atmosphere exchanges due to ET are estimated from water balance computations to be about 74% of summer precipitation or 50% of annual precipitation. Even though ET is a significant component of the hydrologic cycle in this region, these bulk estimates do not accurately account for spatial and temporal variability due to vegetation type, topography, etc. (Kane and Yang, 2004). In this work we present the implementation of the Two-Source Energy Balance method, TSEB (Norman et al., 1995), in two Alaska Arctic tundra settings, as a base-line to retrieve energy fluxes at the regional scale from remote sensing imagery. In order to calibrate and validate the model, four flux towers located at the Imanvait Creek and the Anaktuvuk river were used. The TSEB model mainly requires meteorological inputs as well as land surface temperature (LST) and leaf area index (LAI) data. In this study, TSEB was run from late May to early September from 2008 to 2011 in all sky conditions using half hour intervals of meteorological data from the flux tower, and the LST derived from the four component net radiation instrument. TERRA/AQUA MODIS LAI daily product (MOD15/MYD15) was used as LAI input data. Results show an acceptable agreement between the TSEB model and flux tower data. RMSE obtained in the case of net radiation, latent heat, sensible heat and soil heat fluxes was 12, 51, 60 and 27 W/m2. Further efforts will be focused on the daily energy flux integration through implementation of the DTD model (Norman et al., 2000).

  16. Isotopic identification of soil and permafrost nitrate sources in an Arctic tundra ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heikoop, Jeffrey M.; Throckmorton, Heather M.; Newman, Brent D.; Perkins, George B.; Iversen, Colleen M.; Roy Chowdhury, Taniya; Romanovsky, Vladimir; Graham, David E.; Norby, Richard J.; Wilson, Cathy J.; Wullschleger, Stan D.

    2015-06-01

    The nitrate (NO3-) dual isotope approach was applied to snowmelt, tundra active layer pore waters, and underlying permafrost in Barrow, Alaska, USA, to distinguish between NO3- derived from atmospheric deposition versus that derived from microbial nitrification. Snowmelt had an atmospheric NO3- signal with δ15N averaging -4.8 ± 1.0‰ (standard error of the mean) and δ18O averaging 70.2 ± 1.7‰. In active layer pore waters, NO3- primarily occurred at concentrations suitable for isotopic analysis in the relatively dry and oxic centers of high-centered polygons. The average δ15N and δ18O of NO3- from high-centered polygons were 0.5 ± 1.1‰ and -4.1 ± 0.6‰, respectively. When compared to the δ15N of reduced nitrogen (N) sources, and the δ18O of soil pore waters, it was evident that NO3- in high-centered polygons was primarily from microbial nitrification. Permafrost NO3- had δ15N ranging from approximately -6‰ to 10‰, similar to atmospheric and microbial NO3-, and highly variable δ18O ranging from approximately -2‰ to 38‰. Permafrost ice wedges contained a significant atmospheric component of NO3-, while permafrost textural ice contained a greater proportion of microbially derived NO3-. Large-scale permafrost thaw in this environment would release NO3- with a δ18O signature intermediate to that of atmospheric and microbial NO3. Consequently, while atmospheric and microbial sources can be readily distinguished by the NO3- dual isotope technique in tundra environments, attribution of NO3- from thawing permafrost will not be straightforward. The NO3- isotopic signature, however, appears useful in identifying NO3- sources in extant permafrost ice.

  17. Site-level model intercomparison of high latitude and high altitude soil thermal dynamics in tundra and barren landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ekici, A.; Chadburn, S.; Chaudhary, N.; Hajdu, L. H.; Marmy, A.; Peng, S.; Boike, J.; Burke, E.; Friend, A. D.; Hauck, C.; Krinner, G.; Langer, M.; Miller, P. A.; Beer, C.

    2015-07-01

    Modeling soil thermal dynamics at high latitudes and altitudes requires representations of physical processes such as snow insulation, soil freezing and thawing and subsurface conditions like soil water/ice content and soil texture. We have compared six different land models: JSBACH, ORCHIDEE, JULES, COUP, HYBRID8 and LPJ-GUESS, at four different sites with distinct cold region landscape types, to identify the importance of physical processes in capturing observed temperature dynamics in soils. The sites include alpine, high Arctic, wet polygonal tundra and non-permafrost Arctic, thus showing how a range of models can represent distinct soil temperature regimes. For all sites, snow insulation is of major importance for estimating topsoil conditions. However, soil physics is essential for the subsoil temperature dynamics and thus the active layer thicknesses. This analysis shows that land models need more realistic surface processes, such as detailed snow dynamics and moss cover with changing thickness and wetness, along with better representations of subsoil thermal dynamics.

  18. Mediation of Fire-Climate Linkages by Vegetation Types in Alaskan Arctic Tundra Ecosystems: Impacts of Model Uncertainty on GCM-Based Forecasts of Future Fire Activity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Duffy, P.; Higuera, P. E.; Young, A. M.; Hu, F.; Dietze, M.

    2014-12-01

    Fire is a powerful landscape scale disturbance agent in tundra ecosystems. Impacts on biophysical properties (e.g. albedo) and biogeochemical function (e.g. carbon flux) underscore the need to better quantify fire-climate linkages in tundra ecosystems as climate change accelerates at northern high latitudes. In this context, a critical question is "How does the functional linkage between climate and fire vary across spatial domains dominated by different vegetation types?" We address this question with BLM-Alaska Fire Service area burned data (http://fire.ak.blm.gov/predsvcs/maps.php) used in conjunction with downscaled historical climate data from the Scenarios Network for Alaska Planning (http://www.snap.uaf.edu/data.php) to develop gradient boosting models of annual area burned in Alaska tundra ecosystems. The sparse historical fire records in the Arctic necessitate explicit quantification of model uncertainty associated with the development of statistical analyses. In this work, model uncertainty is depicted through the construction of separate models depicting fire-climate relationships for regions defined by the graminoid, shrub, and wetland tundra vegetation classes (Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map: http://www.geobotany.uaf.edu/cavm/). Non-linear relationships between annual area burned and climate variables are depicted with partial dependence functions. Our results show that vegetation-specific models result in different non-linear relationships between climate and fire. Precipitation variables generally had higher relative influence scores than temperature; however, differences between the magnitude of the scores were greater when models were built with monthly (versus seasonal) explanatory variables. Key threshold values for climate variables are identified. The impact of model uncertainty on forecasts of future fire activity was quantified using output from five different AR5/CMIP5 General Circulation Models. Model uncertainty corresponding to

  19. Effect of Thaw Depth on Fluxes of CO2 and CH4 in Manipulated Arctic Coastal Tundra of Barrow, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Y.

    2014-12-01

    Changes in CO2 and CH4 emissions represent one of the most significant consequences of drastic climate change in the Arctic, by way of thawing permafrost, a deepened active layer, and decline of thermokarst lakes in the Arctic. This study conducted flux-measurements of CO2 and CH4, as well as environmental factors such as temperature, moisture, and thaw depth, as part of a water table manipulation experiment in the Arctic coastal plain tundra of Barrow, Alaska during autumn. The manipulation treatment consisted of draining, controlling, and flooding treated sections by adjusting standing water. Inundation increased CH4 emission by a factor of 4.3 compared to non-flooded sections. This may be due to the decomposition of organic matter under a limited oxygen environment by saturated standing water. On the other hand, CO2 emission in the dry section was 3.9-fold higher than in others. CH4 emission tends to increase with deeper thaw depth, which strongly depends on the water table; however, CO2 emission is not related to thaw depth. Quotients of global warming potential (GWPCO2) (dry/control) and GWPCH4 (wet/control) increased by 464 and 148 %, respectively, and GWPCH4 (dry/control) declined by 66 %. This suggests that CO2 emission in a drained section is enhanced by soil and ecosystem respiration, and CH4 emission in a flooded area is likely stimulated under an anoxic environment by inundated standing water. The findings of this manipulation experiment during the autumn period demonstrate the different production processes of CO2 and CH4, as well as different global warming potentials, coupled with change in thaw depth. Thus the outcomes imply that the expansion of tundra lakes leads the enhancement of CH4 release, and the disappearance of the lakes causes the stimulated CO2 production in response to the Arctic climate change.

  20. Effect of thaw depth on fluxes of CO₂ and CH₄ in manipulated Arctic coastal tundra of Barrow, Alaska.

    PubMed

    Kim, Yongwon

    2015-02-01

    Changes in CO₂ and CH₄ emissions represent one of the most significant consequences of drastic climate change in the Arctic, by way of thawing permafrost, a deepened active layer, and decline of thermokarst lakes in the Arctic. This study conducted flux-measurements of CO₂ and CH₄, as well as environmental factors such as temperature, moisture, and thaw depth, as part of a water table manipulation experiment in the Arctic coastal plain tundra of Barrow, Alaska during autumn. The manipulation treatment consisted of draining, controlling, and flooding treated sections by adjusting standing water. Inundation increased CH₄ emission by a factor of 4.3 compared to non-flooded sections. This may be due to the decomposition of organic matter under a limited oxygen environment by saturated standing water. On the other hand, CO₂ emission in the dry section was 3.9-fold higher than in others. CH₄ emission tends to increase with deeper thaw depth, which strongly depends on the water table; however, CO₂ emission is not related to thaw depth. Quotients of global warming potential (GWPCO₂) (dry/control) and GWPCH₄ (wet/control) increased by 464 and 148%, respectively, and GWPCH₄ (dry/control) declined by 66%. This suggests that CO₂ emission in a drained section is enhanced by soil and ecosystem respiration, and CH₄ emission in a flooded area is likely stimulated under an anoxic environment by inundated standing water. The findings of this manipulation experiment during the autumn period demonstrate the different production processes of CO₂ and CH₄, as well as different global warming potentials, coupled with change in thaw depth. Thus the outcomes imply that the expansion of tundra lakes leads the enhancement of CH₄ release, and the disappearance of the lakes causes the stimulated CO₂ production in response to the Arctic climate change. PMID:25461040

  1. An eddy covariance network to investigate post-fire carbon and energy dynamics in remote regions of Alaskan arctic tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rocha, A. V.; Shaver, G. R.; Rastetter, E.; Jiang, Y.

    2012-12-01

    The Alaskan arctic is experiencing pronounced changes such as fires, increased shrub cover, and permafrost thaw that are the result of increased air temperatures. Quantifying the effect of these changes on arctic carbon and energy fluxes is difficult because the Arctic is remote and difficult to access throughout the year. Here we report on an experimental design that uses a roving eddy covariance network, remote sensing, and model data fusion to determine post-fire effects on carbon and energy exchange over hours to decadal timescales in Alaskan arctic tundra. We describe the approach, challenges and goals of this project, and present some preliminary data. Our approach incorporated a number of sites along an Alaskan tundra fire chronosequence, and paired fire scars of different age with an unburned control. Challenges included; limited site access and power, communication and data acquisition, spatial variability, and missing data. We approached these challenges in a variety of ways, including; assessing spatial variability with MODIS data and roving towers, comparing burned to nearby unburned sites, harvesting biomass to understand decadal carbon recovery, and developing models that incorporate remotely sensed, eddy covariance, and biomass data. Our experimental design provides a test-bed for assessing large-scale variability across time and space, which is critical for understanding the role of disturbance on regional carbon and energy fluxes. Conceptual framework for our study. Field measurements will encompass both fast [top of hatched line] to slow [bottom of hatched line] ecosystem processes and states along a fire chronosequence [1] that will be assimilated into a fast and slow response model framework through model-data fusion [2], and used to scale up to the North Slope with MODIS data [3].

  2. Multi-annual Turbulent Energy Fluxes in the Lena River Delta: Eddy Covariance and Remote Sensing in Siberian Arctic Tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Runkle, B.; Wille, C.; Langer, M.; Boike, J.; Sachs, T.; Pfeiffer, E. M.; Kutzbach, L.

    2015-12-01

    Evapotranspiration (ET) is a key component of the energy and water balances in permafrost tundra, establishing hydrological conditions for the next year and controlling several aspects of the carbon cycle. Both the energy balance and hydrological conditions of the landscape surface are important drivers of how Arctic climate change will impact landscape processes, including the carbon feedback. The accurate measurement of evapotranspiration within an energy balance context therefore provides crucial information on ecosystem functioning and raises our predictive capacity for estimating the impact of climate change. In this study we report field measurements from 13 summers (2002-14) using the eddy covariance method in a lowland ice-wedge polygon landscape within Russia's Lena River Delta. These time-series are gap-filled and extrapolated with both statistical and process-based models to generate estimates of growing season ET. We find that interannual differences - including two August periods with high ET and two with low ET - are locally driven more by changes in air temperature and vapor pressure deficit (VPD) than in land surface characteristics or radiation. Except for periods of high VPD, aerodynamic resistance was greater than canopy surface resistance. We explore predictive relationships between various land surface indicators (e.g., NDVI, LAI, LST, Growing season length) derived from remote sensing products (MODIS) to quantify local mechanisms necessary for upscaling to the Delta region. Nighttime land surface temperature (MODIS) is found to be a strong predictor of evaporative flux at weekly to monthly time scales. Contrary to expectations resulting from climate change studies, we do not see evidence of a sustained interannual trend in ET or sensible heat flux. We conclude with implications for the local energy balance and responses to changes in sea ice extent and a warming climate.

  3. Fire, temperature and nutrient responses on the C balance of arctic tundra soils from surface, mineral horizons and permafrost

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    De Baets, S. L.; Lewis, R.; van de Weg, M. J.; Quine, T. A.; Shaver, G. R.; Hartley, I. P.

    2013-12-01

    . Labile C additions promoted the decomposition of soil organic matter in the deep soil samples, but not in the surface samples, with the positive priming effect being lost following N addition. This study indicates that there is the potential for considerable loss of C following the thaw of near-surface permafrost in Alaskan tussock tundra, although the C present may be slightly less readily decomposable than C stored nearer the surface. The decomposition of near-surface permafrost C was shown to be highly temperature sensitive and thus accurately simulating the soil thermal regime post-thaw is likely to be important in predicting rates of C release. In addition, root colonisation of previously frozen horizons may stimulate decomposition if labile C inputs increase. On the other hand, the inhibition of activity by N addition suggests that the positive feedback associated with reduced microbial N limitation in a warming Arctic may not be ubiquitous.

  4. Isotopic identification of soil and permafrost nitrate sources in an Arctic tundra ecosystem

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Heikoop, Jeffrey M.; Throckmorton, Heather M.; Newman, Brent D.; Perkins, George B.; Iversen, Colleen M.; Chowdhury, Taniya Roy; Romanovsky, Vladimir; Graham, David E.; Norby, Richard J.; Wilson, Cathy J.; et al

    2015-05-13

    The nitrate (NO3–) dual isotope approach was applied to snowmelt, tundra active layer pore waters, and underlying permafrost in Barrow, Alaska, USA, to distinguish between NO3– derived from atmospheric deposition versus that derived from microbial nitrification.

  5. Isotopic identification of soil and permafrost nitrate sources in an Arctic tundra ecosystem

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Heikoop, Jeffrey M.; Throckmorton, Heather M.; Newman, Brent D.; Perkins, George B.; Iversen, Colleen M.; Chowdhury, Taniya Roy; Romanovsky, Vladimir E.; Graham, David E.; Norby, Richard J.; Wilson, Cathy J.; et al

    2015-06-08

    The nitrate (NO₃⁻) dual isotope approach was applied to snowmelt, tundra active layer pore waters, and underlying permafrost in Barrow, Alaska, USA, to distinguish between NO₃⁻ derived from at NO₃⁻ signal with δ¹⁵N averaging –4.8 ± 1.0‰ (standard error of the mean) and δ¹⁸O averaging 70.2 ±1.7‰. In active layer pore waters, NO₃⁻ primarily occurred at concentrations suitable for isotopic analysis in the relatively dry and oxic centers of high-centered polygons. The average δ¹⁵N and δ¹⁸O of NO₃⁻ from high-centered polygons were 0.5 ± 1.1‰ and –4.1 ± 0.6‰, respectively. When compared to the δ¹⁵N of reduced nitrogen (N) sources,more » and the δ¹⁸O of soil pore waters, it was evident that NO₃⁻ in high-centered polygons was primarily from microbial nitrification. Permafrost NO₃⁻ had δ¹⁵N ranging from approximately –6‰ to 10‰, similar to atmospheric and microbial NO₃⁻, and highly variable δ¹⁸O ranging from approximately –2‰ to 38‰. Permafrost ice wedges contained a significant atmospheric component of NO₃⁻, while permafrost textural ice contained a greater proportion of microbially derived NO₃⁻. Large-scale permafrost thaw in this environment would release NO₃⁻ with a δ¹⁸O signature intermediate to that of atmospheric and microbial NO₃. Consequently, while atmospheric and microbial sources can be readily distinguished by the NO₃⁻ dual isotope technique in tundra environments, attribution of NO₃⁻ from thawing permafrost will not be straightforward. The NO₃⁻ isotopic signature, however, appears useful in identifying NO₃⁻ sources in extant permafrost ice.« less

  6. Isotopic identification of soil and permafrost nitrate sources in an Arctic tundra ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Heikoop, Jeffrey M.; Throckmorton, Heather M.; Newman, Brent D.; Perkins, George B.; Iversen, Colleen M.; Chowdhury, Taniya Roy; Romanovsky, Vladimir E.; Graham, David E.; Norby, Richard J.; Wilson, Cathy J.; Wullschleger, Stan D.

    2015-06-08

    The nitrate (NO₃⁻) dual isotope approach was applied to snowmelt, tundra active layer pore waters, and underlying permafrost in Barrow, Alaska, USA, to distinguish between NO₃⁻ derived from at NO₃⁻ signal with δ¹⁵N averaging –4.8 ± 1.0‰ (standard error of the mean) and δ¹⁸O averaging 70.2 ±1.7‰. In active layer pore waters, NO₃⁻ primarily occurred at concentrations suitable for isotopic analysis in the relatively dry and oxic centers of high-centered polygons. The average δ¹⁵N and δ¹⁸O of NO₃⁻ from high-centered polygons were 0.5 ± 1.1‰ and –4.1 ± 0.6‰, respectively. When compared to the δ¹⁵N of reduced nitrogen (N) sources, and the δ¹⁸O of soil pore waters, it was evident that NO₃⁻ in high-centered polygons was primarily from microbial nitrification. Permafrost NO₃⁻ had δ¹⁵N ranging from approximately –6‰ to 10‰, similar to atmospheric and microbial NO₃⁻, and highly variable δ¹⁸O ranging from approximately –2‰ to 38‰. Permafrost ice wedges contained a significant atmospheric component of NO₃⁻, while permafrost textural ice contained a greater proportion of microbially derived NO₃⁻. Large-scale permafrost thaw in this environment would release NO₃⁻ with a δ¹⁸O signature intermediate to that of atmospheric and microbial NO₃. Consequently, while atmospheric and microbial sources can be readily distinguished by the NO₃⁻ dual isotope technique in tundra environments, attribution of NO₃⁻ from thawing permafrost will not be straightforward. The NO₃⁻ isotopic signature, however, appears useful in identifying NO₃⁻ sources in extant permafrost ice.

