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Matthew Alkire

Senior Oceanographer





Department Affiliation

Polar Science Center


B.S. Marine Sciences, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, 2003

M.S. Chemical Oceanography, Florida Institute of Technology, 2005

Ph.D. Oceanography, Oregon State University, 2010


2000-present and while at APL-UW

A meteoric water budget for the Arctic Ocean

Alkire, M.B., J. Morison, Z. Schweiger, J. Zhang, M. Steele, C. Peralta-Ferriz, and S. Dickinson, "A meteoric water budget for the Arctic Ocean," J. Geophys. Res., EOR, doi:10.1002/2017JC012807, 2017.

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6 Oct 2017

A budget of meteoric water (MW = river runoff, net precipitation minus evaporation, and glacial meltwater) over four regions of the Arctic Ocean is constructed using a simple box model, regional precipitation-evaporation estimates from reanalysis data sets, and estimates of import and export fluxes derived from the literature with a focus on the 2003–2008 period. The budget indicates an approximate/slightly positive balance between MW imports and exports (i.e., no change in storage); thus, the observed total freshwater increase observed during this time period likely resulted primarily from changes in non-MW freshwater components (i.e., increases in sea ice melt or Pacific water and/or a decrease in ice export). Further, our analysis indicates that the MW increase observed in the Canada Basin resulted from a spatial redistribution of MW over the Arctic Ocean. Mean residence times for MW were estimated for the Western Arctic (5–7 years), Eastern Arctic (3–4 years), and Lincoln Sea (1–2 years). The MW content over the Siberian shelves was estimated (~14,000 km3) based on a residence time of 3.5 years. The MW content over the entire Arctic Ocean was estimated to be ≥ 44,000 km3. The MW export through Fram Strait consisted mostly of water from the Eastern Arctic (3237 ± 1370 km3 yr-1) whereas the export through the Canadian Archipelago was nearly equally derived from both the Western Arctic (1182 ± 534 km3 yr-1) and Lincoln Sea (972 ± 391 km3 yr-1).

Greater role for Atlantic inflows on sea-ice loss in the Eurasian Basin of the Arctic Ocean

Polyakov, I.V., and 15 others including M.B. Alkire, J. Guthrie, and J. Morison, "Greater role for Atlantic inflows on sea-ice loss in the Eurasian Basin of the Arctic Ocean," Science, doi: 10.1126/science.aai8204, 2017.

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6 Apr 2017

Arctic sea-ice loss is a leading indicator of climate change and can be attributed, in large part, to atmospheric forcing. Here, we show that recent ice reductions, weakening of the halocline, and shoaling of intermediate-depth Atlantic Water layer in the eastern Eurasian Basin have increased winter ventilation in the ocean interior, making this region structurally similar to that of the western Eurasian Basin. The associated enhanced release of oceanic heat has reduced winter sea-ice formation at a rate now comparable to losses from atmospheric thermodynamic forcing, thus explaining the recent reduction in sea-ice cover in the eastern Eurasian Basin. This encroaching “atlantification” of the Eurasian Basin represents an essential step toward a new Arctic climate state, with a substantially greater role for Atlantic inflows.

Small rivers could have big impact on Arctic Ocean

Alkire, M.B., A.D. Jacobson, G.O. Lehn, and R.W. Macdonald, "Small rivers could have big impact on Arctic Ocean," Eos Trans. AGU, 96, 13-16, 2015.

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1 Sep 2015

The Mackenzie River carries the bulk of freshwater flow from North America's tundra to the North Atlantic. But what about the effects of smaller rivers from Canada%u2019s Arctic islands?

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Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center