Hydroclimate Research University of Alaska Anchorage

This is the research page for the work of Dr. Eric Klein, his colleagues, and students. Our research explores the interface of water and climate in high northern latitude regions.

We are interested in how water moves through the environment and leaves different signals (some biological, others physical or chemical) that allow us to understand its distribution and impacts across multiple time periods,landscapes, and phase changes. We study the response of paleo Earth systems, such as wetlands and glaciers, to hydroclimate variables through environmental reconstructions from multiple proxy records. Instrumentation is also used to understand the relationship between modern hydroclimate variables, such as precipitation and water table depth, which help place historical changes in context.

Collecting field data in drying lakes on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska.
water cycling, Peatlands, and paleoclimate in the shadow of denali and the alaska range
Alaska Range glaciers can influence regional hydrology and create rivers rich in glacial sediment. The Susitna River Basin region is also covered by a vast array of lakes and peatlands. Some of the peatlands, which accumulate carbon as partially decomposed organic matter, have beautiful patterns on their surface.
Studying how the Kahiltna Glacier in the Alaska Range (above) and surficial geology impact peatland hydrology and carbon accumulation during changes in climate. Both modern instrumentation (e.g., water table loggers) and sediment cores help examine these processes. A light colored tephra layer, from a volcanic eruption, is seen in this core.
Collecting permafrost peatland sediment cores for paleoclimate reconstructions off the Niukluk River on Alaska's Seward Peninsula. Permafrost thaw forms thermokarst lakes and drops the land surface, with the prior level shown where our field colleague stands.
Collecting sediment cores for paleoclimate reconstructions from a forested peatland in Southern Estonia. These peatlands are rich in Sphagnum moss and exhibit relatively high carbon accumulation rates.
water vapor isotope measurements at Toolik Lake, Arctic ALaska
Continuous measurements of Arctic water vapor isotope ratios and meteorologic conditions at this station near Toolik Lake are influenced by many parameters: the Brooks Range mountains to the south, the amount of snow and ice cover on the landscape, and the large expanses of polygonal wetlands to the north. Regional water isotopes and climate patterns can also be influenced the Arctic Ocean.
Summer field work in the Brooks Range and North Slope of Alaska also offers numerous opportunities to interact with, and donate blood, to mosquitoes. At least I am also creating food for migratory birds.
arctic sea ice, water isotopes, and hydroclimate
Real time analysis of water vapor isotopes aboard mobile platforms, such as the USCG icebreaker Healy, allow for new insights into how changes in sea ice impact the Arctic water cycle.
USCGC Healy breaks through sea ice in the northern Chukchi Sea: Understanding the influence of sea ice on water vapor isotopes at moisture sources allows for new interpretation of paleoclimate records, such as those in Greenland ice cores.
In collaboration with the USGS we are using water and snow isotopes to explore how hydroclimate changes impact mass balance on Wolverine Glacier and melt water discharge into rivers and Prince William Sound.
Working with the Juneau Icefield Research Program, we are using water isotopes to investigate past, present, and future hydroclimate patterns across the Juneau Icefield and its drainage rivers in southeast Alaska and Canada .
exploring hydroclimate patterns with water isotopes in northwestern greenland
A combination of meteorologic instrumentation, continuous water vapor isotope ratios, and various field water samples are helping us understand how changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet and Arctic sea ice are influencing hydroclimate patterns in the rapidly changing high Arctic.
Created By
Eric Klein

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