• Thermokarst Lake Expansion Dynamics in the Alaskan Arctic
    • Allen Bondurant (MS Student, WERC-UAF)
    • March 24, 2017

Thermokarst lakes serve as the dominant factor of landscape scale processes in the otherwise continuous permafrost of the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska, covering greater than 20% of all land area.  These lakes are highly dynamic, experiencing a cycle of formation through initial subsidence, shoreline expansion, and eventual drainage known as the thaw lake cycle. Yet the exact processes controlling contemporary thermokarst lake expansion remain poorly understood. Through the use of historical aerial imagery, satellite data, and field based data collection, this study identifies the controlling factors at multiple spatial and temporal scales to better understand the processes relating to lakeshore expansion.  Predicting how thermokarst lakes will behave locally and on a landscape scale is increasingly important for managing habitat and water resources and informing models of land-climate interactions in the Arctic.

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