The Terrestrial Arctic 1

Development of a new Arctic observatory at Teshekpuk Lake, Alaska

Benjamin M. Jones, U.S. Geological Survey - Alaska Science Center,
Christopher D. Arp, University of Alaska Fairbanks,
Matthew S. Whitman, Bureau of Land Management,
Brian T. Person, North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management,
Guido Grosse, Alfred Wegener Institute,
Matthew J. Wooller, University of Alaska Fairbanks,
Vladimir Alexeev, University of Alaska Fairbanks,
Christian E. Zimmerman, U.S. Geological Survey - Alaska Science Center,
Carson A. Baughman, U.S. Geological Survey - Alaska Science Center,
Louise Farquharson, University of Alaska Fairbanks,
Allen Bondurant, University of Alaska Fairbanks,
Eric Torvinen, University of Alaska Fairbanks,
Benjamin V. Gaglioti, University of Alaska Fairbanks,
Josefine Lenz, Alfred Wegener Institute,
Zicheng Yu, Lehigh University,

Teshekpuk Lake is the largest Arctic lake in Alaska. It has a surface area of 850 sq. km., a watershed area of 2,750 sq. km., and a maximum depth of 7 m. It is located in the continuous permafrost zone, 15 km from the Arctic Ocean, and is roughly 2 m asl. The lake provides habitat for 14 fish species and likely influences the regional climate creating important habitat for caribou, geese, and other wildlife. Teshekpuk Lake is the ideal location for establishing an Arctic lake observatory - given future sea-level rise projections, rapid erosion along the Beaufort Sea coast and Teshekpuk Lake shore, permafrost thaw and land subsidence, climate change impacts on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and the potential for oil and gas development in the watershed. Here we provide an overview of the research infrastructure available at Teshekpuk Lake Observatory (TLO) and present data and findings from sensor networks, field studies, remotely sensed imagery, process-based models, limnological surveys, and paleoecological analyses. Ongoing projects at the TLO include establishment of automated and near-real time data transmission stations (lake, permafrost, and climate), detailed field studies focused on thermokarst dynamics, analysis of high spatial and high temporal resolution remotely sensed imagery datasets to quantify regional landscape changes occurring since the 1950s, weather and research forecasting models that focus on the role of Teshekpuk Lake on regional climate forcing, winter and summer synoptic surveys that capture the modern day limnological characteristics of Teshekpuk Lake and its surrounding lake-rich landscape, and analysis of paleoecological archives (lake sediment, peat, willow wood isotopes, lake trout otoliths, and geologic exposures) that will help place some of the recent observed changes into a longer-term context. The establishment of the Teshekpuk Lake Observatory will provide much needed information on the potential future status of this unique Arctic ecosystem.

Geochemistry of Snow from Longyearbyen and Barentsburg Settlements, Svalbard: impacts of the local coal industry and traces of global contamination

Anna Abramova, The George Washington University,
Sergey Chernyanskii, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia,
Nataliya Marchenko, The University Centre in Svalbard, Longyearbyen, Norway,

Both residents and researchers of Svalbard, the one of world's most pristine areas, have expressed increasing concern about airborne contaminants originating from local and remote sources. Snow cover in and around Longyearbyen and Barentsburg settlements was investigated in 2013-2015 for its particulates and associated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). More than 50 sampling sites were positioned as transects across the most typical landforms of the studied areas affected to a different extent by local sources of contamination. The total supply of dust in snow cover varied from 0,001 g/m2 at remote reference positions to 10-15 g/m2 near operating mines and other coal-related facilities. Levels and associations of PAHs identified in particulates reflect contribution of local factors - coal dust and fuel combustion - and, to a much lesser degree, the effects of long-range air pollution. Obtained results do not prove significant influence of remote sources on PAH distribution in Svalbard. Amongst the 16 individual PAHs, naphthalenes and phenanthrenes which are known to be typical coal micro-components amount to 60-90 %, i.e. form a major part of PAH associations of both airborne particulates and local coal dust whose contribution in PAH level is apparently dominating. Percentage of the other naturally occurring hydrocarbons like chrysene, fluoranthene, pyrene and benz(a)anthracene equals 2-5 %. Another PAH association related to benzo(a)pyrene and other fuel combustion products demonstrate a somewhat different distribution linked mostly to the local sources of emissions. The most harmful of PAHs, benzo(a)pyrene, was detected in a majority of samples in amounts ranging from 7 to 656 ng/g (0,1-2,4 %). Several locations have been revealed within the elevated remote areas of Svalbard where the snow cover showed the lowest PAH concentrations that can be further used as reference data for local and regional environmental monitoring.

Influence of fire frequency on carbon consumption in Alaskan black spruce forests

Elizabeth Hoy, NASA Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Office/Global Science and Technology, Inc.,
Kirsten Barrett, University of Leicester,
Tatiana Loboda, University of Maryland,
Merritt Turetsky, University of Guelph,
Eric Kasischke, University of Maryland,

Increasing temperatures and drier conditions, related to climate change, have resulted in changes to the fire regime in interior Alaskan boreal forests, including increases in burned area and fire frequency. These fire regime changes alter carbon storage and emissions, especially in the thick organic soils of black spruce (Picea mariana) forests. A better understanding of fire regime changes to immature black spruce forests is needed. In the research presented here we assessed the impacts of changing fire frequency on soil organic layer (SOL) carbon consumption during wildland fires in recovering Alaskan black spruce forests using a combination of geospatial and remote sensing analyses, field-based research, and modeling. The research objectives were to 1) quantify burning in recovering vegetated areas; 2) quantify how fire frequency affects depth of burning, residual SOL depth, and carbon loss in the SOL of black spruce forests; and 3) analyze how fire frequency impacts carbon consumption in these forests. Results showed that considerable burning in the region occurs in stands not yet fully recovered from earlier fire events (~20% of burned areas are in immature stands). Additionally, burning in recovering black spruce forests (~40 yrs old) resulted in SOL depth of burn similar to that in mature forests which have burned. Incorporating these results into a modeling framework (through adding an immature black spruce fuel type and associated ground-layer carbon consumption values) resulted in higher ground-layer carbon consumption (and thus total carbon consumed) for areas that burned in 2004 and 2005 than that of a previous version of the model. These new results provide insight into the fire-climate-vegetation dynamics within the region and can be used to both inform and validate modeling efforts to better estimate soil carbon pools and emissions as climate continues to change.

Length of plant activity period is unaffected by early loss of snow cover in Alaska tundra: early senescence follows early green up

Steven F Oberbauer, Florida International University,
Roxaneh Khorsand, University of Northern Colorado,
Gregory Starr, University of Alabama,
Eric Pop, Bay Area Air Quality Management District,
Lorraine Ahlquist, Parsons Brinckerhoff,
Inga Parker La Puma, Rutgers University,
Tracey Baldwin, NEON, Inc.,

Climate warming is strongly altering the timing of season initiation and season length in the Arctic. Phenological activities are among the most sensitive plant responses to climate change and have important effects at all levels within the ecosystem. We tested the effects of two experimental treatments, extended growing season via snow removal and extended growing season combined with soil warming, on plant phenology in tussock tundra in Alaska over a 9 y period. We specifically monitored the responses of eight species, representing four growth forms: 1) graminoids; 2) evergreen shrubs; 3) deciduous shrubs; and 4) forbs. We examined three phenophases: leaf bud break, flowering, and leaf senescence. Our study answered three questions: 1) Do experimental treatments affect the timing of leaf bud break, flowering, and leaf senescence?; 2) Are responses to treatments species-specific?; and 3) Which environmental factors best predict timing of phenophases? Treatment significantly affected the timing of all three phenophases, although the two experimental treatments did not differ from each other. While phenological events began earlier in the experimental plots relative to the controls, duration of phenophases did not increase. Treatment did not affect total length of the active period, as defined from bud break to leaf senescence. While the other species did respond to experimental treatments, the total active period for these species did not increase relative to the control. Air temperature was consistently the best predictor of phenology. However, different abiotic variables had varying degrees of importance throughout the growing season. Our results imply that some evergreen shrubs (i.e. C. tetragona) will not capitalize on earlier favorable growing conditions, putting them at a competitive disadvantage relative to phenotypically plastic deciduous shrubs. Our findings also suggest that an early onset of the growing season as result of decreased snow cover will not necessarily result in greater tundra productivity.