  7. Aboveground and belowground responses to nutrient additions and herbivore exclusion in Arctic tundra ecosystems in northern Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moore, J. C.; Gough, L.; Simpson, R.; Johnson, D. R.

    2011-12-01

    The Arctic has experienced significant increased regional warming over the past 30 years. Warming generally increases tundra soil nutrient availability by creating a more favorable environment for plant growth, decomposition and nutrient mineralization. Aboveground there has been a "greening" of the Arctic with increased net primary productivity (NPP), and an increase in woody vegetation. Concurrent with the changes aboveground has been an increase in root growth at lower depths and a loss of soil organic C (40 -100 g C m-2 yr-1). Given that arctic soils contain 14% of the global soil C pool, understanding the mechanisms behind shifts of this magnitude that are changing arctic soils from a net sink to a net source of atmospheric C is critical. We took an integrated multi-trophic level approach to examine how altering soil nutrients and mammalian herbivore activity affects vegetation, soil fauna, and microbial communities as well as soil physical characteristics in moist acidic (MAT) and dry heath (DH) tundra. Our work was conducted at the Arctic LTER site in northern Alaska. We sampled the nutrient (controls and annual N+P additions) and herbivore (controls and exclosures) manipulations established in 1996 after 10 years of treatment. Models that incorporated the biomass estimates from the field were used to characterize the trophic structure of the belowground food web and to estimate carbon flux among soil organisms and C-mineralization rates. Both MAT and DH exhibited significant increases in NPP and root growth and changes in vegetation structure with transitions from a mixed community to deciduous shrubs in MAT and from lichens to grasses and shrubs in DH, with nutrient additions and herbivore exclosures. Belowground responses to the treatments were dependent on ecosystem type, but exposed alterations in trophic structure that included changes in microbial biomass, the establishment of microbivorous enchytreaids, increases in root-feeding nematodes, and

  8. Net carbon exchange across the Arctic tundra-boreal forest transition in Alaska 1981-2000

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Thompson, Catharine Copass; McGuire, A.D.; Clein, J.S.; Chapin, F. S., III; Beringer, J.

    2006-01-01

    Shifts in the carbon balance of high-latitude ecosystems could result from differential responses of vegetation and soil processes to changing moisture and temperature regimes and to a lengthening of the growing season. Although shrub expansion and northward movement of treeline should increase carbon inputs, the effects of these vegetation changes on net carbon exchange have not been evaluated. We selected low shrub, tall shrub, and forest tundra sites near treeline in northwestern Alaska, representing the major structural transitions expected in response to warming. In these sites, we measured aboveground net primary production (ANPP) and vegetation and soil carbon and nitrogen pools, and used these data to parameterize the Terrestrial Ecosystem Model. We simulated the response of carbon balance components to air temperature and precipitation trends during 1981-2000. In areas experiencing warmer and dryer conditions, Net Primary Production (NPP) decreased and heterotrophic respiration (R H ) increased, leading to a decrease in Net Ecosystem Production (NEP). In warmer and wetter conditions NPP increased, but the response was exceeded by an increase in R H ; therefore, NEP also decreased. Lastly, in colder and wetter regions, the increase in NPP exceeded a small decline in R H , leading to an increase in NEP. The net effect for the region was a slight gain in ecosystem carbon storage over the 20 year period. This research highlights the potential importance of spatial variability in ecosystem responses to climate change in assessing the response of carbon storage in northern Alaska over the last two decades. ?? Springer 2005.

  9. Seasonality of Air-sea-ice-land Variables for Arctic Tundra in Northern Eurasia and North America

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bhatt, U. S.; Walker, D. A.; Raynolds, M. K.; Steele, M.; Epstein, H.; Jia, G.; Comiso, J. C.; Pinzon, J. E.; Tucker, C. J.

    2009-12-01

    The strength of tundra productivity trends as measured by the annual maximum Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (MaxNDVI) and time integrated NDVI (TI-NDVI) vary around the Arctic over the 1982-2008 period. Our analysis suggests that the timing of terrestrial vegetation growth is connected to seasonal patterns of sea-ice concentrations, ocean temperatures and land surface temperatures. This study used SSMI estimates of sea ice concentration, based on a bootstrap algorithm and AVHRR radiometric surface temperature. Summer Warmth Index (SWI) was calculated as the sum from May to August of the degree months above freezing of surface temperature at each pixel and is an accepted measure of plant growth potential. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) represents vegetation greenness and has been used extensively to monitor changes in the Arctic. The albedo of green plants varies with solar radiation wavelength, which is the basis for the NDVI index. The analysis was conducted within 50 km of the Arctic coastline to focus on the region of maximum maritime influence. Time series of regional sea-ice concentration, SWI and NDVI were constructed for the 50-km width domains for the Pan-Arctic, North America, Eurasia and Arctic subregions. Standard climate analysis techniques were applied to the regional time series to investigate the seasonality of sea ice, NDVI and SWI. MaxNDVI has increased in the 50-km land domain contiguous to the Beaufort Sea by 17% since 1982, whereas it has only increased by 3% in the coastal Kara Sea region. Analysis of semimonthly MaxNDVI indicates that the vegetation greens up more rapidly in the spring in the Beaufort than the W. Kara and the Kara has slightly higher NDVI in the fall. The climatological weekly sea ice concentrations in 50-km coastal domain displays an earlier breakup in the Beaufort and a later freeze-up in the Kara Sea area. Regional differences in the seasonal cycle can in part explain the spatially varied trends

  10. Controls over nutrient flow through plants and microbes in Arctic tundra. Final technical report

    SciTech Connect

    Chapin, F.S. III

    1995-01-01

    We successfully developed a series of models to explore the importance of species differences in phenologies of growth and nitrogen uptake to competitive interactions in upland tussock tundra. We developed growth models for 4 major tussock tundra species, based on observed growth rates and phenologies. We found that differences in phenology and nutrient use strategy could permit coexistence of some, but not all of the tundra plants modeled. The plant that was the best competitor, because of its rapid growth rate and superior ability to retranslocate nitrogen, may be naturally limited in its competitive ability by its tussock growth form. The mechanisms behind this limitation, and the contributions of patterns of mortality to observed production, will be explored in future modeling and experimental studies. In addition, our models point out that our understanding of the dynamics of nitrogen supply is still inadequate.

  11. Monitoring ecosystem dynamics in an Arctic tundra ecosystem using hyperspectral reflectance and a robotic tram system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goswami, Santonu

    ) Is NDVI a good predictor for aboveground biomass and leaf area index (LAI) for plant species that are common in an arctic landscape? (4) How can cyberinfrastructure tools be developed to optimize ground-based remote sensing data collection, management and processing associated with a large scale experimental infrastructure? The Biocomplexity project experimentally manipulated the water table (drained, flooded, and control treatments) of a vegetated thaw lake basin to investigate the effects of altered hydrology on land-atmosphere carbon balance. In each experimental treatment, hyperspectral reflectance data were collected in the visible and near IR range of the spectrum using a robotic tram system that operated along a 300m tramline during the snow free growing period between June and August 2005-09. Water table depths (WTD) and soil volumetric water content were also collected along these transects. During 2005-2007, measurements were made without experimental treatments. Experimental treatments were run in 2008 and 2009, which involved water table being raised (+10cm) and lowered (-10cm) in flooding and draining treatments respectively. A new spectral index, the normalized difference surface water index (NDSWI) was developed and tested at multiple spatial and temporal scales. NDSWI uses the 460nm (blue) and 1000nm (IR) bands and was to capture surface hydrological dynamics in the study area using the robotic tram system. When applied to high spatial resolution satellite imagery, NDSWI was also able to capture changes in surface hydrology at the landscape scale. Interannual patterns of land-surface phenology (measured with the normalized difference vegetation index - NDVI) unexpectedly lacked marked differences under experimental conditions. Measurement of NDVI was, however, compromised when WTD was above ground level. NDVI and NDSWI were negatively correlated when WTD was above ground level, which held when scaled to MODIS imagery collected from satellite

  12. Soil and Plant Mercury Concentrations and Pools in the Arctic Tundra of Northern Alaska by Hedge Christine, Obrist Daniel, Agnan Yannick, Moore Christopher, Biester Harald, Helmig Detlev

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hedge, C.; Agnan, Y.

    2015-12-01

    We present vegetation, soil and runoff mercury (Hg) concentrations and pool sizes in vegetation and soils at several arctic tundra sites, an area that represents <7 x 106 km2 of land surface globally. The primary measurement location is at Toolik Field Station (TFS, 68° 38' N) in northern Alaska, with additional samples collected along a transect from TFS to the Arctic Ocean, and in Noatak National Preserve to be collected in August 2015. Soil and vegetation samples from all sites will be analyzed for total Hg concentration, pH, soil texture, bulk density, soil moisture content, organic and total carbon (C), nitrogen, along with major and trace elements. Initial results already obtained from TFS (characterized as moist to wet tundra with Typic Aquiturbel soils) show Hg concentrations in tundra vegetation (112±15 μg kg-1) and organic soil (140±8 μg kg-1) similar to those found in temperate sites. Calculation of plant-based Hg deposition rates by litterfall of 17.3 μg kg-1 yr-1 were surprisingly high, exceeding all other Hg deposition fluxes at this site. Hg concentrations in mineral soils (95±3 μg kg-1) were 2-3 times higher than those found at temperate sites. Hg concentrations showed weak relationships to organic C concentrations contrasting patterns from temperate soils where concentrations typically decline with depth following lower organic carbon contents. In fact, vertical mass profiles of Hg showed a strong increase with depth, with mineral layers storing over 90% (200-500 g ha-1) of Hg within these soils. A principle component analysis including major and trace elements indicated that soil Hg was not of lithogenic origin but from atmospheric sources, possibly by long-range transport. Carbon-14 dating results showed over 7,000 years old organic carbon in mineral soils of the active layer where highest concentrations of soil Hg were observed, suggesting long term retention of atmospheric Hg. These patterns suggest vertical translocation of Hg from the

  13. Isotopic identification of soil and permafrost nitrate sources in an Arctic tundra ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Heikoop, Jeffrey M.; Throckmorton, Heather M.; Newman, Brent D.; Perkins, George B.; Iversen, Colleen M.; Chowdhury, Taniya Roy; Romanovsky, Vladimir; Graham, David E.; Norby, Richard J.; Wilson, Cathy J.; Wullschleger, Stan D.

    2015-05-13

    The nitrate (NO3) dual isotope approach was applied to snowmelt, tundra active layer pore waters, and underlying permafrost in Barrow, Alaska, USA, to distinguish between NO3 derived from atmospheric deposition versus that derived from microbial nitrification.

  14. Correlations between the Heterogeneity of Permafrost Thaw Depth and Vegetation in Boreal Forests and Arctic Tundra in Alaska.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Uy, K. L. Q.; Natali, S.; Kholodov, A. L.; Loranty, M. M.

    2015-12-01

    Global climate change induces rapid large scale changes in the far Northern regions of the globe, which include the thickening of the active layer of arctic and subarctic soils. Active layer depth, in turn, drives many changes to the hydrology and geochemistry of the soil, making an understanding of this layer essential to boreal forest and arctic tundra ecology. Because the structure of plant communities can affect the thermal attributes of the soil, they may drive variations in active layer depth. For instance, trees and tussocks create shade, which reduces temperatures, but also hold snow, which increases temperature through insulation; these aspects of vegetation can increase or decrease summer thaw. The goal of this project is to investigate correlations between the degree of heterogeneity of active layer depths, organic layer thickness, and aboveground vegetation to determine how these facets of Northern ecosystems interact at the ecosystem scale. Permafrost thaw and organic layer depths were measured along 20m transects in twenty-four boreal forest and tundra sites in Alaska. Aboveground vegetation along these transects was characterized by measuring tree diameter at breast height (DBH), tussock dimensions, and understory biomass. Using the coefficient of variation as a measure of heterogeneity, we found a positive correlation between thaw depth variability and tussock volume variability, but little correlation between the former and tree DBH variability. Soil organic layer depth variability was also positively correlated with thaw depth variability, but weakly correlated with tree and tussock heterogeneity. These data suggest that low vegetation and organic layer control the degree of variability in permafrost thaw at the ecosystem scale. Vegetation can thus affect the microtopography of permafrost and future changes in the plant community that affect vegetation heterogeneity will drive corresponding changes in the variability of the soil.

  15. The Role of Explicitly Modeling Bryophytes in Simulating Carbon Exchange and Permafrost Dynamics of an Arctic Coastal Tundra at Barrow, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yuan, F.; Thornton, P. E.; McGuire, A. D.; Oechel, W. C.; Yang, B.; Tweedie, C. E.; Rogers, A.; Norby, R. J.

    2013-12-01

    Bryophyte cover is greater than 50% in many Arctic tundra ecosystems. In regions of the Arctic where shrubs are expanding it is expected that bryophyte cover will be substantially reduced. Such a loss in cover could influence the hydrological, biogeochemical, and permafrost dynamics of Arctic tundra ecosystems. The explicit representation of bryophyte physiological and biophysical processes in large-scale ecological and land surface models is rare, and we hypothesize that the representation of bryophytes has consequences for estimates of the exchange of water, energy, and carbon by these models. This study explicitly represents the effects of bryophyte function and structure on the exchange of carbon (e.g., summer photosynthesis effects) and energy (e.g., summer insulation effects) with the atmosphere in the Community Land Model (CLM-CN). The modified model was evaluated for its ability to simulate C exchange, soil temperature, and soil moisture since the 1970s at Barrow, Alaska through comparison with data from AmeriFlux sites, USDA Soil Climate Networks observation sites at Barrow, and other sources. We also compare the outputs of the CLM-CN simulations with those of the recently developed Dynamical Organic Soil coupled Terrestrial Ecosystem Model (DOS-TEM). Overall, our evaluation indicates that bryophytes are important contributors to land-atmospheric C exchanges in Arctic tundra and that they play an important role to permafrost thermal and hydrological processes which are critical to permafrost stability. Our next step in this study is to examine the climate system effects of explicitly representing bryophyte dynamics in the land surface model. Key Words: Bryophytes, Arctic coastal tundra, Vegetation composition, Net Ecosystem Exchange, Permafrost, Land Surface Model, Terrestrial Ecosystem Model

  16. CO2 and CH4 Production from Arctic Tundra Polygons: A Comparative Assessment of Temperature Sensitivity and Geochemical Controls

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roy Chowdhury, T.; Tang, G.; Herndon, E.; Elias, D. A.; Phelps, T. J.; Gu, B.; Liang, L.; Wullschleger, S. D.; Graham, D. E.

    2013-12-01

    Emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) from Arctic and sub-Arctic tundra are highly variable and challenging to examine for geochemical and microbial controls. The large scale variability in in situ emission observations between high-centered and low-centered polygons and between microtopographic sites of a polygon (center, ridge and trough) underscores the difficulty of estimating precise regional to global-scale CO2 and CH4 emissions. This in turn poses a challenge to the extrapolation approaches used in predictive climate models for such complex high-latitude ecosystems. This study addresses the quantification and a comparative assessment of temperature sensitivity of CO2 and CH4 production rates between high-centered and low-centered polygons from the Barrow Environmental Observatory (Barrow, Alaska) under ecologically relevant experimental conditions. In addition, we elucidate the role of geochemical parameters including depth of organic matter, water content and pH in controlling the microbial pathways by which soil organic carbon are mineralized and CO2 and CH4 released. Intact frozen soil cores were collected from the center, ridge and trough areas of a low-centered polygon (LCP) and the center and trough of a high-centered polygon (HCP) using a SIPRE auger. A typical soil core consisted of a 0-20 cm deep organic (O) horizon, 20-50 cm deep mineral (B) horizon and 50-90 cm deep permafrost. The presence of significant amounts of iron(II) in O and B horizons constituting the active layer indicated predominantly anoxic soil biochemistry in the LCP and in the trough of the HCP. Therefore, soils were incubated in microcosms in anoxic or oxic conditions based on the redox conditions at three ecologically relevant temperatures of -2, +4 or +8 °C for up to 45 days. Production rates for both CH4 and CO2 were substantially higher in microcosms of O horizon at all temperatures, compared to B horizon samples at all sites of the LCP and the center of the

  17. Regional biomass and leaf-area estimates derived from satellite imagery as inputs to spatial trace-gas flux models for arctic tundra

    SciTech Connect

    Shippert, M.M.; Walker, D.A.; Auerbach, N.A.; Lewis, B.E. )

    1994-06-01

    Reflectance spectra, leaf area index (LAI), and live biomass measurements were collected for 60 plots near Toolik Lake and Imnavait Creek, Alaska during July and August, 1993. Normalized difference vegetation indices (NDVI) were calculated from the reflectance spectra. NDVI was found to be highly correlated to both LAI and biomass. These relationships have been seen in temperate ecosystems, but have never been tested in Arctic tundra previous to this study. In addition, a clear relationship is seen between NDVI values and pH and moisture. Acidic plots have much higher NDVI values than non-acidic plots, while moist plots have high NDVI values relative to dry and wet plots. The average field NDVI measurements for major physiognomic categories were compared to average NDVI values for the same categories derived from a SPOT multispectral satellite image of the area. These values were also found to be highly correlated. However, field NDVI values were consistently about 40% higher than SPOT NDVI values. Possible explanations for this consistent trend include effects of low sun angle in the Arctic in combination with relatively high view angle of the SPOT sensor. Using the regression equations for the above relationships, biomass and LAI images were calculated from the SPOT image. The resulting images show expected trends in the LAI and biomass across the landscape. The image of biomass will be used as an input to a spatial model of methane emissions for the Alaskan Arctic. Another key input variable to the methane model will be soil moisture. Alternative image processing methods and/or radar images will be used to derive this important variable.

  18. Intense, natural pollution affects Arctic tundra vegetation at the Smoking Hills, Canada

    SciTech Connect

    Freedman, B. ); Zobens, V.; Hutchinson, T.C.; Gizyn, W.I. )

    1990-04-01

    Long-term, natural emissions of sulfur dioxide and acidic aerosols have had an impact on remote tundra at the Smoking Hills. The emissions have caused plant damage by SO{sub 2} toxicity, and have severely acidified soil and freshwater. At the most intensively fumigated locations closest to the sources of emission, pollution stresses have devegetated the terrestrial ecosystem. The first plants that are encountered along a spatial gradient of decreasing pollution stress are Artemisia tilesii and Arctagrostis latifolia, which dominate a characteristic, pollution-tolerant community. Farther away at moderately polluted sites there are mixed communities with floristic elements of both fumigated and reference, unfumigated tundra. This pattern of ecosystem response to a concatenation of stresses caused by natural air and soil pollution is qualitatively similar to the damage that occurs in the vicinity of anthropogenic point sources of air pollution, such as smelters.

  19. Spatial Variation in Carbon Release From Arctic Tundra Resulting From Microtopography Created by Permafrost Thawing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, H.; Schuur, E. A.; Vogel, J. G.

