Circumarctic Lakes Observation Network (CALON)
About one-quarter of the lakes on earth are located in the Arctic, with their origin and distribution largely controlled by the presence of permafrost, glacial history, and the regional water balance. About half of the Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) of Alaska is covered with lakes and drained lake basins, making these features the dominant landscape elements and a crucial component of the Arctic system. Lakes are intimately tied to the regional climate through their energy and water budgets and profoundly affect regional permafrost character. Arctic lakes release large quantities of carbon dioxide and methane to the atmosphere and absorb up to 35% more solar energy than the surrounding tundra during summer. Atmospheric effects on Arctic lakes, such as precipitation, temperature, radiation, wind, and humidity impact lake levels, water temperature, evaporation, mixing, ice cover, and lake productivity. Lakes play a vital role in the Arctic ecology, and there is concern that biological communities and lake productivity are vulnerable to the effects of climate warming. Water quality degradation and changes in lake hydrology are additional concerns for indigenous communities, since lake systems play a crucial role in I˝upiaq subsistence, culture, and heritage. This project will allow us to make spatial and temporal comparisons across Arctic Alaska to determine the impact of warmer temperatures, changing cloud cover and precipitation patterns, permafrost degradation, and direct human impacts on lakes.
Principal Investigator: Benjamin Jones, firstname.lastname@example.org, Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, AK