The future of lake and drained lake basin (L-DLB) systems in the Arctic

DLB field work spring 2021

Mikhail Kanevskiy, Helena Bergstedt, and Benjamin Jones (Institute of Northern Engineering) just completed a first successful week of spring fieldwork collecting permafrost cores from below drained lake basins (DLBs) and shallow lakes, sampling ground-ice in DLB coastal exposures and from the wall of a collapsing pingo in a DLB, and flying UAV surveys of study sites to map landforms and snow depth.

DLB field work spring 2021

During the first productive week of fieldwork the team has traveled more than 300 miles on skidoo, collecting 13 cores from L-DLBs totaling 30 m of core material, acquiring 40 samples from exposures for isotopes and radiocarbon dating, and mapping 10 square kilometers with the UAV.

DLB field work spring 2021

The project is focused on the important role of the lowland permafrost region L-DLB processes in the Arctic system. One aspect of this research is better understanding controls on ground ice aggradation following drainage of lakes. Climate warming is leading to an increase in the loss of lakes in L-DLB systems. The contemporary transition from lakes to DLBs leads to permafrost aggradation, increases carbon sequestration, and diversifies the shifting habitat mosaic in Arctic and Boreal regions. Future warming may inhibit permafrost aggradation in DLBs and cause formation of persistent taliks, disrupting important microtopographic controls on carbon fluxes and ecosystem processes in permafrost-region L-DLB systems.

DLB fieldwork spring 2021