    2007-12-01

    One of the biggest potential feedbacks to global climate change from high latitude ecosystems may come from thawing of permafrost, which stores 30% of the total global terrestrial soil organic carbon (SOC). Thawing of permafrost may accelerate decomposition of soil organic matter (SOM) and increase carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and such emissions from soil can lead to further warming in global scale. When permafrost thaws in ice-rich areas, it creates localized topographical surface subsidence called thermokarst, which can induce variations in soil abiotic properties. By altering multiple resources in soil, thermokarst can change C cycling in high latitude ecosystems beyond simple increases in temperature alone. The objective was to determine how thermokarst affects ecosystem C exchange. We hypothesized that there would be a positive relationship between the degree of ground subsidence and CO2 emissions from decomposition of SOM. This study was conducted in a tundra site near Denali National Park, Alaska. Three study sites were established according to the degree of surface depressions: Severe Thaw, Moderate Thaw, and Minimal Thaw. We established 50 equally spaced grid points each site and they were surveyed using GPS to measure the micro-elevation. Clear static chamber measurements were used to measure ecosystem C exchange, while soil properties such as temperature and volumetric water content (VWC) were measured simultaneously. Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) was measured as an indicator of primary productivity. We used forward stepwise regression analysis to quantify how much microtopography explained ecosystem C exchange. There was a negative correlation between ecosystem respiration and relative elevation at the Severe and Minimal site. The best predictor variable for ecosystem C exchange was VWC alone, which was better than temperature alone, or mixed effects of temperature and VWC. There was no relationship between NDVI and microtopography

  20. RECONSTRUCTION AND ANALYSIS OF HISTORICAL CHANGES IN CARBON STORAGE IN ARCTIC TUNDRA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Surface air temperature in arctic regions has increased since pre-industrial times, raising concerns that warmer and possibly drier conditions have increased soil decomposition rates, thereby stimulating the release to the atmosphere of the large stores of carbon (C) in arctic so...

  1. Potential NEE Budget and Prediction of Future Emissions under Climate Change in an Arctic Wet Sedge Tundra, Barrow, Alaska .

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kalhori, A. A. M.; Oechel, W. C.; Burba, G. G.; Gioli, B.; Zona, D.; Murphy, P.; Goodrich, J. P.

    2015-12-01

    Arctic ecosystems are critically affected by climate change and also play an important role in the global carbon budget. Presented here is a 14-year study of growing season CO2 fluxes in an Alaskan wet sedge tundra ecosystem -which is about 2 km south of the Arctic Ocean and is adjacent to the NOAA Climate Monitoring & Diagnostic Laboratory (CMDL)- and the key environmental controls on these fluxes. We have measured net ecosystem exchange of CO2 (NEE) using the eddy covariance technique from 1998 to 2014 in order to quantify the long-term seasonal and inter-annual variability in the CO2 budget over this period. The WPL correction and the surface heating correction were applied to all CO2 flux data from the open-path instrument (Burba et al., 2008). Despite several gaps in measurement years, we found that growing season net CO2 uptake has significantly increased since the 2000s and that NEE is sensitive to dry conditions in tundra. Our data suggest this increase in CO2 uptake (larger than -6 μmol m-2 s-1) occurred during the initial thawing period and during the June-August growing season. However, there is a decreasing trend in total summer uptake beginning in 2011, continuing until the end of 2014. The mean diurnal pattern for the summer period over the course of 14 years (Figure below), indicates inter-annual variability associated with the key environmental controls on these CO2 fluxes. Monthly trends in Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR), net radiation, relative humidity as well as air temperature and soil temperature have consistently simultaneous effects on the variation in NEE. More significant effect of PAR than temperature on summer NEE had been observed for the first period of this study, however our ANOVA, multiple regression and t-test results showed a stronger effect of temperature than PAR in the recent years assuming that Arctic warming will be greater than average global warming. Also the diurnal pattern shows that the maximum daily carbon

  2. Sphingoaurantiacus polygranulatus gen. nov., sp. nov., isolated from high-Arctic tundra soil, and emended descriptions of the genera Sandarakinorhabdus, Polymorphobacter and Rhizorhabdus and the species Sandarakinorhabdus limnophila, Rhizorhabdus argentea and Sphingomonas wittichii.

    PubMed

    Kim, MyongChol; Kang, OkChol; Zhang, Yumin; Ren, Lvzhi; Chang, Xulu; Jiang, Fan; Fang, Chengxiang; Zheng, Congyi; Peng, Fang

    2016-01-01

    An orange, Gram-reaction-negative and aerobic bacterium, designated MC 3718T, was isolated from a tundra soil near Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard archipelago, Norway (78° N). The cells were motile with either a polar or a subpolar flagellum and reproduced by budding or asymmetrical cell division. Growth occurred at 4-37 °C (optimum 28-30 °C) and at pH 6.0-10.0 (optimum pH 9.0). Many cells accumulated poly-β-hydroxybutyrate granules and contained a single large polyphosphate granule at a pole or in the middle of the cell. Cell walls contained meso-diaminopimelic acid as the diagnostic diamino acid, and ubiquinone 10 was the main respiratory quinone. Strain MC 3718T contained summed feature 3 (comprising C16 : 1ω7c and/or C16 : 1ω6c; 29.49 %), summed feature 8 (C18 : 1ω7c and/or C18 : 1ω6c; 29.38 %), C17 : 1ω6c (10.15 %), C14 : 0 2-OH (9.05 %) and C16 : 0 (6.84 %) as the major cellular fatty acids. The main polar lipids were two sphingoglycolipids, phosphatidylethanolamine, diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylglycerol, three unknown phospholipids and two unknown polar lipids. Carotenoids were detected. Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequences indicated that strain MC 3718T belonged to the family Sphingomonadaceae. The DNA G+C content was 67.2 mol%. On the basis of phenotypic, chemotaxonomic and phylogenetic data, strain MC 3718T is considered to represent a novel genus and species in the family Sphingomonadaceae, for which the name Sphingoaurantiacus polygranulatus gen. nov., sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain of Sphingoaurantiacus polygranulatus is MC 3718T ( = CCTCC AB 2014274T = LMG 28636T). Emended descriptions of the genera Sandarakinorhabdus, Polymorphobacter and Rhizorhabdus and the species Sandarakinorhabdus limnophila, Rhizorhabdus argentea and Sphingomonas wittichii are also provided. PMID:26475309

  3. The role of seasonality and large-scale climate drivers in recent Pan-Arctic tundra vegetation variability and change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bhatt, U. S.; Walker, D. A.; Bieniek, P. A.; Raynolds, M. K.; Comiso, J. C.; Pinzon, J.; Tucker, C. J.

    2011-12-01

    An increase of Pan-Arctic tundra vegetation greenness has been documented using the remotely sensed Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and a coherent variability between NDVI, springtime coastal sea ice and land surface temperatures has been shown. The goal of this paper is to understand the forcing factors of this change and variability better through an analysis of the seasonality of these remotely sensed variables as well as long-term climate data sets. This study uses remotely sensed submonthly 25-km sea ice concentration, surface temperature, and NDVI from 1982 to 2010. The NDVI3g data has been corrected for biases in the spring and fall. Standard climate data (station, reanalysis, and model data) and ground observations are also examined. For overall trends, we find that summer time open water area has increased most in the Beaufort, and Siberian Seas. The seasonality of SWI trends display distinct heterogeneity across the Arctic, with maximum warming in August for most regions (Figure 1). The monthly time integrated NDVI trends display the largest positive values for most of the Arctic in July, with the exception of the E. Bering and Kara regions, which show declines during most months (Figure 2). The largest magnitude increases in Max-NDVI tend to be in subzones that are inland, particularly in the Beaufort and Chukchi regions. NDVI has increased more during spring in Eurasia and more during peak vegetation activity (July) over North America. The analysis suggests that local atmospheric circulation as well as other local factors likely plays an important role in vegetation productivity.

  4. Observed and Potential Responses of Upland Tundra Ecosystems to a Changing Climate: Results from the Arctic Long-Term Ecological Research Project, North Slope, Alaska, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bowden, W. B.

    2014-12-01

    The Arctic is one of the most rapidly changing biomes on earth. Research at the Toolik Field Station by the Arctic Long-Term Ecological Research project provides a perspective on changes that are impacting the upland tussock tundra region of the North Slope of Alaska, a region that is typical of ~15% of the arctic region. The arctic is responding to a combination of long-term, gradual changes (presses) and short-term, event-driven changes (pulses). The most important press, of course, is the persistent rise in average annual air temperature observed in most places (though not at Toolik). Associated with this increase in SAT is a well-documented increase in shallow permafrost temperature (which is observed around Toolik). Our long-term research shows that this trend will favor taller and more productive shrub and grass vegetation. Higher SAT translates to earlier spring breakup and later onset of winter. This change in seasonality is affecting interactions between shrub leaf-out, insect emergence, and bird nesting. Persistent and more frequent droughts are having important impacts on the ability of Arctic grayling - the top consumer is most upland tundra streams - to survive and has the potential to block their ability to migrate to essential overwintering lakes. The interaction between temperature (which is changing) and light (which is not) creates a "seasonal asynchrony" that may be increasing the loading of nutrients - notably nitrate - to upland tundra streams late in the season, with impacts that we do not fully understand yet. The upland tundra environment is also responding to an increasing frequency of pulses, most notably wildfires and the development of thermo-erosional failures (TEFs). Wildfires transfer large quantities of carbon and nitrogen directly to the atmosphere. TEFs may deliver large quantities of sediment and nutrients to streams and lakes. Currently these pulse disturbances seem to be having only limited, local impacts. However, as shallow

  5. Arctic Tundra Vegetation Functional Types Based on Photosynthetic Physiology and Optical Properties

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Huemmrich, Karl F.; Gamon, John; Tweedie, Craig; Campbell, Petya P. K.; Landis, David; Middleton, Elizabeth

    2012-01-01

    Climate change in tundra regions may alter vegetation species composition and ecosystem carbon balance. Remote sensing provides critical tools for monitoring these changes as optical signals provide a way to scale from plot measurements to regional patterns. Gas exchange measurements of pure patches of key vegetation functional types (lichens, mosses, and vascular plants) in sedge tundra at Barrow AK, show three significantly different values of light use efficiency (LUE) with values of 0.013+/-0.001, 0.0018+/-0.0002, and 0.0012 0.0001 mol C/mol absorbed quanta for vascular plants, mosses and lichens, respectively. Further, discriminant analysis of patch reflectance identifies five spectral bands that can separate each vegetation functional type as well as nongreen material (bare soil, standing water, and dead leaves). These results were tested along a 100 m transect where midsummer spectral reflectance and vegetation coverage were measured at one meter intervals. Area-averaged canopy LUE estimated from coverage fractions of the three functional types varied widely, even over short distances. Patch-level statistical discriminant functions applied to in situ hyperspectral reflectance successfully unmixed cover fractions of the vegetation functional types. These functions, developed from the tram data, were applied to 30 m spatial resolution Earth Observing-1 Hyperion imaging spectrometer data to examine regional variability in distribution of the vegetation functional types and from those distributions, the variability of LUE. Across the landscape, there was a fivefold variation in tundra LUE that was correlated to a spectral vegetation index developed to detect vegetation chlorophyll content.

  6. Experimental icing affects growth, mortality, and flowering in a high Arctic dwarf shrub.

    PubMed

    Milner, Jos M; Varpe, Øystein; van der Wal, René; Hansen, Brage Bremset

    2016-04-01

    Effects of climate change are predicted to be greatest at high latitudes, with more pronounced warming in winter than summer. Extreme mid-winter warm spells and heavy rain-on-snow events are already increasing in frequency in the Arctic, with implications for snow-pack and ground-ice formation. These may in turn affect key components of Arctic ecosystems. However, the fitness consequences of extreme winter weather events for tundra plants are not well understood, especially in the high Arctic. We simulated an extreme mid-winter rain-on-snow event at a field site in high Arctic Svalbard (78°N) by experimentally encasing tundra vegetation in ice. After the subsequent growing season, we measured the effects of icing on growth and fitness indices in the common tundra plant, Arctic bell-heather (Cassiope tetragona). The suitability of this species for retrospective growth analysis enabled us to compare shoot growth in pre and postmanipulation years in icing treatment and control plants, as well as shoot survival and flowering. Plants from icing treatment plots had higher shoot mortality and lower flowering success than controls. At the individual sample level, heavily flowering plants invested less in shoot growth than nonflowering plants, while shoot growth was positively related to the degree of shoot mortality. Therefore, contrary to expectation, undamaged shoots showed enhanced growth in ice treatment plants. This suggests that following damage, aboveground resources were allocated to the few remaining undamaged meristems. The enhanced shoot growth measured in our icing treatment plants has implications for climate studies based on retrospective analyses of Cassiope. As shoot growth in this species responds positively to summer warming, it also highlights a potentially complex interaction between summer and winter conditions. By documenting strong effects of icing on growth and reproduction of a widespread tundra plant, our study contributes to an understanding of

  7. Arctic Tundra Vegetation Functional Types Based on Photosynthetic Physiology and Optical Properties

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Huemmrich, Karl Fred; Gamon, John A.; Tweedie, Craig E.; Campbell, Petya K. Entcheva; Landis, David R.; Middleton, Elizabeth M.

    2013-01-01

    Non-vascular plants (lichens and mosses) are significant components of tundra landscapes and may respond to climate change differently from vascular plants affecting ecosystem carbon balance. Remote sensing provides critical tools for monitoring plant cover types, as optical signals provide a way to scale from plot measurements to regional estimates of biophysical properties, for which spatial-temporal patterns may be analyzed. Gas exchange measurements were collected for pure patches of key vegetation functional types (lichens, mosses, and vascular plants) in sedge tundra at Barrow, AK. These functional types were found to have three significantly different values of light use efficiency (LUE) with values of 0.013 plus or minus 0.0002, 0.0018 plus or minus 0.0002, and 0.0012 plus or minus 0.0001 mol C mol (exp -1) absorbed quanta for vascular plants, mosses and lichens, respectively. Discriminant analysis of the spectra reflectance of these patches identified five spectral bands that separated each of these vegetation functional types as well as nongreen material (bare soil, standing water, and dead leaves). These results were tested along a 100 m transect where midsummer spectral reflectance and vegetation coverage were measured at one meter intervals. Along the transect, area-averaged canopy LUE estimated from coverage fractions of the three functional types varied widely, even over short distances. The patch-level statistical discriminant functions applied to in situ hyperspectral reflectance data collected along the transect successfully unmixed cover fractions of the vegetation functional types. The unmixing functions, developed from the transect data, were applied to 30 m spatial resolution Earth Observing-1 Hyperion imaging spectrometer data to examine variability in distribution of the vegetation functional types for an area near Barrow, AK. Spatial variability of LUE was derived from the observed functional type distributions. Across this landscape, a

  8. Isotope Hydrology of Arctic Tundra Lakes in a Region Impacted by Permafrost Disturbance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peters, D. L.

    2009-05-01

    A projected "hot spot" of climate warming and development is the Mackenzie River Delta region, Northwest Territories, Canada. The upland tundra areas within the Mackenzie Gas Project development area north of Inuvik contain thousands of small lakes and ponds with poorly defined ephemeral drainage that are underlain by thick permafrost and ice-rich sediments for which the basic water balance controls are not fully understood. Natural retrogressive thaw slumps are common along lakeshores and the rapid drainage of ice-rich permafrost-dammed lakes has been occurring. Ongoing oil/gas exploration activities and infrastructure construction may result in terrain disturbance and localized degradation of permafrost, while climate change may increase the magnitude and frequency of thermokarst processes. These disturbed lakes are believed to act as historical analogues for the future effects of climate change on the hydrology, geochemistry, and aquatic ecology of small tundra lake catchments in the continuous permafrost zone of northwestern Canada. Environment Canada initiated an integrated research program in 2005 with the overall goal of improving our understanding of hydro-ecological processes in freshwater aquatic ecosystems affected by shoreline slumping vs. pristine lakes. Limited catchment studies have examined water-balance parameters (e.g., precipitation, evaporation, and surface flows) for tundra lakes in the development area. Enrichment of oxygen-18 (18O) and deuterium (2H) stable isotopes in surface waters have been shown to be useful indicators of water balance variations in remote permafrost regions of Canada where hydroclimatic information is very limited. In particular, information on evaporation: inflow (E/I) ratios and residence times would provide useful information for estimating appropriate water withdrawals from lakes within the proposed development area. A key question is "does permafrost slumping impact the hydrology of tundra lakes via catchment area

  9. Arctic Tundra Vegetation Functional Types Based on Photosynthetic Physiology and Optical Properties

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Huemmrich, Karl F.; Gamon, John; Tweedie, Craig; Campbell, Petya K.; Landis, David R.; Middleton, Elizabeth M.

    2013-01-01

    Non-vascular plants (lichens and mosses) are significant components of tundra landscapes and may respond to climate change differently from vascular plants affecting ecosystem carbon balance. Remote sensing provides critical tools for monitoring plant cover types, as optical signals provide a way to scale from plot measurements to regional estimates of biophysical properties, for which spatial-temporal patterns may be analyzed. Gas exchange measurements were collected for pure patches of key vegetation functional types (lichens, mosses, and vascular plants) in sedge tundra at Barrow AK. These functional types were found to have three significantly different values of light use efficiency (LUE) with values of 0.013+/-0.001, 0.0018+/-0.0002, and 0.0012+/-0.0001 mol C/mol absorbed quanta for vascular plants, mosses and lichens, respectively. Discriminant analysis of the spectra reflectance of these patches identified five spectral bands that separated each of these vegetation functional types as well as nongreen material (bare soil, standing water, and dead leaves). These results were tested along a 100 m transect where midsummer spectral reflectance and vegetation coverage were measured at one meter intervals.

  10. Scaling Issues Between Plot and Satellite Radiobrightness Observations of Arctic Tundra

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kim, Edward J.; England, Anthony W.; Judge, Jasmeet; Zukor, Dorothy J. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    Data from generation of satellite microwave radiometer will allow the detection of seasonal to decadal changes in the arctic hydrology cycle as expressed in temporal and spatial patterns of moisture stored in soil and snow This nw capability will require calibrated Land Surface Process/Radiobrightness (LSP/R) model for the principal terrains found in the circumpolar Arctic. These LSP/R models can than be used in weak constraint. Dimensional Data Assimilation (DDA)of the daily satellite observation to estimate temperature and moisture profiles within the permafrost in active layer.

  11. Site-level model intercomparison of high latitude and high altitude soil thermal dynamics in tundra and barren landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ekici, A.; Chadburn, S.; Chaudhary, N.; Hajdu, L. H.; Marmy, A.; Peng, S.; Boike, J.; Burke, E.; Friend, A. D.; Hauck, C.; Krinner, G.; Langer, M.; Miller, P. A.; Beer, C.

