30 August 2023 - Witness Community Highlights Article

Assessing Ice Wedge Micro-Topography Interactions with Environmental Parameters in Alaska through Family Friendly Science

Winter thermal contraction cracking and subsequent spring meltwater infiltration produce the ice wedge polygons prevalent in Arctic terrestrial permafrost systems. Point measurements of physical characteristics and carbon dioxide and methane fluxes in low- and high-centered ice wedge polygon sites enable a better understanding of micro-topography ecosystem processes and of the environmental responses to degrading permafrost.

By Melissa Ward Jones, Institute of Northern Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks

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30 August 2023 - Witness Community Highlights Article

Understanding the Long-term Changes in the Arctic Carbon Balance

The NSF supported research group at San Diego State University has used eddy covariance to track Arctic carbon and methane fluxes to gain knowledge of the multi-decadal patterns in these green house gas fluxes. This knowlege is critical to understanding the response to climate variability and long-term change in the carbon balance in the Arctic. Among their findings is that earlier snowmelt is associated with more tundra net carbon sequestration and higher plant productivity only in June and July, but with lower net carbon sequestration and lower plant productivity in August.

By: Donatella Zona, San Diego State University (SDSU) Kyle Lunneberg, SDSU and University of California Davis; and Walter C. Oechel, SDSU

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Witness Community Highlights is an online publication launched in May 2017 to complement the regular publications of Witness the Arctic. It was developed in response to community feedback identifying the need for a monthly publication to highlight 1–2 Arctic research efforts and other timely items of interest to our readers. Community Highlights is distributed at the beginning of the month via our Witness the Arctic mailing list of over 8,700 subscribers.


Starting with the premier issue in May 2017, articles published in Witness Community Highlights are archived online.



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Witness the Arctic provides information on current Arctic research efforts and findings, significant research initiatives, national policy affecting Arctic research, international activities, and profiles of institutions with major Arctic research efforts.

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Editors of Witness Community Highlights welcome ideas for future articles. If you have an idea or a question about this publication, please contact Betsy Turner-Bogren at