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- Frontiers in Marine Science
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- National Science Foundation
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Abstract Some of the largest climatic changes in the Arctic have been observed in Alaska and the surrounding marginal seas. Near-surface air temperature (T2m), precipitation ( P ), snowfall, and sea ice changes have been previously documented, often in disparate studies. Here, we provide an updated, long-term trend analysis (1957–2021; n = 65 years) of such parameters in ERA5, NOAA U.S. Climate Gridded Dataset (NClimGrid), NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) Alaska climate division, and composite sea ice products preceding the upcoming Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5) and other near-future climate reports. In the past half century, annual T2m has broadly increased across Alaska, and during winter, spring, and autumn on the North Slope and North Panhandle (T2m > 0.50°C decade −1 ). Precipitation has also increased across climate divisions and appears strongly interrelated with temperature–sea ice feedbacks on the North Slope, specifically with increased (decreased) open water (sea ice extent). Snowfall equivalent (SFE) has decreased in autumn and spring, perhaps aligned with a regime transition of snow to rain, while winter SFE has broadly increased across the state. Sea ice decline and melt-season lengthening also have a pronounced signal around Alaska, with the largest trends in these parameters found in the Beaufort Sea. Alaska’s climatic changes are also placed in context against regional and contiguous U.S. air temperature trends and show ∼50% greater warming in Alaska relative to the lower-48 states. Alaska T2m increases also exceed those of any contiguous U.S. subregion, positioning Alaska at the forefront of U.S. climate warming. Significance Statement This study produces an updated, long-term trend analysis (1957–2021) of key Alaska climate parameters, including air temperature, precipitation (including snowfall equivalent), and sea ice, to inform upcoming climate assessment reports, including the Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5) scheduled for publication in 2023. Key findings include widespread annual and seasonal warming with increased precipitation across much of the state. Winter snowfall has broadly increased, but spring and autumn snowfalls have decreased as rainfall increased. Autumn warming and precipitation increases over the North Slope, in particular, appear related to decreased sea ice coverage in the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Seas. These trends may result from interrelated processes that accelerate Alaska climate changes relative to those of the contiguous United States.more » « less
Suspended sediment plays a critical role in riverine ecosystem health and river processes and is respondent to human alterations such as dams and increased land use. Gavins Point Dam, located on the Missouri River near Yankton, South Dakota, restricts upstream suspended load; yet, suspended sediment concentrations (SSC) increase when the river reaches Sioux City, Iowa. We determined the suspended load concentrations of seven tributaries of the Missouri River entering downstream of the dam. These data were collected from 2012 to 2019 during the summer months of May–July using a depth‐integrated sampler. Sediment rating curves were created based on discharge and SSC. We constructed a simple sediment budget, which indicated that the tributaries located in South Dakota contribute the bulk of the Missouri River's suspended load at ~80%, while the Nebraska tributaries contribute <5%. The remaining sediment is likely supplied by bank and bed erosion. Temporal changes were examined by comparing our recent measurements with historical data from USGS gaging stations on the James River and the Big Sioux River. Suspended sediment and discharge have increased by nearly an order of magnitude, potentially due to increases in precipitation and land use. Sediment budgets are useful resources for informing river management plans on a basin‐wide scale. Given the drastic, long‐term impacts of disruptions to sediment and flow regimes from dams and climate change, this research provides necessary groundwork for remediation efforts and river management.
This study applies an indicators framework to investigate climate drivers of tundra vegetation trends and variability over the 1982–2019 period. Previously known indicators relevant for tundra productivity (summer warmth index (SWI), coastal spring sea-ice (SI) area, coastal summer open-water (OW)) and three additional indicators (continentality, summer precipitation, and the Arctic Dipole (AD): second mode of sea level pressure variability) are analyzed with maximum annual Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (MaxNDVI) and the sum of summer bi-weekly (time-integrated) NDVI (TI-NDVI) from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer time-series. Climatological mean, trends, and correlations between variables are presented. Changes in SI continue to drive variations in the other indicators. As spring SI has decreased, summer OW, summer warmth, MaxNDVI, and TI-NDVI have increased. However, the initial very strong upward trends in previous studies for MaxNDVI and TI-NDVI are weakening and becoming spatially and temporally more variable as the ice retreats from the coastal areas. TI-NDVI has declined over the last decade particularly over High Arctic regions and southwest Alaska. The continentality index (CI) (maximum minus minimum monthly temperatures) is decreasing across the tundra, more so over North America than Eurasia. The relationship has weakened between SI and SWI and TI-NDVI, as the maritime influence of OW has increased along with total precipitation. The winter AD is correlated in Eurasia with spring SI, summer OW, MaxNDVI, TI-NDVI, the CI and total summer precipitation. This winter connection to tundra emphasizes the role of SI in driving the summer indicators. The winter (DJF) AD drives SI variations which in turn shape summer OW, the atmospheric SWI and NDVI anomalies. The winter and spring indicators represent potential predictors of tundra vegetation productivity a season or two in advance of the growing season.
