Linking Offshore Oceanography to Alaskan Lagoon Dynamics

Tyler Hennon, UAF, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, Fairbanks, United States, Seth L Danielson, UAF, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, Fairbanks, AK, United States and Tahzay Jones, National Park Service, Anchorage, AK, United States
Lagoons along the NW Alaskan coast act as moderators to freshwater discharge to the Chukchi Sea, which in turn affects freshwater transport to the broader Arctic Ocean. They also serve as important nursery and habitat areas for fishes that sustain both higher trophic levels and subsistence harvests for local Indigenous communities. Despite their impact on circulation, nutrient exchanges, and ecological systems, the couplings between off-shore oceanography patterns and lagoon dynamics are still relatively poorly understood. Climate change is inducing rapid transformation across these high-latitude systems, and it is becoming increasingly important to understand functional relationships in order to best inform policy, planning, and resource management needs. To quantify the coupling between off-shore regions and Alaskan lagoons we utilize data from a 6-mooring array deployed as part of the Arctic Integrated Ecosystem Research Program, spanning June 2017 to August 2019, in conjunction with ROMS ocean circulation model hindcasts and ECMWF Era5 atmospheric reanalysis outputs to characterize the regional circulation, water mass properties, and associated atmospheric forcings. These are assessed along with tide gauge data from within several lagoons and nearby NOAA CO-OPS stations to show the tightly coupled nature of nearshore and offshore conditions and processes.