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Title: Aquatic biomass is a major source to particulate organic matter export in large Arctic rivers
Arctic rivers provide an integrated signature of the changing landscape and transmit signals of change to the ocean. Here, we use a decade of particulate organic matter (POM) compositional data to deconvolute multiple allochthonous and autochthonous pan-Arctic and watershed-specific sources. Constraints from carbon-to-nitrogen ratios (C:N), δ 13 C, and Δ 14 C signatures reveal a large, hitherto overlooked contribution from aquatic biomass. Separation in Δ 14 C age is enhanced by splitting soil sources into shallow and deep pools (mean ± SD: −228 ± 211 vs. −492 ± 173‰) rather than traditional active layer and permafrost pools (−300 ± 236 vs. −441 ± 215‰) that do not represent permafrost-free Arctic regions. We estimate that 39 to 60% (5 to 95% credible interval) of the annual pan-Arctic POM flux (averaging 4,391 Gg/y particulate organic carbon from 2012 to 2019) comes from aquatic biomass. The remainder is sourced from yedoma, deep soils, shallow soils, petrogenic inputs, and fresh terrestrial production. Climate change-induced warming and increasing CO 2 concentrations may enhance both soil destabilization and Arctic river aquatic biomass production, increasing fluxes of POM to the ocean. Younger, autochthonous, and older soil-derived POM likely have different destinies (preferential microbial uptake and processing vs. significant sediment burial, respectively). A small (~7%) increase in aquatic biomass POM flux with warming would be equivalent to a ~30% increase in deep soil POM flux. There is a clear need to better quantify how the balance of endmember fluxes may shift with different ramifications for different endmembers and how this will impact the Arctic system.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2230812 1914215 1913888
NSF-PAR ID:
10444805
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Volume:
120
Issue:
12
ISSN:
0027-8424
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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