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Environment

High Resolution Temperature Profiling Of Active Layer Permafrost At Teshekpuk Lake

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Teshekpuk Lake is the largest lake in the Alaskan Arctic and the third largest lake in the state. Given the importance of this region to an abundance of native wildlife and expected environmental changes associated with projected sea-level rise, coastline erosion and oil and gas development, the Teshepuk Lake Observatory (TLO) was established as an effort to gain a better understanding of this internationally recognized ecosystem during a period of rapid environmental change in the Arctic. The US Geological Survey (USGS) used beadedstream equipment as part of their “Toward a Circumarctic Lakes Observation Network (CALON)” project which aimed to provide multiscale observations of lacustrine systems in the region.

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An underlying characteristic of northern Alaska environs is the presence of permafrost, or permanently frozen soils. Essentially, a complex array of ice features within the soils influence hydrologic and thermal fluxes, making permafrost a unique boundary condition for forecasting environmental change in northern regions. Further, given the high spatial variability and vastness of Alaska’s North Slope, relatively few continuous, long-term measurements are available that characterize the temperature regime of the upper active layer and shallow permafrost depths.

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Dr. Benjamin Jones of the US Geological Survey (USGS) initiated long term monitoring in proximity to Teshekpuk Lake with the following parameters aimed at supporting quality data collection, sound science and public outreach:

  • High resolution temperature profiling of the permafrost active layer using a beadedstream Digital Temperature Cable. The cable had 19 sensors spaced out over a 5m instrumented length with sensors concentrated at 0.1m spacing in the top 1m and every 0.5m spacing below that.
  • Corresponding snow depths and air temperatures.
  • Data transmitted in real-time at 12 hr intervals via a beadedstream D405 Data Logger to the cloud for viewing within the  beadedcloud data platform.

A view of the project data on beadedcloud from the year 2015, which shows the seasonal variations in the active layer temperature, can be viewed below:

Teshekpuk Lake Permafrost data

 

 

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