New biomass allometry equations for widespread shrub species in northern Siberia and Alaska

Logan Berner, Oregon State University,
Heather Alexander, Mississippi State University,
Mike Loranty, Colage University,
Michelle Mack, Northern Arizona University,
Peter Ganzlin, University of Montana,
Sergei Davydov, Russian Academy of Sciences,
Scott Goetz, Woods Hole Research Center,

Changes in Arctic climate during recent decades led to an increase in the size and abundance of tall deciduous shrubs in many northern regions, with resulting impacts on ecosystem carbon storage, energy balance, and permafrost. Allometric equations used in conjunction with field surveys provide a means of estimating carbon storage and productivity in shrub-dominated ecosystems; however, few allometric equations are available for Arctic shrub species. We therefore developed a new set of 66 allometric equations for alder (Alnus viridis subsp. crispa and Alnus fruticose), dwarf birch (Betula nana subsp. exilis and divaricata), and willow (Salix spp.) from northeastern Siberia and north-central Alaska that relate shrub basal diameter (BD) to aboveground biomass and height. The allometric equations are based on measurements of 358 shrubs that were collected at 33 sites located in boreal and tundra ecosystems. Shrub BD was a significant predictor (P<0.05) of total aboveground biomass (r2=0.46-0.99), component biomass (r2=0.13-0.99), and plant height (r2=0.48-0.95). Willow and alder exhibited differences in allometric relationships across ecoregions, highlighting variability in plant morphology and the need for region-specific allometrics. These allometric equations are a tool that researchers and land managers can use to better characterize and monitor changes in the form and function of shrub populations in Arctic regions.

Observing Arctic Freshwater Habitat Dynamics in the Fish Creek Watershed, Alaska

Christopher Arp, University of Alaska Fairbanks,
Matthew Whitman, Bureau of Land Management,
Benjamin Jones, U. S. Geological Survey,

The Fish Creek Watershed drains a 4500 km2 region of the Arctic Coastal Plain in northern Alaska. This watershed is composed of abundant lakes, wetlands, beaded streams, and alluvial rivers set atop permafrost soils, which provide a diverse mosaic of freshwater habitats for fish and waterbirds. Though almost entirely roadless and de facto wilderness, this hydrologic unit is entirely within the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A), and thus is a focal area for future petroleum development. Accordingly, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in partnership with University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and other agencies have gradually developed an environmental monitoring network to track responses to climate change and establish a baseline prior to petroleum development. Included in this program is the Circum-Arctic Lakes Observing Network (CALON; an Arctic Observing Network (AON) program) with nodes of six lakes in the upper and lower portions of the watershed. This expanding network of lake buoys, stream and river gauges, and climate stations not only is helping to understand hydroclimatic changes in the Arctic, but also provides an ideal framework to initiate hypothesis driven research programs. Such projects include studies of fish foraging and migration through a stream-lake system, a watershed-scale analysis of aquatic habitat responses to climate and land-use change, and focused investigation of lake ice interactions with permafrost and climate. Continuation of the Fish Creek Watershed Observatory (FCWO) will focus on sustaining climate, hydrologic, permafrost, and biological inventory and monitoring to capture the coupled responses of land-use and climate change in Arctic Alaska.

The NASA Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment

Elizabeth Hoy, NASA Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Office/Global Science and Technology, Inc.,
Scott Goetz, Woods Hole Research Center,
Peter Griffith, NASA Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Office/SSAI,
Kathleen Hibbard, NASA,
Dan Hodkinson, NASA Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Office/SSAI,
Eric Kasischke, NASA,
Elisabeth (Libby) Larson, NASA Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Office/SSAI,
Hank Margolis, NASA,
Charles (Chip) Miller, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab,

The Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE), a field campaign sponsored and initiated by NASA’s Terrestrial Ecology Program, is a large-scale study of changes to terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems in the Arctic and boreal regions of western North America and the implications of these changes for local, regional, and global social-ecological systems. The overarching question of ABoVE is “How vulnerable or resilient are ecosystems and society to environmental change in the Arctic and boreal region of western North America?” To address this question, research is being conducted in six thematic areas which represent critical aspects of Arctic and boreal social-ecological systems: society, disturbance, permafrost, hydrology, flora/fauna, and carbon biogeochemistry. Throughout the 8 to 10 year campaign, research will integrate field-based studies, modeling, and data from airborne and satellite remote sensing. There are currently 39 projects contributing to ABoVE through research in one or more of the six themes described above, although many of these research projects have only recently been funded. Field work is expected to begin in 2016, with the airborne campaign to follow in subsequent years. In an effort to accelerate the pace of new Arctic science for researchers participating in the field campaign, a high performance science cloud has been developed as a collaborative and computational space for scientists participating in ABoVE (called the ABoVE Science Cloud). Here we provide an update on the current status of ABoVE, discuss the ABoVE Science Cloud concept, and highlight some of the recent research available through ABoVE.

Understanding Documented Vegetation Change in Northern Alaska

Robert Hollister, Grand Valley State University,
Steve Oberbauer, Florida International University,
Craig Tweedie, University of Texas at El Paso,

The Arctic Ecology Program at GVSU (led by Robert Hollister) is monitoring change in tundra vegetation in relation to climate change at sites in northern Alaska. The research incorporates a warming experiment to forecast vegetation change due to climate change at four study sites established in the mid 90’s as part of the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX) network. The larger project links findings from automated sensor platforms that measure a suite of vegetation surface properties at a near daily frequency (led by Steve Oberbauer) with medium-scale aerial imagery, using Kite Aerial Photography acquired throughout the growing season and satellite imagery (led by Craig Tweedie) to scale observed changes to the regional level. The primary goal of the GVSU component of the project is to understand dynamics of vegetation change happening at the species level. Thus far we have shown major changes major changes in vegetation cover over time; however only some of these changes can be explained by regional warming trends. The weather in a given year can result in very large changes in vegetation cover which makes patterns of response due directly to warming difficult to detect. The observed changes in cover are due to both an increase in size of plants and a change in the number of individuals. Plant growth is also shown to respond to many different abiotic patterns within a given year and a prior year. The complexity described above illustrate the importance of long-term observations necessary to document directional changes due to warming given the great variability between years. These observations provide much more explanatory power because they are linked with an embedded experiment and a network of sites making similar measurements. These findings provide the foundation for observations obtained by automated sensor platforms and remote sensing.

Vegetation impact on thermal state of permafrost. Why long-term ground temperature observations should be supplemented with ecosystem research.

Alexander Kholodov, University of Alaska Fairbanks,
Vladimir Romanovsky, University of Alaska Fairbanks,
Suzan Natali, Woods Hole Research Center,
Michael Loranty , Colgate University,

Significant declines in permafrost distribution are expected as the climate warms, but large uncertainties remain in determining the fate of permafrost under future climate scenarios. These uncertainties are driven, in large part, by vegetation and ecosystem properties that modulate the effect of climate on permafrost temperatures. Long-term monitoring of permafrost temperatures demonstrates the importance of these local conditions. Observations conducting in Alaska since eighties years of 20th century show increasing of mean annual ground temperature on 1.5 to 2C northward from Brooks range and 0.5 0.75 C in interior Alaska, in some places, brought it to thawing (State of climate, 2014).

Permafrost temperature is an integrated parameter and depends not only on the air temperature, but also on the heat transfer conditions at the ground surface and on the thermal properties of soils. Surface conditions play especially important role in permafrost thermal state, where ecosystem parameters can Resilience of permafrost in areas close to its latitudinal boundaries is mostly determined by the ecosystem parameters such of type of vegetation, productivity of system and topography.

Our approach bases on the estimation on difference between air and surface temperature (ts), surface and bottom of active layer temperature (tal) and, finally, temperature at the bottom of active layer and at the depth of zero seasonal oscillation (tpf) at the key stations. The first index (ts) during winter time will give us information about snow influence. Comparison of ts within spots with different vegetation during summer allows us to estimate canopy and albedo input into the surface radiation balance. Combination of tal with measurements of soil physical properties from one side and thickness of organic layer as well as TOC in mineral soil provides the data for speculation about system bioproductivity impact. Finally based on tpf we can estimate influence of permafrost thermal properties on the ground temperature dynamics.

Observed indexes were compared with components of subsurface heat cycles calculated using modified Kudryavtcev algorithm which include energy expenses on both sensible and latent heat within active layer and underlying permafrost.

Results of our investigation show that boreal forest has higher negative impact on ground surface temperature in comparison with tundra due to shading effect during summer and reducing of snow cover thickness in winter season, because trapping of snow on canopy. In general systems with higher bioproductivity show more resilience of permafrost thermal state. Permafrost temperature is most stable at the sites with permafrost temperature close to freezing point because significant part of heat penetrating into permafrost is spending on phase transition of soil water.

