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Abstract (from The goal of this study was to assess the importance of the 2007 sea ice retreat for hydrologic conditions on the Alaskan North Slope, and how this may have influenced the outbreak of tundra fires in this region. This study concentrates on two years, 2007 and 1996, with different arctic sea ice conditions and tundra fire activity. The year of 2007 is characterized by a low summer sea ice extent (second lowest) and high tundra fire activity, while 1996 had high sea ice extent, and few tundra fires. Atmospheric lateral boundary forcing from the NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis drove the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model, along with varying...
Abstract (from Traditional long-term (decadal) and large-scale (hundreds of kilometers) shoreline change modeling techniques, known as single transect, or ST, often overfit the data because they calculate shoreline statistics at closely spaced intervals along the shore. To reduce overfitting, recent work has used spatial basis functions such as polynomials, B splines, and principal components. Here, we explore an alternative to such basis functions by using regularization to reduce the dimension of the ST model space. In our regularized-ST method, traditional ST is an end member of a continuous spectrum of models. We use an evidence information criterion...
Abstract (from A comprehensive understanding of the spatial, seasonal, and diurnal patterns in cloud cover frequency over the Hawaiian Islands was developed using high-resolution image data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors aboard the Terra and Aqua satellites. The Terra and Aqua MODIS cloud mask products, which provide the confidence that a given 1-km pixel is unobstructed by cloud, were obtained for the entire MODIS time series (10-plus years) over the main Hawaiian Islands. Monthly statistics were generated from the daily cloud mask data, including mean cloud cover...
In landscapes underlain by ice-rich permafrost, the development of thermokarst landforms can have drastic impacts on ecosystem processes and human infrastructure. Here we describe the distribution of thermokarst landforms in the continuous permafrost zone of Arctic Alaska, analyze linkages to the underlying surficial geology, and discuss the vulnerability of different types of landscapes to future thaw. We identified nine major thermokarst landforms and then mapped their distributions in twelve representative study areas totaling 300-km2. These study areas differ in their geologic history, permafrost-ice content, and ground thermal regime. Results show that 63% of the entire study area is occupied by thermokarst...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Geomorphology
Prescribed fire is a primary tool used to restore western forests following more than a century of fire exclusion, reducing fire hazard by removing dead and live fuels (small trees and shrubs). It is commonly assumed that the reduced forest density following prescribed fire also reduces competition for resources among the remaining trees, so that the remaining trees are more resistant (more likely to survive) in the face of additional stressors, such as drought. Yet this proposition remains largely untested, so that managers do not have the basic information to evaluate whether prescribed fire may help forests adapt to a future of more frequent and severe drought.During the third year of drought, in 2014, we surveyed...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Fire Ecology
Subglacial discharge influences glacier basal motion and erodes and redeposits sediment. At tidewater glacier termini, discharge drives submarine terminus melting, affects fjord circulation, and is a central component of proglacial marine ecosystems. However, our present inability to track subglacial discharge and its variability significantly hinders our understanding of these processes. Here we report observations of hourly to seasonal variations in 1.5–10 Hz seismic tremor that strongly correlate with subglacial discharge but not with basal motion, weather, or discrete icequakes. Our data demonstrate that vigorous discharge occurs from tidewater glaciers during summer, in spite of fast basal motion that could...
In the Pacific Northwest, coastal wetlands support a wealth of ecosystem services including habitat provision for wildlife and fisheries and flood protection. The tidal marshes, mudflats, and shallow bays of coastal estuaries link marine, freshwater, and terrestrial habitats, and provide economic and recreational benefits to local communities. Climate change effects such as sea-level rise are altering these habitats, but we know little about how these areas will change over the next 50–100 years. Our study examined the effects of sea-level rise on nine tidal marshes in Washington and Oregon between 2012 and 2015, with the goal of providing scientific data to support future coastal planning and conservation. We compiled...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Open-File Report
There is a substantial amount of carbon stored in the permafrost soils of boreal forest ecosystems, where it is currently protected from decomposition. The surface organic horizons insulate the deeper soil from variations in atmospheric temperature. The removal of these insulating horizons through consumption by fire increases the vulnerability of permafrost to thaw, and the carbon stored in permafrost to decomposition. In this study we ask how warming and fire regime may influence spatial and temporal changes in active layer and carbon dynamics across a boreal forest landscape in interior Alaska. To address this question, we (1) developed and tested a predictive model of the effect of fire severity on soil organic...
Thermokarst is the process whereby the thawing of ice-rich permafrost ground causes land subsidence, resulting in development of distinctive landforms. Accelerated thermokarst due to climate change will damage infrastructure, but also impact hydrology, ecology and biogeochemistry. Here, we present a circumpolar assessment of the distribution of thermokarst landscapes, defined as landscapes comprised of current thermokarst landforms and areas susceptible to future thermokarst development. At 3.6 × 106 km2, thermokarst landscapes are estimated to cover ∼20% of the northern permafrost region, with approximately equal contributions from three landscape types where characteristic wetland, lake and hillslope thermokarst...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications
In the southwestern U.S., the meteorological phenomenon known as atmospheric rivers (ARs) has gained increasing attention due to its strong connections to floods, snowpacks, and water supplies in the West Coast states. Relatively less is known about the ecological implications of ARs, particularly in the interior Southwest, where AR storms are less common. To address this gap, we compared a chronology of AR landfalls on the west coast between 1989 and 2011 and between 25°N and 42.5°N to annual metrics of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI; an indicator of vegetation productivity) and daily resolution precipitation data to assess influences of AR-fed winter precipitation on vegetation productivity across...
