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Volume 22, issue 2 | Copyright

Special issue: Understanding and predicting Earth system and hydrological...

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 1081-1093, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-22-1081-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 08 Feb 2018

Research article | 08 Feb 2018

Hydrological processes and permafrost regulate magnitude, source and chemical characteristics of dissolved organic carbon export in a peatland catchment of northeastern China

Yuedong Guo, Changchun Song, Wenwen Tan, Xianwei Wang, and Yongzheng Lu Yuedong Guo et al.
  • Key Laboratory of Wetland Ecology and Environment, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130102, China

Abstract. Permafrost thawing in peatlands has the potential to alter the catchment export of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), thus influencing the carbon balance and cycling in linked aquatic and ocean ecosystems. Peatlands along the southern margins of the Eurasian permafrost are relatively underexplored despite the considerable risks associated with permafrost degradation due to climate warming. This study examined dynamics of DOC export from a permafrost peatland catchment located in northeastern China during the 2012 to 2014 growing seasons. The estimated annual DOC loads varied greatly between 3211 and 19022kgyr−1, with a mean DOC yield of 4.7gm−2yr−1. Although the estimated DOC yield was in the lower range compared with other permafrost regions, it was still significant for the net carbon balance in the studied catchment. There were strong linkages between daily discharge and DOC concentrations in both wet and dry years, suggesting a transport-limited process of DOC delivery from the catchment. Discharge explained the majority of both seasonal and interannual variations of DOC concentrations, which made annual discharge a good indicator of total DOC load from the catchment. As indicated by three fluorescence indices, DOC source and chemical characteristics tracked the shift of flow paths during runoff processes closely. Interactions between the flow path and DOC chemical characteristics were greatly influenced by the seasonal thawing of the soil active layer. The deepening of the active layer due to climate warming likely increases the proportion of microbial-originated DOC in baseflow discharge.

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The study examined dynamics of DOC export from a permafrost peatland catchment located in northeastern China. The findings indicated that the DOC export is a transport-limited process and the DOC load was significant for the net carbon balance in the studied catchment. The flowpath shift process is key to observed DOC concentration, resources and chemical characteristics in discharge. Permafrost degradation would likely elevate the proportion of microbe-originated DOC in baseflow.
The study examined dynamics of DOC export from a permafrost peatland catchment located in...
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