Site: Beaufort Lagoon Ecosystems LTER

Credit: Mike Rawlins

Over half of the fresh water and water-borne nutrients flowing from land to the Alaska Beaufort Sea each year are delivered during a two-week period in the spring — earlier than most seasonal Arctic research begins. These inputs are dominated by three large rivers that flow into the central Alaska Beaufort Sea. The composition of nutrients in river water also varies markedly across Alaska’s North Slope; proportions of inorganic versus organic nutrients in rivers feeding the Beaufort Sea increase with watershed steepness from west to east across the region.