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  1. Climate change is destabilizing permafrost landscapes, affecting infrastructure, ecosystems, and human livelihoods. The rate of permafrost thaw is controlled by surface and subsurface properties and processes, all of which are potentially linked with each other. However, no standardized protocol exists for measuring permafrost thaw and related processes and properties in a linked manner. The permafrost thaw action group of the Terrestrial Multidisciplinary distributed Observatories for the Study of the Arctic Connections (T-MOSAiC) project has developed a protocol, for use by non-specialist scientists and technicians, citizen scientists, and indigenous groups, to collect standardized metadata and data on permafrost thaw. The protocol introduced here addresses the need to jointly measure permafrost thaw and the associated surface and subsurface environmental conditions. The parameters measured along transects include: snow depth, thaw depth, vegetation height, soil texture, and water level. The metadata collection includes data on timing of data collection, geographical coordinates, land surface characteristics (vegetation, ground surface, water conditions), as well as photographs. Our hope is that this openly available dataset will also be highly valuable for validation and parameterization of numerical and conceptual models, and thus to the broad community represented by the T-MOSAiC project. 
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  2. Abstract Arctic warming is affecting snow cover and soil hydrology, with consequences for carbon sequestration in tundra ecosystems. The scarcity of observations in the Arctic has limited our understanding of the impact of covarying environmental drivers on the carbon balance of tundra ecosystems. In this study, we address some of these uncertainties through a novel record of 119 site-years of summer data from eddy covariance towers representing dominant tundra vegetation types located on continuous permafrost in the Arctic. Here we found that earlier snowmelt was associated with more tundra net CO 2 sequestration and higher gross primary productivity (GPP) only in June and July, but with lower net carbon sequestration and lower GPP in August. Although higher evapotranspiration (ET) can result in soil drying with the progression of the summer, we did not find significantly lower soil moisture with earlier snowmelt, nor evidence that water stress affected GPP in the late growing season. Our results suggest that the expected increased CO 2 sequestration arising from Arctic warming and the associated increase in growing season length may not materialize if tundra ecosystems are not able to continue sequestering CO 2 later in the season. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
    Abstract. Lakes in permafrost regions are dynamic landscapecomponents and play an important role for climate change feedbacks. Lakeprocesses such as mineralization and flocculation of dissolved organiccarbon (DOC), one of the main carbon fractions in lakes, contribute to thegreenhouse effect and are part of the global carbon cycle. These processesare in the focus of climate research, but studies so far are limited to specificstudy regions. In our synthesis, we analyzed 2167 water samples from 1833lakes across the Arctic in permafrost regions of Alaska, Canada, Greenland,and Siberia to provide first pan-Arctic insights for linkages between DOCconcentrations and the environment. Using published data and unpublisheddatasets from the author team, we report regional DOC differences linked tolatitude, permafrost zones, ecoregions, geology, near-surface soil organiccarbon contents, and ground ice classification of each lake region. The lakeDOC concentrations in our dataset range from 0 to1130 mg L−1 (10.8 mg L−1 median DOC concentration). Regarding thepermafrost regions of our synthesis, we found median lake DOC concentrationsof 12.4 mg L−1 (Siberia), 12.3 mg L−1 (Alaska),10.3 mg L−1 (Greenland), and 4.5 mg L−1 (Canada). Our synthesisshows a significant relationship between lake DOC concentration and lakeecoregion. We found higher lake DOC concentrations at boreal permafrostsites compared to tundra sites. We found significantly higher DOCconcentrations in lakes in regions with ice-rich syngenetic permafrostdeposits (yedoma) compared to non-yedoma lakes and a weak but significantrelationship between soil organic carbon content and lake DOC concentrationas well as between ground ice content and lake DOC. Our pan-Arctic datasetshows that the DOC concentration of a lake depends on its environmentalproperties, especially on permafrost extent and ecoregion, as well asvegetation, which is the most important driver of lake DOC in this study.This new dataset will be fundamental to quantify a pan-Arctic lake DOC poolfor estimations of the impact of lake DOC on the global carbon cycle andclimate change. 
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  4. Abstract Aim

    The scale of environmental data is often defined by their extent (spatial area, temporal duration) and resolution (grain size, temporal interval). Although describing climate data scale via these terms is appropriate for most meteorological applications, for ecology and biogeography, climate data of the same spatiotemporal resolution and extent may differ in their relevance to an organism. Here, we propose that climate proximity, or how well climate data represent the actual conditions that an organism is exposed to, is more important for ecological realism than the spatiotemporal resolution of the climate data.


    Temperature comparison in nine countries across four continents; ecological case studies in Alberta (Canada), Sabah (Malaysia) and North Carolina/Tennessee (USA).

    Time Period


    Major Taxa Studied

    Case studies with flies, mosquitoes and salamanders, but concepts relevant to all life on earth.