    2014-09-01

    Modelling soil thermal dynamics at high latitudes and altitudes requires representations of specific physical processes such as snow insulation, soil freezing/thawing, as well as subsurface conditions like soil water/ice content and soil texture type. We have compared six different land models (JSBACH, ORCHIDEE, JULES, COUP, HYBRID8, LPJ-GUESS) at four different sites with distinct cold region landscape types (i.e. Schilthorn-Alpine, Bayelva-high Arctic, Samoylov-wet polygonal tundra, Nuuk-non permafrost Arctic) to quantify the importance of physical processes in capturing observed temperature dynamics in soils. This work shows how a range of models can represent distinct soil temperature regimes in permafrost and non-permafrost soils. Snow insulation is of major importance for estimating topsoil conditions and must be combined with accurate subsoil temperature dynamics to correctly estimate active layer thicknesses. Analyses show that land models need more realistic surface processes (such as detailed snow dynamics and moss cover with changing thickness/wetness) as well as better representations of subsoil thermal dynamics (i.e. soil heat transfer mechanism and correct parameterization of heat conductivity/capacities).

  12. Importance of soil moisture and N availability to larch growth and distribution in the Arctic taiga-tundra boundary ecosystem, northeastern Siberia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liang, Maochang; Sugimoto, Atsuko; Tei, Shunsuke; Bragin, Ivan V.; Takano, Shinya; Morozumi, Tomoki; Shingubara, Ryo; Maximov, Trofim C.; Kiyashko, Serguei I.; Velivetskaya, Tatiana A.; Ignatiev, Alexander V.

    2014-12-01

    To better understand the factors controlling the growth of larch trees in Arctic taiga-tundra boundary ecosystem, we conducted field measurements of photosynthesis, tree size, nitrogen (N) content, and isotopic ratios in larch needles and soil. In addition, we observed various environmental parameters, including topography and soil moisture at four sites in the Indigirka River Basin, near Chokurdakh, northeastern Siberia. Most living larch trees grow on mounds with relatively high elevations and dry soils, indicating intolerance of high soil moisture. We found that needle δ13C was positively correlated with needle N content and needle mass, and these parameters showed spatial patterns similar to that of tree size. These results indicate that trees with high needle N content achieved higher rates of photosynthesis, which resulted in larger amounts of C assimilation and larger C allocation to needles and led to larger tree size than trees with lower needle N content. A positive correlation was also found between needle N content and soil NH 4 + pool. Thus, soil inorganic N pool may indicate N availability, which is reflected in the needle N content of the larch trees. Microtopography plays a principal role in N availability, through a change in soil moisture. Relatively dryer soil of mounds with higher elevation and larger extent causes higher rates of soil N production, leading to increased N availability for plants, in addition to larger rooting space for trees to uptake more N.

  13. Effects of Disturbances on Vegetation Composition and Permafrost Thaw in Boreal Forests and Tundra Ecosystems of the Siberian Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ramos, E.; Alexander, H. D.; Natali, S.

    2014-12-01

    In Arctic ecosystems, climate-driven changes to the thermal regime of permafrost soils have the potential to create surface disturbances that influence vegetation dynamics and underlying soil properties. Disturbance-mediated changes in vegetation are important because vegetation and the accumulation of soil organic matter drive ecosystem carbon (C) dynamics and contribute to the insulation of soils and protection of permafrost from thaw. We examined the effect of two disturbance types—thermokarsts and frost boils—to determine disturbance effects on the vegetation community and soil properties in northeast Siberia. In summer 2014, we measured vegetation cover, soil moisture, soil temperature, and thaw depth in two thermokarst sites within boreal forests, two frost boil sites in tundra, and in adjacent undisturbed sites within both ecosystems. Both thermokarst and frost boils resulted in decreased vegetation cover and greater exposure of mineral soils (10-40% bare soils vs. 0% in undisturbed), and consequently, 2-3 times higher soil temperature and deeper thaw depth. Compared to undisturbed areas, soil moisture was 3-4 times higher in thermokarst areas but 1.2-2 times lower in frost boil areas, which reflected differences in microtopography between these two disturbance types. In both thermokarst and frost boil disturbed areas, deciduous and evergreen shrubs covered only 5 and 10%, respectively, compared to approximately 10 and 20%, respectively, in undisturbed areas. In general, graminoids were substantially more abundant (2-20 times) in disturbed areas than in those undisturbed. These results highlight important linkages between disturbances, vegetation communities, and permafrost soils, and contribute to our understanding of how changes in arctic vegetation dynamics as direct and/or indirect consequences of climate change have the potential to impact permafrost C pools.

  14. Changes in Algal Trends and Nutrient Budgets in Arctic Tundra Ponds Over the Past 40 Years in Barrow, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hernandez, C.; Lougheed, V.

    2011-12-01

    In the 1970's, Barrow, Alaska was host to a detailed ecological study, the International Biological Program (IBP), which examined physical, chemical and biological characteristics of Arctic tundra ponds. Forty years later, this area has experienced warming and potential release of nutrients from permafrost; however, there have been no follow up studies since the 1970's and biological changes in these ponds remain unknown. The 1970's IBP research suggested that algae had warmer temperature optima than ambient temperatures and that phosphorus was the limiting nutrient. The goal of this study was to understand algal growth trends during the 2010 growing season, the role of limiting nutrients, and how both these have changed through time in light of shifting climate regimes. Algae was collected and quantified weekly from periphyton (attached to sediment) and phytoplankton (free-floating algae) from several IBP ponds over the summer of 2010. Nutrient addition and release experiments with known quantities of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) were utilized to determine algal nutrient limitation. Algal biomass was significantly greater in 2010 than in the 1970s. Nutrient addition experiments showed a shift from phosphorus limitation in the 1970s to nitrogen limitation of periphyton in 2010, while phytoplankton was co-limited by nitrogen and phosphorus in 2010. These preliminary results indicate substantial changes have occurred over the past 40 years. Further studies are being completed in Summer 2011 to understand inter-annual variability in these trends and to reveal the implications of these trends in algal production and nutrient budgets in the Arctic.

  15. Nitrogen dynamics in arctic tundra soils of varying age: differential responses to fertilization and warming.

    PubMed

    Yano, Yuriko; Shaver, Gaius R; Rastetter, Edward B; Giblin, Anne E; Laundre, James A

    2013-12-01

    In the foothills of the Brooks Range, Alaska, different glaciation histories have created landscapes with varying soil age. Productivity of most of these landscapes is generally N limited, but varies widely, as do plant species composition and soil properties (e.g., pH). We hypothesized that the projected changes in productivity and vegetation composition under a warmer climate might be mediated through differential changes in N availability across soil age. We compared readily available [water-soluble NH4 (+), NO3 (-), and amino acids (AA)], moderately available (soluble proteins), hydrolyzable, and total N pools across three tussock-tundra landscapes with soil ages ranging from 11.5k to 300k years. The effects of fertilization and warming on these N pools were also compared for the two younger sites. Readily available N was highest at the oldest site, and AA accounted for 80-89 % of this N. At the youngest site, inorganic N constituted the majority (80-97 %) of total readily available N. This variation reflected the large differences in plant functional group composition and soil chemical properties. Long-term (8-16 years) fertilization increased the soluble inorganic N by 20- to 100-fold at the intermediate-age site, but only by twofold to threefold at the youngest site. Warming caused small and inconsistent changes in the soil C:N ratio and AA, but only in soils beneath Eriophorum vaginatum, the dominant tussock-forming sedge. These differential responses suggest that the ecological consequences of warmer climates on these tundra ecosystems are more complex than simply elevated N-mineralization rates, and that the responses of landscapes might be impacted by soil age, or time since deglaciation. PMID:23928888

  16. Inclusion of Additional Plant Species and Trait Information in Dynamic Vegetation Modeling of Arctic Tundra and Boreal Forest Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Euskirchen, E. S.; Patil, V.; Roach, J.; Griffith, B.; McGuire, A. D.

    2015-12-01

    Dynamic vegetation models (DVMs) have been developed to model the ecophysiological characteristics of plant functional types in terrestrial ecosystems. They have frequently been used to answer questions pertaining to processes such as disturbance, plant succession, and community composition under historical and future climate scenarios. While DVMs have proved useful in these types of applications, it has often been questioned if additional detail, such as including plant dynamics at the species-level and/or including species-specific traits would make these models more accurate and/or broadly applicable. A sub-question associated with this issue is, 'How many species, or what degree of functional diversity, should we incorporate to sustain ecosystem function in modeled ecosystems?' Here, we focus on how the inclusion of additional plant species and trait information may strengthen dynamic vegetation modeling in applications pertaining to: (1) forage for caribou in northern Alaska, (2) above- and belowground carbon storage in the boreal forest and lake margin wetlands of interior Alaska, and (3) arctic tundra and boreal forest leaf phenology. While the inclusion of additional information generally proved valuable in these three applications, this additional detail depends on field data that may not always be available and may also result in increased computational complexity. Therefore, it is important to assess these possible limitations against the perceived need for additional plant species and trait information in the development and application of dynamic vegetation models.

  17. What are the patterns of carbon allocation in Arctic shrub tundra: do species differ?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Street, Lorna; Subke, Jens-Arne; Baxter, Robert; Billett, Mike; Dinsmore, Kerry; Lessels, Jason; Wookey, Philip

    2014-05-01

    Arctic "greening" is now a well-accepted phenomenon; multiple lines of evidence suggest that plant productivity has increased, driven by increases in shrub abundance. There is very little understanding, however, of how this "shrubification" will impact biogeochemical cycling, including the allocation and turnover of carbon. Recent research has shown, for example, that greater plant productivity is not necessary associated with greater ecosystem C storage. Proliferation of a number of shrub species has been observed in different regions; for example increased willow growth in Arctic Russia, as opposed to primarily alder expansion in NW Canada, where stem density increased 68 % between 1968 and 2004. The degree to which shrub type will determine the impacts of shrub expansion on the carbon cycle is unknown. We use 13C pulse-labelling to trace the fate of recently photosynthesised carbon in vegetation dominated by two common Arctic shrubs, Betula nana (dwarf birch) and Alnus viridis (green alder) just above the Arctic treeline in NW Canada. We quantify the amount of 13C assimilated, and the proportion of assimilate returned to the atmosphere via respiration versus that allocated to plant tissues. This enables an analysis of the contrasting carbon-use-efficiencies and aboveground versus belowground allocation patterns in the two vegetation types. We use these novel field data to address the hypothesis that belowground C allocation in A. viridis (a symbiotic nitrogen fixing species) is a smaller proportion of total C assimilation, as this species supports less extensive ectomycorrhizal networks compared to B. nana. This is the first tracer study of carbon allocation in N-fixing and non-N-fixing vegetation types in a natural system and provides crucial data for predictive modelling of the Arctic carbon cycle.

  18. Spatial variation in landscape-level CO2 and CH4 fluxes from arctic coastal tundra: influence from vegetation, wetness, and the thaw lake cycle.

    PubMed

    Sturtevant, Cove S; Oechel, Walter C

    2013-09-01

    Regional quantification of arctic CO2 and CH4 fluxes remains difficult due to high landscape heterogeneity coupled with a sparse measurement network. Most of the arctic coastal tundra near Barrow, Alaska is part of the thaw lake cycle, which includes current thaw lakes and a 5500-year chronosequence of vegetated thaw lake basins. However, spatial variability in carbon fluxes from these features remains grossly understudied. Here, we present an analysis of whole-ecosystem CO2 and CH4 fluxes from 20 thaw lake cycle features during the 2011 growing season. We found that the thaw lake cycle was largely responsible for spatial variation in CO2 flux, mostly due to its control on gross primary productivity (GPP). Current lakes were significant CO2 sources that varied little. Vegetated basins showed declining GPP and CO2 sink with age (R(2) = 67% and 57%, respectively). CH4 fluxes measured from a subset of 12 vegetated basins showed no relationship with age or CO2 flux components. Instead, higher CH4 fluxes were related to greater landscape wetness (R(2) = 57%) and thaw depth (additional R(2) = 28%). Spatial variation in CO2 and CH4 fluxes had good satellite remote sensing indicators, and we estimated the region to be a small CO2 sink of -4.9 ± 2.4 (SE) g C m(-2) between 11 June and 25 August, which was countered by a CH4 source of 2.1 ± 0.2 (SE) g C m(-2) . Results from our scaling exercise showed that developing or validating regional estimates based on single tower sites can result in significant bias, on average by a factor 4 for CO2 flux and 30% for CH4 flux. Although our results are specific to the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska, the degree of landscape-scale variability, large-scale controls on carbon exchange, and implications for regional estimation seen here likely have wide relevance to other arctic landscapes. PMID:23649775

  19. ``What comes up … must come down'': Peat carbon and mineral-interactions in Arctic Coastal tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raab, T. K.; Lipson, D.; Crook, N. P.; Miller, K.; Bozzolo, F.

    2010-12-01

    Coastal arctic tundra is a significant landscape unit above 65o N, and in the absence of significant nitrate, sulfate or manganese, these wet, permafrost-influenced soils have few electron acceptors readily available to support microbial anaerobiosis. Based on morphological criteria and satellite photos, we selected 4 drained, thaw-lake basins (DTLBs) of vastly differing ages - 50 to 5500 years, based on 14C-dating efforts near Barrow AK. Replicate 100m transects for each thawed-lake basin were collected using a towable 500 MHz ground-penetrating radar system. Inspection of the raw profiles in the field further suggested points along which 20m-length common-midpoint gathers were also obtained to discriminate contrasting propagation speeds within the top 0.5 m of the surface. At later visits, several SIPRE cores were taken to 0.5 m-depth, and the cores stored frozen until analysis. The cores were measured, and physical/color and mineral data collected to correlate with the CMP velocity-profiles. The point of these measurements was to ascertain the minimum-depth to mineral material below the surficial peats, and to build-up a profile of basin age versus mineral-depth. Availability of inorganic reducing agents may provide a significant constraint on soil microbial C-processing. Minimum-tension microlysimeters (PTFE and iron-free) were deployed along replicate transects in each of 5 basins, and filtered soil-pore water was collected from 0-10 cm, as was filtered, acidified standing water from early June-Sept of both 2009 and 2010. Results of inorganic analyses are presented in a separate poster. Fluorescence spectroscopy was used to monitor seasonal patterns in DOC composition, and fluorescence emission intensity of soil pore-water was inversely proportional to basin age - humic signature emission spectra peaked sharply at 445 nm, and a broader secondary maximum occurred at 500 nm. Fluorescence emission varied 5-fold among basins, and decreased at all sites as soil

  20. Shortwave radiation interaction with highly patterned tundra vegetation and feedbacks to permafrost soil and atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schaepman-Strub, G.; Erb, A.; Gurm, K.; Budishchev, A.

    2012-12-01

    Tundra vegetation is an important mediator of carbon, water, and energy fluxes between the permafrost soil and the atmosphere. Vegetation types and their feedbacks in arctic landscapes might however be highly dynamic in space and time. As an example, our NE Siberian research site is dominated by thawing ponds, wet sedge and dwarf shrub patches at the scale of a few meters. Shrubs are predicted to increase in density and height under climate change scenarios, with a related increase in absorbed shortwave radiation by the canopy, resulting in a positive feedback to climate warming. This study examines how shortwave radiation reflected to the atmosphere and transmitted to the ground is altered by shrub density and height. We present results based on a combination of manipulated plots, in situ spectral radiation and plant structural measurements, and a sophisticated 3D radiative transfer model to quantify the influence of shrubs on the shortwave energy budget. We will discuss non-linear dynamics in shortwave radiation partitioning at the land surface, with special emphasis on seasonality. Our results are relevant to test 1D assumptions in climate models and for species competition modelling.

  1. Lepidoptera Larvae as an Indicator of Multi-trophic Level Responses to Changing Seasonality in an Arctic Tundra Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Daly, K. M.; Steltzer, H.; Boelman, N.; Weintraub, M. N.; Darrouzet-Nardi, A.; Wallenstein, M. D.; Sullivan, P.; Gough, L.; Rich, M.; Hendrix, C.; Kielland, K.; Philip, K.; Doak, P.; Ferris, C.; Sikes, D.

    2011-12-01

    Earlier snowmelt and warming temperatures in the Arctic will impact multiple trophic levels through the timing and availability of food resources. Lepidoptera are a vital link within the ecosystem; their roles include pollinator, parasitized host for other pollinating insects, and essential food source for migrating birds and their fledglings. Multiple environmental cues including temperature initiate plant growth, and in turn, trigger the emergence of Lepidoptera and the migrations of birds. If snowmelt is accelerated and temperature is increased, it is expected that the Lepidoptera larvae will respond to early plant growth by increasing their abundance within areas that have accelerated snowmelt and warmer conditions. In May of 2011 in a moist acidic tussock tundra system, we accelerated snowmelt by 15 days through the use of radiation-absorbing fabric and warmed air and soil temperatures using open-top chambers, individually and in combination. Every 1-2 days from May 27th to July 8th, 2 minute searches were performed for Lepidoptera larvae in all treatments; when an animal was found, their micro-habitat, surface temperature, behavior, food source, and time of day were noted. The length, body and head width were measured, and the animals were examined for braconid wasp and tachinid fly parasites. Lepidoptera larvae collected in pitfall traps from May 26th to July 7th were also examined and measured. Total density of parasitized larvae accounted for 54% of observed specimens and 50% of pitfall specimens, indicating that Lepidoptera larvae serve an integral role as a host for other pollinators. Total larvae density was highest within the accelerated snowmelt plots compared to the control plots; 66% of observed live specimens and 63% of pitfall specimens were found within the accelerated snowmelt plots. Ninety percent of the total observed animals were found within the open-top warming chambers. Peak density of animals occurred at Solar Noon between 14:00 -15

  2. Impact of elevated CO2, water table, and temperature changes on CO2 and CH4 fluxes from arctic tundra soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zona, Donatella; Haynes, Katherine; Deutschman, Douglas; Bryant, Emma; McEwing, Katherine; Davidson, Scott; Oechel, Walter

    2015-04-01

    Large uncertainties still exist on the response of tundra C emissions to future climate due, in part, to the lack of understanding of the interactive effects of potentially controlling variables on C emissions from Arctic ecosystems. In this study we subjected 48 soil cores (without active vegetation) from dominant arctic wetland vegetation types, to a laboratory manipulation of elevated atmospheric CO2, elevated temperature, and altered water table, representing current and future conditions in the Arctic for two growing seasons. To our knowledge this experiment comprised the most extensively replicated manipulation of intact soil cores in the Arctic. The hydrological status of the soil was the most dominant control on both soil CO2 and CH4 emissions. Despite higher soil CO2 emission occurring in the drier plots, substantial CO2 respiration occurred under flooded conditions, suggesting significant anaerobic respirations in these arctic tundra ecosystems. Importantly, a critical control on soil CO2 and CH4 fluxes was the original vascular plant cover. The dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration was correlated with cumulative CH4 emissions but not with cumulative CO2 suggesting C quality influenced CH4 production but not soil CO2 emissions. An interactive effect between increased temperature and elevated CO2 on soil CO2 emissions suggested a potential shift of the soils microbial community towards more efficient soil organic matter degraders with warming and elevated CO2. Methane emissions did not decrease over the course of the experiment, even with no input from vegetation. This result indicated that CH4 emissions are not carbon limited in these C rich soils. Overall CH4 emissions represented about 49% of the sum of total C (C-CO2 + C-CH4) emission in the wet treatments, and 15% in the dry treatments, representing a dominant component of the overall C balance from arctic soils.