The coast has long provided communities with a multitude of benefits including an abundance of natural resources that sustain economies, societies, and ecosystems. Coasts provide natural harbors for commerce, trade, and transportation; beaches and shorelines that attract residents and tourists; and wetlands and estuaries that are critical for fisheries and water resources. Coastal ecosystems provide critical functions to cycle and move nutrients, store carbon, detoxify wastes, and purify air and water. These areas also mitigate floods and buffer against coastal storms that bring high winds and salt water inland and erode the shore. Coastal regions are critical in the development, transportation, and processing of...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
This report identifies needs and opportunities in the United States Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI) region relative to climate change science, management, and adaptation strategies. The region includes the territories of Guam and American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas (CNMI), and the independent states of Palau, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). This inventory is responsive to the Pacific Islands Climate Science Center (PICSC) Strategic Science Agenda and its articulation with the region.
Categories: Data, Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Pacific Islands CASC
The coastal region of California supports a wealth of ecosystem services including habitat provision for wildlife and fisheries. Tidal marshes, mudflats, and shallow bays within coastal estuaries link marine, freshwater and terrestrial habitats, and provide economic and recreational benefits to local communities. Climate change effects such as sea-level rise (SLR) are altering these habitats, but we know little about how these areas will change over the next 50–100 years. Our study examined the projected effects of three recent SLR scenarios produced for the West Coast of North America on tidal marshes in California. We compiled physical and biological data, including coastal topography, tidal inundation, plant...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Open-File Report
Reserve design is a process that can address ecological, social, and political factors to identify parcels of land needed to sustain wildlife populations and other natural resources. Acquisition of parcels for a large terrestrial reserve is difficult because it typically occurs over a long timeframe and thus invokes consideration of future conditions such as climate and urbanization changes. In central Florida, a new protected area, the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge, has been authorized by the United States Government. The new refuge will host important threatened and endangered species and habitats, as well as be located to allow for species adaptation from climate change impacts. For this study...
The ice formed by cold-season rainfall or rain on snow (ROS) has striking impacts on the economy and ecology of Alaska. An understanding of the atmospheric drivers of ROS events is required to better predict them and plan for environmental change. The spatially/temporally sparse network of stations in Alaska makes studying such events challenging, and gridded reanalysis or remote sensing products are necessary to fill the gaps. Recently developed dynamically downscaled climate data provide a new suite of high-resolution variables for investigating historical and projected ROS events across all of Alaska from 1979 to 2100. The dynamically downscaled reanalysis data of ERA-Interim replicated the seasonal patterns...
In this paper we examine the variations of the boreal summer season sea breeze circulation along the Florida panhandle coast from relatively high resolution (10 km) regional climate model integrations. The 23 year climatology (1979–2001) of the multidecadal dynamically downscaled simulations forced by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction–Department of Energy (NCEP-DOE) Reanalysis II at the lateral boundaries verify quite well with the observed climatology. The variations at diurnal and interannual time scales are also well simulated with respect to the observations. We show from composite analyses made from these downscaled simulations that sea breezes in northwestern Florida are associated with changes...
Water temperature influences most physical and biological processes in streams, and along with streamflows is a major driver of ecosystem processes. Collecting data to measure water temperature is therefore imperative, and relatively straightforward. Several protocols exist for collecting stream temperature data, but these are frequently directed towards specialists. This document was developed to address the need for a protocol intended for non-specialists (non-aquatic) staff. It provides specific step-by-step procedures on (1) how to launch data loggers, (2) check the factory calibration of data loggers prior to field use, (3) how to install data loggers in streams for year-round monitoring, (4) how to download...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Techniques and Methods
The Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative (PFLCC) is part of a network of 22 Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) that extend from Alaska to the Caribbean. LCCs are regional-applied conservation-science partnerships among Federal agencies, regional organizations, States, tribes, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), private stakeholders, universities, and other entities within a geographic area. The goal of these conservation-science partnerships is to help inform managers and decision makers at a landscape scale to further the principles of adaptive management and strategic habitat conservation. A major focus for LCCs is to help conservation managers and decision makers respond to large-scale...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Open-File Report
Abstract. It is increasingly common for studies of animal ecology to use model-based predictions of environmental variables as explanatory or predictor variables, even though model prediction uncertainty is typically unknown. To demonstrate the potential for misleading inferences when model predictions with error are used in place of direct measurements, we compared snow water equivalent (SWE) and snow depth as predicted by the Snow Data Assimilation System (SNODAS) to field measurements of SWE and snow depth. We examined locations on elk (Cervus canadensis) winter ranges in western Wyoming, because modeled data such as SNODAS output are often used for inferences on elk ecology. Overall, SNODAS predictions tended...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
Natural resource decision makers are challenged to adapt management to a changing climate while balancing short-term management goals with long-term changes in aquatic systems. Adaptation will require developing resilient ecosystems and resilient management systems. Decision makers already have tools to develop or ensure resilient aquatic systems and fisheries such as managing harvest and riparian zones. Because fisheries management often interacts with multiple stakeholders, adaptation strategies involving fisheries managers and other partners focused on land use, policy, and human systems, coupled with long-term monitoring, are necessary for resilient systems. We show how agencies and organizations are adapting...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Fisheries

map background search result map search result map Inferential consequences of modeling rather than measuring snow accumulation in studies of animal ecology Coastal impacts, adaptation, and vulnerabilities: a technical input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment Modeling the effects of fire severity and climate warming on active layer and soil carbon dynamics of black spruce forests across the landscape in interior Alaska Landscape and climate science and scenarios for Florida Modeling the effects of fire severity and climate warming on active layer and soil carbon dynamics of black spruce forests across the landscape in interior Alaska Landscape and climate science and scenarios for Florida Inferential consequences of modeling rather than measuring snow accumulation in studies of animal ecology Coastal impacts, adaptation, and vulnerabilities: a technical input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment