Loads and yields of suspended sediment and carbonate were measured and modeled at three locations on the Yukon, Tanana, and Porcupine Rivers in Alaska during water years 2001-2005 (1 October 2000 to 30 September 2005). Annual export of suspended sediment and carbonate upstream from the Yukon Delta averaged 68 Mt a-1 and 387 Gg a-1, respectively, with 50% of the suspended sediment load originating in the Tanana River Basin and 88% of the carbonate load originating in the White River Basin. About half the annual suspended sediment export occurred during spring, and half occurred during summer-autumn, with very little export in winter. On average, a minimum of 11 Mt a-1 of suspended sediment is deposited in floodplains between Eagle, Alaska, and Pilot Station, Alaska, on an annual basis, mostly in the Yukon Flats. There is about a 27% loss in the carbonate load between Eagle and Yukon River near Stevens Village, with an additional loss of about 29% between Stevens Village and Pilot Station, owing to a combination of deposition and dissolution. Comparison of current and historical suspended sediment loads for Tanana River suggests a possible link between suspended sediment yield and the Pacific decadal oscillation.
Additional publication details
Suspended sediment and carbonate transport in the Yukon River Basin, Alaska: Fluxes and potential future responses to climate change