  3. A Comparative Review of North American Tundra Delineations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Silver, Kirk C.; Carroll, Mark

    2013-01-01

    Recent profound changes have been observed in the Arctic environment, including record low sea ice extents and high latitude greening. Studying the Arctic and how it is changing is an important element of climate change science. The Tundra, an ecoregion of the Arctic, is directly related to climate change due to its effects on the snow ice feedback mechanism and greenhouse gas cycling. Like all ecoregions, the Tundra border is shifting, yet studies and policies require clear delineation of boundaries. There are many options for ecoregion classification systems, as well as resources for creating custom maps. To help decision makers identify the best classification system possible, we present a review of North American Tundra ecoregion delineations and further explore the methodologies, purposes, limitations, and physical properties of five common ecoregion classification systems. We quantitatively compare the corresponding maps by area using a geographic information system.

  4. Carbon balance of Arctic tundra under increased snow cover mediated by a plant pathogen

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Olofsson, Johan; Ericson, Lars; Torp, Mikaela; Stark, Sari; Baxter, Robert

    2011-07-01

    Climate change is affecting plant community composition and ecosystem structure, with consequences for ecosystem processes such as carbon storage. Climate can affect plants directly by altering growth rates, and indirectly by affecting predators and herbivores, which in turn influence plants. Diseases are also known to be important for the structure and function of food webs. However, the role of plant diseases in modulating ecosystem responses to a changing climate is poorly understood. This is partly because disease outbreaks are relatively rare and spatially variable, such that that their effects can only be captured in long-term experiments. Here we show that, although plant growth was favoured by the insulating effects of increased snow cover in experimental plots in Sweden, plant biomass decreased over the seven-year study. The decline in biomass was caused by an outbreak of a host-specific parasitic fungus, Arwidssonia empetri, which killed the majority of the shoots of the dominant plant species, Empetrum hermaphroditum, after six years of increased snow cover. After the outbreak of the disease, instantaneous measurements of gross photosynthesis and net ecosystem carbon exchange were significantly reduced at midday during the growing season. Our results show that plant diseases can alter and even reverse the effects of a changing climate on tundra carbon balance by altering plant composition.

  5. Methane Oxidation in Arctic Soils from High- and Flat-Centered Polygons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zheng, J.; Roy Chowdhury, T.; Yang, Z.; Gu, B.; Wullschleger, S. D.; Graham, D. E.

    2015-12-01

    The premise of global warming will cause deeper permafrost thawing, followed by increased carbon mineralization and CH4 formation in saturated tundra soils. Arctic tundra soils also serve as potential sinks for CH4 in response to warming temperature, which might be a key process in the global CH4 budget. Quantification of methane oxidation potential of Arctic tundra is an important component to constrain models assessing the Carbon-climate feedback from high latitude soils. The signature polygonal ground of Arctic tundra generates high level of heterogeneity in soil hydrology and soil thermal regime. Thus, two distinct polygonal features were investigated in this study to evaluate CH4 oxidation potentials under multiple biogeochemical controls. The rates, drivers, and temperature sensitivity of methane oxidation were compared between High- and Flat-Centered Polygons (HCP and FCP, respectively). A significant lag period of CO2 production was observed in soil microcosms from HCP center, which might be attributed to microbial biomass limitations and the slow growth of anaerobic microbial populations that were sensitive to freezing. Prolonged thawing significantly accelerated carbon mineralization and CH4 oxidation rates measured via methane oxidation assays (MOA) from both active and permafrost organic layers of HCP. Soil microcosms from FCP showed higher CO2 production and CH4 oxidation rates in the active organic layer, but not permafrost layer, which might be explained by the anoxic/oxic interface identified by Fe(II) content in active layer. MOAs with temperature manipulation demonstrated high temperature dependence of methane oxidation activity, mediated primarily by soluble methane monooxygenase based upon metagenomic analysis and PCR quantification. Future work will identify key variables controlling methane oxidation rate and develop parameterization that can be incorporated into Arctic terrestrial ecosystem models.

  6. Contrasting denitrifier communities relate to contrasting N2O emission patterns from acidic peat soils in arctic tundra

    PubMed Central

    Palmer, Katharina; Biasi, Christina; Horn, Marcus A

    2012-01-01

    Cryoturbated peat circles (that is, bare surface soil mixed by frost action; pH 3–4) in the Russian discontinuous permafrost tundra are nitrate-rich ‘hotspots' of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions in arctic ecosystems, whereas adjacent unturbated peat areas are not. N2O was produced and subsequently consumed at pH 4 in unsupplemented anoxic microcosms with cryoturbated but not in those with unturbated peat soil. Nitrate, nitrite and acetylene stimulated net N2O production of both soils in anoxic microcosms, indicating denitrification as the source of N2O. Up to 500 and 10 μ nitrate stimulated denitrification in cryoturbated and unturbated peat soils, respectively. Apparent maximal reaction velocities of nitrite-dependent denitrification were 28 and 18 nmol N2O gDW−1 h−1, for cryoturbated and unturbated peat soils, respectively. Barcoded amplicon pyrosequencing of narG, nirK/nirS and nosZ (encoding nitrate, nitrite and N2O reductases, respectively) yielded ≈49 000 quality-filtered sequences with an average sequence length of 444 bp. Up to 19 species-level operational taxonomic units were detected per soil and gene, many of which were distantly related to cultured denitrifiers or environmental sequences. Denitrification-associated gene diversity in cryoturbated and in unturbated peat soils differed. Quantitative PCR (inhibition-corrected per DNA extract) revealed higher copy numbers of narG in cryoturbated than in unturbated peat soil. Copy numbers of nirS were up to 1000 × higher than those of nirK in both soils, and nirS nirK−1 copy number ratios in cryoturbated and unturbated peat soils differed. The collective data indicate that the contrasting N2O emission patterns of cryoturbated and unturbated peat soils are associated with contrasting denitrifier communities. PMID:22134649

  7. Coupled Monitoring and Inverse Modeling to Investigate Surface - Subsurface Hydrological and Thermal Dynamics in the Arctic Tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tran, A. P.; Dafflon, B.; Hubbard, S. S.; Bisht, G.; Peterson, J.; Ulrich, C.; Romanovsky, V. E.; Kneafsey, T. J.; Wu, Y.

    2015-12-01

    Quantitative characterization of the soil surface-subsurface hydrological and thermal processes is essential as they are primary factors that control the biogeochemical processes, ecological landscapes and greenhouse gas fluxes. In the Artic region, the surface-subsurface hydrological and thermal regimes co-interact and are both largely influenced by soil texture and soil organic content. In this study, we present a coupled inversion scheme that jointly inverts hydrological, thermal and geophysical data to estimate the vertical profiles of clay, sand and organic contents. Within this inversion scheme, the Community Land Model (CLM4.5) serves as a forward model to simulate the land-surface energy balance and subsurface hydrological-thermal processes. Soil electrical conductivity (from electrical resistivity tomography), temperature and water content are linked together via petrophysical and geophysical models. Particularly, the inversion scheme accounts for the influences of the soil organic and mineral content on both of the hydrological-thermal dynamics and the petrophysical relationship. We applied the inversion scheme to the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE) intensive site in Barrow, AK, which is characterized by polygonal-shaped arctic tundra. The monitoring system autonomously provides a suite of above-ground measurements (e.g., precipitation, air temperature, wind speed, short-long wave radiation, canopy greenness and eddy covariance) as well as below-ground measurements (soil moisture, soil temperature, thaw layer thickness, snow thickness and soil electrical conductivity), which complement other periodic, manually collected measurements. The preliminary results indicate that the model can well reproduce the spatiotemporal dynamics of the soil temperature, and therefore, accurately predict the active layer thickness. The hydrological and thermal dynamics are closely linked to the polygon types and polygon features. The results also enable the

  8. Evaluation of a Thermodynamically Based Soil Microbial Decomposition Model Based on a 13c Tracer Study in Arctic Tundra Soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhu, X.; Tang, J.; Riley, W. J.; Wallenstein, M. D.; Cotrufo, M. F.; Machmuller, M. B.; Lynch, L.

    2014-12-01

    The incorporation of explicit representation of biological complexity in soil carbon decomposition models may improve our ability to accurately predict terrestrial carbon-climate feedbacks. A new generation of microbe-explicit soil decomposition models (MEMs) are being developed that represent soil biological complexity, but only a few take into account detailed biotic and abiotic components and competitive interactions in the complex soil system. In view of this, we have developed a thermodynamically based MEM with a detailed component network (polymeric organic carbon, dissolved organic carbon, microbes, extracellular enzymes, and mineral surfaces), in which competitive interactions and microbial metabolism are modeled using Equilibrium Chemistry Approximation kinetics and Dynamic Energy Budget theory, respectively. The model behavior has been tested and is qualitatively consistent with many empirical studies, but further evaluation of the model with field or lab experimental data in specific ecosystems is needed. Stable carbon isotope (13C) tracer experiments provide a means to directly evaluate soil carbon dynamics simulated by MEMs. In this study, we further develop the model to explicitly account for different carbon isotopes, including 13C and 14C. Isotopic fractionations in soil decomposition processes, including soil organic matter transformations and microbial metabolism, are considered. The 13C signals of different soil components derived from a 13C tracer experiment in Arctic tundra soils are used to test the model behavior and identify needed parametric and structural improvements. Our modeling and data comparison identify several key mechanisms that need to be included in MEMs. Finally, we present an analysis of the relative benefits and costs of additional complexity in MEMs compared to traditional pool-based modeling structures.

  9. Changes in Landscape-level Carbon Balance of an Arctic Coastal Plain Tundra Ecosystem Between 1970-2100, in Response to Projected Climate Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lara, M. J.; McGuire, A. D.; Euskirchen, E. S.; Genet, H.; Sloan, V. L.; Iversen, C. M.; Norby, R. J.; Zhang, Y.; Yuan, F.

    2014-12-01

    Northern permafrost regions are estimated to cover 16% of the global soil area and account for approximately 50% of the global belowground organic carbon pool. However, there are considerable uncertainties regarding the fate of this soil carbon pool with projected climate warming over the next century. In northern Alaska, nearly 65% of the terrestrial surface is composed of polygonal tundra, where geomorphic land cover types such as high-, flat-, and low-center polygons influence local surface hydrology, plant community composition, nutrient and biogeochemical cycling, over small spatial scales. Due to the lack of representation of these fine-scale geomorphic types and ecosystem processes, in large-scale terrestrial ecosystem models, future uncertainties are large for this tundra region. In this study, we use a new version of the terrestrial ecosystem model (TEM), that couples a dynamic vegetation model (in which plant functional types compete for water, nitrogen, and light) with a dynamic soil organic model (in which temperature, moisture, and associated organic/inorganic carbon and nitrogen pools/fluxes vary together in vertically resolved layers) to simulate ecosystem carbon balance. We parameterized and calibrated this model using data specific to the local climate, vegetation, and soil associated with tundra geomorphic types. We extrapolate model results at a 1km2 resolution across the ~1800 km2 Barrow Peninsula using a tundra geomorphology map, describing ten dominant geomorphic tundra types (Lara et al. submitted), to estimate the likely change in landscape-level carbon balance between 1970 and 2100 in response to projected climate change. Preliminary model runs for this region indicated temporal variability in carbon and active layer dynamics, specific to tundra geomorphic type over time. Overall, results suggest that it is important to consider small-scale discrete polygonal tundra geomorphic types that control local structure and function in regional

  10. Cultural Resilience of Nenets Social-Ecological Systems in Arctic Russia: A Focus on Reindeer Nomads of the Tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forbes, B. C.

    2013-12-01

    Empirical data on resilience in social-ecological systems (SESs) are reviewed from local and regional scale case studies among full-time nomads in the neighbouring Nenets and Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrugs, Russia. The focus is on critical cultural factors contributing to SES resilience. In particular, this work presents an integrated view of people situated in specific tundra landscapes that face significantly different prospects for adaptation depending on existing or planned infrastructure associated with oil and gas development. Factors contributing to general resilience are compared to those that are adapted to certain spatial and temporal contexts. Environmental factors include ample space and an abundance of resources, such as fish and game (e.g. geese), to augment the diet of not only the migratory herders, but also residents from coastal settlements. In contrast to other regions, such as the Nenets Okrug, Yamal Nenets households consist of intact nuclear families with high retention among youth in the nomadic tundra population. Accepting attitudes toward exogenous drivers such as climate change and industrial development appear to play a significant role in how people react to both extreme weather events and piecemeal confiscation or degradation of territory. Consciousness of their role as responsible stewards of the territories they occupy has likely been a factor in maintaining viable wildlife populations over centuries. Institutions administering reindeer herding have remained flexible, especially on Yamal, and so accommodate decision-making that is sensitive to herders' needs and timetables. This affects factors such as herd demography, mobility and energetics. Resilience is further facilitated within the existing governance regimes by herders' own agency, most recently in the post-Soviet shift to smaller, privately managed herds that can better utilize available pastures in a highly dynamic environment experiencing rapid socio-economic, climate and

  11. Hydrological Controls on Ecosystem CO2 and CH4 Exchange in a MIXED Tundra and a FEN within an Arctic Landscape UNDER Current and Future Climates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grant, R. F.; Humphreys, E.; Lafleur, P.

    2014-12-01

    Variation in CO2 and CH4 exchange in years with contrasting weather is strongly affected by hydrology in landscapes underlain by permafrost. Hypotheses for this variation were incorporated into the ecosystem model ecosys which simulated CO2 and CH4 fluxes along a topographic gradient within an arctic landscape at Daring Lake, NWT, Canada. Fluxes modelled at mixed tundra and fen sites within the gradient were compared with CO2 fluxes measured at eddy covariance towers from 2006 to 2009, and with CH4 fluxes measured with surface chambers in 2008. Slopes and correlation coefficients from regressions of modelled vs. measured CO2 fluxes were 1.0 ± 0.1 and 0.7 - 0.8 for both sites in all years. At the mixed tundra site, rises in net CO2 uptake in warmer years with earlier snowmelt were constrained by midafternoon declines in CO2 influxes when vapor pressure deficits (D) exceeded 1.5 kPa, and by rises in CO2 effluxes with greater active layer depth (ALD). Consequently annual net CO2 uptake at this site rose little with warming. At the fen site, CO2 influxes declined less with D and CO2 effluxes rose less with warming, so that rises in net CO2 uptake in warmer years were greater than those at the mixed tundra site. The greater declines in CO2 influxes with warming at the mixed tundra site were modelled from greater soil-plant-atmosphere water potential gradients that developed in drier soil, and the smaller rises in CO2 effluxes with warming at the fen site were modelled from O2 constraints to heterotrophic and below-ground autotrophic respiration that limited their responses to greater ALD. Modelled and measured CH4 exchange during July and August indicated very small influxes at the mixed tundra site, and larger emissions at the fen site. Emissions of CH4 modelled during soil freezing in October - November contributed about one-third of the annual total, and so should be included in estimates of annual emissions. These contrasting responses to warming under current

  12. New York's TUNDRA.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kalinowski, Thomas

    1983-01-01

    Found at the summit of some of the highest peaks of New York State's Adirondack Mountains are low-growing plants similar, and in many cases, identical to plants growing in the Arctic. Describes these plants and the environment in which they are found. Includes a color plate of alpine tundra plants. (Author/JN)

  13. Decadal Time Scale change in terrestrial plant communities in North American arctic and alpine tundra: A contribution to the International Polar Year Back to the Future Project (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tweedie, C. E.; Ebert-May, D.; Hollister, R. D.; Johnson, D. R.; Lara, M. J.; Villarreal, S.; Spasojevic, M.; Webber, P.

    2010-12-01

    The International Polar Year-Back to the Future (IPY-BTF) is an endorsed International Polar Year project (IPY project #214). The overarching goal of this program is to determine how key structural and functional characteristics of high latitude/altitude terrestrial ecosystems have changed over the past 25 or more years and assess if such trajectories of change are likely to continue in the future. By rescuing data, revisiting, re-sampling historic research sites and assessing environmental change over time, we aim to provide greater understanding of how tundra is changing and what the possible drivers of these changes are. Resampling of sites established by Patrick J. Webber between 1964 and 1975 in northern Baffin Island, Northern Alaska and in the Rocky Mountains form a key contribution to the BTF project. Here we report on resampling efforts at each of these locations and initial results of a synthesis effort that finds similarities and differences in change between sites. Results suggest that although shifts in plant community composition are detectable at each location, the magnitude and direction of change differ among locations. Vegetation shifts along soil moisture gradients is apparent at most of the sites resampled. Interestingly, however, wet communities seem to have changed more than dry communities in the Arctic locations, while plant communities at the alpine site appear to be becoming more distinct regardless of soil moisture status. Ecosystem function studies performed in conjunction with plant community change suggest that there has been an increase in plant productivity at most sites resampled, especially in wet and mesic land cover types.

  14. The Circumpolar Arctic vegetation map

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walker, Donald A.; Raynolds, Martha K.; Daniels, F.J.A.; Einarsson, E.; Elvebakk, A.; Gould, W.A.; Katenin, A.E.; Kholod, S.S.; Markon, C.J.; Melnikov, E.S.; Moskalenko, N.G.; Talbot, S. S.; Yurtsev, B.A.; Bliss, L.C.; Edlund, S.A.; Zoltai, S.C.; Wilhelm, M.; Bay, C.; Gudjonsson, G.; Ananjeva, G.V.; Drozdov, D.S.; Konchenko, L.A.; Korostelev, Y.V.; Ponomareva, O.E.; Matveyeva, N.V.; Safranova, I.N.; Shelkunova, R.; Polezhaev, A.N.; Johansen, B.E.; Maier, H.A.; Murray, D.F.; Fleming, Michael D.; Trahan, N.G.; Charron, T.M.; Lauritzen, S.M.; Vairin, B.A.

    2005-01-01

    Question: What are the major vegetation units in the Arctic, what is their composition, and how are they distributed among major bioclimate subzones and countries? Location: The Arctic tundra region, north of the tree line. Methods: A photo-interpretive approach was used to delineate the vegetation onto an Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) base image. Mapping experts within nine Arctic regions prepared draft maps using geographic information technology (ArcInfo) of their portion of the Arctic, and these were later synthesized to make the final map. Area analysis of the map was done according to bioclimate subzones, and country. The integrated mapping procedures resulted in other maps of vegetation, topography, soils, landscapes, lake cover, substrate pH, and above-ground biomass. Results: The final map was published at 1:7 500 000 scale map. Within the Arctic (total area = 7.11 x 106 km 2), about 5.05 ?? 106 km2 is vegetated. The remainder is ice covered. The map legend generally portrays the zonal vegetation within each map polygon. About 26% of the vegetated area is erect shrublands, 18% peaty graminoid tundras, 13% mountain complexes, 12% barrens, 11% mineral graminoid tundras, 11% prostrate-shrub tundras, and 7% wetlands. Canada has by far the most terrain in the High Arctic mostly associated with abundant barren types and prostrate dwarf-shrub tundra, whereas Russia has the largest area in the Low Arctic, predominantly low-shrub tundra. Conclusions: The CAVM is the first vegetation map of an entire global biome at a comparable resolution. The consistent treatment of the vegetation across the circumpolar Arctic, abundant ancillary material, and digital database should promote the application to numerous land-use, and climate-change applications and will make updating the map relatively easy. ?? IAVS; Opulus Press.