Arctic Atmosphere 1

Interpretation of O-Buoy results through laboratory studies of halogen release from frozen surfaces

John Halfacre, Purdue University,
Paul Shepson, Purdue University,
Jonathan Slade, Purdue University,
O-Buoy Team, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences,

Scientists have been studying the episodic depletion of ozone in the Arctic troposphere since the late 1980s. It is only recently that we have been able to observe this phenomenon from the Arctic Ocean surface via a series of autonomous, ice-tethered buoys that have been deployed yearly since 2009. However, it remains unclear whether these buoys are observing these ozone depletion events because of chemistry occurring on a local scale, or because an air mass, chemically depleted of ozone upwind, is advecting across the measurement site. Part of this uncertainty stems from a probably incomplete understanding of the chemical mechanisms behind ozone depletion chemistry, which is thought to be dominated by bromine radicals in the troposphere. In this study, we use an ice-coated flow tube coupled to a chemical ionization mass spectrometer to examine environmental variables that influence production of chlorine, bromine, and iodine from frozen saline surfaces. These variables primarily include altering the pH and halogen oxidant (i.e., ozone, OH, N2O5). By investigating the factors that affect halogen production, we are better able to understand the relationships between frozen surfaces surrounding the O-Buoy, and the O3 and BrO measurements provided by the buoys. The results of this study provide greater insight into the potential pathways by which ozone can be chemically depleted, and will aid in our interpretation of O-Buoy data through chemical modelling in future studies.

Measurements of atmospheric aerosol vertical distributions above Svalbard, Norway using unmanned aerial systems

T.S. Bates, JISAO,
J.E. Johnson, JISAO,
S.E. Stalin, NOAA/PMEL,
H. Telg, CIRES,
J.F. Burkhart, Univ. Oslo,
P.K. Quinn, NOAA/PMEL,
R. Storvold, NORUT,

Atmospheric aerosol vertical distributions were measured above Svalbard, Norway in April 2015 to investigate the processes controlling aerosol concentrations and radiative effects. The aerosol payload was flown in a NOAA/PMEL MANTA Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) on 9 flights totaling 19 flight hours. Measurements were made of particle number concentration and aerosol light absorption at three wavelengths, similar to those conducted in April 2011 (Bates et al., Atmos. Meas. Tech., 6, 2115-2120, 2013). A filter sample was collected on each flight for analyses of trace elements. Additional measurements in the aerosol payload in 2015 included aerosol size distributions obtained using a Printed Optical Particle Spectrometer (POPS) and aerosol optical depth obtained using a four wavelength miniature Scanning Aerosol Sun Photometer (miniSASP). The data show most of the column aerosol mass and resulting optical depth in the boundary layer but frequent aerosol layers aloft with high particle number concentration (2000 cm-3) and enhanced aerosol light absorption (1 Mm-1). Transport of these aerosol layers was assessed using FLEXPART particle dispersion models. The data contribute to an assessment of sources of BC to the Arctic and potential climate impacts.

Community-Based Monitoring

Community response to heritage sites at risk from climate change

Tom Dawson, University of St Andrews,
Marcy Rockman, US National Park Service,
Thomas McGovern, Hunter College and Graduate Center NYC, CUNY,
George Hambrecht, University of Maryland,
Alice Kelley, University of Maine,
Dan Sandweiss, University of Maine,
Andrew Dugmore, University of Edinburgh,
Anne Jensen, University of Alaska Fairbanks,

There is growing world-wide concern for the accelerating impact of environmental change on heritage at the global scale. Sites and structures that have endured for centuries and millennia are being destroyed by changing climates in increasing numbers around the world. The problem is particularly acute in arctic regions, where melting permafrost and coastal processes are causing widespread damage. Once destroyed, these resources are gone forever, causing an irrevocable impact on human heritage and the archives of scientific data that they contain.
Damage is occurring to both known historic sites (which often have great social and economic value to local and global communities), and to previously unknown sites, which if undocumented will be rapidly damaged by environmental change, leading to the permanent loss of data.

In response to this challenge, there is increasing awareness of the key role that local communities can play in the location, monitoring and documenting of heritage sites at risk of destruction. Heritage sites play a key role in the lives of many communities, and their loss is of great concern. Local communities are best placed to give updates on damage to sites after climatic events (such as storms). They can also report on new discoveries, often made after climatic events. Working in partnership with scientists and heritage professionals, communities can provide invaluable data and help rescue information before it is too late.

This poster demonstrates the value of heritage sites to the scientific community, outlines the threats being faced, and gives an overview of what is currently being lost. It also presents current work that is being undertaken in the High North, providing examples of citizen science at heritage sites at risk. Using current examples, it will be possible to create new partnerships and projects to salvage data and increase scientific knowledge.

Marine Ecosystems

AMBON – the Arctic Marine Biodiversity Observing Network

Katrin Iken, University of Alaska Fairbanks; USA,
Seth Danielson, University of Alaska Fairbanks; USA,
Lee Cooper, University of Maryland, USA,
Jackie Grebmeier, University of Maryland, USA,
Russ Hopcroft, University of Alaska Fairbanks; USA,
Kathy Kuletz, US Fish and Wildlife Service, USA,
Kate Stafford, University of Washington; USA,
Franz Mueter , University of Alaska Fairbanks; USA,
Eric Collins , University of Alaska Fairbanks; USA,
Bodhil Bluhm, University of Alaska Fairbanks; USA,
Sue Moore, NOAA, USA,
Rob Bochenek, Alaska Ocean Observing System/AXIOM, USA,

The goal of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity Observing Network (AMBON) is to build an operational and sustainable marine biodiversity observing network for the US Arctic Chukchi Sea continental shelf. The AMBON has four main goals: 1. To close current gaps in taxonomic biodiversity observations from microbes to whales, 2. To integrate results of past and ongoing research programs on the US Arctic shelf into a biodiversity observation network, 3. To demonstrate at a regional level how an observing network could be developed, and 4. To link with programs on the pan-Arctic to global scale. The AMBON fills taxonomic (from microbes to mammals), functional (food web structure), spatial and temporal (continuing time series) gaps, and includes new technologies such as state-of-the-art genomic tools, with biodiversity and environmental observations linked through central data management through the Alaska Ocean Observing System. AMBON is a 5-year partnership between university and federal researchers, funded through the National Ocean Partnership Program (NOPP), with partners in the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM), and Shell industry. AMBON will allow us to better coordinate, sustain, and synthesize biodiversity research efforts, and make data available to a broad audience of users, stakeholders, and resource managers.

The Fate of Sea Ice

Characterizing “Rotten” Arctic sea ice near Point Barrow, Alaska

Carie Frantz, University of Washington,
Bonnie Light, University of Washington,
Mónica Orellana, University of Washington,
Shelly Carpenter, University of Washington,
Karen Junge, University of Washington,

“Rotten” sea ice is ice in its final stage of melt and disintegration. As Arctic melt seasons lengthen, rotten ice is beginning to receive more attention. This ice type is unpredictable and difficult to access and collect, thus little is known about its physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. In mid-July, 2015, our research team used native seal-hunting boats to access floes of rotten ice found ~15 km off the coast of Point Barrow, Alaska. We successfully collected ice cores and measurements of rotten ice from these floes. An extensive characterization of the physical, optical, chemical, and biological properties of rotten ice in comparison with samples we collected from landfast ice from the same region in early May (“springtime” ice) and early June (from heavily-ponded “summertime” ice) is currently underway.

Here we present our preliminary findings. Temperature, salinity, and density profiles show that rotten ice is well-drained and essentially isothermal. X-ray tomography highlights the dramatic increase in porosity, channels sizes, and connectivity that characterize rotten ice. Laboratory optical measurements of ice cores show a decrease in intrinsic shortwave transmissivity associated with the process of ice rot. Bacterial cell counts and chlorophyll measurements show a large shift in microbial community structure, with ice algal populations all but disappearing in rotten ice and bacterial concentrations increasing. Meanwhile concentrations of dissolved organic carbon, which was found in high concentrations in ice brines extracted from May and June cores, is comparatively very low in rotten ice. Results of other analyses of chemical measurements and nutrients that are currently being processed will also be presented.

This work provides a foundation for understanding and investigating this largely unexplored ice type that may become increasingly important in the future Arctic.

Modeling Sea Ice Floe Size Distribution and Thickness Distribution and Model-Observation Comparisons

Jinlun Zhang, University of Washington,
Harry Stern, University of Washington,
Phil Hwang, Scottish Marine Institute,
Axel Schweiger, University of Washington,
Margaret Stark, University of Washington,
Michael Steele, University of Washington,

To better describe the state of sea ice in the marginal ice zone (MIZ) with floes of varying thicknesses and sizes, both an ice thickness distribution (ITD) and a floe size distribution (FSD) are needed. We have developed a FSD theory [Zhang et al., 2015] that is coupled to the ITD theory of Thorndike et al. [1975] in order to explicitly simulate the evolution of FSD and ITD jointly. The FSD theory includes a FSD function and a FSD conservation equation in parallel with the ITD equation. The FSD equation takes into account changes in FSD due to ice advection, thermodynamic growth, and lateral melting. It also includes changes in FSD because of mechanical redistribution of floe size due to ice opening, ridging, and, particularly, ice fragmentation induced by stochastic ocean surface waves. The FSD theory has been tested numerically in the Pan-arctic Ice/Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS). The existing PIOMAS has 12 categories each for ice thickness, ice enthalpy, and snow depth. With the implementation of the FSD theory, PIOMAS is able to represent 12 categories of floe sizes ranging from 0.1 m to ~3000 m. In this presentation, we will show that the simulated 12-category FSD obeys a power law and agrees reasonably well with observed FSD derived from SAR and MODIS images. We will also show how the simulated mean ice thickness, derived from the simulated ITD, compares with the NASA IceBridge ice thickness data. We will also examine PIOMAS-estimated variability and changes in FSD in the MIZ of the Arctic Ocean.

