First pan-Arctic assessment of dissolved organic carbon in lakes of the permafrost region

lydia.stolpmann [ at ]


Lakes in permafrost regions are dynamiclandscape components and play an important role for climatechange feedbacks. Lake processes such as mineralizationand flocculation of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), oneof the main carbon fractions in lakes, contribute to thegreenhouse effect and are part of the global carbon cycle.These processes are in the focus of climate research, butstudies so far are limited to specific study regions. Inour synthesis, we analyzed 2167 water samples from 1833lakes across the Arctic in permafrost regions of Alaska,Canada, Greenland, and Siberia to provide first pan-Arcticinsights for linkages between DOC concentrations andthe environment. Using published data and unpublisheddatasets from the author team, we report regional DOCdifferences linked to latitude, permafrost zones, ecoregions,geology, near-surface soil organic carbon contents, andground ice classification of each lake region. The lakeDOC concentrations in our dataset range from 0 to1130 mg L−1(10.8 mg L−1median DOC concentration).Regarding the permafrost regions of our synthesis, wefound median lake DOC concentrations of 12.4 mg L−1(Siberia), 12.3 mg L−1(Alaska), 10.3 mg L−1(Greenland),and 4.5 mg L−1(Canada). Our synthesis shows a significantrelationship between lake DOC concentration and lakeecoregion. We found higher lake DOC concentrationsat boreal permafrost sites compared to tundra sites. Wefound significantly higher DOC concentrations in lakesin regions with ice-rich syngenetic permafrost deposits(yedoma) compared to non-yedoma lakes and a weak butsignificant relationship between soil organic carbon contentand lake DOC concentration as well as between ground icecontent and lake DOC. Our pan-Arctic dataset shows that theDOC concentration of a lake depends on its environmentalproperties, especially on permafrost extent and ecoregion, aswell as vegetation, which is the most important driver of lakeDOC in this study. This new dataset will be fundamental toquantify a pan-Arctic lake DOC pool for estimations of theimpact of lake DOC on the global carbon cycle and climatechange.

Item Type
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Helmholtz Cross Cutting Activity (2021-2027)
Publication Status
Eprint ID
DOI 10.5194/bg-18-3917-2021

Cite as
Stolpmann, L. , Coch, C. , Morgenstern, A. , Boike, J. , Fritz, M. , Herzschuh, U. , Stoof-Leichsenring, K. , Dvornikov, Y. , Heim, B. , Lenz, J. , Larsen, A. , Walter Anthony, K. , Jones, B. , Frey, K. and Grosse, G. (2021): First pan-Arctic assessment of dissolved organic carbon in lakes of the permafrost region , Biogeosciences, 18 (12), pp. 3917-3936 . doi: 10.5194/bg-18-3917-2021

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Geographical region

Research Platforms

Arctic Land Expeditions > AK-Land_2016_NWAlaska
Arctic Land Expeditions > CA-Land_2012_YukonCoast
Arctic Land Expeditions > CA-Land_2013_YukonCoast
Arctic Land Expeditions > CA-Land_2014_YukonCoast
Arctic Land Expeditions > CA-Land_2015_YukonCoast
Arctic Land Expeditions > RU-Land_2013_Lena
Arctic Land Expeditions > RU-Land_2013_Taymyr
Arctic Land Expeditions > RU-Land_2014_Lena
Arctic Land Expeditions > RU-Land_2015_Yamal
Arctic Land Expeditions > RU-Land_2016_Keperveem
Arctic Land Expeditions > RU-Land_2016_Lena

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