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Matthew Whitman

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Lake surface regimes are fundamental attributes of lake ecosystems and their interaction with the land and atmosphere. High latitudes may be particularly sensitive to climate change, however, adequate baselines for these lakes are often lacking. In this study, we couple monitoring, remote sensing, and modeling techniques to generate baseline datasets of lake surface temperature and ice cover in the Alaskan Subarctic and Arctic. No detectable trends were observed during this study period, but a number of interesting patterns were noted among lakes and between regions. The largest Arctic lake was relatively unresponsive to air temperature, while the largest Subarctic lake was very responsive likely because it is fed...
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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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The Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) of northern Alaskaconsists of an extremely low gradient, lake-richlandscape that is characterized by a complex networkof aquatic habitats and surface features stronglyinfluenced by permafrost dynamics. Much is unknownabout the form, function, and ecological conditions inthis unique hydrologic setting. Amplified climatechange and landscape responses in the Arctic furthercomplicate the capacity to separate natural variabilityfrom land use effects that may occur with petroleumdevelopment. A comprehensive, multi-disciplinaryreview and analysis of recent studies and initialinventory and monitoring in the Fish Creek watershedon the ACP provided guidance to develop a frameworkfor future aquatic...
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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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