SCICEX: Arctic Ocean Sea Ice Draft, Bathymetry, and Water Properties from Nuclear-Powered Submarines

Ann Windnagel, NSIDC,
Florence Fetterer, NSIDC,
Jackie Richter-Menge, CRREL,

The Submarine Arctic Science Program, SCICEX, is a collaboration among the operational Navy, research agencies, and the marine research community to use nuclear-powered submarines for scientific studies of the Arctic Ocean. Unlike surface ships, submarines have the unique ability to operate and take measurements regardless of sea ice cover, weather conditions, and time of year. This allows for a broad investigation of an entire ocean basin. The goal of the program is to acquire comprehensive data about Arctic sea ice, water properties (biological, chemical, and hydrographic), and water depth (bathymetry) to improve our understanding of the Arctic Ocean basin and its role in the Earth's climate system. Data from the program is available at:

The Arctic Ocean Then and Now: Preliminary Hydrographic Data from the 2015 US GEOTRACES Arctic Expedition

James Swift, UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography,
David Kadko, Florida International University,
Andrew Barna, UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Susan Becker, UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography
John Cummiskey, UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Joseph Gum, UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Melissa Miller, UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Courtney Schatzman, UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography

The US GEOTRACES Arctic Expedition on USCGC Healy, August-October 2015, offers the opportunity to compare high-quality, full water column temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, and nutrient data from the Canadian sector of the Arctic Ocean with data from the 1994 Makarov Basin crossing from CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent (working with USCGC Polar Sea) and the 2005 Canada Basin transect from Icebreaker Oden (working with the Healy). Supplementary 2015 cruise funding for full-depth profiles for the US Global Ocean Carbon and Repeat Hydrography program and deployment of XCTDs and XBTs are being used to improve lateral resolution along the GEOTRACES track. This will allow identification of mesoscale features (e.g. eddies), improving interpretation of hydrographic and chemical data. The GEOTRACES track overlaps with those of the two previous cruises, thus, in addition to presenting the new hydrographic data, we will show and discuss the differences over the 10- and 20-year intervals between the cruises.

Ocean Circulation and Mixing

Arctic Outflow West Of Greenland: Nine Years Of Volume And Freshwater Transports From Observations In Davis Strait

Beth Curry, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington,
Craig Lee, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington,
Jason Gobat, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington,
Brian Petrie, Bedford Institution of Oceanography,
Kumiko Azetsu-Scott, Bedford Institution of Oceanography,

Approximately 50% of the Arctic outflow exits west of Greenland, traveling through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA) and into Baffin Bay before crossing Davis Strait. The CAA outflow contributes over 50% of the net southward freshwater outflow through Davis Strait. The remainder is deeper outflow from Baffin Bay, flow from the West Greenland Current and runoff from West Greenland and CAA glaciers.
Since September 2004, an observational program in Davis Strait has quantified volume and freshwater transport variability. The year-round program includes velocity, temperature and salinity measurements from moorings spanning the full width (330 km) of the strait accompanied by autonomous Seagliders surveys (average profile separation = 4 km) and autumn ship-based hydrographic sections. Over the shallow Baffin Island and West Greenland shelves, moored instrumentation provides temperature and salinity measurements near the ice-ocean interface. From 2004-2013, the average net volume and liquid freshwater transports are -1.6 ± 0.2 Sv, -94 ± 7 mSv, respectively (salinity referenced to 34.8 and negative indicates southward transport); sea ice contributes an additional -10 ± 1 mSv.

Over this period, volume and liquid freshwater transports show significant interannual variability and no clear trends, but a comparison with reanalyzed 1987-90 data indicate a roughly 40% decrease in net southward liquid volume transport and an almost 30% decrease in freshwater transport. Transport variability is strongly influenced by variations in: the CAA inflows, Baffin Bay circulation and regional atmospheric circulation. Connections between the Arctic are also captured, e.g., a unique yearlong Davis Strait freshening event starting September 2009 that was likely driven by an earlier freshening (January 2009 – April/May 2010) in the Canadian Arctic. The Davis Strait autumn 2009 salinity minimum was fresher (by about 0.2), lasted longer, and spanned a greater distance across the strait than in other years.

Distribution of CFCs and SF6 Measured on the 2015 US GEOTRACES/Repeat Hydrography Arctic Ocean Cruise

William Smethie, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University,
James Swift, Scripps Institution of Oceanography,

During the late summer and early fall of this year two oceanographic sections extending from the Chukchi Sea along roughly 180° to the North Pole and from the North Pole along roughly 150°W back to the Chukchi Sea were carried out as part of a joint research cruise between the GEOTRACES program and the CLIVAR Repeat Hydrographic program. In addition to two shelf break crossings, these two lines crossed the Mendeleyev Ridge, the Lomonosov Ridge, the Alpha Ridge, the Makarov Basin and the Canada Basin. CFCs and SF6 were measured along both lines. High concentrations in the upper 1500 m observed along the flanks of the ridges and continental slope reveal the circulation pathways and time scales of Atlantic water entering the Arctic Ocean from Fram Strait and the Barents Sea. In the deep and bottom water, the CFC concentrations are close to or not significantly different from zero indicating very low or zero input of near surface water for at least the last half century. Vertical sections of the CFC and SF6 concentrations and tracer derived ages will be presented and discussed in relation to the water mass structure.

Large double-diffusive heat fluxes in the Eurasian Basin

Allison Einolf, Oregon State University,

The low energy environment of the Arctic’s Eurasian Basin, combined with large-scale stratification, makes the region susceptible to the formation of double-diffusive staircases above the Atlantic Layer core. Estimated heat fluxes through these staircases, from laboratory-based flux laws, are typically ~1 W/m^2 but sometimes greater than 10 W/m^2. These fluxes are large compared with the expected regionally averaged fluxes due to mechanical mixing, and they therefore play a role in setting the large-scale Eurasian Basin stratification and circulation.

We use temperature and salinity profiles from 25 Ice-Tethered Profilers (ITPs) deployed in the Eurasian Basin of the Arctic Ocean between 2007 and 2015 to map the characteristics of double-diffusive staircases. Individual layers in the staircases vary in vertical height between 1 and 50 m and are often horizontally coherent over large areas. Staircase characteristics including vertical height of layers, the temperature difference over interfaces, and the vertical extent of well-formed staircases have been used to sort the profiles into geographic regions, which have mean heat fluxes that vary from O(0.1) to O(10) W/m^2 The observed sensitivity of staircase characteristics to location and background stratification suggests that double-diffusive heat fluxes may play a significant role in interannual changes of the ocean above the Atlantic Layer and, possibly, the amount of Atlantic Water heat ultimately delivered to the surface mixed layer and sea ice.

Recent observations of water columns and sea ice over the Chukchi Borderland

Kyoung-Ho Cho, Korea Polar Research Institute,
Koji Shimada, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology,
Jinyoung Jung, Korea Polar Research Institute,
Jisoo Park, Korea Polar Research Institute,
Hyoungsul La, Korea Polar Research Institute,
Sung-Ho Kang, Korea Polar Research Institute,
Eunjin Yang, Korea Polar Research Institute,
Eri Yoshizawa, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology,

Summertime Arctic Ocean expeditions have been intensively carried out since 2010 to examine how rapidly marine environment changes over the Pacific Arctic region. We present recent findings from water columns and sea ice over the Chukchi Borderland, with a focus on the variability of physical and biochemical properties. Yearlong mooring data show temporal variation of the Pacific summer water (PSW) over the Chukchi Plateau (CP). The PSW layer on the northern portion of CP remained over the winter of 2013. On the southern portion of CP, however, substantial heat within the PSW layer was released from October and mid-winter of 2014. It implies that the PSW heat influences on sea ice formation/melting along the PSW pathways. In two ice camp stations, physical and biochemical properties of melt ponds and under-sea ice water were investigated. In closed ponds, relatively high concentrations of nitrogen species were found whereas no SiO2 was detected. In comparison, in opened ponds, PO4 and SiO2 concentrations were similar to those in surface seawater and nitrogen species were depleted. These results suggest that nutrient can be used as an indicator to characterize the types of melt ponds. Under Arctic sea ice, we investigated vertical variability of Arctic copepod using an acoustic Doppler current profiler and its relations with water column structure (potential temperature, fluorescence, and dissolved oxygen). This study indicates that the vertical distribution of Arctic copepod under sea ice with 1–2 m thickness is effectively regulated by light intensity associated with the halocline depth at high dissolved oxygen. Furthermore, satellite observations indicate that surface chlorophyll concentration has a relatively significant negative relationship with sea ice retreat over the Chukchi Borderland, implying that chlorophyll-a concentration tends to increase as sea ice retreat occurs earlier.

