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Debora Nigro

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Interactions and feedbacks between abundant surface waters and permafrost fundamentally shapelowland Arctic landscapes. Sublake permafrost is maintained when the maximum ice thickness (MIT) exceedslake depth and mean annual bed temperatures (MABTs) remain below freezing. However, decliningMIT since the1970s is likely causing talik development below shallow lakes. Here we show high-temperature sensitivity towinter ice growth at the water-sediment interface of shallow lakes based on year-round lake sensor data.Empirical model experiments suggest that shallow (1m depth) lakes have warmed substantially over the last30years (2.4°C), withMABT above freezing5 of the last 7years.This is incomparison to slower ratesofwarming...
This project provides a better understanding how linkages among surface-water availability, connectivity, and temperature mediate habitat and trophic dynamics of the Fish Creek Watershed (FCW). These interrelated processes form a shifting mosaic of freshwater habitats across the landscape that can be classified, mapped, understood, and modeled in response to past and future climate and land-use change in a spatial and temporal context. Developing scenarios of freshwater habitat change in this context provides managers and scientists with a flexible template to evaluate a range of potential responses to climate and land-use change. Applying this approach in the FCW is made feasible because of the availability of...
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Lakes are dominant and diverse landscapefeatures in the Arctic, but conventional land coverclassification schemes typically map them as a singleuniform class. Here, we present a detailed lake-centricgeospatial database for an Arctic watershed in northernAlaska. We developed a GIS dataset consisting of 4362lakes that provides information on lake morphometry,hydrologic connectivity, surface area dynamics,surrounding terrestrial ecotypes, and other importantconditions describing Arctic lakes. Analyzing thegeospatial database relative to fish and bird survey datashows relations to lake depth and hydrologic connectivity,which are being used to guide research and aid in themanagement of aquatic resources in the NationalPetroleum...
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Beaded streams are widespread in permafrost regionsand are considered a common thermokarst landform.However, little is known about their distribution, how andunder what conditions they form, and how their intriguingmorphology translates to ecosystem functions and habitat.Here we report on a circum-Arctic survey of beaded streamsand a watershed-scale analysis in northern Alaska using remotesensing and field studies.We mapped over 400 channelnetworks with beaded morphology throughout the continuouspermafrost zone of northern Alaska, Canada, and Russiaand found the highest abundance associated with mediumto high ground-ice content permafrost in moderately slopingterrain. In one Arctic coastal plain watershed, beaded...
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Lakes are prevalent in the Arctic and thus play a key role in regional hydrology. Since manyArctic lakes are shallow and ice grows thick (historically 2 m or greater), seasonal ice commonly freezes tothe lake bed (bedfast ice) by winter’s end. Bedfast ice fundamentally alters lake energy balance and meltoutprocesses compared to deeper lakes that exceed the maximum ice thickness (floating ice) and maintainperennial liquid water below floating ice. Our analysis of lakes in northern Alaska indicated that ice-out ofbedfast ice lakes occurred on average 17 days earlier (22 June) than ice-out on adjacent floating ice lakes (9July). Earlier ice-free conditions in bedfast ice lakes caused higher open-water evaporation,...
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