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Title: Relative importance of multiple factors on terrestrial loading of DOC to Arctic river networks

Terrestrial carbon dynamics influence the contribution of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to river networks in addition to controlling carbon fluxes between the land surface and the atmosphere. In this study, we use a biogeochemical process model to simulate the lateral transfer of DOC from land to the Arctic Ocean via riverine transport. We estimate that the pan-arctic watershed has contributed, on average, 32 Tg C/yr of DOC to the Arctic Ocean over the 20th century with most coming from the extensive area of boreal deciduous needle-leaved forests and forested wetlands in Eurasian watersheds. We also estimate that the rate of terrestrial DOC loading has been increasing by 0.037 Tg C/yr2 over the 20th century primarily as a result of increases in air temperatures and precipitation. These increases have been partially compensated by decreases in terrestrial DOC loading caused by wildfires. Other environmental factors (CO2 fertilization, ozone pollution, atmospheric nitrogen deposition, timber harvest, agriculture) are estimated to have relatively small effects on terrestrial DOC loading to arctic rivers. The effects of the various environmental factors on terrestrial carbon dynamics have both compensated and enhanced concurrent effects on hydrology to influence terrestrial DOC loading. Future increases in riverine DOC concentrations and exportmore » may occur from warming-induced increases in terrestrial DOC production associated with enhanced microbial metabolism and the exposure of additional organic matter from permafrost degradation along with decreases in water yield associated with warming-induced increases in evapotranspiration. Improvements in simulating terrestrial DOC loading to pan-arctic rivers in the future will require better information on the spatial distribution of precipitation and its temporal trends, carbon dynamics of larch-dominated ecosystems in eastern Siberia, and the role of industrial organic effluents on carbon budgets of rivers in western Russia.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [4]
  1. Ecosystem Center, The
  2. ORNL
  3. University of Texas
  4. Marine Biological Laboratory
  5. University of Alaska
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Ecological Applications; Journal Volume: 23
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
Sponsoring Org:
SC USDOE - Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States