Robust Autonomous Arctic Observations: Successes and Challenges

A new digital imaging and analysis system for plant and ecosystem phenological studies

Gesuri Ramirez, University of Texas at El Paso,
Geovany Ramirez, University of Texas at El Paso,
Sergio Vargas, University of Texas at El Paso,
N. Robin Luna, University of Texas at El Paso,
Craig E. Tweedie, University of Texas at El Paso,

Environmental scientists have increasingly used low-cost sensors and custom software to gather and analyze data, including imagery from field-mounted static digital cameras. Published literature has highlighted the challenge scientists have encountered with poor and problematic camera performance and power consumption, limited data download and wireless communication options, general ruggedness of off the shelf camera solutions, and time consuming and hard-to-reproduce digital image analysis options. Here we highlight the features and functionality of a newly invented camera/data logger system and coupled image analysis software suited to plant and ecosystem phenological studies (patent pending) These inventions have unique features and functionality and have been field tested in desert, arctic, and tropical rainforest ecosystems. The system can be used to acquire imagery from both static and mobile platforms. Data is collected, preprocessed, and streamed to the cloud without the need of an external computer and can run for extended time periods. The camera module is capable of acquiring RGB, IR, and thermal (LWIR) data and storing it in a variety of formats including RAW. The system is fully customizable with a variety of passive and smart sensors. The camera can be triggered by state conditions detected by sensors and/or select time intervals. The device includes USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, serial, GSM/LTE, Ethernet, and Iridium connections and can be connected to commercial cloud servers such as Dropbox, Amazon, or GoogleDrive. The image analysis software is compatible with popular operating systems and can view or analyze imagery in RGB, HSV, and lab color space. Users can select a spectral index, which have been derived from published literature and/or choose to have analytical output reported as separate channel strengths for a given color space. Results of the analysis can be viewed in a plot and/or saved as a .csv file for additional analysis and visualization.

An ice-tethered winch for ocean profiling over variable topography in the seasonal ice zone

Emily Shroyer, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University,
Richard Krishfield, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution ,

Due to remoteness, extreme weather, and ice dynamics, oceanic measurements in the SIZ are difficult and costly to acquire, particularly on a year-round basis. As a result, oceanic data in the SIZ are limited and sporadic. To help fill the data gap that exists in oceanic observations over the Arctic shelf, we have developed and tested a new autonomous profiler, the Ice-Tethered Winch (ITW). The ITW complements other existing Arctic observational efforts (e.g., icebreaker surveys, gliders, and oceanographic moorings) by providing relatively high-resolution time series (4 time daily) of water-column physical and optical properties over the varying topography of the Arctic shelf. Here, we present information regarding development and functionality of the ITW, and show physical and optical data collected during month-long deployments of two prototype units offshore of Barrow, Alaska in April-May 2014. The deployment period spanned the initiation of the melt season; elevated temperature and reduced salinity were accompanied by rapid increases in turbidity and fluorescence. All data from the ITW are freely available from the Advanced Cooperative Arctic Data and Information Service.

Glacier Digital Elevation Mapping of crevassed areas using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.

Shane Rodwell, Scottish Association for Marine Science, Dunstaffnage, Scotland,
Nick Hulton, School of GeoSciences, Edinburgh University, Edinburgh, Scotland,
Phil Anderson, Scottish Association for Marine Science, Dunstaffnage, Scotland,

The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and Edinburgh University (EU) have developed a UAV-based mapper/surveyor equipped with a laser range finder specifically for use over crevassed glaciers for the first time.

UAVs are noted for working in the dull, dirty or dangerous environments and making larger area surveys of heavily-crevassed and calving glaciers ticks all three. Access on foot is both hazardous and slow where it is even feasible. UAVs offer an ideal solution, but are still in a relatively developmental stage regarding harsh polar environments, and operating over relatively optically homogenous but steep sided terrain. Snow/ice in general and deeply crevassed glaciers in particular are not well suited to standard Digital Elevation Mapping using photogrammetry or similar stereoscopic techniques. Laser range finder systems, however, have until recently been too heavy to fly on copter-style UAVs. Miniaturisation of the ranger as well as improvements in copter fabrication are now accessible to the research community.

The SAMS/EU mapper was developed over Spring of 2015 and deployed during August 2015 at Tuanbreen in Svalbard. The laser range-finder obtains full profile data form deep crevasses and preliminary data and a system overview are presented. This demonstrates the capability of the laser to accurately record glacier surface and crevasse geometry. The datasets allow us to evaluate theoretical models of crevasse formation as a response to glacier stress/ strain regimes.

Long-term observations of atmospheric CO2, O3 and BrO over the transitioning Arctic Ocean pack-ice: The O-Buoy Chemical Network

The O-Buoy Team, ...,

Autonomous, sea ice-tethered buoys (“O-Buoys”) are being deployed across the Arctic sea ice for long-term atmospheric measurements (2009-2016), as part of the US NSF-funded Arctic Observing Network (AON). These buoys provide in-situ concentrations of ozone, CO2 and BrO, as well as meteorological parameters and imagery, over the frozen ocean. The O-Buoy has bi-directional communication capabilities and transmits data hourly. O-Buoys were designed to transmit data over a period of 2 years while deployed in sea ice, as part of automated ice-drifting stations. Seasonal changes in Arctic atmospheric chemistry are influenced by changes in the characteristics and presence of the sea ice vs. open water as well as air mass trajectories, especially during the winter-spring and summer-fall transitions when sea ice is melting and freezing, respectively. The O-Buoy Chemical Network ( provides the unique opportunity to observe these transition periods in real-time with high temporal resolution, and to compare them with those collected on land-based monitoring stations. Due to the logistical challenges of measurements over the Arctic Ocean region, most long term, in-situ observations of atmospheric chemistry have been made at coastal or island sites around the periphery of the Arctic Ocean, leaving large spatial and temporal gaps that O-Buoys overcome. Advances in floatation, communications, power management, and sensor hardware have been made to overcome the challenges of diminished Arctic sea ice which have resulted in our longest deployments so far. O-Buoy data provide insights into questions pertinent to seasonal, interannual, and spatial variability in atmospheric composition, changes in halogen and O3 chemistry as a function of spring-enhanced bromine chemistry , and enhancement of the atmospheric CO2 signal over the more variable and porous pack ice, among others. As part of AON, we openly provide data to the community via the data portal ACADIS (

Remotely Powered Radars Autonomously Monitor Ocean Surface Currents

Rachel Potter, University of Alaska Fairbanks,
Hank Statscewich, University of Alaska Fairbanks,
Thomas Weingartner, University of Alaska Fairbanks,

High frequency radar units that monitor ocean surface currents have been operational during ice-free seasons on the northwest Alaska coast since 2009. The land-based radar autonomously records currents at 6 km resolution up to 200km offshore every 30 minutes, and the data is then transmitted via satellite internet to researchers at their desk. This has provided an unprecedented synoptic view of surface flow in the northeast Chukchi and, more recently, the western Beaufort Sea, revealing spatial and temporal complexity in circulation associated with the Alaskan Coastal Current within Barrow Canyon and its interaction with the flow over the western Beaufort Sea shelf, as well as eddies and fronts over the Chukchi Sea shelf, all without ever setting foot on a ship.

Data acquisition has been optimized over the years of deployment. The ideal spacing between contiguous radar sites does not always fall in line with village locations, and thus grid power, resulting in gaps of data coverage, so a remote power solution was developed to fuel the radar. Utilizing wind and solar energy, the modular remote power system contains only components that are light enough for two people to carry and that are sized for transportation by skiff, four wheeler trailers, or snow machine sleds, and the foundation is designed for sitting on uneven or unsuitable soils. The system is monitored and controlled via satellite and records measurements of power, current, voltage, temperature, wind velocity, and solar radiation for performance evaluation and/or control adjustments.

