Articles | Volume 14, issue 6
15 Jun 2010
 | 15 Jun 2010

The relationship between subsurface hydrology and dissolved carbon fluxes for a sub-arctic catchment

S. W. Lyon, M. Mörth, C. Humborg, R. Giesler, and G. Destouni

Abstract. In recent years, there has been increased interest in carbon cycling in natural systems due to its role in a changing climate. Northern latitude systems are especially important as they may serve as a potentially large source or sink of terrestrial carbon. There are, however, a limited number of investigations reporting on actual flux rates of carbon moving from the subsurface landscape to surface water systems in northern latitudes. In this study, we determined dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) fluxes from the subsurface landscape for a sub-arctic catchment located in northern Sweden. These are based on observed annual flux-averaged concentrations of DOC and DIC for the 566 km2 Abiskojokken catchment. We demonstrate the importance to correctly represent the spatial distribution of the advective solute travel times along the various flow and transport pathways. The fluxes of DOC and DIC from the subsurface landscape to the surface water system were comparable in magnitude. This balance could shift under future climatic changes that influence the hydrological and biogeochemical system.