uu.seUppsala University Publications
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Selective decay of terrestrial organic carbon during transport from land to sea
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Limnology.
Show others and affiliations
2012 (English)In: Global Change Biology, ISSN 1354-1013, E-ISSN 1365-2486, Vol. 18, no 1, 349-355 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Numerous studies have estimated carbon exchanges at the landatmosphere interface, more recently also including estimates at the freshwateratmosphere interface. Less attention has been paid to lateral carbon fluxes, in particular to the fate of terrestrial carbon during transport from soils via surface waters to the sea. Using extensive datasets on soil, lake and river mouth chemistry of the boreal/hemiboreal region we determined organic carbon (OC) stocks of the O horizon from catchment soils, annual OC transports through more than 700 lakes (OClakeflux) and the total annual OC transport at Sweden's 53 river mouths (OCseaflux). We show here that a minimum of 0.030.87% yr(-1) of the OC soil stocks need to be exported to lakes in order to sustain the annual OClakeflux. Across Sweden we estimated a total OClakeflux of similar to 2.9 Mtonne yr(-1), which corresponds to similar to 10% of Sweden's total terrestrial net ecosystem production, and it is over 50% higher than the total OCseaflux. The OC loss during transport to the sea follows a simple exponential decay with an OC half-life of similar to 12 years. Water colour, a proxy often used for dissolved humic matter, is similarly lost exponentially but about twice as fast as OC. Thus, we found a selective loss of the coloured portion of soil-derived OC during its transport through inland waters, prior to being discharged into the sea. The selective loss is water residence time dependent, resulting in that the faster the water flows through the landscape the less OC and colour is lost. We conclude that increases in runoff will result in less efficient losses of OC, and particularly of colour, if the time for OC transformations in the landscape shortens. Consequently, OC reaching the sea is likely to become more coloured, and less processed, which can have far-reaching effects on biogeochemical cycles.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 18, no 1, 349-355 p.
Keyword [en]
aquatic ecosystems, boreal region, carbon, climate change, soils, transformation
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-169135DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02544.xISI: 000298598900029OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-169135DiVA: diva2:505495
Available from: 2012-02-24 Created: 2012-02-23 Last updated: 2012-12-04Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Weyhenmeyer, Gesa A.Kothawala, DollyTranvik, Lars J.
By organisation
In the same journal
Global Change Biology
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 156 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link