Sustainable Permafrost Observing in Support of a Permafrost Forecasting System

Elchin Jafarov, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO,
Kevin Schaefer, National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO ,
Rachael Jonassen, Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering, George Washington University, Washington, DC ,
Lynn Yarmey, National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO ,
Dmitry Streletskiy, The Department of Geography, George Washington University, Washington, DC,

Permafrost regions are changing rapidly, with even greater changes expected in coming decades. Consistent, standard, open observations are necessary to understand and predict these changes. While many boreholes for continuous permafrost observation have been in place for decades, the data requires further standardization to be use in modeling applications. Additionally, the future of the permafrost borehole maintenance and measurement is unsustainable given the lack of a nationally funded monitoring program. Progress is being made on these challenges; the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost launched a data management system and is working on harmonizing international data, while AON CADIS provides infrastructure for data archival. Projects, such as the NSF-funded PermaData effort, are building cyberinfrastructure tools in support of aggregating and standardizing existing important heritage permafrost data. However, the current state of the monitoring infrastructure prevents us from developing of the Permafrost Forecasting System (PFS). The PFS will produce seasonal forecasts of Active Layer Thickness and upper permafrost temperature at the seasonal time scale for the state of Alaska to Federal and could be an extremely useful tool for stakeholders, companies, and local communities. The PFS could include satellite and in situ data merged with NOAA seasonal forecasts and a permafrost model using data assimilation. All the required elements exist today, but require further development and integration to create the end-to-end flow of data and products required. Here we describe the required components of the PFS, permafrost considerations in a broader Arctic Observing Network, an emerging distributed permafrost cyberinfrastructure to be connected to broader Arctic data systems, and a basic implementation strategy consistent with available state and Federal resources.

The Ice-Tethered Profiler Program: 2004-2015

John Toole, WHOI,
Richard Krishfield, WHOI,
Andrey Proshutinsky, WHOI,
Mary-Louise Timmermans, Yale Univ.,
Sylvia Cole, WHOI,
Samuel Laney, WHOI,
Michael DeGrandpre, U. Montana,

The Ice-Tethered Profiler (ITP) instrument system returns upper ocean water property observations while drifting with a supporting ice floe. Initiated in fall 2004, the international ITP program over the last 11 years has seen the deployment of 89 systems distributed throughout the deep Arctic Ocean (a small subset of which were instruments recovered, refurbished, renumbered and redeployed). All of these ITPs sampled ocean temperature and salinity (conductivity) between approximately 7 and 750-m depth at 25 cm vertical and generally at least daily resolution. Some of the systems were configured to additionally sample dissolved oxygen, bio-optical parameters (chlorophyll fluorescence, optical backscatter, CDOM, PAR), upper ocean chemistry (CO2, pH) and/or ocean velocity. ITP data are made publicly available in near real time from the project website, as well as distributed over the Global Telecommunications System (GTS) for operational forecast activities, with calibrated, edited and gridded data products generated and entered into national archives as completed. The ITP program has provided a unique, extensive and cost-effective dataset spanning all seasons with which to study the upper Arctic Ocean during a time of rapidly changing conditions. Indeed, ITP data have contributed to a variety of research studies by researchers and students worldwide. Importantly, the success of the ITP program owes much to the collaborating investigators and support personnel from Germany, the U.K., Japan, China, Korea and Russia as well as the United States. A status report on the program and synopsis of some of the recent scientific results will be presented.

The SAMS Ice-Drifter/Strain Rosette: Technical Assessment and Initial results

Bernard Hagan, Scottish Association for Marine Science,
Phil Anderson, Scottish Association for Marine Science,

The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) has developed a low-cost ice drifter that works "out of the box" for easy deployment in Arctic ice flows. The units transmit time, latitude and longitude every hour, synchronised to within a second, via Iridium Short Burst Data. Each drifter is very robust, with no external antennae, sensors or solar array, and has been designed to operate unattended for two years deployed in sea-ice, floating in water, or re-freezing in new sea-ice.
In collaboration with the Korean Polar Research Institute, ten units were deployed in sea-ice this summer (2015) in the high Arctic. Preliminary data from the SAMS drifters are presented for the first ten weeks of the deployment, indicating initial dispersal, travel and strain of the floe. Initial data show battery consumption is better than design, and the system is highly fit for purpose.

Vision and prioritization for development of Summit Station Greenland

John Burkhart, University of Oslo,
Bob Hawley, Dartmouth College,
Zoe Courville, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory,
Jack Dibb, University of New Hampshire,

Summit Station, in combination with the future Isi Observatory, provides a unique capability to measure, monitor, and understand global climate change since it is the only high altitude, high latitude, inland, year-round monitoring station in the Arctic. The site offers immediate access to the free troposphere and is relatively free of local influences that could corrupt climate records. As such, it is ideally suited for studies aimed at identifying and understanding long-range, intercontinental transport and its influences on the ice sheet surface, boundary layer, and overlying atmosphere. Summit Station is also a prime site for astronomy and astrophysics observations due to its high altitude, dry and stable atmosphere, and relative ease of access with respect to other polar locations. The site provides northern hemisphere viewing angles, and is well positioned to connect to other sub-millimeter telescope arrays across the globe. In addition, the pristine and remote location in a year-round dry snow and ice region provides an optimal facility for radiation measurements and remote sensing validation studies.

The vision for Summit is to become a pre-eminent polar research location integrated into an arctic network of observatories, supporting cutting edge research across disciplines. The coming challenge is to maintain the unique characteristics of the region that enable collection of climate records, while developing the area to take advantage of the cold dry viewing conditions for astrophysical observations. Working toward this goal requires modularity, innovation, and creativity to enable both growth and development of the station, while maintaining a clean air sector for atmospheric measurements.

This presentation presents an overview of the activities and approach to sustain the nature of Summit while continuing to enable growth to support new and emerging topics that are best addressed through observations from the summit of Greenland.

Human Dimensions of the Arctic

Arctic Observing Coordination within the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) Program: Scientific Understanding of Arctic Environmental Change to Help Society Understand and Respond to a Rapidly Changing Arctic

Helen V. Wiggins, Arctic Research Consortium of the United States,
Lisa Sheffield Guy, Arctic Research Consortium of the United States,
Robert H. Rich, Arctic Research Consortium of the United States,

The rapid physical and social changes currently underway in the Arctic – and changes in the way in which we study and manage the region -- require coordinated research efforts to improve our understanding of the Arctic’s physical, biological, and social systems and the implications of change at many scales. At the same time, policy-makers and Arctic communities need decision-support tools and synthesized information to respond and adapt to the “new Arctic”. There are enormous challenges, however, in collaboration among the disparate groups of people needed for such efforts. A carefully planned strategic approach is required to bridge the scientific disciplinary and organizational boundaries, foster cooperation between local communities and science programs, and effectively communicate between scientists and policy-makers. Efforts must draw on bodies of knowledge from project management, strategic planning, organizational development, and group dynamics. The Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH; program has a mission to provide a foundation of Arctic change science through collaboration with the research community, funding agencies, and other stakeholders. SEARCH has actively engaged with the research community, funding agencies, and other stakeholders in coordination of and communication about Arctic Observing efforts. This poster presentation will showcase SEARCH activities toward an integrated US Arctic Observing system, connecting the research community to provide input on scientific priorities, governance, and implementation.

Proposed Process for Use of Western Science, Citizen Based Monitoring, and Traditional Knowledge in Ecosystem Models

Carl Markon, U.S. Geological Survey,

Ecosystem modelling is often used for predicting the potential impacts of climate change on the landscape. As input to these models, landscape conditions and trends are commonly used as inputs, made possible from various monitoring networks and potentially the integration of data obtained through western science, citizen based monitoring, and traditional knowledge. All of these types of data collection build capacity for identifying, understanding, predicting, and responding to diverse environmental changes throughout the Arctic. Ecosystem modeling may be especially important to indigenous northern communities that rely on local ecosystem services for subsistence resources, including food security, the location and type of which may change as a result of a changing climate. Because traditional knowledge spans multiple generations and entails a more holistic approach to monitoring, it may be of special use in ecological modeling.

The inclusion of traditional knowledge into ecosystem science and modeling of climate change impacts however, remains a challenge, in part due to its proprietary nature. To meet the challenge, the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee ( established milestone that would attempt to use local traditional knowledge, GIS data and integrated model layers to help understand the relationships among climate, land use changes, ecosystem services, village subsistence systems, and food security. The resulting analyzed information could then be used to explore the implications of possible landscape futures with local and regional decision makers.

Application of High Latitude Observations and Experiments in Regional to Global Climate Modeling

An analysis of ocean freshening resulting from the Greenland ice sheet melt

Ludovic Brucker, NASA GSFC / USRA GESTAR,
Guillaume Vernieres, NASA GSFC,
Emmanuel Dinnat, NASA GSFC / Chapman University,
Robin Kovach, NASA GSFC,
Richard Cullather, NASA / Uni. of Maryland ESSIC,
Sophie Nowicki, NASA GSFC,

The Greenland ice sheet influences the Earth's climate through the release of freshwater into the ocean. With an increasing melt water runoff, the freshwater input may change salinity and temperature of the seas surrounding Greenland. Ocean salinity and temperature differences drive thermohaline circulations. These properties also play a key role in the ocean-atmosphere coupling. With the availability of L-band (1.4GHz) passive space-borne observations, sea surface salinity can be retrieved. However, salinity retrieval in the polar oceans is challenging: observations are less sensitive to salinity in cold waters; salinity retrieval is less accurate for rough sea surfaces; and finally, the presence of sea ice adds complexity to the retrieval of accurate salinity.

