Matthew B. Alkire, Ph.D.
Polar Science Center
Applied Physics Laboratory
University of Washington
1013 NE 40th Street
Seattle, WA 98105
tel: (206) 897-1623
My research focuses mainly on the use of inorganic chemical tracers (stable oxygen isotopes, total alkalinity, barium, dissolved oxygen and nutrients) to distinguish and quantify the contribution of various sources of freshwater to the Arctic Ocean. Freshwater in the Arctic comes from a number of sources, including river runoff from Alaska, Canada, and Russia, sea ice melt, precipitation (rain and snow), glacial melt, and Pacific water. These freshwaters play important roles in stratification, halocline water formation, biological production, CO2 uptake and sequestration, and ocean acidification. We can understand more about the Arctic’s response to changing climate by monitoring changes to the input, distribution, and export of each individual freshwater source.
At present, I have three active research projects that:
(1) Investigates the potential for smaller Arctic rivers to have significantly different chemical signatures than the much larger rivers of North America
(2) Monitors the interannual variability in the physical and chemical hydrographic structure of the central Arctic Ocean
(3) Studies the interaction, mixing, and transformation of Atlantic and shelf waters on the Siberian continental shelf and slope.
Although the majority of my work focuses on the Arctic Ocean, I also have research interests in the use of autonomous platforms (e.g., floats and gliders) to study the production and export of carbon in the world ocean.