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Title: Active layer hydrology in an arctic tundra ecosystem: quantifying water sources and cycling using water stable isotopes

Abstract

Climate change and thawing permafrost in the Arctic will significantly alter landscape hydro-geomorphology and the distribution of soil moisture, which will have cascading effects on climate feedbacks (CO2 and CH4) and plant and microbial communities. Fundamental processes critical to predicting active layer hydrology are not well understood. This study applied water stable isotope techniques (δ2H and δ18O) to infer sources and mixing of active layer waters in a polygonal tundra landscape in Barrow, Alaska (USA), in August and September of 2012. Results suggested that winter precipitation did not contribute substantially to surface waters or subsurface active layer pore waters measured in August and September. Summer rain was the main source of water to the active layer, with seasonal ice melt contributing to deeper pore waters later in the season. Surface water evaporation was evident in August from a characteristic isotopic fractionation slope (δ2H vs δ18O). Freeze-out isotopic fractionation effects in frozen active layer samples and textural permafrost were indistinguishable from evaporation fractionation, emphasizing the importance of considering the most likely processes in water isotope studies, in systems where both evaporation and freeze-out occur in close proximity. The fractionation observed in frozen active layer ice was not observed in liquid activemore » layer pore waters. Such a discrepancy between frozen and liquid active layer samples suggests mixing of meltwater, likely due to slow melting of seasonal ice. In conclusion, this research provides insight into fundamental processes relating to sources and mixing of active layer waters, which should be considered in process-based fine-scale and intermediate-scale hydrologic models.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [2];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [2];  [2];  [5];  [4];  [2]
  1. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States). Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  3. Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH (United States). Dept. of Earth Sciences
  4. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  5. Univ. of Alaska, Fairbanks AK (United States). International Arctic Research Center
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1345775
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1492532
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-15-26551
Journal ID: ISSN 0885-6087
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-00OR22725; LDRD201200068DR; ERKP 757; 89233218CNA000001
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Hydrological Processes
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 30; Journal Issue: 26; Journal ID: ISSN 0885-6087
Publisher:
Wiley
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; NGEE Arctic; climate; active layer; arctic; hydrology; tundra; water isotopes; Environmental Protection

Citation Formats

Throckmorton, Heather M., Newman, Brent D., Heikoop, Jeffrey M., Perkins, George B., Feng, Xiahong, Graham, David E., O'Malley, Daniel, Vesselinov, Velimir V., Young, Jessica, Wullschleger, Stan D., and Wilson, Cathy J. Active layer hydrology in an arctic tundra ecosystem: quantifying water sources and cycling using water stable isotopes. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1002/hyp.10883.
Throckmorton, Heather M., Newman, Brent D., Heikoop, Jeffrey M., Perkins, George B., Feng, Xiahong, Graham, David E., O'Malley, Daniel, Vesselinov, Velimir V., Young, Jessica, Wullschleger, Stan D., & Wilson, Cathy J. Active layer hydrology in an arctic tundra ecosystem: quantifying water sources and cycling using water stable isotopes. United States. doi:10.1002/hyp.10883.
Throckmorton, Heather M., Newman, Brent D., Heikoop, Jeffrey M., Perkins, George B., Feng, Xiahong, Graham, David E., O'Malley, Daniel, Vesselinov, Velimir V., Young, Jessica, Wullschleger, Stan D., and Wilson, Cathy J. Sat . "Active layer hydrology in an arctic tundra ecosystem: quantifying water sources and cycling using water stable isotopes". United States. doi:10.1002/hyp.10883. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1345775.
@article{osti_1345775,
title = {Active layer hydrology in an arctic tundra ecosystem: quantifying water sources and cycling using water stable isotopes},
author = {Throckmorton, Heather M. and Newman, Brent D. and Heikoop, Jeffrey M. and Perkins, George B. and Feng, Xiahong and Graham, David E. and O'Malley, Daniel and Vesselinov, Velimir V. and Young, Jessica and Wullschleger, Stan D. and Wilson, Cathy J.},
abstractNote = {Climate change and thawing permafrost in the Arctic will significantly alter landscape hydro-geomorphology and the distribution of soil moisture, which will have cascading effects on climate feedbacks (CO2 and CH4) and plant and microbial communities. Fundamental processes critical to predicting active layer hydrology are not well understood. This study applied water stable isotope techniques (δ2H and δ18O) to infer sources and mixing of active layer waters in a polygonal tundra landscape in Barrow, Alaska (USA), in August and September of 2012. Results suggested that winter precipitation did not contribute substantially to surface waters or subsurface active layer pore waters measured in August and September. Summer rain was the main source of water to the active layer, with seasonal ice melt contributing to deeper pore waters later in the season. Surface water evaporation was evident in August from a characteristic isotopic fractionation slope (δ2H vs δ18O). Freeze-out isotopic fractionation effects in frozen active layer samples and textural permafrost were indistinguishable from evaporation fractionation, emphasizing the importance of considering the most likely processes in water isotope studies, in systems where both evaporation and freeze-out occur in close proximity. The fractionation observed in frozen active layer ice was not observed in liquid active layer pore waters. Such a discrepancy between frozen and liquid active layer samples suggests mixing of meltwater, likely due to slow melting of seasonal ice. In conclusion, this research provides insight into fundamental processes relating to sources and mixing of active layer waters, which should be considered in process-based fine-scale and intermediate-scale hydrologic models.},
doi = {10.1002/hyp.10883},
journal = {Hydrological Processes},
number = 26,
volume = 30,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {4}
}

