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Sample records for alaska arctic tundra

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Influence of BRDF on NDVI and biomass estimations of Alaska Arctic tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buchhorn, Marcel; Raynolds, Martha K.; Walker, Donald A.

    2016-12-01

    Satellites provide the only practical source of data for estimating biomass of large and remote areas such as the Alaskan Arctic. Researchers have found that the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) correlates well with biomass sampled on the ground. However, errors in NDVI and biomass estimates due to bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) effects are not well reported in the literature. Sun-sensor-object geometries and sensor band-width affect the BRDF, and formulas relating NDVI to ground-sampled biomass vary between projects. We examined the effects of these different variables on five studies that estimated above-ground tundra biomass of two common arctic vegetation types that dominate the Alaska tundra, moist acidic tussock tundra (MAT) and moist non-acidic tundra (MNT). We found that biomass estimates were up to 33% (excluding extremes) more sensitive than NDVI to BRDF effects. Variation between the sensors resulted in differences in NDVI of under 3% over all viewing geometries, and wider bands were more stable in their biomass estimates than narrow bands. MAT was more sensitive than MNT to BRDF effects due to irregularities in surface reflectance created by the tussocks. Finally, we found that studies that sampled only a narrow range of biomass and NDVI produced equations that were more difficult to correct for BRDF effects.

  7. 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...

  8. Methane emissions from Alaska Arctic tundra - an assessment of local spatial variability

    SciTech Connect

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

    1992-10-01

    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. 46 refs.

  9. 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.

  10. Methane emissions from Alaska arctic tundra in response to climatic change

    SciTech Connect

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

    1992-03-01

    In situ observations of methane emissions from the Alaska North Slope in 1987 and 1989 provide insight into the environmental interactions regulating methane emissions and into the local- and regional-scale response of the arctic tundra to interannual environmental variability. Inferences regarding climate change are based on in situ measurements of methane emissions, regional landscape characterizations derived from Landsat Multispectral Scanner satellite data, and projected regional scale emissions based on observed interannual temperature differences and simulated changes in the spatial distribution of methane emissions. Results suggest that biogenic methane emissions from arctic tundra will be significantly perturbed by climatic change, leading to warmer summer soil temperatures and to vertical displacement of the regional water table. The effect of increased soil temperatures on methane emissions resulting from anaerobic decomposition in northern wetlands will be to both increase total emissions and to increase interannual and seasonal variability. The magnitude of these effects will be determined by those factors affecting the areal distribution of methane emission rates through regulation of the regional water table. At local scales, the observed 4.7 C increase in mid-summer soil temperatures between 1987 and 1989 resulted in a 3.2-fold increase in the rate of methane emissions from anaerobic soils.

  11. 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.

  12. Influence of human development and predators on nest survival of tundra birds, Arctic Coastal Plain, Alaska.

    PubMed

    Liebezeit, J R; Kendall, S J; Brown, S; Johnson, C B; Martin, P; McDonald, T L; Payer, D C; Rea, C L; Streever, B; Wildman, A M; Zack, S

    2009-09-01

    Nest predation may influence population dynamics of birds on the Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) of Alaska, USA. Anthropogenic development on the ACP is increasing, which may attract nest predators by providing artificial sources of food, perches, den sites, and nest sites. Enhanced populations or concentrations of human-subsidized predators may reduce nest survival for tundra-nesting birds. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that nest survival decreases in proximity to human infrastructure. We monitored 1257 nests of 13 shorebird species and 619 nests of four passerine species at seven sites on the ACP from 2002 to 2005. Study sites were chosen to represent a range of distances to infrastructure from 100 m to 80 km. We used Cox proportional hazards regression models to evaluate the effects of background (i.e., natural) factors and infrastructure on nest survival. We documented high spatial and temporal variability in nest survival, and site and year were both included in the best background model. We did not detect an effect of human infrastructure on nest survival for shorebirds as a group. In contrast, we found evidence that risk of predation for passerine nests increased within 5 km of infrastructure. This finding provides quantitative evidence of a relationship between infrastructure and nest survival for breeding passerines on the ACP. A posteriori finer-scale analyses (within oil field sites and individual species) suggested that Red and Red-necked Phalaropes combined (Phalaropus fulicarius, P. lobatus) had lower productivity closer to infrastructure and in areas with higher abundance of subsidized predators. However, we did not detect such a relationship between infrastructure and nest survival for Semipalmated and Pectoral Sandpipers (Calidris pusilla, C. melanotos), the two most abundant shorebirds. High variability in environmental conditions, nest survival, and predator numbers between sites and years may have contributed to these inconsistent results

  13. Reproductive ecology of tundra swans on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Monda, Matthew J.; Ratti, John T.; McCabe, Thomas R.

    1994-01-01

    Management of tundra swans (Cygnus columbianus) is hampered by a lack of information on their nesting and brood-rearing ecology. We studied tundra swan nesting and brood-rearing ecology on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), Alaska, 1988-90. Nest success was 58% (n = 31) in 1988, 83% (n = 36) in 1989, 84% (n = 43) in 1990, and 76% (n = 110) for the 3 years. Nests were located predominately in marshes dominated by sheathed pondweed (Potamogeton vaginatus), mare's tail (Hippuris vulgaris), and Hoppner sedge (Carex subspathacea), or by pendent grass (Arctophila fulva), water sedge (C. aquatilis), and tall cotton grass (Eriophorum angustifolium). Nests were seldom located in upland or partially vegetated habitats and were near coastal lagoons or large coastal lakes. Incubating swans were easily disturbed by ground observers and left their nests when we were 500-2,000 m from the nest. Swans did not cover eggs with nest material prior to departure; thus, eggs were vulnerable to avain predation and thermal stress. Brood-foraging sites on the Kongakut Delta (n = 41) were frequently in aquatic-marsh (59%) and saline graminoid-shrub (29%) habitats, occasionally in graminoid-marsh (7%) and partially vegetated (5%) habitats, and absent from upland, graminoid-shrub-water sedge, and graminoid-shrub-cotton grass habitats. Brood-foraging sites on the Canning Delta (n = 35) were frequently in graminoid-marsh (46%), graminoid-shrub-water sedge (26%), and aquatic-marsh (23%) habitats, occasionally in graminoid-shrub-cotton grass (3%) and upland habitats (3%), and absent from saline graminoid-shrub and partially vegetated habitats. Young cygnets grazed in terrestrial habitats more frequently than older broods on the Kongakut (P = 0.003) and Canning (P = 0.053) deltas. Wetlands with sheathed pondweed were uncommon but preferred by broods (P = 0.001). Using field experiments, we evaluated effects of swan grazing and fertilization from feces on aboveground biomass production and

  14. Environmental effects on CO sub 2 efflux from water track and tussock tundra in arctic Alaska, U. S. A

    SciTech Connect

    Oberbauer, S.F. ); Tenhunen, J.D.; Reynolds, J.F. )

    1991-05-01

    CO{sub 2} efflux and variation in soil environmental characteristics were examined in two tundra vegetation communities, water track (a small drainage of intermittent water flow) and tussock tundra, in the northern foothills of the Philip Smith Mountains in arctic Alaska. Correlation analyses were performed on the observations made at six times during the growing season in order to evaluate the relationships between system CO{sub 2} loss and soil moisture, soil temperature, depth of thaw, and depth to the water table. The two sites differed significantly in terms of soil moisture, soil temperature, depth of thaw, and water table depth on several of the sampling dates. During four of the six measurement periods, the rate of CO{sub 2} efflux differed significantly between sites. Early in the season, respiration was greater in tussock tundra than at the water track, but later in the season, rates at the water track exceeded those at the tussock site. Highest rates were measured at the water track near mid-season. Efflux of CO{sub 2} at both sites was positively correlated with soil temperature. Soil surface (0-5 cm depth) environmental conditions were better predictors of CO{sub 2} efflux than were conditions measured at greater depth (5-10 cm). Soil moisture appeared to increase respiration between 100 and 700% of soil dry weight and decrease soil respiration at higher water contents. The effects of soil moisture were stronger in tussock tundra than in the water track community. These data suggest that both soil temperature and soil moisture limit CO{sub 2} efflux in water track and tussock tundra communities and that the relative importance of these factors changes throughout the growing season.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.; 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Relationships between hyperspectral data and components of vegetation biomass in Low Arctic tundra communities at Ivotuk, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bratsch, Sara; Epstein, Howard; Buchhorn, Marcel; Walker, Donald; Landes, Heather

    2017-02-01

    Warming in the Arctic has resulted in a lengthening of the growing season and changes to the distribution and composition of tundra vegetation including increased biomass quantities in the Low Arctic. Biomass has commonly been estimated using broad-band greenness indices such as NDVI; however, vegetation changes in the Arctic are occurring at spatial scales within a few meters. The aim of this paper is to assess the ability of hyperspectral remote sensing data to estimate biomass quantities among different plant tissue type categories at the North Slope site of Ivotuk, Alaska. Hand-held hyperspectral data and harvested biomass measurements were collected during the 1999 growing season. A subset of the data was used as a training set, and was regressed against the hyperspectral bands using LASSO. LASSO is a modification of SPLS and is a variable selection technique that is useful in studies with high collinearity among predictor variables such as hyperspectral remote sensing. The resulting equations were then used to predict biomass quantities for the remaining Ivotuk data. The majority of significant biomass-spectra relationships (65%) were for shrubs categories during all times of the growing season and bands in the blue, green, and red edge wavelength regions of the spectrum. The ability to identify unique biomass-spectra relationships per community is decreased at the height of the growing season when shrubs obscure lower-lying vegetation such as mosses. The results of this study support previous research arguing that shrubs are dominant controls over spectral reflectance in Low Arctic communities and that this dominance results in an increased ability to estimate shrub component biomass over other plant functional types.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. Remotely sensed vicennial changes of green phytomass, Salix cover, and leaf turnover in a sedge-shrub tundra, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kushida, K.; Kim, Y.; Tsuyuzaki, S.; Watanabe, M.; Kadosaki, G.; Sawada, Y.; Ishikawa, M.; Fukuda, M.

    2007-12-01

    We obtained the relationship between spectral indices, green phytomass, Salix - non-Salix ratio, and leaf turnover in a sedge-shrub tundra, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), Alaska based on the field observations of spectral reflectance and phytomass, and we used Landsat TM images acquired in July of 1986, 1994, and 2006 and the time series of NOAA AVHRR (Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer) for evaluating the vicennial changes. 51% of Beaufort coastal plain, Alaska was occupied by lowland moist sedge-shrub tundra, lowland wet sedge tundra, riverine moist sedge-shrub tundra, and riverine wet sedge tundra, where willow shrubs and sedges dominate. We set a 50-m × 50-m plot located on the floodplain of Jago River in ANWR. Shrub (Salix lanata L.) and sedge (Carex bigelowii Torr.) dominated in the plot. Ten 0.5-m × 0.5-m quadrates (Salix} quadrates) were set on the Salix cover and ten 0.5-m × 0.5-m quadrates (non-Salix quadrates) were set on the ground that was not covered with Salix lanata. Salix lanata in each of the Salix quadrates was harvested, and the leaf area index (LAI) and the oven-dried weights of the photosynthetic (leaf) and non-photosynthetic parts were measured. After harvesting Salix, other green plants were harvested and the oven-dried weights of the plants were measured. The Salix quadrates were spectrally measured with a spectroradiometer at a wavelength of 350 - 2500 nm before and after harvesting Salix and after harvesting other green plants. Non-Salix quadrates were also spectrally measured with the spectroradiometer. The coefficients of determination (R2) of the green phytomass, Salix - non-Salix ratio, and leaf turnover estimations from the spectral indices were 0.63, 0.57, and 0.79, respectively. These estimations were used for evaluating the vicennial changes using the satellite data.

  6. 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

  7. Mercury dynamics of an arctic tundra ecosystem in northern Alaska: a mass balance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Obrist, D.; Helmig, D.; Agnan, Y.; Hedge, C.; Moore, C. W.; Paxton, D.; Hueber, J.

    2015-12-01

    To constrain the mercury (Hg) mass balance of a tundra ecosystem, we measured atmospheric mercury (Hg) concentrations and surface-atmosphere exchange at Toolik Field Station (68° 38' N) beginning September 2014. We also conducted automated measurements of gaseous Hg in soil pores and snow interstitial air to quantify gas exchange between soils, snow, and the atmosphere; and characterized wet and dry deposition and plant-derived Hg inputs. Results show that atmospheric Hg concentrations peak in winter, decrease in spring, and show summertime minima. Oxidized atmospheric Hg was below detection limits (0.05 ng m-3) indicating no significant dry deposition. Summertime minima of atmospheric Hg concentrations were associated with depositional fluxes of gaseous Hg (up to 2.8 ng m-2 hr-1; measured by a gradient method) that emerged after complete snowmelt. In contrast, gaseous Hg fluxes were below detection limits when snowpack was present; this was supported by in situ snowpack measurements and in contrast to commonly observed gaseous emissions from temperate snowpacks. The cumulative annual gaseous deposition flux of mercury was 12 µg m-2, in similar range as plant-derived inputs (17 µg m-2 yr-1) which we consider the major reason for observed gaseous Hg sink. Wet deposition was extremely low (<1 µg m-2 yr-1) compared to other sites. Hg concentrations in plants and soils are similar to levels found at temperate sites, but terrestrial pool sizes are large in comparison ranging around 400 g ha-1. The results suggest that: atmospheric Hg exposure is low at this site; that deposition is dominated by plant-derived deposition; and that significant Hg pools accumulate in tundra soils, likely driven by strong retention and low re-emissions after deposition. The high Hg soil pool sizes and key role of plant-productivity for Hg deposition may indicate a high sensitivity to climate change, in particular to permafrost soil thawing and increased growing season length.

  8. Light-stress avoidance mechanisms in a Sphagnum-dominated wet coastal Arctic tundra ecosystem in Alaska.

    PubMed

    Zona, D; Oechel, Walter C; Richards, James H; Hastings, Steven; Kopetz, Irene; Ikawa, Hiroki; Oberbauer, Steven

    2011-03-01

    The Arctic experiences a high-radiation environment in the summer with 24-hour daylight for more than two months. Damage to plants and ecosystem metabolism can be muted by overcast conditions common in much of the Arctic. However, with climate change, extreme dry years and clearer skies could lead to the risk of increased photoxidation and photoinhibition in Arctic primary producers. Mosses, which often exceed the NPP of vascular plants in Arctic areas, are often understudied. As a result, the effect of specific environmental factors, including light, on these growth forms is poorly understood. Here, we investigated net ecosystem exchange (NEE) at the ecosystem scale, net Sphagnum CO2 exchange (NSE), and photoinhibition to better understand the impact of light on carbon exchange from a moss-dominated coastal tundra ecosystem during the summer season 2006. Sphagnum photosynthesis showed photoinhibition early in the season coupled with low ecosystem NEE. However, later in the season, Sphagnum maintained a significant CO2 uptake, probably for the development of subsurface moss layers protected from strong radiation. We suggest that the compact canopy structure of Sphagnum reduces light penetration to the subsurface layers of the moss mat and thereby protects the active photosynthetic tissues from damage. This stress avoidance mechanism allowed Sphagnum to constitute a significant percentage (up to 60%) of the ecosystem net daytime CO2 uptake at the end of the growing season despite the high levels of radiation experienced.

  9. Annual patterns and budget of CO2 flux in an Alaskan arctic tussock tundra ecosystem at Atqasuk, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oechel, W. C.; Kalhori, A. A.; Burba, G. G.; Gioli, B.

    2013-12-01

    Arctic ecosystem functioning is not only critically affected by climate change, but also has the potential for major positive feedbacks on climate. There is however relatively little information available on the role, patterns, and vulnerabilities of CO2 fluxes during the non-summer seasons. Presented here is a year-around study of CO2 fluxes in an Alaskan Arctic tussock tundra ecosystem. Also presented are key environmental controls on CO2 fluxes as well as possible impacts of likely changes in season timing. This is aided by a new empirical quantification of seasons in the Arctic based on net radiation, which can help describe seasonal responses to greenhouse gas fluxes under climate change. The fluxes were computed using standard FluxNet methodology and corrected using standard WPL density terms, adjusted for influences of instrument surface heating. The results showed that the non-summer season comprises a significant source of carbon to the atmosphere. The summer period was a net sink of 10.83 g C m-2 yr-1, while the non-summer seasons released more than four times the CO2 uptake observed in the summer, resulting in a net annual source of 37.6 g C m-2 yr-1 to the atmosphere. This shows a change in this region of the Arctic from a long-term annual sink of CO2 from the atmosphere to an annual source of CO2 from the terrestrial ecosystem and soils to the atmosphere. The results presented here demonstrate that nearly continuous observations may be required in order to accurately calculate the annual NEE of Arctic ecosystems, and to build predictive understanding that can be used to estimate, with confidence, Arctic fluxes under future conditions. Daily CO2 fluxes over the year, average daily net radiation, average daily PAR, average daily air temperature and average daily soil respiration (at -5 cm).

  10. Future distribution of tundra refugia in northern Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hope, Andrew G.; Waltari, Eric; Payer, David C.; Cook, Joseph A.; Talbot, Sandra L.

    2013-01-01

    Climate change in the Arctic is a growing concern for natural resource conservation and management as a result of accelerated warming and associated shifts in the distribution and abundance of northern species. We introduce a predictive framework for assessing the future extent of Arctic tundra and boreal biomes in northern Alaska. We use geo-referenced museum specimens to predict the velocity of distributional change into the next century and compare predicted tundra refugial areas with current land-use. The reliability of predicted distributions, including differences between fundamental and realized niches, for two groups of species is strengthened by fossils and genetic signatures of demographic shifts. Evolutionary responses to environmental change through the late Quaternary are generally consistent with past distribution models. Predicted future refugia overlap managed areas and indicate potential hotspots for tundra diversity. To effectively assess future refugia, variable responses among closely related species to climate change warrants careful consideration of both evolutionary and ecological histories.

  11. Carbon loss from an unprecedented Arctic tundra wildfire.

    PubMed

    Mack, Michelle C; Bret-Harte, M Syndonia; Hollingsworth, Teresa N; Jandt, Randi R; Schuur, Edward A G; Shaver, Gaius R; Verbyla, David L

    2011-07-27

    Arctic tundra soils store large amounts of carbon (C) in organic soil layers hundreds to thousands of years old that insulate, and in some cases maintain, permafrost soils. Fire has been largely absent from most of this biome since the early Holocene epoch, but its frequency and extent are increasing, probably in response to climate warming. The effect of fires on the C balance of tundra landscapes, however, remains largely unknown. The Anaktuvuk River fire in 2007 burned 1,039 square kilometres of Alaska's Arctic slope, making it the largest fire on record for the tundra biome and doubling the cumulative area burned since 1950 (ref. 5). Here we report that tundra ecosystems lost 2,016 ± 435 g C m(-2) in the fire, an amount two orders of magnitude larger than annual net C exchange in undisturbed tundra. Sixty per cent of this C loss was from soil organic matter, and radiocarbon dating of residual soil layers revealed that the maximum age of soil C lost was 50 years. Scaled to the entire burned area, the fire released approximately 2.1 teragrams of C to the atmosphere, an amount similar in magnitude to the annual net C sink for the entire Arctic tundra biome averaged over the last quarter of the twentieth century. The magnitude of ecosystem C lost by fire, relative to both ecosystem and biome-scale fluxes, demonstrates that a climate-driven increase in tundra fire disturbance may represent a positive feedback, potentially offsetting Arctic greening and influencing the net C balance of the tundra biome.

  12. Identification of unrecognized tundra fire events on the north slope of Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jones, Benjamin M.; Breen, Amy L.; Gaglioti, Benjamin V.; Mann, Daniel H.; Rocha, Adrian V.; Grosse, Guido; Arp, Christopher D.; Kunz, Michael L.; Walker, Donald A.

    2013-01-01

    Characteristics of the natural fire regime are poorly resolved in the Arctic, even though fire may play an important role cycling carbon stored in tundra vegetation and soils to the atmosphere. In the course of studying vegetation and permafrost-terrain characteristics along a chronosequence of tundra burn sites from AD 1977, 1993, and 2007 on the North Slope of Alaska, we discovered two large, previously unrecognized tundra fires. The Meade River fire burned an estimated 500 km2 and the Ketik River fire burned an estimated 1200 km2. Based on radiocarbon dating of charred twigs, analysis of historic aerial photography, and regional climate proxy data, these fires likely occurred between AD 1880 and 1920. Together, these events double the estimated burn area on the North Slope of Alaska over the last ~100 to 130 years. Assessment of vegetation succession along the century-scale chronosequence of tundra fire disturbances demonstrates for the first time on the North Slope of Alaska that tundra fires can facilitate the invasion of tundra by shrubs. Degradation of ice-rich permafrost was also evident at the fire sites and likely aided in the presumed changes of the tundra vegetation postfire. Other previously unrecognized tundra fire events likely exist in Alaska and other Arctic regions and identification of these sites is important for better understanding disturbance regimes and carbon cycling in Arctic tundra.

  13. 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

  14. Stochastic daily modeling of arctic tundra ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Erler, A.; Epstein, H. E.; Frazier, J.

    2011-12-01

    ArcVeg is a dynamic vegetation model that has simulated interannual variability of production and abundance of arctic tundra plant types in previous studies. In order to address the effects of changing seasonality on tundra plant community composition and productivity, we have uniquely adapted the model to operate on the daily timescale. Each section of the model-weather generation, nitrogen mineralization, and plant growth dynamics-are driven by daily fluctuations in simulated temperature conditions. These simulation dynamics are achieved by calibrating stochastic iterative loops and mathematical functions with raw field data. Air temperature is the fundamental driver in the model, parameterized by climate data collected in the field across numerous arctic tundra sites, and key daily statistics are extracted (mean and standard deviation of temperature for each day of the year). Nitrogen mineralization is calculated as an exponential function from the simulated temperature. The seasonality of plant growth is driven by the availability of nitrogen and constrained by historical patterns and dynamics of the remotely sensed normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), as they pertain to the seasonal onset of growth. Here we describe the methods used for daily weather generation, nitrogen mineralization, and the daily competition among twelve plant functional types for nitrogen and subsequent growth. This still rather simple approach to vegetation dynamics has the capacity to generate complex relationships between seasonal patterns of temperature and arctic tundra vegetation community structure and function.

  15. 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.

  16. Distinct temperature sensitivity among taiga and tundra shrubs in Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andreu-Hayles, L.; Anchukaitis, K. J.; D'Arrigo, R.

    2014-12-01

    Shrub expansion into Arctic and alpine tundra ecosystems is well documented, mostly over the last 50 years, based on remote sensing data, aerial photography, and in-situ observations. Warming temperatures are considered the main driver of the observed change in shrub vegetation patterns. Here, we assess the relationship between temperatures and shrub growth from five populations of Salix spp. (willow) and Alnus spp. (alder) in Alaska growing within the tundra and the boreal forest (~taiga) using dendrochronological techniques. The three tundra shrub sites are located on the Dalton Highway north from Toolik Lake (~69ºN 148ºW), whereas the two taiga shrub sites are located closer to Fairbanks at the Twelve Mile Summit site (~65ºN 146ºW). Because shrub ages vary among the studied populations lead to different time spans for the ring-width chronologies generated, a common period with available satellite data spanning from 1982 to 2010 was selected for this study. All tundra shrub chronologies shared a strong positive response to summer temperatures despite growing in heterogeneous site conditions and belonging to different species. In contrast, in the taiga, summer temperatures enhance willow growth, whereas alder growth appears almost insensitive to temperature over the interval studied. Extending the analyses back in time, a very strong positive relationship was found between alder ring-width and June temperatures prior to 1970. This phenomenon, a weakening of the previously existing relationship between growth and temperatures, was also detected in white spruce (Picea glauca) growing at the same site, and it is known in the literature as the 'divergence problem'. Thus, at this taiga location, alder shrubs and trees seem to have similar growth patterns. Summer temperatures no longer seem to enhance taiga alder growth. Shrubs of different species exposed to the same climatic conditions can exhibit varied growth responses. The distinct temperature sensitivities

  17. Arctic lakes and streams as gas conduits to the atmosphere: Implications for tundra carbon budgets

    SciTech Connect

    Kling, G.W. ); Kipphut, G.W. ); Miller, M.C. )

    1991-01-01

    Arctic tundra has large amounts of stored carbon and is thought to be a sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO{sub 2}) (0.1 to 0.3 petagram of carbon per year) (1 petagram = 10{sup 15} grams). But this estimate of carbon balance is only for terrestrial ecosystems. Measurements of the partial pressure of CO{sub 2} in 29 aquatic ecosystems across arctic Alaska showed that in most cases (27 of 29) CO{sub 2} was released to the atmosphere. This CO{sub 2} probably originates in terrestrial environments; erosion of particulate carbon plus ground-water transport of dissolved carbon from tundra contribute to the CO{sub 2} flux from surface waters to the atmosphere. If this mechanism is typical of that of other tundra areas, then current estimates of the arctic terrestrial sink for atmospheric CO{sub 2} may be 20 percent too high. 1 table, 2 figs., 21 refs.

  18. 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

    2008-03-05

    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.

  19. Frequent Fires in Ancient Shrub Tundra: Implications of Paleorecords for Arctic Environmental Change

    PubMed Central

    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 21st 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

  20. 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

  1. Alaska North Slope Tundra Travel Model and Validation Study

    SciTech Connect

    Harry R. Bader; Jacynthe Guimond

    2006-03-01

    The Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Division of Mining, Land, and Water manages cross-country travel, typically associated with hydrocarbon exploration and development, on Alaska's arctic North Slope. This project is intended to provide natural resource managers with objective, quantitative data to assist decision making regarding opening of the tundra to cross-country travel. DNR designed standardized, controlled field trials, with baseline data, to investigate the relationships present between winter exploration vehicle treatments and the independent variables of ground hardness, snow depth, and snow slab thickness, as they relate to the dependent variables of active layer depth, soil moisture, and photosynthetically active radiation (a proxy for plant disturbance). Changes in the dependent variables were used as indicators of tundra disturbance. Two main tundra community types were studied: Coastal Plain (wet graminoid/moist sedge shrub) and Foothills (tussock). DNR constructed four models to address physical soil properties: two models for each main community type, one predicting change in depth of active layer and a second predicting change in soil moisture. DNR also investigated the limited potential management utility in using soil temperature, the amount of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) absorbed by plants, and changes in microphotography as tools for the identification of disturbance in the field. DNR operated under the assumption that changes in the abiotic factors of active layer depth and soil moisture drive alteration in tundra vegetation structure and composition. Statistically significant differences in depth of active layer, soil moisture at a 15 cm depth, soil temperature at a 15 cm depth, and the absorption of photosynthetically active radiation were found among treatment cells and among treatment types. The models were unable to thoroughly investigate the interacting role between snow depth and disturbance due to a lack

  2. NDVI as a predictor of canopy arthropod biomass in the Alaskan arctic tundra.

    PubMed

    Sweet, Shannan K; Asmus, Ashley; Rich, Matthew E; Wingfield, John; Gough, Laura; Boelman, Natalie T

    2015-04-01

    The physical and biological responses to rapid arctic warming are proving acute, and as such, there is a need to monitor, understand, and predict ecological responses over large spatial and temporal scales. The use of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) acquired from airborne and satellite sensors addresses this need, as it is widely used as a tool for detecting and quantifying spatial and temporal dynamics of tundra vegetation cover, productivity, and phenology. Such extensive use of the NDVI to quantify vegetation characteristics suggests that it may be similarly applied to characterizing primary and secondary consumer communities. Here, we develop empirical models to predict canopy arthropod biomass with canopy-level measurements of the NDVI both across and within distinct tundra vegetation communities over four growing seasons in the Arctic Foothills region of the Brooks Range, Alaska, USA. When canopy arthropod biomass is predicted with the NDVI across all four growing seasons, our overall model that includes all four vegetation communities explains 63% of the variance in canopy arthropod biomass, whereas our models specific to each of the four vegetation communities explain 74% (moist tussock tundra), 82% (erect shrub tundra), 84% (riparian shrub tundra), and 87% (dwarf shrub tundra) of the observed variation in canopy arthropod biomass. Our field-based study suggests that measurements of the NDVI made from air- and spaceborne sensors may be able to quantify spatial and temporal variation in canopy arthropod biomass at landscape to regional scales.

  3. Changes in tundra vascular plant biomass over thirty years at Imnavait Creek, Alaska.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bret-Harte, M. S.; Euskirchen, E. S.; Edgar, C.; Huebner, D. C.; Okano, K.; Tucker, C.; Genet, H.; Ray, P. M.; Shaver, G. R.

    2014-12-01

    Understanding the magnitude of, and controls over, CO2 and water fluxes in arctic ecosystems is essential for accurate assessment and prediction of their responses to climate change. In 2013, we harvested vegetation and soils in the most common plant community types located in the source areas for fluxes measured by eddy covariance towers located in three representative Alaska tundra ecosystems along a toposequence (a ridge site composed of heath tundra and moist non-acidic tundra, a mid-slope site composed of moist acidic tussock tundra, and a valley bottom fen site composed of wet sedge tundra and moist acidic tundra) at Imnavait Creek, Alaska. While the purpose of this harvest was to relate biomass and production to estimates of overall net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE), gross primary productivity (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (ER) obtained by micrometeorological methods, it also afforded an opportunity to compare with biomass harvests done in the 1980s in moist acidic tundra at Imnavait Creek; there have been no other harvests than ours at Imnavait since then. Our data showed that plant biomass and production were greatest in the tussock tundra at the mid-slope tower, and least in the wet sedge community at the fen tower, while plant diversity was greatest in the communities at the ridge site. Aboveground biomass of vascular plants in our 2013 harvest in moist acidic tundra was nearly three times higher than that measured approximately thirty years earlier in three harvests of nearby areas at Imnavait Creek, due to an increase in the biomass of shrubs and graminoids. Comparison with other biomass harvests from the vicinity of Toolik Field Station indicate that vascular plant biomass in moist acidic tundra has increased over this time period, with the greatest increase evident by the mid-1990s, and a more gradual increase through to the present time, despite no obvious increase in air temperature as seen in data from nearby climate stations. These data will be

  4. Spatial characteristics of ecosystem respiration in three tundra ecosystems of Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Yongwon; Lee, Bang-Yong; Suzuki, Rikie; Kushida, Keiji

    2016-09-01

    Ecosystem respiration (ER) is a significant source in estimating terrestrial carbon budget under climate change. Here, we report on the assessment of spatial characteristics of ER, using manual chamber over three tundra ecosystems of Alaska. Annual simulated ER was 254-307 g CO2 m-2 based on in-situ air temperature and 212-305 g CO2 m-2 based on soil temperature, at Council, North Slope, and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) sites of Alaska. Growing-season ERs correspond to 79-92% (air temperature) and 81-86% (soil temperature) of simulated annual ER. Hence, soil temperature is a significant driver in modulating ER over tundra, suggesting soil temperature elucidates more than 80% of air temperature. At Council, between 31 and 84 sampling points during the growing season were required to attain spatial representativeness for ER, falling within ±10% of the full sample mean, with a 95% confidence level. At North Slope and ANWR sites, the number of sampling points was chosen to yield results within at least ±20%, with a 90% confidence level. These findings suggest that larger-size chamber and its measurement frequency can overcome logistical constraints and determine mean ER at tundra sites for the quantitative assessment of the tundra carbon budget in response to drastically changing Arctic environment and climate.

  5. Recent Arctic tundra fire initiates widespread thermokarst development

    DOE PAGES

    Jones, Benjamin M.; Grosse, Guido; Arp, Christopher D.; ...

    2015-10-29

    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 burnmore » 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.« less

  6. Recent Arctic tundra fire initiates widespread thermokarst development

    SciTech Connect

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

    2015-10-29

    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.

  7. Recent Arctic tundra fire initiates widespread thermokarst development

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-10-01

    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.

  8. The unseen iceberg: plant roots in arctic tundra

    DOE PAGES

    Iversen, Colleen M.; Sloan, Victoria L.; Sullivan, Patrick F.; ...

    2014-09-10

    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

  9. 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

    2015-10-29

    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.

  10. 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

  11. 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 M.; Wullschleger, Stan D.

    2014-09-10

    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.

  12. Recent Arctic tundra fire initiates widespread thermokarst development

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jones, Benjamin M.; Grosse, Guido; Arp, Christopher D.; Miller, Eric K.; Liu, Lingli; 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.

  13. The unseen iceberg: plant roots in arctic tundra.

    PubMed

    Iversen, Colleen M; Sloan, Victoria L; Sullivan, Patrick F; Euskirchen, Eugenie S; McGuire, A David; 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Large CO2 and CH4 emissions from polygonal tundra during spring thaw in northern Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raz-Yaseef, Naama; Torn, Margaret S.; Wu, Yuxin; Billesbach, Dave P.; Liljedahl, Anna K.; Kneafsey, Timothy J.; Romanovsky, Vladimir E.; Cook, David R.; Wullschleger, Stan D.

    2017-01-01

    The few prethaw observations of tundra carbon fluxes suggest that there may be large spring releases, but little is known about the scale and underlying mechanisms of this phenomenon. To address these questions, we combined ecosystem eddy flux measurements from two towers near Barrow, Alaska, with mechanistic soil-core thawing experiment. During a 2 week period prior to snowmelt in 2014, large fluxes were measured, reducing net summer uptake of CO2 by 46% and adding 6% to cumulative CH4 emissions. Emission pulses were linked to unique rain-on-snow events enhancing soil cracking. Controlled laboratory experiment revealed that as surface ice thaws, an immediate, large pulse of trapped gases is emitted. These results suggest that the Arctic CO2 and CH4 spring pulse is a delayed release of biogenic gas production from the previous fall and that the pulse can be large enough to offset a significant fraction of the moderate Arctic tundra carbon sink.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Methane Suppression: The Impacts of Fe(III) and Humic Acids on Net Methane Flux from Arctic Tundra Wetlands in Alaska and Finland (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lipson, D.; Miller, K.; Lai, C.

    2013-12-01

    Arctic soils contain large reservoirs of carbon (C) that are vulnerable to loss from climatic warming. However the potential global impacts of this C depend on whether it is lost primarily in the form of methane (CH4) or carbon dioxide (CO2), two gases with very different greenhouse warming potentials. In anaerobic environments, the relative production of CH4 vs. CO2 may be controlled by the presence of alternative terminal electron acceptors, which allow more thermodynamically favorable anaerobic respiratory pathways to dominate over methanogenesis. This work investigated how the addition of terminal electron acceptors, ferric iron (Fe(III)) and humic acids, affected net CH4 fluxes from high-latitude wetland ecosystems. We conducted two manipulative field experiments in Barrow, Alaska (71° N) and Finnish Lapland (69° N). The ecosystem in Barrow was known from previous studies to be rich in Fe(III) and to harbor a microbial community that is dominated by Fe(III)- and humic acid-reducing microorganisms. The role of these alternative electron acceptors had not previously been studied at the Finnish site. CH4 and CO2 fluxes were measured using a portable trace gas analyzer from experimental plots, before and after amendments with Fe(III) (in the chelated form, ferric nitrilotriacetic acid), humic acids, or water as a control. Both in the ecosystem with permafrost and naturally high levels of soil Fe (Barrow, AK) and in the ecosystem with no permafrost and naturally low levels of soil Fe (Petsikko, Finland), the addition of the alternative electron acceptors Fe(III) and humic acids significantly reduced net CH4 flux. CO2 fluxes were not significantly altered by the treatments. The reduction in CH4 flux persisted for at least several weeks post-treatment. There was no significant difference between the reduction caused by humic acids versus that from Fe(III). These results show that the suppression of CH4 flux by Fe(III) and humic acids is a widespread phenomenon that

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. Pathways of anaerobic organic matter decomposition in tundra soils from Barrow, Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Herndon, Elizabeth M.; Mann, Benjamin F.; Chowdhury, Taniya Roy; Wullschleger, Stan D.; Graham, David E.; Liang, Liyuan; Gu, Baohua; Yang, Ziming

    2015-11-23

    Arctic tundra soils store a large quantity of organic carbon that is susceptible to decomposition and release to the atmosphere as methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) under a warming climate. Anaerobic processes that generate CH4 and CO2 remain unclear because previous studies have focused on aerobic decomposition pathways. To predict releases of CO2 and CH4 from tundra soils, it is necessary to identify pathways of soil organic matter decomposition under the anoxic conditions that are prevalent in Arctic ecosystems. Here molecular and spectroscopic techniques were used to monitor biological degradation of water-extractable organic carbon (WEOC) during anoxic incubation of tundra soils from a region of continuous permafrost in northern Alaska. Organic and mineral soils from the tundra active layer were incubated at –2, +4, or +8°C for up to 60 days to mimic the short-term thaw season. Results suggest that, under anoxic conditions, fermentation converted complex organic molecules into simple organic acids that were used in concomitant Fe-reduction and acetoclastic methanogenesis reactions. Nonaromatic compounds increased over time as WEOC increased. Organic acid metabolites initially accumulated in soils but were mostly depleted by day 60 because organic acids were consumed to produce Fe(II), CO2, and CH4. We conclude that fermentation of nonprotected organic matter facilitates methanogenesis and Fe reduction reactions, and that the proportion of organic acids consumed by methanogenesis increases relative to Fe reduction with increasing temperature. As a result, the decomposition pathways observed in this study are important to consider in numerical modeling of greenhouse gas production in the Arctic.

  2. Pathways of anaerobic organic matter decomposition in tundra soils from Barrow, Alaska

    DOE PAGES

    Herndon, Elizabeth M.; Mann, Benjamin F.; Chowdhury, Taniya Roy; ...

    2015-11-23

    Arctic tundra soils store a large quantity of organic carbon that is susceptible to decomposition and release to the atmosphere as methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) under a warming climate. Anaerobic processes that generate CH4 and CO2 remain unclear because previous studies have focused on aerobic decomposition pathways. To predict releases of CO2 and CH4 from tundra soils, it is necessary to identify pathways of soil organic matter decomposition under the anoxic conditions that are prevalent in Arctic ecosystems. Here molecular and spectroscopic techniques were used to monitor biological degradation of water-extractable organic carbon (WEOC) during anoxic incubation ofmore » tundra soils from a region of continuous permafrost in northern Alaska. Organic and mineral soils from the tundra active layer were incubated at –2, +4, or +8°C for up to 60 days to mimic the short-term thaw season. Results suggest that, under anoxic conditions, fermentation converted complex organic molecules into simple organic acids that were used in concomitant Fe-reduction and acetoclastic methanogenesis reactions. Nonaromatic compounds increased over time as WEOC increased. Organic acid metabolites initially accumulated in soils but were mostly depleted by day 60 because organic acids were consumed to produce Fe(II), CO2, and CH4. We conclude that fermentation of nonprotected organic matter facilitates methanogenesis and Fe reduction reactions, and that the proportion of organic acids consumed by methanogenesis increases relative to Fe reduction with increasing temperature. As a result, the decomposition pathways observed in this study are important to consider in numerical modeling of greenhouse gas production in the Arctic.« less

  3. Winter and early spring CO2 efflux from tundra communities of northern Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fahnestock, J.T.; Jones, M.H.; Brooks, P.D.; Walker, D.A.; Welker, J.M.

    1998-01-01

    Carbon dioxide concentrations through snow were measured in different arctic tundra communities on the North Slope of Alaska during winter and early spring of 1996. Subnivean CO2 concentrations were always higher than atmospheric CO2. A steady state diffusion model was used to generate conservative estimates of CO2 flux to the atmosphere. The magnitude of CO2 efflux differed with tundra community type, and rates of carbon release increased from March to May. Winter CO2 efflux was highest in riparian and snow bed communities and lowest in dry heath, upland tussock, and wet sedge communities. Snow generally accrues earlier in winter and is deeper in riparian and snow bed communities compared with other tundra communities, which are typically windswept and do not accumulate much snow during the winter. These results support the hypothesis that early and deep snow accumulation may insulate microbial populations from very cold temperatures, allowing sites with earlier snow cover to sustain higher levels of activity throughout winter compared to communities that have later developing snow cover. Extrapolating our estimates of CO2 efflux to the entire snow-covered season indicates that total carbon flux during winter in the Arctic is 13-109 kg CO2-C ha-1, depending on the vegetation community type. Wintertime CO2 flux is a potentially important, yet largely overlooked, part of the annual carbon cycle of tundra, and carbon release during winter should be accounted for in estimates of annual carbon balance in arctic ecosystems. Copyright 1998 by the American Geophysical Union.

  4. The 1977 tundra fire at Kokolik River, Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hall, D.; Brown, J.; Johnson, L.

    1981-01-01

    During the summer of 1977, fire totaled 44 sq km of tundra vegetation according to measurements using LANDSAT imagery. Based on the experience gained from analysis of this fire using ground observations, satellite imagery, and topographic maps, it appears that natural drainages form effective fire breaks on the subdued relief of the Arctic coastal plain and northern foothills. It is confirmed that the intensity of the fire is related to vegetation type and to the moisture content of the organic rich soils.

  5. Prevalence, transmission, and genetic diversity of blood parasites infecting tundra-nesting geese in Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ramey, Andy M.; Reed, John A.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Fondell, Tom F.; Meixell, Brandt W.; Hupp, Jerry W.; Ward, David H.; Terenzi, John; Ely, Craig R.

    2014-01-01

    A total of 842 blood samples collected from five species of tundra-nesting geese in Alaska was screened for haemosporidian parasites using molecular techniques. Parasites of the generaLeucocytozoon Danilewsky, 1890, Haemoproteus Kruse, 1890, and Plasmodium Marchiafava and Celli, 1885 were detected in 169 (20%), 3 (<1%), and 0 (0%) samples, respectively. Occupancy modeling was used to estimate prevalence of Leucocytozoon parasites and assess variation relative to species, age, sex, geographic area, year, and decade. Species, age, and decade were identified as important in explaining differences in prevalence of Leucocytozoonparasites. Leucocytozoon parasites were detected in goslings sampled along the Arctic Coastal Plain using both historic and contemporary samples, which provided support for transmission in the North American Arctic. In contrast, lack of detection of Haemoproteus and Plasmodiumparasites in goslings (n = 238) provided evidence to suggest that the transmission of parasites of these genera may not occur among waterfowl using tundra habitats in Alaska, or alternatively, may only occur at low levels. Five haemosporidian genetic lineages shared among different species of geese sampled from two geographic areas were indicative of interspecies parasite transmission and supported broad parasite or vector distributions. However, identicalLeucocytozoon and Haemoproteus lineages on public databases were limited to waterfowl hosts suggesting constraints in the range of parasite hosts.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

    2016-01-05

    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.

  10. 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

  11. Changes in tundra vascular plant biomass over thirty years at Imnavait Creek, Alaska, and current ecosystem C and N dynamics.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bret-Harte, M. S.; Shaver, G. R.; Euskirchen, E. S.; Huebner, D. C.; Drew, J. W.; Cherry, J. E.; Edgar, C.

    2015-12-01

    Understanding the magnitude of, and controls over, carbon fluxes in arctic ecosystems is essential for accurate assessment and prediction of their responses to climate change. In 2013, we harvested vegetation and soils in the most common plant community types in source areas for fluxes measured by eddy covariance towers located in three representative Alaska tundra ecosystems along a toposequence (a ridge site of heath tundra and moist non-acidic tundra, a mid-slope site of moist acidic tussock tundra, and a valley bottom site of wet sedge tundra and moist acidic tussock tundra) at Imnavait Creek, Alaska. This harvest sought to relate biomass, production, composition, and C and N stocks in soil and vegetation, to estimates of net ecosystem CO2 exchange obtained by micrometeorological methods. Soil C and N stocks in the seasonally unfrozen soil layer were greatest in the wet sedge community, and least in the heath community. In contrast, moist acidic tussock tundra at the valley bottom site had the highest C and N stocks in vascular plant biomass, while nearby wet sedge tundra had the lowest. Overall, soil C:N ratio was highest in moist acidic tussock tundra at the mid-slope site. Aboveground biomass of vascular plants in moist acidic tundra at the mid-slope site was nearly three times higher than that measured thirty years earlier in vegetation harvests of nearby areas at Imnavait Creek. Other harvests from sites near Toolik Field Station suggest that vascular plant biomass in moist acidic tundra has increased in multiple sites over this time period. Increased biomass in the mid-1990s corresponds with a switch from mostly negative to mostly positive spatially-averaged air temperature anomalies in the climate record. All our sites have been annual net sources of CO2 to the atmosphere over nine years of measurement, but in the last two years, the valley bottom site has been a particularly strong source, due to CO2 losses in fall and winter that correspond with a

  12. The Alaska Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA-AK)

    SciTech Connect

    Walker, Donald; Breen, Amy; Druckenmiller, Lisa; Wirth, Lisa W.; Fisher, Will; Raynolds, Martha K.; Sibik, Jozef; Walker, Marilyn D.; Hennekens, Stephan; Boggs, Keith; Boucher, Tina; Buchhorn, Marcel; Bultmann, Helga; Cooper, David; Daniels, Fred J. A.; Davidson, Scott J.; Ebersole, James J.; Elmendorf, Sara C.; Epstein, Howard E.; Gould, William A.; Hollister, Robert D.; Iversen, Colleen M.; Jorgenson, M. Torre; Kade, Anja; Lee, Michael T.; MacKenzie, William H.; Peet, Robert K.; Peirce, Jana L.; Schickhoff, Udo; Sloan, Victoria L.; Talbot, Stephen S.; Tweedie, Craig E.; Villarreal, Sandra; Webber, Patrick J.; Zona, Donatella

    2016-05-17

    The Alaska Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA-AK, GIVD-ID: NA-US-014) is a free, publically available database archive of vegetation-plot data from the Arctic tundra region of northern Alaska. The archive currently contains 24 datasets with 3,026 non-overlapping plots. Of these, 74% have geolocation data with 25-m or better precision. Species cover data and header data are stored in a Turboveg database. A standardized Pan Arctic Species List provides a consistent nomenclature for vascular plants, bryophytes, and lichens in the archive. A web-based online Alaska Arctic Geoecological Atlas (AGA-AK) allows viewing and downloading the species data in a variety of formats, and provides access to a wide variety of ancillary data. We conducted a preliminary cluster analysis of the first 16 datasets (1,613 plots) to examine how the spectrum of derived clusters is related to the suite of datasets, habitat types, and environmental gradients. Here, we present the contents of the archive, assess its strengths and weaknesses, and provide three supplementary files that include the data dictionary, a list of habitat types, an overview of the datasets, and details of the cluster analysis.

