23 Aug 2023
 | 23 Aug 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Seasonal carbon dynamics of the Kolyma River tributaries, Siberia

Kirsi H. Keskitalo, Lisa Bröder, Tommaso Tesi, Paul J. Mann, Dirk J. Jong, Sergio Bulte Garcia, Anna Davydova, Sergei Davydov, Nikita Zimov, Negar Haghipour, Timothy I. Eglinton, and Jorien E. Vonk

Abstract. Arctic warming is causing permafrost thaw and release of organic carbon (OC) to fluvial systems. Permafrost-derived OC can be transported downstream and degraded into greenhouse gases that may enhance climate warming. Susceptibility of OC to decomposition depends largely upon its source and composition which varies throughout the seasonally distinct hydrograph. Most studies to date have focused on larger Arctic rivers, yet little is known about carbon dynamics in lower order rivers/streams. Here, we characterize composition and sources of OC, focusing on less studied particulate OC (POC), in smaller waterways within the Kolyma River watershed. Additionally, we examine how watershed characteristics control carbon concentrations. In lower order systems, we find rapid initiation of primary production in response to warm weather, shown by decreasing δ13C-POC, in contrast to larger rivers. As Arctic warming and hydrologic changes may increase OC transfer from smaller waterways through river networks this may intensify inland water carbon outgassing.

Kirsi H. Keskitalo et al.

Status: open (until 04 Oct 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1792', Anonymous Referee #1, 18 Sep 2023 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1792', Anonymous Referee #2, 22 Sep 2023 reply

Kirsi H. Keskitalo et al.

Kirsi H. Keskitalo et al.


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Short summary
Permafrost thaw releases organic carbon into waterways. Decomposition of this carbon pool generates greenhouse gases that vent into the atmosphere enhancing climate warming. We show that Arctic river carbon and water chemistry is very different between the spring ice break-up and summer. However, primary production is initiated in small Arctic rivers right after ice break-up, in contrast to large rivers. This may have implications on fluvial carbon dynamics and venting of greenhouse gases.