Rivers across the Siberian Arctic unearth the patterns of carbon release from thawing permafrost

Birgit Wild, August Andersson, Lisa Bröder, Jorien Vonk, Gustaf Hugelius, James W. McClelland, Wenjun Song, Peter A. Raymond, Örjan Gustafsson

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Climate warming is expected to mobilize northern permafrost and peat organic carbon (PP-C), yet magnitudes and system specifics of even current releases are poorly constrained. While part of the PP-C will degrade at point of thaw to CO2 and CH4 to directly amplify global warming, another part will enter the fluvial network, potentially providing a window to observe large-scale PP-C remobilization patterns. Here, we employ a decade-long, high-temporal resolution record of 14C in dissolved and particulate organic carbon (DOC and POC, respectively) to deconvolute PP-C release in the large drainage basins of rivers across Siberia: Ob, Yenisey, Lena, and Kolyma. The 14C-constrained estimate of export specifically from PP-C corresponds to only 17 ± 8% of total fluvial organic carbon and serves as a benchmark for monitoring changes to fluvial PP-C remobilization in a warming Arctic. Whereas DOC was dominated by recent organic carbon and poorly traced PP-C (12 ± 8%), POC carried a much stronger signature of PP-C (63 ± 10%) and represents the best window to detect spatial and temporal dynamics of PP-C release. Distinct seasonal patterns suggest that while DOC primarily stems from gradual leaching of surface soils, POC reflects abrupt collapse of deeper deposits. Higher dissolved PP-C export by Ob and Yenisey aligns with discontinuous permafrost that facilitates leaching, whereas higher particulate PP-C export by Lena and Kolyma likely echoes the thermokarst-induced collapse of Pleistocene deposits. Quantitative 14C-based fingerprinting of fluvial organic carbon thus provides an opportunity to elucidate large-scale dynamics of PP-C remobilization in response to Arctic warming.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10280-10285
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume116
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Fingerprint

Rivers
Carbon
Soil
Permafrost
Siberia
Global Warming
Benchmarking
Climate
Drainage

Keywords

  • carbon cycle
  • climate change
  • leaching
  • peat
  • radiocarbon

Cite this

Wild, Birgit ; Andersson, August ; Bröder, Lisa ; Vonk, Jorien ; Hugelius, Gustaf ; McClelland, James W. ; Song, Wenjun ; Raymond, Peter A. ; Gustafsson, Örjan. / Rivers across the Siberian Arctic unearth the patterns of carbon release from thawing permafrost. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2019 ; Vol. 116, No. 21. pp. 10280-10285.
@article{4d277fe1b6c94bf9b0bfc2a5a9f80768,
title = "Rivers across the Siberian Arctic unearth the patterns of carbon release from thawing permafrost",
abstract = "Climate warming is expected to mobilize northern permafrost and peat organic carbon (PP-C), yet magnitudes and system specifics of even current releases are poorly constrained. While part of the PP-C will degrade at point of thaw to CO2 and CH4 to directly amplify global warming, another part will enter the fluvial network, potentially providing a window to observe large-scale PP-C remobilization patterns. Here, we employ a decade-long, high-temporal resolution record of 14C in dissolved and particulate organic carbon (DOC and POC, respectively) to deconvolute PP-C release in the large drainage basins of rivers across Siberia: Ob, Yenisey, Lena, and Kolyma. The 14C-constrained estimate of export specifically from PP-C corresponds to only 17 ± 8{\%} of total fluvial organic carbon and serves as a benchmark for monitoring changes to fluvial PP-C remobilization in a warming Arctic. Whereas DOC was dominated by recent organic carbon and poorly traced PP-C (12 ± 8{\%}), POC carried a much stronger signature of PP-C (63 ± 10{\%}) and represents the best window to detect spatial and temporal dynamics of PP-C release. Distinct seasonal patterns suggest that while DOC primarily stems from gradual leaching of surface soils, POC reflects abrupt collapse of deeper deposits. Higher dissolved PP-C export by Ob and Yenisey aligns with discontinuous permafrost that facilitates leaching, whereas higher particulate PP-C export by Lena and Kolyma likely echoes the thermokarst-induced collapse of Pleistocene deposits. Quantitative 14C-based fingerprinting of fluvial organic carbon thus provides an opportunity to elucidate large-scale dynamics of PP-C remobilization in response to Arctic warming.",
keywords = "carbon cycle, climate change, leaching, peat, radiocarbon",
author = "Birgit Wild and August Andersson and Lisa Br{\"o}der and Jorien Vonk and Gustaf Hugelius and McClelland, {James W.} and Wenjun Song and Raymond, {Peter A.} and {\"O}rjan Gustafsson",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1073/pnas.1811797116",
language = "English",
volume = "116",
pages = "10280--10285",
journal = "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America",
issn = "0027-8424",
publisher = "National Acad Sciences",
number = "21",

}

Rivers across the Siberian Arctic unearth the patterns of carbon release from thawing permafrost. / Wild, Birgit; Andersson, August; Bröder, Lisa; Vonk, Jorien; Hugelius, Gustaf; McClelland, James W.; Song, Wenjun; Raymond, Peter A.; Gustafsson, Örjan.

