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Arctic Warming

ARC scientists documented how Arctic warming is thawing frozen ground (permafrost), creating hot spots of erosion, nutrient release into rivers, and decomposition of ancient organic carbon. This information is essential for managers and policymakers who must grapple with how to mitigate and adapt to future climate change.

Bowden, W. B., M. N. Gooseff, A. Balser, A. Green, B. J. Peterson, and J. Bradford. 2008. Sediment and nutrient delivery from thermokarst features in the foothills of the North Slope, Alaska: Potential impacts on headwater stream ecosystems. Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences 113, G02026; doi:10.1029/2007JG000470.
Gooseff, M. N., A. Balser, W. B. Bowden, and J. B. Jones. 2009. Effects of hillslope thermokarst in northern Alaska. EOS 90 (4):29-36.
Schuur, E.A.G., J.B.Bockheim, J.G. Canadell, E. Euskirchen, C.B.Field, S.V. Goryachkin, S.Hagemann, P. Kuhry, P.M. Lafleur, H. Lee, G. Mazhitova, F.E. Nelson, A. Rinke, V.E. Romanovsky, N. Shiklomanov, C. Tarnocai, S. Venevsky, J.G. Vogel, and S.A. Zimov. 2008. Vulnerability of Permafrost Carbon to Climate Change: Implications for the Global Carbon Cycle. BioScience 58(8): 701-714.
W. Breck Bowden
Glacial thaw slump on lake NE-14 near Toolik Lake, North Slope of Alaska, in 2007. This feature was roughly 100 m across the widest point at the time this photo was taken. However, the feature has since expanded significantly.
W.B. Bowden.
Conceptual diagram of the effect of permafrost thawing on climate. Permafrost carbon, once thawed, can enter ecosystems that have either predominantly oxic (oxygen present) or predominantly anoxic (oxygen limited) soil conditions. The ultimate fate of this carbon is strongly dependent on these fundamental controlling environmental variables.
From Schuur et al. 2008



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