Alaska Coastal Carbon Interactions

Project Summary:

This project is part of a larger NSF initiative called the Study of the Northern Alaska Coastal System(SNACS). Most regional observation networks indicate that dramatic changes have occurred across theArctic in recent decades, but comparatively little work has been done to assess atmospheric and oceanicresponses to the dramatic observed terrestrial changes. Both increases in surface air temperature and ashift in arctic air circulation patterns are likely to contribute to changes in ice distribution. Rising sea level,changes in coastal geography due to shoreline erosion, increased winds, storm surges, and flooding maybe the direct results of the depletion of sea ice and the resulting increase in fetch. As the tightly linkedland, ocean, and atmosphere systems of the Arctic respond to the effects of climate change, thechallenges of modeling the arctic region need to addressed using high spatial resolution data, whichcurrent global climate models do not use due to computer resource limitations.

This project emphasizes linking the major arctic and human systems to understand current and likelyfuture interactions through three scientific goals: 1) to estimate the historic and future impacts of variabilitywithin the ocean and atmospheric systems on terrestrial fluxes of gaseous (including CO2 and watervapor) and non-gaseous (particulate and dissolved organic matter, nutrients, and water) materials andenergy between the land and the atmosphere and sea; 2) to evaluate the impacts of variation in radiation,climate, ocean circulation, ocean temperature, and sea ice position and extent on terrestrial processes,including those that have feedback on atmospheric and ocean processes; and 3) to provide high-resolution products (atmospheric, ice, ocean, and terrestrial) and related datasets, relevant to the patternsand controls of terrestrial and oceanic processes, for use in future analyses.



Selected Publications

Euskirchen, E.S., A.D. McGuire, D.W. Kicklighter, Q. Zhuang, J.S. Clein, R.J. Dargaville, D.G. Dye, J.S.Kimball, K.C. McDonald, J.M. Melillo, V.E. Romanovsky, and N.V. Smith, 2006. Importance of recent shifts in soil thermal dynamics on growing season length, productivity, and carbon sequestration interrestrial high-latitude ecosystems. Global Change Biology 12, 731-750.

Kimball, J.S., K.C. McDonald, and M. Zhao, 2006. Spring thaw and its effect on terrestrial vegetationproductivity in the western Arctic observed from satellite microwave and optical remote sensing. EarthInteractions 10(21), 1-22.

Kimball, J.S., M. Zhao, A.D. McGuire, F.A. Heinsch, J. Clein, M. Calef, W.M. Jolly, S. Kang, S.E.Euskirchen, K.C. McDonald, and S.W. Running, 2006. Recent climate driven increases in vegetationproductivity for the Western Arctic: Evidence of an acceleration of the northern terrestrial carbon cycle.Earth Interactions 11, 4, 1-23.

Zhang, K., J.S. Kimball, E.H. Hogg, M. Zhao, W.C. Oechel, J. Cassano, and S.W. Running, 2007.Satellite remote sensing detection of a recent decline in northern high latitude terrestrial vegetationproductivity with regional warming and drying. Global Change Biology (In-review).