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Release of aquatic carbon from two peatland catchments in E. Finland during the spring snowmelt period

Kirstie E. Dyson, Michael F. Billett, Kerry J. Dinsmore, Frank Harvey, Amanda M. Thomson, Sirpa Piirainen and Pirkko Kortelainen
Biogeochemistry
Vol. 103, No. 1/3 (April 2011), pp. 125-142
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41490440
Page Count: 18
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Release of aquatic carbon from two peatland catchments in E. Finland during the spring snowmelt period
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Abstract

Spring snowmelt in the arctic and boreal regions represents the most significant event in the hydrological year. We measured concentrations and fluxes of different carbon species in 2 small contrasting (control v drained) forested peatland catchments in E. Finland between April and June 2008 and compared these to long-term annual fluxes. Measurements were made using a combination of continuous sensors (CO₂, temperature, pH, discharge) and routine spot sampling (DOC, POC, DIC, CO₂, CH₄, N₂O). The highest concentrations under low flow conditions before the spring flood event, reflecting accumulation and downstream release of gaseous C at the end of the winter period. Over the length of the study mean CH₄ concentrations were 10× higher in the drained site. The snowmelt event was associated with a dilution of DOC and CO₂, with the drained catchment showing a much flashier hydrological response compared to the control site, and post-event, a slower recovery in DOC and CO₂ concentrations. Fluxes of all carbon species during the snowmelt event were significant and represented 37–45% of the annual flux. This highlights the challenge of quantifying aquatic C fluxes in areas with large temporal variability and suggests that inability to "capture" the spring snowmelt event may lead to under-estimation of C fluxes in northern regions.

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