  13. The Alaska Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA-AK)

    DOE PAGES

    Walker, Donald; Breen, Amy; Druckenmiller, Lisa; ...

    2016-05-17

    The Alaska Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA-AK, GIVD-ID: NA-US-014) is a free, publically available database archive of vegetation-plot data from the Arctic tundra region of northern Alaska. The archive currently contains 24 datasets with 3,026 non-overlapping plots. Of these, 74% have geolocation data with 25-m or better precision. Species cover data and header data are stored in a Turboveg database. A standardized Pan Arctic Species List provides a consistent nomenclature for vascular plants, bryophytes, and lichens in the archive. A web-based online Alaska Arctic Geoecological Atlas (AGA-AK) allows viewing and downloading the species data in a variety of formats, and providesmore » access to a wide variety of ancillary data. We conducted a preliminary cluster analysis of the first 16 datasets (1,613 plots) to examine how the spectrum of derived clusters is related to the suite of datasets, habitat types, and environmental gradients. Here, we present the contents of the archive, assess its strengths and weaknesses, and provide three supplementary files that include the data dictionary, a list of habitat types, an overview of the datasets, and details of the cluster analysis.« less

  14. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-08-19

    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 km(2) 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. Wetting increases respiration loss from the Arctic tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zona, Donatella; Lipson, David; Barott, Katie; Tha Paw U, Kyaw; Oberbauer, Steven; Olivas, Paulo; Hastings, Steven; Hinzman, Larry; Oechel, Walter

    2010-05-01

    Numerous studies (Billings et al. 1982; Peterson et al. 1984; Oberbauer et al. 1991; Funk et al., 1994; Oechel et al., 1998) have demonstrated that decreasing soil moisture and increasing soil oxygen increase respiration loss in the Arctic tundra. Warming and drying of tundra soils due to climate change are assumed to increase greenhouse gas emissions and the potential for strong positive feedbacks on the climate of the Arctic. However, here we show that an increase in the water table can lead to the same result, increasing respiration. In the largest scale water table manipulation experiment ever performed in the Arctic tundra, we showed that increasing the water table to 7.5 cm above the surface caused the ecosystem to more than half its net C uptake (9 gCm-2season-1) compared to the 23 gCm-2season-1 of a control site where water table was about 2 cm below the surface. Standing water saturated the moss layer, increased the heat conduction into the soil, and lead to higher soil temperature, deeper thaw and, surprisingly, to higher respiration rates in the most anaerobic area of the manipulation experiment. Probably, the increase in thaw depth increased substrate availability and freed sufficient Fe(III) to act as an electron acceptor in place of oxygen for respiration and CO2 production in these anaerobic soils (Zehnder and Stumm 1988, Kappler et al. 2004, Lipson et al. in review). In contrast to the general assumption that aerobic peat soils release more CO2 than soils under anaerobic conditions (Billing et al., 1982; Funk et al., 1994; Bridgham et al., 1998), here we show that this is not always the case. That the increase in the water table can result in increased respiration, even under nearly fully anaerobic conditions, through previously underestimated pathways, highlights yet another unexpected positive feedback on climate change of carbon exchange in the Arctic. That anaerobic conditions do not necessarily prevent CO2 loss in permafrost areas has major

  20. Reconstruction and analysis of historical changes in carbon storage in arctic tundra

    SciTech Connect

    McKane, R.B.; Rastetter, E.B.; Shaver, G.R.

    1997-06-01

    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 soils. We used a model (MBL-GEM, Marine Biological Laboratory General Ecosystem Model) of ecosystem C and nitrogen (N) dynamics to predict and analyze historical (1829-1990) changes in C storage in a N-limited, tussock-tundra ecosystem near Toolik Lake on the North Slope of Alaska. The model simulates stand-level photosynthesis and N uptake by plants, allocation of C and N to foliage, stems, and fine roots, respiration in these tissues, turnover of biomass through litterfall, and decomposition of litter and soil organic matter. We first calibrated the model by deriving a single parameter set that closely simulated the response of tussock tundra to decade-long experimental manipulations of nutrients, temperature, light, and atmospheric CO{sub 2}. 60 refs., 5 figs., 1 tab.

  1. Effects of long-term nutrient additions on Arctic tundra, stream, and lake ecosystems: beyond NPP.

    PubMed

    Gough, Laura; Bettez, Neil D; Slavik, Karie A; Bowden, William B; Giblin, Anne E; Kling, George W; Laundre, James A; Shaver, Gaius R

    2016-11-01

    Primary producers form the base of food webs but also affect other ecosystem characteristics, such as habitat structure, light availability, and microclimate. Here, we examine changes caused by 5-30+ years of nutrient addition and resulting increases in net primary productivity (NPP) in tundra, streams, and lakes in northern Alaska. The Arctic provides an important opportunity to examine how ecosystems characterized by low diversity and low productivity respond to release from nutrient limitation. We review how responses of algae and plants affect light availability, perennial biotic structures available for consumers, oxygen levels, and temperature. Sometimes, responses were similar across all three ecosystems; e.g., increased NPP significantly reduced light to the substrate following fertilization. Perennial biotic structures increased in tundra and streams but not in lakes, and provided important new habitat niches for consumers as well as other producers. Oxygen and temperature responses also differed. Life history traits (e.g., longevity) of the primary producers along with the fate of detritus drove the responses and recovery. As global change persists and nutrients become more available in the Arctic and elsewhere, incorporating these factors as response variables will enable better prediction of ecosystem changes and feedbacks in this biome and others.

  2. Spectral indices for remote sensing of phytomass and deciduous shrub changes in Alaskan arctic tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kushida, K.; Hobara, S.; Tsuyuzaki, S.; Watanabe, M.; Harada, K.; Kim, Y.; Shaver, G. R.; Fukuda, M.

    2010-12-01

    The relationships between spectral indices, phytomass, and plant functional types were determined by using field observations of a moist acidic tundra (MAT) and a moist non-acidic tundra (MNT) in the Toolik Lake Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site and a sedge-shrub tundra (SS) in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, USA. For the MAT and MNT observations, among aboveground phytomass, aboveground vascular phytomass, and vascular plant green phytomass, vascular plant green phytomass was the most sensitive to an exponential function of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). The coefficient of determination (R2) was 0.73. Vascular plant carbon and nitrogen were estimated with exponential functions of NDVI (R2 of 0.57 and 0.53, respectively). For the MAT, MNT, and SS observations, vascular plant green phytomass was more strongly correlated with an exponential function of NDVI (ENDVI, R2 of 0.62) than any other spectral indices. On the other hand, for deciduous shrub green phytomass, the strongest correlation was with a product of an exponential function of NDVI and a spectral index (MIR - RED)/(MIR + RED) (DSSI, R2 of 0.60). Here, MIR and RED denote the bands with wavelengths 2.09-2.35 and 0.63-0.69 µm, respectively. As a result of a regression analysis, 41% of the ENDVI variance and 60% of the DSSI variance were explained by deciduous shrub green phytomass. Up to 38% of the ENDVI variance and up to 10% of the DSSI variance were explained by green phytomass of evergreen shrubs and graminoids, and phytomass of mosses/lichens. These spectral indices were applicable to evaluating tundra plant community changes.

  3. 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

  4. How will Shrub Expansion Impact Soil Carbon Sequestration in Arctic Tundra?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Czimczik, C. I.; Holden, S. R.; He, Y.; Randerson, J. T.

    2015-12-01

    Multiple lines of evidence suggest that plant productivity, and especially shrub abundance, is increasing in the Arctic in response to climate change. This greening is substantiated by increases in the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, repeat photography and field observations. The implications of a greener Arctic on carbon sequestration by tundra ecosystems remain poorly understood. Here, we explore existing datasets of plant productivity and soil carbon stocks to quantify how greening, and in particular an expansion of woody shrubs, may translate to the sequestration of carbon in arctic soils. As an estimate of carbon storage in arctic tundra soils, we used the Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database v2. As estimates of tundra type and productivity, we used the Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation map as well as the MODIS and Landsat Vegetation Continuous Fields, and MODIS GPP/NPP (MOD17) products. Preliminary findings suggest that in graminoid tundra and erect-shrub tundra higher shrub abundance is associated with greater soil carbon stocks. However, this relationship between shrub abundance and soil carbon is not apparent in prostrate-shrub tundra, or when comparing across graminoid tundra, erect-shrub tundra and prostrate-shrub tundra. Uncertainties originate from the extreme spatial (vertical and horizontal) heterogeneity of organic matter distribution in cryoturbated soils, the fact that (some) permafrost carbon stocks, e.g. yedoma, reflect previous rather than current vegetative cover, and small sample sizes, esp. in the High Arctic. Using Vegetation Continuous Fields and MODIS GPP/NPP (MOD17), we develop quantitative trajectories of soil carbon storage as a function of shrub cover and plant productivity in the Arctic (>60°N). We then compare our greening-derived carbon sequestration estimates to projected losses of carbon from thawing permafrost. Our findings will reduce uncertainties in the magnitude and timing of the carbon-climate feedback from the

  5. Shrub encroachment in Arctic tundra: Betula nana effects on above- and belowground litter decomposition.

    PubMed

    McLaren, Jennie R; Buckeridge, Kate M; van de Weg, Martine J; Shaver, Gaius R; Schimel, Joshua P; Gough, Laura

    2017-03-06

    Rapid arctic vegetation change as a result of global warming includes an increase in the cover and biomass of deciduous shrubs. Increases in shrub abundance will result in a proportional increase of shrub litter in the litter community, potentially affecting carbon turnover rates in arctic ecosystems. We investigated the effects of leaf and root litter of a deciduous shrub, Betula nana, on decomposition, by examining species-specific decomposition patterns, as well as effects of Betula litter on the decomposition of other species. We conducted a 2-yr decomposition experiment in moist acidic tundra in northern Alaska, where we decomposed three tundra species (Vaccinium vitis-idaea, Rhododendron palustre, and Eriophorum vaginatum) alone and in combination with Betula litter. Decomposition patterns for leaf and root litter were determined using three different measures of decomposition (mass loss, respiration, extracellular enzyme activity). We report faster decomposition of Betula leaf litter compared to other species, with support for species differences coming from all three measures of decomposition. Mixing effects were less consistent among the measures, with negative mixing effects shown only for mass loss. In contrast, there were few species differences or mixing effects for root decomposition. Overall, we attribute longer-term litter mass loss patterns to patterns created by early decomposition processes in the first winter. We note numerous differences for species patterns between leaf and root decomposition, indicating that conclusions from leaf litter experiments should not be extrapolated to below-ground decomposition. The high decomposition rates of Betula leaf litter aboveground, and relatively similar decomposition rates of multiple species below, suggest a potential for increases in turnover in the fast-decomposing carbon pool of leaves and fine roots as the dominance of deciduous shrubs in the Arctic increases, but this outcome may be tempered by

  6. Expansion of forest stands into tundra in the Noatak National Preserve, northwest Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Suarez, F.; Binkley, D.; Kaye, M.W.; Stottlemyer, R.

    1999-01-01

    Temperatures across the northern regions of North America have been increasing for 150 years, and forests have responded to this increase. In the Noatak National Preserve in Alaska, white spruce (Picea glauca [Moench] Voss) forests reach their northern limit, occurring primarily on well-drained sites and as gallery forests along streams. Rolling plateaus of tundra separate the white spruce forests into disjunct stands. We examined patterns of tree age, tree growth, and tree encroachment into tundra ecosystems in six stands along the Agashashok River. Warming over the past 150 years appears to have increased tree growth and resulted in forest expansion into adjacent tundra ecosystems. The forest/tundra ecotone shifted by about 80 to 100 m into the tundra in the past 200 years, as evidenced by declining maximum tree age with distance towards the tundra. The decadal-scale pattern of tree establishment at the farthest extent of trees into the tundra (the tundra-forest ecotone) correlated with the detrended growth index for trees within the forests; climate conditions that led to higher tree growth appeared to foster tree establishment in the tundra. This recent forest expansion has occurred across topographic boundaries, from well-drained soils on slopes onto poorly drained, flatter areas of tundra. Further expansion of the forests may be limited by more severe wind exposure and poor drainage that make the majority of tundra less suitable for trees.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. The Contribution of Mosses to the Complex Pattern of Diurnal and Seasonal Metabolism the wet Coastal Tundra Ecosystems Near Barrow Alaska.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zona, D.; Oechel, W.; Hastings, S.; Oberbauer, S.; Kopetz, I.; Ikawa, H.

    2006-12-01

    Despite the abundance and importance bryophytes in the Alaskan Arctic tundra there is relatively little information on the role of these plants in determining the CO2 fluxes of Arctic tundra and, in particular, the environmental controls and climate change sensitivities of current and future photosynthesis in Arctic mosses. Studies in the tundra biome during the IBP program implicated high light together with high temperature as causes of decreases in photosynthesis in arctic mosses. Several authors have reported midday depression of moss photosynthesis due to high irradiance, even under optimum temperature and fully hydrated conditions. The focus of this study is to understand the role of Sphagnum ssp. mosses of various species, the dominant moss in the Alaska coastal wet Tundra on the total ecosystem carbon exchange throughout the season and in particular soon after snowmelt when the ecosystem is a carbon source. Our hypothesis is that the ecosystem carbon source activity during this critical period may be a result of sensitivity of mosses to light and photoinhibition in the absence of the protective canopy layer of vascular plants. In this study we measured daily courses of photosynthesis and fluorescence in the moss layer and we compare it to the total ecosystem carbon fluxes determined by the eddy covariance technique. The measurements were conducted in wet coastal tundra from June 2006, right after the snow melt, to August 2006 in the Biological Experimental Observatory (BEO) in Barrow, Alaska. The photosynthesis in the moss layer was found to be strongly inhibited when the radiation exceeded 800 ìmol m-2 s-1. Mosses remained fully hydrated throughout the season, precluding drying as a cause of decreased photosynthesis. Dark-adapted fluorescence measurements (Fv/Fm) showed a relatively low value (0.6) right after the snow melt, and remained fairly stable throughout the season. This low value was previously reported as characteristic of photoinhibited

  10. 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Bakwin, P.S.; Wofsy, S.C.; Fan, Songmiao; Fitzjarrald, D.R. New York State Univ., Albany )

    1992-10-01

    Measurements of the atmospheric concentrations of NO, NO[sub 2], total NO(y), and O[sub 3] 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. 58 refs.

  12. Biogeography of bacterioplankton in lakes and streams of an Arctic tundra catchment.

    PubMed

    Crump, Ron C; Adams, Heather E; Hobbie, John E; Kling, George W

    2007-06-01

    Bacterioplankton community composition was compared across 10 lakes and 14 streams within the catchment of Toolik Lake, a tundra lake in Arctic Alaska, during seven surveys conducted over three years using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of PCR-amplified rDNA. Bacterioplankton communities in streams draining tundra were very different than those in streams draining lakes. Communities in streams draining lakes were similar to communities in lakes. In a connected series of lakes and streams, the stream communities changed with distance from the upstream lake and with changes in water chemistry, suggesting inoculation and dilution with bacteria from soil waters or hyporheic zones. In the same system, lakes shared similar bacterioplankton communities (78% similar) that shifted gradually down the catchment. In contrast, unconnected lakes contained somewhat different communities (67% similar). We found evidence that dispersal influences bacterioplankton communities via advection and dilution (mass effects) in streams, and via inoculation and subsequent growth in lakes. The spatial pattern of bacterioplankton community composition was strongly influenced by interactions among soil water, stream, and lake environments. Our results reveal large differences in lake-specific and stream-specific bacterial community composition over restricted spatial scales (<10 km) and suggest that geographic distance and connectivity influence the distribution of bacterioplankton communities across a landscape.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  14. 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

  15. Spatiotemporal patterns of tundra fires: late-Quaternary charcoal records from Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chipman, M. L.; Hudspith, V.; Higuera, P. E.; Duffy, P. A.; Kelly, R.; Oswald, W. W.; Hu, F. S.

    2015-07-01

    Anthropogenic climate change has altered many ecosystem processes in the Arctic tundra and may have resulted in unprecedented fire activity. Evaluating the significance of recent fires requires knowledge from the paleofire record because observational data in the Arctic span only several decades, much shorter than the natural fire rotation in Arctic tundra regions. Here we report results of charcoal analysis on lake sediments from four Alaskan lakes to infer the broad spatial and temporal patterns of tundra-fire occurrence over the past 35 000 years. Background charcoal accumulation rates are low in all records (range is 0-0.05 pieces cm-2 yr-1), suggesting minimal biomass burning across our study areas. Charcoal peak analysis reveals that the mean fire-return interval (FRI; years between consecutive fire events) ranged from ca. 1650 to 6050 years at our sites, and that the most recent fire events occurred from ca. 880 to 7030 years ago, except for the CE 2007 Anaktuvuk River Fire. These mean FRI estimates are longer than the fire rotation periods estimated for the past 63 years in the areas surrounding three of the four study lakes. This result suggests that the frequency of tundra burning was higher over the recent past compared to the late Quaternary in some tundra regions. However, the ranges of FRI estimates from our paleofire records overlap with the expected values based on fire-rotation-period estimates from the observational fire data, and the differences are statistically insignificant. Together with previous tundra-fire reconstructions, these data suggest that the rate of tundra burning was spatially variable and that fires were extremely rare in our study areas throughout the late Quaternary. Given the rarity of tundra burning over multiple millennia in our study areas and the pronounced effects of fire on tundra ecosystem processes such as carbon cycling, dramatic tundra ecosystem changes are expected if anthropogenic climate change leads to more

  16. Spatiotemporal patterns of tundra fires: late-Quaternary charcoal records from Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chipman, M. L.; Hudspith, V.; Higuera, P. E.; Duffy, P. A.; Kelly, R.; Oswald, W. W.; Hu, F. S.

    2015-02-01

    Anthropogenic climate change has altered many ecosystem processes in the Arctic tundra and may have resulted in unprecedented fire activity. Evaluating the significance of recent fires requires knowledge from the paleo-fire record because observational data in the Arctic span only several decades, much shorter than the natural fire rotation in Arctic tundra regions. Here we report results of charcoal analysis on lake sediments from four Alaskan lakes to infer the broad spatial and temporal patterns of tundra fire occurrence over the past 35 000 years. Background charcoal accumulation rates are low in all records (range = 0-0.05 pieces cm-2 year-1), suggesting minimal biomass burning across our study areas. Charcoal peak analysis reveals that the mean fire return interval (FRI; years between consecutive fire events) ranged from 1648 to 6045 years at our sites, and that the most recent fire events occurred from 882 to 7031 years ago, except for the CE 2007 Anaktuvuk River Fire. These mean FRI estimates are longer than the fire rotation periods estimated for the past 63 years in the areas surrounding three of the four study lakes. This result suggests that the frequency of tundra burning was higher over the recent past compared to the late Quaternary in some tundra regions. However, the ranges of FRI estimates from our paleo-fire records overlap with the expected values based on fire-rotation-period estimates from the observational fire data, and thus quantitative differences are not significant. Together with previous tundra-fire reconstructions, these data suggest that the rate of tundra burning was spatially variable and that fires were extremely rare in our study areas throughout the late Quaternary. Given the rarity of tundra burning over multiple millennia in our study areas and the pronounced effects of fire on tundra ecosystem processes such as carbon cycling, dramatic tundra ecosystem changes are expected if anthropogenic climate change leads to more frequent

  17. Backscatter from ice growing on shallow tundra lakes near Barrow, Alaska, winter 1991-1992

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jeffries, M. O.; Wakabayashi, H.; Weeks, W. F.; Morris, K.

    1993-01-01

    The timing of freeze-up and break-up of Arctic lake ice is a potentially useful environmental indicator that could be monitored using SAR. In order to do this, it is important to understand how the properties and structure of the ice during its growth and decay affect radar backscatter and thus lake ice SAR signatures. The availability of radiometrically and geometrically calibrated digital SAR data time series from the Alaska SAR Facility has made it possible for the first time to quantify lake ice backscatter intensity (sigma(sup o)) variations. This has been done for ice growing on shallow tundra lakes near Barrow, NW Alaska, from initial growth in September 1991 until thawing and decay in June 1992. Field and laboratory observations and measurements of the lake ice were made in late April 1992. The field investigations of the coastal lakes near Barrow confirmed previous findings that, (1) ice frozen to the lake bottom had a dark signature in SAR images, indicating weak backscatter, while, (2) ice that was floating had a bright signature, indicating strong backscatter. At all sites, regardless of whether the ice was grounded or floating, there was a layer of clear, inclusion-free ice overlaying a layer of ice with dense concentrations of vertically oriented tubular bubbles. At some sites, there was a third layer of porous, snow-ice overlaying the clear ice.

  18. Spatial Variability of Canopy Structure and Function in Tussock Tundra of Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ryu, Y.; Lee, J.; Kim, J. M.; Lee, Y. K.

    2015-12-01

    Understanding the type of canopy structure and function is important to link the effects of climate change on carbon, water, and energy exchanges between vegetation in tussock tundra and the atmosphere. Interpreting vegetation spatial variability with satellite products alone is a challenge, due to the patchiness of vegetation in the Arctic ecosystems with transient cloud over during the summer season that obstructs retrieval of land surface images. To compare and correlate spatial variation of vegetation with satellite data, we collected leaf area index (LAI) and hyperspectral reflectance data in Council, Alaska. To better understand canopy structure and functional variables, we further examined arctic leaf traits by measuring C:N ratio, leaf mass area (LMA), chlorophyll content, and hyperspectral leaf optical properties. We obtained WorldView-2 Satellite data, which has 8 multispectral bands with 0.5 m resolution, centered on our study site. Preliminary results showed remarkable variation in spectral reflectance and LAI across three 100-m transects. We discuss how to upscale the information from in-situ observed canopy properties into a landscape scale in tandem with the high-resolution satellite image.

  19. 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

  20. Growing season and spatial variations of carbon fluxes of Arctic and boreal ecosystems in Alaska (USA).

    PubMed

    Ueyama, Masahito; Iwata, Hiroki; Harazono, Yoshinobu; Euskirchen, Eugénie S; Oechel, Walter C; Zona, Donatella

    2013-12-01

    To better understand the spatial and temporal dynamics of CO2 exchange between Arctic ecosystems and the atmosphere, we synthesized CO2 flux data, measured in eight Arctic tundra and five boreal ecosystems across Alaska (USA) and identified growing season and spatial variations of the fluxes and environmental controlling factors. For the period examined, all of the boreal and seven of the eight Arctic tundra ecosystems acted as CO2 sinks during the growing season. Seasonal patterns of the CO2 fluxes were mostly determined by air temperature, except ecosystem respiration (RE) of tundra. For the tundra ecosystems, the spatial variation of gross primary productivity (GPP) and net CO2 sink strength were explained by growing season length, whereas RE increased with growing degree days. For boreal ecosystems, the spatial variation of net CO2 sink strength was mostly determined by recovery of GPP from fire disturbance. Satellite-derived leaf area index (LAI) was a better index to explain the spatial variations of GPP and NEE of the ecosystems in Alaska than were the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and enhanced vegetation index (EVI). Multiple regression models using growing degree days, growing season length, and satellite-derived LAI explained much of the spatial variation in GPP and net CO2 exchange among the tundra and boreal ecosystems. The high sensitivity of the sink strength to growing season length indicated that the tundra ecosystem could increase CO2 sink strength under expected future warming, whereas ecosystem compositions associated with fire disturbance could play a major role in carbon release from boreal ecosystems.

  1. History of petroleum development in Arctic Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Gryc, G. )

    1991-03-01

    Long before recorded history, tar from oil seepages and oil shale that burned like wood were used for fuel by the Inuit (native people of Arctic Alaska). The first published descriptions of these oil seepages that identified Arctic Alaska as a petroliferous province appeared in 1909. In 1921, several applications for prospecting permits were filed by private groups under the old mining laws, but the permits were never issued. In 1923, President Harding set aside about half of the North Slope of Alaska, including most of the seepage areas, as Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 4. This was followed by three periods of federally sponsored exploration programs in the reserve and the adjoining areas during the periods 1923 to 1926, 1944 to 1952, and 1974 to 1982. Noncommercial oil and gas deposits were discovered in the reserve, the gas deposits at Barrow were developed for local use, and the feasibility of petroleum exploration and development in the Arctic was established. Industry exploration began in 1958 when the lands adjacent to the reserve were opened for lease. Prudhoe Bay, North America's largest oil field, was discovered in 1968. The history of petroleum development in Arctic Alaska provides an interesting study of the building of a geologic, geographic, and logistic base, of the lead time required for resource exploitation, of the interaction of government and industry, and of the expansion of the US resource base during a time of expanding ecologic awareness. Petroleum exploration in the Canadian Arctic region was stimulated by the activity across the border in Alaska.

  2. 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.

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

    DOE PAGES

    Herndon, Elizabeth M.; Yang, Ziming; Graham, David E.; ...

    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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bryant, John P.; Joly, Kyle; Chapin, F. Stuart; 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.

  7. 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%.

  8. 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…

  9. Tundra vegetation change near Barrow, Alaska (1972-2010)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-03-01

    Knowledge of how arctic plant communities will respond to change has been largely derived from plot level experimental manipulation, not from trends of decade time scale environmental observations. This study documents plant community change in 330 marked plots at 33 sites established during the International Biological Program near Barrow, Alaska in 1972. Plots were resampled in 1999, 2008 and 2010 for species cover and presence. Cluster analysis identified nine plant communities in 1972. Non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMS) indicates that plant communities have changed in different ways over time, and that wet communities have changed more than dry communities. The relative cover of lichens increased over time, while the response of other plant functional groups varied. Species richness and diversity also increased over time. The most dramatic changes in the cover of bryophytes, graminoids and bare ground coincided with a lemming high in 2008.

  10. Water Status of Arctic Tundra Plants During the Winter-Spring Transition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-12-01

    The arctic winter-spring transition when full snow cover rapidly changes to snow-free conditions potentially represents a time of physiological stress for tundra plants. Plants that have been subjected to freezing temperatures for several months over winter are suddenly exposed to high radiation loads from clear skies and reflection from unmelted snow. Water uptake at this time may be limited by low stem temperatures and cold or even frozen soils. Because of these potential stresses it may be advantageous for plants to delay photosynthetic activity and water loss until soils are warmer. However, given the short length of the growing season, the optimal strategy for plants may be to maximize carbon uptake and begin photosynthesis and growth as soon as possible after snowmelt. Some tundra evergreens even photosynthesize under snow cover. To test the hypothesis that plant water stress increases immediately following loss of snow cover, we investigated xylem and leaf osmotic potentials of evergreen tundra species before and immediately after snowmelt. We also compared these measurements with summer and winter measurements. Our study was conducted in moist acidic tundra near Toolik Field Station in the northern foothills of the Brooks Range, Alaska. Xylem water potentials were measured by Scholander pressure chamber and osmotic potentials by psychrometry of cell sap expressed from frozen (-80 °C) leaf tissue. Xylem water potentials under snow were generally higher than those of plants recently released from snow. Osmotic potentials measured before and after snowmelt did not show evidence of strong changes. Some species, such as Ledum palustre, maintained high water potentials both under snow and shortly after snow melt. With only a few exceptions, water potentials just after melt out were generally higher than those after soils had warmed and plants had greened up. Low water potentials (< -3 MPa) were most commonly found in Cassiope tetragona, a snowbed

  11. 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

  12. Assessment of Fire Occurrence and Future Fire Potential in Arctic Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    French, N. H. F.; Jenkins, L. K.; Loboda, T. V.; Bourgeau-Chavez, L. L.; Whitley, M. A.

    2014-12-01

    An analysis of the occurrence of fire in Alaskan tundra was completed using the relatively complete historical record of fire for the region from 1950 to 2013. Spatial fire data for Alaskan tundra regions were obtained from the Alaska Large Fire Database for the region defined from vegetation and ecoregion maps. A detailed presentation of fire records available for assessing the fire regime of the tundra regions of Alaska as well as results evaluating fire size, seasonality, and general geographic and temporal trends is included. Assessment of future fire potential was determined for three future climate scenarios at four locations across the Alaskan tundra using the Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index (FWI). Canadian Earth System Model (CanESM2) weather variables were used for historical (1850-2005) and future (2006-2100) time periods. The database includes 908 fire points and 463 fire polygons within the 482,931 km2 of Alaskan tundra. Based on the polygon database 25,656 km2 (6,340,000 acres) has burned across the six tundra ecoregions since 1950. Approximately 87% of tundra fires start in June and July across all ecoregions. Combining information from the polygon and points data records, the estimated average fire size for fire in the Alaskan Arctic region is 28.1 km2 (7,070 acres), which is much smaller than in the adjacent boreal forest region, averaging 203 km2 for high fire years. The largest fire in the database is the Imuruk Basin Fire which burned 1,680 km2 in 1954 in the Seward Peninsula region (Table 1). Assessment of future fire potential shows that, in comparison with the historical fire record, fire occurrence in Alaskan tundra is expected to increase under all three climate scenarios. Occurrences of high fire weather danger (>10 FWI) are projected to increase in frequency and magnitude in all regions modeled. The changes in fire weather conditions are expected to vary from one region to another in seasonal occurrence as well as severity and frequency

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. Topographic Variation and Methane Production in Siberian Arctic Tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eason, J.; Kuhn, M. A.; Dunn, S.; Spawn, S.; Schade, J. D.

    2014-12-01

    Understanding the fate of soil carbon when permafrost soils begin to thaw is critical for predicting the impact of permafrost thaw on global climate change. Microbial metabolism of soil carbon can produce carbon dioxide or methane, depending on soil conditions, and which pathway dominates has great significance for the strength of climate feedbacks since methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. In Arctic ecosystems, methane production from upland environments is not well understood and generally assumed to be low because conditions there are generally not favorable for methanogenesis. Small changes in topography, however, can lead to great heterogeneity in soil conditions at small scales that may lead to higher methane flux than generally recognized. In this study, we investigated patterns in methane, carbon dioxide, and oxygen concentrations in in surface waters of 15 small ponds in the Kolyma River watershed in Northeast Siberia. The ponds were distributed across a topographic gradient from upland tundra high in the landscape to low-lying ponds in the floodplain of the Kolyma River. In addition, we used chambers to measured methane fluxes from a variety of topographic depressions that ranged from pools to moss-dominated saturated soils lacking surface water, to dry soils dominated by sedges. Dissolved carbon dioxide concentrations in ponds showed no trend down the topographic gradient while methane concentrations decreased downslope. The decrease in methane production may be the result of a switch from green moss to brown moss, which may act as a host for methanotrophic bacteria. Ponds with green moss had significantly higher concentrations of methane than the ponds with brown moss. In addition, we found significantly higher methane fluxes from pools and saturated soils then from drier soils, which showed very low fluxes. These results suggest that upland tundra may be a significant source of methane, and that methane fluxes are driven

  18. Fire behavior, weather, and burn severity of the 2007 anaktuvuk river tundra fire, North Slope, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jones, B.; Kolden, C.; Jandt, R.; Abatzoglou, J.; Urban, F.; Arp, C.

    2009-01-01

    In 2007, the Anaktuvuk River Fire (ARF) became the largest recorded tundra fire on the North Slope of Alaska. The ARF burned for nearly three months, consuming more than 100,000 ha. At its peak in early September, the ARF burned at a rate of 7000 ha d-1. The conditions potentially responsible for this large tundra fire include modeled record high summer temperature and record low summer precipitation, a late-season high-pressure system located over the Beaufort Sea, extremely dry soil conditions throughout the summer, and sustained southerly winds during the period of vegetation senescence. Burn severity mapping revealed that more than 80% of the ARF burned at moderate to extreme severity, while the nearby Kuparuk River Fire remained small and burned at predominantly (80%) low severity. While this study provides information that may aid in the prediction of future large tundra fires in northern Alaska, the fact that three other tundra fires that occurred in 2007 combined to burn less than 1000 ha suggests site specific complexities associated with tundra fires on the North Slope, which may hamper the development of tundra fire forecasting models.

  19. Development of an Energy-based Runoff Generation Model in Arctic Tundra Regions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thorne, R.; Quinton, W. L.

    2009-05-01

    Recently, the demand for improved predictive models of runoff in arctic tundra regions has increased, given uncertainties regarding the future availability of northern freshwater resources related to climate change and expanding resource development. Hydrological characteristics of the arctic tundra are substantially different from those of temperate regions in which traditional runoff generation theories were based. Therefore, theories that apply specifically to the arctic tundra need to be incorporated into a robust runoff model to improve predictions for this region. In addition, the topographically based contributing areas described by source area concepts in the model can be combined with or superseded by an energy-based contributing area. The goal of this project is to design an energy-based runoff generation model to simulate characteristics influencing the aerodynamic and radiation regimes at the surface, including surface roughness, slope aspect and angle in tundra landscapes. Through the model, the frost table topography can be derived, which is a critical step toward predicting the rate and direction of flow. As most arctic tundra catchments in Canada are ungauged, understanding the impact of observed climate warming and unprecedented resource extraction activities can only be achieved through improved conceptualization of hydrological processes. Thus, an energy-based runoff generation model may lead to improved predictions of streamflow in both the present and future.

  20. Estimation of surface energy fluxes in the Arctic tundra using the remote sensing thermal-based Two-Source Energy Balance model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cristóbal, Jordi; Prakash, Anupma; Anderson, Martha C.; Kustas, William P.; Euskirchen, Eugénie S.; Kane, Douglas L.

    2017-03-01

    The Arctic has become generally a warmer place over the past decades leading to earlier snow melt, permafrost degradation and changing plant communities. Increases in precipitation and local evaporation in the Arctic, known as the acceleration components of the hydrologic cycle, coupled with land cover changes, have resulted in significant changes in the regional surface energy budget. Quantifying spatiotemporal trends in surface energy flux partitioning is key to forecasting ecological responses to changing climate conditions in the Arctic. An extensive local evaluation of the Two-Source Energy Balance model (TSEB) - a remote-sensing-based model using thermal infrared retrievals of land surface temperature - was performed using tower measurements collected over different tundra types in Alaska in all sky conditions over the full growing season from 2008 to 2012. Based on comparisons with flux tower observations, refinements in the original TSEB net radiation, soil heat flux and canopy transpiration parameterizations were identified for Arctic tundra. In particular, a revised method for estimating soil heat flux based on relationships with soil temperature was developed, resulting in significantly improved performance. These refinements result in mean turbulent flux errors generally less than 50 W m-2 at half-hourly time steps, similar to errors typically reported in surface energy balance modeling studies conducted in more temperate climatic regimes. The MODIS leaf area index (LAI) remote sensing product proved to be useful for estimating energy fluxes in Arctic tundra in the absence of field data on the local biomass amount. Model refinements found in this work at the local scale build toward a regional implementation of the TSEB model over Arctic tundra ecosystems, using thermal satellite remote sensing to assess response of surface fluxes to changing vegetation and climate conditions.

  1. 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

  2. Sunlight stimulates methane uptake and nitrous oxide emission from the High Arctic tundra.

    PubMed

    Li, Fangfang; Zhu, Renbin; Bao, Tao; Wang, Qing; Xu, Hua

    2016-12-01

    Many environmental factors affecting methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) fluxes have been investigated during the processes of carbon and nitrogen transformation in the boreal tundra. However, effects of sunlight on CH4 and N2O fluxes and their budgets were neglected in the boreal tundra. Here, summertime CH4 and N2O fluxes in the presence and total absence of sunlight were investigated at the six tundra sites (DM1-DM6) on Ny-Ålesund in the High Arctic. The mean CH4 fluxes at the tundra sites ranged from -4.7 to -158.6μg CH4 m(-2)h(-1) in the presence of light, indicating that a large CH4 sink occurred in the tundra soils. However, enhanced CH4 emission in total absence of light occurred at all the tundra sites. The mean N2O fluxes ranged from 7.4 to 14.6μg N2O m(-2)h(-1) in the presence of light, whereas in the absence of light all the tundra sites generally released less N2O, and even significant N2O uptake occurred there. Soil temperature, chamber temperature and soil moisture showed no significant correlations with tundra CH4 and N2O flux. The presence of sunlight increased tundra CH4 uptake by 114.2μg CH4 m(-2)h(-1) and N2O emission by 10.9μg N2O m(-2)h(-1) compared with total absence of light. Overall our results showed that tundra ecosystem switched from CH4 sink and N2O emission source in the presence of light to CH4 emission source and N2O sink in the absence of light. Therefore sunlight had an important effect on CH4 and N2O budgets in the High Arctic tundra. The exclusion of sunlight might overestimate CH4 budgets, but underestimate N2O budgets in the Arctic tundra ecosystem.

  3. 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,

  4. 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).

  5. Cold- and Growing-Season Microbial Substrate Use in Arctic Tundra Soil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schimel, J.; McMahon, S.

    2006-12-01

    Microbial communities will play a critical role in determining arctic ecosystem response to warming due to global climate change since decomposition, which is responsible for both CO2 evolution and plant nutrient availability, is a microbially-mediated process. Microorganisms living in tundra soil have access to two broad categories of carbon compounds via decomposition: complex polymers such as cellulose, lignin, protein and soil organic matter, and simple monomers such as glucose, phenolics and amino acids. Thermodynamically, labile substrates are easier to degrade because the activation energy of the reaction is lower than for more recalcitrant polymers. Thus, metabolic processes involving simple compounds are more likely under frozen conditions during the cold season. To test this theory, we incubated soils collected at Toolik Lake, Alaska before and after snowmelt and freeze-up with a variety of 13C-labelled substrates to track microbial carbon use during cold- and growing-season conditions. Surprisingly, tussock soils respired more protein-derived carbon under frozen pre-thaw conditions than late growing-season conditions. Organic shrub soils respired more glutamic acid-derived carbon under all conditions. Since nitrogen is more abundant in shrub than tussock soils, microbes in the shrub soil can afford to respire glutamic acid as an energy source rather than incorporate it into microbial biomass as a nitrogen source. This study indicates that winter substrate use may not follow predictions made strictly on a thermodynamic basis and hints at the complex nature of cold-tolerant microorganisms.

  6. 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).

  7. 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

  8. Exploring Relationships Between Vegetation Reflectance and Plant Physiological Parameters on Arctic Wet Sedge Tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boelman, N.; Griffin, K.; Stieglitz, M.; Shaver, G. R.; Gamon, J. A.

    2001-12-01

    We explore vegetation reflectance indices, sampled with a handheld spectroradiometer, to determine the effectiveness of remotely sensed optical measurements in detecting the effects of increased N or P availability, increased temperature, and decreased light intensity on wet sedge tundra near Toolik Lake, Alaska. For the past thirteen years, nutrient availability was increased through fertilization treatments (N, P and N+P) in factorial experiments at three separate field sites. Air temperature was increased using plastic greenhouses at two sites, both with and without N+P fertilizer. Light intensity (photosynthetically active photon flux) was reduced by 50% at the same two sites. All measurements were taken during the growing season of 2001. We have employed two reflectance indices: the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), a proxy for chlorophyll content; and the photochemical reflectance index (PRI), a proxy for xanthophyll cycle activity, and thus of Photosystem II radiation-use efficiency. NDVI values for the N+P and P alone treatment plots are consistently higher than both the control and N alone treatment plots throughout the growing season, supporting previous findings that wet sedge tundra is a primarily P limited system. NDVI values for the shade houses are consistently lower than the control plots and all other treatment plots throughout the growing season, suggesting that a reduction in light intensity, as might be expected by increased cloud cover due to global warming, reduces the net primary productivity of wet sedge tundra. NDVI values for both warming treatments show no consistent trends. One especially interesting result is that PRI values for the N+P, warming and the P alone treatment plots are consistently lower than the control plots throughout the growing season, suggesting that these plots have higher carotenoid and zeaxanthin concentrations than the control plots. One hypothesis is that the N+P, warming and P alone treatment plots

  9. Changing trends in carbon dioxide exchange components in three Arctic tundra sites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mbufong, Herbert; Lund, Magnus; Christensen, Torben; Jackowicz-Korczynski, Marcin; Parmentier, Frans-Jan; Dolman, Han; van der Molen, Michiel; Tamstorf, Mikkel

    2014-05-01

    This paper aims to investigate the interannual variability in carbon flux components in a High, Low and Sub Arctic tundra site. By identifying trends in different tundra types, we can better understand the possible future response of Arctic tundra under climatic change. The timing and length of seasons, alongside environmental controls, have been examined to assess their effect on the seasonal carbon budgets of these sites. Data was collected using the micrometeorological eddy covariance technique from three Arctic tundra sites in Greenland (74.47 °N), Siberia (70.82 °N) and Sweden (68.33 °N). We have hypothesized that the interannual trends in net ecosystem exchange (NEE) components will vary between the different tundra types in this study and will most likely be driven by temperature, vegetation characteristics (NDVI) and season phenology (start and length of seasons). Our results will present the evolution of the seasonal budgets (Thaw, pre-green, green, post-green seasons) of NEE components; and the drivers of these trends over 6 years (2003 - 2008) in these three sites. These and more will be presented at the conference.

  10. Range Expansion of Moose in Arctic Alaska Linked to Warming and Increased Shrub Habitat.

    PubMed

    Tape, Ken D; Gustine, David D; Ruess, Roger W; Adams, Layne G; Clark, Jason A

    2016-01-01

    Twentieth century warming has increased vegetation productivity and shrub cover across northern tundra and treeline regions, but effects on terrestrial wildlife have not been demonstrated on a comparable scale. During this period, Alaskan moose (Alces alces gigas) extended their range from the boreal forest into tundra riparian shrub habitat; similar extensions have been observed in Canada (A. a. andersoni) and Eurasia (A. a. alces). Northern moose distribution is thought to be limited by forage availability above the snow in late winter, so the observed increase in shrub habitat could be causing the northward moose establishment, but a previous hypothesis suggested that hunting cessation triggered moose establishment. Here, we use recent changes in shrub cover and empirical relationships between shrub height and growing season temperature to estimate available moose habitat in Arctic Alaska c. 1860. We estimate that riparian shrubs were approximately 1.1 m tall c. 1860, greatly reducing the available forage above the snowpack, compared to 2 m tall in 2009. We believe that increases in riparian shrub habitat after 1860 allowed moose to colonize tundra regions of Alaska hundreds of kilometers north and west of previous distribution limits. The northern shift in the distribution of moose, like that of snowshoe hares, has been in response to the spread of their shrub habitat in the Arctic, but at the same time, herbivores have likely had pronounced impacts on the structure and function of these shrub communities. These northward range shifts are a bellwether for other boreal species and their associated predators.

  11. Range Expansion of Moose in Arctic Alaska Linked to Warming and Increased Shrub Habitat

    PubMed Central

    Tape, Ken D.

