Jones Benjamin M.
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ArticleRemotely sensing the morphometrics and dynamics of a cold region dune field using historical aerial photography and airborne LIDAR data(MDPI AG, 2018-05-19) Baughman, Carson A. ; Jones, Benjamin M. ; Bodony, Karin L. ; Mann, Daniel H. ; Larsen, Chris F. ; Himelstoss, Emily ; Smith, JeremyThis study uses an airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) survey, historical aerial photography and historical climate data to describe the character and dynamics of the Nogahabara Sand Dunes, a sub-Arctic dune field in interior Alaska’s discontinuous permafrost zone. The Nogahabara Sand Dunes consist of a 43-km2 area of active transverse and barchanoid dunes within a 3200-km2 area of vegetated dune and sand sheet deposits. The average dune height in the active portion of the dune field is 5.8 m, with a maximum dune height of 28 m. Dune spacing is variable with average crest-to-crest distances for select transects ranging from 66–132 m. Between 1952 and 2015, dunes migrated at an average rate of 0.52 m a−1. Dune movement was greatest between 1952 and 1978 (0.68 m a−1) and least between 1978 and 2015 (0.43 m a−1). Dunes migrated predominantly to the southeast; however, along the dune field margin, net migration was towards the edge of the dune field regardless of heading. Better constraining the processes controlling dune field dynamics at the Nogahabara dunes would provide information that can be used to model possible reactivation of more northerly dune fields and sand sheets in response to climate change, shifting fire regimes and permafrost thaw.
ArticleRadiocarbon age-offsets in an arctic lake reveal the long-term response of permafrost carbon to climate change(John Wiley & Sons, 2014-08-22) Gaglioti, Benjamin V. ; Mann, Daniel H. ; Jones, Benjamin M. ; Pohlman, John W. ; Kunz, Michael L. ; Wooller, Matthew J.Continued warming of the Arctic may cause permafrost to thaw and speed the decomposition of large stores of soil organic carbon (OC), thereby accentuating global warming. However, it is unclear if recent warming has raised the current rates of permafrost OC release to anomalous levels or to what extent soil carbon release is sensitive to climate forcing. Here we use a time series of radiocarbon age-offsets (14C) between the bulk lake sediment and plant macrofossils deposited in an arctic lake as an archive for soil and permafrost OC release over the last 14,500 years. The lake traps and archives OC imported from the watershed and allows us to test whether prior warming events stimulated old carbon release and heightened age-offsets. Today, the age-offset (2 ka; thousand of calibrated years before A.D. 1950) and the depositional rate of ancient OC from the watershed into the lake are relatively low and similar to those during the Younger Dryas cold interval (occurring 12.9–11.7 ka). In contrast, age-offsets were higher (3.0–5.0 ka) when summer air temperatures were warmer than present during the Holocene Thermal Maximum (11.7–9.0 ka) and Bølling-Allerød periods (14.5–12.9 ka). During these warm times, permafrost thaw contributed to ancient OC depositional rates that were ~10 times greater than today. Although permafrost OC was vulnerable to climate warming in the past, we suggest surface soil organic horizons and peat are presently limiting summer thaw and carbon release. As a result, the temperature threshold to trigger widespread permafrost OC release is higher than during previous warming events.
