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Cold Regions Lake and Landscape Research

Studies Home * Collaborators * Geotagged Photos * Photo of the Week Gallery * Livecam Pictures
Cold Regions Lake and Landscape Research at the Alaska Science Center focuses on the study of the Arctic and Subarctic landscape, with an emphasis on Alaska. The primary objective of this research program is to gain an understanding of landscape change in the recent (last 50 years) and distant (last 20,000 years) past. This is accomplished through a combination of techniques that include remote sensing, GIS, field surveys, laboratory analyses, and model development. Ultimately, these studies provide information that land and resource managers can use to better inform their decision making process.

Benjamin Jones is the lead investigator at the ASC. He is involved with several interdisciplinary, collaborative research projects in Alaska with a number of Federal, State, and Local agencies as well as researchers in academia. Carson Baughman is a geographer hired in May 2015 and he is conducting field research and remote sensing studies on cryosphere influenced components of the Alaska landscape. Callie Zuck is an intern hired in July 2015 and she is building GIS databases that describe important habitat characteristics to help the BLM and NPS better manage their lands and resources.

Project funding is largely provided by the Land Change Science program (LCS) and the Land Remote Sensing (LRS) programs of the U.S. Geological Survey. Funding is also provided by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Recent Highlights

An Anchorage Daily News article on March 28, 2015, "Watching a lake disappear on the North Slope"" by Ned Rozell, discusses research by Benjamin Jones and Chris Arp who placed instruments around a 900-mile loop of the North Slope by snowmachine to monitor changes of northern lakes that have formed, filled and emptied for thousands of years.

An article,"Arctic lakes getting a closer look by scientists", by Ned Rozell about Alaska's "thermokarst" lakes was published in the Anchorage Daily News on May 26. The article describes how USGS Alaska Science Center scientists Benjamin Jones and Benjamin Gaglioti traveled over 800 miles on snow machines installing instruments that will collect data for years to help gain an understanding of change over time on the Arctic landscape.

A manuscript in the May issue of the Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal, and Ocean Engineering combines the use of field surveys, remote sensing, and model development and validation to better understand patterns and rates of erosion along Alaska's northern coastline.

Benjamin Gaglioti, STEP employee at the ASC and member of the Cold Regions Lake and Landscape Research, was featured in a recent article in the journal Nature highlighting his ground-breaking research that utilized fossil ground squirrel caches to reconstruct the flora and environmental conditions for the Arctic during the last ice age. The Nature News article can be found at http://www.nature.com/news/wild-flower-blooms-again-after-30-000-years-on-ice-1.10069.

Near-real time ground photos from the Colville River stream gauge and the Colville River thaw slump (effort in collaboration with Frank Urban, Richard Kemnitz, Richard Beck, and Guido Grosse)

Photo of the Week

Spruce trees colonized former lake beds in western tundra region of Alaska. Photo by Benjamin Jones, 9/27/12
Gallery of images

Follow Scientists Working in the Arctic to Better Understand the Winter Regime of Arctic lakes

About one-quarter of the lakes on earth are located in the Arctic making them a crucial component of the Arctic system. Arctic lakes release large quantities of carbon dioxide and methane to the atmosphere and absorb up to 35% more solar energy than the surrounding tundra during summer. Benjamin Jones, Christopher Arp, Allen Bondurant, and Andrew Parsekian have begun their 1000 mile annual spring snowmachine-based field expedition in northern Alaska where they will be studying some of the thousands of lakes in the region. Their journey began at Toolik Field Station, about 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, and will continue on towards the Arctic Ocean. The Circumarctic Lakes Observation Network project will allow researchers to determine the impact of warmer temperatures, changing cloud cover and precipitation patterns, permafrost degradation, and direct human impacts on lakes across Arctic Alaska. You can follow the fieldwork adventures on the blog at http://arcticlakeice.org/blog/ or view past year's fieldwork on http://www.arcticlakes.org/calon-blog.html.

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Breezy Field Work


Lake and Landscape Oblique Aerial Photos

Oblique aerial photographs are useful for a number of applications such as ground-truthing remotely sensed landcover mapping efforts, developing baseline information for future change detection studies, and better understanding landscape-scale patterns and processes. Since 2006 we have been capturing oblique photos as we have traveled around Alaska conducting fieldwork from fixed wing float planes and helicopters. At the same time we have utilized global positioning system units to track our location and allow each photo to be "geotagged". Here we are providing kmz files with linked geotagged photos as well as a report for each image set.

Photo representing Lake and Landscape Oblique Aerial Photos.

Current Projects

Image showing changes in coastal erosion rate on Alaska's North Slope. Image links to more information about coastal erosion on Alaska's North Slope. Alaska Coastal Studies
Studying patterns and rates of erosion along permafrost dominated coastlines in northern Alaska.

Alaska Permafrost Studies
Quantifying changes occurring to near surface permafrost and periglacial landscapes.

Image showing lake change in Alaska. Image links to more information about lake change in Alaska. Alaska Lake Dynamic Studies
Assessing the spatial and temporal patterns of lake change in Alaska using remotely sensed imagery, insitu field data collection, and laboratory analyses.

Thumbnail image representing Teshekpuk Lake Teshekpuk Lake Observatory
Developing a long-term observation network for the largest lake in Arctic Alaska.

Image representing Alaska Landscape Studies. Alaska Landscape Studies
Studying the factors that help shape the Alaskan landscape.

Thumbnail image representing Alaska Paleoecology Studies. Alaska Paleoecological Studies
Gathering information from the distant past to help better plan for the future.

Previous Projects

Land Cover Status and Trends for Cook Inlet Region of Alaska



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