    2016-01-01

    Twentieth century warming has increased vegetation productivity and shrub cover across northern tundra and treeline regions, but effects on terrestrial wildlife have not been demonstrated on a comparable scale. During this period, Alaskan moose (Alces alces gigas) extended their range from the boreal forest into tundra riparian shrub habitat; similar extensions have been observed in Canada (A. a. andersoni) and Eurasia (A. a. alces). Northern moose distribution is thought to be limited by forage availability above the snow in late winter, so the observed increase in shrub habitat could be causing the northward moose establishment, but a previous hypothesis suggested that hunting cessation triggered moose establishment. Here, we use recent changes in shrub cover and empirical relationships between shrub height and growing season temperature to estimate available moose habitat in Arctic Alaska c. 1860. We estimate that riparian shrubs were approximately 1.1 m tall c. 1860, greatly reducing the available forage above the snowpack, compared to 2 m tall in 2009. We believe that increases in riparian shrub habitat after 1860 allowed moose to colonize tundra regions of Alaska hundreds of kilometers north and west of previous distribution limits. The northern shift in the distribution of moose, like that of snowshoe hares, has been in response to the spread of their shrub habitat in the Arctic, but at the same time, herbivores have likely had pronounced impacts on the structure and function of these shrub communities. These northward range shifts are a bellwether for other boreal species and their associated predators. PMID:27074023

  12. Habitat selection by tundra swans on Northern Alaska breeding grounds

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Earnst, Susan L.; Rothe, T.

    2004-01-01

    Habitat selection by the Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus columbianus) was evaluated on the Colville River Delta prior to oil field development (1982-1989). Tundra Swan territories comprised a lake, used for refuge and foraging, and terrestrial habitats and ponds near the lakea??s perimeter used for foraging and nesting. Tundra swan sightings from early and late summer aerial surveys were used to investigate habitat selection at the territory and within-territory scale. At the territory or lake scale, swan sightings/lake increased with lake size, and increased from discrete to tapped (i.e., connected to a river channel) to drained lakes within size categories. Overall, 49% of the variation in swan sightings/lake was explained by lake size and type, a size-x-type interaction term, and the proportion of lake perimeter comprised of Halophytic Ponds and Halophytic Wet Meadows. At the within-territory or within-lake scale, foraging swans significantly selected Halophytic Ponds, Halophytic Wet Meadows, and Fresh Ponds relative to Uplands; nesting swans significantly selected Halophytic Ponds and significantly avoided Fresh Wet Meadows relative to Uplands. Vegetation sampling indicated that sites used by Tundra Swans on river channels and tapped lakes were significantly more likely to have Sheathed Pondweed (Potamogeton vaginatus) than control sites. The three major components of Tundra Swan diet were Carex sedges, Sheathed Pondweed, and algae, together comprising 85% of identifiable plant fragments in feces.

  13. Late Pleistocene paleoecology of arctic ground squirrel ( Urocitellus parryii) caches and nests from Interior Alaska's mammoth steppe ecosystem, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gaglioti, Benjamin V.; Barnes, Brian M.; Zazula, Grant D.; Beaudoin, Alwynne B.; Wooller, Matthew J.

    2011-11-01

    Botanical analyses of fossil and modern arctic ground squirrel ( Urocitellus parryii) caches and nests have been used to reconstruct the past vegetation from some parts of Beringia, but such archives are understudied in Alaska. Five modern and four fossil samples from arctic ground squirrel caches and nests provide information on late Pleistocene vegetation in Eastern Beringia. Modern arctic ground squirrel caches from Alaska's arctic tundra were dominated by willow and grass leaves and grass seeds and bearberries, which were widespread in the local vegetation as confirmed by vegetation surveys. Late Pleistocene caches from Interior Alaska were primarily composed of steppe and dry tundra graminoid and herb seeds. Graminoid cuticle analysis of fossil leaves identified Calamagrostis canadensis, Koeleria sp. and Carex albonigra as being common in the fossil samples. Stable carbon isotopes analysis of these graminoid specimens indicated that plants using the C 3 photosynthetic pathways were present and functioning with medium to high water-use efficiency. Fossil plant taxa and environments from ground squirrel caches in Alaska are similar to other macrofossil assemblages from the Yukon Territory, which supports the existence of a widespread mammoth steppe ecosystem type in Eastern Beringia that persisted throughout much of the late Pleistocene.

  14. Metagenomics Reveals Pervasive Bacterial Populations and Reduced Community Diversity across the Alaska Tundra Ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Johnston, Eric R; Rodriguez-R, Luis M; Luo, Chengwei; Yuan, Mengting M; Wu, Liyou; He, Zhili; Schuur, Edward A G; Luo, Yiqi; Tiedje, James M; Zhou, Jizhong; Konstantinidis, Konstantinos T

    2016-01-01

    Alaska tundra microbial communities are less diverse and more homogenous across spatial scales than previously anticipated, and provided DNA sequences of abundant populations and genes that would be relevant for future studies of the effects of environmental change on tundra ecosystems.

  15. Changes on permafrost and active layer characteristics after the tundra fire in summer 2002 in Seward Peninsula, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sawada, Y.; Harada, K.; Fukuda, M.; Narita, K.

    2006-12-01

    Thermal, water and electrical conditions of permafrost after the tundra fire occurred in summer 2002 were studied in Seward Peninsula, southwest Alaska, in order to evaluate the effect of tundra fire on the arctic permafrost terrains. Field observations were made in summer 2005 and 2006. Four sites were established where the slope direction and surface disturbance condition are different; south- or north-facing, and burned or unburned. At each site ground temperature, water content, thermal conductivity and EC were measured by pit survey, and the seasonal thawed depth measurements were also conducted by using the steel rod from the ground surface. Transient electromagnetic soundings for deeper part and 1D and 2D DC resistivity soundings for shallow part were carried out in the four sites. We compared these field data among the four sites, highlighting in significant differences between burned and unburned sites. Burned sites have deeper thawing depths, and it may correspond with the thin organic soil in the burned sites. Due to the removal of litter and organic soil by the fire, thermal and hydrological regimes of active layer have drastically changed in the burned sites.

  16. Below-ground carbon transfer among Betula nana may increase with warming in Arctic tundra.

    PubMed

    Deslippe, Julie R; Simard, Suzanne W

    2011-11-01

    • Shrubs are expanding in Arctic tundra, but the role of mycorrhizal fungi in this process is unknown. We tested the hypothesis that mycorrhizal networks are involved in interplant carbon (C) transfer within a tundra plant community. • Here, we installed below-ground treatments to control for C transfer pathways and conducted a (13)CO(2)-pulse-chase labelling experiment to examine C transfer among and within plant species. • We showed that mycorrhizal networks exist in tundra, and facilitate below-ground transfer of C among Betula nana individuals, but not between or within the other tundra species examined. Total C transfer among conspecific B. nana pairs was 10.7 ± 2.4% of photosynthesis, with the majority of C transferred through rhizomes or root grafts (5.2 ± 5.3%) and mycorrhizal network pathways (4.1 ± 3.3%) and very little through soil pathways (1.4 ± 0.35%). • Below-ground C transfer was of sufficient magnitude to potentially alter plant interactions in Arctic tundra, increasing the competitive ability and mono-dominance of B. nana. C transfer was significantly positively related to ambient temperatures, suggesting that it may act as a positive feedback to ecosystem change as climate warms.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. Identification of tundra land cover near Teshekpuk Lake, Alaska using SPOT satellite data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Markon, Carl J.; Derksen, Dirk V.

    1994-01-01

    Tundra vegetation in the Teshekpuk Lake area of the Alaskan Arctic Coastal Plain was mapped to assess distribution andabundance of waterfowl habitats. Three SPOT satellite scenes were acquired and registered to a 20 m Universal Transverse Mercatorgrid. Two clustering techniques were used to develop statistical parameters by which the SPOT data were spectrally classified.Amaximum likelihood algorithm that correlated spectral classes with land cover types was applied to the SPOT data. Field data were usedto assist in spectral class labeling and vegetation descriptions. Twelve cover classes were mapped. The most common type was moistsedge meadow tundra (13.5%); the least common was moss/peat shoreline (0.2%). The moss/peat shoreline type, important to moultinggeese and other waterfowl, was spectrally identified using supervised clustering techniques. All other land cover types were identifiedusing unsupervised clustering techniques. Cover classes were described, and a tundra landscape profile produced.

  20. Quantifying the physiology of structurally complex arctic vegetation and implications for carbon cycling in a shrubbier tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Formica, A. F.; Griffin, K. L.; Boelman, N.

    2013-12-01

    The arctic is undergoing a warming trend that is more extreme compared to lower latitudes. As one major consequence, repeat aerial photographs reveal that in recent decades woody deciduous shrubs have increased in dominance in valley bottoms and riparian areas of northern Alaska. Advancing shrub canopies are growing taller and more structurally complex, presumably increasing self-shading and reducing light availability with canopy depth. According to canopy optimization theory, plants will preferentially allocate nutrient resources to sun-exposed canopy leaves to enhance photosynthetic efficiency in order to take advantage of greater light availability. While canopy optimization has been studied in other, mainly forested ecosystems, this theory has yet to be tested in the arctic tundra. We made a series of measurements on canopy leaves located in high to low light environments, from three common woody deciduous shrubs on the North Slope of Alaska: dwarf birch (Betula nana), tealeaf willow (Salix pulchra), and feltleaf willow (Salix alaxensis). For each selected leaf, we measured the canopy leaf area index at its canopy position in order to quantify the amount of light intercepted by the leaf surface, and in situ chlorophyll fluorescence to evaluate its photosynthetic efficiency through calculation of leaf maximum electron transport rate. The same leaves were then removed and measured for leaf area, dry mass, and carbon to nitrogen ratio. Our data show trends that are consistent with the development of canopy optimization. Leaf nitrogen decreases significantly from the upper to lower terciles of leaf area index values (56% in Salix alaxensis, 41% in Salix pulchra, 46% in Betula nana). Similarly, there were significant reductions in the leaf maximum electron transport rate for two species (44% in Salix alaxensis, 40% Betula nana). These findings suggest that structurally complex arctic shrubs may be redistributing leaf nitrogen to more exposed parts of the canopy

  1. Geologic map of the Arctic Quadrangle, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brosge, W.P.; Reiser, H.N.; Dutro, J.T.; Detterman, R.L.; Tailleur, I.L.

    2001-01-01

    Introduction The Arctic quadrangle is well located to shed light on the basic geologic relations of northern Alaska. The rocks represent all of the stratigraphic systems from Cambrian to Cretaceous and all but one of the tectono-stratigraphic subterranes of the Brooks Range, from the autochthonous subterrane in the north to the allochthonous subterranes farther south. Among the distinctive geologic features displayed in the Arctic quadrangle are voluminous volcanic rocks of probable Devonian age, a wide array of Carboniferous carbonate facies in the Lisburne Group (which here extends up into the Middle Pennsylvanian), the southward transition of Upper Devonian (Famennian) clastic facies from fluvial conglomerate to marine sandstone, a full display of Upper Devonian (Frasnian) reef-related strata, and fossiliferous Ordovician rocks in both carbonate and chert terranes. Most of the quadrangle is in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and Arctic Wildlife Refuge Wilderness. The quadrangle also includes Arctic Village, the only village in the region and a potential destination or transfer point for visitors to the wildlife refuge.

  2. DOES NITROGEN PARTITIONING PROMOTE SPECIES DIVERSITY IN ARCTIC TUSSOCK TUNDRA?

    EPA Science Inventory

    We used 15N soil-labeling techniques to examine how the dominant species in a N-limited, tussock tundra plant community partitioned soil N, and how such partitioning may contribute to community organization. The five most productive species were well differentiated with respect ...

  3. Methane emissions from tundra environments in the Yukon-Kuskokwin Delta, Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Bartlett, K.B.; Crill, P.M.; Sass, R.L.; Harriss, R.C.; Dise, N.B. New Hampshire Univ., Durham Rice Univ., Houston, TX Minnesota Univ., Minneapolis )

    1992-10-01

    This paper reports CH[sub 4] flux to the atmosphere from a variety of tundra environments near Bethel, Alaska during the summer months of 1988. Emissions from wet meadow tundra averaged 144 +/- 31 mg/sq m/d and ranged from 15.6 to 426 mg/sq m/d varying with soil moisture and temperature. Flux from the drier upland tundra was about two orders of magnitude lower and averaged 2.3 +/- 1.1 mg/sq m/d. Tundra lakes emit CH4 from the open water surface as well as from fringing aquatic vegetation; the presence of vegetation significantly enhanced flux over open water rates. Calculated diffusive fluxes from open water varied with lake size, the large lakes emitting 3.8 mg/sq m/d and small lakes emitting an average of 77 mg/sq m/d. An updated estimate of global emissions from tundra indicates an annual fluxes of approximately 11 +/- 3 Tg CH[sub 4]. 41 refs.

  4. Methane emissions from tundra environments in the Yukon-Kuskokwin Delta, Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bartlett, Karen B.; Crill, Patrick M.; Sass, Ronald L.; Harriss, Robert C.; Dise, Nancy B.

    1992-01-01

    This paper reports CH4 flux to the atmosphere from a variety of tundra environments near Bethel, Alaska during the summer months of 1988. Emissions from wet meadow tundra averaged 144 +/- 31 mg/sq m/d and ranged from 15.6 to 426 mg/sq m/d varying with soil moisture and temperature. Flux from the drier upland tundra was about two orders of magnitude lower and averaged 2.3 +/- 1.1 mg/sq m/d. Tundra lakes emit CH4 from the open water surface as well as from fringing aquatic vegetation; the presence of vegetation significantly enhanced flux over open water rates. Calculated diffusive fluxes from open water varied with lake size, the large lakes emitting 3.8 mg/sq m/d and small lakes emitting an average of 77 mg/sq m/d. An updated estimate of global emissions from tundra indicates an annual fluxes of approximately 11 +/- 3 Tg CH4.

  5. 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.

  6. NGEE Arctic Webcam Photographs, Barrow Environmental Observatory, Barrow, Alaska

    DOE Data Explorer

    Bob Busey; Larry Hinzman

    2012-04-01

    The NGEE Arctic Webcam (PTZ Camera) captures two views of seasonal transitions from its generally south-facing position on a tower located at the Barrow Environmental Observatory near Barrow, Alaska. Images are captured every 30 minutes. Historical images are available for download. The camera is operated by the U.S. DOE sponsored Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments - Arctic (NGEE Arctic) project.

  7. Disturbance and Recovery of Arctic Alaskan Tundra Terrain. A Review of Recent Investigations.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1987-07-01

    Engineers 1982) and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ( ANWR ) (U.S. * Prepared by J. Brown. Department of Interior 1983). 00 Icr. 0 0 II A wide range of...perching birds [Walker et al. 19801) were flat- ( ANWR ), which was opened to winter seismic sur- tened. Erect dead sedges were also flattened and veys in...scraping occurred. In ter operations in ANWR show that dry tundra these areas the surface albedo was higher because (Fig. 22) was the most noticeably

  8. 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.

  9. Seasonal thaw settlement at drained thermokarst lake basins, Arctic Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Liu, Lin; Schaefer, Kevin; Gusmeroli, Alessio; Grosse, Guido; Jones, Benjamin M.; Zhang, Tinjun; Parsekian, Andrew; Zebker, Howard

    2014-01-01

    Drained thermokarst lake basins (DTLBs) are ubiquitous landforms on Arctic tundra lowland. Their dynamic states are seldom investigated, despite their importance for landscape stability, hydrology, nutrient fluxes, and carbon cycling. Here we report results based on high-resolution Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) measurements using space-borne data for a study area located on the North Slope of Alaska near Prudhoe Bay, where we focus on the seasonal thaw settlement within DTLBs, averaged between 2006 and 2010. The majority (14) of the 18 DTLBs in the study area exhibited seasonal thaw settlement of 3–4 cm. However, four of the DTLBs examined exceeded 4 cm of thaw settlement, with one basin experiencing up to 12 cm. Combining the InSAR observations with the in situ active layer thickness measured using ground penetrating radar and mechanical probing, we calculated thaw strain, an index of thaw settlement strength along a transect across the basin that underwent large thaw settlement. We found thaw strains of 10–35% at the basin center, suggesting the seasonal melting of ground ice as a possible mechanism for the large settlement. These findings emphasize the dynamic nature of permafrost landforms, demonstrate the capability of the InSAR technique to remotely monitor surface deformation of individual DTLBs, and illustrate the combination of ground-based and remote sensing observations to estimate thaw strain. Our study highlights the need for better description of the spatial heterogeneity of landscape-scale processes for regional assessment of surface dynamics on Arctic coastal lowlands.

  10. Five Years of Land Surface Phenology in a Large Scale Hydrological Manipulation Experiment in an Arctic Tundra Landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goswami, S.; Gamon, J. A.; Tweedie, C. E.

    2010-12-01

    Climate change appears to be most pronounced at high northern latitudes. Many of the observed and modeled climate change responses in arctic tundra ecosystems have profound effects on surface energy budgets, land-atmosphere carbon exchange, plant phenology, and geomorphic processes. Detecting biotic responses to a changing environment is essential for understanding the consequences of global change. Plants can work as very effective indicators of changing conditions and, depending on the nature of the change, respond by increasing or decreasing amounts of green-leaf biomass, chlorophyll, and water content. Shifts in the composition and abundance of plant species have important effects on ecosystem processes such as net primary production and nutrient cycling. Vegetation is expected to be responsive to arctic warming, although there is some uncertainty as to how the interplay between geomorphic, hydrologic, climatic and other biotic will manifest over a range of spatial scales. The NSF-supported Biocomplexity project in Barrow, Alaska, involves experimental manipulation of water table (drained, flooded, and control treatments) in a vegetated arctic 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 and soil volumetric water content was also collected along these transects. The years 2005-2007 were control or unmanipulated experimental years and 2008 and 2009 were experimental years where water table was raised (+10cm) and lowered (-10cm) in flooding and draining experiments respectively. This presentation will document the change in phenology (NDVI) between years, treatments, and land cover types. Findings from this research have implications

  11. Tundra ponds of the Yukon Delta, Alaska, and their macroinvertebrate communities.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Maciolek, J.A.

    1989-01-01

    The Yukon Delta, a low alluvial tundra in western Alaska, has more than 105 thaw-basin ponds within its 70000 km2 area. In 1984 and 1985, 68 ponds in three interior areas of the Delta were surveyed to determine limnological features, macroinvertebrate fauna, and trophic character. Ponds ranged up to 90 ha in area, 2 m in depth, and 17 m in elevation, and occurred in various temporal stages of growth and senescence. Among the 18 major invertebrate taxa collected, in order of decreasing frequency of occurrence, Trichoptera, Hemiptera, Diptera, Pelecypoda, Isopoda, Coleoptera, Gastropoda, and Oligochaeta were found in over 50% of the ponds. Trichoptera, the only taxon occurring in all ponds, was represented by 22 species of 6 families. The average Delta pond had 6.6 of the nine more common taxa. This measure of faunal richness was similar among study areas but was higher in low-tundra (sea level) ponds and in older ponds on raised tundra. In comparison, lentic invertebrate communities in five other areas of Alaskan and Canadian tundra had fewer taxa and also lower average richness based on occurrence of the same nine taxa.

  12. A Comparison of Satellite and Aircraft-Mounted Thermal Observations of Freeze/Thaw Cycling of the Alaska Tundra and Boreal Forests during the Carbon in the Arctic Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steiner, N.; McDonald, K. C.; Miller, C. E.; Dinardo, S. J.

    2014-12-01

    Freeze/thaw (F/T) related surface processes in the Arctic are important as they bracket negative and positive modes in the flux of CO2 and CH4 between the surface and atmosphere. The Carbon in the Arctic Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE) monitors carbon gas cycling in Alaskan using aircraft-deployed gas sampling instruments along with remote sensing observations of the land surface condition. A nadir-pointed, forward looking infrared (FLIR) imager mounted on the CARVE aircraft is used to measure upwelling mid-infrared spectral radiance at 3-5 microns. The FLIR instrument was operated during the spring, summer and fall seasons of 2013 and 2014 during clear sky conditions and targeting ecosystem components affecting the carbon cycle. The instantaneous field of view (IFOV) of the FLIR instrument allows for a resolution of ~36 cm from a height of 500 m. This high resolution data allow for the discrimination of individual landscape components such as soil, vegetation and surface water features in the image footprint. We assess the effectiveness of the FLIR thermal images in monitoring thawing and inundation processes of individual ecosystem components of importance in biogeochemical cycling. We also observe how these individual components scale using coarse resolution satellite observations of land surface temperature (LST) from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Freeze/thaw state determined from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR2) on JAXA's Shizuku (GCOM-W1) satellite. Portions of the work were carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautic and Space Administration.

  13. 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

  14. Metagenomics Reveals Pervasive Bacterial Populations and Reduced Community Diversity across the Alaska Tundra Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Johnston, Eric R.; Rodriguez-R, Luis M.; Luo, Chengwei; Yuan, Mengting M.; Wu, Liyou; He, Zhili; Schuur, Edward A. G.; Luo, Yiqi; Tiedje, James M.; Zhou, Jizhong; Konstantinidis, Konstantinos T.

    2016-01-01

    that Alaska tundra microbial communities are less diverse and more homogenous across spatial scales than previously anticipated, and provided DNA sequences of abundant populations and genes that would be relevant for future studies of the effects of environmental change on tundra ecosystems. PMID:27199914

  15. Potential Arctic tundra vegetation shifts in response to changing temperature, precipitation and permafrost thaw

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van der Kolk, Henk-Jan; Heijmans, Monique M. P. D.; van Huissteden, Jacobus; Pullens, Jeroen W. M.; Berendse, Frank

    2016-11-01

    Over the past decades, vegetation and climate have changed significantly in the Arctic. Deciduous shrub cover is often assumed to expand in tundra landscapes, but more frequent abrupt permafrost thaw resulting in formation of thaw ponds could lead to vegetation shifts towards graminoid-dominated wetland. Which factors drive vegetation changes in the tundra ecosystem are still not sufficiently clear. In this study, the dynamic tundra vegetation model, NUCOM-tundra (NUtrient and COMpetition), was used to evaluate the consequences of climate change scenarios of warming and increasing precipitation for future tundra vegetation change. The model includes three plant functional types (moss, graminoids and shrubs), carbon and nitrogen cycling, water and permafrost dynamics and a simple thaw pond module. Climate scenario simulations were performed for 16 combinations of temperature and precipitation increases in five vegetation types representing a gradient from dry shrub-dominated to moist mixed and wet graminoid-dominated sites. Vegetation composition dynamics in currently mixed vegetation sites were dependent on both temperature and precipitation changes, with warming favouring shrub dominance and increased precipitation favouring graminoid abundance. Climate change simulations based on greenhouse gas emission scenarios in which temperature and precipitation increases were combined showed increases in biomass of both graminoids and shrubs, with graminoids increasing in abundance. The simulations suggest that shrub growth can be limited by very wet soil conditions and low nutrient supply, whereas graminoids have the advantage of being able to grow in a wide range of soil moisture conditions and have access to nutrients in deeper soil layers. Abrupt permafrost thaw initiating thaw pond formation led to complete domination of graminoids. However, due to increased drainage, shrubs could profit from such changes in adjacent areas. Both climate and thaw pond formation

  16. The 1977 tundra fire in the Kokolik River area of Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1981-01-01

    Presumably caused by lightning, a large fire occurred due east of Point Lay several kilometers southwest of the Kokolik River, the farthest north a fire was ever fought by Bureau of Land Management personnel in Alaska. The progress and area extent of the fire were determined by analysis of LANDSAT MSS band 5 and 7 imagery. Low altitude observations from helicopter showed the fire burned a range of vegetation and relief types which included low polygonized and upland tussock tundras. The burned area appeared wetter on the surface than the unburned area, due to a lack of moisture absorbing organic matter and the possible release of moisture from the deeper thawed zone. Suggestions for future investigations of the effects of fire on tundra and permafrost terrains are discussed.

  17. Potential enzyme activities altered by increased nutrient availability in Arctic tundra soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koyama, A.; Wallenstein, M. D.; Moore, J. C.; Simpson, R. T.

    2012-12-01

    The Arctic tundra is a biome affected most by global warming predicted in the future. Such warming is expected to increase nutrient availability to soil microbes which, in turn, may accelerate soil organic matter decomposition. We investigated how extra-cellular enzyme activities in soils were affected by increasing nutrient availability in an Arctic tundra ecosystem. Specifically, we measured potential activities of seven enzymes at three profiles (organic, organic/mineral interface, and mineral) of soils which had been fertilized in long- (23 years) and short-terms (six years), assayed at four temperatures. The long-term site had a high fertilization treatment (10g N m-2 year-1 and 5g P m-2 year-1) and control, and the short-term site had a low fertilization treatment (5g N m-2 year-1 and 2.5g P m-2 year-1) in addition to the high fertilization treatment and control. The fertilization treatments significantly altered most of the enzyme activities in both sites. The fertilization treatments increased activities of enzymes hydrolyzing products for C and nitrogen N sources, but decreased phosphatase activities. Such alterations were most pronounced in the organic soils. The fertilization treatments also increased ratios of total enzyme activities involved in hydrolysis for C products to those for N products. This result is consistent with an observation that long-term N and P fertilization decreased soil organic C in the same tundra ecosystem. Altered enzymatic stoichiometry with increased nutrient availability should be considered when modeling biogeochemical cycles in Arctic tundra ecosystems in response to warming predicted in the future.

  18. Examining vertical patterns in Arctic tundra shrub canopies: Implications for carbon cycling in a changing environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heskel, M.; Atkin, O.; Turnbull, M.; Rastetter, E.; Griffin, K. L.

    2012-12-01

    Climate change is facilitating the northward encroachment and expansion of woody shrub species into the Arctic tundra, which in turn is altering a number of physical and biogeochemical processes that are likely to affect how carbon is cycled in this region. Greater shrub presence also increases leaf area index and canopy complexity in the tundra, introducing the potential for vertical variation in nitrogen, photosynthesis, and respiration through the canopy. For these reasons, Arctic tundra shrub communities represent an ecologically relevant case study for investigating carbon cycling-nitrogen relationships and testing optimization models. Here, we measured photosynthesis, respiration in the dark and light, the light inhibition of respiration, stomatal conductance, leaf nitrogen, and related leaf traits at different heights representing variation in light availability in multiple Arctic Alaskan shrub communities dominated by Salix pulchra and Betula nana to examine if the relatively low-stature canopies exhibit vertical patterns. Highest rates of photosynthesis and respiration (P < 0.0001) were observed at the top of the canopy, suggesting substrate-limitation of respiration at lower, more shaded canopy levels. Leaves at the top of the canopy also exhibited the lowest inhibition of respiration by light (NS), and the highest nitrogen concentrations. (P < 0.05) implying a relationship between photosynthesis, nitrogen, and a relaxation of light-inhibition to optimize metabolic efficiency. Data from this study was also used to test leaf-level and canopy nitrogen optimization models. These data emphasize the need to include canopy complexity in tundra carbon models, as neglecting physiological differences through a canopy may lead to an underestimation of stored carbon.

  19. Post-fire Thermokarst Development Along a Planned Road Corridor in Arctic Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jones, B. M.; Grosse, G.; Larsen, C. F.; Hayes, D. J.; Arp, C. D.; Liu, L.; Miller, E.

    2015-12-01

    Wildfire disturbance in northern high latitude regions is an important factor contributing to ecosystem and landscape change. In permafrost influenced terrain, fire may initiate thermokarst development which impacts hydrology, vegetation, wildlife, carbon storage and infrastructure. In this study we differenced two airborne LiDAR datasets that were acquired in the aftermath of the large and severe Anaktuvuk River tundra fire, which in 2007 burned across a proposed road corridor in Arctic Alaska. The 2009 LiDAR dataset was acquired by the Alaska Department of Transportation in preparation for construction of a gravel road that would connect the Dalton Highway with the logistical camp of Umiat. The 2014 LiDAR dataset was acquired by the USGS to quantify potential post-fire thermokarst development over the first seven years following the tundra fire event. By differencing the two 1 m resolution digital terrain models, we measured permafrost thaw subsidence across 34% of the burned tundra area studied, and observed less than 1% in similar, undisturbed tundra terrain units. Ice-rich, yedoma upland terrain was most susceptible to thermokarst development following the disturbance, accounting for 50% of the areal and volumetric change detected, with some locations subsiding more than six meters over the study period. Calculation of rugosity, or surface roughness, in the two datasets showed a doubling in microtopography on average across the burned portion of the study area, with a 340% increase in yedoma upland terrain. An additional LiDAR dataset was acquired in April 2015 to document the role of thermokarst development on enhanced snow accumulation and subsequent snowmelt runoff within the burn area. Our findings will enable future vulnerability assessments of ice-rich permafrost terrain as a result of shifting disturbance regimes. Such assessments are needed to address questions focused on the impact of permafrost degradation on physical, ecological, and socio

  20. Range expansion of moose in arctic Alaska linked to warming and increased shrub habitat

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tape, Ken D.; Gustine, David D.; Reuss, Roger W.; Adams, Layne G.; Clark, Jason A.

    2016-01-01

    Twentieth century warming has increased vegetation productivity and shrub cover across northern tundra and treeline regions, but effects on terrestrial wildlife have not been demonstrated on a comparable scale. During this period, Alaskan moose (Alces alces gigas) extended their range from the boreal forest into tundra riparian shrub habitat; similar extensions have been observed in Canada (A. a. andersoni) and Eurasia (A. a. alces). Northern moose distribution is thought to be limited by forage availability above the snow in late winter, so the observed increase in shrub habitat could be causing the northward moose establishment, but a previous hypothesis suggested that hunting cessation triggered moose establishment. Here, we use recent changes in shrub cover and empirical relationships between shrub height and growing season temperature to estimate available moose habitat in Arctic Alaska c. 1860. We estimate that riparian shrubs were approximately 1.1 m tall c. 1860, greatly reducing the available forage above the snowpack, compared to 2 m tall in 2009. We believe that increases in riparian shrub habitat after 1860 allowed moose to colonize tundra regions of Alaska hundreds of kilometers north and west of previous distribution limits. The northern shift in the distribution of moose, like that of snowshoe hares, has been in response to the spread of their shrub habitat in the Arctic, but at the same time, herbivores have likely had pronounced impacts on the structure and function of these shrub communities. These northward range shifts are a bellwether for other boreal species and their associated predators.

  1. 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

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

    PubMed

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Differential ecophysiological response of deciduous shrubs and a graminoid to long-term experimental snow reductions and additions in moist acidic tundra, Northern Alaska.

    PubMed

    Pattison, Robert R; Welker, Jeffrey M

    2014-02-01

    Changes in winter precipitation that include both decreases and increases in winter snow are underway across the Arctic. In this study, we used a 14-year experiment that has increased and decreased winter snow in the moist acidic tussock tundra of northern Alaska to understand impacts of variation in winter snow depth on summer leaf-level ecophysiology of two deciduous shrubs and a graminoid species, including: instantaneous rates of leaf gas exchange, and δ(13)C, δ(15)N, and nitrogen (N) concentrations of Betula nana, Salix pulchra, and Eriophorum vaginatum. Leaf-level measurements were complemented by measurements of canopy leaf area index (LAI) and depth of thaw. Reductions in snow lowered summer leaf photosynthesis, conductance, and transpiration rates by up to 40% compared to ambient and deep snow conditions for Eriophorum vaginatum, and reduced Salix pulchra conductance and transpiration by up to 49%. In contrast, Betula nana exhibited no changes in leaf gas exchange in response to lower or deeper snow. Canopy LAI increased with added snow, while reduced winter snow resulted in lower growing season soil temperatures and reduced thaw depths. Our findings indicate that the spatial and temporal variability of future snow depth will have individualistic consequences for leaf-level C fixation and water flux by tundra species, and that these responses will be manifested over the longer term by changes in canopy traits, depth of thaw, soil C and N processes, and trace gas (CO2 and H2O) exchanges between the tundra and the atmosphere.

  6. Organic Carbon Transformation and Mercury Methylation in Tundra Soils from Barrow Alaska

    DOE Data Explorer

    Liang, L.; Wullschleger, Stan; Graham, David; Gu, B.; Yang, Ziming

    2016-04-20

    This dataset includes information on soil labile organic carbon transformation and mercury methylation for tundra soils from Barrow, Alaska. The soil cores were collected from high-centered polygon (trough) at BEO and were incubated under anaerobic laboratory conditions at both freezing and warming temperatures for up to 8 months. Soil organic carbon including reducing sugars, alcohols, and organic acids were analyzed, and CH4 and CO2 emissions were quantified. Net production of methylmercury and Fe(II)/Fe(total) ratio were also measured and provided in this dataset.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Alaska Arctic marine fish ecology catalog

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Thorsteinson, Lyman K.; Love, Milton S.

    2016-08-08

    The marine fishes in waters of the United States north of the Bering Strait have received new and increased scientific attention over the past decade (2005–15) in conjunction with frontier qualities of the region and societal concerns about the effects of Arctic climate change. Commercial fisheries are negligible in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, but many marine species have important traditional and cultural values to Alaska Native residents. Although baseline conditions are rapidly changing, effective decisions about research and monitoring investments must be based on reliable information and plausible future scenarios. For the first time, this synthesis presents a comprehensive evaluation of the marine fish fauna from both seas in a single reference. Although many unknowns and uncertainties remain in the scientific understanding, information presented here is foundational with respect to understanding marine ecosystems and addressing dual missions of the U.S. Department of the Interior for energy development and resource conservation. 

  10. 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

  11. Bird Communities of the Arctic Shrub Tundra of Yamal: Habitat Specialists and Generalists

    PubMed Central

    Sokolov, Vasiliy; Ehrich, Dorothée; Yoccoz, Nigel G.; Sokolov, Alexander; Lecomte, Nicolas

    2012-01-01

    Background The ratio of habitat generalists to specialists in birds has been suggested as a good indicator of ecosystem changes due to e.g. climate change and other anthropogenic perturbations. Most studies focusing on this functional component of biodiversity originate, however, from temperate regions. The Eurasian Arctic tundra is currently experiencing an unprecedented combination of climate change, change in grazing pressure by domestic reindeer and growing human activity. Methodology/Principal Findings Here we monitored bird communities in a tundra landscape harbouring shrub and open habitats in order to analyse bird habitat relationships and quantify habitat specialization. We used ordination methods to analyse habitat associations and estimated the proportions of specialists in each of the main habitats. Correspondence Analysis identified three main bird communities, inhabiting upland, lowland and dense willow shrubs. We documented a stable structure of communities despite large multiannual variations of bird density (from 90 to 175 pairs/km2). Willow shrub thickets were a hotspot for bird density, but not for species richness. The thickets hosted many specialized species whose main distribution area was south of the tundra. Conclusion/Significance If current arctic changes result in a shrubification of the landscape as many studies suggested, we would expect an increase in the overall bird abundance together with an increase of local specialists, since they are associated with willow thickets. The majority of these species have a southern origin and their increase in abundance would represent a strengthening of the boreal component in the southern tundra, perhaps at the expense of species typical of the subarctic zone, which appear to be generalists within this zone. PMID:23239978

  12. Determining solid precipitation on Alaska's Arctic Slope

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berezovskaya, S.; Liston, G.; Kane, D. L.

    2006-12-01

    Alaska's Arctic Slope (AAS) is snow-covered approximately nine months each year. Accurate representations of this snow cover and the associated snow-related processes can be crucial to AAS hydrological, meteorological, and biological applications. Although physically realistic spatially and temporally distributed modeling tools of snow evolution process have been developed for the cold and windy AAS, they require reliable atmospheric forcing data to produce reasonable results. In particular, accurate winter precipitation inputs are required, but have proven difficult to obtain in remote arctic environments such as AAS. The spatial heterogeneity of precipitation fields, sparse precipitation observing networks, and lack of appropriate instrumentation to measure solid precipitation, produce critical challenges to representing snow spatial distributions and temporal evolution within AAS and throughout the Arctic in general. Using extensive ground-based snow distribution observations and meteorological station measurements from AAS, we evaluated three methods to define solid precipitation timing and magnitudes: i) adjusting precipitation- gauge data using standard wind and temperature corrections, ii) back-calculating precipitation requirements by assimilating snow-water-equivalent depth observations within a snow-evolution model, and iii) estimating precipitation from non-precipitation meteorological station observations (e.g., air temperature and relative humidity). Since no truly-accurate winter precipitation measurements are available for this region, snow- evolution modeling tools were used to evaluate the efficacy of each method. The SnowTran-3D blowing snow model, in conjunction with the SnowModel snow-evolution model, was used to define vertical and horizontal snow-related transport fluxes across the 2.2 square km Imnavait Creek sub-domain of AAS. When forced with the different precipitation representations, the resulting model simulation outputs were compared

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. On site bioremediation of hydrocarbon-contaminated Arctic tundra soils in inoculated biopiles.

    PubMed

    Mohn, W W; Radziminski, C Z; Fortin, M C; Reimer, K J

    2001-10-01

    There is a need to develop technology to allow the remediation of soil in polar regions that have been contaminated by hydrocarbon fuel spills. Bioremediation is potentially useful for this purpose, but has not been well demonstrated in polar regions. We investigated biopiles for on-site bioremediation of soil contaminated with Arctic diesel fuel in two independent small-scale field experiments at different sites on the Arctic tundra. The results were highly consistent with one another. In biopiles at both sites, extensive hydrocarbon removal occurred after one summer. After 1 year in treatments with optimal conditions, total petroleum hydrocarbons were reduced from 196 to below 10 mg per kg of soil at one site, and from 2,109 to 195 mg per kg of soil at the other site. Addition of ammonium chloride and sodium phosphate greatly stimulated hydrocarbon removal and indicates that biodegradation was the primary mechanism by which this was achieved. Inoculation with cold-adapted, mixed microbial cultures further stimulated hydrocarbon removal during the summer immediately following inoculation. At one site, soil temperature was monitored during the summer season, and a clear plastic cover increased biopile soil temperature, measured as degree-day accumulation, by 30-49%. Our results show that on-site bioremediation of fuel-contaminated soil at Arctic tundra sites is feasible.

  16. 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.

  17. Seasonal Variability of Major Ions and δ13CDIC in Permafrost Watersheds of Arctic Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lehn, G. O.; Jacobson, A. D.; Douglas, T. A.; McClelland, J. W.; Khosh, M. S.; Barker, A. J.

    2011-12-01

    Models and observations predict that climate change will have more severe effects at higher latitudes. Many effects may already be underway. Increasing temperatures are expected to thaw permafrost soils, changing the hydrology and biogeochemistry of Arctic watersheds. These changes are particularly important because permafrost thaw could destabilize a large carbon reservoir, potentially leading to sizable greenhouse gas emissions. Tracking soil thaw and concomitant changes in carbon export are therefore critical to predicting feedbacks between Arctic climate change and global warming. As the climate warms, the seasonally thawed active layer will extend into deeper, previously frozen, mineral-rich soils, increasing the signal of chemical weathering in streams. Historical methods of monitoring active layer thaw depth are labor intensive and may not capture the heterogeneity of Arctic soils, whereas stream geochemistry provides a unique opportunity to integrate signals across vast spatial distances. We present major ion geochemistry and δ13C of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) variations that relate to seasonal changes in permafrost thaw depths. Samples were collected from six watersheds on the North Slope of Alaska. All rivers drain continuous permafrost but three drain tussock tundra-dominated watersheds and three drain bare bedrock catchments with minor tundra influences. Water samples were collected from April until October in 2009 and 2010. The major ion and δ13CDIC trends of tundra streams suggest that silicate weathering dominates during the spring melt while carbonate weathering dominates as the active layer deepens in the summer. In tundra streams, early season δ13CDIC values indicate carbonic acid-silicate weathering. Summer δ13CDIC values indicate carbonic acid-carbonate weathering. In both cases, carbonic acid forms from CO2 produced by the microbial decomposition of C3 organic matter. Bedrock streams have nearly constant δ13CDIC values and high

  18. Effects of Landscape Position on Carbon Cycling in Siberian Arctic Tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Curasi, S. R.; Weber, L. R.; Loranty, M. M.

    2014-12-01

    High latitude carbon cycling is important because shifts in climatic conditions are thawing permafrost and altering carbon uptake in ways that will impact global climate. Within arctic ecosystems variation in slope and topography lead to flows of water beneath the soil surface that increase ecosystem moisture and nutrient availability. Consequently, such differences in landscape position often alter ecosystem structure, increase vegetation productivity, and more generally alter carbon cycling, relative to adjacent upland areas. Such differences will likely result in altered ecosystem responses to continued climate change. Understanding this variability in ecosystem function will be necessary in order to accurately understand the future of the arctic carbon cycle. The objective of this study is to characterize differences in biological and environmental conditions associated with landscape position in Siberian arctic tundra, and to understand how these differences impact ecosystem carbon cycling. To quantify the impact of landscape position on tundra ecosystem carbon cycling, we selected pairs of plots in upland and low lying landscape positions with high and low shrub density. We measured CO2 flux, permafrost thaw depth, soil moisture, soil temperature, and meteorological conditions. These variables were compared relative to shrub density and landscape position in order to determine differences in gross primary productivity and ecosystem respiration associated with vegetation type and landscape position. Low-lying wet areas were more productive than adjacent upland areas, irrespective of vegetation type. We also observed shallower permafrost thaw depth, lower soil temperature, greater soil moisture, and higher ecosystem respiration in the low lying plots. The observation of higher ecosystem respiration despite lower permafrost thaw depths and soil temperatures in the low-lying areas highlights the challenges associated with understanding the arctic carbon cycle

  19. Bacterial community structure and soil properties of a subarctic tundra soil in Council, Alaska.

    PubMed

    Kim, Hye Min; Jung, Ji Young; Yergeau, Etienne; Hwang, Chung Yeon; Hinzman, Larry; Nam, Sungjin; Hong, Soon Gyu; Kim, Ok-Sun; Chun, Jongsik; Lee, Yoo Kyung

    2014-08-01

    The subarctic region is highly responsive and vulnerable to climate change. Understanding the structure of subarctic soil microbial communities is essential for predicting the response of the subarctic soil environment to climate change. To determine the composition of the bacterial community and its relationship with soil properties, we investigated the bacterial community structure and properties of surface soil from the moist acidic tussock tundra in Council, Alaska. We collected 70 soil samples with 25-m intervals between sampling points from 0-10 cm to 10-20 cm depths. The bacterial community was analyzed by pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA genes, and the following soil properties were analyzed: soil moisture content (MC), pH, total carbon (TC), total nitrogen (TN), and inorganic nitrogen (NH4+ and NO3-). The community compositions of the two different depths showed that Alphaproteobacteria decreased with soil depth. Among the soil properties measured, soil pH was the most significant factor correlating with bacterial community in both upper and lower-layer soils. Bacterial community similarity based on jackknifed unweighted unifrac distance showed greater similarity across horizontal layers than through the vertical depth. This study showed that soil depth and pH were the most important soil properties determining bacterial community structure of the subarctic tundra soil in Council, Alaska.

  20. 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)).

  1. Mucilaginibacter soli sp. nov., isolated from Arctic tundra soil.

    PubMed

    Jiang, Fan; Dai, Jun; Wang, Yang; Xue, Xiuqing; Xu, Mengbo; Guo, Youhao; Li, Wenxin; Fang, Chengxiang; Peng, Fang

    2012-07-01

    A novel pale-pink-coloured strain, designated R9-65(T), was isolated from a tundra soil near Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard Archipelago, Norway (78° N). The cells were facultatively anaerobic, Gram-staining-negative, non-motile and rod-shaped. Growth occurred at 4-32 °C (optimum, 25-28 °C), at pH 5.0-9.0 (optimum, pH 6.0-7.0) and with 0-1.0% (w/v) NaCl (optimum, no NaCl). Flexirubin-type pigments were absent. Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequences indicated that strain R9-65(T) belonged to the genus Mucilaginibacter in the family Sphingobacteriaceae. The 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity between strain R9-65(T) and type strains of related species ranged from 93.4 to 96.6%. Strain R9-65(T) contained summed feature 3 (C(16:1)ω7c and/or C(16:1)ω6c, 34.3%) and iso-C(15:0) (20.3%) as major cellular fatty acids, MK-7 as the major respiratory quinone, and phosphatidylethanolamine as the main polar lipid. The DNA G+C content of strain R9-65(T) was 47.2 mol%. On the basis of phylogenetic, physiological and chemotaxonomic data, strain R9-65(T) is considered to represent a novel species of the genus Mucilaginibacter, for which the name Mucilaginibacter soli sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is R9-65(T) (=CCTCC AB 2010331(T)=NRRL B-59458(T)).

  2. Tundra fire alters stream water chemistry and benthic invertebrate communities, North Slope, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Allen, A. R.; Bowden, W. B.; Kling, G. W.; Schuett, E.; Kostrzewski, J. M.; Kolden Abatzoglou, C.; Findlay, R. H.

