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Aircraft-derived regional scale CO2 fluxes from vegetated drained thaw-lake basins and interstitial tundra on the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska

Authors

  • ROMMEL C. ZULUETA,

    1. Global Change Research Group, Department of Biology, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182, USA
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    • 1Present address: Environment and Natural Resources Institute, University of Alaska Anchorage, 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA.

  • WALTER C. OECHEL,

    1. Global Change Research Group, Department of Biology, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182, USA
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  • HENRY W. LOESCHER,

    1. National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) Inc., 1685 38th Street, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80301, USA
    2. Institute of Alpine and Arctic Research (INSTAAR), University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80303, USA
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  • WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE,

    1. Natural Sciences Department, Bowie State University, 14000 Jericho Park Road, Bowie, MD 20715, USA
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  • KYAW THA PAW U

    1. Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA
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Rommel C. Zulueta, tel. +1 907 786 4835, fax +1 907 786 1314, e-mail: rzulueta@uaa.alaska.edu

Abstract

The landscape surface of the Barrow Peninsula of Alaska is a mosaic of small ponds, thaw lakes, different aged vegetated drained thaw-lake basins (VDTLBs), and interstitial tundra which have been dynamically formed by both short- and long-term processes. We used a combination of tower- and aircraft-based eddy covariance measurements to characterize the spatial and temporal patterns of CO2, latent, and sensible heat fluxes along with MODIS NDVI, and were able to scale the aircraft-based CO2 fluxes to the 1802 km2 Barrow Peninsula region. During typical 2006 summer conditions, the midday hourly CO2 flux over the region was −2.04 × 105 kg CO2 h−1. The CO2 fluxes among the interstitial tundra, Ancient, and Old VDTLBs, as well as between the Medium and Young VDTLBs were not significantly different. Combined, the interstitial tundra and Old and Ancient VDTLBs represent∼67% of the Barrow Peninsula surface area, accounting for ∼59% of the regional flux signal. Although the Medium and Young VDTLBs represent ∼11% of the surface area, they account for a large portion, ∼35%, of the total regional flux. The remaining ∼22% of the surface area are lakes and contributed the remaining ∼6% of the total regional flux. Previous studies treated vegetated areas of the region as a single surface type with measurements from a few study sites; doing so could underestimate the regional flux by ∼22%. Here, we demonstrate that aircraft-based systems have the ability to cover large spatial scales while measuring the turbulent fluxes across a number of surfaces and combined with ground- and satellite-based measurements provide a valuable tool for both scaling and validation of regional-scale fluxes.

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