Using the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS-5) assimilation and forecast model, melt water volume was simulated for each drainage basin of the Greenland ice sheet. The five largest volumes of water are produced on the West coast of Greenland. Thus, most of the freshwater is released in Baffin Bay. We analyze the sea surface salinity and its anomalies in 2012 when the Greenland ice sheet experienced a melt record. By combining Aquarius satellite retrievals and in-situ observations of salinity with GEOS-5 coupled modeling and assimilation experiments, we focus on the anomalous freshening of the Baffin bay and Labrador sea that lasted until the fall 2012. The unusually large volume of fresh water that ran off the GIS was advected downstream by the west Greenland current and created a large fresh water intrusion into the North Atlantic current. Using tracers released in GEOS-5 at the location of the GIS runoff, we also quantify the runoff contribution to this large fresh water intrusion. By combining observations and modeling tools, we will eventually be able to assess the uncertainties in both the runoff and the ocean SSS (a by-product of the assimilation).

NASA Team 2 Sea Ice Concentration Algorithm Retrieval Uncertainty

Ludovic Brucker, NASA GSFC / USRA GESTAR,

Satellite microwave radiometers are widely used to estimate sea-ice cover properties (concentration, extent, and area) through the use of sea ice concentration algorithms. Rare are the algorithms providing associated ice concentration uncertainty estimates. Algorithm uncertainty estimates are needed to assess accurately global and regional trends in ice concentration (and thus extent and area), and to improve sea ice predictions on seasonal to interannual timescales using data assimilation approaches. This study presents a method to provide relative ice concentration uncertainty estimates using the enhanced NASA Team (NT2) algorithm. The proposed approach takes advantage of the NT2 calculations, and solely relies on the microwave brightness temperatures used as input. NT2 ice concentration relative uncertainties estimated on a footprint-by-footprint swath-by-swath basis were averaged daily over each 12.5-km grid cell of the polar stereographic grid. The NT2 relative uncertainty is typically low in the interior ice pack, and increases in the marginal ice zone (up to ~5%). Retrieval uncertainties are greater in areas corresponding to NT2 ice types associated with deep snow and new ice. Seasonal variations in uncertainty show larger values in summer as a result of melt conditions and greater atmospheric contributions. Our analysis also includes an evaluation of the daily ice concentration variability, which is dominated by sea ice drift and ice formation/melt. Daily ice concentration variability is the highest, year round, in the MIZ (often up to 20%, locally 30%). The temporal and spatial distributions of the retrieval uncertainties and the daily ice concentration variabilities are expected to be useful for algorithm intercomparisons, climate trend assessments, and possibly ice concentration assimilations in models.

Rain-on-snow events in the Arctic and sub-Arctic monitored from satellite observations

Ludovic Brucker, NASA GSFC / USRA GESTAR,
Joseph Munchak, NASA GSFC (Mesoscale Atmospheric Processes Lab.),

Climate change in high northern latitudes is predicted to be greater in winter than in summer, and to have increasing, widespread impacts in northern ecosystems. Some of the resulting unknowns are the effects of an increasing frequency of sudden, short-lasting winter warming events, which can lead to rain on snow (ROS). Very little is known about ROS in northern regions, and even less about its cumulative impact on surface energy balance, permafrost, snow melt, and hydrological processes. Since, wintertime warming events have become more frequent in sub-Arctic regions, ROS event characteristics (frequency, extent, and duration) may represent new and relevant climate indicators. However, ROS event detection is challenging. In this study, we present new approaches to monitor the occurrence of ROS events using satellite passive and active microwave sensors, such as Global Precipitation Measurements (GPM) radiometer and radar. Daily and weekly products of ROS event are produced for the Arctic and sub-Arctic. Several dramatic ROS events that led to the death of thousands of ungulates are well captured in these products.

Ice Sheets and Glaciers

Ice-ocean interactions: glacier calving rates and iceberg size distribution in a West Greenland fjord

Leigh Stearns, University of Kansas,
Logan Byers, University of Kansas ,
Siddharth Shankar, University of Kansas,
Dave Sutherland, University of Oregon,
Dan Sulak, University of Oregon,

Icebergs interact with the ocean, atmosphere, and cryosphere and are therefore an integral part of the climate system. Most importantly, icebergs transport a substantial amount of fresh water away from the margins of the ice sheets and into the ocean, impacting sea ice formation, fjord circulation, and nutrient fluxes. To date, only a handful of studies quantify iceberg size distribution in the Arctic, and none do so on temporal scales that capture the physical processes of calving dynamics and fjord circulation. We use a combination of radar and optical imagery to quantify iceberg distribution in Rink Fjord, West Greenland. We also estimate the calving rate of Rink Isbrae, to better understand how calving style impacts iceberg distribution. The results are used to estimate the contribution of solid ice to the ocean, understand the calving style of Rink Isbrae, and quantify spatial and temporal patterns in iceberg distribution.

Meeting the Needs of Managers and Decision-Makers

BAID: The Barrow Area Information Database – an interactive web mapping portal and cyberinfrastructure for scientific activities in the vicinity of Barrow, Alaska

Escarzaga Stephen, University of Texas at El Paso,
Allison Gaylord, Nuna Technologies,
Ryan Cody, University of Texas at El Paso,
Julia Collins, National Snow and Ice Data Center,
Bill Manley, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado,
Florencia Mazza-Ramsay, University of Texas at El Paso,
Qaiyaan Aiken, UIC Science,
Ari Kassin, University of Texas at El Paso,
Christian Andresen, University of Texas at El Paso,
Mauricio Barba, University of Texas at El Paso,
Sergio Vargas, University of Texas at El Paso,
Gabby Tarin, University of Texas at El Paso,
Vanessa Lougheed, University of Texas at El Paso,
Erika Green, UIC Science,
Craig Tweedie, University of Texas at El Paso,

The Barrow area of northern Alaska is one of the most intensely researched locations in the Arctic. The Barrow Area Information Database (BAID, facilitates a gamut of research, management, and educational activities in the area. BAID is a cyberinfrastructure (CI) that details the historic and extant research undertaken within in the Barrow region in a suite of interactive web-based mapping and information portals (geobrowsers). The BAID user community is diverse and includes research scientists, science logisticians, land managers, educators, students, and the general public. BAID contains information on more than 12,000 Barrow area research sites that extend back to the 1940’s and more than 640 remote sensing images and geospatial datasets. In a web-based setting, users can zoom, pan, query, measure distance, save or print maps and query results, and filter or view information by space, time, and/or other tags. Data are described with metadata that meet Federal Geographic Data Committee standards and are archived at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) where non-proprietary BAID data can be freely downloaded. Recent advances include the addition of more than 2000 new research sites, provision of differential global position system (dGPS) and high resolution aerial imagery support to visiting scientists, surveying over 80 miles of coastline to document rates of erosion, collecting high resolution sonar data for Elson Lagoon and nearshore Chukchi Sea, training of local GIS personal to aid decision making, deployment and near real time connectivity to a wireless micrometeorological sensor network, links to Barrow area datasets housed at national data archives and substantial upgrades to the BAID website and web mapping applications. These include a new Imagery Time Viewer that allow users to compare imagery of the Barrow area from 1948 to present, and planning tools for wetland mitigation and coastal erosion assessment.

Expanding your collaboration circles through the International Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC)

Jessica Rohde, IARPC,
Sara Bowden, IARPC,
Sandy Starkweather, IARPC,
Simon Stephenson, NSF,

The Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC) envisions a prosperous, sustainable, and healthy Arctic understood through innovative and collaborative research coordinated among Federal agencies and domestic and international partners. IARPC’s approach is to harnesses the talent of the scientific and stakeholder community through Federally-run but broadly open collaboration teams, and an innovative website that expands the frontiers of collaborative research.

