2023 CSDMS meeting-057


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Variability of residence time and estuarine-ocean fluxes in a chain of Arctic estuaries

Tina Geller, (she/her),University of Colorado Boulder Boulder Colorado, United States. Tina.Geller@colorado.edu
Julia M Moriarty, University of Colorado Boulder Boulder Colorado, United States. Julia.Moriarty@colorado.edu

Along a quarter of the Beaufort Sea coast, back-barrier estuaries modulate the transport and transformation of nitrogen and carbon, impacting food webs and carbon budgets. These estuaries are adjacent to permafrost, a large carbon reservoir that contains ~1700 Gt of organic carbon that is thawing from rapid Arctic warming. Thawed dissolved organic matter and nutrients may be transported to the coastal ocean by groundwater and rivers, adding nutrients to the coast that may impact production and biogeochemical cycles. It is unclear what effect permafrost thaw will have on Arctic estuarine biogeochemistry, partly because present-day spatial and temporal variability of residence time and export in Arctic back-barrier estuaries is unknown and complicates efforts to predict future change. To investigate the residence time of water, as well as estuary-shelf fluxes, this study uses a numerical modeling approach. Specifically, a hydrodynamic model, the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS), is being implemented for Arey, Kaktovik, and Jago Lagoons along the Beaufort Sea coast of northern Alaska. The model accounts for processes including local winds, rivers, and larger scale circulation. Analysis will focus on variations in circulation dynamics within the ice break-up and open water season of 2019.