Potential field sites located along the Council, Kougarok, and Teller Roads outside Nome provide access to degrading permafrost, shrubs, and well-defined catchments or watersheds for NGEE Arctic Phase 2 research questions.
Members of the NGEE Arctic team have spent time on the Seward Peninsula in each of the last 5 years, beginning with a pre-Phase 1 field trip in August, 2011. Given plans to complement our research in Barrow along a climatic gradient in Alaska, and establish sites in warmer permafrost regions of the Seward Peninsula, a large team of researchers once again travelled to Nome to identify field sites along roads that lead out to Council, Kougarok, and Teller. Up to 18 students and staff were in the field at one time, with others joining the reconnaissance trip at times during a three week period. There were plenty of opportunities to collect preliminary data and teams from LANL and LBNL were kept busy with collecting water samples and conducting geophysical surveys, respectively. Estimates of CO2 and CH4 flux were measured at several locations near Council and along the Teller Road as well. Evenings were spent in Nome usually around a table talking about the day’s activities. Data are currently being summarized and will be discussed during an upcoming “Science Talk”. Our plan is to have permits in place within the next few months and to begin Phase 2 research in the area beginning in early 2016.