The Council area is representative of subarctic transitional
regions where boreal forests give way to tundra regions located on warm permafrost.
In terms of scientific research, this region provides a smooth link to the
well developed tussock tundra currently being studied at Kougarok.
The Council Site is easily accessable by road (80 miles) from Nome in the summer. The road ends at the Niukluk River and the town of Council is located on the far side. The river can usually be forded using a 4 wheel drive truck, except at times of high flow. All weather stations and stream gaging sites are within walking distance of the road. It is possible to arrage with the locals to rent a home in Council to use as a camp. Winter access is by chartered airplane or helicopter, or by snowmachine from Nome.
Two watersheds in the Council area are being studied. Melsing Creek (80.6 km2), to the immediate east of town, is the primary focus. This watershed is in an area of discontinuous permafrost, and contains a broad variation in substrate and vegetation types. The watershed contains a mix of tussock tundra, small shrubs and black spruce. It also contains a complete meteorological station and discharge monitoring station during the summer months. This is the warmest watershed included in the ATLAS study, with the largest proportion of discontinuous permafrost. Groundwater processes more predominantly influence this watershed as compared to the others. Groundwater wells for monitoring subsurface hydrologic processes will be installed in August 2000.
The other watershed of interest, Guy Rowe Creek (6.65 km2), is about 12 miles south of Council. Guy Rowe Creek is similar to Melsing Creek, but also has upland characteristics such as steeper slopes, less vegetation and increased orographic weather effects.
In Summer 1999, three ATLAS weather stations were installed - one 3 m tower (C1) in a lowland moss/tussock area that appears to be heavily thermokarsting, one 10 m tower (C2) near the top of a hill in the Melsing Creek drainage representing well drained moss/lichen vegetation, and one 3 m tower (C3) in the Guy Rowe Creek drainage, representing upland tundra. Additionally, a 1 km x 1 km grid was installed as part of the Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) program, which is an effort to monitor changes in the thickness of the active layer above permafrost.
Council Research Survey Spring 2001
|C 2 Data
||C 3 Data|
Tel: (907) 474-7331
Tel: (907) 474-7808
Tel: (907) 474-5059