Doctoral Dissertation Research: Another piece of the Arctic carbon puzzle: Quantifying Emissions from Arctic Lakes in Drier Regions OPP – NSF Award – Vaclava (Vendy) Hazukova & Jasmine Saros
As hotspots of active carbon processing, terrestrial freshwater systems are important regulators of carbon fluxes across the landscape and sites of notable carbon emissions. The importance of lakes as carbon emission conduits to the surrounding landscape is amplified as permafrost begins to melt, changing landscape hydrological pathways and delivering large amounts of terrestrial carbon sequestered in the frozen soils to the freshwater systems. Inputs of exogenous organic carbon further stimulate the release of large volume of CO2 and CH4 emissions into the atmosphere, creating a positive permafrost-climate feedback. However, spatial limitation of most studies to a few sites across the Arctic results in underrepresentation of spatial and functional diversity of ecosystems (Metcalfe et al., 2018)—potentially calling into question prediction models based only on a narrow subset. One of the examples are poorly hydrologically connected lakes embedded in arid landscape spreading across parts of Alaska, Northern Canada, Siberia, and Greenland. We will quantify CO2 emissions from lakes in West Greenland and assess how do fluxes of emissions change along a gradient of temperature and precipitation. Filling in the geographical bias gains further urgency as drier and warmer conditions associated with decreasing hydrological connectivity are likely reflective of the future in many Arctic regions, having notable impacts on fire dynamics and terrestrial communities (Hu et al., 2010; Natali et al., 2015; Foster et al, 2019; Nyyttinen et al., 2019). Considering that carbon dynamics of lakes embedded in arid Arctic can be a bellwether of future conditions elsewhere, it is important to better understand how interaction between lakes and arid landscape affect carbon cycling in the Arctic.