Yukon River Research Featured in ADN

Jay Hootch (former employee of Yupitt of Andreafski) drilling to be able to take winter chemistry samples for a permafrost study in the Yukon River basin to help shed light on how permafrost loss is causing cascading ecological changes. Video still from Ryan Toohey, USGS.

New research that explores how the Yukon River basin is experiencing chemical changes due to melting permafrost was featured recently in the Alaska Dispatch News.

Led by Alaska Climate Science Center/USGS scientist Ryan Toohey, a NWB LCC collaborator, the study used more than 30 years of measurements from the upper and lower river to track changes in chemistry. ADN’s Yereth Rosen writes:

Long-term monitoring reveals that levels of calcium, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium and sulfates are increasing in the river’s waters, according to a new study led by the USGS. That is evidence of widespread permafrost loss, which has allowed water to flow freely through thawed, mineral-rich soils and carry some of those minerals into the river.

The results indicate a profound transformation in the Yukon River basin, an area twice the size of California and a major contributor of water into the Arctic marine system, said the lead author of the study, which was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.

According to USGS, the study was a collaborative effort between “USGS, the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council, the Pilot Station Traditional Council and the Indigenous Observation Network funded by these organizations and the Administration for Native Americans and the National Science Foundation.”

NWB LCC collaborate, Edda Mutter, science director of the Yukon River Intertribal Watershed Council, was a co-author on the paper.

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