Observation: We have noticed many ponds in the Nome area are very low and this big one is nearly gone. There were many dead and dying fish in and around the remaining puddle. This pond is very noticeable since it is right in town, but many others are very low in and around the area. My guess is permafrost thaw allowing the water to permeate and drain, but we have had a very warm summer this year with little rain except for July. This pond and the others near it are important bird habitat for waterfowl, gulls and terns. This area has had significant human development and mining, so there may be other factors at work here. Since the ponds and many of the rivers that we sample are low or very low right now (Nome River, Anvil Creek, Livingston Creek, and Grand Central River are low, but not Penny River, which is a little high – not sure why). Jacob Martin, NEC’s Subsistence Specialist/Climate Change Coordinator is in a couple of the photos.
(2016-09-22) Earth & Space Science News: Aquatic Plants May Accelerate Arctic Methane Emissions, by Rebecca Heisman – About two thirds of the gas produced by a study area near Barrow, Alaska, came from increasingly abundant greenery covering only 5% of the landscape, researchers estimate. Climate change has caused a boom in aquatic plant biomass on the Arctic tundra in recent decades. according to a paper published last week in the journal Global Change Biology. Christian Andresen of the University of Texas at El Paso and his colleagues suspected that longer growing seasons and increasing permafrost thaw were altering the ecology of small freshwater ponds that pepper the tundra landscape — and perhaps the amount of methane they give off. Read more at EOS.