Stream restoration is a popular approach for managing nitrogen (N) in degraded, flashy urban streams. Here, we investigated the long-term effects of stream restoration involving floodplain reconnection on riparian and in-stream N transport and transformation in an urban stream in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. We examined relationships between hydrology, chemistry, and biology using a Before/After-Control/Impact (BACI) study design to determine how hydrologic flashiness, nitrate (NO3−) concentrations (mg/L), and N flux, both NO3−and total N (kg/yr), changed after the restoration and floodplain hydrologic reconnection to its stream channel. We examined two independent surface water and groundwater data sets (EPA and USGS) collected from 2002–2012 at our study sites in the Minebank Run watershed. Restoration was completed during 2004 and 2005. Afterward, the monthly hydrologic flashiness index, based on mean monthly discharge, decreased over time from 2002 and 2008. However, from 2008–2012 hydrologic flashiness returned to pre-restoration levels. Based on the EPA data set, NO3−concentration in groundwater and surface water was significantly less after restoration while the control site showed no change. DOC and NO3−were negatively related before and after restoration suggesting C limitation of N transformations. Long-term trends in surface water NO3−concentrations based on USGS surface water data showed downward trends after restoration at both the restored and control sites, whereas specific conductance showed no trend. Comparisons of NO3−concentrations with Cl−concentrations and specific conductance in both ground and surface waters suggested that NO3−reduction after restoration was not due to dilution or load reductions from the watershed. Modeled NO3−flux decreased post restoration over time but the rate of decrease was reduced likely due to failure of restoration features that facilitated N transformations. Groundwater NO3−concentrations varied among stream features suggesting that some engineered features may be functionally better at creating optimal conditions for N retention. However, some engineered features eroded and failed post restoration thereby reducing efficacy of the stream restoration to reduce flashiness and NO3−flux. N management via stream restoration will be most effective where flashiness can be reduced and DOC made available for denitrifiers. Stream restoration may be an important component of holistic watershed management including stormwater management and nutrient source control if stream restoration and floodplain reconnection can be done in a manner to resist the erosive effects of large storm events that can degrade streams to pre-restoration conditions. Long-term evolution of water quality functions in response to degradation of restored stream channels and floodplains from urban stressors and storms over time warrants further study, however.
Arctic hydrology is experiencing rapid changes including earlier snow melt, permafrost degradation, increasing active layer depth, and reduced river ice, all of which are expected to lead to changes in stream flow regimes. Recently, long-term (>60 years) climate reanalysis and river discharge observation data have become available. We utilized these data to assess long-term changes in discharge and their hydroclimatic drivers. River discharge during the cold season (October–April) increased by 10% per decade. The most widespread discharge increase occurred in April (15% per decade), the month of ice break-up for the majority of basins. In October, when river ice formation generally begins, average monthly discharge increased by 7% per decade. Long-term air temperature increases in October and April increased the number of days above freezing (+1.1 d per decade) resulting in increased snow ablation (20% per decade) and decreased snow water equivalent (−12% per decade). Compared to the historical period (1960–1989), mean April and October air temperature in the recent period (1990–2019) have greater correlation with monthly discharge from 0.33 to 0.68 and 0.0–0.48, respectively. This indicates that the recent increases in air temperature are directly related to these discharge changes. Ubiquitous increases in cold and shoulder-season discharge demonstrate the scale at which hydrologic and biogeochemical fluxes are being altered in the Arctic.