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Cited by: 5 works
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Figures / Tables:

Figure 1 Figure 1: All water isotope samples were collected from Barrow, Alaska (USA). Specific sampling sites for cores and groundwater samples are indicated in yellow and blue circles, respectively. A subset of precipitation samples was collected from the sled shed as indicated in the figure

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Works referenced in this record:

Progress in permafrost hydrology in the new millennium
journal, January 2008

  • Woo, Ming-Ko; Kane, Douglas L.; Carey, Sean K.
  • Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, Vol. 19, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1002/ppp.613

Melting–Refreezing at the Glacier Sole and the Isotopic Composition of the Ice
journal, January 1982


Characteristics of soil moisture in permafrost observed in East Siberian taiga with stable isotopes of water
journal, January 2003

  • Sugimoto, A.; Naito, D.; Yanagisawa, N.
  • Hydrological Processes, Vol. 17, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1002/hyp.1180

Snowcover formation and melt: recent advances and future prospects
journal, October 1999


Element Redistribution along Hydraulic and Redox Gradients of Low-Centered Polygons, Lena Delta, Northern Siberia
journal, January 2004

  • Fiedler, S.; Wagner, D.; Kutzbach, L.
  • Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 68, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2004.1002

Permafrost evidence for severe winter cooling during the Younger Dryas in northern Alaska: YOUNGER DRYAS CLIMATE FROM PERMAFROST
journal, February 2010

  • Meyer, Hanno; Schirrmeister, Lutz; Yoshikawa, Kenji
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 37, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1029/2009gl041013

Stable isotopes in precipitation
journal, January 1964


Morphology-Dependent Water Budgets and Nutrient Fluxes in Arctic Thaw Ponds: Morphology, Water and Nutrients in Arctic Thaw Ponds
journal, April 2014

  • Koch, Joshua C.; Gurney, Kirsty; Wipfli, Mark S.
  • Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, Vol. 25, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1002/ppp.1804

Learning the parts of objects by non-negative matrix factorization
journal, October 1999

  • Lee, Daniel D.; Seung, H. Sebastian
  • Nature, Vol. 401, Issue 6755
  • DOI: 10.1038/44565

Water source dynamics of high Arctic river basins: WATER SOURCE DYNAMICS OF HIGH ARCTIC RIVER BASINS
journal, June 2013

  • Blaen, Phillip J.; Hannah, David M.; Brown, Lee E.
  • Hydrological Processes, Vol. 28, Issue 10
  • DOI: 10.1002/hyp.9891

Modeling challenges for predicting hydrologic response to degrading permafrost
journal, November 2012


Subsurface drainage from hummock-covered hillslopes in the Arctic tundra
journal, October 2000


Stable isotopes in river ice: identifying primary over-winter streamflow signals and their hydrological significance
journal, January 2002

