Final Results From the Circumarctic Lakes Observation Network (CALON) Project
Since 2012, the physical and biogeochemical properties of ~60 lakes in northern Alaska have been investigated under CALON, a project to document landscape-scale variability of Arctic lakes in permafrost terrain. The network has ten nodes along two latitudinal transects extending inland 200 km from the Arctic Ocean. A meteorological station is deployed at each node and six representative lakes instrumented and continuously monitored, with winter and summer visits for synoptic assessment of lake conditions. Over the 4-year period, winter and summer climatology varied to create a rich range of lake responses over a short period. For example, winter 2012-13 was very cold with a thin snowpack producing thick ice across the region. Subsequent years had relatively warm winters, yet regionally variable snow resulted in differing gradients of ice thickness. Ice-out timing was unusually late in 2014 and unusually early in 2015. Lakes are typically well–mixed and largely isothermal, with minor thermal stratification occurring in deeper lakes during calm, sunny periods in summer. Lake water temperature records and morphometric data were used to estimate the ground thermal condition beneath 28 lakes. Application of a thermal equilibrium steady-state model suggests a talik penetrating the permafrost under many larger lakes, but lake geochemical data do not indicate a significant contribution of subpermafrost groundwater. Biogeochemical data reveal distinct spatial and seasonal variability in chlorophyll biomass, chromophoric dissolved organic carbon (CDOM), and major cations/anions. Generally, waters sampled beneath ice in April had distinctly higher concentrations of inorganic solutes and methane compared with August. Chlorophyll concentrations and CDOM absorption were higher in April, suggesting significant biological/biogeochemical activity under lake ice. Lakes are a positive source of methane in summer, and some also emit nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide. As part of the Indigenous Knowledge component,76 Iñupiat elders, hunters and berry pickers have been interviewed and over 75 hours of videotaped interviews produced. The video library and searchable interview logs are archived with the North Slope community. All field data is archived at ACADIS, and further information is at www.arcticlakes.org.