  15. Late-Summer Tundra Methane Concentrations and Fluxes on the North Slope of Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, J. P.; Suriben, R. S.; Coffin, R. B.; Boyd, T. J.; Rose, P. S.; Douglas, T. A.; Millholland, L. C., IV; Boudart, E. R.; Woods, J. E.

    2014-12-01

    Scientific evidence indicates wide-scale changes in Arctic climate. The Arctic contains large expanses of tundra with permafrost, or permanently frozen subsoil. Climate change impacts on the tundra have the potential to enhance biogenic methane (CH4) production in thawed, active soils or release CH4 trapped in or below the permafrost. Methane is a highly effective greenhouse gas so CH4 released from thawing tundra or melting massive ice features constitutes a potential positive feedback to Arctic climate change. In August, 2013 the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL-6114) led an expedition to investigate late-summer tundra CH4 concentrations and fluxes on the North Slope of Alaska near Prudhoe Bay. Permafrost cores were collected to measure tundra CH4 concentrations and soil parameters and a series of gas traps were deployed to measure tundra CH4 flux at 9 locations spread across a study area of ~1800 km2. Thaw probe measurements at each site provided information on the depth of the seasonally-thawed (active) layer. Results show large differences in tundra CH4 concentrations with depth through the active layer and into the upper permafrost terrain and fine-scale variability in daily CH4 flux over a relatively small spatial area. It is likely that variations in biogeochemical and geomorphological characteristics such as soil composition, microbial activity, moisture type, active layer composition and extent from site-to-site control the CH4 regime. In order to provide more accurate estimates of permafrost tundra CH4 storage and fluxes, controls on CH4 variability from location to location must be better understood. Further research is required to quantify and predict tundra CH4 flux in order to better understand the potential impact it will have on Arctic climate, particularly if, as predicted, climate warming leads to the liberation of permafrost carbon in these landscapes.

  16. Ecosystem CO2 and CH4 Exchange in a Mixed Tundra and a Fen Within an Arctic Landscape: Modeled Impacts of Climate Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grant, R. F.

    2015-12-01

    Climate change will have important effects on arctic productivity and greenhouse gas exchange. These changes were projected by the model ecosys under an SRES A2 scenario over the 21st century for a landscape including an upland tundra and a lowland fen at Daring Lake, NWT. Rising temperatures and precipitation caused increases in active layer depths (ALD) and eventual formation of taliks, particularly in the fen, which were attributed to heat advection from warmer and more intense precipitation and downslope flow. These changes raised net primary productivity from more rapid N mineralization and uptake, driven by more rapid heterotrophic respiration and increasing deciduous vs. evergreen plant functional types. Consequently gains in net ecosystem productivity (NEP) of 29 and 10 g C m-2 y-1 were modelled in the tundra and fen after 90 years. However CH4 emissions modelled from the fen rose sharply from direct effects of increasing soil temperatures and greater ALD on fermenter and methanogenic populations, and from indirect effects of increasing sedge growth which hastened transfer of CH4 through porous roots to the atmosphere. After 90 years, landscape CH4 emissions increased from 1.1 to 5.2 g C m-2 y-1 while landscape NEP increased from 34 to 46 g C m-2 y-1. Positive feedback to radiative forcing from increases in CH4 emissions more than offset negative feedback from increases in NEP. This feedback was largely attributed to rises in CH4 emission caused by heat advection from increasing precipitation, the impacts of which require greater attention in arctic climate change studies.

  17. Ecosystem CO2 and CH4 exchange in a mixed tundra and a fen within a hydrologically diverse Arctic landscape: 2. Modeled impacts of climate change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grant, R. F.

    2015-07-01

    Climate change will have important effects on arctic productivity and greenhouse gas exchange. These changes were projected by the model ecosys under an Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) A2 scenario over the 21st century for a landscape including an upland tundra and a lowland fen at Daring Lake, NWT. Rising temperatures and precipitation caused increases in active layer depths (ALD) and eventual formation of taliks, particularly in the fen, which were attributed to heat advection from warmer and more intense precipitation and downslope flow. These changes raised net primary productivity from more rapid N mineralization and uptake, driven by more rapid heterotrophic respiration and increasing deciduous versus evergreen plant functional types. Consequently, gains in net ecosystem productivity (NEP) of 29 and 10 g C m-2 yr-1 were modeled in the tundra and fen after 90 years. However, CH4 emissions modeled from the fen rose sharply from direct effects of increasing soil temperatures and greater ALD on fermenter and methanogenic populations and from indirect effects of increasing sedge growth, which hastened transfer of CH4 through porous roots to the atmosphere. After 90 years, landscape CH4 emissions increased from 1.1 to 5.2 g C m-2 yr-1 while landscape NEP increased from 34 to 46 g C m-2 yr-1. Positive feedback to radiative forcing from increases in CH4 emissions more than offset negative feedback from increases in NEP. This feedback was largely attributed to rises in CH4 emission caused by heat advection from increasing precipitation, the impacts of which require greater attention in arctic climate change studies.

  18. High Methylmercury in Arctic and Subarctic Ponds is Related to Nutrient Levels in the Warming Eastern Canadian Arctic.

    PubMed

    MacMillan, Gwyneth A; Girard, Catherine; Chételat, John; Laurion, Isabelle; Amyot, Marc

    2015-07-01

    Permafrost thaw ponds are ubiquitous in the eastern Canadian Arctic, yet little information exists on their potential as sources of methylmercury (MeHg) to freshwaters. They are microbially active and conducive to methylation of inorganic mercury, and are also affected by Arctic warming. This multiyear study investigated thaw ponds in a discontinuous permafrost region in the Subarctic taiga (Kuujjuarapik-Whapmagoostui, QC) and a continuous permafrost region in the Arctic tundra (Bylot Island, NU). MeHg concentrations in thaw ponds were well above levels measured in most freshwater ecosystems in the Canadian Arctic (>0.1 ng L(-1)). On Bylot, ice-wedge trough ponds showed significantly higher MeHg (0.3-2.2 ng L(-1)) than polygonal ponds (0.1-0.3 ng L(-1)) or lakes (<0.1 ng L(-1)). High MeHg was measured in the bottom waters of Subarctic thaw ponds near Kuujjuarapik (0.1-3.1 ng L(-1)). High water MeHg concentrations in thaw ponds were strongly correlated with variables associated with high inputs of organic matter (DOC, a320, Fe), nutrients (TP, TN), and microbial activity (dissolved CO2 and CH4). Thawing permafrost due to Arctic warming will continue to release nutrients and organic carbon into these systems and increase ponding in some regions, likely stimulating higher water concentrations of MeHg. Greater hydrological connectivity from permafrost thawing may potentially increase transport of MeHg from thaw ponds to neighboring aquatic ecosystems. PMID:26030209

  19. Pathways and transformations of dissolved methane and dissolved inorganic carbon in Arctic tundra soils: Evidence from analysis of stable isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Throckmorton, H.; Perkins, G.; Muss, J. D.; Smith, L. J.; Conrad, M. E.; Torn, M. S.; Heikoop, J. M.; Newman, B. D.; Wilson, C. J.; Wullschleger, S. D.

    2014-12-01

    Arctic soils contain a large pool of terrestrial C and are of great interest because of their potential for releasing significant amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) to the atmosphere. Few attempts have been made, however, to derive quantitative budgets of CO2 and CH4 budgets for high-latitude ecosystems. Therefore, this study used naturally occurring geochemical and isotopic tracers to estimate production pathways and transformations of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC = Σ (total) dissolved CO2) and dissolved CH4 in soil pore waters from 17 locations (drainages) in Barrow, Alaska (USA) in July and September, 2013; and to approximate a complete balance of belowground C cycling at our sampling locations. Results suggest that CH4 was primarily derived from biogenic acetate fermentation, with a shift at 4 locations from July to September towards CO2 reduction as the dominant methanogenic pathway. A large majority of CH4 produced at the frost table methane was transferred directly to the atmosphere via plant roots and ebullition (94.0 ± 1.4% and 96.6 ± 5.0% in July and September). A considerable fraction of the remaining CH4 was oxidized to CO2 during upward diffusion in July and September, respectively. Methane oxidization produced <1% of CO2 relative to alternative production mechanisms in deep subsurface pore waters. The majority of subsurface CO2 was produced from anaerobic respiration, likely due to reduction of Fe oxides and humics (52 ± 6 to 100 ± 13%, on average) while CO2 produced from methanogenesis accounted for the remainder (0 ± 13% to 47 ± 6%, on average) for July and September, respectively. Dissolved CH4 and dissolved CO2 concentrations correlated with thaw depth, suggesting that Arctic ecosystems will likely produce and release a greater amount of greenhouse gasses under projected warming and deepening of active layer thaw depth under future climate change scenarios.

  20. Long-term monitoring at multiple trophic levels suggests heterogeneity in responses to climate change in the Canadian Arctic tundra

    PubMed Central

    Gauthier, Gilles; Bêty, Joël; Cadieux, Marie-Christine; Legagneux, Pierre; Doiron, Madeleine; Chevallier, Clément; Lai, Sandra; Tarroux, Arnaud; Berteaux, Dominique

    2013-01-01

    Arctic wildlife is often presented as being highly at risk in the face of current climate warming. We use the long-term (up to 24 years) monitoring records available on Bylot Island in the Canadian Arctic to examine temporal trends in population attributes of several terrestrial vertebrates and in primary production. Despite a warming trend (e.g. cumulative annual thawing degree-days increased by 37% and snow-melt date advanced by 4–7 days over a 23-year period), we found little evidence for changes in the phenology, abundance or productivity of several vertebrate species (snow goose, foxes, lemmings, avian predators and one passerine). Only primary production showed a response to warming (annual above-ground biomass of wetland graminoids increased by 123% during this period). We nonetheless found evidence for potential mismatches between herbivores and their food plants in response to warming as snow geese adjusted their laying date by only 3.8 days on average for a change in snow-melt of 10 days, half of the corresponding adjustment shown by the timing of plant growth (7.1 days). We discuss several reasons (duration of time series, large annual variability, amplitude of observed climate change, nonlinear dynamic or constraints imposed by various rate of warming with latitude in migrants) to explain the lack of response by herbivores and predators to climate warming at our study site. We also show how length and intensity of monitoring could affect our ability to detect temporal trends and provide recommendations for future monitoring. PMID:23836788

  1. Contrasting effects of warming and increased snowfall on Arctic tundra plant phenology over the past two decades.

    PubMed

    Bjorkman, Anne D; Elmendorf, Sarah C; Beamish, Alison L; Vellend, Mark; Henry, Gregory H R

    2015-12-01

    Recent changes in climate have led to significant shifts in phenology, with many studies demonstrating advanced phenology in response to warming temperatures. The rate of temperature change is especially high in the Arctic, but this is also where we have relatively little data on phenological changes and the processes driving these changes. In order to understand how Arctic plant species are likely to respond to future changes in climate, we monitored flowering phenology in response to both experimental and ambient warming for four widespread species in two habitat types over 21 years. We additionally used long-term environmental records to disentangle the effects of temperature increase and changes in snowmelt date on phenological patterns. While flowering occurred earlier in response to experimental warming, plants in unmanipulated plots showed no change or a delay in flowering over the 21-year period, despite more than 1 °C of ambient warming during that time. This counterintuitive result was likely due to significantly delayed snowmelt over the study period (0.05-0.2 days/yr) due to increased winter snowfall. The timing of snowmelt was a strong driver of flowering phenology for all species - especially for early-flowering species - while spring temperature was significantly related to flowering time only for later-flowering species. Despite significantly delayed flowering phenology, the timing of seed maturation showed no significant change over time, suggesting that warmer temperatures may promote more rapid seed development. The results of this study highlight the importance of understanding the specific environmental cues that drive species' phenological responses as well as the complex interactions between temperature and precipitation when forecasting phenology over the coming decades. As demonstrated here, the effects of altered snowmelt patterns can counter the effects of warmer temperatures, even to the point of generating phenological responses

  2. Soil Biota and Litter Decay in High Arctic Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    González, G.; Rivera, F.; Makarova, O.; Gould, W. A.

    2006-12-01

    Frost heave action contributes to the formation of non-sorted circles in the High Arctic. Non-sorted circles tend to heave more than the surrounding tundra due to deeper thaw and the formation of ice lenses. Thus, the geomorphology, soils and vegetation on the centers of the patterned-ground feature (non-sorted circles) as compared to the surrounding soils (inter-circles) can be different. We established a decomposition experiment to look at in situ decay rates of the most dominant graminoid species on non-sorted circles and adjacent inter-circle soils along a climatic gradient in the Canadian High Arctic as a component of a larger study looking at the biocomplexity of small-featured patterned ground ecosystems. Additionally, we investigated variation in soil chemical properties and biota, including soil microarthropods and microbial composition and biomass, as they relate to climate, topographic position, and litter decay rates. Our three sites locations, from coldest to warmest, are Isachsen, Ellef Ringnes Island (ER), NU (bioclimatic subzone A); Mould Bay (MB), Prince Patrick Island, NT (bioclimatic subzone B), and Green Cabin (GC), Aulavik National Park, Thomsen River, Banks Island, NT (bioclimatic subzone C). Our sample design included the selection of 15 non-sorted circles and adjacent inter-circle areas within the zonal vegetation at each site (a total of 90 sites), and a second set of 3 non-sorted circles and adjacent inter-circle areas in dry, mesic and wet tundra at each of the sites. Soil invertebrates were sampled at each site using both pitfall traps, soil microbial biomass was determined using substrate induced respiration and bacterial populations were determined using the most probable number method. Decomposition rates were measured using litterbags and as the percent of mass remaining of Carex misandra, Luzula nivalis and Alopecuris alpinus in GC, MB and ER, respectively. Our findings indicate these graminoid species decayed significantly over

  3. Calibration, Compositing, and Classification of Landsat Datasets and High-Resolution Imagery in Arctic Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Macander, M. J.; Frost, G. V., Jr.

    2014-12-01

    Providing calibrated, cloud-free, and phenologically consistent satellite basemaps at moderate (~30 m) and high resolution (≤2 m) is critical to the mapping of arctic tundra vegetation and landscape attributes across large study areas. We obtained ground cover (n = 107) and field spectra (n = 28) data for tundra vegetation across a network of field plots in a ~100,000 km2 study area spanning the foothills and coastal plain ecoregions of Alaska's North Slope. Calibration and atmospheric correction of Landsat TM, ETM+ and OLI, WorldView-2, and GeoEye-1 imagery were performed and we compared results across sensors and with ground spectra. For the Landsat imagery, we produced consistent basemaps using compositing approaches that focused on capturing central tendencies from multiple years of imagery within narrow phenological windows (e.g., green-up, peak growth, fall senescence). We leveraged information from the full 1985-2014 time series to optimize compositing year ranges to prevent bias due to directional changes (e.g., shrubification), and "step-changes" (e.g., tundra fire, lake drainage, ice-wedge degradation) in vegetation and landscape characteristics over the Landsat era. Finally, we explored automated classification of the calibrated Landsat and high-resolution imagery using the spectral rule-based classifier Satellite Image Automatic Mapper (SIAM).

  4. Coarse mode aerosols in the High Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baibakov, K.; O'Neill, N. T.; Chaubey, J. P.; Saha, A.; Duck, T. J.; Eloranta, E. W.

    2014-12-01

    Fine mode (submicron) aerosols in the Arctic have received a fair amount of scientific attention in terms of smoke intrusions during the polar summer and Arctic haze pollution during the polar winter. Relatively little is known about coarse mode (supermicron) aerosols, notably dust, volcanic ash and sea salt. Asian dust is a regular springtime event whose optical and radiative forcing effects have been fairly well documented at the lower latitudes over North America but rarely reported for the Arctic. Volcanic ash, whose socio-economic importance has grown dramatically since the fear of its effects on aircraft engines resulted in the virtual shutdown of European civil aviation in the spring of 2010 has rarely been reported in the Arctic in spite of the likely probability that ash from Iceland and the Aleutian Islands makes its way into the Arctic and possibly the high Arctic. Little is known about Arctic sea salt aerosols and we are not aware of any literature on the optical measurement of these aerosols. In this work we present preliminary results of the combined sunphotometry-lidar analysis at two High Arctic stations in North America: PEARL (80°N, 86°W) for 2007-2011 and Barrow (71°N,156°W) for 2011-2014. The multi-years datasets were analyzed to single out potential coarse mode incursions and study their optical characteristics. In particular, CIMEL sunphotometers provided coarse mode optical depths as well as information on particle size and refractive index. Lidar measurements from High Spectral Resolution lidars (AHSRL at PEARL and NSHSRL at Barrow) yielded vertically resolved aerosol profiles and gave an indication of particle shape and size from the depolarization ratio and color ratio profiles. Additionally, we employed supplementary analyses of HYSPLIT backtrajectories, OMI aerosol index, and NAAPS (Navy Aerosol Analysis and Prediction System) outputs to study the spatial context of given events.

  5. Disappearing Arctic tundra ponds: Fine-scale analysis of surface hydrology in drained thaw lake basins over a 65 year period (1948-2013)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andresen, Christian G.; Lougheed, Vanessa L.

    2015-03-01

    Long-term fine-scale dynamics of surface hydrology in Arctic tundra ponds (less than 1 ha) are largely unknown; however, these small water bodies may contribute substantially to carbon fluxes, energy balance, and biodiversity in the Arctic system. Change in pond area and abundance across the upper Barrow Peninsula, Alaska, was assessed by comparing historic aerial imagery (1948) and modern submeter resolution satellite imagery (2002, 2008, and 2010). This was complemented by photogrammetric analysis of low-altitude kite-borne imagery in combination with field observations (2010-2013) of pond water and thaw depth transects in seven ponds of the International Biological Program historic research site. Over 2800 ponds in 22 drained thaw lake basins (DTLB) with different geological ages were analyzed. We observed a net decrease of 30.3% in area and 17.1% in number of ponds over the 62 year period. The inclusion of field observations of pond areas in 1972 from a historic research site confirms the linear downward trend in area. Pond area and number were dependent on the age of DTLB; however, changes through time were independent of DTLB age, with potential long-term implications for the hypothesized geomorphologic landscape succession of the thaw lake cycle. These losses were coincident with increases in air temperature, active layer, and density and cover of aquatic emergent plants in ponds. Increased evaporation due to warmer and longer summers, permafrost degradation, and transpiration from encroaching aquatic emergent macrophytes are likely the factors contributing to the decline in surface area and number of ponds.

