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Keywords:

  • lakes;
  • Arctic;
  • Subarctic;
  • water temperature;
  • ice cover;
  • Alaska

Arp, C.D., B.M. Jones, M. Whitman, A. Larsen, and F.E. Urban, 2010. Lake Temperature and Ice Cover Regimes in the Alaskan Subarctic and Arctic: Integrated Monitoring, Remote Sensing, and Modeling. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 46(4): 777-791. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-1688.2010.00451.x

Abstract:  Lake surface regimes are fundamental attributes of lake ecosystems and their interaction with the land and atmosphere. High latitudes may be particularly sensitive to climate change, however, adequate baselines for these lakes are often lacking. In this study, we couple monitoring, remote sensing, and modeling techniques to generate baseline datasets of lake surface temperature and ice cover in the Alaskan Subarctic and Arctic. No detectable trends were observed during this study period, but a number of interesting patterns were noted among lakes and between regions. The largest Arctic lake was relatively unresponsive to air temperature, while the largest Subarctic lake was very responsive likely because it is fed by glacial runoff. Mean late summer water temperatures were higher than air temperatures with differences ranging from 1.7 to 5.4°C in Subarctic lakes and from 2.4 to 3.2°C in Arctic lakes. The warmest mean summer water temperature in both regions was in 2004, with the exception of Subarctic glacially fed lake that was highest in 2005. Ice-out timing had high coherence within regions and years, typically occurring in late May in Subarctic and in early-July in Arctic lakes. Ice-on timing was more dependent on lake size and depth, often varying among lakes within a region. Such analyses provide an important baseline of lake surface regimes at a time when there is increasing interest in high-latitude water ecosystems and resources during an uncertain climate future.