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Chemical and Physical Controls on the Oxygen
Regime of Ice-Covered Arctic Lakes and Reservoirs1

Authors

  • Hannah Clilverd,

    1. Respectively, Research Associate (Clilverd) and Director (White), Institute of Northern Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks, P.O. Box 755860, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-5860
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  • Daniel White,

    1. Respectively, Research Associate (Clilverd) and Director (White), Institute of Northern Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks, P.O. Box 755860, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-5860
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  • Michael Lilly

    1. Research Hydrologist (Lilly), Geo-Watersheds Scientific, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-5860
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  • 1

    Paper No. JAWRA-07-0139-P of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA). Discussions are open until October 1, 2009.

(E-Mail/Clilverd: fthmc1@uaf.edu).

Abstract

Abstract:  We examined the chemical, morphological, and anthropogenic controls on winter-oxygen biogeochemistry in ice-covered lakes and reservoirs on the North Slope of Alaska. We measured dissolved oxygen (DO), solute concentrations, water depth, and ice thickness at three natural thaw lakes and four reservoirs (flooded gravel mines) for two winters. In all seven study sites, DO concentration and pH decreased with depth, and temporally through the winter (November to April). DO concentration was four to six times greater in the deeper reservoirs (8-13 mg/l) compared with shallow natural lakes (ca. 2 mg/l). Lakes and reservoirs with high dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration were susceptible to large decreases in oxygen over the winter. DO concentration differed markedly between years, but was not attributed to changes in water-use or winter water-chemistry. Alternatively, we suggest that dissolved oxygen concentration was lower during freeze-up, possibly associated with higher lake-productivity during the summer. Our results suggest that current water-use practices on the North Slope of Alaska caused little to no change in DO concentration over the winter. In particular, considering the high pumping activity and shallow depth, lakes with low DOC concentration (≤6 mg/l) showed strong resilience to change in chemistry over the winter. We suggest that both lake and reservoir depth, and DOC concentration are key factors influencing oxygen consumption in ice-covered arctic lakes and reservoirs.

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