In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 116, No. 21, 01.01.2019, p. 10280-10285.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Rivers across the Siberian Arctic unearth the patterns of carbon release from thawing permafrost

AU - Wild, Birgit

AU - Andersson, August

AU - Bröder, Lisa

AU - Vonk, Jorien

AU - Hugelius, Gustaf

AU - McClelland, James W.

AU - Song, Wenjun

AU - Raymond, Peter A.

AU - Gustafsson, Örjan

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

N2 - Climate warming is expected to mobilize northern permafrost and peat organic carbon (PP-C), yet magnitudes and system specifics of even current releases are poorly constrained. While part of the PP-C will degrade at point of thaw to CO2 and CH4 to directly amplify global warming, another part will enter the fluvial network, potentially providing a window to observe large-scale PP-C remobilization patterns. Here, we employ a decade-long, high-temporal resolution record of 14C in dissolved and particulate organic carbon (DOC and POC, respectively) to deconvolute PP-C release in the large drainage basins of rivers across Siberia: Ob, Yenisey, Lena, and Kolyma. The 14C-constrained estimate of export specifically from PP-C corresponds to only 17 ± 8% of total fluvial organic carbon and serves as a benchmark for monitoring changes to fluvial PP-C remobilization in a warming Arctic. Whereas DOC was dominated by recent organic carbon and poorly traced PP-C (12 ± 8%), POC carried a much stronger signature of PP-C (63 ± 10%) and represents the best window to detect spatial and temporal dynamics of PP-C release. Distinct seasonal patterns suggest that while DOC primarily stems from gradual leaching of surface soils, POC reflects abrupt collapse of deeper deposits. Higher dissolved PP-C export by Ob and Yenisey aligns with discontinuous permafrost that facilitates leaching, whereas higher particulate PP-C export by Lena and Kolyma likely echoes the thermokarst-induced collapse of Pleistocene deposits. Quantitative 14C-based fingerprinting of fluvial organic carbon thus provides an opportunity to elucidate large-scale dynamics of PP-C remobilization in response to Arctic warming.

AB - Climate warming is expected to mobilize northern permafrost and peat organic carbon (PP-C), yet magnitudes and system specifics of even current releases are poorly constrained. While part of the PP-C will degrade at point of thaw to CO2 and CH4 to directly amplify global warming, another part will enter the fluvial network, potentially providing a window to observe large-scale PP-C remobilization patterns. Here, we employ a decade-long, high-temporal resolution record of 14C in dissolved and particulate organic carbon (DOC and POC, respectively) to deconvolute PP-C release in the large drainage basins of rivers across Siberia: Ob, Yenisey, Lena, and Kolyma. The 14C-constrained estimate of export specifically from PP-C corresponds to only 17 ± 8% of total fluvial organic carbon and serves as a benchmark for monitoring changes to fluvial PP-C remobilization in a warming Arctic. Whereas DOC was dominated by recent organic carbon and poorly traced PP-C (12 ± 8%), POC carried a much stronger signature of PP-C (63 ± 10%) and represents the best window to detect spatial and temporal dynamics of PP-C release. Distinct seasonal patterns suggest that while DOC primarily stems from gradual leaching of surface soils, POC reflects abrupt collapse of deeper deposits. Higher dissolved PP-C export by Ob and Yenisey aligns with discontinuous permafrost that facilitates leaching, whereas higher particulate PP-C export by Lena and Kolyma likely echoes the thermokarst-induced collapse of Pleistocene deposits. Quantitative 14C-based fingerprinting of fluvial organic carbon thus provides an opportunity to elucidate large-scale dynamics of PP-C remobilization in response to Arctic warming.

KW - carbon cycle

KW - climate change

KW - leaching

KW - peat

KW - radiocarbon

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85066136794&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85066136794&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1073/pnas.1811797116

DO - 10.1073/pnas.1811797116

M3 - Article

VL - 116

SP - 10280

EP - 10285

JO - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

JF - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

SN - 0027-8424

IS - 21

ER -