EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Siberian Arctic inland waters emit mostly contemporary carbon

Joshua Dean1,2, Ove Meisel2, Melanie Martyn Roscoe2, Luca Belelli Marchesini3, Mark Garnett4, Henk Lenderink2, Richard van Logtestijn2, Alberto Borges5, Steven Bouillon6, Thibault Lambert5, Thomas Röckmann7, Trofim Maximov8, Roman Petrov8, Sergei Karsanaev8, Rien Aerts2, Jacobus van Huissteden2, Jorien Vonk2, and Han Dolman2
Joshua Dean et al.
  • 1School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
  • 2Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • 3Department of Sustainable Agro-ecosystems and Bioresources, Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, San Michele all’Adige, Italy
  • 4Natural Environment Research Council Radiocarbon Facility, East Kilbride, United Kingdom
  • 5Chemical Oceanography Unit, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
  • 6Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • 7Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 8Institute for Biological Problems of the Cryolithozone, Siberian Branch Russian Academy of Sciences, Yakutsk, Russia

Inland waters (rivers, lakes and ponds) are important conduits for the emission of terrestrial carbon in Arctic permafrost landscapes. These emissions are driven by turnover of contemporary terrestrial carbon and additional “pre-aged” (Holocene and late-Pleistocene) carbon released from thawing permafrost soils, but the magnitude of these source contributions to total inland water carbon fluxes remains unknown. Here we present unique simultaneous radiocarbon age measurements of inland water CO2, CH4 and dissolved and particulate organic carbon in northeast Siberia during summer. We show that >80% of total inland water carbon emissions were contemporary in age, but that pre-aged carbon contributed >50% at sites strongly affected by permafrost thaw. CO2 and CH4 were younger than dissolved and particulate organic carbon, suggesting emissions were primarily fuelled by contemporary carbon decomposition. The study region was a net carbon sink (-876.9 ± 136.4 Mg C for 25 July to 17 August), but inland waters were a source of contemporary (16.8 Mg C) and pre-aged (3.7 Mg C) emissions that respectively offset 1.9 ± 1.2% and 0.4 ± 0.3% of CO2 uptake by tundra (‑897 ± 115 Mg C). Our findings reveal that inland water carbon emissions from permafrost landscapes may be more sensitive to changes in contemporary carbon turnover than the release of pre-aged carbon from thawing permafrost.

How to cite: Dean, J., Meisel, O., Martyn Roscoe, M., Belelli Marchesini, L., Garnett, M., Lenderink, H., van Logtestijn, R., Borges, A., Bouillon, S., Lambert, T., Röckmann, T., Maximov, T., Petrov, R., Karsanaev, S., Aerts, R., van Huissteden, J., Vonk, J., and Dolman, H.: Siberian Arctic inland waters emit mostly contemporary carbon, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-17416,, 2020.


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