Seasonal variability of trace metals in the Lena River and the southeastern Laptev Sea: impact of the spring freshet.

Hölemann, Jens A. , Schirmacher, M. and Prange, A. (2005) Seasonal variability of trace metals in the Lena River and the southeastern Laptev Sea: impact of the spring freshet. Global and Planetary Change, 48 (1-3). pp. 112-125. DOI 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2004.12.008.

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The distribution of dissolved and particulate trace metals (Fe, Mn, Cu, Ni, Zn, and Pb) was studied for the first time during the spring high flow period of the Lena River (Arctic Siberia). The results show that concentrations of dissolved metals in the river Lena during the spring high flow in June 1996 (spring freshet) were significantly higher than those reported for the rest of the year. For example the measured average concentration of dissolved Fe (6349 ± 2122 nM) during the high flow is approximately 7 times higher than previously published concentrations measured during the summer months. Dissolved Fe concentrations in the freshwater (salinity < 1) are positively correlated with the amount of suspended particulate matter (SPM) (p < 0.01), but negatively correlated with the Fe concentrations in SPM (p < 0.01).

The data showed that the aluminium-normalized concentrations of particulate Fe, Mn, Pb, Ni, and Zn in the freshwater are negatively correlated with SPM. This suggests that the mobilization of metals from suspended particulate matter is the driving force for the observed high concentrations of dissolved Fe, Mn, Zn and Pb in the water of the Lena River during the spring freshet.

During the high flow period in June about 35% of the total annual flow of the river Lena flows into the Laptev Sea. Previously published metal budgets for the river Lena that did not incorporate data from the spring high flow period, therefore, underestimate the fluxes of dissolved trace metals from the Siberian rivers to the Arctic Ocean. For instance, the estimated input of dissolved Fe in June 1996 is approximately 4.5 times higher than the average annual dissolved Fe input calculated on the basis of summer data. The results of this study demonstrate that the previous evaluations of the trace metal flux of the Lena river–which are based on data obtained from August to October–may underestimate the total riverine input of dissolved trace metals to the Arctic Ocean.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Arctic; Lena River; Laptev Sea; Trace elements; Seasonal variability
Research affiliation: HGF-AWI
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Publisher: Elsevier
Projects: Laptev Sea System, Permafrost
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2010 13:54
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2017 08:57

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