  • Gibson, J. J.; Prowse, T. D.
  • Hydrological Processes, Vol. 16, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1002/hyp.366

Active Layer Hydrology in an Arctic Tundra Ecosystem: Quantifying Water Sources and Cycling Using Water Stable Isotopes: Supporting Data
dataset, January 2019

  • Throckmorton, Heather; Wilson, Cathy; Heikoop, Jeff
  • Next Generation Ecosystems Experiment - Arctic, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (US); NGEE Arctic, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  • DOI: 10.5440/1164892

The influence of mineral earth hummocks on subsurface drainage in the continuous permafrost zone
journal, July 1998


Lateral subsurface flow pathways in a semiarid Ponderosa pine hillslope
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Spatial and seasonal variability of polygonal tundra water balance: Lena River Delta, northern Siberia (Russia)
journal, January 2013


Blind source separation for groundwater pressure analysis based on nonnegative matrix factorization
journal, September 2014

  • Alexandrov, Boian S.; Vesselinov, Velimir V.
  • Water Resources Research, Vol. 50, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1002/2013WR015037

High-resolution stable water isotopes as tracers of thaw unconformities in permafrost: A case study from western Arctic Canada
journal, March 2014


Controls on recent Alaskan lake changes identified from water isotopes and remote sensing: ALASKAN LAKE CHANGE FROM WATER ISOTOPES
journal, July 2013

  • Anderson, Lesleigh; Birks, Jean; Rover, Jennifer
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 40, Issue 13
  • DOI: 10.1002/Grl.50672

Geocryological characteristics of the upper permafrost in a tundra-forest transition of the Indigirka River Valley, Russia
journal, June 2014


Carbon Pools and Accumulation Rates in an Age-Series of Soils in Drained Thaw-Lake Basins, Arctic Alaska
journal, January 2004

  • Bockheim, J. G.; Hinkel, K. M.; Eisner, W. R.
  • Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 68, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2004.6970

Peat hydraulic conductivity in cold regions and its relation to pore size and geometry
journal, July 2008

  • Quinton, William L.; Hayashi, Masaki; Carey, Sean K.
  • Hydrological Processes, Vol. 22, Issue 15
  • DOI: 10.1002/hyp.7027

Tracer-based assessment of flow paths, storage and runoff generation in northern catchments: a review: TRACERS IN NORTHERN CATCHMENTS
journal, December 2014

  • Tetzlaff, Doerthe; Buttle, Jim; Carey, Sean K.
  • Hydrological Processes, Vol. 29, Issue 16
  • DOI: 10.1002/hyp.10412

Permafrost thaw and soil moisture driving CO 2 and CH 4 release from upland tundra
journal, March 2015

  • Natali, Susan M.; Schuur, Edward A. G.; Mauritz, Marguerite
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, Vol. 120, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1002/2014JG002872

The distribution of deuterium and 18O in dry soils
journal, January 1983


Using field observations to inform thermal hydrology models of permafrost dynamics with ATS (v0.83)
journal, January 2015

  • Atchley, A. L.; Painter, S. L.; Harp, D. R.
  • Geoscientific Model Development, Vol. 8, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.5194/gmd-8-2701-2015

Comparison of threshold hydrologic response across northern catchments: THRESHOLD HYDROLOGIC RESPONSE ACROSS NORTHERN CATCHMENTS
journal, June 2015

  • Ali, Genevieve; Tetzlaff, Doerthe; McDonnell, Jeffrey J.
  • Hydrological Processes, Vol. 29, Issue 16
  • DOI: 10.1002/hyp.10527

Origin and characteristics of massive ground ice on Herschel Island (western Canadian Arctic) as revealed by stable water isotope and Hydrochemical signatures
journal, January 2011

  • Fritz, Michael; Wetterich, Sebastian; Meyer, Hanno
  • Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, Vol. 22, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1002/ppp.714

Pathways and transformations of dissolved methane and dissolved inorganic carbon in Arctic tundra watersheds: Evidence from analysis of stable isotopes: DISSOLVED CH
journal, November 2015

  • Throckmorton, Heather M.; Heikoop, Jeffrey M.; Newman, Brent D.
  • Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Vol. 29, Issue 11
  • DOI: 10.1002/2014GB005044

