Alessio Gusmeroli, Christopher Arp, and Benjamin Jones set out on March 1st, 2013 for a 400 mile research expedition from Toolik Field Station (68° N) to the Colville River delta (70° N) in arctic Alaska. The research team used snowmobiles to travel between different sites to observe lake-ice conditions on some of the many lakes in northern Alaska. During much of the 7-day field campaign, windchill temperatures approached -60° F (-50° C).
The research team is studying arctic lakes in response to a recently documented changes in arctic lake temperatures. Changes in lake temperatures may cause significant changes in the aquatic habitat, a critical component of the Arctic terrestrial food chain. The measurements they conducted will also be used to improve satellite imagery for the region.
The research team, composed of Alessio Gusmeroli, from the Alaska Climate Science Center and the International Arctic Research Center (IARC) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), Christopher Arp, from the UAF Water and Environmental Research Center, and Benjamin Jones from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) produced this outreach documentary to share the research activities and environmental conditions that Arctic scientists often face while studying winter processes.
On September 5, 2013, University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Natural Resources student, Carson Baughman defended his Masters of Science thesis, entitled, "Soil Surface Organic Layers in the Arctic Foothills: Distribution, Development, and Microclimatic Feedbacks."
Accumulated organic matter at the ground surface plays an important role in arctic ecosystems. These soil surface organic layers (SSOLs) influence temperature, moisture, and chemistry in the underlying mineral soil and, on a global basis, comprise enormous stores of labile carbon. Understanding the dynamics of SSOLs is prerequisite to modeling the responses of arctic ecosystem processes to climate changes.
The presentation covers new insights in SSOL form and function including:
1) Environmental factors that control SSOL spatial distribution
2) How long SSOLs take to form
3) The relationship between SSOL thickness and mineral soil temperature through the growing season
Carson's work was supported by the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Natural Resources, the Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning (SNAP), the USGS Alaska Climate Science Center, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
This video shows landscapes of Alaska. From glaciers in the Alaska Range, to the Interior's boreal forest and the Arctic tundra--this short movie highlights the importance and stunning beauty of Alaska's frozen lands. It contains footage taken by Alessio Gusmeroli during research expeditions to the study glaciers, snow and permafrost in Alaska.
The soundtrack for this movie is "Arktika", and is by the Russian artist Mara, who kindly gave permission to use this song for research and education. It fits perfectly with the landscapes shown in the video. The video was prepared to showcase UAF's Arctic research in a presentation by John Eichelberger about the University of the Arctic.