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Rivers across the Siberian Arctic unearth the patterns of carbon release from thawing permafrost
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9611-0815
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry. Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
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Number of Authors: 92019 (English)In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, ISSN 0027-8424, E-ISSN 1091-6490, Vol. 116, no 21, p. 10280-10285Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Climate warming is expected to mobilize northern permafrost and peat organic carbon (PP-C), yet magnitudes and system specifics of even current releases are poorly constrained. While part of the PP-C will degrade at point of thaw to CO2 and CH4 to directly amplify global warming, another part will enter the fluvial network, potentially providing a window to observe large-scale PP-C remobilization patterns. Here, we employ a decade-long, high-temporal resolution record of C-14 in dissolved and particulate organic carbon (DOC and POC, respectively) to deconvolute PP-C release in the large drainage basins of rivers across Siberia: Ob, Yenisey, Lena, and Kolyma. The C-14-constrained estimate of export specifically from PP-C corresponds to only 17 +/- 8% of total fluvial organic carbon and serves as a benchmark for monitoring changes to fluvial PP-C remobilization in a warming Arctic. Whereas DOC was dominated by recent organic carbon and poorly traced PP-C (12 +/- 8%), POC carried a much stronger signature of PP-C (63 +/- 10%) and represents the best window to detect spatial and temporal dynamics of PP-C release. Distinct seasonal patterns suggest that while DOC primarily stems from gradual leaching of surface soils, POC reflects abrupt collapse of deeper deposits. Higher dissolved PP-C export by Ob and Yenisey aligns with discontinuous permafrost that facilitates leaching, whereas higher particulate PP-C export by Lena and Kolyma likely echoes the thermokarst-induced collapse of Pleistocene deposits. Quantitative C-14-based fingerprinting of fluvial organic carbon thus provides an opportunity to elucidate large-scale dynamics of PP-C remobilization in response to Arctic warming.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 116, no 21, p. 10280-10285
Keywords [en]
carbon cycle, climate change, radiocarbon, peat, leaching
National Category
Climate Research Physical Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-170029DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1811797116ISI: 000468403400021PubMedID: 31061130OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-170029DiVA, id: diva2:1329203
Available from: 2019-06-24 Created: 2019-06-24 Last updated: 2019-06-24Bibliographically approved

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Wild, BirgitAndersson, AugustHugelius, GustafGustafsson, Örjan
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