Understanding the Impacts of Permafrost Change: Providing Input into the Alaska Integrated Ecosystem Model

Project Summary

Affiliation(s): Alaska CSC

Principal Investigator(s):
  • Mark P Waldrop (USGS Volcano Science Center)

Ongoing climate change has the potential to negatively impact Alaska’s ecosystems and the critical services that they provide. These ecosystem services include supplying food and fiber for Alaskan communities; offering opportunities for recreational, cultural, and spiritual activities; and regulating temperature and water flow (runoff, flooding, etc.).
Scientists build models to better understand processes and interactions in the natural environment and to use what we know to predict what will happen in the future, so that we can plan for it. Researchers from multiple institutions and disciplines developed an Integrated Ecosystem Model (IEM) for Alaska and Northwest Canada. The model helps forecast how climate change will affect landscapes, habitats, and ecosystem services, providing useful information for natural resource managers seeking to prepare for and prioritize actions related to climate change.
The goal of this project was to support the development of the IEM through several critical phases, including model parameterization (defining rules and relationships), validation (checking how well the model represents what’s happening in the real world), and verification (making sure the model was built according to upfront assumptions). Researchers conducted field studies to collect information on vegetation, soil carbon and nitrogen, climate, and permafrost in the Yukon River Basin and Tanana River floodplain, providing insight on how permafrost thaw will affect these and similar ecosystems.

Old organic carbon in the Yukon River - Credit: Rob Striegl, USGS

Affiliation(s): Alaska CSC

Principal Investigator(s):
  • Mark P Waldrop (USGS Volcano Science Center)

Start Date: May 2011

End Date: July 2014

Project Status: In Progress

Tags: permafrost, Soil carbon, Ecology, CSC, Alaska CSC, 2011, Education, Modeling and Tools, Climate and Ecosystem Modeling

Fiscal Year: FY 2011 Projects

Publications & Other

  • A pan‐Arctic synthesis of CH4 and CO2 production from anoxic soil incubations

      • Differential response of carbon fluxes to climate in three peatland ecosystems that vary in the presence and stability of permafrost

          • Modeling CH4 and CO2 cycling using porewater stable isotopes in a thermokarst bog in Interior Alaska: results from three conceptual reaction networks

              • Multi-omics of permafrost, active layer and thermokarst bog soil microbiomes

                  • Response of anaerobic carbon cycling to water table manipulation in an Alaskan rich fen

                      Download all map files

                      • AIEM_domain.shp [x-gis/x-shapefile] (Download)
                      • AIEM_domain.dbf [application/octet-stream] (Download)
                      • AIEM_domain.shx [x-gis/x-shapefile] (Download)
                      • AIEM_domain.prj [text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1] (Download)
                      • AIEM_domain.shp.xml [application/fgdc+xml] (Download)
                      • AIEM_domain.sbn [x-gis/x-shapefile] (Download)
                      • AIEM_domain.sbx [x-gis/x-shapefile] (Download)