University of Oulu

Croghan, D., Ala-Aho, P., Lohila, A., Welker, J., Vuorenmaa, J., Kløve, B., et al. (2023). Coupling of water-carbon interactions during snowmelt in an Arctic Finland catchment. Water Resources Research, 59, e2022WR032892.

Coupling of water-carbon interactions during snowmelt in an Arctic Finland catchment

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Author: Croghan, Danny1; Ala-Aho, Pertti1; Lohila, Annalea2,3;
Organizations: 1Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Finnish Meteorological Institute, Oulu, Finland
3INAR Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research/Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
4Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alaska Anchorage, Oulu, FI, USA
6UArctic, Rovaniemi, Finland
7Finnish Environment Institute, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: submitted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: American Geophysical Union, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-09-07


Snowmelt spring floods regulate carbon transport from land to streams. However, these coupled processes are rarely documented through high-resolution measurements focused on water-carbon interactions. We collated a state-of-the-art high-frequency data set throughout a snowmelt and early post snowmelt period, alongside regular samples of stream water, precipitation, and snowmelt isotopes (δ18O). Our study was conducted during the 2019 snowmelt and initial post snowmelt season in a subarctic, peatland influenced headwater catchment in Pallas, Northern Finland. We measured high-frequency dissolved organic carbon (DOC), and in-stream carbon dioxide (pCO2). We identified a change in hydrological processes as the snowmelt season progressed and the post snowmelt season began. We found (a) Overland flow dominated stream DOC dynamics in early snowmelt, while increased catchment connectivity opened new distal pathways in the later snowmelt period; (b) CO2 processes were initially driven by rapid bursts of CO2 from the meltwaters in snowmelt, followed by dilution and source limitation emerging post snowmelt as deep soil pathways replaced the snowpack as the main source of CO2; (c) stream carbon concentration shifted from being relatively balanced between CO2 and DOC during the early snowmelt period to being increasingly DOC dominated as snowmelt progressed due to changes in DOC and CO2 source supply. The study highlights the importance of using high-frequency measurements combined with high-frequency data analyses to identify changes in the processes driving water-carbon interactions. The degree to which water-carbon interactions respond to the continuation of Arctic water cycle amplification is central to delineating the evolving complexity of the future Arctic.

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Series: Water resources research
ISSN: 0043-1397
ISSN-E: 1944-7973
ISSN-L: 0043-1397
Volume: 59
Issue: 5
Article number: e2022WR032892
DOI: 10.1029/2022WR032892
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1171 Geosciences
1172 Environmental sciences
Funding: Pallas studies are supported by the Maa-ja vesitekniikan tuki ry, K. H. Renlund foundation, Academy of Finland (projects 316349, 316014, 308511, 312559, 337552), the Strategic Research Council, JMW's UArctic Research Chairship, Kone foundation (KRM's personal grant), the Ministry of Transport through the Integrated Carbon Observing System (ICOS) research, and The University of Oulu Kvantum Institute and The Academy of Finland Profi4 project 318930. This study is part of activities by the National Freshwater Competence Centre (FWCC).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 316349
Detailed Information: 316349 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
316014 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
308511 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
312559 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
337552 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Dataset Reference: All data supporting this study is freely available from:
Copyright information: © 2023. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.