    We compare the accuracy of two macroclimate data sources (ERA5 and WorldClim) and a novel microclimate model (microclimf) in predicting soil temperatures. We then use ERA5, WorldClim andmicroclimfto drive ecological models in three case studies: temporal (fly phenology), spatial (mosquito thermal suitability) and spatiotemporal (salamander range shifts) ecological responses.


    For predicting soil temperatures,microclimfhad 24.9% and 16.4% lower absolute bias than ERA5 and WorldClim respectively. Across the case studies, we find that increasing proximity (from macroclimate to microclimate) yields a 247% improvement in performance of ecological models on average, compared to 18% and 9% improvements from increasing spatial resolution 20‐fold, and temporal resolution 30‐fold respectively.

    Main Conclusions

    We propose that increasing climate proximity, even if at the sacrifice of finer climate spatiotemporal resolution, may improve ecological predictions. We emphasize biophysically informed approaches, rather than generic formulations, when quantifying ecoclimatic relationships. Redefining the scale of climate through the lens of the organism itself helps reveal mechanisms underlying how climate shapes ecological systems.

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  5. Abstract Despite the importance of high-latitude surface energy budgets (SEBs) for land-climate interactions in the rapidly changing Arctic, uncertainties in their prediction persist. Here, we harmonize SEB observations across a network of vegetated and glaciated sites at circumpolar scale (1994–2021). Our variance-partitioning analysis identifies vegetation type as an important predictor for SEB-components during Arctic summer (June-August), compared to other SEB-drivers including climate, latitude and permafrost characteristics. Differences among vegetation types can be of similar magnitude as between vegetation and glacier surfaces and are especially high for summer sensible and latent heat fluxes. The timing of SEB-flux summer-regimes (when daily mean values exceed 0 Wm −2 ) relative to snow-free and -onset dates varies substantially depending on vegetation type, implying vegetation controls on snow-cover and SEB-flux seasonality. Our results indicate complex shifts in surface energy fluxes with land-cover transitions and a lengthening summer season, and highlight the potential for improving future Earth system models via a refined representation of Arctic vegetation types. 
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  6. Snow is an important driver of ecosystem processes in cold biomes. Snow accumulation determines ground temperature, light conditions, and moisture availability during winter. It also affects the growing season’s start and end, and plant access to moisture and nutrients. Here, we review the current knowledge of the snow cover’s role for vegetation, plant-animal interactions, permafrost conditions, microbial processes, and biogeochemical cycling. We also compare studies of natural snow gradients with snow experimental manipulation studies to assess time scale difference of these approaches. The number of tundra snow studies has increased considerably in recent years, yet we still lack a comprehensive overview of how altered snow conditions will affect these ecosystems. Specifically, we found a mismatch in the timing of snowmelt when comparing studies of natural snow gradients with snow manipulations. We found that snowmelt timing achieved by snow addition and snow removal manipulations (average 7.9 days advance and 5.5 days delay, respectively) were substantially lower than the temporal variation over natural spatial gradients within a given year (mean range 56 days) or among years (mean range 32 days). Differences between snow study approaches need to be accounted for when projecting snow dynamics and their impact on ecosystems in future climates. 
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  7. Abstract. Past efforts to synthesize and quantify the magnitude and change in carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems across the rapidly warming Arctic–boreal zone (ABZ) have provided valuable information but were limited in their geographical and temporal coverage. Furthermore, these efforts have been based on data aggregated over varying time periods, often with only minimal site ancillary data, thus limiting their potential to be used in large-scale carbon budget assessments. To bridge these gaps, we developed a standardized monthly database of Arctic–boreal CO2 fluxes (ABCflux) that aggregates in situ measurements of terrestrial net ecosystem CO2 exchange and its derived partitioned component fluxes: gross primary productivity and ecosystem respiration. The data span from 1989 to 2020 with over 70 supporting variables that describe key site conditions (e.g., vegetation and disturbance type), micrometeorological and environmental measurements (e.g., air and soil temperatures), and flux measurement techniques. Here, we describe these variables, the spatial and temporal distribution of observations, the main strengths and limitations of the database, and the potential research opportunities it enables. In total, ABCflux includes 244 sites and 6309 monthly observations; 136 sites and 2217 monthly observations represent tundra, and 108 sites and 4092 observations represent the boreal biome. The database includes fluxes estimated with chamber (19 % of the monthly observations), snow diffusion (3 %) and eddy covariance (78 %) techniques. The largest number of observations were collected during the climatological summer (June–August; 32 %), and fewer observations were available for autumn (September–October; 25 %), winter (December–February; 18 %), and spring (March–May; 25 %). ABCflux can be used in a wide array of empirical, remote sensing and modeling studies to improve understanding of the regional and temporal variability in CO2 fluxes and to better estimate the terrestrial ABZ CO2 budget. ABCflux is openly and freely available online (Virkkala et al., 2021b, 
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