The Obama Administration released the five-year Arctic Research Plan: FY2013-2017 in February 2013. The Plan focuses on advancing knowledge and sustainability of the Arctic by improving collaboration in seven priority research areas: observing systems, sea ice and marine ecosystems, terrestrial ice and ecosystems, atmospheric studies, regional climate models, human health studies, and adaptation tools for communities. From these seven research areas, 12 collaboration teams were formed to respond to the 145 milestones laid out in the Plan. The collaboration teams are charged with enhancing inter-institutional and interdisciplinary implementation of scientific research on local, regional, and circumpolar environmental and societal issues in the Arctic.
The collaboration teams are co-chaired by Federal program managers, and, in some cases, external partners and are open to research and stakeholder communities. They meet on a regular basis by web- or teleconference to inform one another about ongoing and planned programs and new research results, as well as to inventory existing programs, identify gaps in knowledge and research, and address and implement the Plan’s milestones. In-between meetings, team members communicate via our innovative, user-driven, collaboration website. Members share information about their research activities by posting updates, uploading documents, and including events on our calendar, and entering into dialogue about their research activities. Conversations taking place on the website are open to any other member, enabling new talent to enter into conversations and collaborations to form.
IARPC’s Arctic Observing Systems Collaboration Team (AOSCT) presents one forum for the US Arctic observing community to develop and sustain action on key topics. The AOSCT is hosting an in-person town hall style collaboration meeting at the AOOSM to gather community input on future directions for this collaboration team. That input could concern the types of presentations that would be valuable to host, the specific foci that could use attention or even suggestions for new milestones. Please join us for this informal discussion on Wednesday November 18, 2015, from 12pm-1pm.

Global Environmental Change Threats to Heritage and Long Term Observing Networks of the Past

Anne Jensen, Bryn Mawr College & University of Alaska Fairbanks,
Andrew Dugmore, University of Edinburgh,
Thomas McGovern, Hunter College and Graduate Center NYC, CUNY,

This poster will highlight two critical problems in Arctic regions:

1) Loss of key elements of cultural heritage to environmental change
2) Loss of the rich paleoenvironmental records that form a “distributed long term observing network of the past”

In recent years archaeological sites with good organic preservation have been recognized as excellent paleoenvironmental archives which complement the proxy records recovered from ice sheets, bogs, lakes, and oceanic sediments. Data from archaeological sites can be used to address key questions in social science, conservation biology, oceanography, ecology, and climatology. It is possible not only to document human interactions with the environment, but also to see how they change through time, and then correlate those changes with possible drivers, such as climate change, patterns of human exploitation, natural catastrophes (volcanic eruptions, large-scale flooding, etc.). Archaeological deposits provide key data on changes in summer drift ice in the North Atlantic, of the distribution and population structure of sea mammals prior to modern industrial hunting, and the effects of large scale fishing prior to the disciplinary establishment of fisheries science.

The poster also covers emerging responses to this issue. The scale and urgency of the threat will require a large-scale response backed by significant sustained funding support. Existing structures for archaeological rescue and response are already overwhelmed, and conditions are worsening. It is clear that we cannot expect existing research-orientated local and national funding agencies to support the sort of response needed from already-strained social science budgets. New models for funding, education and recruitment of staff, engagement with the public and long term curation of rescued samples must be developed.

Making the case for improved monitoring of the Brooks Range climate: the Arctic Treeline Observatory

Stephanie McAfee, University of Nevada, Reno,
Patrick Sullivan, University of Alaska, Anchorage,

High-quality climate records for the Brooks Range are rare. This scarcity of climate data is troublesome because the Brooks Range is in the midst of rapid change. Treelines are advancing, deciduous shrubs are encroaching, permafrost is thawing, glaciers are receding, the western Arctic caribou herd is declining and the Dall’s sheep population is crashing. In some areas, the landscape is greening while, in others, the landscape is browning. Understanding how climate change will impact the structure and function of the interface between the Arctic and the Boreal requires high-quality, spatially explicit modern climate data.

Low climate station density inhibits our ability to discern spatial variation in climate, detect climate trends and test for spatial variation in climate trends within the Brooks Range. Gridded climate datasets, which are produced by spatial interpolation of point observations, are commonly used by climatologists, ecologists, geographers and hydrologists. Two of the most commonly used gridded climate datasets, the Climate Research Unit (CRU) and the University of Delaware (UDEL) datasets, differ dramatically in their representation of the Brooks Range climate. For instance, in the western Brooks Range, where annual precipitation is probably less than 50 cm, the two datasets disagree by 15-20 cm. Meanwhile, in the eastern Brooks Range, gridded annual air temperature estimates show a discrepancy of up to 10°C. These dramatic differences are likely attributable to the selection of stations used in development of the gridded datasets. Because there are so few stations available, the choice of which stations to use can have large consequences for the resulting gridded dataset. Accurate climate data form the foundation of most ecological, geographical, hydrological and climatological studies. Until we have high-quality climate data for the Brooks Range, our understanding of pattern and process at the boundary between the Arctic and Boreal biomes will continue to suffer.

Sea Ice Matters: Science Communication through the SEARCH Sea Ice Action Team

Matthew Druckenmiller, Rutgers University and the National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado Boulder,
Jennifer Francis, Rutgers University,
Henry Huntington, Huntington Consulting,

The Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) aims to develop scientific knowledge to help society understand and respond to the rapidly changing Arctic. In September 2015, the SEARCH Sea Ice Action Team (SIAT), with a primary focus on science communication, developed a strategy for mobilizing the research community to organize, synthesize, and disseminate scientific knowledge for a broad range of Arctic sea ice stakeholders. Key elements are to (1) support and promote SEARCH and the SIAT as a trusted and timely source of information about Arctic sea ice and impacts of its loss, (2) develop sustained and sophisticated dialogues between the research community and decision-makers, and (3) co-communicate the importance and state-of-the-art of Arctic research using a range of voices beyond those of scientists. The core product of the strategy will be a website to comprehensively communicate why and how sea ice matters. This website will provide tiered access to sea ice information, organized across a series of high-level topics via a hierarchical, pyramid structure based on increasing levels of scientific complexity. This resource will depend on collaboratively developed, peer-reviewed, and concisely edited scientific content, which will serve to coordinate the scientific community, disseminate important findings to broad audiences, and provide a take-away “go-to” resource for decision-makers and the media. In addition, Sea Ice Matters will facilitate and host guest perspectives from across both the science and stakeholders communities and provide timely scientific information on emerging high-interest topics, such as notable weather events or recent high-profile science publications. Evaluating the project through targeted outreach and user feedback represents a strategic focus for the Team. Most importantly, this science communication endeavor will require organizing interests and complementary efforts within SEARCH and across related organizations and broader science communities.

Visualization, Strategic Assessment, and Decision Support for Arctic Observing: The Arctic Observing Viewer (AOV)

William Manley, INSTAAR, Univ. of Colorado,
Allison Gaylord, Nuna Technologies,
Ari Kassin, Systems Ecology Lab, Department of Biology, University of Texas at El Paso,
Sandra Villarreal, Systems Ecology Lab, Department of Biology, University of Texas at El Paso,
Mauricio Barba, Systems Ecology Lab, Department of Biology, University of Texas at El Paso,
Ryan Cody, Systems Ecology Lab, Department of Biology, University of Texas at El Paso,
Mike Dover, CH2M HILL Polar Services,
Stephen Escarzaga, Systems Ecology Lab, Department of Biology, University of Texas at El Paso,
Habermann Ted, The HDF Group,
John Kozimor, The HDF Group,
Roberta Score, Polar Field Services Inc.,
Craig Tweedie, Systems Ecology Lab, Department of Biology, University of Texas at El Paso,

To better assess progress in Arctic Observing made by U.S. SEARCH, NSF AON, SAON, and related initiatives, an updated version has been released for the Arctic Observing Viewer (AOV; This web mapping application and information system conveys the who, what, where, and when of “data collection sites” – the precise locations of monitoring assets, observing platforms, and wherever repeat marine or terrestrial measurements have been taken. Over 7700 sites in AOV encompass a range of boreholes, ship tracks, buoys, towers, sampling stations, sensor networks, vegetation plots, stream gauges, ice cores, observatories, and more. Contributing partners are the U.S. NSF, ACADIS, ADIwg, AOOS, a2dc, AON, CAFF, GINA, IASOA, INTERACT, NASA ABoVE, and USGS, among others. While focusing on U.S. activities, information exchange with international groups is welcomed for mutual benefit. Users can visualize, navigate, select, search, draw, print, view details, and follow links to obtain a comprehensive perspective of environmental monitoring efforts. We continue to develop, populate, and enhance AOV. Recent improvements include: a more intuitive and functional search tool, a modern cross-platform interface using javascript and HTML5, and hierarchical ISO metadata coupled with RESTful web services & metadata XLinks to span the data life cycle (from project planning to establishment of data collection sites to release of scientific datasets). AOV is founded on principles of interoperability, such that agencies and organizations can use the AOV Viewer and web services for their own purposes. In this way, AOV complements other distributed yet interoperable cyber resources, and helps science planners, funding agencies, investigators, data specialists, and others to: assess status, identify overlap, fill gaps, optimize sampling design, refine network performance, clarify directions, access data, coordinate logistics, and collaborate to meet Arctic Observing goals.