ArticleShallow soils are warmer under trees and tall shrubs across arctic and boreal ecosystems(IOP Publishing, 2020-12-18) Kropp, Heather ; Loranty, Michael M. ; Natali, Susan M. ; Kholodov, Alexander L. ; Rocha, Adrian V. ; Myers-Smith, Isla H. ; Abbott, Benjamin W. ; Abermann, Jakob ; Blanc-Betes, Elena ; Blok, Daan ; Blume-Werry, Gesche ; Boike, Julia ; Breen, Amy L. ; Cahoon, Sean M. P. ; Christiansen, Casper T. ; Douglas, Thomas A. ; Epstein, Howard E. ; Frost, Gerald V. ; Goeckede, Mathias ; Høye, Toke T. ; Mamet, Steven D. ; O’Donnell, Jonathan A. ; Olefeldt, David ; Phoenix, Gareth K. ; Salmon, Verity G. ; Sannel, A. Britta K. ; Smith, Sharon L. ; Sonnentag, Oliver ; Smith Vaughn, Lydia ; Williams, Mathew ; Elberling, Bo ; Gough, Laura ; Hjort, Jan ; Lafleur, Peter M. ; Euskirchen, Eugenie ; Heijmans, Monique M. P. D. ; Humphreys, Elyn ; Iwata, Hiroki ; Jones, Benjamin M. ; Jorgenson, M. Torre ; Grünberg, Inge ; Kim, Yongwon ; Laundre, James A. ; Mauritz, Marguerite ; Michelsen, Anders ; Schaepman-Strub, Gabriela ; Tape, Ken D. ; Ueyama, Masahito ; Lee, Bang-Yong ; Langley, Kirsty ; Lund, MagnusSoils are warming as air temperatures rise across the Arctic and Boreal region concurrent with the expansion of tall-statured shrubs and trees in the tundra. Changes in vegetation structure and function are expected to alter soil thermal regimes, thereby modifying climate feedbacks related to permafrost thaw and carbon cycling. However, current understanding of vegetation impacts on soil temperature is limited to local or regional scales and lacks the generality necessary to predict soil warming and permafrost stability on a pan-Arctic scale. Here we synthesize shallow soil and air temperature observations with broad spatial and temporal coverage collected across 106 sites representing nine different vegetation types in the permafrost region. We showed ecosystems with tall-statured shrubs and trees (>40 cm) have warmer shallow soils than those with short-statured tundra vegetation when normalized to a constant air temperature. In tree and tall shrub vegetation types, cooler temperatures in the warm season do not lead to cooler mean annual soil temperature indicating that ground thermal regimes in the cold-season rather than the warm-season are most critical for predicting soil warming in ecosystems underlain by permafrost. Our results suggest that the expansion of tall shrubs and trees into tundra regions can amplify shallow soil warming, and could increase the potential for increased seasonal thaw depth and increase soil carbon cycling rates and lead to increased carbon dioxide loss and further permafrost thaw.
ArticleThe footprint of Alaskan tundra fires during the past half-century : implications for surface properties and radiative forcing(IOP Publishing, 2012-12-19) Rocha, Adrian V. ; Loranty, Michael M. ; Higuera, Philip E. ; Mack, Michelle C. ; Hu, Feng Sheng ; Jones, Benjamin M. ; Breen, Amy L. ; Rastetter, Edward B. ; Goetz, Scott J. ; Shaver, Gaius R.Recent large and frequent fires above the Alaskan arctic circle have forced a reassessment of the ecological and climatological importance of fire in arctic tundra ecosystems. Here we provide a general overview of the occurrence, distribution, and ecological and climate implications of Alaskan tundra fires over the past half-century using spatially explicit climate, fire, vegetation and remote sensing datasets for Alaska. Our analyses highlight the importance of vegetation biomass and environmental conditions in regulating tundra burning, and demonstrate that most tundra ecosystems are susceptible to burn, providing the environmental conditions are right. Over the past two decades, fire perimeters above the arctic circle have increased in size and importance, especially on the North Slope, indicating that future wildfire projections should account for fire regime changes in these regions. Remote sensing data and a literature review of thaw depths indicate that tundra fires have both positive and negative implications for climatic feedbacks including a decadal increase in albedo radiative forcing immediately after a fire, a stimulation of surface greenness and a persistent long-term (>10 year) increase in thaw depth. In order to address the future impact of tundra fires on climate, a better understanding of the control of tundra fire occurrence as well as the long-term impacts on ecosystem carbon cycling will be required.