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University of Alaska Fairbanks

Artic Transitions in the Land Atmosphere System (ATLAS)

Institute of Arctic Biology

ATLAS Research Contributions

Transitions: A Study of the Spatial and Temporal Transitions of Climate and Ecosystems in the Circumpolar Arctic

Of all the terrestrial climate processes and feedbacks, those that most directly affect Arctic climate on seasonal to decadal time scales are associated with the partitioning of the energy and moisture budgets and the relationship of this partitioning to vegetation cover, snow cover, snow melt, permafrost conditions, precipitation and radiative fluxes. This proposal takes a comprehensive approach to study of the land surface energy and moisture budget, involving both data collection, detailed data analysis, model development, and spatial and temporal extrapolation. As such, this project represents a new approach to interdisciplinary research, in which the field program, both ecological and physical, is closely tied to the simulation of ecosystems and climate systems.
Our proposed work is driven by the hypothesis that the transition regions of Arctic climate and ecosystems (e.g. polar front, boreal forest treeline) have surface energy budget characteristics that are not well understood, and that these characteristics have profound implications for changed ecosystem, permafrost, snow and atmospheric circulation distributions under a changing climate. In order to produce credible predictions of these distributions for the entire Arctic, it is necessary to investigate these characteristics, determine parameterizations for their efficient modelling, and incorporate these new parameterizations into spatially explicit predictive models. To do this, we will employ a hierarchy of modelling approaches, including highly detailed stand-alone permafrost, vegetation and land surface models, column atmospheric models, vegetation dynamics models and regional and global climate system models.


PHONE: 907-474-6364
FAX: 907-474-6967

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant No 9732126. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation


2000 Annual report

1999 Field report

Robert Hannon Interviews Terry on Climate change MAY 2000

Nome Nugget October Article