    2010-12-01

    Increased fire frequency and severity are potentially important consequences of climate change in high latitude ecosystems. The 2007 Anaktuvuk River fire, which burned from July until October, is the largest recorded tundra fire from Alaska's north slope (≈1,000 km2). The immediate effects of wildfire on water chemistry and biotic assemblages in tundra streams are heretofore unknown. We hypothesized that a tundra fire would increase inorganic nutrient inputs to P-limited tundra streams, increasing primary production and altering benthic macroinvertebrate community structure. We examined linkages among: 1) percentage of riparian zone and overall watershed vegetation burned, 2) physical, chemical and biological stream characteristics, and 3) macroinvertebrate communities in streams draining burned and unburned watersheds during the summers of 2008 and 2009. Streams in burned watersheds contained higher mean concentrations of soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP), ammonium (NH4+), and dissolved organic carbon (DOC). In contrast, stream nitrate (NO3-) concentrations were lower in burned watersheds. The net result was that the tundra fire did not affect concentrations of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (NH4+ + NO3-). In spite of increased SRP, benthic chlorophyll-a biomass was not elevated. Macroinvertebrate abundances were 1.5 times higher in streams draining burned watersheds; Chironomidae midges, Nematodes, and Nemoura stoneflies showed the greatest increases in abundance. Multivariate multiple regression identified environmental parameters associated with the observed changes in the macroinvertebrate communities. Since we identified stream latitude as a significant predictor variable, latitude was included in the model as a covariate. After removing the variation associated with latitude, 67.3 % of the variance in macroinvertebrate community structure was explained by a subset of 7 predictor variables; DOC, conductivity, mean temperature, NO3-, mean discharge, SRP and NH

  3. 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.

  4. Arctic shrubification mediates the impacts of warming climate on changes to tundra vegetation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mod, Heidi K.; Luoto, Miska

    2016-12-01

    Climate change has been observed to expand distributions of woody plants in many areas of arctic and alpine environments—a phenomenon called shrubification. New spatial arrangements of shrubs cause further changes in vegetation via changing dynamics of biotic interactions. However, the mediating influence of shrubification is rarely acknowledged in predictions of tundra vegetation change. Here, we examine possible warming-induced landscape-level vegetation changes in a high-latitude environment using species distribution modelling (SDM), specifically concentrating on the impacts of shrubification on ambient vegetation. First, we produced estimates of current shrub and tree cover and forecasts of their expansion under climate change scenarios to be incorporated to SDMs of 116 vascular plants. Second, the predictions of vegetation change based on the models including only abiotic predictors and the models including abiotic, shrub and tree predictors were compared in a representative test area. Based on our model predictions, abundance of woody plants will expand, thus decreasing predicted species richness, amplifying species turnover and increasing the local extinction risk for ambient vegetation. However, the spatial variation demonstrated in our predictions highlights that tundra vegetation can be expected to show a wide variety of different responses to the combined effects of warming and shrubification, depending on the original plant species pool and environmental conditions. We conclude that realistic forecasts of the future require acknowledging the role of shrubification in warming-induced tundra vegetation change.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Controls over nutrient flow through plants and microbes in arctic tundra

    SciTech Connect

    Schimel, J.P.

    1990-01-01

    Plant growth in arctic tundra is generally strongly limited by nutrient availability, particularly by nitrogen. The purpose of this sub-project of the R4D program was to examine plant N-uptake and the competition for N between plants and microbes in tundra. This competition can be an important control on N-flow and plant uptake but its significance in tundra has not been studied intensively. How the factors controlling the outcome of competition are altered by disturbance has also received very limited study, yet this is important facet of the R4D program. The primary goal for this project in 1990 was to initiate studies on N-partitioning and turnover in tussock tundra and how this is affected by dust deposition. Secondary goals were to examine the effect of differential dust deposition on microbial activity and nutrient cycling processes (mineralization and nitrification), and begin studies on the control of microbial N-uptake. The N-partitioning studies used {sup 15}N injected into Eriophorum tussocks to examine both the short-term (1 day) partitioning of N and the long-term (1 month and 1 year) redistribution of N through the plant-soil system. These experiments were done in both the early season (June) and peak season (July). To examine the effect of dust on N-partitioning tussocks in the heavy dust zone and in a control site were labeled with {sup 15}N and harvested at the end of the growing season. 4 refs., 1 tab.

  10. Soil responses to rapid warming events inside and outside of thermokarst features during the snow season in arctic Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gooseff, M. N.; Godsey, S.; Lewkowicz, A. G.; Lanan, K.

    2010-12-01

    Air temperatures in arctic Alaska are warming more so in the fall and winter than in the spring and summer. Analysis of air temperature records during the snow season (September to April) indicates that there are short (~day) and infrequent (a few occurrences per year) warm periods above freezing. The impact of these warm pulses is not well understood and may have important implications for seasonal soil energy storage and dynamics, particularly as fall and winter climates change. Here we analyze the ground temperature responses to several warming events from September 2009 to March 2010 inside and outside of thermokarst erosion features. Thermokarst erosion features result in bare mineral soil surfaces and, as depressions, they accumulate deeper snow than the surrounding tundra. We find that during the snow season, the soil temperature responses are more sensitive to the rapid atmospheric warming in the surrounding tundra than in the thermokarst feature.

  11. 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.

  12. Snowpack fluxes of methane and carbon dioxide from high Arctic tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pirk, Norbert; Tamstorf, Mikkel P.; Lund, Magnus; Mastepanov, Mikhail; Pedersen, Stine H.; Mylius, Maria R.; Parmentier, Frans-Jan W.; Christiansen, Hanne H.; Christensen, Torben R.

    2016-11-01

    Measurements of the land-atmosphere exchange of the greenhouse gases methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) in high Arctic tundra ecosystems are particularly difficult in the cold season, resulting in large uncertainty on flux magnitudes and their controlling factors during this long, frozen period. We conducted snowpack measurements of these gases at permafrost-underlain wetland sites in Zackenberg Valley (NE Greenland, 74°N) and Adventdalen Valley (Svalbard, 78°N), both of which also feature automatic closed chamber flux measurements during the snow-free period. At Zackenberg, cold season emissions were 1 to 2 orders of magnitude lower than growing season fluxes. Perennially, CH4 fluxes resembled the same spatial pattern, which was largely attributed to differences in soil wetness controlling substrate accumulation and microbial activity. We found no significant gas sinks or sources inside the snowpack but detected a pulse in the δ13C-CH4 stable isotopic signature of the soil's CH4 source during snowmelt, which suggests the release of a CH4 reservoir that was strongly affected by methanotrophic microorganisms. In the polygonal tundra of Adventdalen, the snowpack featured several ice layers, which suppressed the expected gas emissions to the atmosphere, and conversely lead to snowpack gas accumulations of up to 86 ppm CH4 and 3800 ppm CO2 by late winter. CH4 to CO2 ratios indicated distinctly different source characteristics in the rampart of ice-wedge polygons compared to elsewhere on the measured transect, possibly due to geomorphological soil cracks. Collectively, these findings suggest important ties between growing season and cold season greenhouse gas emissions from high Arctic tundra.

  13. Short-term herbivory has long-term consequences in warmed and ambient high Arctic tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Little, Chelsea J.; Cutting, Helen; Alatalo, Juha; Cooper, Elisabeth

    2017-02-01

    Climate change is occurring across the world, with effects varying by ecosystem and region but already occurring quickly in high-latitude and high-altitude regions. Biotic interactions are important in determining ecosystem response to such changes, but few studies have been long-term in nature, especially in the High Arctic. Mesic tundra plots on Svalbard, Norway, were subjected to grazing at two different intensities by captive Barnacle geese from 2003–2005, in a factorial design with warming by Open Top Chambers. Warming manipulations were continued through 2014, when we measured vegetation structure and composition as well as growth and reproduction of three dominant species in the mesic meadow. Significantly more dead vascular plant material was found in warmed compared to ambient plots, regardless of grazing history, but in contrast to many short-term experiments no difference in the amount of living material was found. This has strong implications for nutrient and carbon cycling and could feed back into community productivity. Dominant species showed increased flowering in warmed plots, especially in those plots where grazing had been applied. However, this added sexual reproduction did not translate to substantial shifts in vegetative cover. Forbs and rushes increased slightly in warmed plots regardless of grazing, while the dominant shrub, Salix polaris, generally declined with effects dependent on grazing, and the evergreen shrub Dryas octopetala declined with previous intensive grazing. There were no treatment effects on community diversity or evenness. Thus despite no changes in total live abundance, a typical short-term response to environmental conditions, we found pronounced changes in dead biomass indicating that tundra ecosystem processes respond to medium- to long-term changes in conditions caused by 12 seasons of summer warming. We suggest that while high arctic tundra plant communities are fairly resistant to current levels of climate warming

  14. 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.; 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.

  15. 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

  16. Inundation, sedimentation, and subsidence creates goose habitat along the Arctic coast of Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tape, Ken D.; Flint, Paul L.; Meixell, Brandt W.; Gaglioti, Benjamin V.

    2013-01-01

    The Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska is characterized by thermokarst lakes and drained lake basins, and the rate of coastal erosion has increased during the last half-century. Portions of the coast are <1 m above sea level for kilometers inland, and are underlain by ice-rich permafrost. Increased storm surges or terrestrial subsidence would therefore expand the area subject to marine inundation. Since 1976, the distribution of molting Black Brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) on the Arctic Coastal Plain has shifted from inland freshwater lakes to coastal marshes, such as those occupying the Smith River and Garry Creek estuaries. We hypothesized that the movement of geese from inland lakes was caused by an expansion of high quality goose forage in coastal areas. We examined the recent history of vegetation and geomorphological changes in coastal goose habitat by combining analysis of time series imagery between 1948 and 2010 with soil stratigraphy dated using bomb-curve radiocarbon. Time series of vertical imagery and in situ verification showed permafrost thaw and subsidence of polygonal tundra. Soil stratigraphy and dating within coastal estuaries showed that non-saline vegetation communities were buried by multiple sedimentation episodes between 1948 and 1995, accompanying a shift toward salt-tolerant vegetation. This sedimentation allowed high quality goose forage plants to expand, thus facilitating the shift in goose distribution. Declining sea ice and the increasing rate of terrestrial inundation, sedimentation, and subsidence in coastal estuaries of Alaska may portend a 'tipping point' whereby inland areas would be transformed into salt marshes.

  17. Circumpolar arctic tundra biomass and productivity dynamics in response to projected climate change and herbivory.

    PubMed

    Yu, Qin; Epstein, Howard; Engstrom, Ryan; Walker, Donald

    2017-03-08

    Satellite remote sensing data have indicated a general 'greening' trend in the arctic tundra biome. However, the observed changes based on remote sensing are the result of multiple environmental drivers, and the effects of individual controls such as warming, herbivory, and other disturbances on changes in vegetation biomass, community structure, and ecosystem function remain unclear. We apply ArcVeg, an arctic tundra vegetation dynamics model, to estimate potential changes in vegetation biomass and net primary production (NPP) at the plant community and functional type levels. ArcVeg is driven by soil nitrogen output from the Terrestrial Ecosystem Model, existing densities of Rangifer populations, and projected summer temperature changes by the NCAR CCSM4.0 general circulation model across the Arctic. We quantified the changes in aboveground biomass and NPP resulting from (i) observed herbivory only; (ii) projected climate change only; and (iii) coupled effects of projected climate change and herbivory. We evaluated model outputs of the absolute and relative differences in biomass and NPP by country, bioclimate subzone, and floristic province. Estimated potential biomass increases resulting from temperature increase only are approximately 5% greater than the biomass modeled due to coupled warming and herbivory. Such potential increases are greater in areas currently occupied by large or dense Rangifer herds such as the Nenets-occupied regions in Russia (27% greater vegetation increase without herbivores). In addition, herbivory modulates shifts in plant community structure caused by warming. Plant functional types such as shrubs and mosses were affected to a greater degree than other functional types by either warming or herbivory or coupled effects of the two.

  18. Physical short-term changes after a tussock tundra fire, Seward Peninsula, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liljedahl, Anna; Hinzman, Larry; Busey, Robert; Yoshikawa, Kenji

    2007-06-01

    The Kougarok area, situated on the central Seward Peninsula, Alaska, experienced a severe fire in August 2002. This may be the only tundra fire where high-quality prefire (1999-2002) and postfire (2003-2006) active layer and meteorology measurements have been collected in the same locations. After fire, near-surface soil showed increased moisture at the burned tussock site, remaining close to saturation throughout the thawed season 2003-2006. Despite wetter soil after the fire, freezing occurred earlier at the burned tussock site than at the control, indicating the importance of a reduced organic layer. Severe combustion of lichen and moss left 15-25 cm high tussocks, resulting in a doubling of the surface roughness coefficient. Average September temperature at the tussock site increased 2.3 ± 0.7°C throughout the 1 m soil profile, doubling the active layer depth, although this is due partly to favorable meteorological conditions. The shrubby control station experienced a mean annual temperature increase of 1.1 ± 0.3°C in the upper 0.5 m. A similar annual change was found at the burned tussock site. Cooler weather conditions in 2006 stagnated the soil-warming trend, which occurred after 2002. How the thermal and moisture regimes in tundra will be affected after fire is highly influenced by weather, fire severity, vegetation regrowth, prefire vegetation, and ground ice conditions.

  19. Nesting ecology of tundra swans on the coastal Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Babcock, C.A.; Fowler, A.C.; Ely, C.R.

    2002-01-01

    Nesting ecology of Tundra Swans (Cygnus columbianus columbianus) was studies the Kashunuk River near Old Chevak (61A?26a??N, 165A?27a??W), on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta of western Alaska from 1988-2000. Annual variation in snow-melt chronology, nesting phenology, nesting density, clutch size and nest success was examined. The same area (approximately 23 kmA?) was searched each year and nests were found as early as possible in the laying period. Laying initiation dates ranged from 1-27 May and hatch dates from 12 June a?? 4 July among pairs and years of study. The peak arrival of Tundra Swans and the phenology of nest initiation and hatch were highly correlated with the progression of ice and snow melt in spring. Nest density averaged 0.71 kmA? and 89% of nesting pairs hatched at least one egg. Incubation period ranged from 26 to 33 days with a median of 30 days. Clutch size varied significantly among years, driven by a low mean value of 3.4 eggs in 1999. Clutch sizes were generally larger than found in previous investigations on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, and nearly one egg larger than reported for clutches from Alaskaa??s North Slope (=70A?N). There was no indication of reduced clutch size in years of late spring snow melt, although nesting density tended to be lower.

  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. 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).

  2. 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.

  3. Mortality of arctic fox pups in northern Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1982-01-01

    Reports of mortality among arctic foxes, Alopex lagopus, generally consist of isolated incidents of predation by bald eagles, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, snowy owls, Nyctea scandiaca, red foxes, Vulpes vulpes, and dogs, Canis familiaris. This is a report of observations made on mortality of arctic fox pups observed at dens in the Prudhoe Bay and Colville River Delta areas of northern Alaska during summers of 1975 to 1978 and 1976 to 1979, respectively.

  4. Age-specific survival of tundra swans on the lower Alaska Peninsula

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Meixell, Brandt W.; Lindberg, Mark S.; Conn, Paul B.; Dau, Christian P.; Sarvis, John E.; Sowl, Kristine M.

    2013-01-01

    The population of Tundra Swans (Cygnus columbianus columbianus) breeding on the lower Alaska Peninsula represents the southern extremity of the species' range and is uniquely nonmigratory. We used data on recaptures, resightings, and recoveries of neck-collared Tundra Swans on the lower Alaska Peninsula to estimate collar loss, annual apparent survival, and other demographic parameters for the years 1978–1989. Annual collar loss was greater for adult males fitted with either the thinner collar type (0.34) or the thicker collar type (0.15) than for other age/sex classes (thinner: 0.10, thicker: 0.04). The apparent mean probability of survival of adults (0.61) was higher than that of immatures (0.41) and for both age classes varied considerably by year (adult range: 0.44–0.95, immature range: 0.25–0.90). To assess effects of permanent emigration by age and breeding class, we analyzed post hoc the encounter histories of swans known to breed in our study area. The apparent mean survival of known breeders (0.65) was generally higher than that of the entire marked sample but still varied considerably by year (range 0.26–1.00) and indicated that permanent emigration of breeding swans was likely. We suggest that reductions in apparent survival probability were influenced primarily by high and variable rates of permanent emigration and that immigration by swans from elsewhere may be important in sustaining a breeding population at and near Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.

  5. 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.

  6. 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 1.5oC at Toolik and 1.9oC 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 7-10oC), and minimum nighttime temperatures in the chambers are often slightly cooler than ambient (by about 1oC). 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 0oC all winter. These increased temperatures were likely responsible for observed increases in system carbon loss. Initial changes

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. Freeze tolerance in an arctic Alaska stonefly.

    PubMed

    Walters, Kent R; Sformo, Todd; Barnes, Brian M; Duman, John G

    2009-01-01

    Most aquatic insects do not survive subzero temperatures and, for those that do, the physiology has not been well characterized. Nemoura arctica is a species of stonefly widely distributed throughout arctic and subarctic Alaska. We collected nymphs from the headwaters of the Chandalar River, where we recorded streambed temperatures as low as -12.7 degrees C in midwinter. When in contact with ice, autumn-collected N. arctica cool to -1.5+/-0.4 degrees C before freezing, but individuals survived temperatures as low as -15 degrees C, making this the first described species of freeze-tolerant stonefly. N. arctica clearly survive freezing in nature, as winter-collected nymphs encased in ice demonstrated high survivorship when thawed. In the laboratory, 87% of N. arctica nymphs frozen to -15 degrees C for 2.5 weeks survived and, within one month of thawing, 95% of the last-instar nymphs emerged. N. arctica produce both glycerol and ice-binding factors (e.g. antifreeze protein) in response to low temperature. Hemolymph glycerol concentrations increased from 3 mmol l(-1) to 930+/-114 mmol l(-1) when temperatures were decreased from 4 degrees C to -8 degrees C, and N. arctica continued to produce glycerol even while frozen. Although the hemolymph of individual cold-acclimated nymphs occasionally exhibited more than a degree of thermal hysteresis, typically the hemolymph exhibited only hexagonal crystal growth, indicating a low concentration of ice-binding factor. Hemolymph of nymphs acclimated to subzero temperatures had recrystallization inhibition. These results demonstrate that, in the face of freezing conditions, N. arctica exhibit overwintering adaptations similar to those of terrestrial insects.

  10. 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

  11. Paleozoic tectonic history of the Arctic basin north of Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Churkin, M.

    1969-01-01

    The geology of the margin of the Canada Basin, together with geophysical data, leads me to reject the continental subsidence theory for the origin of the deep Canada Basin. Instead, the Canada Basin is, I believe, a true and probably very ancient ocean basin floored by oceanic crust and rimmed by an early Paleozoic geosynclinal belt. In the Upper Devonian, uplifts in this circumarctic geosyncline, accompanied by granitic intrusion, produced a wedge of coarse clastic sediments (exogeosyncline) that spread southward onto adjoining areas of Alaska, Canada, and Siberia. In both northern Alaska and the Canadian Arctic Islands, thick sequences of upper Paleozoic and younger strata were deposited unconformably on the rocks of the early Paleozoic geosyncline, showing a similarity in tectonic history between the areas. The Paleozoic history of the southern rim of the Canada Basin resembles that of other mobile belts bordering North America. The movement of the floor of the Arctic Ocean against the continental crust of North America (sea-floor spreading) would provide a mechanism to account for the long history of orogenic activity along the basin margin. The sharp bend in the structural elements of southern Alaska (the Alaska orocline) has been cited as evidence of clockwise rotation of the Arctic Islands of Canada from Alaska and the Soviet Arctic to their present position during the Mesozoic. However, the geologic and geophysical evidence available indicates that the Arctic basin has a longer history, extending into the Paleozoic, and that this bend in Alaskan structures may have been largely caused by spreading of the Pacific sea floor against the continental margin in the Gulf of Alaska.

  12. 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.

  13. Methane and nitrous oxide fluxes from four tundra ecotopes in Ny-Ålesund of the High Arctic.

    PubMed

    Chen, Qingqing; Zhu, Renbin; Wang, Qing; Xu, Hua

    2014-07-01

    During the summers of 2008 and 2009, net methane (CH₄) and nitrous oxide (N₂O) fluxes were investigated from 4 tundra ecotopes: normal lowland tundra (LT), bird sanctuary tundra (BT), the tundra in an abandoned coal mine (CT) and the tundra in scientific bases (ST) in Ny-Ålesund of the High Arctic. Tundra soils in CT (184.5 ± 40.0 μg CH4/(m²·hr)) and ST (367.6 ± 92.3μg CH4/(m²·hr)) showed high CH4 emissions due to the effects of human activities, whereas high CH4 uptake or low emission occurred in the soils of LT and BT. The lowland tundra soils (mean, -4.4-4.3μg N₂O/(m²·hr)) were weak N₂O sources and even sinks. Bird activity increased N₂O emissions from BT with the mean flux of 7.9μgN2O/(m(2)·hr). The mean N₂O fluxes from CT (45.4 ± 10.2 μg N₂O/(m²·hr)) and ST (78.8 ± 18.5μg N₂O/(m²·hr)) were one order of magnitude higher than those from LT and BT, indicating that human activities significantly increased N₂O emissions from tundra soils. Soil total carbon and water regime were important factors affecting CH₄ fluxes from tundra soils. The N₂O fluxes showed a significant positive correlation with ammonia nitrogen (NH₄(+)-N) contents (r=0.66, p<0.001) at all the observation sites, indicating that ammonia nitrogen (NH₄(+)-N) content acted as a strong predictor for N₂O emissions from tundra soils. The CH4 and N₂O fluxes did not correspond to the temperature variations of soil at 0-15 cm depths. Overall our results implied that human activities might have greater effects on soil CH₄ and N₂O emissions than current climate warming in Ny-Ålesund, High Arctic.

  14. 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.

  15. Sea ice, rain-on-snow and tundra reindeer nomadism in Arctic Russia.

    PubMed

    Forbes, Bruce C; Kumpula, Timo; Meschtyb, Nina; Laptander, Roza; Macias-Fauria, Marc; Zetterberg, Pentti; Verdonen, Mariana; Skarin, Anna; Kim, Kwang-Yul; Boisvert, Linette N; Stroeve, Julienne C; Bartsch, Annett

    2016-11-01

    Sea ice loss is accelerating in the Barents and Kara Seas (BKS). Assessing potential linkages between sea ice retreat/thinning and the region's ancient and unique social-ecological systems is a pressing task. Tundra nomadism remains a vitally important livelihood for indigenous Nenets and their large reindeer herds. Warming summer air temperatures have been linked to more frequent and sustained summer high-pressure systems over West Siberia, Russia, but not to sea ice retreat. At the same time, autumn/winter rain-on-snow (ROS) events have become more frequent and intense. Here, we review evidence for autumn atmospheric warming and precipitation increases over Arctic coastal lands in proximity to BKS ice loss. Two major ROS events during November 2006 and 2013 led to massive winter reindeer mortality episodes on the Yamal Peninsula. Fieldwork with migratory herders has revealed that the ecological and socio-economic impacts from the catastrophic 2013 event will unfold for years to come. The suggested link between sea ice loss, more frequent and intense ROS events and high reindeer mortality has serious implications for the future of tundra Nenets nomadism.

  16. Sea ice, rain-on-snow and tundra reindeer nomadism in Arctic Russia

    PubMed Central

    Kumpula, Timo; Meschtyb, Nina; Laptander, Roza; Macias-Fauria, Marc; Zetterberg, Pentti; Verdonen, Mariana; Kim, Kwang-Yul; Boisvert, Linette N.; Stroeve, Julienne C.; Bartsch, Annett

    2016-01-01

    Sea ice loss is accelerating in the Barents and Kara Seas (BKS). Assessing potential linkages between sea ice retreat/thinning and the region's ancient and unique social–ecological systems is a pressing task. Tundra nomadism remains a vitally important livelihood for indigenous Nenets and their large reindeer herds. Warming summer air temperatures have been linked to more frequent and sustained summer high-pressure systems over West Siberia, Russia, but not to sea ice retreat. At the same time, autumn/winter rain-on-snow (ROS) events have become more frequent and intense. Here, we review evidence for autumn atmospheric warming and precipitation increases over Arctic coastal lands in proximity to BKS ice loss. Two major ROS events during November 2006 and 2013 led to massive winter reindeer mortality episodes on the Yamal Peninsula. Fieldwork with migratory herders has revealed that the ecological and socio-economic impacts from the catastrophic 2013 event will unfold for years to come. The suggested link between sea ice loss, more frequent and intense ROS events and high reindeer mortality has serious implications for the future of tundra Nenets nomadism. PMID:27852939

  17. Slump Scaling: Common Geometries Observed from Retrogressive Thaw Slumps in Three Different Environments in Arctic Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krieger, K.; Crosby, B. T.; Phillips, C.; Godsey, S.; Jerolmack, D. J.

    2009-12-01

    Contemporary climate change in arctic Alaska has resulted in a substantial increase in mean annual air temperature. This has accelerated permafrost degradation and in turn, decreased hillslope stability. Failures occur in the upper active layer and strip off the thin insulating tundra, exposing frozen ground to the atmosphere. This thermal exposure allows melt to persist and the feature to grow. In this work we examine consistencies in the morphology of retrogressive thaw slumps in three different environments in northern Alaska. Slumps found along rivers (Selawik River, NW Alaska), lakeshores (Northern foothills of the Brooks Range, Alaska) and coastal bluffs (Baldwin Peninsula, NW Alaska) were surveyed using both robotic total stations and ground-based LiDAR. Surveys conducted in both 2007 and 2009 at the river and coastal sites allow measurement of dynamic adjustments in slump form. Static measurements from all three sites allow examination of whether the geometries of these features present scaling relationships independent of their different age and environmental setting. We find that almost all slumps are characterized by arcuate shaped headwalls, narrow constricting outlets, shallowly inclined slump floors, divergent to planar upslope regions and relatively small depositional lobes. We find that the most persistent slumps are located where considerable relief exists between the head scarp and a body of water. In these environments, the products of erosion are removed from the toe of the slump, thus maintaining a low baselevel and a high transport capacity. This work provides a foundation from which we explore what combination of (1) permafrost character, (2) up-slope topography or (3) shallow subsurface flow mechanistically determine these consistent geometries.

  18. Effect of Arctic Amplification on Design Snow Loads in Alaska

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2016-09-01

    sciences, water resources, and environmental sciences for the Army, the Department of Defense, civilian agencies, and our nation’s public good. Find...for Environmental Prediction NRCS Natural Resource Conservation Service NSIDC National Snow and Ice Data Center NWCC National Water and Climate...snow water equivalent UFC Unified Facilities Criteria UTC Coordinated Universal Time Keywords: Alaska, Arctic amplification, climate change

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Organic layer serves as a hotspot of microbial activity and abundance in Arctic tundra soils.

    PubMed

    Lee, Seung-Hoon; Jang, Inyoung; Chae, Namyi; Choi, Taejin; Kang, Hojeong

    2013-02-01

    Tundra ecosystem is of importance for its high accumulation of organic carbon and vulnerability to future climate change. Microorganisms play a key role in carbon dynamics of the tundra ecosystem by mineralizing organic carbon. We assessed both ecosystem process rates and community structure of Bacteria, Archaea, and Fungi in different soil layers (surface organic layer and subsurface mineral soil) in an Arctic soil ecosystem located at Spitsbergen, Svalbard during the summer of 2008 by using biochemical and molecular analyses, such as enzymatic assay, terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP), quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), and pyrosequencing. Activity of hydrolytic enzymes showed difference according to soil type. For all three microbial communities, the average gene copy number did not significantly differ between soil types. However, archaeal diversities appeared to differ according to soil type, whereas bacterial and fungal diversity indices did not show any variation. Correlation analysis between biogeochemical and microbial parameters exhibited a discriminating pattern according to microbial or soil types. Analysis of the microbial community structure showed that bacterial and archaeal communities have different profiles with unique phylotypes in terms of soil types. Water content and hydrolytic enzymes were found to be related with the structure of bacterial and archaeal communities, whereas soil organic matter (SOM) and total organic carbon (TOC) were related with bacterial communities. The overall results of this study indicate that microbial enzyme activity were generally higher in the organic layer than in mineral soils and that bacterial and archaeal communities differed between the organic layer and mineral soils in the Arctic region. Compared to mineral soil, peat-covered organic layer may represent a hotspot for secondary productivity and nutrient cycling in this ecosystem.

  2. GROWTH, SURVIVORSHIP, AND REPRODUCTION OF DAPHNIA MIDDENDORFFIANA IN SEVERAL ARCTIC LAKES AND PONDS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The growth, survivorship and reproduction of Arctic region Daphnia middendorffiana was investigated in several lakes and ponds on the tundra in northern Alaska and additionally in a laboratory study. Growth rate equations, reproduction rates and survivorship under natural conditi...

  3. Active layer hydrology in an arctic tundra ecosystem: quantifying water sources and cycling using water stable isotopes

    SciTech Connect

    Throckmorton, Heather M.; Newman, Brent D.; Heikoop, Jeffrey M.; Perkins, George B.; Feng, Xiahong; Graham, David E.; O'Malley, Daniel; Vesselinov, Velimir V.; Young, Jessica; Wullschleger, Stan D.; Wilson, Cathy J.

    2016-04-16

    Climate change and thawing permafrost in the Arctic will significantly alter landscape hydro-geomorphology and the distribution of soil moisture, which will have cascading effects on climate feedbacks (CO2 and CH4) and plant and microbial communities. Fundamental processes critical to predicting active layer hydrology are not well understood. This study applied water stable isotope techniques (δ2H and δ18O) to infer sources and mixing of active layer waters in a polygonal tundra landscape in Barrow, Alaska (USA), in August and September of 2012. Results suggested that winter precipitation did not contribute substantially to surface waters or subsurface active layer pore waters measured in August and September. Summer rain was the main source of water to the active layer, with seasonal ice melt contributing to deeper pore waters later in the season. Surface water evaporation was evident in August from a characteristic isotopic fractionation slope (δ2H vs δ18O). Freeze-out isotopic fractionation effects in frozen active layer samples and textural permafrost were indistinguishable from evaporation fractionation, emphasizing the importance of considering the most likely processes in water isotope studies, in systems where both evaporation and freeze-out occur in close proximity. The fractionation observed in frozen active layer ice was not observed in liquid active layer pore waters. Such a discrepancy between frozen and liquid active layer samples suggests mixing of meltwater, likely due to slow melting of seasonal ice. In conclusion, this research provides insight into fundamental processes relating to sources and mixing of active layer waters, which should be considered in process-based fine-scale and intermediate-scale hydrologic models.

  4. Active layer hydrology in an arctic tundra ecosystem: quantifying water sources and cycling using water stable isotopes

    DOE PAGES

    Throckmorton, Heather M.; Newman, Brent D.; Heikoop, Jeffrey M.; ...

    2016-04-16

    Climate change and thawing permafrost in the Arctic will significantly alter landscape hydro-geomorphology and the distribution of soil moisture, which will have cascading effects on climate feedbacks (CO2 and CH4) and plant and microbial communities. Fundamental processes critical to predicting active layer hydrology are not well understood. This study applied water stable isotope techniques (δ2H and δ18O) to infer sources and mixing of active layer waters in a polygonal tundra landscape in Barrow, Alaska (USA), in August and September of 2012. Results suggested that winter precipitation did not contribute substantially to surface waters or subsurface active layer pore waters measuredmore » in August and September. Summer rain was the main source of water to the active layer, with seasonal ice melt contributing to deeper pore waters later in the season. Surface water evaporation was evident in August from a characteristic isotopic fractionation slope (δ2H vs δ18O). Freeze-out isotopic fractionation effects in frozen active layer samples and textural permafrost were indistinguishable from evaporation fractionation, emphasizing the importance of considering the most likely processes in water isotope studies, in systems where both evaporation and freeze-out occur in close proximity. The fractionation observed in frozen active layer ice was not observed in liquid active layer pore waters. Such a discrepancy between frozen and liquid active layer samples suggests mixing of meltwater, likely due to slow melting of seasonal ice. In conclusion, this research provides insight into fundamental processes relating to sources and mixing of active layer waters, which should be considered in process-based fine-scale and intermediate-scale hydrologic models.« less

  5. Identifying the main drivers of soil carbon response to climate change in arctic and boreal Alaska.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Genet, H.; McGuire, A. D.; He, Y.; Johnson, K.; Wylie, B. K.; Pastick, N. J.; Zhuang, Q.; Zhu, Z.

    2015-12-01

    Boreal and arctic regions represent the largest reservoir of carbon among terrestrial biomes. Most of this carbon is stored deep in the soil in permafrost where frozen organic matter is protected from decomposition. The vulnerability of soil carbon stocks to a changing climate in high latitudes depends on a number of physical and ecological processes. The importance of these processes in controlling the dynamics of soil carbon stocks vary across regions because of variability in vegetation composition, drainage condition, and permafrost characteristics. To better understand the main drivers of the vulnerability of soil carbon stocks to climate change in Alaska, we ran a process-based ecosystem model, the Terrestrial Ecosystem Model. This model explicitly simulates interactions between the carbon cycle and permafrost dynamics and was coupled with a disturbance model and a model of biogenic methane dynamics to assess historical and projected soil carbon dynamics in Alaska, from 1950 to 2100. The uncertainties related to climate, fire regime and atmospheric CO2projections on soil carbon dynamics were quantified by running simulations using climate projections from 2 global circulation models, 3 fossil fuel emission scenarios and 3 alternative fire management scenarios. During the historical period [1950-2009], soil carbon stocks increased by 4.7 TgC/yr in Alaska. Soil carbon stocks decreased in boreal Alaska due to substantial fire activity in the early 2000's. This loss was offset by carbon accumulation in the arctic. Changes in soil carbon stocks from 2010 to 2099 ranged from 8.9 to 25.6 TgC/yr, depending on the climate projections. Soil carbon accumulation was slower in lowlands than in uplands and slower in the boreal than in the arctic regions because of the negative effect of fire activity on soil carbon stocks. Tundra ecosystems were more vulnerable to carbon loss from fire than forest ecosystems because of a lower productivity. As a result, the increase in

  6. Energy fluxes in a high Arctic tundra heath subjected to strong climate warming

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lund, M.; Hansen, B. U.; Pedersen, S. H.; Stiegler, C.; Tamstorf, M. P.

    2012-12-01

    During recent decades the observed warming in the Arctic has been almost twice as large as the global average. The implications of such strong warming on surface energy balance, regulating permafrost thaw, hydrology, soil stability and carbon mineralization, need to be assessed. In Zackenberg, northeast Greenland, measurements of energy balance components in various environments have been performed since late 90's, coordinated by Zackenberg Ecological Research Operations. During 1996-2009, mean annual temperature in the area has increased by ca. 0.15 °C yr-1; while maximum thaw depth has increased by 1.4-1.8 cm yr-1. Eddy covariance measurements of energy fluxes have been performed in a Cassiope heath plant community, a commonly occurring tundra ecosystem type in circumpolar middle and high Arctic areas, in Zackenberg allowing for detailed investigations of relationships between energy fluxes and meteorological and soil physical characteristics. As the available data set spans more than a decade, possible trends in energy flux components resulting from warming related changes such as earlier snow melt, increased active layer depth and higher temperatures can be investigated. This presentation will focus on the mid-summer period from which eddy covariance measurements are available. The summer-time energy partitioning at the Zackenberg tundra heath site will be characterized using ratios of sensible, latent and ground heat flux to net radiation and Bowen ratio, whereas the surface characteristics will be described using surface resistance, McNaughton and Jarvis Ω value and Priestley-Taylor α coefficient. Furthermore, we aim to estimate the full year, all energy balance components for the tundra heath site using Snow Model (Liston and Elder 2006) for the dark winter period during which no eddy covariance measurements are available. The snow cover duration in the area is a major regulator of the energy partitioning. Early results point towards high summer

  7. 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.

  8. Continuous monitoring of soil gas efflux with Forced Diffusion (FD) chamber technique in a tundra ecosystem, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Y.; Park, S. J.; Lee, B. Y.

    2015-12-01

    Continuous measurements of soil carbon dioxide (CO2) efflux provide essential information about the soil carbon budget in response to an abruptly changing climate at Arctic and Subarctic scales. The Forced Diffusion (FD) chamber technique has a gas permeable membrane, which passively regulates the mixing of atmosphere and soil air in the chamber, in place of the active pumping system inside a regular dynamics efflux chamber system (Risk et al., 2011). Here the system has been modified the sampling routine to eliminate the problem of sensor drift. After that, we deployed the FD chamber system in a tundra ecosystem over the discontinuous permafrost regime of Council, Alaska. The representative understory plants are tussock (17 %), lichen (32 %), and moss (51 %), within a 40 נ40 m plot at an interval of five meters (81 points total) for efflux-measurement by dynamic chamber. The FD chamber monitored soil CO2 efflux from moss, lichen, and tussock regimes at an interval of 30 min during the growing season of 2015. As the results, mean soil CO2 effluxes in sphagnum moss, lichen, and tussock were 1.98 ± 1.10 (coefficient of variance: 55.8 %), 3.34 ± 0.84 (CV: 25.0 %), and 5.32 ± 1.48 (CV: 27.8 %) gCO2/m2/d, respectively. The difference between the 30-min efflux interval and the average efflux of three 10-min intervals is not significant for sphagnum (n = 196), lichen (n = 918), and tussock (n = 918) under a 95 % confidence level. The deploying interval was then set to 30 min and synchronized with eddy covariance tower data. During the deployment period of 2015, soil CO2 efflux over moss, lichen, and tussock using the FD chamber system were 44 ± 24, 73 ± 18, and 117 ± 33 gCO2/m2/period, respectively. Using the dynamic chamber, mean ecosystem respiration (Re) ranges for moss, lichen, and tussock were 2.2-2.6, 1.8-2.0, and 3.3-3.6 gCO2/m2/d, respectively, during June and July of 2015. These techniques provide the representativeness of spatiotemporal variation of soil

  9. Twelve Years of Interviews with the Inupiat people of Arctic Alaska: Report from a Community Workshop

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eisner, W. R.; Hinkel, K. M.; Cuomo, C.

    2015-12-01

    On 20 August 2015, a workshop was held in Barrow, Alaska, which presented the highlights of 12 years of research connecting local indigenous knowledge of landscape processes with scientific research on arctic lakes, tundra changes, and permafrost stability. Seventy-six Iñupiat elders, hunters, and other knowledge-holders from the North Slope villages of Barrow, Atqasuk, Wainwright, Nuiqsut, and Anaktuvuk Pass were interviewed, and over 75 hours of videotaped interviews were produced. The interviews provided information and observations on landforms, lakes, erosion, permafrost degradation and thermokarst, changes in the environment and in animal behavior, human modification of lakes, tundra damage from 4-wheel off-road vehicles, tundra trail expansion, and other phenomena. Community concerns regarding the impact of environmental change on food procurement, animal migration, human travel routes, and the future of subsistence practices were also prominent themes. Following an interview, each videotaped session was logged. Each time an elder pointed to a location on a map and explained a landscape event/observation or told a story, the time-stamp in the video was recorded. Each logged event consisted of a code and a short account of the observation. From these reference sheets, a Geographic Information System (GIS) dataset was created. A logged account for each videotape, with geographic coordinates, event code, and event description is available for each videotape. The goal of the workshop was to report on our findings, thank the community for their support, and collaboratively develop plans for archiving and disseminating this data. A complete video library and searchable, printed and digital issues of the logging dataset for archiving in the communities were also produced. Discussions with administrative personnel at the Tuzzy Library in Barrow and the Inupiat Heritage Center have enabled us to set standards and develop a timeline for turning over the library of

  10. The growth of shrubs on high Arctic tundra at Bylot Island: impact on snow physical properties and permafrost thermal regime

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Domine, Florent; Barrere, Mathieu; Morin, Samuel

    2016-12-01

    With climate warming, shrubs have been observed to grow on Arctic tundra. Their presence is known to increase snow height and is expected to increase the thermal insulating effect of the snowpack. An important consequence would be the warming of the ground, which will accelerate permafrost thaw, providing an important positive feedback to warming. At Bylot Island (73° N, 80° W) in the Canadian high Arctic where bushes of willows (Salix richardsonii Hook) are growing, we have observed the snow stratigraphy and measured the vertical profiles of snow density, thermal conductivity and specific surface area (SSA) in over 20 sites of high Arctic tundra and in willow bushes 20 to 40 cm high. We find that shrubs increase snow height, but only up to their own height. In shrubs, snow density, thermal conductivity and SSA are all significantly lower than on herb tundra. In shrubs, depth hoar which has a low thermal conductivity was observed to grow up to shrub height, while on herb tundra, depth hoar only developed to 5 to 10 cm high. The thermal resistance of the snowpack was in general higher in shrubs than on herb tundra. More signs of melting were observed in shrubs, presumably because stems absorb radiation and provide hotspots that initiate melting. When melting was extensive, thermal conductivity was increased and thermal resistance was reduced, counteracting the observed effect of shrubs in the absence of melting. Simulations of the effect of shrubs on snow properties and on the ground thermal regime were made with the Crocus snow physics model and the ISBA (Interactions between Soil-Biosphere-Atmosphere) land surface scheme, driven by in situ and reanalysis meteorological data. These simulations did not take into account the summer impact of shrubs. They predict that the ground at 5 cm depth at Bylot Island during the 2014-2015 winter would be up to 13 °C warmer in the presence of shrubs. Such warming may however be mitigated by summer effects.

  11. 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

  12. Shrub biomass, net primary production, and canopy spectral imaging (NDVI) exhibit consistent correspondence across Arctic Tundra habitats.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flower, C. E.; Welker, J. M.; Anderson-Smith, A.; Van Hoey, N.; Whelan, C.; Gonzalez-Meler, M. A.

    2014-12-01

    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 with cascading ecological and climate feedback consequences. This shifting vegetation composition should result in concomitant changes in carbon sequestration (net ecosystem exchange, NEE) and productivity which in turn could be manifested in "Greening" and changes in normalized difference vegetation index values (NDVI). In this study, we address the need to know the relationships between NDVI, leaf area, and shrub biomass, in part so that long-term trends in NDVI can be much more accurately interpreted as true changes in ecosystem C cycling processes. These relationships will enhance our ability to predict shifts in standing carbon mass, carbon cycling, and use historic satellite products to assess change. We sampled NEE, NDVI, leaf area and shrub (Betula spp. and Salix spp.) biomass across a shrub gradient in a dry heath and moist acidic tundra. The positive relationship between NDVI and NEE highlights the potential shifts in tundra carbon sequestration associated with woody vegetation shifts. Furthermore, strong positive linear relationships found among shrub biomass, species, leaf area, and NDVI in different tundra habitats should increase the robustness of spatial scaling. Increased productivity in sites with increased NDVI can provide a mechanism through which tundra ecosystems may respond to climate change. Improvements in our ability to detect relationships between above and belowground biomass for the dominant shrubs can strengthen our ability to predict standing biomass from satellite imagery.

  13. Pacific Northwest Laboratory Alaska (ARCTIC) research program

    SciTech Connect

    Hanson, W.C.; Eberhardt, L.E.

    1980-03-01

    The current program continues studies of arctic ecosystems begun in 1959 as part of the Cape Thompson Program. Specific ecosystem aspects include studies of the ecology of arctic and red foxes, small mammel and bird population studies, lichen studies, and radiation ecology studies. (ACR)

  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. 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.

  16. Seasonal and Intra-annual Controls on CO2 Flux in Arctic Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Oechel, Walter; Kalhori, Aram

    2015-12-01

    In order to advance the understanding of the patterns and controls on the carbon budget in the Arctic region, San Diego State University has maintained eddy covariance flux towers at three sites in Arctic Alaska, starting in 1997.

  17. What measurements are needed to capture coupled carbon and nitrogen cycles in arctic tundra?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wright, K.; Rocha, A. V.

    2015-12-01

    Greening has been observed across the arctic, but the ecological processes that enable widespread increases in plant productivity have been difficult to understand with field measurements alone. Using the functional convergence of foliar nitrogen and leaf area index in arctic plants, we developed a simple coupled carbon and nitrogen cycling model (CCaN) to increase our understanding of warming induced vegetation changes and carbon and nitrogen coupling in the arctic. We used primary literature and data from long term ecological research sites at Toolik Field Station, Alaska to calculate prior ranges for CCaN parameters, and then we assimilated five years of eddy covariance data from a nearby field site using a batch data assimilation method based on Markov Chain Monte Carlo techniques. Variance decomposition analyses show that the majority of model variance in carbon and nitrogen stocks can be attributed to uncertainty in four parameters: proportion of nitrogen in foliage, proportion of nitrogen in roots, nitrogen uptake rate, and litter rate. These parameters associated with nitrogen cycling are widely used in biogeochemical cycling models and are difficult to constrain because they vary greatly across plant functional groups. The parameters responsible for variance in net ecosystem exchange vary seasonally; winter variance is controlled by parameters associated with the temperature sensitivity of heterotrophic respiration, and summer variance is controlled by the proportion of nitrogen in foliage. The widespread greening observed across the arctic over the last decade has been attributed to the direct effects of increased temperature, despite the inconsistency of the response of arctic plants to experimental warming indicating there must be other mechanisms at play. These mechanisms can be teased apart using models, but we must first improve model predictions by constraining widely-used processes and parameters, particularly those linked to nitrogen cycling.