  6. Effect of warming on the degradation and production of low-molecular-weight labile organic carbon in an Arctic tundra soil

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Yang, Ziming; Wullschleger, Stan D.; Liang, Liyuan; Graham, David E.; Gu, Baohua

    2016-01-16

    The fate of soil organic carbon (SOC) stored in the Arctic permafrost is a key concern as temperatures continue to rise in the northern hemisphere. Studies and conceptual models suggest that SOC degradation is affected by the composition of SOC, but it is unclear exactly what portions of SOC are vulnerable to rapid breakdown and what mechanisms may be controlling SOC degradation upon permafrost thaw. Here, we examine the dynamic consumption and production of labile SOC in an anoxic incubation experiment using soil samples from the active layer at the Barrow Environmental Observatory, Barrow, Alaska, USA. Free-reducing sugars, alcohols, andmore » low-molecular-weight (LMW) organic acids were analyzed during incubation at either –2 or 8 °C for up to 240 days. Results show that simple sugar and alcohol SOC largely account for the initial rapid release of CO2 and CH4 through anaerobic fermentation, whereas the fermentation products, acetate and formate, are subsequently utilized as primary substrates for methanogenesis. Iron(III) reduction is correlated to acetate production and methanogenesis, suggesting its important role as an electron acceptor in tundra SOC respiration. These observations are further supported in a glucose addition experiment, in which rapid CO2 and CH4 production occurred concurrently with rapid production and consumption of labile organics such as acetate. However, addition of tannic acid, as a more complex organic substrate, showed little influence on the overall production of CO2 and CH4 and organic acids. Together our study shows that LMW labile organics in SOC control the initial rapid release of green-house gases upon warming. We thus present a conceptual framework for the labile SOC transformations and their relations to fermentation, iron reduction and methanogenesis, thereby providing the basis for improved model prediction of climate feedbacks in the Arctic.« less

  7. Modeling permafrost thaw and ecosystem carbon cycle under annual and seasonal warming at an Arctic tundra site in Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Jianwei; Luo, Yiqi; Natali, Susan; Schuur, Edward A. G.; Xia, Jianyang; Kowalczyk, Eva; Wang, Yingping

    2014-06-01

    Permafrost thaw and its impacts on ecosystem carbon (C) dynamics are critical for predicting global climate change. It remains unclear whether annual and seasonal warming (winter or summer) affect permafrost thaw and ecosystem C balance differently. It is also required to compare the short-term stepwise warming and long-term gradual warming effects. This study validated a land surface model, the Community Atmosphere Biosphere Land Exchange model, at an Alaskan tundra site, and then used it to simulate permafrost thaw and ecosystem C flux under annual warming, winter warming, and summer warming. The simulations were conducted under stepwise air warming (2°C yr-1) during 2007-2011, and gradual air warming (0.04°C yr-1) during 2007-2056. We hypothesized that all warming treatments induced greater permafrost thaw, and larger ecosystem respiration than plant growth thus shifting the ecosystem C sink to C source. Results only partially supported our hypothesis. Climate warming further enhanced C sink under stepwise (6-15%) and gradual (1-8%) warming scenarios as followed by annual warming, winter warming, and summer warming. This is attributed to disproportionally low temperature increase in soil (0.1°C) in comparison to air warming (2°C). In a separate simulation, a greater soil warming (1.5°C under winter warming) led to a net ecosystem C source (i.e., 18 g C m-2 yr-1). This suggests that warming tundra can potentially provide positive feedbacks to global climate change. As a key variable, soil temperature and its dynamics, especially during wintertime, need to be carefully studied under global warming using both modeling and experimental approaches.

  8. Modeling the influence of hydrological processes on spatial and temporal patterns of CO{sub 2} soil efflux from an arctic tundra catchment

    SciTech Connect

    Ostendorf, B.

    1996-08-01

    Spatial and temporal patterns of CO{sub 2} efflux from arctic tundra soils are examined with three, linked simulation models at a 2.2-km{sup 2} catchment. The model complex runs on a 20*20 m grid and a temporal resolution of 1 h over one growing season. TOPMODEL is used to predict the dynamics of the water balance and spatial pattern of water table. A canopy model (GAS-FLUX) is used to predict moss and vascular plant transpiration rates. Soil respiration is computed form an empirical regression model incorporating the effects of soil temperature and depth to the water table. Soil efflux in the riparian zones of 60 g C m{sup {minus}2} compares to 119 g C m{sup {minus}2} in the hillslopes indicating large spatial differences. An increase of air temperature and solar radiation or a decrease of precipitation increase soil respiration. The results indicate a tight connection between water and carbon cycles at the catchment scale. Keeping all other conditions constant, a seasonal increase of transpiration rates by 10% increases soil respiration by 5% or 4.6 g Cm{sup {minus}2}. Data deficiencies and suggestions for future modeling are discussed. 40 refs., 8 figs.

  9. Lab-Scale Investigation of Multi-dimensional Relationships between Soil Intrinsic Properties to Improve Estimation of Soil Organic and Ice Content using Novel Core Imaging and Geophysical Techniques in Arctic Tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ulrich, C.; Dafflon, B.; Wu, Y.; Kneafsey, T. J.; López, R. D.; Peterson, J.; Hubbard, S. S.

    2015-12-01

    Shallow permafrost distribution and characteristics are important for predicting ecosystem feedbacks to a changing climate over decadal to century timescales. These can drive active layer deepening and land surface deformation, which in turn can significantly affect hydrological and biogeochemical responses, including greenhouse gas dynamics. Investigating permafrost soil intrinsic properties generally involves time-consuming and expensive lab-based analysis of few soil cores over a large area and extrapolating between points to characterize spatial variations in soil properties. Geophysical techniques provide lower resolution data over a spatially large area and when coupled with high-resolution point data can potentially estimate with greater accuracy the spatial variation of investigated properties, thus limiting the difficulty of collecting many soil cores in remote areas. As part of the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiment (NGEE-Arctic), we investigate multi-dimensional relationships between various permafrost intrinsic soil properties, and further linkages with geophysical parameters such as density from X-ray computed tomography (CT) and electrical conductivity from electrical resistance tomography (ERT) to evaluate how best to constrain estimation of properties as soil organic carbon content, ice content and saturation across low- to high-centered polygon features in the arctic tundra. Results of this study enable the quantification of the multi-dimensional relationships between intrinsic properties, which can be further used to constrain estimation of such properties from geophysical data and/or where limited core-based information is available. This study also enables the identification of the key controls on soil electrical resistivity and density at the investigated permafrost site, including salinity, porosity, water content, ice content, soil organic matter, and lithological properties. Overall, inferred multi-dimensional relationships and related

  10. Vegetation Feedbacks Explain Recent High-latitude Summer Warming in Alaskan Arctic and Boreal Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chapin, F. S.; Beringer, J.; Copass, C.; Epstein, H.; Lloyd, A.; Lynch, A.; McGuire, A. D.; Sturm, M.

    2002-12-01

    Although General Circulation Models predict the observed winter and spring warming at high latitudes, there is no obvious physical mechanism in the climate system that can account for the significant increase in summer temperatures that has occurred at high latitudes during the past 30 years. We demonstrate that vegetation-induced feedbacks in snow properties and summer energy exchange with the atmosphere explain this recent summer warming. A combination of stand-age reconstructions, repeat photography, and satellite measures of vegetation greenness demonstrate an expansion of the distribution and an infilling of shrubs in moist tundra and of trees in forest tundra. These vegetation changes increase the depth and thermal resistance of the snow pack, causing a 3oC increase in winter soil temperature and an increase in winter decomposition and nutrient mineralization, which enhance plant growth. These vegetation changes also increase summer heat transport to the atmosphere by increasing radiation absorption (lower albedo) and the proportion of absorbed energy that is transferred to the atmosphere as sensible heat. The resulting increase in atmospheric heating, on a unit-area basis, is similar to effects of a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide or a 2% change in solar constant, such as occurred at the last glacial-interglacial boundary. Simulations with the regional climate model ARCSyM indicate that a change from shrubless tundra to shrub-dominated tundra on the North Slope of Alaska would increase July mean temperature by 1.5 to 3.5 degrees C, with the warming effects extending south into the boreal forest of interior Alaska. If these vegetation feedbacks to regional warming are widespread, as suggested by indigenous knowledge and the satellite record, they are of sufficient magnitude to explain the summer warming that has recently been observed in northern Alaska and other regions of the circumpolar Arctic.

  11. Integrating Research and Education in a Study of Biocomplexity in Arctic Tundra Ecosystems: Costs, Results, and Benefits to the Research Agenda

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gould, W. A.; González, G.; Walker, D. A.

    2006-12-01

    The integration of research and education is one of the fundamental goals of our national science policy. There is strong interest to improve this integration at the graduate and undergraduate levels, with the general public, and with local and indigenous people. Efforts expended in integrating research and education can occur at the expense of research productivity and represent a cost. Results may include number of personnel involved, activities accomplished, research or other products produced. Benefits are difficult to quantify and may be short term and tangible, e.g. education-research projects enhancing research productivity with publications, or long-term and include intangibles such as personal interactions and experiences influencing career choices, the perception of research activities, enhanced communication, and direct or indirect influence on related research and educational projects. We have integrated the University field course Arctic Field Ecology with an interdisciplinary research project investigating the interactions of climate, vegetation, and permafrost in the study Biocomplexity of Arctic Tundra Ecosystems. The integration is designed to give students background in regional ecology; introduce students to the project objectives, methods, and personnel; provide for interaction with participating scientists; conduct research initiated by the class and instructors; and provide the opportunity to interact with indigenous people with interests in traditional ecological knowledge and land management. Our costs included increased logistical complexity and time-demands on the researchers and staff managing the integration. The educational component increased the size of the research group with the addition of 55 participants over the 4 field seasons of the study. Participants came from 7 countries and included 20 enrolled university students, 18 Inuit non student participants, 9 Inuit students, 3 visiting scientists, 3 staff, and 2 scientist

  12. Increased plant biomass in a High Arctic heath community from 1981 to 2008.

    PubMed

    Hudson, J M G; Henry, G H R

    2009-10-01

    The Canadian High Arctic has been warming for several decades. Over this period, tundra plant communities have been influenced by regional climate change, as well as other disturbances. At a site on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, we measured biomass and composition changes in a heath community over 13 years using a point-intercept method in permanent plots (1995-2007) and over 27 years using a biomass harvest comparison (1981-2008). Results from both methods indicate that the community became more productive over time, suggesting that this ecosystem is currently in transition. Bryophyte and evergreen shrub abundances increased, while deciduous shrub, forb, graminoid, and lichen cover did not change. Species diversity also remained unchanged. Because of the greater evergreen shrub cover, canopy height increased. From 1995 to 2007, mean annual temperature and growing season length increased at the site. Maximum thaw depth increased, while soil water content did not change. We attribute the increased productivity of this community to regional warming over the past 30-50 years. This study provides the first plot-based evidence for the recent pan-Arctic increase in tundra productivity detected by satellite-based remote-sensing and repeat-photography studies. These types of ground-level observations are critical tools for detecting and projecting long-term community-level responses to warming. PMID:19886474

  13. Alaska's Living Tundra. Alaska Wildlife Week, 25-29 April 1988. Unit 6: Primary Teacher's Guide; Upper Elementary Teacher's Guide; Junior/Senior High School Teacher's Guide; Supplement.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Quinlan, Susan E.

    Despite its cold and barren appearance, Alaska's tundra supports a surprising variety of insects, birds, and mammals. In this document, three teacher's guides (for primary, upper elementary, and junior and senior high schools) and a supplementary resource packet present a comprehensive unit of study on Alaska's living tundra. The five lessons in…

  14. Modeling dynamics of tundra plant communities on the Yamal Peninsula, Russia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yu, Q.; Epstein, H. E.; Walker, D. A.

    2010-12-01

    Multiple environmental drivers, including climate, soil conditions and herbivory, affect arctic tundra vegetation dynamics. These factors may have been evaluated individually in the past; however, their interactions contribute to more complicated tundra plant community dynamics and may represent a substantial source of uncertainty in predicting tundra ecosystem properties in the changing Arctic. This study investigates the effects of soils, grazing, and climate change on tundra plant communities at the plant functional type (PFT) level, based on previous integrated modeling research at the ecosystem level. The study area encompasses the Yamal Peninsula, northwestern Siberia, where soil and biomass data were collected along the Yamal Arctic Transect (YAT), to drive a nutrient-based tundra vegetation model (ArcVeg) and to validate the simulation results. We analyzed plant functional type biomass and net primary productivity (NPP), and found that with higher temperatures (+2°C mean growing season temperature), most plant functional types responded positively with increased biomass and NPP, while grazing suppressed such responses in both high and low soil organic nitrogen (SON) sites. The magnitudes of the responses to warming depended on SON and grazing intensity. Relatively, there were greater responses of biomass and NPP in low SON sites compared to high SON sites. Moss biomass (in contrast to other plant types) declined 34% with warming in the low SON site and 28% in the high SON site in subzone E (the most southern tundra subzone). Increases in Low Arctic shrub biomass with warming were 61% in the high SON site in subzone E and 96% in the low SON site. Decrease in moss biomass due to warming was mitigated about 2% by high grazing frequency (maximum of 25% of biomass removal every two years) in the high SON site in subzone E, with an opposite effect in the low SON site. High grazing frequency caused greater relative increases in total shrub biomass for both low

  15. Relative roles of different-sized herbivores and plant-plant interactions in tall shrub tundra vegetation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ravolainen, Virve; Ims, Rolf; Bårdsen, Bård-Jørgen; Stien, Audun; Kollstrøm, Julie; Lægreid, Eiliv; Bråthen, Kari Anne

    2013-04-01

    Tall shrubs play important roles in the ecology of Arctic tundra ecosystems, including support of high shrub-associated biodiversity and regulation of a range of ecosystem processes. Tall shrub patches and herbaceous vegetation surrounding them often form a two-state vegetation mosaic. Such tall shrub tundra vegetation is an important locus for current vegetation changes in the Arctic. Both abiotic and biotic drivers are known to influence the shrub component. However, although expansion of the shrub state has received much focus lately, relative strengths of the multiple drivers of vegetation state are currently not fully understood. We investigated the role of herbivory relative to temperature and relative to plant-plant interactions, conducting a field survey and experimental studies at large spatial scales in riparian tall shrub tundra in Norway. We found both summer temperatures and summer grazing by reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) to affect tall shrub distribution and expansion potential. Furthermore, we found strong and rapid shrub growth change in response to abundance of key arctic herbivores; small rodents. Finally, we quantified the relative importance of neighboring plants and both herbivore types to recruiting tall shrubs. The previously unforeseen rate at which tall shrub tundra responded to altered herbivore pressures further exemplifies its central role in the tundra ecosystems, promoting tall shrub tundra as a bell-whether of change with respect to both abiotic and biotic drivers. While many of the results clearly relate to herbivory, neighboring plants or climate as drivers, some variation remains unexplained warranting future research focus on this highly dynamic part of the tundra ecosystem. Our results suggest that spatially variable biotic interactions are likely to modify forcing by climate, calling for an ecosystem approach when studying change in tundra ecosystems.

  16. Comparing carbon storage of Siberian tundra and taiga permafrost ecosystems at very high spatial resolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Siewert, Matthias B.; Hanisch, Jessica; Weiss, Niels; Kuhry, Peter; Maximov, Trofim C.; Hugelius, Gustaf

    2015-10-01

    Permafrost-affected ecosystems are important components in the global carbon (C) cycle that, despite being vulnerable to disturbances under climate change, remain poorly understood. This study investigates ecosystem carbon storage in two contrasting continuous permafrost areas of NE and East Siberia. Detailed partitioning of soil organic carbon (SOC) and phytomass carbon (PC) is analyzed for one tundra (Kytalyk) and one taiga (Spasskaya Pad/Neleger) study area. In total, 57 individual field sites (24 and 33 in the respective areas) have been sampled for PC and SOC, including the upper permafrost. Landscape partitioning of ecosystem C storage was derived from thematic upscaling of field observations using a land cover classification from very high resolution (2 × 2 m) satellite imagery. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling was used to explore patterns in C distribution. In both environments the ecosystem C is mostly stored in the soil (≥86%). At the landscape scale C stocks are primarily controlled by the presence of thermokarst depressions (alases). In the tundra landscape, site-scale variability of C is controlled by periglacial geomorphological features, while in the taiga, local differences in catenary position, soil texture, and forest successions are more important. Very high resolution remote sensing is highly beneficial to the quantification of C storage. Detailed knowledge of ecosystem C storage and ground ice distribution is needed to predict permafrost landscape vulnerability to projected climatic changes. We argue that vegetation dynamics are unlikely to offset mineralization of thawed permafrost C and that landscape-scale reworking of SOC represents the largest potential changes to C cycling.

  17. Hypolithic Microbial Community of Quartz Pavement in the High-Altitude Tundra of Central Tibet

    PubMed Central

    Wong, Fiona K. Y.; Lacap, Donnabella C.; Lau, Maggie C. Y.; Aitchison, J. C.; Cowan, Donald A.

    2010-01-01

    The hypolithic microbial community associated with quartz pavement at a high-altitude tundra location in central Tibet is described. A small-scale ecological survey indicated that 36% of quartz rocks were colonized. Community profiling using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism revealed no significant difference in community structure among a number of colonized rocks. Real-time quantitative PCR and phylogenetic analysis of environmental phylotypes obtained from clone libraries were used to elucidate community structure across all domains. The hypolithon was dominated by cyanobacterial phylotypes (73%) with relatively low frequencies of other bacterial phylotypes, largely represented by the chloroflexi, actinobacteria, and bacteriodetes. Unidentified crenarchaeal phylotypes accounted for 4% of recoverable phylotypes, while algae, fungi, and mosses were indicated by a small fraction of recoverable phylotypes. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00248-010-9653-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users. PMID:20336290

  18. Pathways and transformations of dissolved methane and dissolved inorganic carbon in Arctic tundra watersheds: Evidence from analysis of stable isotopes

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Throckmorton, Heather M.; Heikoop, Jeffrey M.; Newman, Brent D.; Altmann, Garrett L.; Conrad, Mark S.; Muss, Jordan D.; Perkins, George B.; Smith, Lydia J.; Torn, Margaret S.; Wullschleger, Stan D.; et al

    2015-11-08

    Arctic soils contain a large pool of terrestrial C and are of interest due to their potential for releasing significant carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) to the atmosphere. Due to substantial landscape heterogeneity, predicting ecosystem-scale CH4 and CO2 production is challenging. This study assessed dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC = Σ (total) dissolved CO2) and CH4 in watershed drainages in Barrow, Alaska as critical convergent zones of regional geochemistry, substrates, and nutrients. In July and September of 2013, surface waters and saturated subsurface pore waters were collected from 17 drainages. Based on simultaneous DIC and CH4 cycling, we synthesized isotopicmore » and geochemical methods to develop a subsurface CH4 and DIC balance by estimating mechanisms of CH4 and DIC production and transport pathways and oxidation of subsurface CH4. We observed a shift from acetoclastic (July) toward hydrogenotropic (September) methanogenesis at sites located toward the end of major freshwater drainages, adjacent to salty estuarine waters, suggesting an interesting landscape-scale effect on CH4 production mechanism. The majority of subsurface CH4 was transported upward by plant-mediated transport and ebullition, predominantly bypassing the potential for CH4 oxidation. Thus, surprisingly, CH4 oxidation only consumed approximately 2.51± 0.82% (July) and 0.79 ± 0.79% (September) of CH4 produced at the frost table, contributing to <0.1% of DIC production. DIC was primarily produced from respiration, with iron and organic matter serving as likely e- acceptors. Furthermore, this work highlights the importance of spatial and temporal variability of CH4 production at the watershed scale and suggests broad scale investigations are required to build better regional or pan-Arctic representations of CH4 and CO2 production.« less

  19. Pathways and transformations of dissolved methane and dissolved inorganic carbon in Arctic tundra watersheds: Evidence from analysis of stable isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Throckmorton, Heather M.; Heikoop, Jeffrey M.; Newman, Brent D.; Altmann, Garrett L.; Conrad, Mark S.; Muss, Jordan D.; Perkins, George B.; Smith, Lydia J.; Torn, Margaret S.; Wullschleger, Stan D.; Wilson, Cathy J.

