Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-492
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-492
13 Mar 2024
 | 13 Mar 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Molecular level characterization of supraglacial dissolved organic matter sources and exported pools on the southern Greenland Ice Sheet

Eva L. Doting, Ian T. Stevens, Anne M. Kellerman, Pamela E. Rossel, Runa Antony, Amy M. McKenna, Martyn Tranter, Liane G. Benning, Robert G. M. Spencer, Jon R. Hawkings, and Alexandre M. Anesio

Abstract. During the ablation season, active microbial communities colonise large areas of the Greenland Ice Sheet surface and produce dissolved organic matter (DOM) that may be exported downstream by surface melt. Meltwater flow through the bare ice interfluvial area, characterized by a porous weathering crust, is slow (~ 10-2 m d-1), meaning that it presents a potential site for photochemical and/or microbial alteration of supraglacial DOM. Transformations of supraglacial DOM during transport through the supraglacial drainage system remain unexplored, limiting our understanding of supraglacial DOM inputs to downstream subglacial and coastal ecosystems. Here, we employ negative-ion electrospray ionization 21 tesla Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry to catalogue the molecular composition of DOM in supraglacial dark ice, weathering crust meltwater, and supraglacial stream water sampled in a hydrologically connected supraglacial micro-catchment to address this knowledge gap. Dark ice DOM contained significantly more aromatic (25 ± 3 %) and less biolabile (13 ± 4 %) DOM than weathering crust meltwater (3 ± 0 and 50 ± 0 %, respectively), pointing to retention of DOM on the ice surface and microbial, as well as photochemical alteration of DOM during transit through the supraglacial drainage system. These findings have implications for our understanding of supraglacial biogeochemical cycling, highlighting the importance of including the weathering crust photic zone when assessing supraglacial inputs to subglacial and downstream ecosystems.

Eva L. Doting, Ian T. Stevens, Anne M. Kellerman, Pamela E. Rossel, Runa Antony, Amy M. McKenna, Martyn Tranter, Liane G. Benning, Robert G. M. Spencer, Jon R. Hawkings, and Alexandre M. Anesio

Status: open (until 30 Apr 2024)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-492', Anonymous Referee #1, 05 Apr 2024 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-492', Muhammed Fatih Sert, 05 Apr 2024 reply
Eva L. Doting, Ian T. Stevens, Anne M. Kellerman, Pamela E. Rossel, Runa Antony, Amy M. McKenna, Martyn Tranter, Liane G. Benning, Robert G. M. Spencer, Jon R. Hawkings, and Alexandre M. Anesio
Eva L. Doting, Ian T. Stevens, Anne M. Kellerman, Pamela E. Rossel, Runa Antony, Amy M. McKenna, Martyn Tranter, Liane G. Benning, Robert G. M. Spencer, Jon R. Hawkings, and Alexandre M. Anesio

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Short summary
This study provides new insights into the transformation of dissolved organic matter (DOM) that takes place as meltwater flows through the porous crust of weathering ice that covers glacier ice surfaces during the melt season. Movement of water through the weathering crust is slow, allowing microorganisms and sunlight to alter the DOM in glacial meltwater. This is important as supraglacial meltwaters deliver DOM and nutrients to microorganisms living in downstream receiving aquatic environments.