Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2019AK002B

Quantification and Partitioning of Evapotranspiration in Arctic Tundra

Institute: Alaska
Year Established: 2019 Start Date: 2019-05-01 End Date: 2019-12-31
Total Federal Funds: $23,998 Total Non-Federal Funds: $47,996

Principal Investigators: Jason A. Clark

Abstract: Climate change is impacting Alaska’s water resources by altering precipitation patterns, lengthening the snow-free season, thawing permafrost, and shifting vegetation communities. In addition, evapotranspiration (ET)—the process of moving water from the earth to the atmosphere—is also subject to a changing climate. ET is an important contributor to water flux in Alaska’s freshwater cycle, and quantifying how evapotranspiration responds to major shifts in climatic patterns is essential in understanding how Alaska’s water resources might respond. Previous studies work investigating ET in Arctic Alaska is limited, lacking studies of evaporation from moss and partitioning evapotranspiration into its components evaporation and transpiration. We are proposing to provide a quantification of ET partitioning for Arctic tundra that is currently missing. To address our objectives, we have already performed in-situ measurements via weighing lysimeters and are currently using statistical modeling to relate water fluxes to weather and environmental variables. This basic yet integral understanding of ET partitioning and moss evaporation will inform efforts to predict the impacts of climate change on Alaska’s water resources and to simulate the response of changing vegetation communities.