A kinetic isotope effect during ice formation by water freezing
journal, July 2000

  • Souchez, R.; Jouzel, J.; Lorrain, R.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 27, Issue 13
  • DOI: 10.1029/2000gl006103

Permafrost hydrology in changing climatic conditions: seasonal variability of stable isotope composition in rivers in discontinuous permafrost
journal, September 2015


Vegetational Change and Ice-Wedge Polygons through the Thaw-Lake Cycle in Arctic Alaska
journal, November 1980

  • Billings, W. D.; Peterson, K. M.
  • Arctic and Alpine Research, Vol. 12, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.2307/1550492

Isotopic Variations in Meteoric Waters
journal, May 1961


A stochastic model for the polygonal tundra based on Poisson–Voronoi diagrams
journal, January 2013

  • Cresto Aleina, F.; Brovkin, V.; Muster, S.
  • Earth System Dynamics, Vol. 4, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.5194/Esd-4-187-2013

Lateglacial and Holocene isotopic and environmental history of northern coastal Alaska – Results from a buried ice-wedge system at Barrow
journal, December 2010


Evapotranspiration from a Wetland Complex on the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska
journal, August 1998

  • Mendez, Johnny; Hinzman, Larry D.; Kane, Douglas L.
  • Hydrology Research, Vol. 29, Issue 4-5
  • DOI: 10.2166/nh.1998.0020

The distribution of deuterium and 18O in dry soils
journal, October 1984


Carbon Pools and Accumulation Rates in an Age-Series of Soils in Drained Thaw-Lake Basins, Arctic Alaska
journal, January 2004

  • Bockheim, J. G.; Hinkel, K. M.; Eisner, W. R.
  • Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 68, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2004.0697

Melting–Refreezing at the Glacier Sole and the Isotopic Composition of the Ice
journal, January 1982


    Works referencing / citing this record:

    Peat hydraulic conductivity in cold regions and its relation to pore size and geometry
    journal, July 2008

    • Quinton, William L.; Hayashi, Masaki; Carey, Sean K.
    • Hydrological Processes, Vol. 22, Issue 15
    • DOI: 10.1002/hyp.7027

    Stable isotopes in river ice: identifying primary over-winter streamflow signals and their hydrological significance
    journal, January 2002

    • Gibson, J. J.; Prowse, T. D.
    • Hydrological Processes, Vol. 16, Issue 4
    • DOI: 10.1002/hyp.366

    Carbon Pools and Accumulation Rates in an Age-Series of Soils in Drained Thaw-Lake Basins, Arctic Alaska
    journal, January 2004

    • Bockheim, J. G.; Hinkel, K. M.; Eisner, W. R.
    • Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 68, Issue 2
    • DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2004.6970

    Isotopic Variations in Meteoric Waters
    journal, May 1961


    Origin and characteristics of massive ground ice on Herschel Island (western Canadian Arctic) as revealed by stable water isotope and Hydrochemical signatures
    journal, January 2011

    • Fritz, Michael; Wetterich, Sebastian; Meyer, Hanno
    • Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, Vol. 22, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.1002/ppp.714

    Using field observations to inform thermal hydrology models of permafrost dynamics with ATS (v0.83)
    journal, January 2015

    • Atchley, A. L.; Painter, S. L.; Harp, D. R.
    • Geoscientific Model Development, Vol. 8, Issue 9
    • DOI: 10.5194/gmd-8-2701-2015

    Lateglacial and Holocene isotopic and environmental history of northern coastal Alaska – Results from a buried ice-wedge system at Barrow
    journal, December 2010


    Vegetational Change and Ice-Wedge Polygons through the Thaw-Lake Cycle in Arctic Alaska
    journal, November 1980

    • Billings, W. D.; Peterson, K. M.
    • Arctic and Alpine Research, Vol. 12, Issue 4
    • DOI: 10.2307/1550492

    The distribution of deuterium and 18O in dry soils
    journal, January 1983


    Learning the parts of objects by non-negative matrix factorization
    journal, October 1999

    • Lee, Daniel D.; Seung, H. Sebastian
    • Nature, Vol. 401, Issue 6755
    • DOI: 10.1038/44565