  18. Arctic Creek facies, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Northeastern Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Decker, J.; Camber, W.; Vandergon, M.A.; Crowder, R.K.

    1988-01-01

    The Arctic Creek section is dissimilar to the typical Cretaceous section exposed elsewhere in Ignek Valley. The more typical Ignek Valley sequence consists of Kingak Shale (Jurassic to Neocomian), Kemik Sandstone (Hauterivian), Pebble Shale (Hauterivian-Barremian), Hue Shale (Aptian.to Santonian), and turbidites of the Canning Formation (Campanian to Paleocene). The two main differences that distinguish the Arctic Creek section from the typical Ignek Valley section are: (1) lack of the regionally persistent Kemik Sandstone in the Arctic Creek section, and (2) lack of Albian turbidites in the typical Ignek Valley section. The Arctic Creek section is more similar to the Cretaceous section exposed at Bathtub Ridge about 180 km to the southeast. The Bathtub Ridge section consists of black shale with local siltstone beds (Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous), manganiferous shale, interbedded shale and siltstone turbidites (Albian), and sandstone turbidites (Albian.). The authors believe that the Arctic Creek and Bathtub Ridge sections were once part of a continuous depositional basin, and that the Arctic Creek section has been thrust northward into juxtaposition with the typical Ignek Valley strata.

  19. 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

  20. How spatial variation in areal extent and configuration of labile vegetation states affect the riparian bird community in Arctic tundra.

    PubMed

    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

  1. 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

  2. Disentangling trophic relationships in a High Arctic tundra ecosystem through food web modeling.

    PubMed

    Legagneux, P; Gauthier, G; Berteaux, D; Bêty, J; Cadieux, M C; Bilodeau, F; Bolduc, E; McKinnon, L; Tarroux, A; Therrien, J F; Morissette, L; Krebs, C J

    2012-07-01

    Determining the manner in which food webs will respond to environmental changes is difficult because the relative importance of top-down vs. bottom-up forces in controlling ecosystems is still debated. This is especially true in the Arctic tundra where, despite relatively simple food webs, it is still unclear which forces dominate in this ecosystem. Our primary goal was to assess the extent to which a tundra food web was dominated by plant-herbivore or predator-prey interactions. Based on a 17-year (1993-2009) study of terrestrial wildlife on Bylot Island, Nunavut, Canada, we developed trophic mass balance models to address this question. Snow Geese were the dominant herbivores in this ecosystem, followed by two sympatric lemming species (brown and collared lemmings). Arctic foxes, weasels, and several species of birds of prey were the dominant predators. Results of our trophic models encompassing 19 functional groups showed that <10% of the annual primary production was consumed by herbivores in most years despite the presence of a large Snow Goose colony, but that 20-100% of the annual herbivore production was consumed by predators. The impact of herbivores on vegetation has also weakened over time, probably due to an increase in primary production. The impact of predators was highest on lemmings, intermediate on passerines, and lowest on geese and shorebirds, but it varied with lemming abundance. Predation of collared lemmings exceeded production in most years and may explain why this species remained at low density. In contrast, the predation rate on brown lemmings varied with prey density and may have contributed to the high-amplitude, periodic fluctuations in the abundance of this species. Our analysis provided little evidence that herbivores are limited by primary production on Bylot Island. In contrast, we measured strong predator-prey interactions, which supports the hypothesis that this food web is primarily controlled by top-down forces. The presence of

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. Above- and belowground responses of Arctic tundra ecosystems to altered soil nutrients and mammalian herbivory.

    PubMed

    Gough, Laura; Moore, John C; Shaver, Gauis R; Simpson, Rodney T; Johnson, David R

    2012-07-01

    Theory and observation indicate that changes in the rate of primary production can alter the balance between the bottom-up influences of plants and resources and the top-down regulation of herbivores and predators on ecosystem structure and function. The exploitation ecosystem hypothesis (EEH) posited that as aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) increases, the additional biomass should support higher trophic levels. We developed an extension of EEH to include the impacts of increases in ANPP on belowground consumers in a similar manner as aboveground, but indirectly through changes in the allocation of photosynthate to roots. We tested our predictions for plants aboveground and for phytophagous nematodes and their predators belowground in two common arctic tundra plant communities subjected to 11 years of increased soil nutrient availability and/or exclusion of mammalian herbivores. The less productive dry heath (DH) community met the predictions of EEH aboveground, with the greatest ANPP and plant biomass in the fertilized plots protected from herbivory. A palatable grass increased in fertilized plots while dwarf evergreen shrubs and lichens declined. Belowground, phytophagous nematodes also responded as predicted, achieving greater biomass in the higher ANPP plots, whereas predator biomass tended to be lower in those same plots (although not significantly). In the higher productivity moist acidic tussock (MAT) community, aboveground responses were quite different. Herbivores stimulated ANPP and biomass in both ambient and enriched soil nutrient plots; maximum ANPP occurred in fertilized plots exposed to herbivory. Fertilized plots became dominated by dwarf birch (a deciduous shrub) and cloudberry (a perennial forb); under ambient conditions these two species coexist with sedges, evergreen dwarf shrubs, and Sphagnum mosses. Phytophagous nematodes did not respond significantly to changes in ANPP, although predator biomass was greatest in control plots. The

  6. Dynamics of the recovery of damaged tundra vegetation: preliminary results of revegetation experiments of maritime tundra with Elymus mollis on Adak Island, Alaska. Progress report

    SciTech Connect

    Amundsen, C C; McCord, R A

    1982-08-01

    The vegetation of the central Aleutian Islands, Alaska is maritime tundra (Amundsen, 1977). While maritime tundra is not characterized by the presence of permafrost, the soil temperatures remain low (5 to 7/sup 0/C) year-round (Williams, 1980). The low soil temperature, a high level of soil moisture, and a low level of incident solar radiation are thought to delay the development of the vegetation. Natural revegetation of natural or man made open areas is relatively slow. Disturbed areas from World War II military activity are not completely revegetated after almost 40 years. Because of the windy and wet climate of the region, exposed soil is unstable and subject to extensive freeze-thaw action and erosion. Insults to the vegetation, both marine and aeolian, are common. Successful reproduction by seed is uncommon among species of this flora. The primary means of reproduction appears to be by vegetative propagules which are usually fragments of the shoot and rhizome. While the transport of the fragments by wind and water aids in the dispersal of the propagules, the same action often removes these fragments from open areas. This later activity further delays the revegetation of open and disturbed areas. Elymus mollis Trin. is the most successful major native species found to date as it fragments due to wind and water action and transplants easily. Transplanting experiments with sprigs of Elymus mollis Trin. have been conducted on Adak Island, Alaska since 1977. Preliminary results indicate that Elymus mollis may be transplanted for revegetation with a survival rate of at least 90 percent. Experiments were set up in 1979 to determine appropriate planting density, sprig rhizome length, and best time of year for transplanting. Preliminary results for these experiments are reported here.

  7. Inundation, sedimentation, and subsidence creates goose habitat along the Arctic coast of Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tape, Ken D.; Flint, Paul L.; Meixell, Brandt W.; Gaglioti, Benjamin V.

    2013-12-01

    The Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska is characterized by thermokarst lakes and drained lake basins, and the rate of coastal erosion has increased during the last half-century. Portions of the coast are <1 m above sea level for kilometers inland, and are underlain by ice-rich permafrost. Increased storm surges or terrestrial subsidence would therefore expand the area subject to marine inundation. Since 1976, the distribution of molting Black Brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) on the Arctic Coastal Plain has shifted from inland freshwater lakes to coastal marshes, such as those occupying the Smith River and Garry Creek estuaries. We hypothesized that the movement of geese from inland lakes was caused by an expansion of high quality goose forage in coastal areas. We examined the recent history of vegetation and geomorphological changes in coastal goose habitat by combining analysis of time series imagery between 1948 and 2010 with soil stratigraphy dated using bomb-curve radiocarbon. Time series of vertical imagery and in situ verification showed permafrost thaw and subsidence of polygonal tundra. Soil stratigraphy and dating within coastal estuaries showed that non-saline vegetation communities were buried by multiple sedimentation episodes between 1948 and 1995, accompanying a shift toward salt-tolerant vegetation. This sedimentation allowed high quality goose forage plants to expand, thus facilitating the shift in goose distribution. Declining sea ice and the increasing rate of terrestrial inundation, sedimentation, and subsidence in coastal estuaries of Alaska may portend a ‘tipping point’ whereby inland areas would be transformed into salt marshes.

  8. Molecular phylogenetic biodiversity assessment of arctic and boreal ectomycorrhizal Lactarius Pers. (Russulales; Basidiomycota) in Alaska, based on soil and sporocarp DNA.

    PubMed

    Geml, József; Laursen, Gary A; Timling, Ina; McFarland, Jack M; Booth, Michael G; Lennon, Niall; Nusbaum, Chad; Taylor, D Lee

    2009-05-01

    Despite the critical roles fungi play in the functioning of ecosystems, especially as symbionts of plants and recyclers of organic matter, their biodiversity is poorly known in high-latitude regions. In this paper, we discuss the molecular diversity of one of the most diverse and abundant groups of ectomycorrhizal fungi: the genus Lactarius Pers. We analysed internal transcribed spacer rDNA sequences from both curated sporocarp collections and soil polymerase chain reaction clone libraries sampled in the arctic tundra and boreal forests of Alaska. Our genetic diversity assessment, based on various phylogenetic methods and operational taxonomic unit (OTU) delimitations, suggests that the genus Lactarius is diverse in Alaska, with at least 43 putative phylogroups, and 24 and 38 distinct OTUs based on 95% and 97% internal transcribed spacer sequence similarity, respectively. Some OTUs were identified to known species, while others were novel, previously unsequenced groups. Non-asymptotic species accumulation curves, the disparity between observed and estimated richness, and the high number of singleton OTUs indicated that many Lactarius species remain to be found and identified in Alaska. Many Lactarius taxa show strong habitat preference to one of the three major vegetation types in the sampled regions (arctic tundra, black spruce forests, and mixed birch-aspen-white spruce forests), as supported by statistical tests of UniFrac distances and principal coordinates analyses (PCoA). Together, our data robustly demonstrate great diversity and nonrandom ecological partitioning in an important boreal ectomycorrhizal genus within a relatively small geographical region. The observed diversity of Lactarius was much higher in either type of boreal forest than in the arctic tundra, supporting the widely recognized pattern of decreasing species richness with increasing latitude.

  9. The Contribution of Moss to Plot-Based Spectral Signals in Moist Acidic Low Arctic Tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    May, J. L.; Beamish, A. L.

    2015-12-01

    To determine the contribution of moss to peak season normalized difference index (NDVI) field measurement of intact vegetation communities were compared to communities with individual species and litter successively removed until only the moss layer remained. Spectral measurements (n=3) were collected using a field radiometer in five upland and five lowland plots in a moist acidic tundra ecosystem at the Imnaviat Creek Watershed, North Slope Alaska. After spectral measurements were taken individual species were removed in the same order in each plot by clipping them at the moss layer. As individual species were removed NDVI values decreased. Decreases were greatest when dwarf shrub species Salix richardsonii sb. pulchra and Betula nana were removed. Notable increases in NDVI were observed once standing litter was removed. The NDVI values of the moss layer were comparable to intact vegetation communities depending on the bryophyte species composition. This suggests that the NDVI signal of moss is largely masked by vascular species but represents a significant factor missing from overall, large-scale NDVI signals. The results of this study corroborate recent data that points to the mismatch between ground based NDVI and aerial and satellite derived NDVI. This preliminary case study provides a strong basis for better characterization of the contribution of moss to NDVI for improved correction of air and space borne imagery.

  10. Potential changes in arctic seasonality and plant communities may impact tundra soil chemistry and carbon dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crow, S.; Cooper, E.; Beilman, D.; Filley, T.; Reimer, P.

    2009-04-01

    On the Svalbard archipelago, as in other high Arctic regions, tundra soil organic matter (SOM) is primarily plant detritus that is largely stabilized by cold, moist conditions and low nitrogen availability. However, the resistance of SOM to decomposition is also influenced by the quality of organic matter inputs to soil. Different plant communities are likely to give different qualities to SOM, especially where lignin-rich woody species encroach into otherwise graminoid and bryophyte-dominated regions. Arctic woody plant species are particularly sensitive to changes in temperature, snow cover, and growing season length. In a changing environment, litter chemistry may emerge as an important control on tundra SOM stabilization. In summer 2007, we collected plant material and soil from the highly-organic upper horizon (appx. 0-5 cm) and the mineral-dominated lower horizon (appx. 5-10cm) from four locations in the southwest facing valleys of Svalbard, Norway. The central goal of the ongoing experiment is to determine whether a greater abundance of woody plants could provide a negative feedback to warming impacts on the carbon (C) balance of Arctic soils. Towards this, we used a combination of plant biopolymer analyses (cupric oxide oxidation and quantification of lignin-derived phenols and cutin/suberin-derived aliphatics) and radiocarbon-based estimates of C longevity and mean residence time (MRT) to characterize potential links between plant type and soil C pools. We found that graminoid species regenerate above- and belowground tissue each year, whereas woody species (Cassiope tetragona and Dryas octopetala) regenerated only leaves yearly. In contrast, C within live branches and roots persisted for 15-18 yr on average. Leaves from woody species remained nearly intact in surface litter for up to 20 yr without being incorporated into the upper soil horizon. Leaves from both graminoid and woody species were concentrated in lignin-derived phenols relative to roots, but

  11. Soil bacterial community shifts in response to vegetation and soil temperature change in moist acidic tundra of Northern Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ricketts, M. P.; Gonzalez-Meler, M. A.

    2013-12-01

    The effects of rising temperatures on Earth's ecosystems remain largely unknown and are an active area of research. In temperate systems, plant species often respond directly to climate forcing factors causing complex cascading effects in ecosystem C and nutrient cycling. Similarly, in the Arctic tundra, shifts in aboveground species composition and distribution have been observed in response to warming and other climate change factors, following increases in active layer depth and soil temperature. These abiotic changes provide soil microorganisms access to previously unavailable soil organic matter via thawing soils and increases soil microbial mineralization rates, suggesting that soil microorganisms may be eliciting the plant response. It is hypothesized that this release of nutrients may be providing a competitive advantage to N rich woody species, such as dwarf birch and diamond-leaf willow, over grassy species such as cottongrass tussock. Here we examine how microbial communities respond to increases in soil thermal insulation and vegetative change caused by the accumulation of winter precipitation at a snowfence installed in 1998 at Toolik Field Station, Alaska. In addition to soil temperature, increased snow depth also results in increased surface moisture, soil temperature, and active layer depth. Bacterial phylogenies and relative abundances from soils collected in August of 2012 were determined by sequencing 16S rRNA genes and analyzed using the QIIME software package. We found many significant relative abundance shifts between snow depth treatments (deep, intermediate, low) and soil depths (organic, transition, mineral), most notable of which include in an increase in Deltaproteobacteria in the deep treatment zones, a decrease in Alphaproteobacteria with increased soil depth, and a marked increase in Chloroflexi Anaerolineae (a green non-sulfur bacteria found in a wide range of habitats) in the deep treatment and mineral layers. Other interesting

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-02-01

    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.

  17. Plant phenological responses to a long-term experimental extension of growing season and soil warming in the tussock tundra of Alaska.

    PubMed

    Khorsand Rosa, Roxaneh; Oberbauer, Steven F; Starr, Gregory; Parker La Puma, Inga; Pop, Eric; Ahlquist, Lorraine; Baldwin, Tracey

    2015-12-01

    Climate warming is strongly altering the timing of season initiation and season length in the Arctic. Phenological activities are among the most sensitive plant responses to climate change and have important effects at all levels within the ecosystem. We tested the effects of two experimental treatments, extended growing season via snow removal and extended growing season combined with soil warming, on plant phenology in tussock tundra in Alaska from 1995 through 2003. We specifically monitored the responses of eight species, representing four growth forms: (i) graminoids (Carex bigellowii and Eriophorum vaginatum); (ii) evergreen shrubs (Ledum palustre, Cassiope tetragona, and Vaccinium vitis-idaea); (iii) deciduous shrubs (Betula nana and Salix pulchra); and (iv) forbs (Polygonum bistorta). Our study answered three questions: (i) Do experimental treatments affect the timing of leaf bud break, flowering, and leaf senescence? (ii) Are responses to treatments species-specific and growth form-specific? and (iii) Which environmental factors best predict timing of phenophases? Treatment significantly affected the timing of all three phenophases, although the two experimental treatments did not differ from each other. While phenological events began earlier in the experimental plots relative to the controls, duration of phenophases did not increase. The evergreen shrub, Cassiope tetragona, did not respond to either experimental treatment. While the other species did respond to experimental treatments, the total active period for these species did not increase relative to the control. Air temperature was consistently the best predictor of phenology. Our results imply that some evergreen shrubs (i.e., C. tetragona) will not capitalize on earlier favorable growing conditions, putting them at a competitive disadvantage relative to phenotypically plastic deciduous shrubs. Our findings also suggest that an early onset of the growing season as a result of decreased snow cover

  18. 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.

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

    DOE PAGES

    Heikoop, Jeffrey M.; Throckmorton, Heather M.; Newman, Brent 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,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

  20. Geomorphological and geochemistry changes in permafrost after the 2002 tundra wildfire in Kougarok, Seward Peninsula, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iwahana, Go; Harada, Koichiro; Uchida, Masao; Tsuyuzaki, Shiro; Saito, Kazuyuki; Narita, Kenji; Kushida, Keiji; Hinzman, Larry D.

    2016-09-01

    Geomorphological and thermohydrological changes to tundra, caused by a wildfire in 2002 on the central Seward Peninsula of Alaska, were investigated as a case study for understanding the response from ice-rich permafrost terrain to surface disturbance. Frozen and unfrozen soil samples were collected at burned and unburned areas, and then water isotope geochemistry and cryostratigraphy of the active layer and near-surface permafrost were analyzed to investigate past hydrological and freeze/thaw conditions and how this information could be recorded within the permafrost. The development of thermokarst subsidence due to ice wedge melting after the fire was clear from analyses of historical submeter-resolution remote sensing imagery, long-term monitoring of thermohydrological conditions within the active layer, in situ surveys of microrelief, and geochemical signals recorded in the near-surface permafrost. The resulting polygonal relief coincided with depression lines along an underground ice wedge network, and cumulative subsidence to 2013 was estimated as at least 10.1 to 12.1 cm (0.9-1.1 cm/year 11 year average). Profiles of water geochemistry in the ground indicated mixing or replenishment of older permafrost water with newer meteoric water, as a consequence of the increase in active layer thickness due to wildfire or past thaw event. Our geocryological analysis of cores suggests that permafrost could be used to reconstruct the permafrost degradation history for the study site. Distinct hydrogen and oxygen isotopic compositions above the Global Meteoric Water Line were found for water from these sites where permafrost degradation with geomorphological change and prolonged surface inundation were suggested.

  1. U.S. Tundra Biome-International Biological Program. U.S. Tundra Biome Publication List.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1983-09-01

    Provisional checklist to the vascular, bryophyte , and lichen flora of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. In Ecological Investigations of the Tundra Biome in the Prudhoe Bay...4040) /Bib 33-4561/ Rastorfer, J.R., H.J. Webster and D.K. Smith (1973) Floristic and ecologic studies of bryophytes of selected habitats at...57: 1025-1033. (2759) /Bib 31-1286/ Steere, W.C. (1976) Ecology , phytogeography, and floristics of arctic Alaskan bryophytes . Journal of Hattori

  2. Spatial distribution of thermokarst landforms across Arctic Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Farquharson, L. M.; Grosse, G.; Romanovsky, V. E.; Jones, B. M.; Arp, C. D.; McGuire, A. D.

    2013-12-01

    Arctic Alaska is characterized by widespread past and present thaw of ice rich permafrost and subsequent thermokarst development. Variations in ice content and distribution, and topography across Arctic Alaska result in thermokarst landform diversity. Thermokarst causes a number of biogeochemical and ecological shifts that include changes in soil carbon dynamics, nutrient cycling, vegetation composition, wildlife habitat, and fresh water availability. Ongoing climate change may lead to an increase in thermokarst landscape features. Thus, a better understanding of the current temporal and spatial dynamics of thermokarst is needed in order to project its future dynamics. Understanding how vulnerable Arctic Alaska is to future thermokarst development is critical for resource management, industry development, and subsistence hunting. We focused on the distribution of thermokarst landforms among ten study sites aligned with the NSF CALON (Towards a Circum-Arctic Lakes Observation Network) project in Arctic Alaska. Sites represent diverse substrates including eolian silt, eolian sand, marine sand, deltaic, and marine silt. We conducted thermokarst landform mapping and spatial and morphometric analyses using high-resolution aerial photography, an interferometric synthetic aperture radar derived digital elevation model (IfSAR DEM), and hydrographic layers from the National Land Cover Database derived from Landsat-7. Non-lake thermokarst landforms were visually mapped and hand digitized using aerial photographs and the IfSAR DEM. Initial results show thermokarst forms are most prevalent in marine silt areas with up to 99% of study areas affected by thermokarst activity. Eolian sand areas are the least thermokarst affected (mean of 57%). Drained thermokarst lake basins, thermokarst lakes, and areas affected by thermokarst pit formation were the dominant thermokarst landforms, covering up to 70%, 54%, and 8% of the landscape. The number of overlapping lake and basin

  3. 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.

  4. Transportation requirements for drilling operations on the Arctic North Slope of Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Gulick, J.F.

    1983-12-01

    Drilling on Alaska's Arctic North Slope poses a number of interesting operational problems, including transporting and supporting drilling rigs to their respective locations. Sohio Alaska Petroleum Co. has extensive experience in transporting and supporting drilling rigs in development operations (Prudhoe Bay) and exploration locations both on- and offshore Alaska's North Slope. This paper addresses how arctic drilling rigs are transported to development locations within the Prudhoe bay unit and to remote on and off shore locations.

  5. Evidence and Implications of Frequent Fires in Ancient Shrub Tundra

    SciTech Connect

    Higuera, P E; Brubaker, L B; Anderson, P M; Brown, T A; Kennedy, A T; Hu, F S

    2008-03-06

    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 birchdominated 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 paleo-fires 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 21st century and beyond. Increased tundra burning will have broad impacts on physical and biological systems as well as land-atmosphere interactions in the Arctic, including the potential to release stored organic carbon to the atmosphere.

  6. 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.

  7. Recovery of arctic tundra from thermal erosion disturbance is constrained by nutrient accumulation: a modeling analysis.

    PubMed

    Pearce, A R; Rastetter, E B; Kwiatkowski, B L; Bowden, W B; Mack, M C; Jiang, Y

    2015-07-01

    Abstract. We calibrated the Multiple Element Limitation (MEL) model to Alaskan arctic tundra to simulate recovery of thermal erosion features (TEFs) caused by permafrost thaw and mass wasting. TEFs could significantly alter regional carbon (C) and nutrient budgets because permafrost soils contain large stocks of soil organic matter (SOM) and TEFs are expected to become more frequent as the climate warms. We simulated recovery following TEF stabilization and did not address initial, short-term losses of C and nutrients during TEF formation. To capture the variability among and within TEFs, we modeled a range of post-stabilization conditions by varying the initial size of SOM stocks and nutrient supply rates. Simulations indicate that nitrogen (N) losses after the TEF stabilizes are small, but phosphorus (P) losses continue. Vegetation biomass recovered 90% of its undisturbed C, N, and P stocks in 100 years using nutrients mineralized from SOM. Because of low litter inputs but continued decomposition, younger SOM continued to be lost for 10 years after the TEF began to recover, but recovered to about 84% of its undisturbed amount in 100 years. The older recalcitrant SOM in mineral soil continued to be lost throughout the 100-year simulation. Simulations suggest that biomass recovery depended on the amount of SOM remaining after disturbance. Recovery was initially limited by the photosynthetic capacity of vegetation but became co-limited by N and P once a plant canopy developed. Biomass and SOM recovery was enhanced by increasing nutrient supplies, but the magnitude, source, and controls on these supplies are poorly understood. Faster mineralization of nutrients from SOM (e.g., by warming) enhanced vegetation recovery but delayed recovery of SOM. Taken together, these results suggest that although vegetation and surface SOM on TEFs recovered quickly (25 and 100 years, respectively), the recovery of deep, mineral soil SOM took centuries and represented a major

  8. Foods of arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) during winter and spring in western Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anthony, M.; Barten, N.K.; Seiser, P.E.

    2000-01-01

    During 1986-1991, carcasses of 619 arctic fares (Alopex lagopus) collected from local trappers and at biological field camps on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in western Alaska from November through May were analyzed to determine gastrointestinal contents, age, sex, and body condition. Prey in declining order of importance were small mammals (95% tundra voles, Microtus oeconomus), birds, marine mammals, and fishes. Foxes with small mammal remains in their stomachs were captured farther from the Bering Sea coast ((X) over bar = 5.2 km) than those without small-mammal remains (2.8 km); foxes consuming remains of marine mammals were closer to the coast (1.9 km) than others (4.9 km). Although eggshells had a poor likelihood of occurrence in stomachs, they were found in all months and years. In 1986 and 1987, foxes consumed fewer small mammals than in other years. Mean ages of foxes captured in 1986 (3.7 years) and 1987 (3.2) were greater than in all ether years (1.5). Capture of adults was more common as winter progressed. Indexes of subcutaneous fat decreased annually in April-May and were highest in 1991, when occurrence of carrion of marine mammals was highest.

  9. Mortality of arctic fox pups in northern Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Garrott, R.A.; Eberhardt, L.E.

    1982-01-01

    Reports of mortality among arctic foxes, Alopex lagopus, generally consist of isolated incidents of predation by bald eagles, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, snowy owls, Nyctea scandiaca, red foxes, Vulpes vulpes, and dogs, Canis familiaris. This is a report of observations made on mortality of arctic fox pups observed at dens in the Prudhoe Bay and Colville River Delta areas of northern Alaska during summers of 1975 to 1978 and 1976 to 1979, respectively. Pup mortality was noted amng 15 (19%) of 79 families whose dens we visited. Evidence of at least 20 dead pups was found with remains ranging from intact carcasses to a few bone fragments and tufts of hair. Undoubtedly, researchers failed to detect some dead pups, as predators sometimes carry small pups away from the den before consuming them and adult foxes were observed to dispose of bodies of dead pups within den burrows.

  10. Acidobacteria dominate the active bacterial communities of Arctic tundra with widely divergent winter-time snow accumulation and soil temperatures.

    PubMed

    Männistö, Minna K; Kurhela, Emilia; Tiirola, Marja; Häggblom, Max M

    2013-04-01

    The timing and extent of snow cover is a major controller of soil temperature and hence winter-time microbial activity and plant diversity in Arctic tundra ecosystems. To understand how snow dynamics shape the bacterial communities, we analyzed the bacterial community composition of windswept and snow-accumulating shrub-dominated tundra heaths of northern Finland using DNA- and RNA-based 16S rRNA gene community fingerprinting (terminal restriction fragment polymorphism) and clone library analysis. Members of the Acidobacteria and Proteobacteria dominated the bacterial communities of both windswept and snow-accumulating habitats with the most abundant phylotypes corresponding to subdivision (SD) 1 and 2 Acidobacteria in both the DNA- and RNA-derived community profiles. However, different phylotypes within Acidobacteria were found to dominate at different sampling dates and in the DNA- vs. RNA-based community profiles. The results suggest that different species within SD1 and SD2 Acidobacteria respond to environmental conditions differently and highlight the wide functional diversity of these organisms even within the SD level. The acidic tundra soils dominated by ericoid shrubs appear to select for diverse stress-tolerant Acidobacteria that are able to compete in the nutrient poor, phenolic-rich soils. Overall, these communities seem stable and relatively insensitive to the predicted changes in the winter-time snow cover.

  11. Mycorrhizal fungi supply nitrogen to host plants in Arctic tundra and boreal forests: 15N is the key signal.

    PubMed

    Hobbie, John E; Hobbie, Erik A; Drossman, Howard; Conte, Maureen; Weber, J C; Shamhart, Julee; Weinrobe, Melissa

    2009-01-01

    Symbiotic fungi's role in providing nitrogen to host plants is well-studied in tundra at Toolik Lake, Alaska, but little-studied in the adjoining boreal forest ecosystem. Along a 570 km north-south transect from the Yukon River to the North Slope of Alaska, the 15N content was strongly reduced in ectomycorrhizal and ericoid mycorrhizal plants including Betula, Salix, Picea mariana (P. Mill.) B.S.P., Picea glauca Moench (Voss), and ericaceous plants. Compared with the 15N content of soil, the foliage of nonmycorrhizal plants (Carex and Eriophorum) was unchanged, whereas content of the ectomycorrhizal fungi was very much higher (e.g., Boletaceae, Leccinum and Cortinarius). It is hypothesized that similar processes operate in tundra and boreal forest, both nitrogen-limited ecosystems: (i) mycorrhizal fungi break down soil polymers and take up amino acids or other nitrogen compounds; (ii) mycorrhizal fungi fractionate against 15N during production of transfer compounds; (iii) host plants are accordingly depleted in 15N; and (iv) mycorrhizal fungi are enriched in 15N. Increased N availability for plant roots or decreased light availability to understory plants may have decreased N allocation to mycorrhizal partners and increased delta15N by 3-4 parts per million for southern populations of Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. and Salix. Fungal biomass, measured as ergosterol, correlated strongly with soil organic matter and attained amounts similar to those in temperate forest soils.

  12. Interactions between spring temperatures and snow cover alter plant-soil nutrient feedbacks in moist acidic arctic tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weintraub, M. N.; Steltzer, H.; Sullivan, P.; Darrouzet-Nardi, A.; Schimel, J.; Wallenstein, M. D.; Livensperger, C.; Segal, A. D.

    2012-12-01

    A significant spring warming trend has been observed across the arctic, resulting in higher spring temperatures and earlier snowmelt. These climate changes have the potential to alter arctic soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) dynamics because they can significantly influence both plant growth and decomposition during the growing season. These changes are of particular concern because arctic tundra soils contain large stores of C and may act as a significant CO2 source with warming. To determine how changes in the timing of snowmelt and higher spring temperatures affect plant growth and soil nutrient dynamics, we conducted a factorial accelerated snowmelt and warming experiment in a moist acidic tundra plant community in the Alaskan arctic. We measured changes plant phenology and growth, and soil nutrient dynamics in response to these manipulations to determine the implications of earlier snowmelt and warming. We hypothesized that accelerated snowmelt would allow plants to start growing earlier, resulting in earlier root growth and plant N uptake from these nutrient poor soils, potentially exacerbating N limitation to decomposer microorganisms and reducing their activities. Contrary to our predictions, we observed delayed and reduced root growth in response to accelerated snowmelt, without similar reductions in aboveground productivity. We also found that warming in combination with accelerated snowmelt alleviated the inhibition of root growth, suggesting that low air temperatures following snowmelt may have inhibited plant growth, as plants were unprotected from swings in air temperature without the insulating snowpack. Furthermore, we found that greater root growth was associated with elevated, not reduced, soil N availability, which was also opposite to our predictions. These results suggest that C-rich root exudates stimulate microbial N acquisition and can actually increase N availability even as roots and microbes are taking up more N. This implies that as long

  13. Changing Arctic ecosystems--measuring and forecasting the response of Alaska's terrestrial ecosystem to a warming climate

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pearce, John; DeGange, Anthony R.; Flint, Paul; Fondell, Tom F.; Gustine, David; Holland-Bartels, Leslie; Hope, Andrew G.; Hupp, Jerry; Koch, Josh; Schmutz, Joel; Talbot, Sandra; Ward, David; Whalen, Mary

    2012-01-01

    The Arctic Coastal Plain of northern Alaska is a complex landscape of lakes, streams, and wetlands scattered across low relief tundra that is underlain by permafrost. This region of the Arctic has experienced a warming trend over the past three decades, leading to thawing of on-shore permafrost and the disappearance of sea ice at an unprecedented rate. The loss of sea ice has increased ocean wave action, leading to higher rates of erosion and salt water inundation of coastal habitats. Warming temperatures also have advanced the overall phenology of the region, including earlier snowmelt, lake ice thaw, and plant growth. As a result, many migratory species now arrive in the Arctic several days earlier in spring than in the 1970s. Predicted warming trends for the future will continue to alter plant growth, ice thaw, and other basic landscape processes. These changes will undoubtedly result in different responses by wildlife (fish, birds, and mammals) and the food they rely upon (plants, invertebrates, and fish). However, the type of response by different wildlife populations and their habitats-either positively or negatively-remains largely unknown.

  14. 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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, and 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.

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

    DOE PAGES

    Yang, Ziming; Wullschleger, Stan D.; Liang, Liyuan; ...

    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

  17. 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

  18. Biological specimen banking in Arctic research: an Alaska perspective.

    PubMed

    Becker, P R; Koster, B J; Wise, S A; Zeisler, R

    1993-11-01

    The cryogenic archival of biological specimens for retrospective analysis is of significant value for present and future research on population genetics, pathology, systematics, toxicology and environmental monitoring. This realization is emphasized by the increasing support of this activity by various government agencies, institutions and international groups. The international Arctic community is no exception. Canada has been conducting such activities in association with environmental monitoring programs for many years. Similar efforts appear to be underway in other polar nations. From the perspective of the United States Arctic, the Alaska Marine Mammal Tissue Archival Project (AMMTAP) was the earliest organized effort to develop an environmental specimen bank specifically designed for longterm archival of biological specimens under cryogenic conditions. The AMMTAP emphasizes use of standardized rigorous sampling and archival protocols, procedures that minimize contamination of samples during collection and maintaining a detailed record of sample history. The development of this specimen bank, recent activities of this project and other cryogenic specimen banks being developed in Alaska are described.

  19. Climigration? Population and climate change in Arctic Alaska.

    PubMed

    Hamilton, Lawrence C; Saito, Kei; Loring, Philip A; Lammers, Richard B; Huntington, Henry P

    2016-01-01

    Residents of towns and villages in Arctic Alaska live on "the front line of climate change." Some communities face immediate threats from erosion and flooding associated with thawing permafrost, increasing river flows, and reduced sea ice protection of shorelines. The term climigration, referring to migration caused by climate change, originally was coined for these places. Although initial applications emphasized the need for government relocation policies, it has elsewhere been applied more broadly to encompass unplanned migration as well. Some historical movements have been attributed to climate change, but closer study tends to find multiple causes, making it difficult to quantify the climate contribution. Clearer attribution might come from comparisons of migration rates among places that are similar in most respects, apart from known climatic impacts. We apply this approach using annual 1990-2014 time series on 43 Arctic Alaska towns and villages. Within-community time plots show no indication of enhanced out-migration from the most at-risk communities. More formally, there is no significant difference between net migration rates of at-risk and other places, testing several alternative classifications. Although climigration is not detectable to date, growing risks make either planned or unplanned movements unavoidable in the near future.

  20. Contrasting Responses of Arctic Tussock Tundra to Early Season Snow Melt: Growth Acceleration Versus Frost Damage

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oberbauer, S. F.; Starr, G.; Pop, E. W.; Ahlquist, L. E.; Parker, I. C.

    2003-12-01

    Climate warming scenarios for the Arctic include early snow melt marking the beginning of the growing season. From the perspective of the vegetation, early snow melt may have advantageous or disadvantageous effects. With warm weather following snow melt, bud break and flowering will occur early providing a longer period for growth and photosynthesis. However, if very cold weather follows snowmelt, plants will be exposed directly to freezing conditions that plants under the snow would not. Such exposed plants may suffer freeze damage and delayed bud break. We have been experimentally manipulating snow cover at Toolik Lake, Alaska, since 1995. In 9 years of early snow removal treatments, in only two years has the second scenario occurred, in 2001 and 2002. Here we document the effects of very cold conditions following snow removal on green biomass as assessed by NDVI of treatment plots relative to controls. In 2001 evergreens shrubs were killed, bud break was delayed, and NDVI was lower on treatment plots relative to controls. In contrast, in a year with warm spring temperatures following snow melt, 1999, NDVI on treatment plots was significantly greater than that of controls. Cold conditions following snow melt may lead to death of shrubs and delayed budbreak, effects that will carry over throughout the growing season and ultimately, affect community composition and ecosystem function.

  1. Arctic tundra vegetation functional types based on photosynthetic physiology and optical properties

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huemmrich, K. F.; Gamon, J. A.; Tweedie, C. E.

    2011-12-01

    Climate change in tundra regions may alter vegetation species composition and ecosystem carbon balance, and remote sensing provides critical tools for monitoring these changes. Measurements of pure patches of key plant functional types (lichens, mosses, and vascular plants) in sedge tundra at Barrow AK, show three different values of light use efficiency (LUE). Also, discriminant analysis of patch reflectance identifies seven spectral bands that can separate each functional type and nongreen material (bare soil and dead leaves). These results were tested along a 100 m transect across the tundra. At every meter, midsummer spectral reflectance and vegetation coverage were measured. LUE estimated from coverage fractions varies widely, even over short distances. The patch-level discriminant functions successfully unmixed cover fractions of the functional types, with standard errors well within the expected measurement error of the coverage. These results demonstrate the use of hyperspectral remote sensing to provide direct estimates of tundra ecosystem LUE variability.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goswami, Santonu

    Global change, which includes climate change and the impacts of human disturbance, is altering the provision and sustainability of ecosystem goods and services. These changes have the capacity to initiate cascading affects and complex feedbacks through physical, biological and human subsystems and interactions between them. Understanding the future state of the earth system requires improved knowledge of ecosystem dynamics and long term observations of how these are being impacted by global change. Improving remote sensing methods is essential for such advancement because satellite remote sensing is the only means by which landscape to continental-scale change can be observed. The Arctic appears to be impacted by climate change more than any other region on Earth. Arctic terrestrial ecosystems comprise only 6% of the land surface area on Earth yet contain an estimated 25% of global soil organic carbon, most of which is stored in permafrost. If projected increases in plant productivity do not offset forecast losses of soil carbon to the atmosphere as greenhouse gases, regional to global greenhouse warming could be enhanced. Soil moisture is an important control of land-atmosphere carbon exchange in arctic terrestrial ecosystems. However, few studies to date have examined using remote sensing, or developed remote sensing methods for observing the complex interplay between soil moisture and plant phenology and productivity in arctic landscapes. This study was motivated by this knowledge gap and addressed the following questions as a contribution to a large scale, multi investigator flooding and draining experiment funded by the National Science Foundation near Barrow, Alaska (71°17'01" N, 156°35'48" W): (1) How can optical remote sensing be used to monitor the surface hydrology of arctic landscapes? (2) What are the spatio-temporal dynamics of land-surface phenology (NDVI) in the study area and do hydrological treatment has any effect on inter-annual patterns? (3

  3. Dynamics of the Exchange of Carbon Dioxide in Arctic and Subarctic Regions,

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1973-01-01

    R . Stross, D. Bierle , R . Dillon, M. Miller, P. Coyne and J. Kelley. 1972. Carbon Flux Through a Tundra Pond Ecosystem at Barrow, Alaska. U.S. Tundra...University of Washington, were encouraged by R . Adm. 3 Charles Thomas (now deceased) and Professors P. E. Church and N. Unterleiner. Continued advice and...vessel R /V Acona. Particular acknowledgment is given to the Naval Arctic Research Laboratory, Barrow, Alaska, whose director and staff have gen- erously

  4. Microclimate of Arctic Tree Line 2. Soil Microclimate of Tundra and Forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rouse, Wayne R.

    1984-01-01

    Forest and tundra soils display distinctive microclimates for a climatically normal year at Churchill. Forest soils are substantially warmer in the active layer than those of the tundra but the tundra active layer is deeper. Forest soils are much wetter than those of the tundra. This results from the deep winter snow pack, which provides abundant meltwater to already thawed soils. The soils remain wet throughout the year, and the large latent heat release delays the freezing of forest soils until a snow pack is established. As a result, soils stay relatively warm throughout winter and thaw rapidly and deeply before snow pack melting in the spring. The thaw period in the tree rooting zone is about 6 months, compared to 4 months at the same depth in tundra. The magnitude of soil heat storage is large, comprising 18% and 16% of net radiation in tundra and forest, respectively, during the thaw season. During freeze back it is the dominant heat exchange process. Between 80% and 90% of the total soil heat storage is involved in the latent heat exchange accompanying thawing and freezing. Soil heat flux plates strongly underestimate the ground heat exchange and are unreliable in permafrost terrain.

  5. 50 CFR Appendix I to Part 37 - Legal Description of the Coastal Plain, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... Refuge approximately 57 miles along the line of extreme low water of the Arctic Ocean, including all..., Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska I Appendix I to Part 37 Wildlife and Fisheries UNITED STATES FISH... GEOLOGICAL AND GEOPHYSICAL EXPLORATION OF THE COASTAL PLAIN, ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, ALASKA Pt....

  6. 50 CFR Appendix I to Part 37 - Legal Description of the Coastal Plain, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ..., Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska I Appendix I to Part 37 Wildlife and Fisheries UNITED STATES FISH... GEOLOGICAL AND GEOPHYSICAL EXPLORATION OF THE COASTAL PLAIN, ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, ALASKA Pt. 37, App. I Appendix I to Part 37—Legal Description of the Coastal Plain, Arctic National......

  7. 50 CFR Appendix I to Part 37 - Legal Description of the Coastal Plain, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ..., Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska I Appendix I to Part 37 Wildlife and Fisheries UNITED STATES FISH... GEOLOGICAL AND GEOPHYSICAL EXPLORATION OF THE COASTAL PLAIN, ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, ALASKA Pt. 37, App. I Appendix I to Part 37—Legal Description of the Coastal Plain, Arctic National......

  8. 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

  9. A new hepadnavirus endemic in arctic ground squirrels in Alaska.

    PubMed

    Testut, P; Renard, C A; Terradillos, O; Vitvitski-Trepo, L; Tekaia, F; Degott, C; Blake, J; Boyer, B; Buendia, M A

    1996-07-01

    We present evidence for a novel member of the hepadnavirus family that is endemic in wild arctic ground squirrels (Spermophylus parryi kennicotti) in Alaska. This virus, designated arctic squirrel hepatitis virus (ASHV), was initially detected in the livers of animals bearing large hepatic nodules by nucleic acid hybridization with hepadnavirus probes and in plasma by cross-reactivity with antibodies to hepadnavirus surface and core antigens. The complete nucleotide sequence of the 3,302-bp-long ASHV genome was determined and compared with those of ground squirrel hepatitis virus (GSHV) and woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV); all sequences were organized into four open reading frames, designated pre-C/C, pre-S/S, pol, and X. Despite roughly equivalent variability among the three rodent hepadnaviruses (around 16% base and 19% amino acid exchanges), ASHV appeared to be more closely related to GSHV than to WHV in phylogenetic analysis. Accordingly, preliminary studies of the pathology of ASHV infection suggested that ASHV may be a less efficient oncogenic agent than WHV. About one-third of aged animals maintained in captivity, including virus-infected as well as uninfected squirrels, developed large liver nodules, consisting of hepatocellular adenomas or carcinomas or nonmalignant lesions characterized by drastic microvesicular steatosis. ASHV-infected arctic ground squirrels may serve as a new model with which to analyze the contribution of hepadnavirus- and host-specific determinants to liver pathology and tumorigenesis.

  10. A new hepadnavirus endemic in arctic ground squirrels in Alaska.

    PubMed Central

    Testut, P; Renard, C A; Terradillos, O; Vitvitski-Trepo, L; Tekaia, F; Degott, C; Blake, J; Boyer, B; Buendia, M A

    1996-01-01

    We present evidence for a novel member of the hepadnavirus family that is endemic in wild arctic ground squirrels (Spermophylus parryi kennicotti) in Alaska. This virus, designated arctic squirrel hepatitis virus (ASHV), was initially detected in the livers of animals bearing large hepatic nodules by nucleic acid hybridization with hepadnavirus probes and in plasma by cross-reactivity with antibodies to hepadnavirus surface and core antigens. The complete nucleotide sequence of the 3,302-bp-long ASHV genome was determined and compared with those of ground squirrel hepatitis virus (GSHV) and woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV); all sequences were organized into four open reading frames, designated pre-C/C, pre-S/S, pol, and X. Despite roughly equivalent variability among the three rodent hepadnaviruses (around 16% base and 19% amino acid exchanges), ASHV appeared to be more closely related to GSHV than to WHV in phylogenetic analysis. Accordingly, preliminary studies of the pathology of ASHV infection suggested that ASHV may be a less efficient oncogenic agent than WHV. About one-third of aged animals maintained in captivity, including virus-infected as well as uninfected squirrels, developed large liver nodules, consisting of hepatocellular adenomas or carcinomas or nonmalignant lesions characterized by drastic microvesicular steatosis. ASHV-infected arctic ground squirrels may serve as a new model with which to analyze the contribution of hepadnavirus- and host-specific determinants to liver pathology and tumorigenesis. PMID:8676441

  11. 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.

