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Frank Urban

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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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Eroding permafrost coasts are indicators and integrators of changes in the Arctic System as they are susceptible to the combined effects of declining sea ice extent, increases in open water duration, more frequent and impactful storms, sea-level rise, and warming permafrost. However, few observation sites in the Arctic have yet to link decadal-scale erosion rates with changing environmental conditions due to temporal data gaps. This study increases the temporal fidelity of coastal permafrost bluff observations using near-annual high spatial resolution (<1 m) satellite imagery acquired between 2008 and 2017 for a 9-km segment of coastline at Drew Point, Beaufort Sea coast, Alaska. Our results show that mean annual...
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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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