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

Geophysical Research Letters

By:
, , ,
DOI: 10.1029/2012GL052518

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Abstract

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.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Shifting balance of thermokarst lake ice regimes across the Arctic Coastal Plain of northern Alaska
Series title:
Geophysical Research Letters
DOI:
10.1029/2012GL052518
Volume
39
Issue:
16
Year Published:
2012
Language:
English
Publisher:
Wiley
Contributing office(s):
Alaska Science Center Geography
Description:
5 p.; L16503
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Geophysical Research Letters
Country:
United States
State:
Alaska
Other Geospatial:
National Petroleum Reserve