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The Arctic Ocean receive enormous amounts of river water, which is rich in dissolved organic matter (tDOM) and an important component of the Arctic carbon cycle. Our analysis shows that mixing of three major freshwater sources is the main factor that regulates the distribution of tDOM concentrations in the Siberian shelf seas. In this context, the formation and melting of the land-fast ice in the Laptev Sea and the peak spring discharge of the Lena River are of particular importance.
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-462
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-462

  05 Jan 2021

05 Jan 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

The impact of land-fast ice on the distribution of terrestrial dissolved organic matter in the Siberian Arctic shelf seas

Jens A. Hölemann1, Bennet Juhls2,3, Dorothea Bauch4,5, Markus Janout1, Boris P. Koch1,6, and Birgit Heim3 Jens A. Hölemann et al.
  • 1Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 2Department of Earth Sciences, Institute for Space Sciences, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  • 3Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Potsdam, Germany
  • 4Leibniz Laboratory for Radiometric Dating and Stable Isotope Research, University of Kiel CAU, Kiel, Germany
  • 5GEOMAR, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel, Germany
  • 6University of Applied Sciences Bremerhaven, Germany

Abstract. Remobilization of soil carbon as a result of permafrost degradation in the drainage basin of the major Siberian rivers combined with higher precipitation in a warming climate potentially increase the flux of terrestrial derived dissolved organic matter (tDOM) into the Arctic Ocean. The Laptev (LS) and East Siberian Seas (ESS) receive enormous amounts of tDOM-rich river water, which undergoes at least one freeze-melt cycle in the Siberian Arctic shelf seas. To better understand how freezing and melting affect the tDOM dynamics in the LS and ESS, we sampled sea ice, river and seawater for their dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration and the colored fraction of dissolved organic matter. The sampling took place in different seasons over a period of 9 years (2010–2019). Our results suggest that the main factor regulating the tDOM distribution in the LS and ESS is the mixing of marine waters with freshwater sources carrying different tDOM concentrations. Of particular importance in this context are the 211 km3 of meltwater from land-fast ice from the LS, containing ~ 0.3 Tg DOC, which in spring mixes with 245 km3 of river water from the peak spring discharge of the Lena River, carrying ~ 2.4 Tg DOC into the LS. During the ice-free season, tDOM transport on the shelves takes place in the surface mixed layer, with the direction of transport depending on the prevailing wind direction. In winter, about 1.2 Tg of brine-related DOC, which was expelled from the growing land-fast ice in the LS, is transported in the near-surface water layer into the Transpolar Drift Stream that flows from the Siberian Shelf toward Greenland. The actual water depth in which the tDOM-rich brines are transported, depends mainly on the density stratification of the LS and ESS in the preceding summer and the amount of ice produced in winter. We suspect that climate change in the Arctic will fundamentally alter the dynamics of tDOM transport in the Arctic marginal seas, which will also have consequences for the Arctic carbon cycle.

Jens A. Hölemann et al.

Status: open (until 16 Feb 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Jens A. Hölemann et al.

Data sets

Surface water dissolved organic matter (DOC, CDOM) in the Lena River Kattner, G., Juhls, B., and Heim, B. https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.898705

Colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) measured during cruise TRANSDRIFT-XVII, Laptev Sea Hölemann, J. A., Juhls, B., and Timokhov, L. A. https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.924206

Colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) measured during cruise TRANSDRIFT-XIX, Laptev Sea Hölemann, J., Koch, B. P., Juhls, B., and Timokhov, L. A. https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.924209

Colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) measured during helicopter/ice camp TRANSDRIFT-XX, Laptev Sea Hölemann, J. A., Koch, B. P., Juhls, B., and Timokhov, L. A. https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.924228

Colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) measured during cruise TRANSDRIFT-XXI, Laptev Sea Hölemann, J. A., Juhls, B., and Timokhov, L. A. https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.924203

Colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) measured during cruise TRANSDRIFT-XXII Hölemann, J., Koch, B. P., Juhls, B., and Timokhov, L. A. https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.924202

Colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) measured during cruise TRANSDRIFT-XXIV, Laptev Sea Hölemann, J. A., Koch, B. P., Juhls, B., and Ivanov, V. https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.924210

Colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) measured during cruise TRANSARKTIKA-2019 Leg4, Laptev Sea and East Siberian Sea Hölemann, J. A., Chetverova, A., Juhls, B., and Kusse-Tiuz, N. https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.924211

Physical oceanography, nutrients, and δ¹⁸O measured on water bottle samples in the Laptev Sea Bauch, D., Cherniavskaia, E., Novikhin, A., and Kassens, H. https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.885448

Stable oxygen isotope analysis of water samples during helicopter/ice camp TRANSDRIFT-XX Bauch, D. and Thibodeau, B. https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.924538

Jens A. Hölemann et al.

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Short summary
The Arctic Ocean receive enormous amounts of river water, which is rich in dissolved organic matter (tDOM) and an important component of the Arctic carbon cycle. Our analysis shows that mixing of three major freshwater sources is the main factor that regulates the distribution of tDOM concentrations in the Siberian shelf seas. In this context, the formation and melting of the land-fast ice in the Laptev Sea and the peak spring discharge of the Lena River are of particular importance.
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