Site: Beaufort Lagoon Ecosystem LTER

Researcher James McClelland sampling water during ice break-up in Kaktovik Lagoon, Alaska.
Credit: Ken Dunton

Beaufort Sea lagoons experience large seasonal variations in temperature and salinity related to the Arctic freeze-thaw cycle. In the most extreme cases, lagoons swing from completely freshwater conditions during the spring to hypersaline conditions during the winter. Variations in salinity regimes among lagoons are modulated by ocean exchange characteristics and proximity to river mouths. Water transparency is highest during ice break-up, but following ice retreat, wind driven sediment resuspension increases light attenuation.