  12. Flux Of Carbon from an Airborne Laboratory (FOCAL): Synergy of airborne and surface measures of carbon emission and isotopologue content from tundra landscape in Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dobosy, R.; Dumas, E.; Sayres, D. S.; Kochendorfer, J.

    2013-12-01

    Arctic tundra, recognized as a potential major source of new atmospheric carbon, is characterized by low topographic relief and small-scale heterogeneity consisting of small lakes and intervening tundra vegetation. This fits well the flux-fragment method (FFM) of analysis of data from low-flying aircraft. The FFM draws on 1)airborne eddy-covariance flux measurements, 2)a classified surface-characteristics map (e.g. open water vs tundra), 3)a footprint model, and 4)companion surface-based eddy-covariance flux measurements. The FOCAL, a collaboration among Harvard University's Anderson Group, NOAA's Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division (ATDD), and Aurora Flight Sciences, Inc., made coordinated flights in 2013 August with a collaborating surface site. The FOCAL gathers not only flux data for CH4 and CO2 but also the corresponding carbon-isotopologue content of these gases. The surface site provides a continuous sample of carbon flux from interstitial tundra over time throughout the period of the campaign. The FFM draws samples from the aircraft data over many instances of tundra and also open water. From this we will determine how representative the surface site is of the larger area (100 km linear scale), and how much the open water differs from the tundra as a source of carbon.

  13. Landscape- and decadal-scale changes in the composition and structure of plant communities in the northern foothills of the Brooks Range of Arctic Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mercado-Díaz, J. A.; Gould, W. A.

    2010-12-01

    Scientists have predicted an increase in vascular plant cover in some tundra ecosystems as a result of global climate change. In Arctic Alaska, observational studies have documented increases in shrub cover for some regions; however, only a few studies have provided detailed quantitative evidence supporting the existence such changes. To address these shortcomings, we analyzed plant community data from 156 1m2 vegetation plots located at two 1km2 grids in Toolik Lake, Alaska. This data covered the time period from 1989-2008. After 18 years, we found that the relative abundance of vascular vegetation have increased by 16%, while the relative abundance of nonvascular vegetation decreased by 19%. Mean plant canopy height has experienced an increase from 4.4 cm in 1990 to 6.5 cm in 2008 and the extent and complexity of the canopy have increased over time from about 60% to 80%. Species diversity was also significantly reduced. While major vegetation changes in other tundra regions have been attributed to gradual increases in surface air temperature, changes documented in this study were apparently promoted by increasing soil moisture conditions that resulted from increased summer rainfall in our region. These results support the idea that tundra ecosystems in this region of the Alaskan Arctic are experiencing significant increases in aboveground standing crop and a shift in carbon allocation to vascular plants vs. bryophytes. These changes will likely affect important ecosystem processes like snow re-deposition, winter biological activities, nutrient cycling and could ultimately result in significant feedbacks to climate.

  14. 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.

  15. Soil bacterial community and functional shifts in response to altered snowpack in moist acidic tundra of northern Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ricketts, Michael P.; Poretsky, Rachel S.; Welker, Jeffrey M.; Gonzalez-Meler, Miquel A.

    2016-09-01

    Soil microbial communities play a central role in the cycling of carbon (C) in Arctic tundra ecosystems, which contain a large portion of the global C pool. Climate change predictions for Arctic regions include increased temperature and precipitation (i.e. more snow), resulting in increased winter soil insulation, increased soil temperature and moisture, and shifting plant community composition. We utilized an 18-year snow fence study site designed to examine the effects of increased winter precipitation on Arctic tundra soil bacterial communities within the context of expected ecosystem response to climate change. Soil was collected from three pre-established treatment zones representing varying degrees of snow accumulation, where deep snow ˜ 100 % and intermediate snow ˜ 50 % increased snowpack relative to the control, and low snow ˜ 25 % decreased snowpack relative to the control. Soil physical properties (temperature, moisture, active layer thaw depth) were measured, and samples were analysed for C concentration, nitrogen (N) concentration, and pH. Soil microbial community DNA was extracted and the 16S rRNA gene was sequenced to reveal phylogenetic community differences between samples and determine how soil bacterial communities might respond (structurally and functionally) to changes in winter precipitation and soil chemistry. We analysed relative abundance changes of the six most abundant phyla (ranging from 82 to 96 % of total detected phyla per sample) and found four (Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, and Chloroflexi) responded to deepened snow. All six phyla correlated with at least one of the soil chemical properties (% C, % N, C : N, pH); however, a single predictor was not identified, suggesting that each bacterial phylum responds differently to soil characteristics. Overall, bacterial community structure (beta diversity) was found to be associated with snow accumulation treatment and all soil chemical properties

  16. Oil and Gas Resources of the Arctic Alaska Petroleum Province

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Houseknecht, David W.; Bird, Kenneth J.

    2006-01-01

    The Arctic Alaska Petroleum Province, encompassing all the lands and adjacent Continental Shelf areas north of the Brooks Range-Herald arch, is one of the most petroleum-productive areas in the United States, having produced about 15 billion bbl of oil. Seven unitized oil fields currently contribute to production, and three additional oil fields have been unitized but are not yet producing. Most known petroleum accumulations involve structural or combination structural-stratigraphic traps related to closure along the Barrow arch, a regional basement high, which has focused regional hydrocarbon migration since Early Cretaceous time. Several oil accumulations in stratigraphic traps have been developed in recent years. In addition to three small gas fields producing for local consumption, more than 20 additional oil and gas discoveries remain undeveloped. This geologically complex region includes prospective strata within passive-margin, rift, and foreland-basin sequences. Oil and gas were generated from multiple source rocks throughout the region. Although some reservoired oils appear to be derived from a single source rock, evidence for significant mixing of hydrocarbons from multiple source rocks indicates a composite petroleum system. Both extensional and contractional tectonic structures provide ample exploration targets, and recent emphasis on stratigraphic traps has demonstrated a significant resource potential in shelf and turbidite sequences of Jurassic through Tertiary age. Recent estimates of the total mean volume of undiscovered resources in the Arctic Alaska Petroleum Province by the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Minerals Management Service are more than 50 billion bbl of oil and natural-gas liquids and 227 trillion ft3 of gas, distributed approximately equally between Federal offshore and combined onshore and State offshore areas.

  17. Ice-age megafauna in Arctic Alaska: extinction, invasion, survival

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mann, Daniel H.; Groves, Pamela; Kunz, Michael L.; Reanier, Richard E.; Gaglioti, Benjamin V.

    2013-01-01

    Radical restructuring of the terrestrial, large mammal fauna living in arctic Alaska occurred between 14,000 and 10,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age. Steppe bison, horse, and woolly mammoth became extinct, moose and humans invaded, while muskox and caribou persisted. The ice age megafauna was more diverse in species and possibly contained 6× more individual animals than live in the region today. Megafaunal biomass during the last ice age may have been 30× greater than present. Horse was the dominant species in terms of number of individuals. Lions, short-faced bears, wolves, and possibly grizzly bears comprised the predator/scavenger guild. The youngest mammoth so far discovered lived ca 13,800 years ago, while horses and bison persisted on the North Slope until at least 12,500 years ago during the Younger Dryas cold interval. The first people arrived on the North Slope ca 13,500 years ago. Bone-isotope measurements and foot-loading characteristics suggest megafaunal niches were segregated along a moisture gradient, with the surviving species (muskox and caribou) utilizing the warmer and moister portions of the vegetation mosaic. As the ice age ended, the moisture gradient shifted and eliminated habitats utilized by the dryland, grazing species (bison, horse, mammoth). The proximate cause for this change was regional paludification, the spread of organic soil horizons and peat. End-Pleistocene extinctions in arctic Alaska represent local, not global extinctions since the megafaunal species lost there persisted to later times elsewhere. Hunting seems unlikely as the cause of these extinctions, but it cannot be ruled out as the final blow to megafaunal populations that were already functionally extinct by the time humans arrived in the region.

  18. Ice-age megafauna in Arctic Alaska: extinction, invasion, survival

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mann, Daniel H.; Groves, Pamela; Kunz, Michael L.; Reanier, Richard E.; Gaglioti, Benjamin V.

    2013-06-01

    Radical restructuring of the terrestrial, large mammal fauna living in arctic Alaska occurred between 14,000 and 10,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age. Steppe bison, horse, and woolly mammoth became extinct, moose and humans invaded, while muskox and caribou persisted. The ice age megafauna was more diverse in species and possibly contained 6× more individual animals than live in the region today. Megafaunal biomass during the last ice age may have been 30× greater than present. Horse was the dominant species in terms of number of individuals. Lions, short-faced bears, wolves, and possibly grizzly bears comprised the predator/scavenger guild. The youngest mammoth so far discovered lived ca 13,800 years ago, while horses and bison persisted on the North Slope until at least 12,500 years ago during the Younger Dryas cold interval. The first people arrived on the North Slope ca 13,500 years ago. Bone-isotope measurements and foot-loading characteristics suggest megafaunal niches were segregated along a moisture gradient, with the surviving species (muskox and caribou) utilizing the warmer and moister portions of the vegetation mosaic. As the ice age ended, the moisture gradient shifted and eliminated habitats utilized by the dryland, grazing species (bison, horse, mammoth). The proximate cause for this change was regional paludification, the spread of organic soil horizons and peat. End-Pleistocene extinctions in arctic Alaska represent local, not global extinctions since the megafaunal species lost there persisted to later times elsewhere. Hunting seems unlikely as the cause of these extinctions, but it cannot be ruled out as the final blow to megafaunal populations that were already functionally extinct by the time humans arrived in the region.

  19. Conquering Alaska's Arctic drilling problems. Part 3 (conclusion). Completion techniques and drilling rigs

    SciTech Connect

    Moore, S.D.

    1981-07-01

    Improved well-completion procedures, along with the development of rigs specially designed for Arctic service, have contributed substantially to the optimization of Alaska's oil and gas fields. Many of the techniques pioneered at Prudhoe Bay will prove useful in developing future Arctic discoveries.

  20. Stemming the Revolving Door: Teacher Retention and Attrition in Arctic Alaska Schools

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kaden, Ute; Patterson, Philip P.; Healy, Joanne; Adams, Barbara L.

    2016-01-01

    Limited research is available concerning teacher retention and teacher attrition in Arctic Alaska. This paper reports survey research findings, which identify factors related to teacher retention and attrition in Alaskan Arctic Native communities. Teacher retention rates (2009-2013) vary widely over time showing no significant trends. Results…

  1. Reservoir quality studies, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Mowatt, T.C.; Banet, A. )

    1991-03-01

    Reservoir quality studies are part of the reservoir management and resource assessment programs of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Alaska. Petrographic analyses have been carried out of samples collected from surface exposures in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), Alaska, to evaluate surface materials as to their potential reservoir rock qualities in the subsurface. This entails characterization of relevant petrologic-petrophysical properties, integration with regional geological-geophysical relationships, and synthesis in terms of likely diagenetic, structural, and stratigraphic conditions in the subsurface. There is a paucity of relevant data in this region. Inferences must be predicated largely on general principles and known relationships elsewhere. A spectrum of lithologies were studied, representing a substantial portion of the regional stratigraphic column. In a number of cases, particularly among the pre-Brookian samples, the rocks appear to have low reservoir potential, based on their present high degree of diagenetic maturity. There is always the possibility - deemed somewhat unlikely here - of subsurface equivalents with more favorable characteristics, due to different original compositions, textures, and/or geologic histories. Brookian sandstones and conglomerates feature samples with fair-good reservoir characteristics, with prospects of being equally good or better in the subsurface. The samples studied suggest the likelihood of horizons with viable reservoir qualities in the subsurface within the ANWR region.

  2. Den use by arctic foxes in northern Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Eberhardt, L.E.; Garrott, R.A.; Hanson, W.C.

    1983-01-01

    Den use by arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) was examined near the Prudhoe Bay oil field and on a nearby undisturbed area on the Colville River Delta in northern Alaska. The density of dens at Prudhoe Bay (1 den/12 km/sup 2/) was approximately three times that on Colville Delta (1 den/34 km/sup 2/). Thirty-three percent of the Prudhoe Bay dens appeared to be of recent origin compared to 11% on the Colville Delta. Survival or production of juvenile foxes decreased on both study areas in 1977 when densities of lemmings (Dicrostonyx torquatus and Lemmus sibiricus) were low, but the decrease was less pronounced at Prudhoe Bay. Foxes that raised young at Prudhoe Bay in 1977 were those living near petroleum development facilities. The utilization of garbage by Prudhoe Bay foxes probably accounted for many of the observed differences between study sites. Common features of spring and summer den use by arctic foxes included a selection of historically preferred den sites, splitting litters into multiple dens, and the fidelity of some adult and juvenile foxes to dens in successive years. Winter use of dens was common at Prudhoe Bay. 24 references, 2 tables.

  3. DIFFERENTIATION IN N15 UPTAKE AND THE ORGANIZATION OF AN ARCTIC TUNDRA PLANT COMMUNITY

    EPA Science Inventory

    We used N15 soil-labeling techniques to examine how the dominant species in a N-limited, tussock tundra plant community partitioned soil N, and how such partitioning may contribute to community organization. The five most abundant species were well differentiated with respect to...

  4. 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.

  5. Paleoenvironmental analyses of an organic deposit from an erosional landscape remnant, Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Eisner, W R; Bockheim, J G; Hinkel, K M; Brown, T A; Nelson, F E; Peterson, K M; Jones, B M

    2005-01-02

    The dominant landscape process on the Arctic Coastal Plain of northern Alaska is the formation and drainage of thaw lakes. Lakes and drained thaw lake basins account for approximately 75% of the modern surface expression of the Barrow Peninsula. The thaw lake cycle usually obliterates lacustrine or peat sediments from previous cycles which could otherwise be used for paleoecological reconstruction of long-term landscape and vegetation changes. Several possible erosional remnants of a former topographic surface that predates the formation of the thaw lakes have been tentatively identified. These remnants are characterized by a higher elevation, a thick organic layer with very high ground ice content in the upper permafrost, and a plant community somewhat atypical of the region. Ten soil cores were collected from one site, and one core was intensively sampled for soil organic carbon content, pollen analysis, and {sup 14}C dating. The lowest level of the organic sediments represents the earliest phase of plant growth and dates to ca. 9000 cal BP. Palynological evidence indicates the presence of mesic shrub tundra (including sedge, birch, willow, and heath vegetation); and microfossil indicators point to wetter eutrophic conditions during this period. Carbon accumulation was rapid due to high net primary productivity in a relatively nutrient-rich environment. These results are interpreted as the local response to ameliorating climate during the early Holocene. The middle Holocene portion of the record contains an unconformity, indicating that between 8200 and 4200 cal BP sediments were eroded from the site, presumably in response to wind activity during a drier period centered around 4500 cal BP. The modern vegetation community of the erosional remnant was established after 4200 cal BP, and peat growth resumed. During the late Holocene, carbon accumulation rates were greatly reduced in response to the combined effects of declining productivity associated with climatic

  6. Paleoenvironmental analyses of an organic deposit from an erosional landscape remnant, Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Eisner, Wendy R.; Bockheim, James G.; Hinkel, Kenneth M.; Brown, Thomas A.; Nelson, Frederick E.; Peterson, Kim M.; Jones, Benjamin M.

    2005-01-01

    The dominant landscape process on the Arctic Coastal Plain of northern Alaska is the formation and drainage of thaw lakes. Lakes and drained thaw-lake basins account for approximately 75% of the modern surface expression of the Barrow Peninsula. The thaw-lake cycle usually obliterates lacustrine or peat sediments from previous cycles, which could otherwise be used for paleoecological reconstruction of long-term landscape and vegetation changes. Several possible erosional remnants of a former topographic surface that predates the formation of the thaw lakes have been tentatively identified. These remnants are characterized by a higher elevation, a thick organic layer with very high ground ice content in the upper permafrost and a plant community somewhat atypical of the region. Ten soil cores were collected from one site, and one core was intensively sampled for soil organic carbon content, pollen analysis and 14C dating. The lowest level of the organic sediments represents the earliest phase of plant growth and dates to ca. 9000 cal BP. Palynological evidence indicates the presence of mesic shrub tundra (including sedge, birch, willow and heath vegetation), and microfossil indicators point to wetter eutrophic conditions during this period. Carbon accumulation was rapid due to high net primary productivity in a relatively nutrient-rich environment. These results are interpreted as the local response to ameliorating climate during the early Holocene. The middle Holocene portion of the record contains an unconformity, indicating that between 8200 and 4200 cal BP sediments were eroded from the site, presumably in response to wind activity during a drier period centered around 4500 cal BP. The modern vegetation community of the erosional remnant was established after 4200 cal BP and peat growth resumed. During the late Holocene, carbon accumulation rates (CARs) were greatly reduced in response to the combined effects of declining productivity associated with climatic

  7. Response of a tundra ecosystem to elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide and CO sub 2 -induced climate change

    SciTech Connect

    Oechel, W.C.

    1992-04-01

    This report presents the progress on the DOE funded project: Response of a Tundra Ecosystem to Elevated Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and CO{sub 2}-Induced Climate Change.'' The current funding cycle was initiated on September 1, 1989, to run through August 31, 1992. There was an initial reduction in scope dictated by budget availabilities, primarily manipulations of CO{sub 2}, temperature and nutrients at a wet tundra located at Barrow Alaska. These experiments still need to be done over the mid- to longer term in order to accurately predict, apriori, the effects of climate change on the arctic tundra as well as possible feedbacks. Coordination and cooperation with other agencies was initiated in 1990 and formally proposed in our 1991 renewal at the national and international level and has become an important aspect of the research. To accurately and precisely scale plot and transect measurements to the circumpolar tundra is beyond the scope of the current DOE project. It is possible, however to determine the patterns and controls of CO{sub 2} flux from the current circumpolar arctic tundra with the involvement of additional agencies and governments. Results from the past two years of this project confirm that the arctic has become a source of CO{sub 2} to the atmosphere. This change coincides with recent climatic variation in the arctic, and suggest a positive feedback of arctic ecosystems on atmospheric CO{sub 2} and global change. Measurements along a latitudinal gradient across the north slope of Alaska indicate a loss of carbon from tussock tundra and wet tundra, decreasing in magnitude along a decreasing gradient of temperature but an increasing gradient in soil moisture. These data are in agreement with work done on tussock tundra in 1983{endash}85 and 1987.

  8. Response of a tundra ecosystem to elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide and CO{sub 2}-induced climate change. Progress report

    SciTech Connect

    Oechel, W.C.

    1992-04-01

    This report presents the progress on the DOE funded project: ``Response of a Tundra Ecosystem to Elevated Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and CO{sub 2}-Induced Climate Change.`` The current funding cycle was initiated on September 1, 1989, to run through August 31, 1992. There was an initial reduction in scope dictated by budget availabilities, primarily manipulations of CO{sub 2}, temperature and nutrients at a wet tundra located at Barrow Alaska. These experiments still need to be done over the mid- to longer term in order to accurately predict, apriori, the effects of climate change on the arctic tundra as well as possible feedbacks. Coordination and cooperation with other agencies was initiated in 1990 and formally proposed in our 1991 renewal at the national and international level and has become an important aspect of the research. To accurately and precisely scale plot and transect measurements to the circumpolar tundra is beyond the scope of the current DOE project. It is possible, however to determine the patterns and controls of CO{sub 2} flux from the current circumpolar arctic tundra with the involvement of additional agencies and governments. Results from the past two years of this project confirm that the arctic has become a source of CO{sub 2} to the atmosphere. This change coincides with recent climatic variation in the arctic, and suggest a positive feedback of arctic ecosystems on atmospheric CO{sub 2} and global change. Measurements along a latitudinal gradient across the north slope of Alaska indicate a loss of carbon from tussock tundra and wet tundra, decreasing in magnitude along a decreasing gradient of temperature but an increasing gradient in soil moisture. These data are in agreement with work done on tussock tundra in 1983{endash}85 and 1987.

  9. Impacts of tundra fire on active layer condition and estimation of true resistivity value of soil in Seward Peninsula, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harada, K.; Sawada, Y.; Narita, K.; Fukuda, M.

    2007-12-01

    In Seward Peninsula, southwest Alaska, large tundra fires were occurred in 1997 and 2002, and a discontinuous permafrost area burned widely near the Kougarok River. After fires, a vegetation condition was destroyed and a ground surface thermal condition was changed. Then, field observations were conducted at burned and unburned sites in summer 2005, 2006 and 2007, in order to clarify impacts of the tundra fire on thermal and water conditions of active layer. From pit surveys, ground temperatures at burned sites showed 4-5 °C higher values than those at unburned sites. Soil water contents at burned sites showed relative high values in 2005, but low in 2006. Active layer thicknesses were significantly different between burned and unburned sites, about 60cm and 40cm, respectively. There is no significant increasing of the thickness between 2005 and 2006, however, the thickness in 2007 at north-facing sites increased to 80cm at the burned site and 50cm at the unburned site, respectively. Apparent electrical resistivity values up to 1m deep were obtained from electrical soundings in 2006, and values at burned sites were lower than those at unburned sites due to the thick active layer whose resistivity value is relatively low. As an apparent resistivity value is generally produced from the combination of a true resistivity value and a thickness of a layer, a simple calculation was carried out in order to estimate a true resistivity value of unfrozen mineral soil in the active layer. The calculated results showed that the true resistivity at burned sites was higher than that at unburned sites, which was seemed to correspond to a relative low water condition. This result is in agreement with the measured result of water content in 2006. Using this method, the apparent resistivity may show a soil water condition.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Chapin, F.S. III.

    1991-01-01

    During 1990, we worked primarily on two major projects. The first was a field study of {sup 15}N partitioning between plants and microbes at Imnavait Creek. {sup 15}N was absorbed faster on the tundra than in temperate climates, and release of labeled nitrogen occurs much more slowly, indicating a slow turnover. The second major project was a model of nutrient uptake by {und Eriophorum vaginatum}. The major effort for 1991 will be on continued model development to match model predictions with results of current field work. Also scheduled for 1991 is completion of field work with {und E. vaginatum} and related soils. This should provide validation of the applicability of R4D concepts to anthropogenic disturbances in tundra. 5 figs. (MHB)

  11. 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.

  12. Domibacillus tundrae sp. nov., isolated from active layer soil of tussock tundra in Alaska, and emended description of the genus Domibacillus.

    PubMed

    Gyeong, Hye Ryeon; Baek, Kiwoon; Hwang, Chung Yeon; Park, Key Hun; Kim, Hye Min; Lee, Hong Kum; Lee, Yoo Kyung

    2015-10-01

    A novel Gram-stain-positive, spore-forming, aerobic, motile and rod-shaped bacterium designated strain PAMC 80007T was isolated from an active layer soil sample of Council, Alaska. Optimal growth of strain PAMC 80007T was observed at 30 °C, pH 7.0 and in the presence of 2 % (w/v) NaCl. Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequence indicated that strain PAMC 80007T belonged to the genus Domibacillus. This strain was closely related to Domibacillus enclensis (98.3 %), Domibacillus robiginosus (98.3 %) and Domibacillus indicus (97.2 %). Genomic DNA G+C content was 43.5 mol% and genomic relatedness analyses based on the average nucleotide identity and the genome-to-genome distance showed that strain PAMC 80007T is clearly distinguished from the closely related species of the genus Domibacillus. The major fatty acids (>5 %) were iso-C15 : 0 (24.7 %), C16 : 1ω11c (16.8 %), anteiso-C15 : 0 (16.5 %), C16 : 0 (15.6 %) and anteiso-C17 : 0 (8.7 %). The major respiratory isoprenoid quinones were menaquinone-6 (MK-6) and menaquinone-7 (MK-7), and the polar lipid profile contained diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylglycerol, phosphoglycolipid, phospholipid and two unidentified lipids. meso-Diaminopimelic acid (type A1γ) was present in the cell-wall peptidoglycan, and the major whole-cell sugar was ribose with a minor quantity of glucose. Results from a polyphasic study suggested that strain PAMC 80007T represents a novel species of the genus Domibacillus for which the name Domibacillus tundrae sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is PAMC 80007T ( = JCM 30371T = KCTC 33549T = DSM 29572T). An emended description of the genus Domibacillus is also provided.

  13. Challenges in modelling isoprene and monoterpene emission dynamics of Arctic plants: a case study from a subarctic tundra heath

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tang, Jing; Schurgers, Guy; Valolahti, Hanna; Faubert, Patrick; Tiiva, Päivi; Michelsen, Anders; Rinnan, Riikka

    2016-12-01

    The Arctic is warming at twice the global average speed, and the warming-induced increases in biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) emissions from Arctic plants are expected to be drastic. The current global models' estimations of minimal BVOC emissions from the Arctic are based on very few observations and have been challenged increasingly by field data. This study applied a dynamic ecosystem model, LPJ-GUESS, as a platform to investigate short-term and long-term BVOC emission responses to Arctic climate warming. Field observations in a subarctic tundra heath with long-term (13-year) warming treatments were extensively used for parameterizing and evaluating BVOC-related processes (photosynthesis, emission responses to temperature and vegetation composition). We propose an adjusted temperature (T) response curve for Arctic plants with much stronger T sensitivity than the commonly used algorithms for large-scale modelling. The simulated emission responses to 2 °C warming between the adjusted and original T response curves were evaluated against the observed warming responses (WRs) at short-term scales. Moreover, the model responses to warming by 4 and 8 °C were also investigated as a sensitivity test. The model showed reasonable agreement to the observed vegetation CO2 fluxes in the main growing season as well as day-to-day variability of isoprene and monoterpene emissions. The observed relatively high WRs were better captured by the adjusted T response curve than by the common one. During 1999-2012, the modelled annual mean isoprene and monoterpene emissions were 20 and 8 mg C m-2 yr-1, with an increase by 55 and 57 % for 2 °C summertime warming, respectively. Warming by 4 and 8 °C for the same period further elevated isoprene emission for all years, but the impacts on monoterpene emissions levelled off during the last few years. At hour-day scale, the WRs seem to be strongly impacted by canopy air T, while at the day-year scale, the WRs are a combined

  14. Distribution and activity of ice wedges across the forest-tundra transition, western Arctic Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kokelj, S. V.; Lantz, T. C.; Wolfe, S. A.; Kanigan, J. C.; Morse, P. D.; Coutts, R.; Molina-Giraldo, N.; Burn, C. R.

    2014-09-01

    Remote sensing, regional ground temperature and ground ice observations, and numerical simulation were used to investigate the size, distribution, and activity of ice wedges in fine-grained mineral and organic soils across the forest-tundra transition in uplands east of the Mackenzie Delta. In the northernmost dwarf-shrub tundra, ice wedge polygons cover up to 40% of the ground surface, with the wedges commonly exceeding 3 m in width. The largest ice wedges are in peatlands where thermal contraction cracking occurs more frequently than in nearby hummocky terrain with fine-grained soils. There are fewer ice wedges, rarely exceeding 2 m in width, in uplands to the south and none have been found in mineral soils of the tall-shrub tundra, although active ice wedges are found there throughout peatlands. In the spruce forest zone, small, relict ice wedges are restricted to peatlands. At tundra sites, winter temperatures at the top of permafrost are lower in organic than mineral soils because of the shallow permafrost table, occurrence of phase change at 0°C, and the relatively high thermal conductivity of icy peat. Due to these factors and the high coefficient of thermal contraction of frozen saturated peat, ice wedge cracking and growth is more common in peatlands than in mineral soil. However, the high latent heat content of saturated organic active layer soils may inhibit freezeback, particularly where thick snow accumulates, making the permafrost and the ice wedges in spruce forest polygonal peatlands susceptible to degradation following alteration of drainage or climate warming.

  15. 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...

  16. Coupling of continuous in situ ecosystem water vapor, precipitation, plant and soil water isotope (δ2H, δ18O and d-excess) measurements in Arctic Alaska to understand a changing water cycle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Welker, J. M.; Klein, E. S.; Leffler, J.; Cherry, J. E.; Young, J. M.

    2013-12-01

    A changing Arctic water cycle is focusing our efforts on the patterns and processes governing the exchange of water between the land surface and the atmosphere. We initiated a NSF EAGER study of the changing Arctic water cycle with a cross-scale water isotope (ecosystem-landscape and region) study employing tower, aircraft and satellite measurements in N Alaska. At the land surface, we measured in situ, continuous ecosystem δ2H and δ18O in water vapor isotopes along a vertical profile (0.1 to 3 m) in late winter, spring, and summer of 2013 at the Toolik Lake Field Station in Arctic Alaska. The continuous water vapor measurements are being combined with soil, plant and precipitation water isotope measurements, and species-level transpiration rates. Diurnal patterns of δ2H values in water vapor vary systematically from the soil surface, through the plant canopy and in the near boundary layer ranging between -200 ‰ at the surface to -240 ‰ at 3 m. These vertical patterns were also observed in d-excess ranging from 5 ‰ near the soil surface to -15 ‰ at 3 m. These patterns disappeared at night indicating their link with evapotranspiration. These data will serve as the foundation for a Bayesian model to articulate the sources, species, and processes governing the exchange of H2O with the lower boundary layer; and will also help to calibrate ecosystem, landscape (aircraft) and regional (satellite) measurements of the water vapor isotopes above different vegetation types (tussock tundra, riparian tundra, and recently burned tundra) and regions (Northern Foothills of the Brooks Range and the Arctic Coastal Plain). Continuous water vapor isotope traits in Arctic Tundra from the soil surface (0.02 m) to 3 m above the tundra for a window of time during the 2013 growing season. The diurnal patterns depict the evidence for transpiration and evaporation as the values above the soil (0.02 m) and in the canopy (0.2m) are enriched during the day and become depleted during

  17. Assessing Seasonal Lake Dynamics in Arctic Alaska: Preliminary Results

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hinkel, K. M.; Beck, R. A.; Healey, N.; Jones, S.; Lenters, J.; Lyons, E. A.; Shah, C. A.; Sheng, Y.; Smith, L. C.; Winston, B. S.; Jones, B. M.

    2008-12-01

    Lakes on the coastal plain of arctic Alaska have developed atop continuous permafrost. Recent research suggests that lake levels, rates of bank erosion and drainage, and depth of the thaw bulb in sediments beneath the lake may increase in response to a warmer and wetter climate. Assessment of lake dynamics entails separating seasonal and interannual fluctuations from the long-term response. A program to study lake dynamics was initiated in 2008 and includes: (1) analysis of both long-term lake changes and seasonal/ interannual fluctuations using high-resolution satellite imagery and aerial photographs, (2) repeated high- resolution mapping of shoreline configuration in spring and late summer using differential GPS combined with water level sensors, (3) conducting bathymetric surveys to determine basin shape and water volume, (4) evaluating the relation between wind vectors and surface water currents with real-time satellite networked GPS-enabled floats and a wide-area wireless network, and (5) quantifying the energy and water balance on a representative lake using data collected from a fully instrumented buoy. Lake basins surveyed near Barrow, Alaska have a maximum depth of 1.5-3.0 m and are characterized by a steep drop-off near the shore and very gradual deepening toward the center. Seasonal shoreline fluctuations are observed in most lakes, with the maximum effect noted in low-lying regions of the lake margin as the water level gradually falls through summer. Preliminary analysis of the lake energy and water balance is presented, including measurements of incoming and outgoing radiation, latent and sensible heat flux, and associated lake temperature and atmospheric parameters. In subsequent years, measurements will be made on lakes further inland where the surficial geology and climate differs from the coastal environment.

  18. Photosynthetic Characterization of Plant Functional Types from Coastal Tundra to Improve Representation of the Arctic in Earth System Models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rogers, A.; Xu, C.; McDowell, N. G.; Sloan, V. L.; Norby, R. J.

    2012-12-01

    The primary goal of Earth System Models (ESMs) is to improve understanding and projection of future global change. In order to do this they must accurately represent the carbon fluxes associated with the terrestrial carbon cycle. Photosynthetic CO2 uptake is well described by the Farquhar, von Caemmerer and Berry model of photosynthesis, and most ESMs use a derivation of this model. One of the key parameters required by the Farquhar, von Caemmerer and Berry model is an estimate of the maximum rate of carboxylation by the enzyme Rubisco (Vc,max). In ESMs the parameter Vc,max is usually fixed for a given plant functional type (PFT) and often estimated from the empirical relationship between leaf N content and Vc,max. However, uncertainty in the estimation of Vc,max has been shown to account for significant variation in model estimation of gross primary production, particularly in the Arctic. As part of a new multidisciplinary project to improve the representation of the Arctic in ESMs (Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments - Arctic) we have begun to characterize photosynthetic parameters and N acquisition in the key Arctic PFTs. We measured the response of photosynthesis (A) to internal CO2 concentration (ci) in situ in two sedges (Carex aquatilis, Eriophorum angustifolium), a grass (Dupontia fisheri) and a forb (Petasites frigidus) growing on the Barrow Environmental Observatory, Barrow, AK. The values of Vc,max (normalized to 25oC) currently used to represent Arctic PFTs in ESMs are approximately half of the values we measured in these species in July, 2012, on the coastal tundra in Barrow. We hypothesize that these plants have a greater fraction of leaf N invested in Rubisco (FLNR) than is assumed by the models. The parameter Vc,max is used directly as a driver for respiration in some ESMs, and in other ESMs Vc,max is linked to leaf N content and N acquisition through FLNR. Therefore, these results have implications for ESMs beyond photosynthesis, and suggest that

  19. The footprint of Alaskan tundra fires during the past half-century: implications for surface properties and radiative forcing

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rocha, Adrian V.; Loranty, Michael M.; Higuera, Phil E.; Mack, Michelle C.; Hu, Feng Sheng; Jones, Benjamin M.; Breen, Amy L.; Rastetter, Edward B.; Goetz, Scott J.; Shaver, Gus R.

    2012-01-01

    Recent large and frequent fires above the Alaskan arctic circle have forced a reassessment of the ecological and climatological importance of fire in arctic tundra ecosystems. Here we provide a general overview of the occurrence, distribution, and ecological and climate implications of Alaskan tundra fires over the past half-century using spatially explicit climate, fire, vegetation and remote sensing datasets for Alaska. Our analyses highlight the importance of vegetation biomass and environmental conditions in regulating tundra burning, and demonstrate that most tundra ecosystems are susceptible to burn, providing the environmental conditions are right. Over the past two decades, fire perimeters above the arctic circle have increased in size and importance, especially on the North Slope, indicating that future wildfire projections should account for fire regime changes in these regions. Remote sensing data and a literature review of thaw depths indicate that tundra fires have both positive and negative implications for climatic feedbacks including a decadal increase in albedo radiative forcing immediately after a fire, a stimulation of surface greenness and a persistent long-term (>10 year) increase in thaw depth. In order to address the future impact of tundra fires on climate, a better understanding of the control of tundra fire occurrence as well as the long-term impacts on ecosystem carbon cycling will be required.

  20. 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.

  1. Net ecosystem exchange over heterogeneous Arctic tundra: Scaling between chamber and eddy covariance measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fox, Andrew M.; Huntley, Brian; Lloyd, Colin R.; Williams, Mathew; Baxter, Robert

    2008-06-01

    Net ecosystem exchange (NEE) was estimated for an area of tundra near Abisko using both eddy covariance (EC) data and chamber measurements. This area of tundra is heterogeneous with six principal elements forming a landscape mosaic. Chamber measurements in patches of the individual mosaic elements were used to model NEE as a function of irradiance and temperature. The area around the EC mast was mapped, and a footprint model was used to simulate the varying source fraction attributable to each mosaic element. Various upscaling approaches were used to estimate NEE for comparison with NEE calculated from the EC observations. The results showed that EC measurements made for such a heterogeneous site are robust to the variations in NEE between mosaic elements that also vary substantially in their source fractions. However, they also revealed a large (˜60%) bias in the absolute magnitude of the cumulative negative NEE for a 40-day study period simulated by various upscaling approaches when compared to the value calculated from the EC observations. The magnitude of this bias, if applied to estimates for the entire tundra region, is substantial in relation to other components of the global carbon budget. Various hypotheses to account for this bias are discussed and, where possible, evaluated. A need is identified for more systematic sampling strategies when performing chamber measurements in order to assess the extent to which subjectivity of chamber location may account for much of the observed bias. If this is the origin of the bias, then upscaling approaches using chamber measurements may generally overestimate CO2 uptake.

  2. 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

  3. Airborne trace metals and organochlorine compounds in arctic Alaska and Siberia: How important?

    SciTech Connect

    Landers, D.H.; Allen-Gil, S.; Gubala, C.P.; Ford, J.

    1995-12-31

    Metal contaminants of anthropogenic origin identified in the arctic atmosphere and the presence of organochlorines in arctic marine mammal tissues has raised the question of the importance of long-range transport of contaminants to the Arctic. Research focused on arctic regions in Alaska and the Taimyr peninsula of north central Russia. Inland watersheds were examined for evidence of increases in trace metal flux during the past 150 years and the presence of organochlorine compounds. Fish and ground squirrels were examined for body burdens of organic contaminants and plasma biomarkers were examined to evaluate biological effects. Sediment data from several lakes suggest that over broad regions, trace metal fluxes have increased only slightly (< 10%), if at all, since the pre-industrial era. The highest metal concentrations in lake sediments are associated with known elevated geologic sources of metals within the respective watersheds. Organochlorines are present in remote inland arctic ecosystems and are most concentrated in the tissues (e.g. liver) of organisms representing higher trophic levels. Arctic Siberia and Alaska (Taimyr peninsula) are similar with regard to contaminant concentrations. However, lichen and moss data suggest that Pb from Eurasian sources does not reach arctic Alaska. The results indicate that long range, transpolar transport and deposition of trace metals is not a large scale current phenomena in the two study regions. The transport and deposition of organochlorine compounds, however, is occurring but at relatively low levels.

  4. Environmental Limits of Tall Shrubs in Alaska's Arctic National Parks.

    PubMed

    Swanson, David K

    2015-01-01

    We sampled shrub canopy volume (height times area) and environmental factors (soil wetness, soil depth of thaw, soil pH, mean July air temperature, and typical date of spring snow loss) on 471 plots across five National Park Service units in northern Alaska. Our goal was to determine the environments where tall shrubs thrive and use this information to predict the location of future shrub expansion. The study area covers over 80,000 km2 and has mostly tundra vegetation. Large canopy volumes were uncommon, with volumes over 0.5 m3/m2 present on just 8% of plots. Shrub canopy volumes were highest where mean July temperatures were above 10.5°C and on weakly acid to neutral soils (pH of 6 to 7) with deep summer thaw (>80 cm) and good drainage. On many sites, flooding helped maintain favorable soil conditions for shrub growth. Canopy volumes were highest where the typical snow loss date was near 20 May; these represent sites that are neither strongly wind-scoured in the winter nor late to melt from deep snowdrifts. Individual species varied widely in the canopy volumes they attained and their response to the environmental factors. Betula sp. shrubs were the most common and quite tolerant of soil acidity, cold July temperatures, and shallow thaw depths, but they did not form high-volume canopies under these conditions. Alnus viridis formed the largest canopies and was tolerant of soil acidity down to about pH 5, but required more summer warmth (over 12°C) than the other species. The Salix species varied widely from S. pulchra, tolerant of wet and moderately acid soils, to S. alaxensis, requiring well-drained soils with near neutral pH. Nearly half of the land area in ARCN has mean July temperatures of 10.5 to 12.5°C, where 2°C of warming would bring temperatures into the range needed for all of the potential tall shrub species to form large canopies. However, limitations in the other environmental factors would probably prevent the formation of large shrub canopies

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Polar Gateways Arctic Circle Sunrise Conference 2008, Barrow, Alaska: IHY-IPY Outreach on Exploration of Polar and Icy Worlds in the Solar System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cooper, John F.; Kauristie, Kirsti; Weatherwax, Allan T.; Sheehan, Glenn W.; Smith, Roger W.; Sandahl, Ingrid; Ostgaard, Nikolai; Chernouss, Sergey; Thompson, Barbara J.; Peticolas, Laura; Moore, Marla H.; Senske, David A.; Tamppari, Leslie K.; Lewis, Elaine M.

    2008-01-01

    Polar, heliophysical, and planetary science topics related to the International Heliophysical and Polar Years 2007-2009 were addressed during this circumpolar video conference hosted January 23-29, 2808 at the new Barrow Arctic Research Center of the Barrow Arctic Science Consortium in Barrow, Alaska. This conference was planned as an IHY-IPY event science outreach event bringing together scientists and educational specialists for the first week of sunrise at subzero Arctic temperatures in Barrow. Science presentations spanned the solar system from the polar Sun to Earth, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the Kuiper Belt. On-site participants experienced look and feel of icy worlds like Europa and Titan by being in the Barrow tundra and sea ice environment and by going "on the ice" during snowmobile expeditions to the near-shore sea ice environment and to Point Barrow, closest geographic point in the U.S. to the North Pole. Many science presentations were made remotely via video conference or teleconference from Sweden, Norway, Russia, Canada, Antarctica, and the United States, spanning up to thirteen time zones (Alaska to Russia) at various times. Extensive educational outreach activities were conducted with the local Barrow and Alaska North Slope communities and through the NASA Digital Learning Network live from the "top of the world" at Barrow. The Sun- Earth Day team from Goddard, and a videographer from the Passport to Knowledge project, carried out extensive educational interviews with many participants and native Inupiaq Eskimo residents of Barrow. Video and podcast recordings of selected interviews are available at http://sunearthday.nasa.gov/2008/multimedidpodcasts.php. Excerpts from these and other interviews will be included in a new high definition video documentary called "From the Sun to the Stars: The New Science of Heliophysics" from Passport to Knowledge that will later broadcast on NASA TV and other educational networks. Full conference

  8. Polar Gateways Arctic Circle Sunrise Conference 2008, Barrow, Alaska: IHY-IPY Outreach on Exploration of Polar and Icy Worlds in The Solar System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cooper, John F.; Kauristie, K.; Weatherwax, A. T.; Sheehan, G. W.; Smith, R. W.; Sandahl, I.; Østgaard, N.; Chernouss, S.; Moore, M. H.; Peticolas, L. M.; Senske, D. A.; Thompson, B. J.; Tamppari, L. K.; Lewis, E. M.

    2008-09-01

    Polar, heliophysical, and planetary science topics related to the International Heliophysical and Polar Years 2007-2009 were addressed during this circumpolar video conference hosted January 23-29, 2008 at the new Barrow Arctic Research Center of the Barrow Arctic Science Consortium in Barrow, Alaska. This conference was planned as an IHY-IPY event science outreach event bringing together scientists and educational specialists for the first week of sunrise at subzero Arctic temperatures in Barrow. Science presentations spanned the solar system from the polar Sun to Earth, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the Kuiper Belt. On-site participants experienced look and feel of icy worlds like Europa and Titan by being in the Barrow tundra and sea ice environment and by going "on the ice" during snowmobile expeditions to the near-shore sea ice environment and to Point Barrow, closest geographic point in the U.S. to the North Pole. Many science presentations were made remotely via video conference or teleconference from Sweden, Norway, Russia, Canada, Antarctica, and the United States, spanning up to thirteen time zones (Alaska to Russia) at various times. Extensive educational outreach activities were conducted with the local Barrow and Alaska North Slope communities and through the NASA Digital Learning Network live from the "top of the world" at Barrow. The Sun-Earth Day team from Goddard, and a videographer from the Passport to Knowledge project, carried out extensive educational interviews with many participants and native Inupiaq Eskimo residents of Barrow. Video and podcast recordings of selected interviews are available at http://sunearthday.nasa.gov/2008/multimedia/podcasts.php. Excerpts from these and other interviews will be included in a new high definition video documentary called "From the Sun to the Stars: The New Science of Heliophysics" from Passport to Knowledge that will later broadcast on NASA TV and other educational networks. Full conference

  9. Circumpolar Arctic vegetation: a hierarchic review and roadmap toward an internationally consistent approach to survey, archive and classify tundra plot data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walker, D. A.; Daniëls, F. J. A.; Alsos, I.; Bhatt, U. S.; Breen, A. L.; Buchhorn, M.; Bültmann, H.; Druckenmiller, L. A.; Edwards, M. E.; Ehrich, D.; Epstein, H. E.; Gould, W. A.; Ims, R. A.; Meltofte, H.; Raynolds, M. K.; Sibik, J.; Talbot, S. S.; Webber, P. J.

