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Concept: Laptev Sea


The burial of terrestrial organic carbon (terrOC) in marine sediments contributes to the regulation of atmospheric CO2on geological timescales and may mitigate positive feedback to present-day climate warming. However, the fate of terrOC in marine settings is debated, with uncertainties regarding its degradation during transport. Here, we employ compound-specific radiocarbon analyses of terrestrial biomarkers to determine cross-shelf transport times. For the World’s largest marginal sea, the East Siberian Arctic shelf, transport requires 3600 ± 300 years for the 600 km from the Lena River to the Laptev Sea shelf edge. TerrOC was reduced by ~85% during transit resulting in a degradation rate constant of 2.4 ± 0.6 kyr-1. Hence, terrOC degradation during cross-shelf transport constitutes a carbon source to the atmosphere over millennial time. For the contemporary carbon cycle on the other hand, slow terrOC degradation brings considerable attenuation of the decadal-centennial permafrost carbon-climate feedback caused by global warming.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Earth, Carbon, Ocean, Global warming, Siberia, Lena River, Laptev Sea


Methane sources and sinks in the Arctic are poorly quantified. In particular, methane emissions from the Arctic Ocean and the potential sink capacity are still under debate. In this context sea ice impact on and the intense cycling of methane between sea ice and Polar surface water (PSW) becomes pivotal. We report on methane super- and under-saturation in PSW in the Eurasian Basin (EB), strongly linked to sea ice-ocean interactions. In the southern EB under-saturation in PSW is caused by both inflow of warm Atlantic water and short-time contact with sea ice. By comparison in the northern EB long-time sea ice-PSW contact triggered by freezing and melting events induces a methane excess. We reveal the Ttranspolar Drift Stream as crucial for methane transport and show that inter-annual shifts in sea ice drift patterns generate inter-annually patchy methane excess in PSW. Using backward trajectories combined with δ18O signatures of sea ice cores we determine the sea ice source regions to be in the Laptev Sea Polynyas and the off shelf regime in 2011 and 2015, respectively. We denote the Transpolar Drift regime as decisive for the fate of methane released on the Siberian shelves.

Concepts: Water, Ocean, Arctic Ocean, Arctic, Antarctica, Polar bear, Sea ice, Laptev Sea


Recent hypotheses, based on atmospheric records and models, suggest that permafrost carbon (PF-C) accumulated during the last glaciation may have been an important source for the atmospheric CO2 rise during post-glacial warming. However, direct physical indications for such PF-C release have so far been absent. Here we use the Laptev Sea (Arctic Ocean) as an archive to investigate PF-C destabilization during the last glacial-interglacial period. Our results show evidence for massive supply of PF-C from Siberian soils as a result of severe active layer deepening in response to the warming. Thawing of PF-C must also have brought about an enhanced organic matter respiration and, thus, these findings suggest that PF-C may indeed have been an important source of CO2 across the extensive permafrost domain. The results challenge current paradigms on the post-glacial CO2 rise and, at the same time, serve as a harbinger for possible consequences of the present-day warming of PF-C soils.

Concepts: Oxygen, Carbon dioxide, Soil, Arctic Ocean, Organic matter, Global warming, Siberia, Laptev Sea


As consequences of global warming sea-ice shrinking, permafrost thawing and changes in fresh water and terrestrial material export have already been reported in the Arctic environment. These processes impact light penetration and primary production. To reach a better understanding of the current status and to provide accurate forecasts Arctic biogeochemical and physical parameters need to be extensively monitored. In this sense, bio-optical properties are useful to be measured due to the applicability of optical instrumentation to autonomous platforms, including satellites. This study characterizes the non-water absorbers and their coupling to hydrographic conditions in the poorly sampled surface waters of the central and eastern Arctic Ocean. Over the entire sampled area colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) dominates the light absorption in surface waters. The distribution of CDOM, phytoplankton and non-algal particles absorption reproduces the hydrographic variability in this region of the Arctic Ocean which suggests a subdivision into five major bio-optical provinces: Laptev Sea Shelf, Laptev Sea, Central Arctic/Transpolar Drift, Beaufort Gyre and Eurasian/Nansen Basin. Evaluating ocean color algorithms commonly applied in the Arctic Ocean shows that global and regionally tuned empirical algorithms provide poor chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) estimates. The semi-analytical algorithms Generalized Inherent Optical Property model (GIOP) and Garver-Siegel-Maritorena (GSM), on the other hand, provide robust estimates of Chl-a and absorption of colored matter. Applying GSM with modifications proposed for the western Arctic Ocean produced reliable information on the absorption by colored matter, and specifically by CDOM. These findings highlight that only semi-analytical ocean color algorithms are able to identify with low uncertainty the distribution of the different optical water constituents in these high CDOM absorbing waters. In addition, a clustering of the Arctic Ocean into bio-optical provinces will help to develop and then select province-specific ocean color algorithms.

Concepts: Photon, Water, Canada, Ocean, Arctic Ocean, Arctic, Arctic shrinkage, Laptev Sea


Six new species of Thalassaphorura from South Siberia are described and illustrated: T. aspinata sp. nov., T. sayana sp. nov., T. sibirica sp. nov., T. stebaevae sp. nov., T. stepensis sp. nov. and T. weineri sp. nov. Their affinity with related species is discussed and a comparison of all species without anal spines is presented. The key to the world species of Thalassaphorura and their geographic distribution are also provided.

Concepts: Earth, The Key, World, Asia, Siberia, Laptev Sea, East Siberian Sea


Two new species from the southern tundra of the Taimyr Peninsula (Russia) are described. Chrysotus tricaudatus Negrobov, Barkalov & Selivanova sp. nov. is similar to C. albibarbus Loew, but can be distinguished by its brown palpus with black setae, yellow hind tibia and base of hind tarsus, and features of the male genitalia. Chrysotus komovi Negrobov, Barkalov & Selivanova sp. nov. is similar to C. obscuripes Zetterstedt, but can be distinguished by features of the male genitalia. A key to all Siberian species of the genus is also presented along with figures of diagnostic morphological characters. 

Concepts: Crustacean, Order, Russia, Taiga, Tundra, Siberia, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Laptev Sea