Third-Year Results from the Circumarctic Lakes Observation Network (CALON) Project

Monday, 15 December 2014
Kenneth M Hinkel1, Christopher D Arp2, Richard A Beck1, Wendy R Eisner1, Karen E Frey3, Guido Grosse4, Benjamin M Jones5, Changjoo Kim1, John D Lenters6, Hongxing Liu1 and Amy Townsend-Small1, (1)University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, United States, (2)University of Alaska Fairbanks, Anchorage, AK, United States, (3)Clark University, Graduate School of Geography, Worcester, MA, United States, (4)Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz-Center for Polar and Marine Research Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany, (5)USGS Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, AK, United States, (6)LimnoTech, Ann Arbor, MI, United States
Since 2012, 60 lakes in northern Alaska have been instrumented under the auspices of CALON, a project designed to document landscape-scale variability in physical and biogeochemical processes of Arctic lakes in permafrost terrain. The network has ten observation nodes along two latitudinal transects extending from the Arctic Ocean inland some 200 km to the Brooks Range foothills. At each node, a meteorological station is deployed, and six representative lakes of differing area and depth are instrumented and sampled at different intensity levels to collect basic field measurements. In April, sensors measuring water temperature and depth are deployed through the ice in each lake, ice and snow thickness recorded, and water samples are collected. Data are downloaded, lakes re-sampled, and bathymetric surveys are conducted in August. In 2014, the snow cover on inland lakes was thinner than in previous years but thicker on lakes located near the coast. Lake ice was generally thinner near the coast, but the difference diminished inland. Winters (Oct-March) have been progressively warmer over the 3-year period, which partially explains the thinner lake ice that formed in 2013-14. Lakes are typically well–mixed and largely isothermal, with minor thermal stratification occurring in deeper lakes during calm, sunny periods. These regional lake and meteorological data sets, used in conjunction with satellite imagery, supports the wind-driven lake circulation model for the origin of thermokarst lakes. Results of biogeochemical analyses of lake waters generally show notably higher concentrations of cations/anions, chromophoric dissolved organic matter, and chlorophyll-a during April as compared with August. Dissolved methane concentrations are also much higher under ice than in open water during summer, although all lakes are a source of atmospheric methane. Interviews with indigenous elders in Anaktuvuk Pass indicate that mountain lakes are drying up. During the 2014 breakup period, 350 entrants participated in the 2nd Annual Toolik Lake Ice Classic including elementary school children, the general public, and international researchers. Ice off occurred on 23 June, and 11 people correctly guessed this day. All field data is archived at A-CADIS, and further information is at www.arcticlakes.org.