Department: W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation
University System: University of Montana - Missoula
Dr. Klene's research has centered on northern Alaska, funded under a series of NSF grants investigating changes in permafrost under the auspices of the Circumpolar Active-Layer Monitoring (CALM) Project, which is funded through 2024. The research group has focused on modeling the spatial and temporal variability of the active layer (seasonally thawed layer) above permafrost, which is a function of air temperature, vegetation, moisture, and soil characteristics. Almost all of the biological, chemical, and hydrological processes occur in this thin layer. Her master's thesis examined empirical records of air and soil temperatures and formulated a strategy for linking these parameters with satellite data to estimate thaw depth over large (regional-scale) areas. For her dissertation, Dr. Klene began focusing on air temperature variability, the effects of urbanization, and hazards associated with permafrost under a changing climate in northern Alaska. Her dissertation explored how some of these have been manifested in the village of Barrow as part of the Barrow Urban Heat Island Study (BUHIS). In August 2010, New Orleans High School teacher Josh Dugat joined the crew for their field season in northern Alaska. Check out his blog and photos at the CALM PolarTrec website. PostDoc Kelsey Nyland posted this video "FrostByte" describing part of her work with our group as a graduate student. Check out the International Permafrost Association's new Permafrost Comics - more languages coming soon!
Currently, Dr. Klene and her students are continuing work with the CALM Project (both in northern Alaska and internationally); working on periglacial features in western Montana; and collaborating with the USFS on projects using GIS to model rare plant habitat and variability of micro-climates in the northern Rockies.