    2015-11-01

    Arctic soils contain a large pool of terrestrial C and are of interest due to their potential for releasing significant carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) to the atmosphere. Due to substantial landscape heterogeneity, predicting ecosystem-scale CH4 and CO2 production is challenging. This study assessed dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC = Σ (total) dissolved CO2) and CH4 in watershed drainages in Barrow, Alaska as critical convergent zones of regional geochemistry, substrates, and nutrients. In July and September of 2013, surface waters and saturated subsurface pore waters were collected from 17 drainages. Based on simultaneous DIC and CH4 cycling, we synthesized isotopic and geochemical methods to develop a subsurface CH4 and DIC balance by estimating mechanisms of CH4 and DIC production and transport pathways and oxidation of subsurface CH4. We observed a shift from acetoclastic (July) toward hydrogenotropic (September) methanogenesis at sites located toward the end of major freshwater drainages, adjacent to salty estuarine waters, suggesting an interesting landscape-scale effect on CH4 production mechanism. The majority of subsurface CH4 was transported upward by plant-mediated transport and ebullition, predominantly bypassing the potential for CH4 oxidation. Thus, surprisingly, CH4 oxidation only consumed approximately 2.51 ± 0.82% (July) and 0.79 ± 0.79% (September) of CH4 produced at the frost table, contributing to <0.1% of DIC production. DIC was primarily produced from respiration, with iron and organic matter serving as likely e- acceptors. This work highlights the importance of spatial and temporal variability of CH4 production at the watershed scale and suggests broad scale investigations are required to build better regional or pan-Arctic representations of CH4 and CO2 production.

  20. Diverging Plant and Ecosystem Strategies in Response to Climate Change in the High Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maseyk, K. S.; Welker, J. M.; Czimczik, C. I.; Lupascu, M.; Lett, C.; Seibt, U. H.

    2014-12-01

    Increasing summer precipitation means Arctic growing seasons are becoming wetter as well as warmer, but the effect of these coupled changes on tundra ecosystem functioning remains largely unknown. We have determined how warmer and wetter summers affect coupled carbon-water cycling in a High Arctic polar semi-desert ecosystem in NW Greenland. Measurements of ecosystem CO2 and water fluxes throughout the growing season and leaf ecophysiological traits (gas exchange, morphology, leaf chemistry) were made at a long-term climate change experiment. After 9 years of exposure to warmer (+ 4°C) and / or wetter (+ 50% precipitation) treatments, we found diverging plant strategies between the responses to warming with or without an increase in summer precipitation. Warming alone resulted in an increase in leaf nitrogen, mesophyll conductance and leaf-mass per area and higher rates of leaf-level photosynthesis, but with warming and wetting combined leaf traits remain largely unchanged. However, total leaf area increased with warming plus wetting but was unchanged with warming alone. The combined effect of these leaf trait and canopy adjustments is a decrease in ecosystem water-use efficiency (the ratio of net productivity to evapotranspiration) with warming only, but a substantial increase with combined warming and wetting. We conclude that increasing summer precipitation will alter tundra ecohydrological responses to warming; that leaf-level changes in ecophysiological traits have an upward cascading consequence for ecosystem and land surface-climate interactions; and the current relative resistance of High Arctic ecosystems to warming may mask biochemical and carbon cycling changes already underway.

  1. Quantitative Interpretation of Arctic Tundra Attributes Using Remote Sensing: Leveraging Field Data, Modern- and Legacy Landsat Data, and Commercial Imagery in Northern Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frost, G. V., Jr.; Macander, M. J.; Nelson, P. R.

    2014-12-01

    Integrated analysis of ground-based vegetation data and remote sensing supports vegetation mapping, landscape-change detection, wildlife habitat assessment, and tracking of phenological events such as green-up and senescence. The life-cycles of tundra plants occur within a highly compressed seasonal window, making the quantitative assessment of vegetation and landscape attributes from ≤30m resolution remotely-sensed imagery, such as above-ground biomass, % shrub cover, and % surface water, a difficult task when applied across large study domains. To support mapping of vegetation and landscape attributes across ~100,000 km2 of Alaska's North Slope, we obtained ground data for tundra vegetation using a point-intercept sampling approach across a network of 107 field plots spanning gradients of bioclimate, landscape position (upland, lowland, riverine), and geomorphic setting (foothills, coastal plain). At each plot, vegetation data were collected along three 50-m linear transects, compatible with 30-m Landsat imagery. We summarized live vegetation, litter, and non-vegetated surfaces using three terms: top cover (uppermost "hit"), percent cover (total areal cover along transect), and hit density (all "hits" at a point). We then evaluated a suite of data models (e.g., General Additive Models, classification tree, clustering) and data-mining approaches (e.g., neural networks, random forest) using midsummer Landsat TM/ETM+ acquisitions since 1985, and OLI acquisitions for 2013-2014. The large size, frequent cloudiness, and interannual variability of the study area necessitated the compositing of a multitude of Landsat scenes. A median NDVI compositing technique was used to select Landsat observations from cloud- and shadow-free pixels that met day-of-year and year constraints. This technique produced seamless, phenologically consistent composites that are largely free of artifacts and suitable for regional-scale analysis. Ground-based training data and an archive of

  2. Science Traverses in the Canadian High Arctic

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Williamson, Marie-Claude

    2012-01-01

    The presentation is divided into three parts. Part I is an overview of early expeditions to the High Arctic, and their political consequences at the time. The focus then shifts to the Geological Survey of Canada s mapping program in the North (Operation Franklin), and to the Polar Continental Shelf Project (PCSP), a unique organization that resides within the Government of Canada s Department of Natural Resources, and supports mapping projects and science investigations. PCSP is highlighted throughout the presentation so a description of mandate, budgets, and support infrastructure is warranted. In Part II, the presenter describes the planning required in advance of scientific deployments carried out in the Canadian High Arctic from the perspective of government and university investigators. Field operations and challenges encountered while leading arctic field teams in fly camps are also described in this part of the presentation, with particular emphasis on the 2008 field season. Part III is a summary of preliminary results obtained from a Polar Survey questionnaire sent out to members of the Arctic research community in anticipation of the workshop. The last part of the talk is an update on the analog program at the Canadian Space Agency, specifically, the Canadian Analog Research Network (CARN) and current activities related to Analog missions, 2009-2010.

  3. Pathways and transformations of dissolved methane and dissolved inorganic carbon in Arctic tundra watersheds: Evidence from analysis of stable isotopes

    SciTech Connect

    Throckmorton, Heather M.; Heikoop, Jeffrey M.; Newman, Brent D.; Altmann, Garrett L.; Conrad, Mark S.; Muss, Jordan D.; Perkins, George B.; Smith, Lydia J.; Torn, Margaret S.; Wullschleger, Stan D.; Wilson, Cathy J.

    2015-11-08

    Arctic soils contain a large pool of terrestrial C and are of interest due to their potential for releasing significant carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) to the atmosphere. Due to substantial landscape heterogeneity, predicting ecosystem-scale CH4 and CO2 production is challenging. This study assessed dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC = Σ (total) dissolved CO2) and CH4 in watershed drainages in Barrow, Alaska as critical convergent zones of regional geochemistry, substrates, and nutrients. In July and September of 2013, surface waters and saturated subsurface pore waters were collected from 17 drainages. Based on simultaneous DIC and CH4 cycling, we synthesized isotopic and geochemical methods to develop a subsurface CH4 and DIC balance by estimating mechanisms of CH4 and DIC production and transport pathways and oxidation of subsurface CH4. We observed a shift from acetoclastic (July) toward hydrogenotropic (September) methanogenesis at sites located toward the end of major freshwater drainages, adjacent to salty estuarine waters, suggesting an interesting landscape-scale effect on CH4 production mechanism. The majority of subsurface CH4 was transported upward by plant-mediated transport and ebullition, predominantly bypassing the potential for CH4 oxidation. Thus, surprisingly, CH4 oxidation only consumed approximately 2.51± 0.82% (July) and 0.79 ± 0.79% (September) of CH4 produced at the frost table, contributing to <0.1% of DIC production. DIC was primarily produced from respiration, with iron and organic matter serving as likely e- acceptors. Furthermore, this work highlights the importance of spatial and temporal variability of CH4 production at the watershed scale and suggests broad scale investigations are required to build better regional or pan-Arctic representations of CH

  4. Nutrient Limitations Constrain the Feedback Capacity of Landscapes in the High Arctic: Nonlinearities and Synergism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arens, S. J.; Sullivan, P. F.; Welker, J. M.; Rogers, M. C.; Holland, K.; Schimel, J.; Persson, K.

    2006-12-01

    Nutrient availability appears to be a controlling factor in the structure and function of High Arctic terrestrial systems as depicted by biological hot spots such as bird cliffs which are found throughout the arctic. Understanding the processes by which nutrients control plant production, canopy structure, and ecosystem carbon cycling have been well studied in the Low Arctic, where fertilization experiments have been employed for decades. Few studies have examined how the amount and type of nutrient augmentations (fertilization) affects the magnitude and pattern of CO2 exchange, species composition and optical properties of prostrate dwarf-shrub, herb tundra, the largest ecosystem in the High Arctic. In this study, amendments of three levels of nitrogen (N) (0.5 g/m2, 1.0 g/m2 and 5.0 g/m2) phosphorus (P) (2.5 g/m2) were initiated in prostrate dwarf- shrub, herb tundra near Pituffik (Thule), Greenland (76¢ªN, 68¢ªW). Species composition, net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE), gross primary photosynthesis (GPP), ecosystem respiration (ER) and plot-level normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) were used to quantify changes in ecosystem structure and function. Non- linear responses to the addition of different levels of N were observed. CO2 gas exchange and NDVI showed indicated the strongest response at middle levels of N addition (1.0 g/m2). Strong and synergystic responses to the combined addition of nitrogen and phosphorus were observed. Increases in vegetation density and a shift in species composition were observed when N and P were added to these systems, partially explaining the near doubling of NDVI values from 0.3 to 0.6. Rates of NEE, GPP and ER were significantly higher when N and P were combined compared to independent additions of each or when compared to non-fertilized areas. Our results indicate that feedback processes such as CO2 exchange, optical properties and vegetation composition and structure are co-limited by N and P and that the addition

  5. Sources and pathways of artificial radionuclides to soils at a High Arctic site.

    PubMed

    Lokas, E; Bartmiński, P; Wachniew, P; Mietelski, J W; Kawiak, T; Srodoń, J

    2014-11-01

    Activity concentrations, inventories and activity ratios of (137)Cs, (238)Pu, (239 + 240)Pu and (241)Am in soil profiles were surveyed in the dry tundra and the adjoining proglacial zones of glaciers at a High Arctic site on Svalbard. Vertical profiles of radionuclide activities were determined in up to 14-cm-thick soil sequences. Additionally, soil properties (pH, organic matter, texture, mineral composition and sorption capacity) were analyzed. Results obtained in this study revealed a large range of activity concentrations and inventories of the fallout radionuclides from the undetectable to the uncommonly high levels (inventories of 30,900 ± 940, 47 ± 6, 886 ± 80 and 296 ± 19 Bq/m(2) for (137)Cs, (238)Pu, (239 + 240)Pu and (241)Am, respectively) found in two profiles from the proglacial zone. Concentration of these initially airborne radionuclides in the proglacial zone soils is related to their accumulation in cryoconites that have a large ability to concentrate trace metals. The cryoconites develop on the surface of glaciers, and the material they accumulate is deposited on land surface after the glaciers retreat. The radionuclide inventories in the tundra soils, which effectively retain radionuclides due to high organic matter contents, were comparable to the global fallout deposition for this region of the world. The (238)Pu/(239 + 240)Pu activity ratios for tundra soils suggested global fallout as the dominant source of Pu. The (238)Pu/(239 + 240)Pu and (239 + 240)Pu/(137)Cs activity ratios in the proglacial soils pointed to possible contributions of these radionuclides from other, unidentified sources. PMID:24946703

  6. Responses of Tundra Ecosystems to Environmental Change: Observational and Experimental Results

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Henry, G. H.

    2004-05-01

    Evidence of environmental changes due to human-enhanced climate warming continues to accumulate from polar regions. Responses in tundra and taiga ecosystems to climate changes have been variable because of the wide range in process response rates, from metabolic processes to adjustments in ecosystem carbon balance, and the variability in environmental settings across local to regional scales. For example, strong increases in rates of plant growth and changes in species composition and abundance have been observed in parts of the Low Arctic, but very little change has been measured in high arctic tundra. A dramatic increase in the cover of deciduous shrubs in areas of the western North American Arctic is predicted to result in positive feedbacks to soil temperature, through increased surface roughness and snow depth, and to atmospheric heating by reducing albedo. Increased shrub cover has also been found in long-term experimental warming studies conducted throughout the tundra biome as part of the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX). Warming is also affecting the carbon balance of tundra and taiga, which hold 25% of the soil carbon of global terrestrial ecosystems. However, trajectories of these changes are largely unknown for most northern systems, and differ because of initial conditions of the carbon and nutrient economy. Over the longer-term, the positive increases in plant growth may be constrained by negative feedbacks to nutrient cycling, as increases in C:N ratios of plant litter slow the release of nitrogen to soils. However, nitrogen availability has been shown to increase in response to short-term warming. In this presentation, I will review the responses of tundra ecosystems to climate variability and change, both through observational and experimental studies.

  7. High Arctic Biogenic Volatile Organic Compound emissions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schollert, Michelle; Buchard, Sebrina; Faubert, Patrick; Michelsen, Anders; Rinnan, Riikka

    2013-04-01

    Biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) emitted from terrestrial vegetation participate in oxidative reactions, affecting the tropospheric ozone concentration and the lifetimes of greenhouse gasses such as methane. Also, they affect the formation of secondary organic aerosols. BVOCs thus provide a strong link between the terrestrial biosphere, the atmosphere and the climate. Global models of BVOC emissions have assumed minimal emissions from the high latitudes due to low temperatures, short growing seasons and sparse vegetation cover. However, measurements from this region of the world are lacking and emissions from the High Arctic have not been published yet. The aim of this study was to obtain the first estimates for BVOC emissions from the High Arctic. Hereby, we wish to add new knowledge to the understanding of global BVOC emissions. Measurements were conducted in NE Greenland (74°30' N, 20°30' W) in four vegetation communities in the study area. These four vegetation communities were dominated by Cassiope tetragona, Salix arctica, Vaccinium uliginosum and Kobresia myosuroides/Dryas octopetela/Salix arctica, respectively. Emissions were measured by enclosure technique and collection of volatiles into adsorbent cartridges in August 2009. The volatiles were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry following thermal desorption. Isoprene showed highest emissions in S. arctica-dominated heath, where it was the dominant single BVOC. However, isoprene emission decreased below detection limit in the end of August when the temperature was at or below 10°C. According to a principal component analysis, monoterpene and sesquiterpene emissions were especially associated with C. tetragona-dominated heath. Especially S. arctica and C. tetragona dominated heaths showed distinct patterns of emitted BVOCs. Emissions of BVOC from the studied high arctic heaths were clearly lower than the emissions observed previously in subarctic heaths with more dense vegetation

  8. THE ROLE OF THERMAL REGIMEN IN TUNDRA PLANT COMMUNITY RESTORATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    Mineral extraction activities in the Arctic regions of the world produce long-lasting ecological disturbances. Assisted recovery from such disturbances may require restoration of the tundra thermal regime. We transplanted plugs of entire root zone and live tundra plants to a dist...

  9. Small Thaw Ponds: An Unaccounted Source of Methane in the Canadian High Arctic

    PubMed Central

    Negandhi, Karita; Laurion, Isabelle; Whiticar, Michael J.; Galand, Pierre E.; Xu, Xiaomei; Lovejoy, Connie

    2013-01-01

    Thawing permafrost in the Canadian Arctic tundra leads to peat erosion and slumping in narrow and shallow runnel ponds that surround more commonly studied polygonal ponds. Here we compared the methane production between runnel and polygonal ponds using stable isotope ratios, 14C signatures, and investigated potential methanogenic communities through high-throughput sequencing archaeal 16S rRNA genes. We found that runnel ponds had significantly higher methane and carbon dioxide emissions, produced from a slightly larger fraction of old carbon, compared to polygonal ponds. The methane stable isotopic signature indicated production through acetoclastic methanogenesis, but gene signatures from acetoclastic and hydrogenotrophic methanogenic Archaea were detected in both polygonal and runnel ponds. We conclude that runnel ponds represent a source of methane from potentially older C, and that they contain methanogenic communities able to use diverse sources of carbon, increasing the risk of augmented methane release under a warmer climate. PMID:24236014

  10. Carbon accumulation rate of peatland in the High Arctic, Svalbard: Implications for carbon sequestration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nakatsubo, Takayuki; Uchida, Masaki; Sasaki, Akiko; Kondo, Miyuki; Yoshitake, Shinpei; Kanda, Hiroshi

    2015-06-01

    Moss tundra that accumulates a thick peat layer is one of the most important ecosystems in the High Arctic, Svalbard. The importance of this ecosystem for carbon sequestration was estimated from the apparent rates of carbon accumulation based on the 14C age and amount of peat in the active layer. The study site at Stuphallet, Brøgger Peninsula, northwestern Svalbard was covered with a thick peat layer dominated by moss species such as Calliergon richardsonii, Paludella squarrosa, Tomenthypnum nitens, and Warnstorfia exannulata. The average thickness of the active layer (brown moss and peat) was approximately 28 cm in 1 August 2011. The calibrated (cal) age of peat from the bottom of the active layer (20-30 cm below the peatland surface) ranged from 81 to 701 cal yr BP (median value of 2σ range). Based on the total carbon (4.5-9.2 kg C m-2), the apparent rate of carbon accumulation in the active layer was 9.0-19.2 (g C m-2 yr-1), which is similar to or greater than the net ecosystem production or net primary production reported for other vegetation types in this area. Our data suggest that moss tundra plays an important role in carbon sequestration in this area.