Journalpaper

Seasonal nitrogen fluxes of the Lena River Delta

Abstract

The Arctic is nutrient limited, particularly by nitrogen, and is impacted by anthropogenic global warming which occurs approximately twice as fast compared to the global average. Arctic warming intensifies thawing of permafrost-affected soils releasing their large organic nitrogen reservoir. This organic nitrogen reaches hydrological systems, is remineralized to reactive inorganic nitrogen, and is transported to the Arctic Ocean via large rivers. We estimate the load of nitrogen supplied from terrestrial sources into the Arctic Ocean by sampling in the Lena River and its Delta. We took water samples along one of the major deltaic channels in winter and summer in 2019 and sampling station in the central delta over a one-year cycle. Additionally, we investigate the potential release of reactive nitrogen, including nitrous oxide from soils in the Delta. We found that the Lena transported nitrogen as dissolved organic nitrogen to the coastal Arctic Ocean and that eroded soils are sources of reactive inorganic nitrogen such as ammonium and nitrate. The Lena and the Deltaic region apparently are considerable sources of nitrogen to nearshore coastal zone. The potential higher availability of inorganic nitrogen might be a source to enhance nitrous oxide emissions from terrestrial and aquatic sources to the atmosphere.
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