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Title: Potential Future Lake Drainage for the Western Arctic Coastal Plain in northern Alaska from an Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IFSAR)-Derived Digital Surface Model, 2002-2003
Assessment of lakes for their future potential to drain relied on the 2002/03 airborne Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IFSAR) Digital Surface Model (DSM) data for the western Arctic CoastalMore>>
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Arctic Data Center
Publication Year:
Arctic Lake Lake Drainage Drained Lake Basin Thermokarst Lake
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Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract

    Arctic lakes located in permafrost regions are susceptible to catastrophic drainage. In this study, we reconstructed historical lake drainage events on the western Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska between 1955 and 2017 using USGS topographic maps, historical aerial photography (1955), and Landsat Imagery (ca. 1975, ca. 2000, and annually since 2000). We identified 98 lakes larger than 10 ha that partially (>25% of area) or completely drained during the 62‐year period. Decadal‐scale lake drainage rates progressively declined from 2.0 lakes/yr (1955–1975), to 1.6 lakes/yr (1975–2000), and to 1.2 lakes/yr (2000–2017) in the ~30,000‐km2study area. Detailed Landsat trend analysis between 2000 and 2017 identified two years, 2004 and 2006, with a cluster (five or more) of lake drainages probably associated with bank overtopping or headward erosion. To identify future potential lake drainages, we combined the historical lake drainage observations with a geospatial dataset describing lake elevation, hydrologic connectivity, and adjacent lake margin topographic gradients developed with a 5‐m‐resolution digital surface model. We identified ~1900 lakes likely to be prone to drainage in the future. Of the 20 lakes that drained in the most recent study period, 85% were identified in this future lake drainage potential dataset. Our assessment of historicalmore »lake drainage magnitude, mechanisms and pathways, and identification of potential future lake drainages provides insights into how arctic lowland landscapes may change and evolve in the coming decades to centuries.

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  2. Abstract
    Site description. This data package consists of data obtained from sampling surface soil (the 0-7.6 cm depth profile) in black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) dominated forest and black needlerush (Juncus roemerianus) saltmarsh along the Gulf of Mexico coastline in peninsular west-central Florida, USA. This location has a subtropical climate with mean daily temperatures ranging from 15.4 °C in January to 27.8 °C in August, and annual precipitation of 1336 mm. Precipitation falls as rain primarily between June and September. Tides are semi-diurnal, with 0.57 m median amplitudes during the year preceding sampling (U.S. NOAA National Ocean Service, Clearwater Beach, Florida, station 8726724). Sea-level rise is 4.0 ± 0.6 mm per year (1973-2020 trend, mean ± 95 % confidence interval, NOAA NOS Clearwater Beach station). The A. germinans mangrove zone is either adjacent to water or fringed on the seaward side by a narrow band of red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle). A near-monoculture of J. roemerianus is often adjacent to and immediately landward of the A. germinans zone. The transition from the mangrove to the J. roemerianus zone is variable in our study area. An abrupt edge between closed-canopy mangrove and J. roemerianus monoculture may extend for up to several hundred metersMore>>
  3. Abstract
    This data set covers the younger outer coastal plain north of Teshekpuk Lake, North Slope, Alaska. In this region, drained lake basins are abundant features, covering large parts of the landscape. This data set is based on Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) imagery acquired in August 2010, and a 5 meter (m) resolution Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IfSAR)-derived digital terrain model. Drained lake basins were manually delineated in a geographic information system (GIS). The data set includes Lake 195, which drained in this area in 2014. For further details please see Jones et al. (2015): Jones, BM, and Arp, CD (2015), Observing a Catastrophic Thermokarst Lake Drainage in Northern Alaska. Permafrost and Periglac. Process., 26, 119– 128. doi: 10.1002/ppp.1842.
  4. Abstract
    Excessive phosphorus (P) applications to croplands can contribute to eutrophication of surface waters through surface runoff and subsurface (leaching) losses. We analyzed leaching losses of total dissolved P (TDP) from no-till corn, hybrid poplar (Populus nigra X P. maximowiczii), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), miscanthus (Miscanthus giganteus), native grasses, and restored prairie, all planted in 2008 on former cropland in Michigan, USA. All crops except corn (13 kg P ha−1 year−1) were grown without P fertilization. Biomass was harvested at the end of each growing season except for poplar. Soil water at 1.2 m depth was sampled weekly to biweekly for TDP determination during March–November 2009–2016 using tension lysimeters. Soil test P (0–25 cm depth) was measured every autumn. Soil water TDP concentrations were usually below levels where eutrophication of surface waters is frequently observed (> 0.02 mg L−1) but often higher than in deep groundwater or nearby streams and lakes. Rates of P leaching, estimated from measured concentrations and modeled drainage, did not differ statistically among cropping systems across years; 7-year cropping system means ranged from 0.035 to 0.072 kg P ha−1 year−1 with large interannual variation. Leached P was positively related to STP, which decreased over the 7 years in all systems. These results indicate that both P-fertilized and unfertilized cropping systems mayMore>>
  5. Abstract

    Lakes set in arctic permafrost landscapes can be susceptible to rapid drainage and downstream flood generation. Of many thousands of lakes in northern Alaska, hundreds have been identified as having high drainage potential directly to river systems and 18 such drainage events have been documented since 1955. In 2018 we began monitoring a large lake with high drainage potential as part of a long‐term hydrological observation network designed to evaluate impacts of land use and climate change. In early June 2022, surface water was observed flowing over a 30‐m wide bluff, with active headward erosion of ice‐rich permafrost soils apparent by late June. This overflow point breached rapidly in early July, draining almost the entire lake within 12 h and generating a 191 m3/s flood to a downstream creek. Water level and turbidity sensors and time‐lapse cameras captured this rapid lake‐drainage event at high resolution. A wind‐driven surface seiche and warming waters following ice‐out helped trigger the initial thermomechanical breach. We estimate at least 600 MT of lake sediment was eroded, mobilized, and transported downstream. A flood wave peaking at 42 m3/s arrived 14 h after the initial breach at a river gauge 9‐km downstream. Comparing this event with three other quantified arctic lake‐drainagemore »floods suggests that lake surface area coupled with drainage gradient height can predict outburst flood magnitude. Using this relationship we estimated future flood hazards from the 146 lakes in the Arctic Coastal Plain of northern Alaska (ACP) with high drainage potential, of which 20% are expected to generate outburst floods exceeding 100 m3/s to downstream rivers. This fortunate and detailed drainage‐event observation adds to a growing body of research on the impact of lakes on arctic hydrology, hazard forecasting in a region with an increasing human footprint, and broader processes of landscape evolution in arctic lowlands.

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