Arctic sea ice decline contributes to thinning lake ice trend in northern Alaska

Environmental Research Letters
By: , and 

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Abstract

Field measurements, satellite observations, and models document a thinning trend in seasonal Arctic lake ice growth, causing a shift from bedfast to floating ice conditions. September sea ice concentrations in the Arctic Ocean since 1991 correlate well (r = +0.69,p < 0.001) to this lake regime shift. To understand how and to what extent sea ice affects lakes, we conducted model experiments to simulate winters with years of high (1991/92) and low (2007/08) sea ice extent for which we also had field measurements and satellite imagery characterizing lake ice conditions. A lake ice growth model forced with Weather Research and Forecasting model output produced a 7% decrease in lake ice growth when 2007/08 sea ice was imposed on 1991/92 climatology and a 9% increase in lake ice growth for the opposing experiment. Here, we clearly link early winter 'ocean-effect' snowfall and warming to reduced lake ice growth. Future reductions in sea ice extent will alter hydrological, biogeochemical, and habitat functioning of Arctic lakes and cause sub-lake permafrost thaw.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Arctic sea ice decline contributes to thinning lake ice trend in northern Alaska
Series title Environmental Research Letters
DOI 10.1088/1748-9326/11/7/074022
Volume 11
Issue 7
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Institute of Physics
Publisher location London
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center Geography
Country United States
State Alaska
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N