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of Alaska, Alaska, United States

Walter Anthony K.,University of Alaska FairbanksFairbanks
Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems | Year: 2015

To date, methane emissions from lakes in the pan-arctic region are poorly quantified. In order to investigate the response of methane emissions from this region to global warming, a process-based climate-sensitive lake biogeochemical model was developed. The processes of methane production, oxidation, and transport were modeled within a one-dimensional sediment and water column. The sizes of 14C-enriched and 14C-depleted carbon pools were explicitly parameterized. The model was validated using observational data from five lakes located in Siberia and Alaska, representing a large variety of environmental conditions in the arctic. The model simulations agreed well with the measured water temperature and dissolved CH4 concentration (mean error less than 1°C and 0.2 μM, respectively). The modeled CH4 fluxes were consistent with observations in these lakes. We found that bubbling-rate-controlling nitrogen (N2) stripping was the most important factor in determining CH4 fraction in bubbles. Lake depth and ice cover thickness in shallow waters were also controlling factors. This study demonstrated that the thawing of Pleistocene-aged organic-rich yedoma can fuel sediment methanogenesis by supplying a large quantity of labile organic carbon. Observations and modeling results both confirmed that methane emission rate at thermokarst margins of yedoma lakes was much larger (up to 538 mg CH4 m-2 d-1) than that at nonthermokarst zones in the same lakes and a nonyedoma, nonthermokarst lake (less than 42 mg CH4 m-2 d-1). The seasonal variability of methane emissions can be explained primarily by energy input and organic carbon availability. © 2015. The Authors.

Hill D.F.,Oregon State University | Bruhis N.,Decagon DevicesPullman | Calos S.E.,University of Virginia | Arendt A.,University of Alaska FairbanksFairbanks | Beamer J.,Oregon State University
Journal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans | Year: 2015

A study of the freshwater discharge into the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) has been carried out. Using available streamgage data, regression equations were developed for monthly flows. These equations express discharge as a function of basin physical characteristics such as area, mean elevation, and land cover, and of basin meteorological characteristics such as temperature, precipitation, and accumulated water year precipitation. To provide the necessary input meteorological data, temperature and precipitation data for a 40 year hind-cast period were developed on high-spatial-resolution grids using weather station data, PRISM climatologies, and statistical downscaling methods. Runoff predictions from the equations were found to agree well with observations. Once developed, the regression equations were applied to a network of delineated watersheds spanning the entire GOA drainage basin. The region was divided into a northern region, ranging from the Aleutian Chain to the Alaska/Canada border in the southeast panhandle, and a southern region, ranging from there to the Fraser River. The mean annual runoff volume into the northern GOA region was found to be 792±120 km3 yr-1. A water balance using MODIS-based evapotranspiration rates yielded seasonal storage volumes that were consistent with GRACE satellite-based estimates. The GRACE data suggest that an additional 57±11 km3 yr-1 be added to the runoff from the northern region, due to glacier volume loss (GVL) in recent years. This yields a total value of 849±121 km3 yr-1. The ease of application of the derived regression equations provides an accessible tool for quantifying mean annual values, seasonal variation, and interannual variability of runoff in any ungaged basin of interest. © 2015 American Geophysical Union.

Dee S.,University of Southern California | Emile-Geay J.,University of Southern California | Evans M.N.,University of Maryland College Park | Allam A.,University of Alaska FairbanksFairbanks | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems | Year: 2015

Paleoclimate observations constitute the only constraint on climate behavior prior to the instrumental era. However, such observations only provide indirect (proxy) constraints on physical variables. Proxy system models aim to improve the interpretation of such observations and better quantify their inherent uncertainties. However, existing models are currently scattered in the literature, making their integration difficult. Here, we present a comprehensive modeling framework for proxy systems, named PRYSM. For this initial iteration, we focus on water-isotope based climate proxies in ice cores, corals, tree ring cellulose, and speleothem calcite. We review modeling approaches for each proxy class, and pair them with an isotope-enabled climate simulation to illustrate the new scientific insights that may be gained from this framework. Applications include parameter sensitivity analysis, the quantification of archive-specific processes on the recorded climate signal, and the quantification of how chronological uncertainties affect signal detection, demonstrating the utility of PRYSM for a broad array of climate studies. © 2015. The Authors.

Hirano D.,National Institute of Polar ResearchTachikawa Japan | Fukamachi Y.,Institute of Low Temperature Science | Watanabe E.,Japan Agency for Marine - Earth Science and Technology | Ohshima K.I.,Institute of Low Temperature Science | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans | Year: 2016

The nature of the Barrow Coastal Polynya (BCP), which forms episodically off the Alaska coast in winter, is examined using mooring data, atmospheric reanalysis data, and satellite-derived sea-ice concentration and production data. We focus on oceanographic conditions such as water mass distribution and ocean current structure beneath the BCP. Two moorings were deployed off Barrow, Alaska in the northeastern Chukchi Sea from August 2009 to July 2010. For sea-ice season from December to May, a characteristic sequence of five events associated with the BCP has been identified; (1) dominant northeasterly wind parallel to the Barrow Canyon, with an offshore component off Barrow, (2) high sea-ice production, (3) upwelling of warm and saline Atlantic Water beneath the BCP, (4) strong up-canyon shear flow associated with displaced density surfaces due to the upwelling, and (5) sudden suppression of ice growth. A baroclinic current structure, established after the upwelling, caused enhanced vertical shear and corresponding vertical mixing. The mixing event and open water formation occurred simultaneously, once sea-ice production had stopped. Thus, mixing events accompanied by ocean heat flux from the upwelled warm water into the surface layer played an important role in formation/maintenance of the open water area (i.e., sensible heat polynya). The transition from a latent to a sensible heat polynya is well reproduced by a high-resolution pan-Arctic ice-ocean model. We propose that the BCP, previously considered to be a latent heat polynya, is a wind-driven hybrid latent and sensible heat polynya, with both features caused by the same northeasterly wind. © 2016. American Geophysical Union.

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