Preliminary Results of River and Stream Chemistry and Heat from the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) Polar Science & Technology Program (PS&TP) Alaska North Slope Material Flux Study

Shawn Glenn Gallaher and Joseph P Smith, US Naval Academy, Oceanography, Annapolis, MD, United States
A joint Service Academy research team in collaboration with Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) Fairbanks conducted the first of three field campaigns to examine the evolution of heat and material fluxes through small river and stream systems on the Alaskan North Slope. The geographical area of interest is the 200 mile corridor north of the Brooks Range along the Sagavanirktok and Kuparuk Rivers to the Arctic Ocean river deltas to include many of the contributing mountain and tundra tributaries. Research includes the identification of material source inputs from small streams and capturing landscape change associated with the selective melting of permafrost. From May – September 2019, freshwater flow, water quality data, water temperature, landscape surveys, and surface water samples were collected from these rivers and from representative mountain and tundra streams feeding this watershed. Surface waters were analyzed for dissolved trace elements and major ions, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and organic carbon (DOC), total suspended solids, and particulate organic carbon. The stable carbon isotope composition of the DIC and DOC pool was also analyzed along with dissolved oxygen and deuterium values. Results of 2019 data collection efforts and the biogeochemical analysis of surface waters will be presented to provide a preliminary assessment of the variability in the chemistry of the Sagavanirktok River and Kuparuk River in response to the spring-summer thaw cycle and regional scale meteorological/hydrological forcing.