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James W. McClelland

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Climate change is causing extensive warming across Arctic regions resulting in permafrost degradation, alterations to regional hydrology and shifting amounts and composition of dissolved organic matter (DOM) transported by streams and rivers. Here, we characterize the DOM composition and optical properties of the six largest Arctic rivers draining into the Arctic Ocean to examine the ability of optical measurements to provide meaningful insights into terrigenous carbon export patterns and biogeochemical cycling. The chemical composition of aquatic DOM varied with season, spring months were typified by highest lignin phenol and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations with greater hydrophobic acid content, and...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Frontiers in Earth Science
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Terrestrial carbon dynamics influence the contribution of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to river networks in addition to hydrology. 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, over the 20th century, the pan-Arctic watershed has contributed, on average, 32 Tg C/yr of DOC to river networks emptying into the Arctic Ocean with most of the DOC 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...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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While much of the dissolved organic carbon (DOC) within rivers is destined for mineralization to CO2, a substantial fraction of riverine bicarbonate (HCO3-) flux represents a CO2 sink, as a result of weathering processes that sequester CO2 as HCO3-. We explored landscape-level controls on DOC and HCO3- flux in subcatchments of the boreal, with a specific focus on the effect of permafrost on riverine dissolved C flux. To do this, we undertook a multivariate analysis that partitioned the variance attributable to known, key regulators of dissolved C flux (runoff, lithology, and vegetation) prior to examining the effect of permafrost, using riverine biogeochemistry data from a suite of subcatchments drawn from the Mackenzie,...
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Riverine exports of organic and inorganic carbon (OC, IC) to oceans are intricately linked to processes occurring on land. Across high latitudes, thawing permafrost, alteration of hydrologic flow paths, and changes in vegetation may all affect this flux, with subsequent implications for regional and global carbon (C) budgets. Using a unique, multi-decadal dataset of continuous discharge coupled with water chemistry measurements for the Mackenzie River, we show major increases in dissolved OC (DOC) and IC (as alkalinity) fluxes since the early 1970s, for a watershed that covers 1.8 M km2 of northwestern Canada, and provides substantial inputs of freshwater and biogeochemical constituents to the Arctic Ocean. Over...
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Climate change is causing extensive warming across Arctic regions resulting in permafrost degradation, alterations to regional hydrology and shifting amounts and composition of dissolved organic matter (DOM) transported by streams and rivers. Here, we characterize the DOM composition and optical properties of the six largest Arctic rivers draining into the Arctic Ocean to examine the ability of optical measurements to provide meaningful insights into terrigenous carbon export patterns and biogeochemical cycling. The chemical composition of aquatic DOM varied with season, spring months were typified by highest lignin phenol and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations with greater hydrophobic acid content, and...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Frontiers in Earth Science
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