    2016-05-01

    Satellite-derived remote-sensing products are providing a modern circumpolar perspective of Arctic vegetation and its changes, but this new view is dependent on a long heritage of ground-based observations in the Arctic. Several products of the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna are key to our current understanding. We review aspects of the PanArctic Flora, the Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map, the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment, and the Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA) as they relate to efforts to describe and map the vegetation, plant biomass, and biodiversity of the Arctic at circumpolar, regional, landscape and plot scales. Cornerstones for all these tools are ground-based plant-species and plant-community surveys. The AVA is in progress and will store plot-based vegetation observations in a public-accessible database for vegetation classification, modeling, diversity studies, and other applications. We present the current status of the Alaska Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA-AK), as a regional example for the panarctic archive, and with a roadmap for a coordinated international approach to survey, archive and classify Arctic vegetation. We note the need for more consistent standards of plot-based observations, and make several recommendations to improve the linkage between plot-based observations biodiversity studies and satellite-based observations of Arctic vegetation.

  10. Proposed oil and gas exploration within the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1982-11-01

    The draft environmental impact statement describes the procedures and probable effects of aerial and geological surveying for oil and gas in the coastal area of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The procedures provide for the protection of caribou caving areas and the avoidance of duplication in the survey activities. Temporary disturbances from seismic surveys would interfere with wildlife breeding and migration due to changes in the habitat. The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 provides the legal mandate for environmental assessment.

  11. Siberian Origins of Neoproterozoic to Upper Triassic Rocks of Arctic Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clough, J. G.; Blodgett, R. B.

    2007-12-01

    Evidence for a connection of the Arctic Alaska plate (including Chukotka) with Siberia from Cambrian until Late Triassic time can be made on the basis of paleobiogeography. Arctic Alaska contains a number of biogeographically distinctive megafossils for select time intervals, notably the Middle Cambrian, Early and Late Ordovician, Early and Middle Devonian, Mississippian, and Late Triassic. Middle Cambrian trilobites are strictly Siberian in affinity, but also show close affinities with coeval trilobites from the Farewell terrane of SW Alaska. Late Ordovician brachiopods, gastropods, trilobites, and ostracodes are known from the Shublik Mountains, NE Brooks Range and York Mountains of the Seward Peninsula. Affinities are likewise primarily with Siberia (sharing the primarily Siberian pentameroid brachiopod genera Tcherskidium and Eoconchidium and the strictly Siberian trilobite genus Monorakos), but also with the Farewell terrane. Late Early Devonian and Middle Devonian brachiopods and calcareous green algae from Arctic Alaska are similarly allied with Siberia and the Farewell and Alexander terranes of southern Alaska. Early Mississippian faunas from the lower part of the Lisburne Group and underlying Endicott Group contain relatively widespread fauna, including taxa recognized both in North America and Eurasia, consistent with the relatively cosmopolitan paleobiogeographic conditions of this interval. However, Late Mississippian brachiopod fauna from the upper part of the Lisburne Group contain many brachiopods of strictly Eurasian affinities, notably the gigantoproductids, which are unknown in cratonic North America, but widespread across Eurasia and even North Africa. Late Mississippian lycopods from this terrane have previously been noted as demonstrating strong Angaran affinities. Permian faunas of Arctic Alaska show strong affinities as well with the Siberian Arctic, virtually lacking any fusilinids and reefal buildups, which in contradistinction are commonly

  12. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: An Interdisciplinary Unit.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Thieman, Gayle; Geil, Mike

    This paper presents a set of interdisciplinary lessons for teaching about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (Alaska). Lessons include a petroleum product treasure hunt, an examination of life without petroleum, the development of a wildlife poster, an exploration of the tundra ecosystem and the plants and animals that live there, identification…

  13. 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.

  14. Facies patterns and conodont biogeography in Arctic Alaska and the Canadian Arctic Islands: Evidence against juxtaposition of these areas during early Paleozoic time

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dumoulin, J.A.; Harris, A.G.; Bradley, D.C.; De Freitas, T. A.

    2000-01-01

    Differences in lithofacies and biofacies suggest that lower Paleozoic rocks now exposed in Arctic Alaska and the Canadian Arctic Islands did not form as part of a single depositional system. Lithologic contrasts are noted in shallow- and deep-water strata and are especially marked in Ordovician and Silurian rocks. A widespread intraplatform basin of Early and Middle Ordovician age in northern Alaska has no counterpart in the Canadian Arctic, and the regional drowning and backstepping of the Silurian shelf margin in Canada has no known parallel in northern Alaska. Lower Paleozoic basinal facies in northern Alaska are chiefly siliciclastic, whereas resedimented carbonates are volumetrically important in Canada. Micro- and macrofossil assemblages from northern Alaska contain elements typical of both Siberian and Laurentian biotic provinces; coeval Canadian Arctic assemblages contain Laurentian forms but lack Siberian species. Siberian affinities in northern Alaskan biotas persist from at least Middle Cambrian through Mississippian time and appear to decrease in intensity from present-day west to east. Our lithologic and biogeographic data are most compatible with the hypothesis that northern Alaska-Chukotka formed a discrete tectonic block situated between Siberia and Laurentia in early Paleozoic time. If Arctic Alaska was juxtaposed with the Canadian Arctic prior to opening of the Canada basin, biotic constraints suggest that such juxtaposition took place no earlier than late Paleozoic time.

  15. 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.

  16. Landforms Produced by Permafrost-Volcano Interactions, Arctic Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beget, J.; Kargel, J.; Wessels, R.

    2005-12-01

    Three different types of distinctive landforms are recognized at sites in Arctic Alaska where volcanic eruptions occurred through permafrost. On the Seward Peninsula at ca. 66° N, a series of giant explosion craters known as the Espenberg Maars are as much as 8 km in diameter. These craters were produced by numerous explosions caused by cryo-magmatic interactions. The giant maars formed during eruptions at 21kyr, 62 ± 10 kyr, and 160 ± 8 kyr., and so are correlative with times of extremely cold climate and thick ground ice during marine isotope stages 2, 4, and 6. At Imuruk Lake at ca. 65° N the Lost Jim lava flow was erupted only a few thousand years ago. The basaltic lava flow advanced over permafrost, and are bounded by unusually steep flow fronts and levees as much as 20 m high, covered with lava flow surfaces sloping as much as 60°. These `super-inflated' flow margins terminate in zones of complex thermokarst collapse features recording melting of ground ice under the lava. We speculate that as the lava flow advanced it melted ground ice and produced steam that quenched the lava and produced extremely steep and inflated flow margins. At the Ingakslugwat Hills at ca. 61.5° N., unusual composite volcanoes as much as 7 km long and 400 m high are made largely of pyroclastic ejecta. These features are significantly higher than the regional water table, and yet are capped with maars and numerous intersecting arms of explosion craters of various. We call these distinctive landforms Ingakslugwat volcanoes. We suggest that since the water table is hundreds of meters lower, the water source for continued explosive volcanism in Ingakslugwat Volcanoes is the melting of ground ice in permafrost. We hypothesize the permafrost table rises in the new ejecta following each successive eruption, resulting in multiple cycles of cryo-magmatic explosive volcanism and the creation of thick complexes of volcaniclastic debris.

  17. A methane flux transect along the trans-Alaska pipeline haul road

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Whalen, S. C.; Reeburgh, W. S.

    1990-01-01

    This paper reports and analyzes methane flux measurements made during the summer of 1987 at 10 km intervals along a north-south direction from Prudhoe Bay to the Arctic Circle in Alaska. Mean CH4 flux from the arctic tundra was 52 mg/sq m/d while that from high-latitude taiga was 11 mg/sq m/d. Fluxes in mg/sq m/d for various plant communities were: wet tundra, 90; low brush-muskeg bog, 45; moist tundra, 31; freshwater ponds, 21; spruce forest, 4.6; and alpine tundra, 0.6. Annual CH4 emission from global tundra and taiga environments is estimated at 38 Tg and 15 Tg, respectively. This is about 46 percent of the wetland emission term of 10 percent of the global atmospheric input.

  18. Den use by arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) in a subarctic region of western Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anthony, R. Michael

    1996-01-01

    Distribution, abundance, and use of arctic fox dens located in coastal tundra communities of the Yukon–Kuskokwim delta were determined in studies from 1985 to 1990. Dens were denser and less complex than those described in studies conducted above the Arctic Circle. Eighty-three dens of varying complexity were found in the 52-km2 study area. Nineteen dens were used by arctic foxes for whelping or rearing pups. Three females relocated litters to multiple dens; a maximum of four dens were used concurrently by pups from one litter. Although red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) were common in the region, their use of dens in the study area was minimal. Differences in vegetation at den sites and nearby unoccupied sites were minimal. Furthermore, den sites could not be distinguished from non-den sites during aerial surveys.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. Effects of 45 Years of Heavy Road Traffic and Infrastructure on Permafrost and Tundra at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walker, D. A.; Buchhorn, M.; Raynolds, M. K.; Kanevskiy, M. Z.; Matyshak, G. V.; Shur, Y.; Peirce, J.

    2015-12-01

    The upper permafrost of the Prudhoe Bay Oilfield, the largest oil field in both the United States and in North America, contains significant amounts of excess ground ice, mainly in ice wedges. An increase in infrastructure development and road traffic since the initial development of the Prudhoe Bay Oilfield in 1968 has resulted in extensive flooding, accumulation of road dust, and roadside snowbanks, all of which affect the vegetation and alter the thermal properties of the ground surface. As part of the NSF's Arctic Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (ArcSEES) project, we established four transects in 2014 and 2015 to document the effects of infrastructure and heavy road traffic on adjacent tundra. Two transects were established perpendicular to the Prudhoe Bay Spine Road north of Lake Colleen and two perpendicular to the Dalton Highway next to the Deadhorse airstrip. Prior to infrastructure development in 1949, rather homogeneous networks of low-centered polygons with less than 30 cm of trough-rim elevation contrast covered both locations. We present the detailed results of vegetation analysis, ice-core drilling, and extensive topographic surveys along the transects. A time series of aerial photographs from 1949 to 2014 (yearly since 1969) documents the changing landscapes in relationship to the record of air-temperature, active layer depths, and permafrost temperatures at Deadhorse. Flooding, road dust, and snow drifts have all contributed to creating warmer soil temperatures and deeper active layers near the road. These factors have all contributed in different ways to alteration of the plant canopy. The altered plant canopies in turn further altered the surface albedo and the ground temperatures. Historical photos indicate that between 1989 and 2012 a regional thawing of the ice-wedges occurred, increasing the extent of thermokarst. Our analysis demonstrates the cumulative effects of infrastructure-related and climate-related factors to

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Changing arctic ecosystems—What is causing the rapid increase of snow geese in northern Alaska?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hupp, Jerry W.; Ward, David H.; Whalen, Mary E.; Pearce, John M.

    2015-09-10

    Through the Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) informs key resource management decisions for Arctic Alaska by providing scientific information on current and future ecosystem response to a warming climate. The Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) of northern Alaska is a key study area within the USGS CAE initiative. This region has experienced a warming trend over the past decades, leading to decreased sea ice, permafrost thaw, and an advancement of spring phenology. The number of birds on the ACP also is changing, marked by increased populations of the four species of geese that nest in the region. The Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens) is the most rapidly increasing of these species. USGS CAE research is quantifying these changes and their implications for management agencies.

  6. Spatial distribution of thermokarst terrain in Arctic Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Farquharson, L. M.; Mann, D. H.; Grosse, G.; Jones, B. M.; Romanovsky, V. E.

    2016-11-01

    In landscapes underlain by ice-rich permafrost, the development of thermokarst landforms can have drastic impacts on ecosystem processes and human infrastructure. Here we describe the distribution of thermokarst landforms in the continuous permafrost zone of Arctic Alaska, analyze linkages to the underlying surficial geology, and discuss the vulnerability of different types of landscapes to future thaw. We identified nine major thermokarst landforms and then mapped their distributions in twelve representative study areas totaling 300-km2. These study areas differ in their geologic history, permafrost-ice content, and ground thermal regime. Results show that 63% of the entire study area is occupied by thermokarst landforms and that the distribution of thermokarst landforms and overall landscape complexity varies markedly with surficial geology. Areas underlain by ice-rich marine silt are the most affected by thermokarst (97% of total area), whereas areas underlain by glacial drift are least affected (14%). Drained thermokarst-lake basins are the most widespread thermokarst landforms, covering 33% of the entire study region, with greater prevalence in areas of marine silt (48% coverage), marine sand (47%), and aeolian silt (34%). Thermokarst-lakes are the second most common thermokarst landform, covering 16% of the study region, with highest coverage in areas underlain by marine silt (39% coverage). Thermokarst troughs and pits cover 7% of the study region and are the third most prevalent thermokarst landform. They are most common in areas underlain by deltaic sands and gravels (18% coverage) and marine sand (12%). Alas valleys are widespread in areas of aeolian silt (14%) located in gradually sloping uplands. Areas of marine silt have been particularly vulnerable to thaw in the past because they are ice-rich and have low-gradient topography facilitating the repeated development of thermokarst-lakes. In the future, ice-rich aeolian, upland terrain (yedoma) will be

  7. Spatial distribution of thermokarst terrain in Arctic Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Farquharson, Louise; Mann, Dan H; Grosse, Guido; Jones, Benjamin M.; Romanovsky, Vladimir E

    2016-01-01

    In landscapes underlain by ice-rich permafrost, the development of thermokarst landforms can have drastic impacts on ecosystem processes and human infrastructure. Here we describe the distribution of thermokarst landforms in the continuous permafrost zone of Arctic Alaska, analyze linkages to the underlying surficial geology, and discuss the vulnerability of different types of landscapes to future thaw. We identified nine major thermokarst landforms and then mapped their distributions in twelve representative study areas totaling 300-km2. These study areas differ in their geologic history, permafrost-ice content, and ground thermal regime. Results show that 63% of the entire study area is occupied by thermokarst landforms and that the distribution of thermokarst landforms and overall landscape complexity varies markedly with surficial geology. Areas underlain by ice-rich marine silt are the most affected by thermokarst (97% of total area), whereas areas underlain by glacial drift are least affected (14%). Drained thermokarst-lake basins are the most widespread thermokarst landforms, covering 33% of the entire study region, with greater prevalence in areas of marine silt (48% coverage), marine sand (47%), and aeolian silt (34%). Thermokarst-lakes are the second most common thermokarst landform, covering 16% of the study region, with highest coverage in areas underlain by marine silt (39% coverage). Thermokarst troughs and pits cover 7% of the study region and are the third most prevalent thermokarst landform. They are most common in areas underlain by deltaic sands and gravels (18% coverage) and marine sand (12%). Alas valleys are widespread in areas of aeolian silt (14%) located in gradually sloping uplands. Areas of marine silt have been particularly vulnerable to thaw in the past because they are ice-rich and have low-gradient topography facilitating the repeated development of thermokarst-lakes. In the future, ice-rich aeolian, upland terrain (yedoma) will be

  8. Luteolibacter luojiensis sp. nov., isolated from Arctic tundra soil, and emended description of the genus Luteolibacter.

    PubMed

    Jiang, Fan; Li, Wenjuan; Xiao, Mengchen; Dai, Jun; Kan, Wenjing; Chen, Lu; Li, Wenxin; Fang, Chengxiang; Peng, Fang

    2012-09-01

    A yellow-pigmented, Gram-reaction-negative, non-motile, aerobic bacterium, designated DR4-30(T), was isolated from tundra soil near Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard Archipelago, Norway (78° 58' N 12° 03' E). Growth occurred at 4-28 °C (optimum 20-25 °C) and at pH 7-8 (optimum pH 7). Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequences indicated that strain DR4-30(T) belongs to the genus Luteolibacter in the family Verrucomicrobiaceae. The 16S rRNA gene sequence of this strain showed 95.4 and 94.7 % sequence similarity to those of Luteolibacter pohnpeiensis A4T-83(T) and Luteolibacter algae A5J-41-2(T), respectively. The major respiratory quinones were MK-9 and MK-10; the predominant cellular fatty acids were summed feature 3 (C(16 : 1)ω7c and/or C(16 : 1)ω6c; 20.7 %), iso-C(14 : 0) (20.3 %), C(17 : 0) (10.7 %), C(16 : 0) (8.0 %) and C(14 : 0) (6.6 %). The DNA G+C content was 57.3 mol%. On the basis of phenotypic, chemotaxonomic and phylogenetic data, strain DR4-30(T) represents a novel species of the genus Luteolibacter, for which the name Luteolibacter luojiensis sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is DR4-30(T) (= CCTCC AB 2010415(T) = NRRL B-59669(T)). An emended description of the genus Luteolibacter is also provided.

  9. Ground measurements of the hemispherical-directional reflectance of Arctic snow covered tundra for the validation of satellite remote sensing products

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ball, C. P.; Marks, A. A.; Green, P.; Mac Arthur, A.; Fox, N.; King, M. D.

    2013-12-01

    Surface albedo is the hemispherical and wavelength integrated reflectance over the visible, near infrared and shortwave infrared regions of the solar spectrum. The albedo of Arctic snow can be in excess of 0.8 and it is a critical component in the global radiation budget because it determines the proportion of solar radiation absorbed, and reflected, over a large part of the Earth's surface. We present here our first results of the angularly resolved surface reflectance of Arctic snow at high solar zenith angles (~80°) suitable for the validation of satellite remote sensing products. The hemispherical directional reflectance factor (HDRF) of Arctic snow covered tundra was measured using the GonioRAdiometric Spectrometer System (GRASS) during a three-week field campaign in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, in March/April 2013. The measurements provide one of few existing HDRF datasets at high solar zenith angles for wind-blown Arctic snow covered tundra (conditions typical of the Arctic region), and the first ground-based measure of HDRF at Ny-Ålesund. The HDRF was recorded under clear sky conditions with 10° intervals in view zenith, and 30° intervals in view azimuth, for several typical sites over a wavelength range of 400-1500 nm at 1 nm resolution. Satellite sensors such as MODIS, AVHRR and VIIRS offer a method to monitor the surface albedo with high spatial and temporal resolution. However, snow reflectance is anisotropic and is dependent on view and illumination angle and the wavelength of the incident light. Spaceborne sensors subtend a discrete angle to the target surface and measure radiance over a limited number of narrow spectral bands. Therefore, the derivation of the surface albedo requires accurate knowledge of the surfaces bidirectional reflectance as a function of wavelength. The ultimate accuracy to which satellite sensors are able to measure snow surface properties such as albedo is dependant on the accuracy of the BRDF model, which can only be assessed

  10. New evidence for ice shelf flow across the Alaska and Beaufort margins, Arctic Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Engels, Jennifer L.

    The Arctic Ocean may act as a lynchpin for global climate change due to its unique physiography as a mediterranean sea located in polar latitudes. In our modern warming climate, debate over the bounds of natural versus anthropogenically-induced climate variability necessitates a comprehensive understanding of Arctic ice extent and configuration over the last interglacial cycle. Longstanding controversy exists as to the volume, timing, and flow trajectories of ice in the Arctic Ocean during glacial maxima when continental ice sheets mantled circum-arctic landmasses. As a result of the Science Ice Exercise surveys of the Arctic Ocean in 1999, new evidence for ice grounding at depths down to 980 m on the Lomonosov Ridge and 750 m on the Chukchi Borderland indicates the likelihood that large ice shelves flowed into the ocean from both the Barents/Kara Sea and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago or eastern Alaska. Sidescan imagery of ˜14100 km2 of seafloor along the Alaska and Beaufort margins in water depths from 250--2800 m maps a repetitive association of recognizable sub-glacially generated bedforms, ice carved-bathymerry, and ice-marginal turbidite gullies over a 640 km stretch of the margin between Point Barrow and the MacKenzie River delta. Glaciogenic bedforms occur across the surface of a flattened bathymetric bench or 'second shelf break' that is interpreted to have been formed by an ice shelf eroding the continental slope. The glacial geology of surrounding areas suggests that an ice shelf on the Alaska and Beaufort margins likely flowed from the mouths of overdeepened glacial troughs in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago westward and across the Chukchi Borderland due to an obstruction in the central Canadian basin. Evidence for an ice shelf along the Alaska and Beaufort margins supports an expanded interpretation of ice volume and extent during Pleistocene glacial periods. This has far-reaching implications for Arctic climate studies, ocean circulation, sediment

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-05-01

    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 (N(2)O) emissions in arctic ecosystems, whereas adjacent unturbated peat areas are not. N(2)O 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 N(2)O production of both soils in anoxic microcosms, indicating denitrification as the source of N(2)O. Up to 500 and 10 μM nitrate stimulated denitrification in cryoturbated and unturbated peat soils, respectively. Apparent maximal reaction velocities of nitrite-dependent denitrification were 28 and 18 nmol N(2)O g(DW)(-1) h(-1), for cryoturbated and unturbated peat soils, respectively. Barcoded amplicon pyrosequencing of narG, nirK/nirS and nosZ (encoding nitrate, nitrite and N(2)O 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 N(2)O emission patterns of cryoturbated and unturbated peat soils are associated with contrasting denitrifier communities.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. HEAVY METAL, ORGANOCHLORINE PESTICIDE AND POLYCHLORINATED BIPHENYL CONTAMINATION IN ARCTIC GROUND SQUIRRELS (SPERMOPHILUS PARRYI) IN NORTHERN ALASKA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Heavy metal and organochlorine (OC)concentrations, including organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyl congeners (PCBs), were determined in arctic ground squirrels (Spermophilus parryi) from three sites in the Brooks Range of northern Alaska in 1991-93. Heavy metals ...

  15. Changes in Dissolved Carbon and Nitrogen Concentrations Along a Hill Slope Flow Path in Siberian Arctic Tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Theberge, J.; Schade, J. D.; Fiske, G. J.; Loranty, M. M.; Zimov, N.

    2014-12-01

    Permafrost soils contain a large pool of carbon that has accumulated for thousands of years, and remains frozen in organic form. As climate warms, permafrost thaw will lead to active cycling of old organic materials, possibly leading to release of carbon to the atmosphere or to export of organic carbon to the oceans. Organic matter breakdown may also release reactive forms of nitrogen, which may significantly impact ecosystem processes. We currently have limited understanding of where in Arctic landscapes breakdown of organic materials will occur, or whether this will influence the strength and direction of feedback loops that may occur in response to changes in C and N cycling. In this work, we studied changes in dissolved forms of C and N in water moving down a hillslope linking upland terrestrial environments to lowland floodplains within the Kolyma River watershed in the East Siberian Arctic tundra in July, 2014. The hill slope consisted of a mosaic of dry and saturated soils, generally with drier soils on the periphery and saturated soils in and around pools or short reaches of flowing surface water. We established transects at regular intervals downslope, installing wells in the center of the flow path and 5 meters laterally north and south. We analyzed pore-water from wells and surface water from pools at each transect for dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and total dissolved nitrogen (TDN). We used patterns in water chemistry to develop a conceptual model for biogeochemical changes as water moved downslope through soils, pools and runs. Pore-water analysis showed significantly higher DOC in lateral wells than in surface water and pore water in the center of the flow path, suggesting possible processing of C as water moves laterally towards the valley bottom. In contrast, DOC increased modestly down the center of the flow path, suggesting either higher hydrologic inputs or production of new DOC downslope. TDN concentration decreased downslope, suggesting

  16. Shifts of tundra bacterial and archaeal communities along a permafrost thaw gradient in Alaska.

    PubMed

    Deng, Jie; Gu, Yunfu; Zhang, Jin; Xue, Kai; Qin, Yujia; Yuan, Mengting; Yin, Huaqun; He, Zhili; Wu, Liyou; Schuur, Edward A G; Tiedje, James M; Zhou, Jizhong

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the response of permafrost microbial communities to climate warming is crucial for evaluating ecosystem feedbacks to global change. This study investigated soil bacterial and archaeal communities by Illumina MiSeq sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons across a permafrost thaw gradient at different depths in Alaska with thaw progression for over three decades. Over 4.6 million passing 16S rRNA gene sequences were obtained from a total of 97 samples, corresponding to 61 known classes and 470 genera. Soil depth and the associated soil physical-chemical properties had predominant impacts on the diversity and composition of the microbial communities. Both richness and evenness of the microbial communities decreased with soil depth. Acidobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, Alpha- and Gamma-Proteobacteria dominated the microbial communities in the upper horizon, whereas abundances of Bacteroidetes, Delta-Proteobacteria and Firmicutes increased towards deeper soils. Effects of thaw progression were absent in microbial communities in the near-surface organic soil, probably due to greater temperature variation. Thaw progression decreased the abundances of the majority of the associated taxa in the lower organic soil, but increased the abundances of those in the mineral soil, including groups potentially involved in recalcitrant C degradation (Actinomycetales, Chitinophaga, etc.). The changes in microbial communities may be related to altered soil C sources by thaw progression. Collectively, this study revealed different impacts of thaw in the organic and mineral horizons and suggests the importance of studying both the upper and deeper soils while evaluating microbial responses to permafrost thaw.

  17. Spatial and Temporal Variability of Methane Mole Fractions and Exchanges in and Between Soil, Snow, and the Atmosphere in a Tundra System in Northern Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Agnan, Y.; Obrist, D.; Edwards, G. C.; Moore, C.; Hedge, C.; Helmig, D.; Paxton, D.; Jacques, H.

    2015-12-01

    An important global source of atmospheric methane (CH4) is production in tundra soils (an important global source). To place constraints on the potential role that tundra soils play in global CH4 cycling, we have been continuously measuring mole the air space in soils, snow, and the atmosphere as gradient-based surface-atmosphere fluxes for arctic tundra at Toolik Field Station (68° 38' N) starting in October 2014. We have found that atmospheric CH4 mole fractions were, on average, relatively constant during the first 9 months of sampling (averaging 1.93 µmol mol-1), with pronounced diel patterns starting in May and nighttime exceeding daytime mole fractions. However, gradients measured within the soil profile showed high variability in air withdrawn from different locations of these tundra soils (Typic Aquiturbels), with one soil profile indicating a CH4 sink during fall until January; mole fractions were similar to the atmospheric measurements during winter indicating no source or sink (average 1.89 µmol mol-1). A second soil profile 5 m away showed production of CH4 (average 2.48 µmol mol-1, two-times higher than atmospheric levels), even during mid-winter when soil temperatures were below -10 °C. Measurements of CH4 in interstitial snowpack air also exhibited a similar combination of sources and sinks. We used micrometeorological gradient surface flux measurements to confirm that the area was a net source of CH4 in fall, winter, and spring, with emissions averaging 26.6, 25.2, and 16.8 mg m-2 d-1, respectively. In the summer months, we saw strong diel flux patterns with deposition during day and emission at night, corresponding with observed diel variability in CH4 snowpack mole fractions. Our results indicated a high variability of tundra landscape CH4 fluxes, which locally shift from sources to sinks with high temporal variability. CH4 oxidation by methanotrophic bacteria probably occurs in tundra soils, confirming observations in one soil, snowpack, and

  18. High Arctic tundra greenhouse gas fluxes: new insights from Adventdalen, Svalbard

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pirk, N.; Parmentier, F. J. W.; Mastepanov, M.; Christiansen, H. H.; Christensen, T. R.

    2014-12-01

    Data on greenhouse gas (GHG) exchange in high Arctic environments is rare but badly needed, as the environment in these places will likely respond early and most rapidly to climate warming. Also, the high Arctic holds carbon stocks in permafrost that is most likely to be made vulnerable to decomposition as ecosystems get warmer. In 2011 we established a long-term GHG flux-monitoring site in the Adventdalen valley on the Svalbard archipelago. The site is characterised by little precipitation (about 200 mm/year), a strong marine influence (summer air temperatures predominantly around 5 degrees Celsius), and a continuous permafrost ground with low-centered ice wedge polygons at the surface. The measurement equipment features an eddy-covariance tower and an automatic chamber system, both set up in accordance with already existing monitoring programs (INTERACT, ICOS and the Greenland Ecosystem Monitoring program). Here, we present the first results of this multi-year campaign, such as the pattern of carbon dioxide and methane fluxes during the growing and shoulder seasons, including the recently discovered autumn burst, as well as carbon dioxide fluxes during wintertime. Carbon dioxide fluxes measured with eddy-covariance agree well with the automatic chamber data, and indicate that the site acts as a sink for carbon dioxide. Methane fluxes measured by the automatic chamber system indicate a significant methane source, which is, however, weaker than at comparable sites in Greenland. There is a high degree of inter-annual variation in methane emissions, which seems to be driven by the amount of precipitation in summer. On top of that, there is a strong spatial variability resembling the polygonal ground pattern. This variability is also reflected in the occurrence of the methane autumn burst, which could be detected and is spatially and temporally distributed at a few locations and years.

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

    DOE PAGES

    Throckmorton, Heather M.; Heikoop, Jeffrey M.; Newman, Brent D.; ...

    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

  20. 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.

  1. Physiological and ecological effects of increasing temperature on fish production in lakes of Arctic Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carey, Michael P.; Zimmerman, Christian E.

    2014-01-01

    Lake ecosystems in the Arctic are changing rapidly due to climate warming. Lakes are sensitive integrators of climate-induced changes and prominent features across the Arctic landscape, especially in lowland permafrost regions such as the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska. Despite many studies on the implications of climate warming, how fish populations will respond to lake changes is uncertain for Arctic ecosystems. Least Cisco (Coregonus sardinella) is a bellwether for Arctic lakes as an important consumer and prey resource. To explore the consequences of climate warming, we used a bioenergetics model to simulate changes in Least Cisco production under future climate scenarios for lakes on the Arctic Coastal Plain. First, we used current temperatures to fit Least Cisco consumption to observed annual growth. We then estimated growth, holding food availability, and then feeding rate constant, for future projections of temperature. Projected warmer water temperatures resulted in reduced Least Cisco production, especially for larger size classes, when food availability was held constant. While holding feeding rate constant, production of Least Cisco increased under all future scenarios with progressively more growth in warmer temperatures. Higher variability occurred with longer projections of time mirroring the expanding uncertainty in climate predictions further into the future. In addition to direct temperature effects on Least Cisco growth, we also considered changes in lake ice phenology and prey resources for Least Cisco. A shorter period of ice cover resulted in increased production, similar to warming temperatures. Altering prey quality had a larger effect on fish production in summer than winter and increased relative growth of younger rather than older age classes of Least Cisco. Overall, we predicted increased production of Least Cisco due to climate warming in lakes of Arctic Alaska. Understanding the implications of increased production of Least Cisco to

  2. Physiological and ecological effects of increasing temperature on fish production in lakes of Arctic Alaska.

    PubMed

    Carey, Michael P; Zimmerman, Christian E

    2014-05-01

    Lake ecosystems in the Arctic are changing rapidly due to climate warming. Lakes are sensitive integrators of climate-induced changes and prominent features across the Arctic landscape, especially in lowland permafrost regions such as the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska. Despite many studies on the implications of climate warming, how fish populations will respond to lake changes is uncertain for Arctic ecosystems. Least Cisco (Coregonus sardinella) is a bellwether for Arctic lakes as an important consumer and prey resource. To explore the consequences of climate warming, we used a bioenergetics model to simulate changes in Least Cisco production under future climate scenarios for lakes on the Arctic Coastal Plain. First, we used current temperatures to fit Least Cisco consumption to observed annual growth. We then estimated growth, holding food availability, and then feeding rate constant, for future projections of temperature. Projected warmer water temperatures resulted in reduced Least Cisco production, especially for larger size classes, when food availability was held constant. While holding feeding rate constant, production of Least Cisco increased under all future scenarios with progressively more growth in warmer temperatures. Higher variability occurred with longer projections of time mirroring the expanding uncertainty in climate predictions further into the future. In addition to direct temperature effects on Least Cisco growth, we also considered changes in lake ice phenology and prey resources for Least Cisco. A shorter period of ice cover resulted in increased production, similar to warming temperatures. Altering prey quality had a larger effect on fish production in summer than winter and increased relative growth of younger rather than older age classes of Least Cisco. Overall, we predicted increased production of Least Cisco due to climate warming in lakes of Arctic Alaska. Understanding the implications of increased production of Least Cisco to

  3. Physiological and ecological effects of increasing temperature on fish production in lakes of Arctic Alaska

    PubMed Central

    Carey, Michael P; Zimmerman, Christian E

    2014-01-01

    Lake ecosystems in the Arctic are changing rapidly due to climate warming. Lakes are sensitive integrators of climate-induced changes and prominent features across the Arctic landscape, especially in lowland permafrost regions such as the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska. Despite many studies on the implications of climate warming, how fish populations will respond to lake changes is uncertain for Arctic ecosystems. Least Cisco (Coregonus sardinella) is a bellwether for Arctic lakes as an important consumer and prey resource. To explore the consequences of climate warming, we used a bioenergetics model to simulate changes in Least Cisco production under future climate scenarios for lakes on the Arctic Coastal Plain. First, we used current temperatures to fit Least Cisco consumption to observed annual growth. We then estimated growth, holding food availability, and then feeding rate constant, for future projections of temperature. Projected warmer water temperatures resulted in reduced Least Cisco production, especially for larger size classes, when food availability was held constant. While holding feeding rate constant, production of Least Cisco increased under all future scenarios with progressively more growth in warmer temperatures. Higher variability occurred with longer projections of time mirroring the expanding uncertainty in climate predictions further into the future. In addition to direct temperature effects on Least Cisco growth, we also considered changes in lake ice phenology and prey resources for Least Cisco. A shorter period of ice cover resulted in increased production, similar to warming temperatures. Altering prey quality had a larger effect on fish production in summer than winter and increased relative growth of younger rather than older age classes of Least Cisco. Overall, we predicted increased production of Least Cisco due to climate warming in lakes of Arctic Alaska. Understanding the implications of increased production of Least Cisco to

  4. 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

  5. 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)

  6. Laurentian origin for the North Slope of Alaska: Implications for the tectonic evolution of the Arctic

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Strauss, J. V.; Macdonald, F. A.; Taylor, J. F.; Repetski, John E.; McClelland, W. C.

    2013-01-01

    The composite Arctic Alaska–Chukotka terrane plays a central role in tectonic reconstructions of the Arctic. An exotic, non-Laurentian origin of Arctic Alaska–Chukotka has been proposed based on paleobiogeographic faunal affinities and various geochronological constraints from the southwestern portions of the terrane. Here, we report early Paleozoic trilobite and conodont taxa that support a Laurentian origin for the North Slope subterrane of Arctic Alaska, as well as new Neoproterozoic–Cambrian detrital zircon geochronological data, which are both consistent with a Laurentian origin and profoundly different from those derived from similar-aged strata in the southwestern subterranes of Arctic Alaska–Chukotka. The North Slope subterrane is accordingly interpreted as allochthonous with respect to northwestern Laurentia, but it most likely originated farther east along the Canadian Arctic or Atlantic margins. These data demonstrate that construction of the composite Arctic Alaska–Chukotka terrane resulted from juxtaposition of the exotic southwestern fragments of the terrane against the northern margin of Laurentia during protracted Devonian(?)–Carboniferous tectonism.

  7. 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

  8. Changing Seasonality of Tundra Vegetation and Associated Climatic Variables

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

    This study documents changes in the seasonality of tundra vegetation productivity and its associated climate variables using long-term data sets. An overall increase of Pan-Arctic tundra greenness potential corresponds to increased land surface temperatures and declining sea ice concentrations. While sea ice has continued to decline, summer land surface temperature and vegetation productivity increases have stalled during the last decade in parts of the Arctic. To understand the processes behind these features we investigate additional climate parameters. This study employs remotely sensed weekly 25-km sea ice concentration, weekly surface temperature, and bi-weekly NDVI from 1982 to 2013. Maximum NDVI (MaxNDVI, Maximum Normalized Difference Vegetation Index), Time Integrated NDVI (TI-NDVI), Summer Warmth Index (SWI, sum of degree months above freezing during May-August), ocean heat content (PIOMAS, model incorporating ocean data assimilation), and snow water equivalent (GlobSnow, assimilated snow data set) are explored. We analyzed the data for the full period (1982-2013) and for two sub-periods (1982-1998 and 1999-2013), which were chosen based on the declining Pan-Arctic SWI since 1998. MaxNDVI has increased from 1982-2013 over most of the Arctic but has declined from 1999 to 2013 over western Eurasia, northern Canada, and southwest Alaska. TI-NDVI has trends that are similar to those for MaxNDVI for the full period but displays widespread declines over the 1999-2013 period. Therefore, as the MaxNDVI has continued to increase overall for the Arctic, TI-NDVI has been declining since 1999. SWI has large relative increases over the 1982-2013 period in eastern Canada and Greenland and strong declines in western Eurasia and southern Canadian tundra. Weekly Pan-Arctic tundra land surface temperatures warmed throughout the summer during the 1982-1998 period but display midsummer declines from 1999-2013. Weekly snow water equivalent over Arctic tundra has declined over

  9. Pliocene and Pleistocene fossils from the Arctic coast of Alaska and the auriferous beaches of Nome, Norton Sound, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dall, William Healey

    1920-01-01

    Exploration of the geology of the Arctic and subarctic shores of Alaska began as early as the voyages of Kotzebue and Beechey, in 1816 and 1826, and a detailed report on the vertebrate fossils found there, with a wealth of illustration, was made by Sir John Richardson in 1854, in the "Zoology of the voyage of the Herald." Nothing of importance beating on the Tertiary invertebrates of this region appears in the literature of the nineteenth century, and but little on those of the older formations.

  10. Arctic Shrub Growth Response to Climate Variation and Infrastructure Development on the North Slope of Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ackerman, D.; Finlay, J. C.; Griffin, D.

    2015-12-01

    Woody shrub growth in the arctic tundra is increasing on a circumpolar scale. Shrub expansion alters land-atmosphere carbon fluxes, nutrient cycling, and habitat structure. Despite these ecosystem effects, the drivers of shrub expansion have not been precisely established at the landscape scale. This project examined two proposed anthropogenic drivers: global climate change and local infrastructure development, a press disturbance that generates high levels of dust deposition. Effects of global change were studied using dendrochronology to establish a relationship between climate and annual growth in Betula and Salix shrubs growing in the Alaskan low Arctic. To understand the spatial heterogeneity of shrub expansion, this analysis was replicated in shrub populations across levels of landscape properties including soil moisture and substrate age. Effects of dust deposition on normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and photosynthetic rate were measured on transects up to 625 meters from the Dalton Highway. Dust deposition rates decreased exponentially with distance from road, matching previous models of road dust deposition. NDVI tracked deposition rates closely, but photosynthetic rates were not strongly affected by deposition. These results suggest that dust deposition may locally bias remote sensing measurements such as NDVI, without altering internal physiological processes such as photosynthesis in arctic shrubs. Distinguishing between the effects of landscape properties, climate, and disturbance will improve our predictions of the biogeochemical feedbacks of arctic shrub expansion, with potential application in climate change modeling.

  11. The Tundra Is the Text: Using Alaska Native Contexts To Promote Cultural Relevancy in Teacher Professional Development.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fickel, Letitia Hochstrasser; Jones, Ken

    In summer 2000, the University of Alaska Anchorage and cooperating professional development schools organized four summer institutes to enhance teachers' cultural and subject matter knowledge. This dual focus was prompted by the new Alaska Content Standards and by guidelines for preparing culturally responsive teachers, developed by Alaska Native…

  12. C-N-P interactions control climate driven changes in regional patterns of C storage on the North Slope of Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Jiang, Yueyang; Rocha, Adrian; Rastetter, Edward; Shaver, Gaius; Mishra, U.; Zhuang, Qianlai; Kwiatkowski, Bonnie

    2016-01-01

    As climate warms, changes in the carbon (C) balance of arctic tundra will play an important role in the global C balance. The C balance of tundra is tightly coupled to the nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) cycles because soil organic matter is the principal source of plant-available nutrients and determines the spatial variation of vegetation biomass across the North Slope of Alaska. Warming will accelerate these nutrient cycles, which should stimulate plant growth.

  13. Forage site selection by lesser snow geese during autumn staging on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hupp, Jerry W.; Robertson, Donna G.

    1998-01-01

    Lesser snow geese (Chen caerulescens caerulescens) of the Western Canadian Arctic Population feed intensively for 2-4 weeks on the coastal plain of the Beaufort Sea in Canada and Alaska at the beginning of their autumn migration. Petroleum leasing proposed for the Alaskan portion of the staging area on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) could affect staging habitats and their use by geese. Therefore we studied availability, distribution, and use by snow geese of tall and russett cotton-grass (Eriophorum angustifolium and E. russeolum, respectively) feeding habitats on the ANWR. We studied selection of feeding habitats at 3 spatial scales (feeding sites [0.06 m2], feeding patches [ca. 100 m2], and feeding areas [>1 ha]) during 1990-93. We used logistic regression analysis to discriminate differences in soil moisture and vegetation between 1,548 feeding sites where snow geese exploited individual cotton-grass plants and 1,143 unexploited sites at 61 feeding patches in 1990. Feeding likelihood increased with greater soil moisture and decreased where nonforage species were present. We tested the logistic regression model in 1991 by releasing human-imprinted snow geese into 4 10 × 20-m enclosed plots where plant communities had been mapped, habitats sampled, and feeding probabilities calculated. Geese selected more feeding sites per square meter in areas of predicted high quality feeding habitat (feeding probability ≥ 0.6) than in medium (feeding probability = 0.3-0.59) or poor (feeding probability < 0.3) quality habitat (P < 0.0001). Geese increasingly used medium quality areas and spent more time feeding as trials progressed and forage was presumably reduced in high quality habitats. We examined relationships between underground biomass of plants, feeding probability, and surface microrelief at 474 0.06- m2 sites in 20 thermokarst pits in 1992. Feeding probability was correlated with the percentage of underground biomass composed of cotton-grass (r = 0

  14. Atmospheric deposition and critical loads for nitrogen and metals in Arctic Alaska: Review and current status

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Linder, Greg L.; Brumbaugh, William G.; Neitlich, Peter; Little, Edward

    2013-01-01

    To protect important resources under their bureau’s purview, the United States National Park Service’s (NPS) Arctic Network (ARCN) has developed a series of “vital signs” that are to be periodically monitored. One of these vital signs focuses on wet and dry deposition of atmospheric chemicals and further, the establishment of critical load (CL) values (thresholds for ecological effects based on cumulative depositional loadings) for nitrogen (N), sulfur, and metals. As part of the ARCN terrestrial monitoring programs, samples of the feather moss Hylocomium splendens are being col- lected and analyzed as a cost-effective means to monitor atmospheric pollutant deposition in this region. Ultimately, moss data combined with refined CL values might be used to help guide future regulation of atmospheric contaminant sources potentially impacting Arctic Alaska. But first, additional long-term studies are needed to determine patterns of contaminant deposition as measured by moss biomonitors and to quantify ecosystem responses at particular loadings/ ranges of contaminants within Arctic Alaska. Herein we briefly summarize 1) current regulatory guidance related to CL values 2) derivation of CL models for N and metals, 3) use of mosses as biomonitors of atmospheric deposition and loadings, 4) preliminary analysis of vulnerabilities and risks associated with CL estimates for N, 5) preliminary analysis of existing data for characterization of CL values for N for interior Alaska and 6) implications for managers and future research needs.

  15. Atmospheric methane sources - Alaskan tundra bogs, an alpine fen, and a subarctic boreal marsh

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sebacher, D. I.; Harriss, R. C.; Grice, S. S.; Bartlett, K. B.; Sebacher, S. M.

    1986-01-01

    Methane (CH4) flux measurements from Alaska tundra bogs, an alpine fen, and a subarctic boreal marsh were obtained at field sites ranging from Prudhoe Bay on the coast of the Arctic Ocean to the Alaskan Range south of Fairbanks during August 1984. In the tundra, average CH4 emission rates varied from 4.9 mg CH4 per sq m per day (moist tundra) to 119 mg CH4 per sq m per day (waterlogged tundra). Fluxes averaged 40 mg CH4 per sq m per day from wet tussock meadows in the Brooks Range and 289 mg Ch4 per sq m per day from an alpine fen in the Alaskan Range. The boreal marsh had an average CH4 emission rate of 106 mg CH4 per sq m per day. Significant emissions were detected in tundra areas where peat temperatures were as low as 4 C, and permafrost was only 25 cm below the ground surface. Emission rates from the 17 sites sampled were found to be logarithmically related to water levels at the sites. Extrapolation of the data to an estimate of the total annual CH4 emission from all arctic and boreal wetlands suggests that these ecosystems are a major source of atmospheric CH4 and could account for up to 23 percent of global CH4 emissions from wetlands.

  16. Distribution of breeding shorebirds on the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Johnson, J.A.; Lanctot, Richard B.; Andres, B.A.; Bart, J.R.; Brown, S.C.; Kendall, S.J.; Payer, David C.

