Seasonal changes in particulate and dissolved organic matter composition and quality in the Lena River Delta

Gesine.Mollenhauer [ at ]


Arctic rivers are known to export large quantities of carbon by discharge of dissolved and particulate organic carbon (DOC, POC), and in a warming and progressively moister Arctic, these exports may increase resulting in a reduction of arctic continental carbon stocks. These rivers have highly variable discharge rates with a pronounced maximum during the spring freshet associated with highest concentrations of DOC and POC. Most studies investigating the isotopic composition and quality of carbon exported by Arctic rivers rely on samples taken in summer during base flow, which is due to the logistical challenges associated with sampling in the remote Arctic permafrost regions. Here we present a record of δ13C and ∆14C of DOC and POC collected between late May during the freshet and late August 2014 in the Lena River Delta. POC ∆14C shows an initial trend towards older values in the spring samples, which is reversed in summer, associated with a shift towards more depleted δ13C values. We interpret this aging trend as reflecting progressive thawing throughout the ice-free season, resulting in mobilization of progressively older carbon from deeper thawed layers. The summer reversal indicates admixture of aquatic organic matter. DOC ∆14C, in contrast, remains at relatively modern levels with rather constant δ13C values throughout the sampling period. We furthermore analysed the biomarker composition of Lena Delta particulate OM collected in spring and summer. From spring to summer, we observe trends in abundance of individual leaf-wax derived biomarkers indicating higher abundance of algal biomass in the summer particles. Trends in soil microbial biomarkers and compound-specific δD of leaf-wax lipids suggest a shift in sources towards higher contributions from the southern catchment in summer. DOC composition investigated with FT-ICR-MS changes from spring with higher abundances of compounds with high H/C and low O/C ratios to late summer, when fewer compounds were found. Our results illustrate the seasonal variability in composition and sources of organic matter discharged by the Lena River. Paired with the strong seassonality of the hydrograph, this implies that total annual discharge of organic matter contains a disproportionally high contribution from the northern part of the catchment.

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AGU Fall Meeting, 11 Dec 2016 - 16 Dec 2016, San Francisco.
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Mollenhauer, G. , Winterfeld, M. , Hefter, J. , Bodenstab, L. N. , Morgenstern, A. , Eulenburg, A. , Heim, B. , Koch, B. , Schefuß, E. , Moerth, C. M. and Rethemeyer, J. (2016): Seasonal changes in particulate and dissolved organic matter composition and quality in the Lena River Delta , AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, 11 December 2016 - 16 December 2016 .

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