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Creators/Authors contains: "Zarnetske, Jay P."

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  1. Abstract

    Climate change is rapidly altering hydrological processes and consequently the structure and functioning of Arctic ecosystems. Predicting how these alterations will shape biogeochemical responses in rivers remains a major challenge. We measured [C]arbon and [N]itrogen concentrations continuously from two Arctic watersheds capturing a wide range of flow conditions to assess understudied event‐scale C and N concentration‐discharge (C‐Q) behavior and post‐event recovery of stoichiometric conditions. The watersheds represent low‐gradient, tundra landscapes typical of the eastern Brooks Range on the North Slope of Alaska and are part of the Arctic Long‐Term Ecological Research sites: the Kuparuk River and Oksrukuyik Creek. In both watersheds, we deployed high‐frequency optical sensors to measure dissolved organic carbon (DOC), nitrate (), and total dissolved nitrogen (TDN) for five consecutive thaw seasons (2017–2021). Our analyses revealed a lag in DOC: stoichiometric recovery after a hydrologic perturbation: while DOC was consistently elevated after high flows, diluted during rainfall events and consequently, recovery in post‐event concentration was delayed. Conversely, the co‐enrichment of TDN at high flows, even in watersheds with relatively high N‐demand, represents a potential “leak” of hydrologically available organic N to downstream ecosystems. Our use of high‐frequency, long‐term optical sensors provides an improved method to estimate carbon and nutrient budgets and stoichiometric recovery behavior across event and seasonal timescales, enabling new insights and conceptualizations of a changing Arctic, such as assessing ecosystem disturbance and recovery across multiple timescales.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2025
  2. Key Points We compared tools for describing streamflow timeseries, including streamflow metrics, wavelet, and Fourier analysis Each method indicated streamflow data are structured: variability at short timescales is negatively correlated with long timescales Globally, dams were less correlated with streamflow regime than catchment size and climate were 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  3. Abstract. Repeated sampling of spatially distributed riverchemistry can be used to assess the location, scale, and persistence ofcarbon and nutrient contributions to watershed exports. Here, we provide acomprehensive set of water chemistry measurements and ecohydrologicalmetrics describing the biogeochemical conditions of permafrost-affectedArctic watersheds. These data were collected in watershed-wide synopticcampaigns in six stream networks across northern Alaska. Three watershedsare associated with the Arctic Long-Term Ecological Research site at ToolikField Station (TFS), which were sampled seasonally each June and August from2016 to 2018. Three watersheds were associated with the National ParkService (NPS) of Alaska and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and weresampled annually from 2015 to 2019. Extensive water chemistrycharacterization included carbon species, dissolved nutrients, and majorions. The objective of the sampling designs and data acquisition was tocharacterize terrestrial–aquatic linkages and processing of material instream networks. The data allow estimation of novel ecohydrological metricsthat describe the dominant location, scale, and overall persistence ofecosystem processes in continuous permafrost. These metrics are (1)subcatchment leverage, (2) variance collapse, and (3) spatial persistence.Raw data are available at the National Park Service Integrated Resource Management Applications portal (O'Donnell et al., 2021, and within the Environmental Data Initiative (Abbott, 2021, 
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  4. Climate change is an existential threat to the vast global permafrost domain. The diverse human cultures, ecological communities, and biogeochemical cycles of this tenth of the planet depend on the persistence of frozen conditions. The complexity, immensity, and remoteness of permafrost ecosystems make it difficult to grasp how quickly things are changing and what can be done about it. Here, we summarize terrestrial and marine changes in the permafrost domain with an eye toward global policy. While many questions remain, we know that continued fossil fuel burning is incompatible with the continued existence of the permafrost domain as we know it. If we fail to protect permafrost ecosystems, the consequences for human rights, biosphere integrity, and global climate will be severe. The policy implications are clear: the faster we reduce human emissions and draw down atmospheric CO 2 , the more of the permafrost domain we can save. Emissions reduction targets must be strengthened and accompanied by support for local peoples to protect intact ecological communities and natural carbon sinks within the permafrost domain. Some proposed geoengineering interventions such as solar shading, surface albedo modification, and vegetation manipulations are unproven and may exacerbate environmental injustice without providing lasting protection. Conversely, astounding advances in renewable energy have reopened viable pathways to halve human greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and effectively stop them well before 2050. We call on leaders, corporations, researchers, and citizens everywhere to acknowledge the global importance of the permafrost domain and work towards climate restoration and empowerment of Indigenous and immigrant communities in these regions. 
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  5. Abstract

    Riverine fluxes of carbon and inorganic nutrients are increasing in virtually all large permafrost-affected rivers, indicating major shifts in Arctic landscapes. However, it is currently difficult to identify what is causing these changes in nutrient processing and flux because most long-term records of Arctic river chemistry are from small, headwater catchments draining <200 km2or from large rivers draining >100,000 km2. The interactions of nutrient sources and sinks across these scales are what ultimately control solute flux to the Arctic Ocean. In this context, we performed spatially-distributed sampling of 120 subcatchments nested within three Arctic watersheds spanning alpine, tundra, and glacial-lake landscapes in Alaska. We found that the dominant spatial scales controlling organic carbon and major nutrient concentrations was 3–30 km2, indicating a continuum of diffuse and discrete sourcing and processing dynamics. These patterns were consistent seasonally, suggesting that relatively fine-scale landscape patches drive solute generation in this region of the Arctic. These network-scale empirical frameworks could guide and benchmark future Earth system models seeking to represent lateral and longitudinal solute transport in rapidly changing Arctic landscapes.

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  6. Abstract

    In Arctic catchments, bacterioplankton are dispersed through soils and streams, both of which freeze and thaw/flow in phase, seasonally. To characterize this dispersal and its potential impact on biogeochemistry, we collected bacterioplankton and measured stream physicochemistry during snowmelt and after vegetation senescence across multiple stream orders in alpine, tundra, and tundra‐dominated‐by‐lakes catchments. In all catchments, differences in community composition were associated with seasonal thaw, then attachment status (i.e. free floating or sediment associated), and then stream order. Bacterioplankton taxonomic diversity and richness were elevated in sediment‐associated fractions and in higher‐order reaches during snowmelt. FamiliesChthonomonadaceae,Pyrinomonadaceae, andXiphinematobacteraceaewere abundantly different across seasons, whileFlavobacteriaceaeandMicroscillaceaewere abundantly different between free‐floating and sediment‐associated fractions. Physicochemical data suggested there was high iron (Fe+) production (alpine catchment); Fe+production and chloride (Cl) removal (tundra catchment); and phosphorus (SRP) removal and ammonium (NH4+) production (lake catchment). In tundra landscapes, these ‘hot spots’ of Fe+production and Clremoval accompanied shifts in species richness, while SRP promoted the antecedent community. Our findings suggest that freshet increases bacterial dispersal from headwater catchments to receiving catchments, where bacterioplankton‐mineral relations stabilized communities in free‐flowing reaches, but bacterioplankton‐nutrient relations stabilized those punctuated by lakes.

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