    Comparison of threshold hydrologic response across northern catchments: THRESHOLD HYDROLOGIC RESPONSE ACROSS NORTHERN CATCHMENTS
    journal, June 2015

    • Ali, Genevieve; Tetzlaff, Doerthe; McDonnell, Jeffrey J.
    • Hydrological Processes, Vol. 29, Issue 16
    • DOI: 10.1002/hyp.10527

    Tracer-based assessment of flow paths, storage and runoff generation in northern catchments: a review: TRACERS IN NORTHERN CATCHMENTS
    journal, December 2014

    • Tetzlaff, Doerthe; Buttle, Jim; Carey, Sean K.
    • Hydrological Processes, Vol. 29, Issue 16
    • DOI: 10.1002/hyp.10412

    Permafrost hydrology in changing climatic conditions: seasonal variability of stable isotope composition in rivers in discontinuous permafrost
    journal, September 2015


    A kinetic isotope effect during ice formation by water freezing
    journal, July 2000

    • Souchez, R.; Jouzel, J.; Lorrain, R.
    • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 27, Issue 13
    • DOI: 10.1029/2000gl006103

    Water source dynamics of high Arctic river basins: WATER SOURCE DYNAMICS OF HIGH ARCTIC RIVER BASINS
    journal, June 2013

    • Blaen, Phillip J.; Hannah, David M.; Brown, Lee E.
    • Hydrological Processes, Vol. 28, Issue 10
    • DOI: 10.1002/hyp.9891

    Element Redistribution along Hydraulic and Redox Gradients of Low-Centered Polygons, Lena Delta, Northern Siberia
    journal, January 2004

    • Fiedler, S.; Wagner, D.; Kutzbach, L.
    • Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 68, Issue 3
    • DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2004.1002

    Stable isotopes in precipitation
    journal, January 1964


    High-resolution stable water isotopes as tracers of thaw unconformities in permafrost: A case study from western Arctic Canada
    journal, March 2014


    Spatial and seasonal variability of polygonal tundra water balance: Lena River Delta, northern Siberia (Russia)
    journal, January 2013


    Morphology-Dependent Water Budgets and Nutrient Fluxes in Arctic Thaw Ponds: Morphology, Water and Nutrients in Arctic Thaw Ponds
    journal, April 2014

    • Koch, Joshua C.; Gurney, Kirsty; Wipfli, Mark S.
    • Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, Vol. 25, Issue 2
    • DOI: 10.1002/ppp.1804

    Hydrogeomorphic processes of thermokarst lakes with grounded-ice and floating-ice regimes on the Arctic coastal plain, Alaska
    journal, March 2011

    • Arp, Christopher D.; Jones, Benjamin M.; Urban, Frank E.
    • Hydrological Processes, Vol. 25, Issue 15
    • DOI: 10.1002/hyp.8019

    Geocryological characteristics of the upper permafrost in a tundra-forest transition of the Indigirka River Valley, Russia
    journal, June 2014


    Progress in permafrost hydrology in the new millennium
    journal, January 2008

    • Woo, Ming-Ko; Kane, Douglas L.; Carey, Sean K.
    • Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, Vol. 19, Issue 2
    • DOI: 10.1002/ppp.613

    Characteristics of soil moisture in permafrost observed in East Siberian taiga with stable isotopes of water
    journal, January 2003

    • Sugimoto, A.; Naito, D.; Yanagisawa, N.
    • Hydrological Processes, Vol. 17, Issue 6
    • DOI: 10.1002/hyp.1180

    Active Layer Hydrology in an Arctic Tundra Ecosystem: Quantifying Water Sources and Cycling Using Water Stable Isotopes: Supporting Data
    dataset, January 2019

    • Throckmorton, Heather; Wilson, Cathy; Heikoop, Jeff
    • Next Generation Ecosystems Experiment - Arctic, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (US); NGEE Arctic, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
    • DOI: 10.5440/1164892

    Permafrost evidence for severe winter cooling during the Younger Dryas in northern Alaska: YOUNGER DRYAS CLIMATE FROM PERMAFROST
    journal, February 2010

    • Meyer, Hanno; Schirrmeister, Lutz; Yoshikawa, Kenji
    • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 37, Issue 3
    • DOI: 10.1029/2009gl041013