Articles | Volume 14, issue 12
The Cryosphere, 14, 4279–4297, 2020
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-14-4279-2020
The Cryosphere, 14, 4279–4297, 2020
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-14-4279-2020

Research article 01 Dec 2020

Research article | 01 Dec 2020

The catastrophic thermokarst lake drainage events of 2018 in northwestern Alaska: fast-forward into the future

Ingmar Nitze et al.

Data sets

Spatial lake dynamics and lake-ice datasets of the Northern Seward and Baldwin Peninsulas in Alaska Ingmar Nitze, Sarah Cooley, Claude Duguay, Benjamin M. Jones, and Guido Grosse https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.922808

Model code and software

noaaplotter: A python package to create fancy plots with NOAA weather data Ingmar Nitze https://github.com/initze/noaaplotter

Video supplement

Lake drainage animations Ingmar Nitze, Sarah Cooley, Claude Duguay, Benjamin M. Jones, and Guido Grosse https://github.com/initze/NW_Alaska_Drainage_Paper/tree/final/animations/lake_animations_drainage_1999-2014

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Short summary
In summer 2018, northwestern Alaska was affected by widespread lake drainage which strongly exceeded previous observations. We analyzed the spatial and temporal patterns with remote sensing observations, weather data and lake-ice simulations. The preceding fall and winter season was the second warmest and wettest on record, causing the destabilization of permafrost and elevated water levels which likely led to widespread and rapid lake drainage during or right after ice breakup.