    2007-01-01

    Available information on the distribution of breeding shorebirds across the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska is dated, fragmented, and limited in scope. Herein, we describe the distribution of 19 shorebird species from data gathered at 407 study plots between 1998 and 2004. This information was collected using a single-visit rapid area search technique during territory establishment and early incubation periods, a time when social displays and vocalizations make the birds highly detectable. We describe the presence or absence of each species, as well as overall numbers of species, providing a regional perspective on shorebird distribution. We compare and contrast our shorebird distribution maps to those of prior studies and describe prominent patterns of shorebird distribution. Our examination of how shorebird distribution and numbers of species varied both latitudinally and longitudinally across the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska indicated that most shorebird species occur more frequently in the Beaufort Coastal Plain ecoregion (i.e., closer to the coast) than in the Brooks Foothills ecoregion (i.e., farther inland). Furthermore, the occurrence of several species indicated substantial longitudinal directionality. Species richness at surveyed sites was highest in the western portion of the Beaufort Coastal Plain ecoregion. The broad-scale distribution information we present here is valuable for evaluating potential effects of human development and climate change on Arctic-breeding shorebird populations. ?? The Arctic Institute of North America.

  17. Polar bear maternal den habitat in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Durner, George M.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Ambrosius, Ken J.

    2006-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) give birth during mid-winter in dens of ice and snow. Denning polar bears subjected to human disturbances may abandon dens before their altricial young can survive the rigors of the Arctic winter. Because the Arctic coastal plain of Alaska is an area of high petroleum potential and contains existing and planned oil field developments, the distribution of polar bear dens on the plain is of interest to land managers. Therefore, as part of a study of denning habitats along the entire Arctic coast of Alaska, we examined high-resolution aerial photographs (n = 1655) of the 7994 km2 coastal plain included in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and mapped 3621 km of bank habitat suitable for denning by polar bears. Such habitats were distributed uniformly and comprised 0.29% (23.2 km2) of the coastal plain between the Canning River and the Canadian border. Ground-truth sampling suggested that we had correctly identified 91.5% of bank denning habitats on the ANWR coastal plain. Knowledge of the distribution of these habitats will help facilitate informed management of human activities and minimize disruption of polar bears in maternal dens.

  18. 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

  19. Seasonal snow of arctic Alaska R4D investigations. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Benson, C.S.

    1993-02-01

    Seasonal snow is present on the Arctic Slope of Alaska for nine months each year. Its presence or absence determines whether 80% of the solar radiation is reflected or absorbed, respectively. Although life on the Arctic Slope is adapted to, and in some cases dependent upon seasonal snow, little is known about it from a scientific point of view. Its quantity has been grossly underestimated, and knowledge of its distribution and the extent of wind transport and redistribution is very limited. This research project dealt with the amount, regional distribution and physical properties of wind blown snow and its biological role in the R4D area of the Arctic Slope. Physical processes which operate within the snow that were studied included the flux of heat and vapor and the fractionation of stable isotopes through it during fall and winter, and the complex heat and mass transfer within the snow and between snow, its substrate and the overlying atmosphere during the melt period.

  20. A tundra of sickness: the uneasy relationship between toxic waste, TEK, and cultural survival.

    PubMed

    Cassady, Joslyn

    2007-01-01

    In 1992 an abandoned federal radioactive waste dump was discovered in Arctic Alaska. The discovery of this site, a byproduct of the Atomic Energy Commission program known as Project Chariot, sent shockwaves throughout Iñupiaq communities and ignited a heated controversy over the health effects of subsisting on a "tundra of sickness." Drawing on thirty months of ethnographic research in Arctic Alaska, this paper explores a host of environmental, social, and moral uncertainties sparked by toxic waste. Anthropological claims regarding the extent to which "traditional ecological knowledge" will empower local communities and foster self-determination are challenged. Ultimately the paper argues that TEK has been conceived in such restrictive terms that it misrepresents the dynamic, emerging, and at times contradictory responses to toxic waste in the Arctic today. Moreover, there is dire need for a more materialist, as opposed to discourse-based, approach that acknowledges the very real threat of toxic waste to physical, and therefore, cultural reproduction.

  1. Inter-annual variability of NDVI in response to long-term warming and fertilization in wet sedge and tussock tundra.

    PubMed

    Boelman, Natalie T; Stieglitz, Marc; Griffin, Kevin L; Shaver, Gaius R

    2005-05-01

    This study explores the relationship between the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and aboveground plant biomass for tussock tundra vegetation and compares it to a previously established NDVI-biomass relationship for wet sedge tundra vegetation. In addition, we explore inter-annual variation in NDVI in both these contrasting vegetation communities. All measurements were taken across long-term experimental treatments in wet sedge and tussock tundra communities at the Toolik Lake Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site, in northern Alaska. Over 15 years (for wet sedge tundra) and 14 years (for tussock tundra), N and P were applied in factorial experiments (N, P and N+P), air temperature was increased using greenhouses with and without N+P fertilizer, and light intensity was reduced by 50% using shade cloth. during the peak growing seasons of 2001, 2002, and 2003, NDVI measurements were made in both the wet sedge and tussock tundra experimental treatment plots, creating a 3-year time series of inter-annual variation in NDVI. We found that: (1) across all tussock experimental tundra treatments, NDVI is correlated with aboveground plant biomass (r2 = 0.59); (2) NDVI-biomass relationships for tussock and wet sedge tundra communities are community specific, and; (3) NDVI values for tussock tundra communities are typically, but not always, greater than for wet sedge tundra communities across all experimental treatments. We suggest that differences between the response of wet sedge and tussock tundra communities in the same experimental treatments result from the contrasting degree of heterogeneity in species and functional types that characterize each of these Arctic tundra vegetation communities.

  2. Conquering Alaska's arctic drilling problems - 2. Drilling procedures

    SciTech Connect

    Moore, S.D.

    1981-06-01

    A discussion is presented of ARCO's solutions to the drilling problems an oil company faces in developing an arctic oil and gas field. Outlined are the following topics: surface casing hole; direcitonal drilling; Fondu cement; intermediate casing; downsqueeze procedure; and, drilling to TD.

  3. Biodegradability of dissolved organic carbon within and among hillslopes along a chronosequence of landscape age in arctic Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whittinghill, K. A.; Finlay, J. C.; Hobbie, S. E.

    2009-12-01

    A thorough understanding of the influence of landscape heterogeneity on arctic soil organic matter processing is necessary to predict how arctic carbon cycling will change with future climate. Large variation in geology, topography, vegetation, and permafrost extent exists throughout the circumpolar region. In the Kuparuk River region of northern Alaska, significant differences in mineralization of soil organic matter and production of dissolved organic carbon exist among landscapes with different glaciation histories which cannot be explained entirely by geochemical differences among these landscapes. In addition to variation among landscape ages, previous research in the region has demonstrated significant differences in soil water dissolved organic carbon concentrations within hillslope toposequences. We hypothesized that differences in biodegradability of dissolved organic matter within hillslopes or across landscapes of different age may drive observed variability in soil water dissolved organic carbon concentrations, dissolved organic carbon production, and soil respiration. To test this hypothesis we examined dissolved organic carbon extracted (with water) from soils within hillslopes across a chronosequence of landscapes with different glacial histories using four direct and indirect indices of dissolved organic matter biodegradability: 1) specific UV absorbance, 2) fluorescence index, 3) respiration measured by oxygen consumption rates, and 4) a long-term incubation of dissolved organic mater consumption. We selected three replicate hillslopes within four distinct landscape ages near the Kuparuk River. Within each hillslope we extracted dissolved organic matter from three organic soil samples collected from each of three transects: a) adjacent to the stream, b) along the vegetation boundary between upslope and streamside vegetation, and c) within upslope tussock tundra vegetation. Soil extract dissolved organic carbon concentrations were significantly

  4. AmeriFlux US-ICh Imnavait Creek Watershed Heath Tundra

    DOE Data Explorer

    Bret-Harte, Syndonia [University of Alaska Fairbanks; Euskirchen, Eugenie [University of Alaska Fairbanks; Shaver, Gaius [Marine Biological Laboratory

    2016-01-01

    This is the AmeriFlux version of the carbon flux data for the site US-ICh Imnavait Creek Watershed Heath Tundra. Site Description - The Imnavait Creek Watershed Heath Tundra (Ridge Station) is located near Imnavait Creek in Alaska, north of the Brooks Range in the Kuparuk basin near Lake Toolik and the Toolik Field Station. The Kuparuk River has its headwaters in the Brooks Range and drains through northern Alaska into the Arctic Ocean. Within these headwaters lies the Imnavait basin at an average elevation of 930 m. Water tracks run down the hill in parallel zones with a spacing of approximately 10 m. The Ridge Station was deployed at the end of Summer 2007.

  5. AmeriFlux US-ICs Imnavait Creek Watershed Wet Sedge Tundra

    DOE Data Explorer

    Bret-Harte, Syndonia [University of Alaska Fairbanks; Euskirchen, Eugenie [University of Alaska Fairbanks; Shaver, Gaius [Marine Biological Laboratory

    2016-01-01

    This is the AmeriFlux version of the carbon flux data for the site US-ICs Imnavait Creek Watershed Wet Sedge Tundra. Site Description - The Imnavait Creek Watershed Wet Sedge Tundra (Fen Station) is located near Imnavait Creek in Alaska, north of the Brooks Range in the Kuparuk basin near Lake Toolik and the Toolik Field Station. The Kuparuk River has its headwaters in the Brooks Range and drains through northern Alaska into the Arctic Ocean. Within these headwaters lies the Imnavait basin at an average elevation of 930 m. Water tracks run down the hill in parallel zones with a spacing of approximately 10 m. The Fen Station was deployed at the end of Summer 2007.

  6. AmeriFlux US-ICt Imnavait Creek Watershed Tussock Tundra

    DOE Data Explorer

    Bret-Harte, Syndonia [University of Alaska Fairbanks; Euskirchen, Eugenie [University of Alaska Fairbanks; Shaver, Gaius [Marine Biological Laboratory

    2016-01-01

    This is the AmeriFlux version of the carbon flux data for the site US-ICt Imnavait Creek Watershed Tussock Tundra. Site Description - The Imnavait Creek Watershed Tussock Tundra (Biocomplexity Station) is located near Imnavait Creek in Alaska, north of the Brooks Range in the Kuparuk basin near Lake Toolik and the Toolik Field Station. The Kuparuk River has its headwaters in the Brooks Range and drains through northern Alaska into the Arctic Ocean. Within these headwaters lies the Imnavait basin at an average elevation of 930 m. Water tracks run down the hill in parallel zones with a spacing of approximately 10 m. The Biocomplexity Station was deployed in 2004, and it has been in operation during the melt seasons ever since.

  7. Reconstruction of past methane availability in an Arctic Alaska wetland indicates climate influenced methane release during the past ~12,000 years

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wooller, Matthew J.; Pohlman, John W.; Gaglioti, Benjamin V.; Langdon, Peter; Jones, Miriam; Anthony, Katey M. Walter; Becker, Kevin W.; Hinrichs, Kai-Uwe; Elvert, Marcus

    2012-01-01

    Atmospheric contributions of methane from Arctic wetlands during the Holocene are dynamic and linked to climate oscillations. However, long-term records linking climate variability to methane availability in Arctic wetlands are lacking. We present a multi-proxy ~12,000 year paleoecological reconstruction of intermittent methane availability from a radiocarbon-dated sediment core (LQ-West) taken from a shallow tundra lake (Qalluuraq Lake) in Arctic Alaska. Specifically, stable carbon isotopic values of photosynthetic biomarkers and methane are utilized to estimate the proportional contribution of methane-derived carbon to lake-sediment-preserved benthic (chironomids) and pelagic (cladocerans) components over the last ~12,000 years. These results were compared to temperature, hydrologic, and habitat reconstructions from the same site using chironomid assemblage data, oxygen isotopes of chironomid head capsules, and radiocarbon ages of plant macrofossils. Cladoceran ephippia from ~4,000 cal year BP sediments have δ13C values that range from ~−39 to −31‰, suggesting peak methane carbon assimilation at that time. These low δ13C values coincide with an apparent decrease in effective moisture and development of a wetland that included Sphagnum subsecundum. Incorporation of methane-derived carbon by chironomids and cladocerans decreased from ~2,500 to 1,500 cal year BP, coinciding with a temperature decrease. Live-collected chironomids with a radiocarbon age of 1,640 cal year BP, and fossil chironomids from 1,500 cal year BP in the core illustrate that ‘old’ carbon has also contributed to the development of the aquatic ecosystem since ~1,500 cal year BP. The relatively low δ13C values of aquatic invertebrates (as low as −40.5‰) provide evidence of methane incorporation by lake invertebrates, and suggest intermittent climate-linked methane release from the lake throughout the Holocene.

  8. 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

  9. Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Jones, B.C.; Sears, D.W.

    1981-10-01

    Twenty-five exploratory wells were drilled in Alaska in 1980. Five oil or gas discovery wells were drilled on the North Slope. One hundred and seventeen development and service wells were drilled and completed, primarily in the Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk River fields on the North Slope. Geologic-geophysical field activity consisted of 115.74 crew months, an increase of almost 50% compared to 1979. These increases affected most of the major basins of the state as industry stepped up preparations for future lease sales. Federal acreage under lease increased slightly, while state lease acreage showed a slight decline. The year's oil production showed a increase of 16%, while gas production was down slightly. The federal land freeze in Alaska showed signs of thawing, as the US Department of Interior asked industry to identify areas of interest onshore for possible future leasing. National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska was opened to private exploration, and petroleum potential of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge will be studied. One outer continental shelf lease sale was held in the eastern Gulf of Alaska, and a series of state and federal lease sales were announced for the next 5 years. 5 figures, 5 tables.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Substrate Geochemistry and Soil Development in Boreal Forest and Tundra Ecosystems in the Yukon-Tanana Upland and Seward Peninsula, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gough, L.P.; Crock, J.G.; Wang, B.; Day, W.C.; Eberl, D.D.; Sanzolone, R.F.; Lamothe, P.J.

    2008-01-01

    We report on soil development as a function of bedrock type and the presence of loess in two high latitude ecosystems (boreal forest and tundra) and from two regions in Alaska?the Yukon-Tanana Upland (YTU, east-central Alaska) and the Seward Peninsula (SP, far-west coastal Alaska). This approach to the study of 'cold soils' is fundamental to the quantification of regional geochemical landscape patterns. Of the five state factors in this study, bedrock and biota (ecosystem; vegetation zone) vary whereas climate (within each area) and topography are controlled. The influence of time is assumed to be controlled, as these soils are thousands of years old (late Quaternary to Holocene). The primary minerals in soils from YTU, developed over loess and crystalline bedrock (metamorphic and intrusive), are quartz, plagioclase, and 2:1 clays; whereas in the SP, where loess and metasedimentary bedrock (schist and quartzite) predominate, they are quartz and muscovite. The A horizon of both regions is rich in peat. Examination of the ratio of mobile (K2O, CaO, and Fe2O3) to immobile (TiO2) major oxides, within each region, shows that very little difference exists in the chemical weathering of soils developed between the two ecosystems examined. Differences were observed between tundra soils developed in the two regions. These differences are most probably due to the dissimilarity in the geochemical importance of both loess and bedrock. A minimal loss of cadmium with soil depth is seen for soils developed over YTU crystalline bedrock in the boreal forest environments. This trend is related to the mobility of cadmium in these soils as well as to its biogenic cycling. Major differences were observed in the proportion of cadmium and zinc among the A, B, and C horizon material sequestered in various soil fractions as measured by sequential soil extractions. These trends followed such variables as the decrease with depth in organic matter, the change in clay minerals, and the change

  13. Long-term experimental warming alters nitrogen-cycling communities but site factors remain the primary drivers of community structure in high arctic tundra soils.

    PubMed

    Walker, Jennifer K M; Egger, Keith N; Henry, Gregory H R

    2008-09-01

    Arctic air temperatures are expected to rise significantly over the next century. Experimental warming of arctic tundra has been shown to increase plant productivity and cause community shifts and may also alter microbial community structure. Hence, the objective of this study was to determine whether experimental warming caused shifts in soil microbial communities by measuring changes in the frequency, relative abundance and/or richness of nosZ and nifH genotypes. Five sites at a high arctic coastal lowland were subjected to a 13-year warming experiment using open-top chambers (OTCs). Sites differed by dominant plant community, soil parent material and/or moisture regimen. Six soil cores were collected from each of four replicate OTC and ambient plots at each site and subdivided into upper and lower samples. Differences in frequency and relative abundance of terminal restriction fragments were assessed graphically by two-way cluster analysis and tested statistically with permutational multivariate analysis of variance (ANOVA). Genotypic richness was compared using factorial ANOVA. The genotype frequency, relative abundance and genotype richness of both nosZ and nifH communities differed significantly by site, and by OTC treatment and/or depth at some sites. The site that showed the most pronounced treatment effect was a wet sedge meadow, where community structure and genotype richness of both nosZ and nifH were significantly affected by warming. Although warming was an important factor affecting these communities at some sites at this high arctic lowland, overall, site factors were the main determinants of community structure.

  14. Hydrologic reconnaissance of western Arctic Alaska, 1976 and 1977

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Childers, Joseph M.; Kernodle, Donald R.; Loeffler, Robert M.

    1979-01-01

    Reconnaissance water-resource investigations were conducted on the western Alaskan Arctic Slope during April 1976 and August 1977; these months are times of winter and summer low flow. The information gathered is important for coordinated development in the area. Such development has been spurred by oil and gas discoveries on the North Slope, most notably at Prudhoe Bay. Little water resources information is currently available. The study area extended from the Colville River to the vicinity of Kotzebue. It included the western Arctic Slope and the western foothills of the Brooks Range. Nine springs, nine lakes and eleven rivers were sampled during the April 1976 reconnaissance trip. Its purpose was to locate winter flow and describe its quantity and quality. Field water-quality measurements made at these sites were: ice thickness, water depth, discharge (spring and streams), specific conductance, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, alkalinity (bicarbonate, HOC3), and pH. A followup summer trip was made in August 1977 to determine flood characteristics of twenty selected streams. Bankfull and maximum evident flood-peak discharges were determined by measuring channel geometry and estimating channel roughness. Aquatic invertebrate samples were collected at springs and flood survey sites visited during both reconnaissance trips. (Woodard-USGS)

  15. Recovery and archiving key Arctic Alaska vegetation map and plot data for the Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Field Experiment (ABoVE)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walker, D. A.; Breen, A. L.; Broderson, D.; Epstein, H. E.; Fisher, W.; Grunblatt, J.; Heinrichs, T.; Raynolds, M. K.; Walker, M. D.; Wirth, L.

    2013-12-01

    Abundant ground-based information will be needed to inform remote-sensing and modeling studies of NASA's Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE). A large body of plot and map data collected by the Alaska Geobotany Center (AGC) and collaborators from the Arctic regions of Alaska and the circumpolar Arctic over the past several decades is being archived and made accessible to scientists and the public via the Geographic Information Network of Alaska's (GINA's) 'Catalog' display and portal system. We are building two main types of data archives: Vegetation Plot Archive: For the plot information we use a Turboveg database to construct the Alaska portion of the international Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA) http://www.geobotany.uaf.edu/ava/. High quality plot data and non-digital legacy datasets in danger of being lost have highest priority for entry into the archive. A key aspect of the database is the PanArctic Species List (PASL-1), developed specifically for the AVA to provide a standard of species nomenclature for the entire Arctic biome. A wide variety of reports, documents, and ancillary data are linked to each plot's geographic location. Geoecological Map Archive: This database includes maps and remote sensing products and links to other relevant data associated with the maps, mainly those produced by the Alaska Geobotany Center. Map data include GIS shape files of vegetation, land-cover, soils, landforms and other categorical variables and digital raster data of elevation, multispectral satellite-derived data, and data products and metadata associated with these. The map archive will contain all the information that is currently in the hierarchical Toolik-Arctic Geobotanical Atlas (T-AGA) in Alaska http://www.arcticatlas.org, plus several additions that are in the process of development and will be combined with GINA's already substantial holdings of spatial data from northern Alaska. The Geoecological Atlas Portal uses GINA's Catalog tool to develop a

  16. Recognition and characterization of networks of water bodies in the Arctic ice-wedge polygonal tundra using high-resolution satellite imagery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Skurikhin, A. N.; Gangodagamage, C.; Rowland, J. C.; Wilson, C. J.

    2013-12-01

    Arctic lowland landscapes underlain by permafrost are often characterized by polygon-like patterns such as ice-wedge polygons outlined by networks of ice wedges and complemented with polygon rims, troughs, shallow ponds and thermokarst lakes. Polygonal patterns and corresponding features are relatively easy to recognize in high spatial resolution satellite imagery by a human, but their automated recognition is challenging due to the variability in their spectral appearance, the irregularity of individual trough spacing and orientation within the patterns, and a lack of unique spectral response attributable to troughs with widths commonly between 1 m and 2 m. Accurate identification of fine scale elements of ice-wedge polygonal tundra is important as their imprecise recognition may bias estimates of water, heat and carbon fluxes in large-scale climate models. Our focus is on the problem of identification of Arctic polygonal tundra fine-scale landscape elements (as small as 1 m - 2 m width). The challenge of the considered problem is that while large water bodies (e.g. lakes and rivers) can be recognized based on spectral response, reliable recognition of troughs is more difficult. Troughs do not have unique spectral signature, their appearance is noisy (edges are not strong), their width is small, and they often form connected networks with ponds and lakes, and thus they have overlapping spectral response with other water bodies and surrounding non-water bodies. We present a semi-automated approach to identify and classify Arctic polygonal tundra landscape components across the range of spatial scales, such as troughs, ponds, river- and lake-like objects, using high spatial resolution satellite imagery. The novelty of the approach lies in: (1) the combined use of segmentation and shape-based classification to identify a broad range of water bodies, including troughs, and (2) the use of high-resolution WorldView-2 satellite imagery (with resolution of 0.6 m) for this

  17. The lab and the land: overcoming the Arctic in Cold War Alaska.

    PubMed

    Farish, Matthew

    2013-03-01

    The militarization of Alaska during and after World War II created an extraordinary set of new facilities. But it also reshaped the imaginative role of Alaska as a hostile environment, where an antagonistic form of nature could be defeated with the appropriate combination of technology and training. One of the crucial sites for this reformulation was the Arctic Aeromedical Laboratory, based at Ladd Air Force Base in Fairbanks. In the first two decades of the Cold War, its employees conducted numerous experiments on acclimatization and survival. The laboratory is now best known for an infamous set of tests involving the application of radioactive tracers to indigenous Alaskans--experiments publicized by post-Cold War panels established to evaluate the tragic history of atomic-era human subject research. But little else has been written about the laboratory's relationship with the populations and landscapes that it targeted for study. This essay presents the laboratory as critical to Alaska's history and the history of the Cold War sciences. A consideration of the laboratory's various projects also reveals a consistent fascination with race. Alaskan Natives were enrolled in experiments because their bodies were understood to hold clues to the mysteries of northern nature. A scientific solution would aid American military campaigns not only in Alaska, but in cold climates everywhere.

  18. Regional shoreline change and coastal erosion hazards in Arctic Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gibbs, A.E.; Harden, E.L.; Richmond, B.M.; Erikson, L.H.

    2011-01-01

    Historical shoreline positions along the mainland Beaufort Sea coast of Alaska were digitized and analyzed to determine the long-term rate of change. Average shoreline change rates and ranges from 1947 to the mid-2000s were determined every 50 meters between Barrow and Demarcation Point, at the U.S.-Canadian border. Results show that shoreline change rates are highly variable along the coast, with an average regional shoreline change rate of-2.0 m/yr and localized rates of up to -19 m/yr. The highest erosion rates were observed at headlands, points, and associated with breached thermokarst lakes. Areas of accretion were limited, and generally associated with spit extension and minor beach accretion. In general, erosion rates increase from east to west, with overall higher rates east of Harrison Bay. ?? 2011 ASCE.

  19. Regional shoreline change and coastal erosion hazards in Arctic Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gibbs, Ann E.; Richmond, Bruce M.; Erikson, Li H.; Harden, E. Lynne; Wallendorf, Louise

    2011-01-01

    Historical shoreline positions along the mainland Beaufort Sea coast of Alaska were digitized and analyzed to determine the long-term rate of change. Average shoreline change rates and ranges from 1947 to the mid-2000s were determined every 50 meters between Barrow and Demarcation Point, at the U.S.-Canadian border. Results show that shoreline change rates are highly variable along the coast, with an average regional shoreline change rate of-2.0 m/yr and localized rates of up to -19 m/yr. The highest erosion rates were observed at headlands, points, and associated with breached thermokarst lakes. Areas of accretion were limited, and generally associated with spit extension and minor beach accretion. In general, erosion rates increase from east to west, with overall higher rates east of Harrison Bay.

  20. Population structure of two rabies hosts relative to the known distribution of rabies virus variants in Alaska.

    PubMed

    Goldsmith, Elizabeth W; Renshaw, Benjamin; Clement, Christopher J; Himschoot, Elizabeth A; Hundertmark, Kris J; Hueffer, Karsten

    2016-02-01

    For pathogens that infect multiple species, the distinction between reservoir hosts and spillover hosts is often difficult. In Alaska, three variants of the arctic rabies virus exist with distinct spatial distributions. We tested the hypothesis that rabies virus variant distribution corresponds to the population structure of the primary rabies hosts in Alaska, arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) and red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) to possibly distinguish reservoir and spillover hosts. We used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence and nine microsatellites to assess population structure in those two species. mtDNA structure did not correspond to rabies virus variant structure in either species. Microsatellite analyses gave varying results. Bayesian clustering found two groups of arctic foxes in the coastal tundra region, but for red foxes it identified tundra and boreal types. Spatial Bayesian clustering and spatial principal components analysis identified 3 and 4 groups of arctic foxes, respectively, closely matching the distribution of rabies virus variants in the state. Red foxes, conversely, showed eight clusters comprising two regions (boreal and tundra) with much admixture. These results run contrary to previous beliefs that arctic fox show no fine-scale spatial population structure. While we cannot rule out that the red fox is part of the maintenance host community for rabies in Alaska, the distribution of virus variants appears to be driven primarily by the arctic fox. Therefore, we show that host population genetics can be utilized to distinguish between maintenance and spillover hosts when used in conjunction with other approaches.

  1. Late Quaternary and future biome simulations for Alaska and Eastern Russia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hendricks, Amy S.

    Arctic biomes across a region including Alaska and Eastern Russia were investigated using the BIOME4 biogeochemical and biogeography vegetation model. This study investigated past (the last 21,000 years), present, and future vegetation distributions in the study area, using climate forcing from five CMIP5 models (CCSM4, GISS-E2-R, MIROC-ESM, MPI-ESM, and MRI-CGCM3). The present-day BIOME4 simulations were generally consistent with current vegetation observations in the study region characterized by evergreen and deciduous taiga and shrub tundras. Paleoclimatological simulations were compared with pollen data samples collected in the study region. Pre-industrial biome simulations are generally similar to the modern reconstruction but differ by having more shrub tundra in both Russia and Alaska to the north, as well as less deciduous taiga in Alaska. Pre-industrial simulations were in good agreement with the pollen data. Mid-Holocene simulations place shrub tundras along the Arctic coast, and in some cases along the eastern coast of Russia. Simulations for the Mid-Holocene are in good agreement with pollen-based distributions of biomes. Simulations for the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) show that the Bering Land Bridge was covered almost entirely by cushion forb, lichen and moss tundra, shrub tundra, and graminoid tundra. Three out of the five models' climate data produce evergreen and deciduous taiga in what is now southwestern Alaska, however the pollen data does not support this. The distributions of cushion forb, lichen, and moss tundra and graminoid tundra differ noticeably between models, while shrub tundra distributions are generally similar. Future simulations of BIOME4 based on the RCP8.5 climate scenario indicate a northward shift of the treeline and a significant areal decrease of shrub tundra and graminoid tundra regions in the 21st century. Intrusions of cool mixed, deciduous, and conifer forests above 60°N, especially in southwest Alaska, were notable

  2. Wave climate and trends along the eastern Chukchi Arctic Alaska coast

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Erikson, L.H.; Storlazzi, C.D.; Jensen, R.E.

    2011-01-01

    Due in large part to the difficulty of obtaining measurements in the Arctic, little is known about the wave climate along the coast of Arctic Alaska. In this study, numerical model simulations encompassing 40 years of wave hind-casts were used to assess mean and extreme wave conditions. Results indicate that the wave climate was strongly modulated by large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns and that mean and extreme wave heights and periods exhibited increasing trends in both the sea and swell frequency bands over the time-period studied (1954-2004). Model simulations also indicate that the upward trend was not due to a decrease in the minimum icepack extent. ?? 2011 ASCE.

  3. Early Tertiary marine fossils from northern Alaska: implications for Arctic Ocean paleogeography and faunal evolution.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Marincovich, L.; Brouwers, E.M.; Carter, L.D.

    1985-01-01

    Marine mollusks and ostracodes indicate a post-Danian Paleocene to early Eocene (Thanetian to Ypresian) age for a fauna from the Prince Creek Formation at Ocean Point, northern Alaska, that also contains genera characteristic of the Cretaceous and Neogene-Quaternary. The life-assocation of heterochronous taxa at Ocean Point resulted from an unusual paleogeographic setting, the nearly complete isolation of the Arctic Ocean from about the end of the Cretaceous until sometime in the Eocene, in which relict Cretaceous taxa survived into Tertiary time while endemic taxa evolved in situ; these later migrated to the northern mid- latitudes. Paleobiogeographic affinities of the Ocean Point assocation with mild temperate faunas of the London Basin (England), Denmark, and northern Germany indicate that a shallow, intermittent Paleocene seaway extended through the Norwegian-Greenland Sea to the North Sea Basin. Early Tertiary Arctic Ocean paleogeography deduced from faunal evidence agrees with that inferred from plate-tectonic reconstructions.-Authors

  4. Historical and contemporary imagery to assess ecosystem change on the Arctic coastal plain of northern Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tape, Ken D.; Pearce, John M.; Walworth, Dennis; Meixell, Brandt W.; Fondell, Tom F.; Gustine, David D.; Flint, Paul L.; Hupp, Jerry W.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Ward, David H.

    2014-01-01

    In this report, we describe and make available a set of 61 georectified aerial images of the Arctic Coastal Plain (taken from 1948 to 2010) that were obtained by the USGS to inform research objectives of the USGS CAE Initiative. Here, we describe the origins, metadata, and public availability of these images that were obtained within four main study areas on the Arctic Coastal Plain: Teshekpuk Lake Special Area, Chipp River, the Colville River Delta, and locations along the Dalton Highway Corridor between the Brooks Range and Deadhorse. We also provide general descriptions of observable changes to the geomorphology of landscapes that are apparent by comparing historical and contemporary images. These landscape changes include altered river corridors, lake drying, coastal erosion, and new vegetation communities. All original and georectified images and metadata are available through the USGS Alaska Science Center Portal (search under ‘Project Name’ using title of this report) or by contacting ascweb@usgs.gov.

  5. Potential oil and gas resources of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska: 1002 area

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bird, K.J.

    2000-01-01

    A geologist with extensive experience in the study of northern Alaska's petroleum resources provides an overview of the first comprehensive reassessment of the petroleum potential of section 1002 of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge since the original study of 1987. The paper surveys the region's geology, and provides a description of the methods employed and assessment results. The current resource is compared with that estimated in the original study, and is considerably larger, given the availability of new geologic and geophysical data, improved seismic processing and interpretation capabilities, and changes in the economics of North Slope oil development.

  6. A comprehensive climatology of Arctic aerosol properties on the North Slope of Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Creamean, Jessie; de Boer, Gijs; Shupe, Matthew; McComiskey, Allison

    2016-04-01

    Evaluating aerosol properties has implications for the formation of Arctic clouds, resulting in impacts on cloud lifetime, precipitation processes, and radiative forcing. There are many remaining uncertainties and large discrepancies regarding modeled and observed Arctic aerosol properties, illustrating the need for more detailed observations to improve simulations of Arctic aerosol and more generally, projections of the components of the aerosol-driven processes that impact sea ice loss/gain. In particular, the sources and climatic effects of Arctic aerosol particles are severely understudied. Here, we present a comprehensive, long-term record of aerosol observations from the North Slope of Alaska baseline site at Barrow. These measurements include sub- and supermicron (up to 10 μm) total mass and number concentrations, sub- and supermicron soluble inorganic and organic ion concentrations, submicron metal concentrations, submicron particle size distributions, and sub- and supermicron absorption and scattering properties. Aerosol extinction and number concentration measurements extend back to 1976, while the remaining measurements were implemented since. Corroboration between the chemical, physical, and optical property measurements is evident during periods of overlapping observations, demonstrating the reliability of the measurements. During the Arctic Haze in the winter/spring, high concentrations of long-range transported submicron sea salt, mineral dust, industrial metals, pollution (non-sea salt sulfate, nitrate, ammonium), and biomass burning species are observed concurrent with higher concentrations of particles with sizes that span the submicron range, enhanced absorption and scattering coefficients, and largest Ångström exponents. The summer is characterized by high concentrations of small biogenic aerosols (< 100 nm) and low extinction coefficients. Fall is characterized by clean conditions, with supermicron sea salt representing the dominant aerosol

  7. Enabling Scientific and Technological Improvements to Meet Core Partner Service Requirements in Alaska - An Arctic Test Bed

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Petrescu, E. M.; Scott, C. A.

    2014-12-01

    NOAA/NWS Test beds, such as the Joint Hurricane Test Bed (Miami, FL) and the Hazardous Weather Test Bed (Norman, OK) have been highly effective in meeting unique or pressing science and service challenges for the NWS. NWS Alaska Region leadership has developed plans for a significant enhancement to our operational forecast and decision support capabilities in Alaska to address the emerging requirements of the Arctic: An Arctic Test Bed. Historically, the complexity of forecast operations and the inherent challenges in Alaska have not been addressed well by the R&D programs and projects that support the CONUS regions of the NWS. In addition, there are unique science,technology, and support challenges (e.g., sea ice forecasts and arctic drilling prospects) and opportunities (Bilateral agreements with Canada, Russia, and Norway) that would best be worked through Alaska operations. A dedicated test bed will provide a mechanism to transfer technology, research results, and observations advances into operations in a timely and effective manner in support of Weather Ready Nation goals and to enhance decision support services in Alaska. A NOAA Arctic Test Bed will provide a crucial nexus for ensuring NOAA's developers understand Alaska's needs, which are often cross disciplinary (atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere, and hydrologic), to improve NOAA's responsiveness to its Arctic-related science and service priorities among the NWS and OAR (CPO and ESRL), and enable better leveraging of other research initiatives and data sources external to NOAA, including academia, other government agencies, and the private sector, which are particular to the polar region (e.g., WWRP Polar Prediction Project). Organization, capabilities and opportunities will be presentation.

  8. Initial Conceptualization and Application of the Alaska Thermokarst Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bolton, W. R.; Lara, M. J.; Genet, H.; Romanovsky, V. E.; McGuire, A. D.

    2015-12-01

    Thermokarst topography forms whenever ice-rich permafrost thaws and the ground subsides due to the volume loss when ground ice transitions to water. The Alaska Thermokarst Model (ATM) is a large-scale, state-and-transition model designed to simulate transitions between landscape units affected by thermokarst disturbance. 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 among wetland tundra, graminoid tundra, shrub tundra, and thermokarst lakes. In the boreal forest environment, the ATM tracks transitions among forested permafrost plateau, thermokarst lakes, collapse scar fens and bogs. 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 (i.e. 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 a set of rules that are based upon the ice-content of the soil, the drainage efficiency (or the ability of the landscape to store or transport water), the cumulative probability of thermokarst initiation, distance from rivers, lake dynamics (increasing, decreasing, or stable), and other factors. Tundra types are allowed to transition from one type to another (for example, wetland tundra to graminoid tundra) under favorable climatic conditions. In this study, we present our conceptualization and initial simulation results from in the arctic (the Barrow Peninsula) and boreal (the Tanana Flats) regions of Alaska.

  9. Predicting breeding shorebird distributions on the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Saalfeld, Sarah T.; Lanctot, Richard B.; Brown, Stephen C.; Saalfeld, David T.; Johnson, James A.; Andres, Brad A.; Bart, Jonathan R.

    2013-01-01

    The Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) of Alaska is an important region for millions of migrating and nesting shorebirds. However, this region is threatened by climate change and increased human development (e.g., oil and gas production) that have the potential to greatly impact shorebird populations and breeding habitat in the near future. Because historic data on shorebird distributions in the ACP are very coarse and incomplete, we sought to develop detailed, contemporary distribution maps so that the potential impacts of climate-mediated changes and development could be ascertained. To do this, we developed and mapped habitat suitability indices for eight species of shorebirds (Black-bellied Plover [Pluvialis squatarola], American Golden-Plover [Pluvialis dominica], Semipalmated Sandpiper [Calidris pusilla], Pectoral Sandpiper [Calidris melanotos], Dunlin [Calidris alpina], Long-billed Dowitcher [Limnodromus scolopaceus], Red-necked Phalarope [Phalaropus lobatus], and Red Phalarope [Phalaropus fulicarius]) that commonly breed within the ACP of Alaska. These habitat suitability models were based on 767 plots surveyed during nine years between 1998 and 2008 (surveys were not conducted in 2003 and 2005), using single-visit rapid area searches during territory establishment and incubation (8 June, 1 July). Species specific habitat suitability indices were developed and mapped using presence-only modeling techniques (partitioned Mahalanobis distance) and landscape environmental variables. For most species, habitat suitability was greater at lower elevations (i.e., near the coast and river deltas) and lower within upland habitats. Accuracy of models was high for all species, ranging from 65 -98%. Our models predicted that the largest fraction of suitable habitat for the majority of species occurred within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, with highly suitable habitat also occurring within coastal areas of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge west to Prudhoe Bay.

  10. Assessment of undiscovered petroleum resources of the Arctic Alaska Petroleum Province

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Houseknecht, David W.; Bird, Kenneth J.; Garrity, Christopher P.

    2012-01-01

    The Arctic Alaska Petroleum Province encompasses all lands and adjacent continental shelf areas north of the Brooks Range-Herald arch tectonic belts and south of the northern (outboard) margin of the Alaska rift shoulder. Even though only a small part is thoroughly explored, it is one of the most prolific petroleum provinces in North America, with total known resources (cumulative production plus proved reserves) of about 28 billion barrels of oil equivalent. For assessment purposes, the province is divided into a platform assessment unit, comprising the Alaska rift shoulder and its relatively undeformed flanks, and a fold-and-thrust belt assessment unit, comprising the deformed area north of the Brooks Range and Herald arch tectonic belts. Mean estimates of undiscovered, technically recoverable resources include nearly 28 billion barrels of oil and 122 trillion cubic feet of nonassociated gas in the platform assessment unit and 2 billion barrels of oil and 59 trillion cubic feet of nonassociated gas in the fold-and-thrust belt assessment unit.

  11. Effects of a Tundra Fire on Soils and Plant Communities along a Hillslope in the Seward Peninsula, Alaska.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1980-11-01

    the bryophytes , Marchantia polymorpha, rather than to yearly climatic fluctuations This Ceratodon purpureus and Polytrichum juniper- evidence includes 1... bryophyte cover while sedge seedlings mon in the pre-fire tussc ( k -shrub tundra n 197 remained abundant No lichen recovery was ob- I he most striking visual...1.3 9.3 3.360’ Bryophyte 2.8 4.7 1.0 0.2 2.7 1.7 1.7.’l Lichen 5.5 4.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 Total 90.9 23.3 32.2 .’ Site 3 (,rarnjnoid ND 21.1 17.7 21.4 20.5

  12. Analysis of the origin of Aufeis feed-water on the arctic slope of Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hall, D. K.; Roswell, C. (Principal Investigator)

    1980-01-01

    The origin of water feeding large aufeis fields (overflow river ice) on the Arctic Slope of Alaska is analyzed. Field measurements of two large aufeis fields on the eastern Arctic Slope were taken during July of 1978 and 1979. Measurements of aufeis extent and distribution were made using LANDSAT Multispectral Scanner Subsystem (MSS) satellite data from 1973 through 1979. In addition, ice cores were analyzed in the laboratory. Results of the field and laboratory studies indicate that the water derived from aufeis melt water has a chemical composition different from the adjacent upstream river water. Large aufeis fields are found in association with springs and faults thus indicating a subterranean origin of the feed water. In addition, the maximum extent of large aufeis fields was not found to follow meteorological patterns which would only be expected if the origin of the feed water were local. It is concluded that extent of large aufeis in a given river channel on the Arctic Slope is controlled by discharge from reservoirs of groundwater. It seems probable that precipitation passes into limestone aquifers in the Brooks Range, through an interconnecting system of subterranean fractures in calcareous rocks and ultimately discharges into alluvial sediments on the coastal plain to form aufeis. It is speculated that only small aufeis patches are affected by local meteorological parameters in the months just prior to aufeis formation.

  13. Shifting balance of thermokarst lake ice regimes across the Arctic Coastal Plain of northern Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Arp, Christopher D.; Jones, Benjamin M.; Lu, Zong; Whitman, Matthew S.

    2012-01-01

    The balance of thermokarst lakes with bedfast- and floating-ice regimes across Arctic lowlands regulates heat storage, permafrost thaw, winter-water supply, and over-wintering aquatic habitat. Using a time-series of late-winter synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery to distinguish lake ice regimes in two regions of the Arctic Coastal Plain of northern Alaska from 2003–2011, we found that 18% of the lakes had intermittent ice regimes, varying between bedfast-ice and floating-ice conditions. Comparing this dataset with a radar-based lake classification from 1980 showed that 16% of the bedfast-ice lakes had shifted to floating-ice regimes. A simulated lake ice thinning trend of 1.5 cm/yr since 1978 is believed to be the primary factor driving this form of lake change. The most profound impacts of this regime shift in Arctic lakes may be an increase in the landscape-scale thermal offset created by additional lake heat storage and its role in talik development in otherwise continuous permafrost as well as increases in over-winter aquatic habitat and winter-water supply.

  14. Late Holocene sedimentation in a high Arctic coastal setting: Simpson Lagoon and Colville Delta, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hanna, Andrea J. M.; Allison, Mead A.; Bianchi, Thomas S.; Marcantonio, Franco; Goff, John A.

    2014-02-01

    Arctic coastal environments near major river outfalls, like Simpson Lagoon, Alaska and the adjacent Colville River Delta, potentially contain high-resolution sediment records useful in elucidating late Holocene Arctic sediment transport pathways and coupled terrestrial-ocean evidence of paleoclimate variability. This study utilizes a multi-tracer geochronology approach (137Cs, 239,240Pu, and 14C) tailored for high-latitude environments to determine the age models for cores collected from Simpson Lagoon, and to date seismic boundaries in shallow acoustic reflection data (CHIRP) to examine late Holocene infill patterns. Modern (~100 y) sediment accumulation rates range from <0.02 to 0.46±0.04 cm y-1, with a primary depocenter in western Simpson Lagoon adjacent to the Colville Delta and a secondary depocenter in eastern Simpson Lagoon. CHIRP reflectors, age-constrained by 14C analysis, reveal rapid late Holocene (0-3500 y BP) transgression consistent with high modern shoreline retreat rates. The western depocenter contains >5 m of late Holocene interbedded sediments, likely derived primarily from the Colville River, with onset of accumulation occurring prior to ~3500 y BP. A paleo-high in central Simpson Lagoon, separating the two depocenters, was subaerially exposed prior to ~600 y BP. The millimeters-per-year sedimentation rates across the lagoon, coupled with the undisturbed, interbedded sediment record, indicate that these settings hold great potential to develop new Arctic paleoenvironmental records.

  15. Factors in Rapid Coastal Retreat: Comparing Two New Datasets for Alaska's Arctic Coast

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Higman, B. M.; Gibbs, A.; Richmond, B. M.

    2014-12-01

    Dramatic coastal change dominated by erosion and retreat is widespread on arctic coasts, and two extensive new datasets in Alaska's Arctic provide insight into the extent and character of this change. ShoreZone data provides detailed categorical descriptions of physical coastal morphology for about 6000 km of Beaufort and Chukchi Seas coast. A USGS National Assessment of Shoreline Change (NASC) study documents coastal change rates at 50 meter intervals along about 1300 km of coast distributed between the Canadian Border and Icy Cape, almost entirely within the ShoreZone study area. Descriptive ShoreZone data provides a framework for better understanding coastal environments and their importance to change rates. We are applying a new method for clustering and comparing ShoreZone units to generate subsets of NASC coastal change rates with similar coastal morphology, and mapping areas outside the NASC study that show similarity to areas with documented high rates of erosion or accretion. Joint analysis of these two datasets provides insight into the processes that control coastal change, and a starting p